Whenever he goes for a run along the towpath, local author and GP Kingsley Poole bids a cheery ‘hello’ to the bridges along Chichester Canal.
“I always say hello to Hunston, Egremont and the rest,” said a smiling Kingsley, who named many of the characters in his soon-to-be-published trilogy of novels after these local landmarks.
Following his parents into a career in medicine, it wasn’t until Australian-born Kingsleytook up a post as a Selsey GP that he was able to fulfil his dream of writing a book that would pay tribute to his brother, Sean.
“When he was seventeen, my brother was on a gap year. A big adventurer, tragically he was knocked down and killed by a huge road train in Australia. I wanted, somehow, to make something positive out of such an awful thing.
“When I took the three-day-a-week job in Selsey it gave me two clear days to write. The story had always been to do with my brother’s journey and had been cogitating in the back of my mind for years.”
Making a drunken bet with a friend on New Year’s Eve four years ago, Kingsley vowed to produce a manuscript by the following Easter, choosing a surprisingly old-school way of working.
“On a computer it’s easy to spend all day moving paragraphs about and tweaking stuff, so I bought an old typewriter which meant that I just had to plough on,” he explained.
Adhering to the advice to ‘write what you know,’ Kingsley tapped into his medical knowledge, although he still had to undertake additional research.
“I phoned a friend when I was on the train one day to ask if it were possible to get Typhoid twice,” he laughed, confirming that his enquiry prompted a mass exodus from the carriage.
Having competed in three Oxford-Cambridge Boat Races while at Oxford University, rowing also features in the books. Australia, the country of both his birth and his brother’s untimely death, and New Zealand, where Kingsley spent six years as a GP in a rural location, also provided inspiration.
“The first and second books are about the same chap. The first is set in the Boer War and the Australian goldmines and the second features Maori pioneers in the First World War. The third book is about surgeons working in World War Two. I didn’t set out to write about wars, but found that I could hang a story on them.”
Ultimately, however, the overall theme in his stories is about coming to terms with grief. Agreeing that it has indeed been a cathartic process, Kingsley hopes to continue writing.
“But I have achieved my main aim of writing a book and having it in my hand and that feels good.”
K.K. Poole’s books are published by GWL Publishing. A compelling and intelligently written page-turner, The Sudden Metropolis is released on 17th November, available from Amazon and via bookshop order. The Long White Cloud will be published January 2018 and Blade Warriors in March.
By Vicky Edwards