Based on a tragic real life event, Marikka flees from an arson attack on her home to the sea, where she meets Starfish boy – a runaway working for Jackson, a scarred man hiding a sinister secret from the world. Meanwhile her real father searches for her with the aide of Anya, ‘the girl who can read objects’. Why is Jackson feeding the wild fish in the sea, what is he hiding? He doesn't like girls who ask awkward questions.
Paperback: 200 pages
Publisher: Hammer & Tong (2015)
kindle edition: ASIN: B0128O1WXY
'You will smile, you will gasp with shock, and you will struggle to read the words through your tears'.
Gemma Williams - Amazon.co.uk July 2015
This story is based on a terrible real event - a stepfather who owes a fortune to the taxman comes home and burns his house down with his family still in it - he burns the stables with the horses and dogs too. Everything. He doesn't care about human life - just that the taxman gets nothing. He might justify it by saying ‘why should my kids suffer being poor’ - but he didn't ask those kids if they wanted to live - he just burned.
This Marikka's story. The girl who fled the fire. She runs, knowing she will be blamed for the arson attack - too scared to stick around and be put into care. She already had been put into care once by a mother who didn't want her around whilst she looked for a new husband. Marikka has no living father - he died in a car crash - she is alone.
Although the novel is set in Lincolnshire where the crime was perpetuated - I began to write the second draft in Anglet in France and then Vigo in Spain. It was a long drive across the north of Spain to get there but I was glad I made it across.
I arrived ill having caught a viral infection in a swimming pool in Leon. Very ill in fact, but as I recovered I found the perfect café to write in and somehow began Marikka's story all over again. A pretty, but bored Argentinean waitress was snatching up pages as I wrote (by hand) and offering tips on what should happen next. She had most definite views about Marikka and she personally introduced me to her friend Anya - who later on became the girl who reads objects. Anya was also from Argentina and had been forced to tell fortunes by her Roma father from the age of four - and I confess I made nothing up about her or how she escaped, her story was quite harrowing enough. She eventually found her way to Spain where she now paints water colours. One day I might return to Anya's story, but this was Marikka's story and I became quite protective of her.
||Fleeing the fire she ends up at the beach - the rather desolate Lincolnshire beach (Recently cited by the Sunday Times as the best beach on the East Coast) not far from where I live and yes - they really do bomb it from time to time. This is where the North Sea gas comes in from wells deep out at sea. If you scan the horizon these days it is choked with wind turbines, as the one thing you know about living here is that the wind blows all the time. I like living here - watching the ships go by on their way around the world. We have dramatic skies from time to time as compensation for a cooler temperature.
Mika - the crazy boy who crashes his car is loyal to a fault. I think perhaps that some of my nephew influenced him, from when he was fourteen and always getting into trouble one way or another.
Jackson, the fire scarred weirdo who is hiding in the dunes stems from memory too, a man who lived in Woodhall Spa near my school St Hughs, and terrified us all with his bomb scarred face and strange army trench coat. He may have been entirely harmless - but we made up terrible stories about him all the time and when he disappeared, stealing the Latin master's car, we knew he was the evil mastermind we all thought he was.
I guess a writer stores things up and you never know when they will be put to good use. This is my first story set in my native Lincolnshire and I have moved the geography around a little and changed a few names. But there really are abandoned air force bases and although millions of caravans sprawl on the dunes in places now - I have fond memories of my sister and I, and Kandy the dog, picking the blueberries (smoky blue salt encrusted blackberries) whilst watching the beach being bombed. Just because a red flag was flying we weren't going to retreat.
Events in a story depend upon the unexpected. Marikka's dead father has been looking for her for years - the victim of a terrible lie to stop Marikka running away. It is his story as much as hers as he arrives to identify her body and discovers she is missing. This is definitely the beach where it all happened. That's real enough - it's just outside my window. All the characters live and breathe out here. Marikka especially - the girl with the red hair and brilliant smile that hid so much pain. The girl who fled the fire and began to live again.
READ THE FIRST CHAPTER
Sam Hawksmoor is the award winning author of 'The Repossession & The Hunting', 'The Repercussions of Tomas D', and with Sam North 'Another Place to Die: The Endtime Chronicles' - the Vancouver based Pandemic thriller.
© Photo of Huddlebank the setting of Marikka by Sam Hawksmoor 2015