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Cyprus, a novel inspiration December 15, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Books Life.

Woodham, UK author Peter Cullis spends his free time in a converted garage with his computer, his Irish setter, Seamus and a coffee machine. And that is all Peter needs to let his imagination run wild as he sits and writes.

He is now celebrating the publication of Instruments of War, a novel that depicts Cyprus at the time of the English revolt.

Retired industrial chemist, Peter, said: “The book is set in 1947 and two young boys, Savvas, a Greek Cypriot and Chris, a British boy, become friends. Eventually Chris returns to England to Sandhurst to join the army and Savvas joins the EOKA movement, led by General George Grivas.” The boys later cross paths during the Cypriot and English revolt and the book follows their lives in the army and the troubles they encounter.

Peter said: “I started researching the book in 1999 and it was really about three years of research. I travelled to Cyprus a lot and had a lot of help from the Cypriot government. I finished the book about 18 months ago but it is very difficult to get a publisher.” Peter said that he did approach some larger publishing houses but then some smaller companies before his book was accepted by Exposure Publishing, part of Meadow Books.

Peter’s inspiration for his book began when he was visiting Cyprus in 1988 for a wedding. In the small village of Mammari, Peter saw a statue of a village hero who had fought in the war of independence. Peter said: “I was just a child when all this was happening but I do have vague memories of General George Grivas. At school my essays went into the form magazine and I always had a very fertile imagination.

“When I was about 40 I was living in County Kildare in Dublin  and I went to the local radio station where the author Maeve Binchy was giving a writing workshop. She came up to me in the break and said I should write a novel but I said that I did not think I had the stamina to write one. She asked me when the last time was that I had written a novel and I said never, so I thought I would try.”

Peter certainly likes a challenge. When he was 60 he moved to Leeds University for a year to complete a Masters in Creative Writing and lived in the halls of residence with the other students. He said: “It worked out well, I helped them with their essays and they dragged me out drinking.”

Writing a book cannot be easy but Peter has trained himself to work strict hours, either in his converted garage or while on holiday in Florida. He said: “About 90% of the work is done before you start writing because of the research.”

Peter said that even though the book was “a lot of hard work”, he enjoyed writing it.
Instruments of War is not the first book that Peter has written, but is the first he has had published. He has written two other books and is currently working on his next book, The Room of Mirrors, which he expects to finish in the summer.

The book was launched in the USA in October in Lakeland in Florida and was positively reviewed by Books-A-Million, the third largest book retailer in the USA.

Instruments of War had its UK launch in West Byfleet’s Sidewalk Café in Station Approach earlier this month. The book can be ordered from Amazon or at leading bookshops.

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