by Jon Biddle
The complex plots and subplots of my book Harvester, one person accused me of the phenomenon of the ‘google author’ concept and that the life experiences that I experienced weren’t possible. This kind of inflammatory comment would’ve sent me over the edge in younger years, but I let it wash over me like a tepid tide, but it got me a thinking.
I think I own the most varied CV in the world. The only thing I left school with as a Sixteen-year-old, was a packet of fags, and an ancient dog-eared copy of Razzle magazine and a worn pirate copy of The Alarms – Declaration. But I had a drive that was coming from somewhere and a burning desire to shoot people. I got one O’ level though, in Biology, which came into play in later life.
I then spent the next ten years in the army. The Infantry, shooting things and being shot at. I grew up quickly while on the streets of Northern Ireland; they were tough, mean and dangerous. It shaped the person I became in so many ways.After that, I joined the family firm and became a potter. These are the times I miss the most. They were idyllic and perfect. Working amongst the rolling hills of Dorset in the South West of England, nothing could be more amazing. The business grew to where we had to sell up. I became a full-time dad to our young children, again, some of the best days of my life. My relationship with my now grown-up kids is a close bond of which I do not take for granted. It was during this period; I realised that the wind blowing between my ears was in fact cognitive thought. What was weird, I was pretty good at it? I guess this was my search for meaning, and I just didn’t know what to do. So I searched what would be a suitable job for a thirty-something to do that had substance and came across a career as an Operating Department Practitioner. I stayed on at university for another four years and became a surgical first assistant and getting a whole heap of post-grad certificates, which I can’t find anymore. I’ve covered everything in surgery from orthopaedics, which I love, to cardio- thoracic, neuro, general surgery, ENT, MaxFax, urology, obs and gynae. I am dual qualified in assisting and anaesthetics, which makes me a rare commodity. I can slot anywhere within the surgical setting and be comfortable.
What has this got to do with researching books?
I have a broad knowledge of surgery, disease and trauma, drugs, the humanistic interaction between medical professionals and their patients, which are often complex along with trauma and the worst conditions that we as humans suffer with. I had coupled along with my military background with law enforcement in Northern Ireland, there’s not much I haven’t seen or done. I know firsthand what it’s like to lose a patient, I cannot recall any of my patients that left the OR and made a full recovery from their treatment. The dead, though? I remember those. All of those, their names, what they looked like. They sit in a melange of emotions, which include high stress, guilt, anger and distress and sometimes, utter heartbreak. I’ve not done CPR on anyone and not broken most of their ribs; I had my hands, deep inside a patient, around their aorta, trying to stop a patient bleeding to death while helping a surgeon, likewise; I sat and held the hand of a dying father while he told his son how much he loved him on the phone, and how proud he was of him. Sadly, not being able to be by his father’s side in the last moments. The man looked at me square in the face with some form of clarity as he faced his own mortality; he thanked me for being there and that it meant everything to him, and it meant everything to me. I hope that I made up for his son’s absence. It’s these things that stay in my mind, that keeps me focussed, charged and driven to be the best person I can be.
I also can remember the first time that someone tried to kill me, the sound, the energy, the stones being flicked into my eye from the ricocheting bullets, the twenty litre can of water being tossed into the air as 7.62mm rounds slammed into the ground either side of me.
I remember I was about to be mortared, and when the first one came into my base, I saw glass almost bend concave slowly as the blast swept through until the glass surrendered and smashed to a thousand pieces. Why did I survive while others didn’t? I have no idea. Many friends who are not with me today, dead from enemy action, or even the biggest killer, the enemy within. These voices in my head, as does most of us that walk this path, I am not immune to the label of complex-PTSD, I won’t affirm to like it, but there it is. My body has spent most of its life in fight-or-flight mode, something that I am learning slowly to deal with, with the help of a therapist. Every day that my brother’s and I make it through another day is a day we can chalk up to success. I hope that this transcribes into the narrative of the books I write.
I am an educationalist by nature; I love learning and reading deeper into the psychology of people which easily turns me on. How people tick. We’re not all that unique. Humans are humans, and a large proportion are wonderful souls that want nothing but good from this life. The scum bags, villains, and psychos are these are the people I am keenest over, and this behaviour really inspires my writing. Take this current covid-19 pandemic, people are so predictable in how they behave, this fascinates me and use that core human interaction in my books. My protagonist Alex Brown is especially deft at dealing with human emotions on many levels, I love how she sees the lie coming, and heads the lie off at the pass, Alex is a character that has been through the mill. Psychologist’s would call hypersensitive, on a more spiritual level, you would call Alex an Empath. These are complex cognitive skills which learnt as an Empath myself. When you spend most of your life in the fight-or-flight mode, and living in what they describe as one of the 4F’s, your brain becomes like a sponge.
I hear the term Google Authors. That’s something that I definitely am not.
The Book Blurb
Seven days of sin. Seven days of secrets. Seven days to steal her sister’s life.
Beth has always been the golden girl, leaving her identical twin, Alvie, in her shadow. She has everything Alvie ever wanted – the money, the hot husband, the cute baby, the fast car.
So when she invites Alvie for seven sun-drenched days at her luxury villa in Sicily, Alvie accepts. Just because Alvie can’t stand Beth doesn’t mean she can’t enjoy a slice of her decadent lifestyle.
But her usually goody-two-shoes twin has a hidden agenda. And when the sisters swap identities for a day, it ends badly for Beth. Very badly.
It’s Alvie’s chance to steal the life that she deserves . . .
If she can get away with it.
Have you heard of Murder Monthly?
Murder Monthly is a subscription based short story, sent to you monthly. In that short story is the research from some societies’ most heinous killers. The twist of this is a fictional story that I have also included in the toe small eBook.
So if you like a bit of crime with your coffee or you find yourself at a loose end and some time to kill, hit the link.