Checkmate
A Book Of Hope

What is it about?

Checkmate concludes the story of Callum, Sephy and their daughter, Callie Rose. It paints a picture of the present using the past as a palate. How’s that for arty-farty alliteration!! To be more serious for a moment, with this book I tried to show how the past has influenced the present for a number of people.

The book is called Checkmate because I wanted to have a number of confrontations taking place – the two major ones are between Jude (Callum’s brother) and Jasmine (Sephy’s mum) and between Sephy and her daughter, Callie Rose. I wanted a sense of tactics and strategy and final chances in these confrontations. And I thought Checkmate would sum up the fact that once the game has been played there would be winners and losers and a time to reflect and learn and hopefully move forward.

Is Checkmate really the last of the Noughts and Crosses series of books?

The whole trilogy has taken almost five years to write. Checkmate took just over two years to finish. When I finished Checkmate, all the characters’ voices were quiet inside my head for the first time in five years. But I have to admit, they’ve started to whisper again… So who knows?! Also, see below.

SPOILER ALERT!

Don’t read any further if you haven’t finished (or even started) the books and don’t want to know how each book in the trilogy ends.

Let’s start with the last book in the trilogy first.

CHECKMATE:

There’s been a quite a lot written about CHECKMATE in the press, an awful lot of it by people who obviously haven’t bothered to read the book. Yes, the book does feature a girl, Callie Rose who is being groomed by her uncle to be a suicide bomber.

Do I feel this is appropriate subject matter for Young Adults? Yes, I most certainly do. The assertion by some individuals that ignorance in our children and young adults is preferable to knowledge and debate is astounding, not to mention frightening. No, I’m not saying that anything goes when it comes to children. Stories have to be age appropriate. This is not so much a question of subject matter but a question of how a particular story is told.

Do I feel the sex scene in CHECKMATE is appropriate? Yes, I do. I didn’t write it for gratuitous reasons but as a remembrance of just how much love there was between Sephy and Callum. The trilogy started off with love, I felt it should end the same way.

Do bad reviews/comments about my books upset me? Hell, no! Besides I do believe that if you can’t accept criticism then you shouldn’t look for praise either. I’ve read some bizarre stuff about me and my books over the last few months. One web site even suggested that I should be taken out and beaten up for writing about Jewish people being blown up on a bus. Needless to say, I didn’t write any such thing but people will believe what they want to believe I guess. And anyone who has read the book will know that’s a load of nonsense!

Why did I leave Checkmate with so many loose ends? To be honest, I really didn’t think I did. I certainly knew in my own mind who was on the beach with Callie Rose and who Sephy decides to be with. But the reason I left it the way I did was because I wanted the reader to believe the characters had lives which would continue after the book was closed. I wanted the reader to speculate as to what might happen to the main characters next. From the letters I’ve received, I think some people found that a bit frustrating. So I’m seriously thinking about what I should do about it! Hence the reason I’m thinking about one more book…