I researched terminology and the particulars of posting, training and at one point was very much afraid I was getting an MI5 record after phoning the receiving hospital to find out about their security. Someone from the Ministry Of Defence spoke to me on the telephone later.
“Honestly, I’m just an author, trying to get some authentic detail!” I said.
I’m not certain they believed me, but you'll have to forgive me, in the story, I was forced to make that bit up!
As luck would have it, my husband was referred to said hospital a few months later (I’m not sure he felt that lucky!) and I got a first-hand view of the place. I had worked only a few yards away in my student days, but at that time, where the hospital is now, was the car park between my student house and the Medical School, which I had to cross to go home at night.
There are barracks near my home town and the town I grew up in and I had now seen the hospital. The nightclub is the one I used to go to in my youth and the interior of the two houses where Sam lived, were the upstairs of my student house on top of my old family home's downstairs, and my best friend’s house from my childhood days. I’d now watched many documentaries about life on the front line in Afghanistan (thank you kindly, Ross Kemp) and closer to home, began to picture a particular park in the town where I now live. Location was sorted.
For me, the plot seems to unfold as I write it. When I’m out of plot, I think and wonder what might happen next and when I get excited, that’s when I sit back down to write. I might write nothing for a week, or write for 10 hours in a day. I have no structure. I write when I can and stop when I cannot.
Next time I’ll tell you a bit about who I put in my book.