Fan Message Update: November
I’m in the final stages of editing The Flower Angel which should be ready for Christmas. By tradition, I submit my novels to Hannah Ferguson, who is a first rate literary agent. I don’t bother with other agents. So far, Hannah has sent me six rejection letters. This will be the seventh. Maybe seven will be my lucky number!
The Flower Angel tackles another path where other authors seem reluctant to tread.
Years after being sold into child prostitution by her mother, while still an underage teenager, a pregnant girl is taken into foster care. Determined to lead an independent existence, the girl re-opens her mother’s flower shop.
Detectives become curious by the increasing number of apparent suicides at a hostel for homeless men. Each suicide is associated with a man accused of sexual crimes involving children. When detectives consider the suicides are too frequent to be coincidental, flowers at a funeral turn their enquiries towards the flower shop.
While writing this novel, I became aware of television news reports of yet another child abuser having received a few years of imprisonment for his crimes. Little is said of the victim, whom I believe will serve a life sentence of her own. During the time I served in the UK police in the 1970s, I became aware of cases involving child sexual abuse where both victim and perpetrator were related and living in the same house.
At that time, without corroboration or confession, gaining a conviction was nigh on impossible. It seemed grossly unjust that in some cases, the only solution afforded to the police lay in removing the victim to a place of safety, which usually involved foster care. I realized then as now, in this crime, the innocent receive the punishment and often live with the blame. Recent news media events have brought many historical crimes back into public awareness. High profile celebrities receive convictions and sentences for violations they committed twenty, thirty or forty years ago.
In this fictional story, I have written the narrative in the present tense to emphasise that in contemporary society, men and women engage in this abhorrent crime. In far too many cases, these crimes remain unreported, undetected, or worst still, reported but ignored, covered up or swept under the carpet.
If you were ever a victim of child sexual abuse or exploitation, then I dedicate The Flower Angel novel to you. It is not an easy read, and in the latter part, includes references to events many readers will find disturbing.