Today I am excited to have a guest post written by David York, author of The Billion Pound Question. Here’s a synopsis of the story, and then read on for some of his great tips on writing for aspiring (or existing!) writers!
The unexpected death of reclusive businessman Tony Latimer in a plane crash after Christmas brings together an unusual mix of strangers from his unorthodox extended family. Their widely varied backgrounds in different countries and occupations, some legitimate, others very definitely not, contribute to the complex plot that emerges as the legalities of the intestate death are unravelled and Tony’s heirs move on with their lives and careers.
Frank Latimer, Bo Sung and Emily Tang are old school friends who have no idea that their families and fates are so closely connected, along with Thomas Latimer, until the aftermath of Tony’s death unites them again.
This family saga traces several generations of inter-related families in the UK, China and Hong Kong and examines in detail the logistics of drug smuggling, high finance and international relations. This fast-moving story comes to its conclusion with an exciting finale in a land-locked West African country.
[The Billion Pound Question – by David York]
My own life has included working in eighteen different countries, which has caused considerable disruption to what has turned out to be a happy family life. Whilst discussing an event that I and my youngest son had been involved in, we could not remember where we were when this event occurred. My son exclaimed that I must write about our family history to resolve future discussions, and I enjoyed doing just that and found writing quite easy. From this I was emboldened to try writing a novel. All fiction writers use their own life experiences, and those of other people who write or broadcast theirs, and that is just what I have done. I found it quite easy to start writing with only the haziest outline.
A tip that I would pass on to any aspiring writers is to create a list of characters and their details as you create them. I find that this is essential, as is a list of chapters and even paragraphs as the writing progresses. It was fascinating to resolve a dead end in the story by just creating a new character or killing off one already established.
The Lucky Banker, my first novel, established a billion pound fortune for a man who never married and whose illegitimate children, conceived at the request of their four different mothers, were never legitimised. His death in a plane crash without leaving a will raises a question regarding the beneficiaries who will inherit his billion pound fortune. The dead Billionaire journeyed in his life time from being a rather selfish loner, which helped in the accumulation of his wealth, to a generous guardian of a large happy family. My second novel attempts to relate the journey of two families from similar late nineteenth century poverty in Manchester, to their coming together as already wealthy beneficiaries of the Billionaire’s fortune.
The paternal Grandfather’s family reacts to poverty by justifying criminality, but with their own set of moral values. The maternal Grandmother’s family takes the Christian route, but never the less is drawn into illegality when their service to Britain’s intelligence services leaves them no choice. A Chinese family is drawn into the saga when the Manchester Methodist Missionary saves two boys from starvation. The older boy rises to become a highly placed communist party security official and over the period of his adult life he comes to recognise the similarities between Communism and Methodism, with a slight preference for Methodism as it seeks to achieve its aims peacefully.
Three beneficiaries meet when two of them start attending a British Public School at the age of eleven. The descendant of the Chinese official joins them under the guardianship of the third beneficiary who is older. During their successful time there and at Manchester University they become good friends and gradually work out their family relationships. Graduating some years before they receive their inheritance they are all drawn into their families illegal activities started by their previous generations, and they prosper, but not without considerable moral anxiety. Attitudes to; the European Union, the rise of Chinese Communism and its entry into world trade, the control of the worlds drug and other dangerous substances, the rise of modern terrorism, and the worlds refugee crisis; are all interwoven into the characters activities and thoughts.
With their inheritance after tax and their business success, the friends and their families control more than two billion pounds, but a series of tragedies forces the current generation to dig deep into the previous generation’s mistakes. This leads them into dangerous conflict with terrorism before they finally resolve to use their wealth for the good of all. My first novel ended in tragedy, but this one ends happily, but with just a hint that a third book could revive the dark side of the future?
For more information about ‘The Billion Pound Question’ please visit:
See other books by David York on Goodreads.
Definitely one to add to your ‘To Read’ list!