Journalist turned author owes debut novel inspiration to "special" Norfolk
PUBLISHED: 06:00 14 April 2018 | UPDATED: 09:46 14 April 2018
Norfolk is a county which has historically always inspired creatives; from artists, to writers, to poets.
And the debut novel from a Londoner who fell in love with the county has said the area helped inspire him when creating his novel. Paul Thomas, who lives in Coltishall with his wife Mary, has lived in Norfolk for more than half a century, and has been committed to involving himself in local life, as a Princes Trust mentor to young people, yacht club member and officer.
A journalist, with Archant, he hopes his book will seize international market interest – including for its romantic, mysterious rags to riches angle.
He said: “I love Norfolk, it is so special to me, a mere Londoner. I’ve been living here for more than half a century, albeit travelling worldwide carrying out several different careers, all involved with writing!
“While I have enjoyed an adventurous, productive life, much of it out of the county, I always want to get back to Norfolk – for its unique character, special people, entertainment, tourism – boats. Oh it has so much. And its so different from much else, some of it bad news, in dear old Britain!”
The story follows the fictitious adventures of a young Romanian village girl, London nightlife, the ghostly widow of a vampire, a mysterious peer owning a media empire – and the challenge of changing evil to good.
Changing Colours launch is celebrated with a book signing event at Jarrolds in Norwich on May 10.
Mr Thomas, 78, began work aged 17 as an East London newspaper reporter, then into Fleet Street national newspapers.
This work included reporting on the notorious East End gangsters the Kray Twins – “very risky times for a young reporter” he said. Memorable too was his interview with Winston Churchill the last time he stood for Parliament.
He said: “My book isn’t dripping blood, or vampirish at all, but the angle involves how you might turn the image of evil into good. And help a poor country improve its image. With 15th century perceptions which may have been wrong, realigning to 21st century thinking, partly using PR tactics.”
The book was a total change which he started in 2007, little progress for eight years then revived with vigour in 2016 and 2017 with publication of Changing Colours now.
“Its hard turning from fact to fiction – but using your imagination, creating heroes and heroines, nice and naughty happenings – and a surprising ending, grabbed me, and its sort of worked,” he said.
Mr Thomas is already working on a sequel.
He praises his family’s help, and also his friends for inspiration. They include Norfolk’s author Chris Crowther, renowned for his Broads who-dun-its, and Jeffrey Archer, global creator of titles and sales of millions of books – “a charismatic idol and friend who has hand-written all his wonderful books, I merely type mine.”
Changing Colours, priced £7.99 is available from Jarrolds, all good bookshops, online – and you can visit, order it at: www.aboutchangingcolours.com