A ‘Coming-Of-Age’# Emotion-Stirring Novel  Set In Derry’s Springtown Camp# And The Donegal Hinterland

The latest ‘must read’ book from Derry# writer Tom Bryson Blog LOVING JEANIE cover pic-jpeg

The story of ‘Loving Jeanie’

Young teenage Derry boy Dan Kerrigan lives with his family in a corrugated tin Nissen hut in a deserted US Naval# base- Springtown Camp –  in the city of Derry, N.Ireland. Set in the late nineteen fifties, Dan’s family along with others flee in a mass, illegal squat from desperate, crowded housing conditions to equally dire accommodation, namely Springtown camp.

Dan learns all about life in Springtown camp, including friendship and loyalty – but he gets into trouble at school and with the police. He is sent away by his parents for the long school summer hols, to separate him from “bad company”.

In Donegal, he agrees to a request from his Auntie Mary to ‘look after’ his Down’s Syndrome cousin, Jeanie. However, trouble still follows Dan.

This ‘coming of age’ novel shows Dan bonding with his country cousin, Jeanie and the inherent danger of ‘making promises’ to adults – especially entering a ‘pact’.

An uplifting story about fighting adversity and developing character, maturing, and learning to give and receive love in a world where poverty and hardship, religion and politics and the spectre of past deeds are never far from the family’s door.

Springtown Camp. A part of Derry’s history.

springtown camp
Springtown Camp WW2 US Naval Base

The Camp was a former US naval base comprising corrugated tin Nissen huts. The US Navy had a major presence in Derry and escorted convoys, attacked and later scuttled U-Boats as they fought in the Allied war effort. After the Americans vacated the camp in 1946, almost immediately hundreds of families, totalling thousands of people moved en masse to the Camp and began living in the tin huts as illegal squatters. The authorities didn’t like that. However, Derry Corporation took over the huts and used them to ease a post-war housing crisis The huts went into decline and became intolerable living habitations. The camp was finally demolished in 1967.

About the author

Tom Bryson hails from Derry and now lives in the historic village of Kinver in South Staffordshire wherCrime writer Tom Brysone he writes crime and thriller novels (and follows Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. – and Derry City).

“Loving Jeanie” is a departure from his normal crime/thriller genre and while fictional is based on life in Derry’s Springtown Camp and later Creggan, where he lived his boyhood and young adult years. Loving Jeanie is Tom’s eighth novel. He has also written short stories and one-act plays.

Tom Bryson says, ‘I wrote this book to give my readers a ‘good read’ but also to share insights into a period of recent history before it is forgotten.’

‘LOVING JEANIE’ is now available from Amazon as print or ebook. Eason’s and other bookshops have been approached to stock the book.

To see book details click here

Contact; Tom Bryson

Phone: 01384 872204 07451 449 807

Email: tombryson1@yahoo.com

Website: tombrysonwriter.wordpress.com

 

 

 

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A ‘Coming-Of-Age’# Emotion-Stirring Novel  Set In Derry’s Springtown Camp# And The Donegal Hinterland

The latest ‘must read’ book from Derry# writer Tom Bryson Blog LOVING JEANIE cover pic-jpeg

The story of ‘Loving Jeanie’

Young teenage Derry boy Dan Kerrigan lives with his family in a corrugated tin Nissen hut in a deserted US Naval# base- Springtown Camp –  in the city of Derry, N.Ireland. Set in the late nineteen fifties, Dan’s family along with others flee in a mass, illegal squat from desperate, crowded housing conditions to equally dire accommodation, namely Springtown camp.

Dan learns all about life in Springtown camp, including friendship and loyalty – but he gets into trouble at school and with the police. He is sent away by his parents for the long school summer hols, to separate him from “bad company”.

In Donegal, he agrees to a request from his Auntie Mary to ‘look after’ his Down’s Syndrome cousin, Jeanie. However, trouble still follows Dan.

This ‘coming of age’ novel shows Dan bonding with his country cousin, Jeanie and the inherent danger of ‘making promises’ to adults – especially entering a ‘pact’.

An uplifting story about fighting adversity and developing character, maturing, and learning to give and receive love in a world where poverty and hardship, religion and politics and the spectre of past deeds are never far from the family’s door.

