It was only when I had an enforced trip to and from London that took nearly an hour everyday for work, that I came up with the idea of writing a book. With a sense of humour bordering on the pythonesque, and an interest in British history – thanks Time Team! – I thought I’d write a book about a boy who travels. But, a boy who travels through time. I think I had just finished reading A Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams, and Harry Potter was in full flow. So, it was no coincidence that the storyline developed over several journeys to London and Northampton, into a pastiche of fantasy and science fiction, coupled with historical fact, lots of humour and everyday events and experiences I had lived through. It is also no coincidence that Tarquin, my hero lives in a sleepy middle England village close to a canal. We too lived in similar circumstances before moving to Canada.
The book is populated with all manner of creature, both human, alien and others that are somewhat mythical; who knew that Leprechauns had nasty cousins called Clurichauns?
Screwball Oddball sneered and spat a wad of masticated tobacco into a priceless Ming Dynasty vase by his feet. Hugh Willard threw down another marker and pointed at the board.
“That’s rooked yer,” he said, venomously. They all looked at the Raggedy-Rook board.
“Yeah, you’ve been well Rooked Paddy, hand over the loot,” said Shamus DeWoods Kelly. Paddy snarled and threw a handful of pearl chokers, jewellery and precious stones on Willard’s pile.
“Another game anyone?” asked Willard, clawing the loot back to his pile. Shamus looked away, Merv Mulligan and Dave Moriarty shook their heads, and Big Joe Damanski got up and wandered to the back of the room to light his pipe.
“What’s wrong with yer all? Can’t take a good rooking?” said Willard with a grin, as he straightened his pile.
“What’s the point of playing Raggedy-Rook if we already own more stuff than we know what to do with?” said Paddy, waving his hands in the direction of the piles of boxes, trunks and cabinets overflowing with priceless artefacts, gold bullion and gems that covered the floor of their lair.
“Cause I like ta beat yer all, and ta take yer money, tat’s ter reason why.” Hugh roared, mimicking a low brow, leprechaun accent. They all laughed, and got out their brier pipes. Paddy picked up a squeeze-box and before you could say, Val Doonican’s riding Paddy McGintie’s goat in the Irish Stakes at Leopardstown, there were fiddles, pipes, and crates of beer and seven clurichaun singing their lungs out.