Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Quentin Smith ~ character interview and his novel ~ 16mm of Innocence

TITLE: “16mm of Innocence”
RELEASE DATE: April 15, 2017
AUTHOR: Quentin Smith
CATEGORIES: Historical/Mystery/Suspense
ISBN: 978-1543023480
IMPRINT: Black Hawk

KEYWORDS: War, history, family drama, forbidden love, colonial Africa
Imagine discovering that your father was a Nazi war criminal who escaped justice; imagine if that was not the worst secret in your family.

What do we really know about our parents? How clearly do we remember our childhoods? Following the shocking discovery of a human skeleton at their childhood home and their aged mother’s subsequent death, three estranged siblings reluctantly return home for the funeral in the former German colonial town of Lüderitz. Watching long forgotten reels of old home movies the siblings discover shocking truths beneath their patchy childhood memories: secrets about their family, their parents and the reasons behind their estrangement. Set in 1985 on the Skeleton Coast of South West Africa, bathed in dense fogs that have wrecked thousands of ships over the years, and in Lüderitz, built on black rock trapped between the vast Namib Desert on the east and the cold Atlantic Ocean on the west, this suspense novel reaches back into South West Africa’s colonial past and the harboring of Nazi war criminals.

CHARACTER INTERVIEW:      Quentin Smith interviews Ingrid.

QS: Would you say that you’ve had a hard life, Ingrid?

I: (grimaces) In what way?

QS: I know you’re financially well-off and I believe you have recently remarried – congratulations – but I am referring to the years before all this.

I: (draws breath) I’ve been divorced several times, as you know, and there’s nothing pleasant about that, except that it did provide me with financial security. I want for nothing.

QS: Your childhood years, they were difficult, weren’t they?

I: Have you ever been to Lüderitz?

QS: No.

I: It’s the most god-awful place to spend your childhood. Remote, old-worldly, lonely. It still gives me the shivers.

QS: You had a good life in Hamburg, didn’t you?

I: We did, a huge house, servants, an expensive school for me, friends.

QS: You never knew what your father did for a living, did you?

I: (bites her lip)

QS: You left Germany very suddenly at the end of the war.

I: Dieter and I were only children and we didn’t understand everything, why we were fleeing our home and taking such a long boat-trip to what seemed to be the other end of the world.

QS: It must have been very hard to start again in Lüderitz when you were about, what twelve years old?

I: You have no idea. If it hadn’t been for Inez I would have gone crazy. She was more than a big sister to me, she was everything to me. Dieter was still just a little boy and he loved the sand and the rocks, everything I despised. Boys!

QS: You have a reputation of being very hard and unforgiving. Is that because of what happened to Inez?

I: My father really, it’s fair to say that after Inez died I knew he was responsible, my own father, and I was forced to live a lie to protect my mother and my own sanity.

QS: I cannot imagine what it must have been like going through what you did with your mother, the impromptu grave, and all that.

I: It took me years before I could talk to a therapist about it. I never realized that I harbored as much hatred towards my mother as I did towards my father. In their own ways they both screwed me up.

QS: Has therapy helped?

I: Oh yes. I have my new hubbie to thank for that. (smiles)

QS: Have you made peace with your past now?

I: (grimaces again) I am in a happier place than I’ve been since we left Hamburg in 1945.

QS: You’re on good terms with your brother?

I: We have regular contact, yes.

QS: And your parents?

I: They’re both dead.

QS: Yes, I know that, what I mean is, have you forgiven them?

I: (leans back) No.

QS: Will you ever?

I: I found a quote from Oscar Wilde that sums it all up for me. Do you want to hear it?

QS: Please.

I: Children begin by loving their parents; after a time they judge them; rarely, if ever, do they forgive them.

QS: That is very sad indeed.

I: Isn’t it. You asked if I had lived a hard life.

QS: (nodding)

I: The answer is yes. I lost a lot of good years because of them, though not as many as Inez, of course.

QS: You miss her?

I: Every day.

In addition to being an anaesthetist, Quentin Smith has a long-standing passion for writing. He has published articles and papers in The British Journal of Anaesthesia, Anaesthesia News, Anaesthesia and Critical Care, Hospital Medicine, Today’s Anaesthetist, Spark, and Insight.

Following a five-year term as editor of Today’s Anaesthetist, he undertook creative writing study through The Writing School, New College Durham, The London School of Journalism and then a coveted place on the Curtis Brown Creative fiction course in 2014.

He is the author of three previously published novels: The Secret Anatomy of Candles (Matador 2012); Huber’s Tattoo (Matador 2014); 16mm of Innocence (Matador 2015). Huber’s Tattoo was runner-up in The People’s Book Prize 2015 and 16mm of Innocence was a finalist in The People’s Book Prize 2016. His recent novels reveal his interest in European history and the Second World War in particular.

http://www.twitter/Quentin Smith

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