Sunday, April 04, 2010

How ideas fly in...

Blechta here. This week’s Sunday guest here at Type M is Irish/Canadian thriller author Roy French. With his latest novel just released, he’s priming the publicity pump, so we thought it would be a perfect time to ask him back. You can find out more about Roy and what he does at This man knows about what he’s writing. I can’t tell you how I came by that information because I’m sworn to secrecy.

People often ask, “where do your ideas come from?” and my response is always the same. Not a clue. Some incident will prompt a moment of introspection, or someone will relate a story that makes me wonder about possibilities.

Growing up near Belfast and being exposed the ongoing maelstrom of violence makes me question why I survived and others didn’t. Everyone has a story to tell; about the time they were late to the pub, late to the store, switched shifts, and managed to escape the transition of a building to a pile of burning rubble via car bomb, etc. And so to my latest story, Raven’s Shadow.

The core of the story, triggered by a newspaper article and fairly apropos these days, is about the absolute faith we place in physicians. You gets some tests done, you get the news that you have cancer and only a few months left on your dance card, and that you should put your affairs in order. For a dying man, who is in relatively good health, the branch hanging from the bank is a costly, experimental treatment in a clinic in Costa Rica. With money being no object, you set sail, never knowing that you are about to partake in the biggest scam of your life. Which one of us, if presented with such a scenario, would not fling themselves headlong into the nearest plane?

There are many layers wrapped around this, but that was the core of the new book, along with the usual sex and violence, of course. With medical tourism ever expanding these days; a trip to India for a hip replacement and a vacation, or Mexico for cosmetic surgery, or China for a kidney, the opportunities for criminals to exploit people at their most vulnerable continues to grow. The recent case in New Jersey (hardly a surprise) of the funeral home attendants who were removing bones from cadavers and replacing them with bits of piping stills creeps me out, but is another example of the high, black-market demand for organs and bone grafts. It seems that criminal enterprise is alive and well, and all-pervasive.

Alastair Cooke, the veteran BBC broadcaster, is probably spinning in his grave, knowing that his bones are spinning somewhere else…

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