Springtown Camp. A part of Derry’s history.

springtown camp
Springtown Camp WW2 US Naval Base

The Camp was a former US naval base comprising corrugated tin Nissen huts. The US Navy had a major presence in Derry and escorted convoys, attacked and later scuttled U-Boats as they fought in the Allied war effort. After the Americans vacated the camp in 1946, almost immediately hundreds of families, totalling thousands of people moved en masse to the Camp and began living in the tin huts as illegal squatters. The authorities didn’t like that. However, Derry Corporation took over the huts and used them to ease a post-war housing crisis The huts went into decline and became intolerable living habitations. The camp was finally demolished in 1967.

About the author

Tom Bryson hails from Derry and now lives in the historic village of Kinver in South Staffordshire wherCrime writer Tom Brysone he writes crime and thriller novels (and follows Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. – and Derry City).

“Loving Jeanie” is a departure from his normal crime/thriller genre and while fictional is based on life in Derry’s Springtown Camp and later Creggan, where he lived his boyhood and young adult years. Loving Jeanie is Tom’s eighth novel. He has also written short stories and one-act plays.

Tom Bryson says, ‘I wrote this book to give my readers a ‘good read’ but also to share insights into a period of recent history before it is forgotten.’

‘LOVING JEANIE’ is now available from Amazon as print or ebook. Eason’s and other bookshops have been approached to stock the book.

To see book details click here

Contact; Tom Bryson

Phone: 01384 872204 07451 449 807

Email: tombryson1@yahoo.com

Website: tombrysonwriter.wordpress.com

 

 

 

Sarcophagus; thriller by Tom Bryson. (From fact to fiction and back; Chernobyl)

I viewed the recent TV series Chernobyl and found it an excellent docu- drama. Yes, of course, the programme was a dramatised version of true events, but successfully brought home the reality of the disastrous consequences for humanity and our planet when nuclear energy technology goes wrong.

The series showed the bravery, heroism, sacrifice of the doomed reactor liquidators and the incompetence, arrogance and intransigence of the plant leadership and the weakness of the closed Soviet system. And yet in this country, we still use nuclear energy to generate electricity! Will we need even more nuclear power stations when electrically powered transport replaces petrol and diesel? Sustainable energy sources are, of course, the long term answer but in the immediate future, we are faced with the ongoing dilemma of what is the lesser of two evils to produce electricity – fossil fuel or nuclear energy?

When I wrote my political thriller novel ‘Sarcophagus’, I researched Chernobyl and Pripyat and wove that landscape into my story.  (Read that extract below after book link. Book available from Amazon, Lulu)

Check out book here

EXTRACT

Chapter 37

Bogdan Katchenko awoke late in his dacha on the outskirts of Chernobyl, barely outside the exclusion zone. Another disturbed night. Once he came here for companionship, for solace with his wife Raisa. Now he came alone when he needed solitude. Despair was never far away. Raisa had died within a year of the disaster, breathing in the concentrated nuclear poison. That day, he had left her in the dacha, while he travelled to Kyiv, two hundred and fifty kilometres away, to deal with a turf war in the old Jewish and craft quarter of the city, the Podol. On that day he killed two men in Andreyevsky Spusk; a dispute over a drugs deal. They had tried to take his goods without payment. He had put a bullet in the head of one and a bullet in the heart of the second with a Berretta. When he killed them Bogdan Katchenko suffered no remorse, more a sadness they could be so stupid. Stupid people, he believed, were not cut out to make quick money, they were destined to come to sad ends if they tried. He drank his first glass of vodka and closed his mind to stupid people.

To this day the arbitrariness of life and death still left him embittered. Kyiv, the capital, saved by the caprice of the wind direction at the time, a wind that took the deadly radiation to his dacha, then north and east through Belarus and then, the deadly vapour diluting, across Scandinavia, Scotland, even as far west as the Welsh hills in the UK.

He was nearly back home in the dacha from his work in Kyiv when it happened. A matter of business, he later told Raisa when he got to the dacha. He saw from the deadness in her eyes she knew his business only too well, but she would never challenge his ways.

Their son Gennadi also absorbed the toxins at the same time; in his throat, his lungs, and in his blood. He was five then, now twenty-three and living somewhere in Kyiv, a drug addict, occasionally contacting his father but effectively a stranger. Weakening from the sickness and under a death sentence that must come soon, he got through life a day at a time as a user of the drugs his own father sent spiralling through the city and the country.

Over the years, Katchenko railed against the people he believed had taken from him the only person he ever loved in his life, his beloved Raisa, taken by filth thrown into the precious air the world breathed. When she died he cried for the last time ever and vowed he would never love again. Hate and bitterness were his legacies, a deadness entered his soul. It had not always been so – in the aftermath of the greatest nuclear accident known to mankind, Katchenko was moved by compassion for his fellow citizens. A compartment in his mind, separate from another that enabled him to kill without compunction, still functioned then. Not any more. The memory of the blast and his frenzied work at the plant with other volunteers including Taras Prakhov still haunted him nearly twenty years later. So many colleagues, friends, killed. Because of bureaucrats, politicians, cheap materials, cutting maintenance, not enough training, not enough safety. One day they would pay. The world would pay. Raisa would be avenged and his tortured son Gennadi.

