EAST OF INDIA is an exotic saga set in India, Singapore, Sumatra and Australia, places I have never been, but it doesn’t matter. I’m a writer and I go everywhere in my head.

East of India

East of India

I am a teller of tales, a creator of worlds as I see them, or as they might have been, or as they’ve never been – pure fantasy in other words. I can take you anywhere in the world, at any point in time, past, present or future. In this book I’m taking you to exotic lands where you might have been, or like me, have not.

As you begin to read I will also make you another person. You become the main character, experiencing the adventures, emotions and good looks of the character in one of my novels, just as I was when I was writing it.

I’ve never been to the Far East but am fascinated by the different cultures, the colours, the climates and even its sometimes frightening and violent history.

The idea for EAST OF INDIA came from a number of sources. The main character, Nadine Burton, was based on a dancer in the film Black Narcissus (taken from the book by Rumer Godden). The story centres on a convent high in the Himalayas. Into their midst comes the most beautifully exotic – indeed erotic young woman. She’s dressed in the full skirts of the Nautch dancer and adorned with heavy jewellery hanging from her nose as well as her ears and around her neck. The dancer was played by a very young Jean Simmons looking like a Bird of Paradise amongst a loft of common pigeons.

In EAST OF INDIA Nadine is the daughter of a British merchant. She’s been told her mother is dead but finds out too late that her mother was actually her Indian ayah, her nurse.

Something much more real also played a part. There’s a scene in EAST OF INDIA where a woman, her children clinging to her skirts, is begging for food. She lifts her skirts offering herself to a group of British soldiers. This was an anecdote from a work colleague from years ago. He’d actually experienced this and it beggared the question, what would you do, how far would you go to survive or for your children to survive?

This is the dilemma presented to Nadine when she ends up in a Japanese comfort house, forced to entertain the officers with her dancing – and much more if the madam of the house has her way.

On the other side of the wire is a women’s prison camp. Food is scarce, medicine even scarcer and maintaining your honour may not be enough to ensure survival.

Life for the women on both sides of the fence is hard and staying alive is even harder.

Nadine, the product of two different cultures, finds her soul mate in a Japanese officer, American by birth who has got caught up in a war and a situation that repels him.

Love can be found in the most unexpected places, and there have been instances of loving enemies surviving despite the most terrible circumstances. In this case the two of them are at risk of losing their lives. There is no option but to try and get out whilst they still can.

So face it all with them, smell, see and feel the humidity of a thick jungle, the vast openness of an endless sea as they escape and hold on to their hopes for the future.