If you’re reading this, then I can breathe a sigh of relief.
Because I was wrong.
What was I wrong about, you may ask?
Well, to cut a long story short, Thursday 14 December 2017 is the day that Hurricane Victoria was due to hit. Hurricane Victoria is the storm that ushers in the catastrophic flooding six years before the events of Exile.
Now, you’re probably asking yourself two questions (or you’re shouting them at me through the screen):
- How am I supposed to know when Hurricane Victoria hits?
- Why on earth does that mean it actually would happen?
Good questions. I’ll answer them.
One – Hurricane Victoria Has a Date
I’ll admit that there’s nothing in black and white to say exactly what date Hurricane Victoria hits.
But in the prologue to the book (which was removed by my editor and will soon be available in a small book of cut scenes), Jess Dyer is sitting in the cinema as the waters are rising in her flat. She’s watching a Star Wars film. And Jess Dyer seems to me like the sort of organised person who’d go see a movie the day it comes out. It’s safe to say the movie is The Last Jedi and it came out on Thursday.
So that’s where she was on the evening of Thursday 14 December 2017. While her cat was desperately trying to escape getting its paws wet back home.
So now I’ve completely bored you with my geekery, I’m going to blow your mind with my prescience…
Two – I Have an Uncanny Habit of Writing Stories That Come True
My next novel, A House Divided, was originally written in 2004. It features an extreme right wing Prime Minister called Leonard Trask. Among the unsavoury things he gets up to, he introduces a law banning people from Muslim states travelling to the UK.
Sound like anyone?
I did not base that character on Donald Trump. When I wrote the first draft, Donald Trump was still busy building golf courses and annoying the people of Scotland, and as far as I’m aware hadn’t expressed any intention to become President. And we’d all have laughed if he had…
I then wrote about two thirds of a novel called In The Dark (working title), about a group of people trapped on a tube train, fearing it had been targeted by terrorists.
And then 7 July 2005 happened, the London Underground was indeed attacked, and I stopped writing.
Then in the summer of 2016 I started work on a political conspiracy thriller, working title I Wanna Be Elected. In this story, a London Mayoral election is conducted as a reality TV show. But then candidates start mysteriously dying. The first candidate to die was called Jo.
I was in the middle of writing the first draft when the MP Jo Cox was brutally murdered. As you can imagine, I stopped writing again.
I Didn’t Want Lightning to Strike Again
So that’s why I’ve spent the last couple of weeks watching the weather (rain and snow in the UK, troubling) and chewing my nails down to the bone.
If you’re reading this, I’m very relieved. We’re all still here, London isn’t underwater, and there aren’t thousands of people walking north to escape the floods.
In six years time, who knows, a small community in North Yorkshire may get an unexpected visit. But we’ll worry about that one when we come to it!