Where did Rosa Czekov come from?

I’m often asked where the ideas for my stories come from and as I have said before there are all sorts of triggers for me, images, snatches of conversation, news items, people at a party…

It’s difficult to remember exactly where ‘The Stalking of Rosa Czekov’ came from… certainly I had wanted to write a story about stalkers for a long time but the original idea was that the stalker victim should turn the tables on the stalker and begin to stalk him. I think I had always thought the victim turned stalker would be a woman, but I was more hazy about who the stalker would be and the reason for the stalking.

There was also another idea that when a dramatic event takes place it is sometimes the centre or climax of a novel… but in real life when something dramatic happens to ordinary people the event itself has its own momentum which carries those involved along… it is afterwards that people have to deal with the trauma and have to be really courageous.

In Rosa’s letters she continually refers to herself as ordinary, and when she is written about in the newspapers, including the article by Maisie Baker, it is this ordinariness which is highlighted… an ordinary person in an out of the ordinary situation displaying extraordinary courage…

In my story  the development of relationships was always going to be a theme but I had no idea what the outcome would be; just as in real life when you first meet someone you never know whether that person is going to a friend or merely an acquaintance, or maybe a lover, or maybe a life partner; that other person maybe someone who likes you or loves you or hates you… you just never know at that first meeting and it is the same with my characters. When I first begin to write them I never really know what is really going to happen to them, who they are going to fight with or fall in love with.

You never know who you are going to fall in love with!

I won’t reveal which character it is, but one of the main characters in ‘The Stalking of Rosa Czekov’ was just going to be a walk on part, a bit player… and in the end became a major influence on the events in the novel.

Music is really important in the novel; I hadn’t planned or intended it. Luka gives a small dinner party and invites Tyche to meet some friends. During the course of the meal he plays an old CD he and his best friend made when they had a band… and suddenly a reunion is planned and suddenly a whole series of scenes arise around the rehearsals… and the importance of music in Rosa’s life is slowly revealed.

If reading a novel is like going on a journey… so is writing one! I never know who I’m going to meet or what is going to happen on the way… on the way, I hope, to a satisfactory conclusion!

If you want to know who the stalker is…


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