It was almost as if it was meant to be… 11th March 2016

Writing can be a huge commitment and I should know.

kent-landscapeI am currently working on my 4th book and have been badgering away since last August to get the first draft done. This means I have my synopsis planned out but each one of those story lines has to be developed. I am speeding my way through the 1990s and so far have covered such topics as the Catholic child abuse scandal and the war in Bosnia but with a vast amount still to write. So dedicated am I in getting this drafted in full before August this year, I haven’t ventured out on any research trips since September 2014.

Once in a while it does me good to get out on location and revisit the places where the books are set. Last year I did actually get to visit Nottingham (one of my characters studies at Nottingham Trent University {formerly Trent Polytechnic} where I went myself) I had a good wander around town to familiarise myself. The scenes set in Nottingham however are short and sweet. The majority of this series is still based around London and Kent by February 2nd it was a good time to make another journey.

| For more about my research follow this link to Sandra Danby’s Blog |

Book 4 Retribution had a slight difference; I have set many of the scenes in winter.

The story focuses more on the evil characters and their activities than the lives of the good people. There is a resurrection of organised crime in this book and where criminal gangs play a huge part. It is definitely more of a winter novel than a summer one and lends itself to barren landscapes, less flowers, cold weather and short days. I deliberately chose winter to return to Shoreham Village so I could get a good feel for that atmosphere.

The low sunlight, skeletal trees and long shadows create a slightly more sinister ambience for Book 4 Retribution. (Click images to see enlarged views).

Being so close to London, I couldn’t resist a chance visit; but only if there was time. Yet it seemed the universe was definitely working in my favour today

I would get the train from Orpington Station, only if I could park. Further more, some very kind gentleman gave me a parking ticket for day which saved me £6. What a stoke of luck! After purchasing my ticket to London, I made my way onto the platform and the train turned up a minute later. Great!

Sitting on the train, I watched the familiar London skyline wander into view with its stunning array of buildings; Canary Wharf, the Gherkin, the Shard… I landed in Waterloo, probably the most prominent station in the series (lots of scenes set here) and for a change, I decided to visit Chelsea. This is a place which is renowned for its antiques and given that one of the characters is in antiques dealer, seemed like a good place to explore.


Beautiful winter sunlight. The looming black clouds and bare branches were particularly stunning in this shot where the timing couldn’t have been better.

I would have liked to have spent a few hours here. Though there was enough time to get a good look round, admire the architecture, take photos and even enjoy a quick bite in the heavenly Café Concerto in Kings Road. The return journey was equally enjoyable (I even relived the underground chase scene from Book 2 Visions) and every time I stepped on platform, the train turned up a few seconds later.

It was almost as if it was meant to be.


About Helen J. Christmas

I am an English author and have written a series of novels, titled 'Same Face Different Place. Beginnings is a gangland thriller set in the criminal underworld of 1970s London. The second Book 'Visions' is a psychological thriller, set in Kent; a mystery that ensnares the owners of an historic, English Country House. Book 3 Pleasures contains suspense, thrills and YA romance, set in a backdrop of organised crime and at the advent of the British rave culture. There are 2 final books in the series, Retribution (Phase One) and Retribution (End Game) where the saga reaches its dramatic conclusion.
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2 Responses to It was almost as if it was meant to be… 11th March 2016

  1. Hallo Helen! I think this is a great idea, not just from the point of view of research, but keeping your readers on side as you craft your book.

  2. Thanks, Michael! I like to keep people abreast with what I’m doing. This is also like keeping my own personal writing diary (and it is nice to showcase my photos) I hope it inspires you.

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