Welcome to Three Questions with Van Heerling. This is where you get to meet authors, actors, painters and anyone else that is bent toward the arts, but on a more personal level.
Today I have the pleasure of meeting Tim Vicary author of several stories, one of which is a 2012 B.R.A.G Medallion Honoree (A Fatal Verdict).
VH: If you could go back in time to when you were 7 years old, what wisdom or advice would you pass on to yourself?
TV: I would say try out all the different things that are open to you at your age – different sport, games, hobbies, books, school subjects. Do your best in each one, but don’t worry too much about beating other people, that’s fun, but it’s not the most important thing. The important thing is to find something that you’re really good at, and that you really enjoy. If you find something like that, you'll be able to carry on getting better at it, and enjoying it, throughout your life–and that’s an important aspect of being happy.
VH: For what are you grateful?
TV: This is a great question, because it makes me realise how lucky I am. I’m healthy, for one thing–63 years old and still able to run and swim and ride horses and sleep at night; so many people have lives blighted by pain and illness. And then I have a wife who still loves me (why? I sometimes wonder) and daughters and grandchildren; of course I’m grateful for that. I’ve never been hungry or unemployed or had my home and health blown to shreds by a world war like my parents and grandparents had. And finally, I’m grateful that my parents weren’t killed in the war, and made a pretty good job of bringing me up, giving me a happy childhood, putting up with my terrible teenage selfishness , and generally doing the best they reasonably could. Hey, I’m a really lucky guy!
VH: At what age were you the happiest? What triggered such joy?
TV: I was happiest when I didn’t even realise it; probably in my early thirties. I still remember the intense, overwhelming joy and tenderness I felt when each of my daughters were born; I hadn’t expected to feel like that, it was overwhelming. And then my wife and I were young, and busy all the time with the children, much better looking than we are now (sadly) ; I was writing, on a primitive Atari computer in the middle of the living room. We had a small house, an old car, and no money, but that didn’t matter. We were busy all the time, every day, and no time at all to realise how happy we were. But now I look at the photos, and think...that was our time.
VH: I find it quite interesting that you have chosen your early thirties as your happiest time. I am currently in my early thirties. So you're telling me this is as good as it gets. Oh boy. Thank you Tim.
I’ve written a fair number of books and six of them are available on Kindle at the moment. Three of them are legal thrillers featuring a rather spiky barrister called Sarah Newby. I modelled her on a real barrister I read about in the Yorkshire Post one day; this lady had grown up very poor, on a working class housing estate in Leeds, and left school to have children without passing many exams; but had somehow fought her way up to the Inns of Court in London and become a successful criminal barrister. Sarah Newby’s a bit like that; she’s had to fight hard to get where she is, and of course, in my books, terrible things happen to make her life even harder. I enjoy tormenting her – it brings out the best - and worst - in her character! You can read more about Sarah Newby here: http://sarahstrials.wordpress.com/
I’ve also written three historical novels. Two of them – The Blood Upon the Rose and Cat and Mouse – are set in England and Ireland before and after the First World War, the time of Downton Abbey. I wrote these because I used to teach about this period and got fascinated by it, especially the troubles in Ireland which prefigured the Troubles in our own time. The third book – The Monmouth Summer – is about a rebellion in East Devon – a place where I spent much of my childhood – in 1685. You can read more about why I wrote these books here: http://historicalthrillers.wordpress.com/
A Game of Proof
A mother's worst nightmare - can her son be guilty of murder?
Sarah Newby, who left school at 15, and was living as a teenage single parent on an inner-city estate, has worked her way up to begin a career as a criminal barrister. Then in a terrible irony her own son, Simon, is arrested and charged with a series of brutal rapes and murders. The evidence against him appears so strong that his QC advises a guilty plea, but Simon swears he is innocent and begs his mother take on his defence. There is no law against a mother representing her son, so Sarah agrees. The only other obvious suspect for the murders, however, is a man who has already been acquitted once - with Sarah acting as his defence lawyer...
Has Sarah, in her single-minded determination to create a career for herself, neglected her son so much that she no longer knows him? Since he has often lied to her in the past, how can she trust him when he says he is innocent this time? And what should she do when she herself uncovers evidence that seems to suggest his guilt?
It seems that telling the whole truth must be weighed in the balance against keeping certain information well hidden...
A Fatal Verdict
What would you do if someone murdered your child, but the justice system let you down?
Kathryn Walters is faced with this dreadful decision when her daughter, Shelley, is found dead in a bath in her boyfriend's flat. Despite the best efforts of the Crown Prosecution barrister, Sarah Newby, it seems likely that the boyfriend, David Kidd, will be acquitted. How can her family tolerate this? And how should the investigating detective, Terry Bateson, act when it seems that the murdered girl's mother is seeking revenge on the man he is certain killed Shelley in the first place?
