Just another day in the newsroom? Hardly.
It is October 1987.
Clare Forester is an overworked and under-appreciated features sub on a provincial paper in Somerset, cheerfully ranting about her teenage daughter, her spiteful mother, her reclusive lodger, the Thatcher government, new technology, grubby journalists, petty union officials, her charming ex – and just about anything that crosses her path.
If things aren’t tempestuous enough, on Thursday, October 15, the Great Storm sweeps across Britain, cutting a swathe of destruction across the southern counties. At the office, Clare is pushed to breaking point by pushy bosses and inept colleagues, and loses her temper with gale-force fury. She is suspended from work and finds herself in therapy for stress, while her union embarks on strike action. Worse is to come.
Black Monday follows and the markets crash. But it’s not just the future that’s giving Clare grief.
Dark family secrets come back to haunt her. One thing she learns ... Never trust the past. IT LIES.
A. J. Monkton is the pen name I use for historical fiction. I also write fantasy adventures and short stories under my real name, Pamela Kelt. Originally born in Edinburgh, I grew up in the North West of England, went to the universities of Manchester and Oxford, specialising in 17th-century Spanish comic drama. Although I started out as a translator, I escaped via a turbulent and circuitous route of journalism and educational publishing to expand my interests to include botanical history, science fiction, local history, architecture, cocktails, wine-making and avoiding DIY. I’m also a fan of Insular art and other early Medieval stuff inspired by my daughter Lauren's history of art degrees at Edinburgh. I returned to writing to combat the ‘empty nest’ syndrome and I’m now the author of several novels and stories. Half my books are historical fiction, with one ‘retro’ title set in a 1980s newsroom, while the rest are fantasy adventures. One title, Half Life, is a co-production with my husband, Rob Deeth, a newly-retired (make that semi-retired!) professor of inorganic computational chemistry and flying buff. Currently, I am working on The Blackfern Conspiracy, an action-packed sequel to The Lost Orchid, as well as a dark murder mystery called Machiavelli’s Acolyte, set in 17th-century Eastern Europe, introducing the death-magnet, Viktor Radislav. Of course, that’s not his real name.