The question writers are asked most often is ‘Where do your ideas come from?’ In the case of my latest book One Minute Later, it was my stepson’s friend, Jim Lynskey, aged 22, who provided the most remarkable and compelling inspiration.
Jim lives in the Midlands, is mad about football, loves music and has the same sort of big plans for his future as any other young man his age. What’s different about Jim is that he will be unable to achieve his dreams unless he finds a new heart.
The heart Jim has can only function with the support of an LVAD – left ventricular assist device. This means he is permanently connected to a pump and its batteries, which he carries around with him, but of course it imposes many restrictions.
There are currently 6,000 people on the organ transplant waiting list, and around 400 are likely to die before a suitable organ can be found.
Although One Minute Later isn’t Jim’s story – it’s about a young woman whose life is changed forever by the sudden need for a new heart – Jim does feature as himself in the book. Being the incredible young man he is, instead of simply sitting back and waiting or praying for a new heart to be found, he set up a campaign called Save9Lives (save9lives.com) which the characters in my novel also become involved in.
It’s the first time I’ve weaved fact and fiction like this, and from the responses I’ve already received it seems to have worked well. I’ve been very moved by those who’ve got in touch to say they’ve always resisted being a donor but the
book has changed their minds.