A EUROPEAN holiday led to a debut novel for a Middleton resident.
Maureen Bravington used her experiences behind the former Iron Curtain to pen her story.
Betrothed to Treachery tells the consequences of the kidnap of two respected members of the community who grew up in East Berlin in the Sixties.
The activities of the feared Stasi secret police play a central role in the tale of blackmail and threats.
Maureen has written her book under the shorter pen name of Gill Moore.
She said: “This November is the 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall coming down. People will be rejoicing in parts of Europe.
“My book is about what it might have been like to live under those conditions.
“I went on holiday to Berlin, Prague and Dresden four years ago and, wherever we went, the guide would point out old Stasi buildings. People were still looking over their shoulders.”
Paul and Walter are the central characters of her book. They are well respected members of the community brought up in East Berlin in the 1960s.
But their fathers disappear without trace to leave them devastated. The collapse of the Berlin Wall eventually gives them chance to find out more – and they are outraged.
Maureen, 75, of Middleton Road, was born in Newcastle upon Tyne. She worked as a bank clerk before she trained as a teacher. She also served as a JP and as a Church of England lay minister in which her role was to teach groups of adults preparing for various ministries. She serves as a day chaplain at Chichester Cathedral.
A grandmother of two, she had always wanted to write a book. She completed Betrothed To Treachery in nine months only to put it to one side.
But a publisher unexpectedly followed up an initial contact from her a while ago with a request to issue the book.
“It’s very exciting,” said Maureen. “I’m pleased with the book. I loved doing the research and the characters just developed themselves.”
Maureen is also leading by example in her role as the leader of the creative writing group of the University of the Third Age’s Bognor Regis branch.
“Writing gives you the chance to describe what is going on in your mind and what you feel,” she said.
Betrothed To Treachery (ISBN 978 1 4918 8733 2) is available from Amazon and Kindle, priced £9.50.