Copycat - My Inspiration and Celebration of 100 years

It’s a strange thing but when I write romance, no one ever asks me what my inspiration for writing the story is. I’m not sure if that’s because they’re frightened of the answer because it might involve … shhh … sex, but I can tell you far more people are interested in your desire to kill.

So I gave some thought to my inspiration to write Copycat and I can honestly say that killing off nurses has absolutely no connection to the fact that my youngest daughter is in her final year of her nursing degree. No connection at all…

Copycat is dedicated to my dad who would have been 100 years old today.

Here's the sentimental bit first. I was only 28, my eldest daughter just one, when we lost him and I still miss him every day.

To my dad, William John Saxon, who would have been 100 on 26th February 2020, the month Copycat is released. A master storyteller himself, it was only in the years after his death we discovered his tales were mainly true recollections of his time in World War II and later as he continued his career in the RAF. Thank you for never putting the brakes on my imagination.

I owe much of my passion for books to him. I can always remember a book on the coffee table beside his chair in the lounge and the first book I sneaked from under his nose at the age of 14 was Wilbur Smith, When the Lion Feeds. Dad thought I was too young to read it, but mum said if it was too much for me, I would put it down. I never did.
My dad was a quiet hero. He fought in World War II and we grew up believing the stories he told us were just that. Stories of battles and hand to hand combat. Rescues in the dead of night. But it turned out they were all true. He’d actually been in a unit in Northern Africa where it was his job to race to any downed aeroplane, fix it and get it back in the air again, all under enemy fire.

Anyway, when dad left the RAF, in his wisdom he thought it may be a great idea to run a country pub. Unfortunately, this idea never quite worked out. Working 100 hours a week each, mum and dad ran The Bull’s Head with a degree of success for a total of three years.
During that time, dad was asked to also manage The Fish another pub a short distance from ours while the manager there was in hospital.

Dad agreed and each evening he would open the pub at 6:00pm and close at 10:30pm arriving home shortly after.

One Friday evening, he locked up as usual and as he was getting the takings out of the till to bring back with him, he heard a muffled noise. I don’t think it phased him to go an investigate and hiding in the ladies’ toilets were two men, we assume waiting for dad to leave so they could steal the takings, the alcohol or whatever else.
Unfortunately for them, dad wasn’t of the same mind. Once he’d half killed them, (I always imagine just using the thumb of his left hand in a casual manner a little like the old James Bond) he called the police and had them arrested, then he ambled home with the takings.

It was casually mentioned at breakfast the next morning, and there was really no fuss made. He didn’t make the newspapers, nothing further was mentioned, he wasn’t hailed a hero, and life went on.

But that encounter, the idea that someone could already be in your house when you’re totally unaware of their presence must have fermented in my imagination over all these years. Not everyone would be brave enough to investigate. Some would run. Some would freeze. Some would stand and fight. Copycat touches on the psyche of each one of these.

Fight or flight.

What would you do?

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