Blitz Bullion Busters – Daryl Joyce
During the Blitz in World War II, £5 million pounds in gold bullion was loaded onto a secret, secure train in London.
When the train arrived at its destination the gold had vanished.
Eighty years later, three teenagers stumble across the mystery and set out to find the truth. What starts as an enjoyable search soon turns into a mysterious, dangerous and thrilling hunt under and through the streets of London, and a fight for their lives.
As part of the blogtour I am thrilled to be able to share this guest post from author, Daryl Joyce, a former primary school teacher, about the inspiration behind the book and story:
What has led to this book seeing the light of day?
Well it started in school. I am a teacher and the first spark came when I was researching a sequence of activities about the second world war for Year 6. As part of our previous topic on London, we had recently finished a book called The London Eye Mystery [Siobhan Dowd] which the children really got into. It’s really well written – the plot, the characters, and the familiar places. It’s important when you’re writing a story that even the most fantastical of happenings have a basis in familiarity so that the reader [whatever age] doesn’t have to work too hard to picture the idea or action and it is this I wanted to put into my writing.
Following on from reading that book to year 6. I realised that a mystery was definitely the type of book I wanted to write. I knew I had to create a story that would appeal to readers, but not in such a way that it was too obvious or without depth. I wanted to make something that wouldn’t underestimate its readers and hopefully keep them turning the pages. There had to be a thread of mystery that ran through the book and even a twist at the end. A tall order maybe, but my experience as a teacher showed me the type of stories that children like to really get into. But what did I really want to write about? What kind of mystery could I hope to write when so many mystery books had already been written?
I was fascinated by a news article about a suspected Nazi invasion. At that time, much of Britain’s gold reserves were carted out of London in heavily guarded trains. Moving all the gold was part of a wider clandestine project called Operation Fish, which was the largest movement of wealth in world history. I began to think about what might happen if some of that gold went ‘missing’ and so the crux of the story was born.
I have always had lots of ideas to make a story from, but like most people who think about writing a book, I had never really found the time, or possibly inclination. I chatted with my Headteacher at the time about my ideas and she gave me lots of encouragement and basically told me to just get on with it! Fine inspiration indeed.
The Year 6 children loved discussing the wartime gold evacuation and as a group we began to imagine [and write] about what could have happened if the gold had actually gone missing – where could it have gone and how could someone have got away with it? You’ll read some of the ideas and suggestions that they came up with in the book – usually as suggestions from ‘Janet’. Meanwhile I worked out a less obvious way it could have been done and worked backwards from there.
Having figured out the outline of a plot, I needed characters. I didn’t just want some characters that always got along – at least at the start – and wanted to add a little more salt into the mix and so Faiza and Wade were born. We had the power and the brawn so now we needed the brains and Jack was born. They needed some adversaries and some strange characters and so some of the others you meet in the book came into existence. It was a conscious decision to ensure that the female characters had as much a role to play [if not more] in all parts of the story as the males and hopefully this comes across.
I did a lot of research, but not all internet based. I found that there are a lot of websites and detailed accounts of places – hidden and not-so-hidden – above and below ground, but I also wanted to add that extra touch so I visited many areas of the London Underground. One place I couldn’t get to was the long- derelict King William Street – in the book, a lot of important events happen in and around this area, but I loved the idea of an abandoned tube station which is still remain the same as the day it was closed. Hidden London do some cracking tours and you get a real feel for many of these non-public and forgotten areas. Admittedly I took a few liberties with locations but a lot of the underground and overground places that the characters go to and through actually exist – or at least they did when I started the original draft.
You can see the inspirations for the story are many and slightly complex. Basically I had a lot of fun writing this story and wanted to keep on writing. It would have been very easy to not write especially as time was often limited. I managed to get a lot of this book written in between leaving school in the early evenings and being at school by 7am the next morning. I even found that after a tough day, going home and writing renewed my energy. I hope you like the book and especially the characters; I had a lot of fun writing their adventures.
Daryl Joyce was born in Andover, Hampshire and brought up in Farnborough, also in Hampshire. He worked in IT for over twenty years, mostly in London, before deciding to do something more worthwhile than switching it off and on, and so become a primary school teacher.
Somewhere before being in school at 7am and after the end of a long day teaching hordes of young people, Blitz Bullion Busters was written. Daryl has long had a fascination with the London Underground and the myriad of stories surrounding it. Working with children has also given him valuable experience of what makes a story exciting and worthwhile.
When he is not writing, Daryl spends most of his time reading about hidden places underground and watching Star Trek. He now lives in Surrey, not far from Gatwick Airport with his wife and two pampered cats. This is his first book.
Information about the book:
Title: Blitz Bullion Busters
Author: Daryl Jones
Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Release Date: 28th July 2022
Thanks again to Bee and Kaleidoscopic Books for having me on the blogtour and a copy of the book.
Post by Rich Simpson ( @richreadalot) August 2022