We could be heroes

Red for course book
1780s hoody.

2016 has begun with a stream of goodbyes: David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Maurice White, Terry Wogan, Harper Lee.

People well-known, in this corner of the world at least. Remarkable for the talents they shared with us. Music, ideas, fun. Languid … diction. Gifts we can still hold tight, even though their givers are gone.

Celebrities are a bit like your favourite book characters: we’re drawn to them; we know their names, their voices. What they have to say feels like it’s just for you. But they will never know you in the same way. Often they have no idea you’re even watching. Even though it’s so one-sided, we follow their stories. We burn to know what’s going on. What’s going to happen next?

What’s next for me might seem like the dusty past. I’m deep in London in the 1780s, writing my next book, about a girl who’s on the run as a highway robber. It’s a story that’s bursting to get out of my head.

My girl’s a firework. There’s no way she can live as she aches to, and she can never be with the one she loves. Losing her father puts her life in danger, and her future starts to close around her like a trap. So she breaks out. But how long can she stay free?

A hero’s story rings out. It leaves us seeing things differently.

Long after the song is over, the echoes murmur to us. We could be heroes too.

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