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Doyle came to the writing course in June 2004. Like many people
he had an idea, a story he wanted to tell, and he thought that the
course would be just the thing to get his characters and story
developed in order to write and finish the book.
As he said at the end of the course...
feel I have come away with the knowledge of how to structure the story,
create the storyline and actually write it.
What's more I now also have
the belief that I can go and write it - so no more excuses.
The course was everything that I hoped it would be"
Sean Doyle's When Fate Comes Calling is proof that with determination
and faith, the dream of writing a book and having it published can
comes true. Here is Sean's story in his own words.
in his own words...
was late 2000 and I was sitting at my desk, in the ninth floor office
in Manama, looking out at the clear blue sea below, a matching
cloudless sky above. It should have been idyllic, but my time in
Bahrain was coming to an end, and I had nothing to do. I was stuck in a
deserted office, waiting for a phone that was never going to ring – and
I still had three months to go!
I was quietly going crazy with boredom, the daily quick
crossword completed, and the computer trumped at Hearts, when from
nowhere, I got this strange and irrational desire to write. During my
time in the Middle East, I had been fortunate to travel to many
countries, meeting different cultures, visiting fascinating cities, but
Beirut was the city I fell in love with, and it was in Beirut that my
imagination was going to be allowed to run wild.
I remembered a brief holiday romance from my student
days, and tried to imagine what it would be like for a couple to meet
up years later, much older, much wiser, with unanswered questions
hanging precariously over their accidental reunion. How would they have
changed? How would they react to each other? Where would it lead to?
Lots of questions, but the challenge was to wrap a story around the
concept, and link together the two separate episodes.
I have to confess, at that stage I had no idea of where I
was going, no idea how the story would develop, let alone end – I just
knew that I had to put the ideas buzzing around my brain down on paper.
Over the next few months I put a few chapters together,
constantly rewriting parts, going off at different tangents, excited by
what I was doing, but with little idea of what I was actually trying to
In the spring of 2001, we left Bahrain, came back to the
UK, and more importantly came back to the real world, a world of full
time jobs, commuting, long hours and no time to write. On my daily
walks across Waterloo bridge, I would still think about plots,
different storylines (I hadn’t got anywhere near endings at that
stage!), but only on holidays or occasionally at weekends, would I
actually get the chance to write.
After a couple of years of going nowhere, the story
hardly progressing, I was beginning to think I should give up on the
dream, but I’m not in the habit of giving up, and with my then nine
year old daughter nagging away at me to carry on, I realised I needed
I searched online, and when I discovered a weeks’ writing
course in France, it sounded just what I was looking for. The thought
of spending a week learning how to put my novel together, not to
mention the food and wine, was too good an opportunity not to take. It
was now or never.
The week was fantastic, I learnt so much, I knew by the
time I returned that I could, if I wanted, write a novel, not one that
would get published, but one that I could say I had written – I had
finished. Apart from how to structure a story line, I remember three
key lessons that were drummed into us, and hopefully that I have kept
to: Tell the story through the characters’ speech, ‘show don’t tell’;
each chapter should take the story forward, and most importantly
‘murder yer darlings!’…the most painful part, removing your favourite
lines, because they probably won’t be anybody else’s!
The first thing I did when I got back to the UK was try
to persuade my wife to take a romantic break…in Lebanon. She took some
persuading, but if I was going to write the story, I had to go back to
Beirut and do some proper research. It was October 2004 when we boarded
Middle Eastern Airways and I remember the excitement I felt, I knew I
had got over the doubt, I was going to write the book, I was going to
Lebanon was fantastic, for four days I just absorbed
everything, I took in the smells, the sounds, the history, the
politics, but most of all the people. To visit a country that is still
recovering from two decades of civil war is inspiring, it makes one
believe in the goodness of mankind, rather than the daily diet of
terror and abuse that is served up by our media.
My wife found Beirut too intense, too claustrophobic, it
does take getting used to, but I was buzzing and she, for my sake, went
along with everything I planned. Our trip to the Bekaa was the
highlight, to see the temples of Baalbek, to de dwarfed by pillars that
were built before Christ visited this earth was incredible – to
discover we were in Hezbollah country was less comforting, but
nonetheless incredibly exciting.
When I came back, I felt inspired to write, every
weekend, sometimes late at night in the week, and I started to plan the
next summer holiday, I had one more place to visit, the last chapter of
the book needed a trip to Paris. So after persuading the family that
was what they wanted, the summer of 2005 was a trip to France, via a
little island in the middle the Seine, that lurked in the shadow of
Notre Dame, and my research was complete.
It took another two years to complete, to review, to
edit, but eventually by the Summer of 2007, I had taken the manuscript
as far as it could go. I sent a synopsis off to half a dozen agents –
always polite rejections, but so standardised, it made you wonder if
anyone had actually looked at it! In 2008, I decided to try the
publishers directly and after a number of refusals, the first ray of
light, a small publisher in Brighton, Book Guild Publishers, was
interested in publishing my novel.
The rest is history, the published novel comes out Thursday June 25th 2009.
WHEN FATE COMES CALLING
don’t know how long I stared, open-mouthed, astonishment no doubt
etched across my face. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, who I was
seeing, after so, so long. It was a lifetime away. Spain 1986, a summer
of love, a summer that promised so much, yet in the end delivered
nothing more than agony and anguish. I’d often wondered how she’d
coped, what had happened to her, but here she was, as stunning as the
image embedded in my memory.
On holiday in the Catalan resort of Rosas, carefree student Jack meets
and falls in love with a beautiful French girl, the mysterious but
enigmatic Abrielle. The swift intensity of their relationship surprises
everyone – not least Jack himself. But darker forces are at play and
of terrorism overshadows their dwindling days together, before their youthful affair is brought to a sudden and devastating end.
Almost two decades later the couple meet again by chance while on
business in Beirut. They are now very different people – Jack is a
successful businessman with a troubled marriage, while Abrielle is a
committed political journalist, entirely wedded – or so it seems – to
her career. As they reacquaint themselves and reminisce about old
times, Jack realises that old feelings are being awakened and sleeping
fires rekindled. Is this their second chance, he wonders. But life is
more complicated this time around and as their brief reunion comes
towards its end, fate yet again threatens to intervene…
After qualifying from university in London with a
degree in Economics, Sean Doyle worked as an investment manager in
London for 12 years, before moving to Bahrain to set up a joint venture
Company with a local financial services company. He spent two years
travelling throughout the Middle East, and it was from these
experiences, the seeds to his novel were sown. He and his family
returned to the UK in 2001, when he joined a small London based Asset
Manager, where he is now a Director. He now lives in Surrey with his
wife and two children.