Don’t Live Your Life Standing in a Trench
So what is a 21st century teenage girl doing on a 20th century World War One battlefield?
When I was writing ‘We’ve Come to Take You Home’, my film production designer father said, time and time again,
I don’t know how you’re going to achieve it, in terms of story, but I keep seeing a girl, a modern 21st century girl, standing in the middle of a World War One battlefield. And an active battlefield, where people are fighting and dying, rather than a 21st century one, more of a museum than a battlefield, which is perfectly possible for anyone of us to visit today.
This image stayed with me, I knew it was vitally important, but, as a writer, I didn’t have a clue how to achieve it. But then, one day, the thought dropped into my head. It was obvious. And from then on that image, that moment of story, became the core of ‘We’ve Come to Take You Home’. And, when it came to the front cover of the novel, it also became the obvious choice.
But it was only after a copy of the book had been sent to me that I began to understand that the front cover wasn’t just about that narrative moment. It’s also an image of another very strong theme running through the book.
That girl standing there in the trench could be Sam Foster, the present day protagonist in ‘We’ve Come to Take You Home’, but it could also be any one of us. And the barbed wire could be the coils found on a World War One battlefield but they could also be the coils of our fears, our doubts, which everyone of us has tangled up inside our heads. And it’s only by climbing out of that trench, by cutting our way through those coils, by overcoming our doubts and conquering our fears, that we will be able to find our way to the peace and tranquillity of those fields, stretching away off into the distance, on that front cover.