He had been about ten kilometres from the blast and close to his dacha when it happened. He stopped his car and got out, stared in disbelief at the plume of smoke in the distance. Instinctively he knew what had happened. There was no point in going back to Kyiv, trying to get away; the damage was done – to them all. He went first to Raisa, then to the reactor.

Now every morning, restless after waking from troubled sleep and nightmares, a terror as if a thousand rats gnawed at his innards welcomed him. His cancer cells multiplied, remorselessly bringing closer the day he yearned for, the day when oblivion would come at last. This was the only time he knew terror or felt fear, at that moment of waking. He dreaded sleep and even more, he dreaded waking up. Awake, he closed one compartment in his mind and opened another. Then his rage boiled over; a volcano of hatred erupted. And with it came his only succour. His master plan – to disseminate nuke material and rip the world apart.

He yelled to the heavens, ‘Let others taste my bitterness’.

Chapter 38

‘This is as far as I go.’ Prakhov pulled on the handbrake of the pick-up truck and cut the engine. He stared through the windscreen. Dull daylight filtered through dense, frosty woodland on both sides of the track. A silence known only to the deaf surrounded them; no birds, no animals, even the wind was absent. They were deep into the contaminated zone.

O’Neill hopped out of the truck followed by Greg. They undid ties holding two motorcycles secure on the truck base and released the tailgate, dragged the vehicles off and pulled on helmets.

Greg went to the driver’s door. ‘Thanks, Taras, we will see you soon.’

Prakhov continued to stare straight ahead, his face gaunt and shadowy in the frosty morning air. ‘Irina – she wants to stay in our apartment. It’s her home.’

Greg yelled, ‘Taras, you need a safe house. Sean, did you know they wouldn’t move out?’

O’Neill kick-started his bike, shouted, ‘Let’s go, Greg, only one way in from here.’

Greg moved away from the front of the truck when Prakhov said, ‘If you have a God, may he look after you.’

‘Move, Taras, get away. Think of Irina, your dream!’ Greg started his bike and pulled alongside O’Neill. Picking up speed they drove alongside each other along the murky, rutted road. Greg recalled Taras Prakhov’s words, ‘Travel in parallel, if not the one behind breathes the disturbed dirt. Breathes shit.’

From Prakhov’s directions, they estimated an hour’s ride would get them to their destination. Greg saw the peeling sign for Pripyat; he indicated to O’Neill and they swung the bikes off the road and on to a rough track through the woods. They estimated about ten minutes off the road would allow them to safely skirt the checkpoint Prakhov had identified. The path was bumpy and tested the bikes’ suspension while they tried to keep the revs low and quiet as possible. The frozen ground threw a grey sheen across the landscape; periodically they passed derelict farmhouses, splintered wood buildings, overgrown gateways; there was a feeling of nature reclaiming what belonged to it, but this ‘dead zone’ would take centuries before it became habitable. And yet Prakhov had told them how some people had chosen to stay, prepared to die from radiation poisoning rather than pine their lives away in places that weren’t home.

They regained the road and opened the throttles, heading for the factory where the materials and methodology existed to wreak bedlam across three capital cities; New York, London and Kyiv. O’Neill’s words the previous evening to Greg were ‘The internet chat’s at fever-pitch.’

Greg patted his leather jacket for the reassuring bulge of his Glock pistol.

O’Neill flagged Greg to stop. He removed the hand-drawn map Prakhov had drawn and pointed ahead. ‘Not far. Ready?’

Greg gave a thumbs up and they pulled away; he braked in a hurry when two wolves leapt from the wood to the road, their eyes glinting in the half-light. He swerved past them and caught up with O’Neill who jabbed his finger to the right-hand side of the road as he slowed down, stopped and once again consulted the map.

A vast field full of rusting, abandoned trucks, fire engines and vans stood jumbled in eerie confusion; a cemetery of contaminated metal. Greg thought of Sergei Perozhak; of the men driving this fleet of polluted transport to their final resting place. Sergei, absorbing radiation at terminal levels of Roentgens per hour.

O’Neill pointed past the transport graveyard, indicated a right turn. Greg thought of Natasha and once more patted the Glock 22 pistol inside his jacket.

