When her cousin died in a fatal head on collision the day before he was to return from R&R to Iraq, Claire Kinton did not know where to turn.
Pregnant with her first child she put her heart and soul into writing what became Dead Game.
An exciting novel that follows the fate of Corporal Archie Fletcher after his plane plummets in the Persian Gulf during the second Gulf war, Dead Game takes readers into a fantasy world of guardian angels and mythical saints.
“When my cousin was killed, I think like many, my faith was questioned to the highest degree.”
Lance Corporal Charles Fletcher, who had seen action in Bosnia and Northern Ireland, was serving in 3rd Battalion Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in Paderborn in Germany, when he died in 2003.
“Charles was like a brother to me.
“Part of me refused to accept he was gone so I went on my own mission to find him.
“I found myself in a local awareness group and spent the next six years practising mediumship.”
Dealing with loss of her cousin Charles and living on an RAF base, where she saw for herself the feelings of grief suffered by those who lost loved ones in Afghanistan and Iraq, Claire felt compelled to write a novel that examines life after death.
“Witnessing at first hand the heartbreak of loss that conjures a multitude of emotions, particularly in children and young adults, spurred me on to complete Dead Game.
“For some young minds it is not enough to say ‘He’s gone to Heaven’, they need to know why, what happens next, how long will they be gone?
“Dead Game is my way of answering these poignant questions.”
She explained to Women at War.
Writing a book and starting a family, however, presented its challenges and long days followed by nights spent working on the book became the norm.
“Reality just happened around me whilst I immersed myself in words.
“Dead Game book was very much a necessity for me, my escape from baby blues, my Prozac if you like.
“It is tough having three small children, the disturbed nights and early mornings causing extreme exhaustion.
“I’m not sure how I did it to be honest; it’s a bit of a blur.”
However, her hard work paid off and Dead Game received a nomination for the Brit Writers Awards Unpublished 2010, an initiative that encourages unpublished writers and poets to showcase their work.
The book itself was launched in October last year in Nottingham at the New Writers UK Festival where it sold out.
However, Claire does not feel that she is the only one who can take the credit.
“Today my faith that our spirits live on is stronger than ever and I truly believe that my cousin Charles aided me in writing Dead Game.”
Success has spurred Claire on to write a second novel, The Waiting Game, in which Archie Fletcher will also play a lead role.
She hopes that through writing she may be able to return the support given to her family after the death of Charles by the Soldiers, Sailors Airman and Families Association (SSAFA) and the Army Benevolent Fund.
She feels that it was important to donate a portion of Dead Game to SSAFA and Help for Heroes.
“I may not condone or understand war but I sure as hell will support every single one of our troops who fight for us.
“They are all, no matter what their role, individually, brave, honourable patriots of our country and our freedom.”
Find out more about Dead Game at Clairekinton.com
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