As those of you who have read my second novel, Rules Of The Hunt, may know, the airship operated by the Tokyo police features significantly in the denouement. I did not invent the idea of an airship floating above Tokyo every day. There really is one, or at least there was when I was last in Japan in the Nineties.
At first, I found the sight of this lighter-than-air aircraft rather ominous, but soon I took it for granted, and no longer really noticed it.
Today, I might give it a second look because surveillance equipment has improved so much in the last couple of decades that it is now realistic to assume that an airship hovering a couple of thousand of feet above you can practically read the numbers off your iPhone. If that is a slight exaggeration today, I suspect it won’t be for long.
I mention airships because they are a keen interest of mine, and because I was discussing them the other day with a close friend who is the nearest thing I know to a human encyclopedia of aviation. In fact, he actually helped to moor an airship on one unique occasion – so he has had genuine hands-on experience. I am mildly jealous!
My interest is not just academic. I have a story in mind, based in, and around an airship, which will be set some time in the future.
I tend to think about stories years before I actually write them; and to assemble them piece by piece. Normally, I start with one or two elements, and then build from there. Oddly enough, my characters do not necessarily come first even though they always end up as the most important elements. But, as it happens, Games Of The Hangman started with a castle – and it took some years before Hugo Fitzduane had matured in my mind.
Now, he is virtually real to me; and, as I know from many thousands of fan e-mails, many of my readers feel much the same way.
It is quite an honor.