Eric Lockeyear

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I'm a former colonial cop and international governance consultant. Now finally retired, (just a couple of years ago), I'm trying my hand at writing to keep the old grey cells alive. I have plenty of experience of official writing, but fiction is completely new.

My first attempt, about 100,000 words in, is the story of a Hong Kong police inspector working as an interrogator in the spillover of China's Cultural Revolution in 1967. He is alo embroiled in an illicit love affair and trying to cope with the murder of his wife. 

It probably won't take much thought to work out that the story is at least partly autobiographical.

Any comments or offers to share/critique most welcome.


I'm more of a whisky soda man. I know the feeling, but finally retired from consulting out of a suitcase a few years ago. A working life spanning 60 years seemed long enough.

Yes, I was, but I'm not sure of the relevance. A long time ago, I was a senior police officer in Her Majesty's Overseas Civil Service, serving in Hong Kong. Nothing to do with the present regime there. Also, nothing to do with recent (or past events) in this country. I suggest your "Sigh" comment is a bit OTT.

I repeat the last sentence of my previous post, " It may not be the world we would like but it reflects reality." 

I mostly agree with this. I am a keen sailor and know about boats. It sticks out like a sore thumb when an author refers to some aspect of sailing in a way that reflects blatently on their ignorance.

However, taken to its logical extreme, we would only be able to write single-sex books. Mentioning the other sex (gender?) would be taboo, as the way they think and act is beyond our experience (and, often, understanding!). 

Re the over-description of characters, I think we've all agreed in other posts about that. But sometimes it's important to describe physical characteristics, when this description is part of the plot. My MC getting beaten up (reported earlier),his injuries and what happened to him form essential plot elements. Also a young man recalling his friend's fiancee (again described in an earlier post), would quite naturally refer to physical characteristics. A woman might recall differently, but a young man will recall hair colour, beauty and her breasts. It may not be the world we would like but it reflects reality.

An extreme example is Jake Arnott's "The Long Firm," an excellent crime thriller set in 1960s London, in which each chapter is written as first person singular POV but by a different key character. Difficult, but it worked well here.

Yep, no problem with this -- except your referring to "our generation." Judging by your photo, I'm old enough to be your dad, or even grandpa. Or perhaps it's just the Mediterranean diet and climate that keeps you looking so sprightly?

Perhaps there is/was a difference between the generally benign and good-natured attitudes of Australian builders 40+ years ago and the violet and malevolent attitudes of British youth today.

Surely there's a difference between an admiring wolf-whistle from the top of a building site and being hassled and shouted at on the street? But I'm a man, so am not entirely qualified to judge.

Agreed. Re: "Attributes that make a strong impression on the mind of the POV character..." I have a scene where the MC's best friend has just become engaged and asks if the MC remembers meeting his fiancee once. The MC's unspoken thoughts are, "Yes, you know who she is. Pretty, real English rose, blonde hair, shapely. Big tits. Seemed very nice."  Relevant to this scene is that the two are 20s-something young men, far from home and fighting riots. I humbly submit that that is the sort of impression that would be made on the minds of such characters.

I have that said about me nearly every day. At home, admittedly.

A certain lady who lives in my house told me that, as a young (and in my view very good-looking) woman in Sydney, she was quite offended if she walked past a building site and no-one took notice. She suggested she should walk back the other way and give the builders a second chance.

Agreed with all of this. Re first-person POV, my MC is the narrator. He has just been badly beaten up. On return home from hospital, he is assessing his situation: "A look in the mirror showed that my lanky near six-foot frame didn’t look too bad while I was dressed, though I felt bruised and battered all over.Fortunately, the medics confirmed that no bones were broken, though I had stitches for lacerations on my head, back and chest. My face was a bruised mess with one blue eye nearly shut. I used to think I had fairly good looks. Perhaps I’d have to settle for “rugged looks” from now on. A swollen ear didn’t help the effect either. My light brown hair, that I’d only just started to grow long while in civvies, had been shaved on one side of my head, where the stitches were.." As a large part of the story is based on the beating, inter-racial conflict (interrogation) and why he proved attractive in an illicit relationship, I felt a fairly detailed description was preferable. Horses for courses?

Hi Janet,

The online Times is on subscription and I can't send it direct. The direct quotes by Faulks were included in my original post. As L has said in her post above, this issue has achieved widespread coverage and should be accessible in other media outlets. Hope this helps.

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