Terry Hickland from near Baillies Mills in County Down is keeping his eye on the sales barometer as his first novel, On Marian Place, starts to take off.
Having left Northern Ireland in the recession days in 1980, Terry (57) who is a heavy vehicle technician by trade, and now a FE lecturer at SERC in Downpatrick, went off to work in the then West Germany during the ‘Wunderwirstshaft’ years when the German economy boomed.
Terry Hickland, who penned On Marian Place, said: “I never looked back,” said Terry over a cup of coffee. “It was a great time in my life where I enjoyed great wages, and made many good friends. Back home in Northern Ireland the Troubles were raging, there was economic recession and I was just fed up with the politics here.
“I went to work for Volkswagen AG and ended up working in Braunschweig and Wolfsburg. Much of On Marian Place is based around Munich which I got to know well. After some time I became quite fluent in German and settled into the way of life there enjoying the social life and culture. Being a motor technician, I really enjoyed classic German cars.
“Little did I know that this life experience would be the bedrock for a crime novel which I’ve recently launched. On Marian Place is a novel about a detective in Munich who uncovers a web of intrigue after finding a dusty old envelope in a rare piece of French furniture once owned by Marie Antoinette that had been misappropriated during World War Two from Paris.
On Marian Way is one of those novels you just can’t put down explained Terry Hickland.
“The plot thickens very early, and the reader is taken through a journey of murder, robbery at the highest level, violence and double identity.
“It is not a story about Nazis per se but about a crime committed during the tail end of the war which takes us up to the present day. It is about cold case murders and robbery coming to a climax in a perfect storm.
“On Marian Place is my first novel, and it will be part of a trilogy of books linked to the theme of life – and death – in Germany. Having lived there is definitely a core experience that has shaped my creative ideas enormously.”
Terry is now delivering motor vehicle technologies at the SERC college in Downpatrick after having completed a Post-Graduate Certificate of Education at the University of Ulster Jordanstown.
“But now my life has taken a turn in a different direction. I now want to succeed as a novelist. There is huge competition in this area, but I have made some excellent contacts which will hopefully advance my new career.
“I am now writing my second piece; a new novel based in Ireland and am putting together a screen play for it. Hopefully it will appear on the BBC. I responded to a call from the Beep for mature writers whose lifetime of experiences could perhaps be transformed into drama or film. I already had caught the writing bug before I contacted them. So, I’m hopeful that this will come off in due course. I have the support from a screenplay writer who has written for Fair City who is very encouraging.
“Basically, I have changed direction in life. I just love writing and I’ve already had excellent feedback and comments on ‘On Marian Place’, so I’m very optimistic and looking forward to building on this.”
On Marian Place is a cleverly constructed, well accomplished first novel, where the reader is engaged in chapter one as the plot thickens. The action through the novel is well controlled and you get the feeling the author knows expertly what he is talking about. There are many twists and turns and the climax of the novel is well done. This novel will not disappoint the connoisseurs of crime fiction.
On Marian Place is available on Amazon Books to buy as a Kindle copy or a paperback, and can be ordered throughout Waterstones book stores.