Two Years Ago Today

Two years ago today, the first novel I had published by Bloodhound Books was released. The Abattoir of Dreams was met with a pretty favourable response and has since continued to receive positive reviews. When I first had the idea for the story I knew I wanted to say something about a topic that I feel very strongly about – institutional child abuse, and it’s cover up by those in authority.

Although some people are of the opinion that this sort of thing went on in the seventies, research told me that’s it’s very much alive and kicking now. The level of abuse and the status of the people who commit some of these vile acts is unbelievable. Let’s just say that it’s a huge mistake to trust some of those who purport to defend the rights of children. I could go on forever about how deeply ingrained paedophilia is in the highest echelons of power, but it’s up to people to do their own research and make their own minds up. I’m just trying to lift a rock and shine a light on it. Now, after two years, I’m very happy and grateful that Bloodhound Books saw the potential in the story and published it.

It was a difficult book to write because of the subject matter, but I wanted the book to highlight such an important issue. In an earlier blog post, ‘Giving Abused Children a Voice – The Abattoir of Dreams,’ I look at the cases I’d seen in the news that led to me want to say something on the subject, and writing the book.

There has also been a lot of discussion about the book in Facebook groups. Some readers have felt that due to the subject matter, the book description should include a trigger warning. The book description does say the story includes abuse and murder, but for some, that isn’t enough. I watched these discussions with interest as group members shared their opinions, and then I started my own discussion. In ‘Warning! This Blog Post Contains Discussions about Trigger Warnings,’ Peter James and Betsy Reavley, amongst others, share their thoughts on the pros and cons of trigger warnings.

One of the two young male protagonists, Liam, lets readers know his feelings about the children’s home he and his friend Michael are in through poetry. In ‘Poetry in Fiction,‘ I discuss how a poem was used to convey the character’s feelings, and how poetry has been used in a variety of other writer’s fiction.

The systematic abuse of children is appalling. The homes where the abuse takes place are like abattoirs; slaughterhouses for kid’s dreams. The fictional setting in the story, Woodside Children’s Home, is, sadly, for many children a stark and horrifying reality.

As always, I welcome comments.

If you’d like to find out more about the book, you can find it here on Amazon.

 

Thank you for your continued support.

Best wishes,

Mark.

 

Giving Abused Children a Voice. The Abattoir of Dreams.

My third novel, The Abattoir of Dreams, was inspired by news that a high-profile figure had been named by a man in his forties as his abuser in a children’s home. Subsequently, the man said he’d made a mistake – no one leaning on him there, then– the whole case was dropped. This made my blood boil. This poor guy had obviously been through hell as a child, and all these years later, the authorities still slammed the door in his face.

There are so many cases of both historical and current child abuse. The case of the Haut de la Garenne children’s home on Jersey, brought to light a catalogue of abuse – sexual, physical and psychological, stretching back to the end of the second world war. Eight people have been prosecuted for 145 offences and seven men and women have been convicted. Many more alleged offenders, some now dead, have been identified by almost 200 former residents.

A forensics tent at the former Haut de la Garenne children’s home in St Martin, Jersey, in 2008. Photograph: Graeme Robertson for the Guardian

The investigation also found there was a culture of fear on Jersey. Residents were afraid to come forward with criticism or information because they were living so closely to those they were accusing. Bob Hill, a former member of the states assembly – Jersey’s parliament, said people had long been afraid to report the abuse because they did not trust that any allegations would be treated in confidence. Continue reading