Whilst editing Baggins Bottom Best Bits Book 3, I came across this post (now no longer available online). As it sums up exactly what Catch the Rainbow is all about, I’m going to leave it here for now, as a taster and to remind me …
On 21 November 1974, explosions ripped through 2 city centre pubs in Birmingham, killing 21, and everyone blamed the IRA. After the initial shock wore off there was outrage – why Birmingham, why us, why when there’s such a big Irish community here? – and then a witch hunt. During this witch hunt, some Irish people dropped their accents, kangaroo courts tried and strung up people at work, the Irish were shunned, and a gross miscarriage of justice took place, stealing the lives of 6 men for the next 2 decades. The IRA never claimed responsibility for the Birmingham pub bombings*, the 6 men (who were kidnapped by the police, imprisoned, tortured, beaten, charged, tried, convicted – and released 16 years later) never admitted responsibility, apart from under duress. The people who actually left the bombs walked way Scot free. And yes, an IRA bomb warning had been received, but at the tax office …
I do not have the talent, the experience nor the stamina to write a story about the Birmingham pub bombings. But my interest is in the people involved at the time, the ex-pat Irish who had come to work and live in Birmingham, given birth to their own children in Birmingham, and the “English” people who knew them – how the event affected relationships, attitudes and opinions.
Catch the Rainbow is about 3 people, Lenny (real name Elaine), Mickey** and Shaun. Lenny is a Brummie. Mickey** and Shaun are Irish Brummies. Lenny is in awe of Mickey**, who is still feeling raw that her older sister spurned him, but Shaun is in love with Lenny. When the Birmingham pub bombs go off, Mickey** – who has recently insisted that he be called Seamus (his middle name is James)*** – disappears and Lenny is ostracised for maintaining her friendship with Shaun. Suspicion surrounds Mickey**. A fatal motorbike accident, an unplanned pregnancy and various revelations later leave Lenny wondering if she fancied the right man in the first place.
Against such a dramatic backdrop, the crows of doubt have been swarming for years. Is my storyline too weak? Are my characters too wooden? Is my plotline too lightweight? But this is the story I’m working on at the moment.
Catch the Rainbow the song, by Rainbow, was released in 1975 (the picture is taken from the sleeve of their album, Rising****). My story is the prequel to Night Crawler, and the sequel to Hattie’s Hotshots. Did I mention I have a lot of story ideas on the boil?
* Since this post was written, the IRA have indeed claimed responsibility – in 2014.
** Mickey’s name has since been changed to Nicky.
*** This has changed too …
**** I removed the picture.
Would YOU read this book?