As the story unravels Sarah Newby is confronted with one of her toughest defence cases yet, with a client who is not only reluctant to give evidence on her own behalf, but also refuses to explain why she chose Sarah to defend her in the first place ...
This book is a 2012 B.R.A.G Medallion Honoree
When Sarah Newby presents her first case in the Court of Criminal Appeal, it seems her career is looking up. But at the same time her marriage hits the rocks, and to the despair of her former admirer Detective Inspector Terry Bateson, Sarah embarks on an affair with a handsome property developer, Michael Parker. All goes well at first, but then a body is discovered in one of Michael’s cottages. As Terry Bateson investigates, his suspicions fall upon Michael. But is Terry just jealous, or is Sarah’s new lover really a murderer?
The Blood Upon the Rose
Ireland in 1919 is seething with violence, tension and divided loyalties - and so is the heart of the beautiful, wilful heiress Catherine O'Connell-Gort. For Catherine, by heritage, is a glittering symbol of British rule and oppression - yet by inclination she is a traitor to her class. A fervent supporter of Sinn Fein, she is also the secret lover of Sean Brennan, an IRA volunteer who is being hunted by the police for terrorism and murder.
When the British government decides to meet terror with terror, Catherine finds herself in a position of even greater conflict. Her father, a colonel in British Military Intelligence, recruits Major Andrew Butler, battle-scarred war hero and Irish landlord, to assassinate IRA leader Michael Collins. He also decides that the dashing major would make the perfect husband for his headstrong daughter ...
In a violent climax of passion, guilt and betrayal, while her country hurtles towards civil war, Catherine faces and a agonising choice as she makes her final, fateful decision.
Cat and Mouse
Set in London and Ulster in 1914, Cat and Mouse is the gripping story of two sisters fighting for their ideals in the turbulent months before the outbreak of war.
When Sarah Becket, a militant suffragette determined to help free Mrs Pankhurst from prison, discovers that her own husband, a respected Liberal MP, is involved in a scandalous prostitution racket, she is devastated. Still weak from imprisonment herself, she takes a knife from her kitchen and goes out into London's West End, determined to protest for women's rights in the most dramatic way she can.
Across the Irish sea, her younger sister, Deborah Cavendish, is lonely and unloved. When her husband returns home to join the Ulster Volunteers and fight the government, she faces an agonizing choice - to end her affair with James Rankin, the trade union leader whom she she thinks can give her all the love her husband has denied her, or face social ostracism and the loss of her beloved son. When she reads about her sister's act of defiance, she resolves to go to her aid.
United by their cause, Sarah and Deborah combine to fight both male corruption and a German plot to foment civil war in Ireland.
The Monmouth Summer
1685. King Charles II dies unexpectedly, and is succeeded by his brother James II, England's first Catholic monarch since Bloody Mary. English Protestants feel threatened, and King Charles’s illegitimate son, the handsome young duke of Monmouth, rises against his uncle in armed rebellion.
The rebellion turns young Ann Carter’s world upside down. Eighteen years old, she is betrothed to Tom Goodchild, a Protestant shoemaker; but secretly loves Robert Pole, an officer in King James’s army, who offers to take her to London as his mistress. Ann knows it is her duty to marry Tom, but does not love him; so when he marches away with the rebels, she imagines him being killed – which would set her free. But she knows such thoughts are wicked; her father is a rebel soldier too, like all the men of her village. So who should she pray for, when musket balls start to fly? What matters most – love or loyalty?
If God could see into my heart, she wonders, what would He tell me to do?
Her father, Adam, is a brave man tormented by fear. He has two fears: first, that he may be a coward, and run from the enemy; and second, that he is not one of God’s Elect, and will go to Hell when he dies. But like all the men of Colyton, ‘England’s most rebellious town’, he marches to war, risking his life for what he believes.
When England’s most notorious judge, Judge Jeffreys, is sent to punish the rebels, Ann and her father are faced with the hardest choices of all.
"For me, writing is a joyful torture or sorts." ~vh~
“In this life, seek your own answers, and quote yourself for a change.” ~vh~
The muse has tapped my shoulder and my ear is turned toward her lips. I am waiting for her whisper. ~vh~
"The funny thing about life: more often than not it’s laughing at you rather than you laughing at it." ~vh~
"At some point there is a moment when you should give up. I’m here to tell you that today is not that day." ~vh~
“If you are afraid of the truth, never ask a young child a question.” ~vh~
“The frailty of life is most evident at its last breath.” vh
“Prove not to the world but to yourself that you are above your current circumstance.” ~vh~
"Don't be wishful when it comes to your dreams. Take aggressive action in your pursuit of them. Start now with a single step, no matter how insignificant it may feel." ~vh~
"Nothing is more powerful than an unwavering, unapologetic decision to BE." ~vh~
"Strive to be the light in an ever-darkening world. SHINE!" ~vh~
"Think big and then think small. That’s where the details live." ~vh~