In just a few days time, my new novel THE LOST GIRL will be published.
I have already written on my HG blogs that the story is set in two time zones: post WWII in France and 2015 Paris and includes a few flashbacks to London in the 90s.
The Paris 2015 sections take place during the long weekend of the atrocious terrorist attacks of the night of 13th November 2015. Six locations were targeted. During that evening one hundred and thirty diners and concert-goers were murdered and another 368 injured.
How to research such an event? Last month I mentioned that I watched on national television the live progression of the attacks as they unfolded and as they were reported. It was almost unbearable viewing, exceedingly moving and distressing. I was in shock and crying. This is all very well but it needs precision to fuel a story. I am very fortunate to be a member of the BnF, the Bibliothèque National de France, in the thirteenth arrondissement of Paris. The National Library of France is a very impressive institution. If you are at all interested in the value of libraries and their functionality do take a look at their website.
In amongst all their facilities and events on offer, the BnF has a truly impressive mediathèque where members can watch filmed material and entire reels of news footage and much more. I took myself off to the audiovisual department where I ordered reams of footage of the weekend of 13th November and I spent approximately a month enclosed within the silence of their walls, watching over and over and over material from everywhere, shot at every moment. It included news items, special investigative programmes, sometimes Smartphone footage, speeches made by François Hollande, our President during that period.
During my research at the library, taking notes obviously, I began to create the timeline for the weekend. My fictional timeline began an hour or two in advance of the first terrorist incident at 20.16 pm on Friday 13th November 2015…