Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Broken Silence, courtesy of Rachel’s Random Resources.
Liz Mistry has kindly written a guest post discussing themes in Broken Silence.
Over to Liz…
The title Broken Silence is appropriate for this novel in so many ways. The themes in the novel are diverse, but each theme is about the adverse impact of silence on individuals and how important breaking the silence can be. So, I’d like to talk a little about some of the themes in Broken Silence.
Stefan Marcovici’s story
I hadn’t realised quite how prevalent Modern Day Slavery was until a couple of years ago when I attended a talk by Baroness Lola young and Kevin Hyland OBE at Bradford Literature festival. Until then, I had to say I’d buried my head in the sand and wasn’t aware of how often slavery is there in front of our noses in plain sight. I did a lot of research and watched a lot of documentaries before writing this novel and the examples I’ve used, believe me are only the very tip of the iceberg. In Broken Silence the modern day slave story is told mainly through the point of view of Stefan Marcovici. A man who has paid the last of his savings in an attempt to transport his family from poverty and victimisation in Romania. He and his daughter Maria think they have approached a legitimate company who will employ them when they reach the UK. Instead Maria is taken into a world of drugs and prostitution whilst her father Stefan is forced to work in a chicken factory. As the gang who holds them captive opens up bank accounts in their names, whilst keeping hold of their passports, they are trapped. I wanted to speak to the inhumanity of it all, buy making Stefan as real a character as possible. Some of the scenes involving Stefan were heart-breaking to write … but his story is just one of many and it needs to be told.
Felicity Springer’s story
Again, this is a subject where all too often, the victim feels unable to break their silence. Sometimes it’s because they are uncertain whether a rape occurred, or because they feel ashamed or for many other reasons. I wanted to expose the way in which sexual predators operate. I wanted to show how organised and premeditated they could be … but I also wanted to show the effects on their victims, whilst at the same time empowering them. Felicity Springer’s story is not a new one … sadly it’s not an isolated one and even more sadly, it probably won’t be the last time it needs to be told. But I wanted to leave her and the other women subjected to the predatory behaviour with the knowledge that they had broken the silence. That by speaking out they had not only held one man to account, but had exposed the power dynamics of various institutions that enabled that behaviour.
DC Sajid Malik’s story
Whilst gay rights are widely accepted and embedded in law, that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to be gay. Sajid is from a Muslim background and is gay. So what, you might think – what does it matter? Well, for Sajid, he knows his family will disown him. He fears they may well physically harm him or his partner Langley and he doesn’t know what to do. He is outed by the press which results in him indeed being disowned and in him being attacked. After the protests about the no outsider’s curriculum, I felt it was time for Sajid to break the silence on his sexuality – I only wish he’d been able to do that for himself rather than being forcibly outed.
About the Book
On her way home after an exhausting weekend, with colleagues she can’t wait to escape, Felicity notices something odd about the white van in front of her. A hand has punched through the car’s rear light and is frantically waving, trying to catch her attention.
Desperate to help, Felicity dials 999 and calls it in. But whilst on the phone, she loses control of the car on the icy road, crashing straight into the vehicle ahead.
Pinned in the seat and unable to move, Felicity feels a sudden whoosh of cold air across her face. Someone has opened the passenger door… and they have a gun.
With Felicity missing and no knowledge of whether she is dead or alive, DS Nikki Parekh and DC Sajid Malik race to find their friend and colleague.
But Felicity was harbouring a terrible secret, and with her life now hanging in the balance, Nikki can only hope that someone will come forward and break the silence…