I started writing my book Radwinter on November 1st, although I had a few floaty ideas in my head and a couple of trial runs with a few plot lines, but nothing very much. When I started writing, I knew I wanted to write about a family, the Radwinters; I had my four main characters, the brothers (in fact I had another couple of brothers who disappeared when I came to actually write) and the plot would be their genealogical journey into census and archives to find the history of their family.
As usual while I was writing little things sprang from nowhere (actually probably from my deep subconscious!) and story-lines developed which were not what I had originally imagined. In the early days of writing, the first week of November, a Ukrainian connection was established in my plot; this was before anyone except Eastern Europe watchers and experts realised there was trouble afoot. So by the time that the unrest was first mentioned, on the BBC it was November 21st, when the then President Yanukovych’s cabinet announced it was abandoning an agreement that would strengthen have strengthened trade links with the EU, in favour of co-operation with Russia, the connection with the Ukraine was established in my story.
There were protests from that same night, of a few hundred ordinary people, especially since parliament also rejected a bill which would have let the opposition leader and former president, Yulia Tymoshenko leave prison and leave the country. Two days later the small group of protesters had grown to 100,000, soon the police and security forces began to attack the demonstrators.
My main character Thomas Radwinter remarks to a friend that he is very worried about the situation on the 13th December; when I wrote about his anxieties I had no idea that the situation would become so dangerous, that people would be killed, and the country would be on the brink of civil war. My story ends on January 1st 2014; I imagine that if I could follow my character from then to now, he would be very worried indeed.
When I brought the idea of a Ukrainian connection into my story, I never conceived that it would be come so relevant to current events.