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Psychological thriller On That Day centres on the unthinkable happening in the Fens

Author EA Parker’s On That Day finds its main protagonist sharing how he was caught up in an inconceivable event when he was a boy that left a devastating mark on the rural community in which he lived.

On That Day by EA Parker
On That Day by EA Parker

Set against the bleakness of the Fens, this is a tale of community, father figures, lonely adolescents and the clashing of rural traditions and urban attitudes.

The book is Parker’s first published novel. With another written and awaiting a publisher, she also writes poetry and lives in the Fens, where the story is set. She said: “It’s called On That Day because it tells the story of what happens on one particular day in a school, which culminates in a school shooting.

“A narrator is telling the story now he’s a grown-up man of what happened when he was a boy at the school. It’s about why somebody becomes the perpetrator of a school shooting.

“It does have suspense, because from the very beginning of the novel the reader feels that something awful is going to happen and suspects that it’s on the lines of a school shooting, although it isn’t made clear until the very end, but the suspense is actually about revealing what is going on in the life of the perpetrator.

“It’s also about the tension between the rural culture of the Fens and the modern, anti-field sport movement, in that the perpetrator is a school caretaker.”

Parker notes that the story, which has received positive reviews on Amazon, is set in the area of the Fens close to the Wash – “where Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Lincolnshire all come together, round about the River Nene”.

The perpetrator of the crime is a caretaker at a fictional village school in that area – and there is an added twist. “He is also the father figure to the narrator,” explains the author.

“The narrator, as a boy, lives in a small cottage on the edge of the marsh with his mother, and because he’s lost his father his next-door neighbour, who is the school caretaker, becomes his father figure.”

The book also deals with the tensions arising from those with a more bohemian outlook and those who partake in traditional field sports such as shooting, as well as issues surrounding bullying.

“So it’s a book that’s quite suitable for what you might call young adults, as well as adults,” says Parker. “Anyone over the age of 12 I think would find it a good read.”

The author had long wanted to write about “the isolation and difficulties of those sorts of schools, in rural areas, and that was one of my ideas”.

She says: “I started off by writing a sort of ‘day-in-the-life’ of a school of that kind, and lots of the characters that appear in the school in the novel actually came from that first writing.”

The process of developing the idea and writing and publishing the book took Parker around two and a half years.

Published by Market Day Books, On That Day is available in paperback (£8.99) and Kindle format (£4.99, or free via Kindle Unlimited) on Amazon at amzn.to/3xiCnc6 and at bit.ly/3HTHrbF.

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