Tell me about your book
How would you feel if one day, in mid-life, you discovered that you had - not a guardian Angel, but a guardian Devil? That the same individual which afforded you all the luck you’d had in life - and let’s face it most of us reading this have had rather a lot - is busy inflicting misery on the rest of the human race. What would you do?
You’d want to fight to foil his schemes, of course! And that’s how I came up with the characters of the naïve environmentalist Verity Player and her evil nemesis, the devilish Stan ‘Satanic’ Mills - a shadowy being composed of all of humanity’s irrational fears.
Having battled against Mills for the soul of the Banking system in The Price of Time, Verity now has to turn her mind to Mills’ hold over the people responsible for human rights abuses.
The book is the second in a series, each of which stands as a story on its own.
Tell us about the research for this book
The Evening Lands started with two ideas: how on earth, I wondered as an idealistic Teen reading about the Milgram experiments (yes: that’s the sort of reading material I devoured as a Teen - biographies of famous scientists) can anyone be persuaded to deliberately inflict pain upon another human being? And then a snatch of lyrics from a rock ballad: ‘Hitting me with the third degree’ - what did that mean?
My research took a dark turn: everything from the Spanish Inquisition to Guantánamo Bay. But hidden in the darkness was a gem: in every generation, from the witch hunts of the Middle Ages to the two sides in World War II, someone turns up who realises - and proves by example - that humane methods work better than pain and coercion. They earn converts, or information, rather than grudges and enemies. In the USA, Sherwood Ford Moran and his interviews of grounded Japanese airmen; in Nazi Germany, former salesman Hans Joachim Scharff. I could go on...
I wrote up some of my research for The Evening Lands - starting with my own experience at the business end of a Police interview - on my blog ‘In Surreal Time’. You can read about it from this post onwards: https://insurrealtime.wordpress.com/2018/09/10/inciting-incident/
What inspired the book?
In the midst of the furore over the Feinstein Report in 2015, I wanted to bring out the human side of all this: how do ordinary people, from our times, face extraordinary situations like these? And what force lurks behind those who still, in spite of generations of findings to the contrary, insist upon the inhumane treatment of those from whom they need information?
I wrote the first draft then, and put it aside. I picked it up again when the American presidency changed hands in 2017. Although it’s never stated explicitly, the action takes place in a ‘2017 that never quite was’ - so in a way it’s an Alternative History, but never far away from the one we lived.
I’m working on the next book - Harvest Home in which, in a surreal turn, one of the perpetrators of the atrocities in The Evening Lands is forced, by the aforementioned guardian Devil, to visit our main character in her own home and make amends. The twist: though from opposite sides of the political spectrum, the two must conspire if they have any hope of thwarting Mills’ latest plan - or a pandemic will wipe out humanity.
The kicker is that I wrote the first draft years before Covid-19 swept the world...
How can we get a copy of the book?
The Evening Lands is available electronically from Amazon - mybook.to/theeveninglands - and from other outlets, all linked from my website www.cspillardwriter.co.uk. You can also contact me directly from the website for a signed copy.