END OF EXTRACT

 

 

Latest Tom Bryson crime novel

New CRIME THRILLER NOVEL ‘NO WAY OUT’ is now available from amazon.

No. 3 in the DCI Matt Proctor crime thriller series.

To get sample or buy print book click here or for ebook click here

 

What’s it about?

Trapped in their own minds they must follow cult leader Gabriel Omoto – but to where and what? What “evil things” terrify young cult member Adele so much she won’t dare speak of them?

Cop Matt Proctor faces big problems – he needs to get out of a rut and take on a huge new challenge. Is he up to it? Or is the price too high?

Then there’s his spirited daughter Sarah to contend with – maybe too much a “chip off the old block”.  

A fast-paced thriller with many twists and turns and a gripping climax. The third in the DCI Matt Proctor series works as a stand-alone crime thriller. 

“Another cracker from Tom Bryson”

Springtown camp, Derry – new novel ‘Loving Jeanie’ coming soon

On the finishing straight of my next novel ‘Loving Jeanie’.

This is something of a departure for me. I normally write cop Matt Proctor crime series novels or stand-alone thrillers – for this latest I’m mining my childhood.

That’s scary.

My novel is not autobiographical – it’s fiction. Yet it taps into memories and settings where I grew up – some of the fictionalised scenes are loosely based on personal experience. The novel is written from the viewpoint of 12 year old Dan Kerrigan, in 1960’s Derry, Northern ireland. Dan lives in Springtown camp on the city’s edge.

This next bit about the novel’s setting is not fiction, it’s true.

Springtown camp was a former US naval base comprising tin Nissen huts used to ease a post war housing crisis. After the Americans vacated the camp in 1946, almost immediately hundreds of families, totalling thousands of people moved en masse to the Camp and began living in the tin huts as squatters. The authorities didn’t like that. The huts went into decline and beacame intolerable living habitations. The camp was demolished in 1967.

My novel starts with a prologue – namely the mass squat.

Springtown camp (below) was where I grew up and is the main setting for Dan’s story. A fascinating place with a unique story – check it out here www.springtowncamp.com/

I plan to finish this novel soon. Please keep looking in.

springtown camp

Photo acknowledged https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-32070246

 

Heart-warming winter tales and top-notch ales.

Winter Warmers & Frosty Chillers

HEART-WARMING WINTER STORIES AT THE GUNMAKERS ARMS, BIRMINGHAM – MONDAY 17TH DECEMBER, 2018

As a member of NEW STREET AUTHORS, I’ll be appearing with other local authors at this event. It’s FREE– do book below and join us.

Despite December’s chill, it’ll be cosy in the Gunmakers Arms on Monday 17th, with heart-warming winter tales and top-notch ales.

Starting at 7pm, local writers will stir your senses with stunning stories at this city centre pub. Expect enchanting winter warmers as well as frosty chillers sending a shiver down your spine. To help you save your pennies for Christmas, the event is completely free.

Novelist Pat Spence is premiering a sparkling new short story. Even better, leading lights from the New Street Authors and Solihull Writers join her for a spell-binding performance.

 

About The Gunmakers Arms

The Gunmakers Arms is the brewery tap for craft beer brewers Two Towers. Close by Snow Hill station, it’s a cultural hub for Birmingham’s historic Gun Quarter, hosting art shows, music, poetry night and clubs. Brewed on the premises, the pub’s beers are some of the best in Brum, and at bargain prices too. Entry is limited to over 18s.

 

About Winter Warmers & Frosty Chillers on Monday 17th December

One of the pub’s regular Tippling Tales nights, the evening showcases local authors who not only write acclaimed fiction, but deliver electrifying story reading performances.

To be sure of a seat, it’s best to book free tickets on Eventbrite.

Below is the full list of writers appearing on the night (please see Dropbox for photographs):

AA Abbott – writer of crime thrillers set in Birmingham and member of New Street Authors

Lee Benson – racy novelist, riotously funny poet and member of New Street Authors

Tom Bryson – Birmingham crime thriller writer and member of New Street Authors

Philip Ellis – Birmingham style journalist and mesmerising short story writer

Ali Elsey – Kings Heath author, singer and songwriter

David Muir – historical fiction writer and member of New Street Authors

Pat Spence – acclaimed West Midlands writer of exciting women’s fiction, fantasy and horror

David Wake – Bournville sci-fi, steampunk and thriller writer. Founder of New Street Authors

Dennis Zaslona, Solihull fantasy and ghost story writer and member of Solihull Writers