Author from Newport inspired to write his first novel by late wife

PUBLISHED: 08:42 22 October 2018 | UPDATED: 08:43 22 October 2018

David Thear, author of Finding April.

David Thear, author of Finding April.


A former journalist from Newport has written his first novel - a thriller about a teenage girl who goes missing and wakes up 40 years into the future.

This is David Thear’s first foray into fiction - he’s worked as a journalist and produced magazines over his entire career and written many articles and non-fiction pieces.

“It’s about a girl who goes missing, a teenage girl, and she can’t be found,” David said. “The police follow all their leads and they can’t go any further. She finds herself in a situation where she can’t go home but it’s more complicated than that. She finds herself, much to her horror, that she has moved 40 years into the future.”

In this world that April has found herself in, the authorities don’t approve of anyone who says they are from the past.

“What I wanted to explore is how we’re attached to everyone, our friends, family, our home, and when that’s all taken away we’re essentially like a refugee,” David said. “She has come from another time so she is on the run”

April goes missing in 1959 when she is 16-years-old and wakes up in a different world in 1999 - David says there are some aspects of society in the new world which are alarming.

“The society in which she arrives is quite horrific - you might describe it as a parallel world,” he said. “There is a bit of science fiction, but it’s light. I love reading science fiction and have done all my life, but this is a thriller, more of a page-turner.”

David and his late wife, Katie, worked together throughout their careers and encouraged each other to write their novels.

They launched a magazine together in 1975 called Practical Self Sufficiency and it was bought by publisher Archant in 2001. Katie was the editor and David ran the business side and wrote many stories.

Then, in 2006, Katie was told that she had cancer in her bones and blood and she had a few years to live.

“It was then that I said she should write the novel she had always wanted to write - she always wanted it to be in Wales, where she was born. I said we could write it together. So we did. It took about a year, but in 2008, she published it. She managed to write her novel before she passed away in 2010.

“And 10 years later, I am publishing my novel. While we were working together I got very involved and I asked her if I could write a novel and she said ‘yes, of course’.”

David finished his first draft in 2010, just before Katie died.

“If she hadn’t written that novel, I’m not sure whether I would have written mine,” he said. “I never really thought about writing fiction but she used to always say I could.”

The first three chapters of Finding April are based on David’s life as a 17-year-old boy. In the book, 16-year-old April meets a boy called James and they fall in love. But James doesn’t want to embrace the feeling and runs away from the relationship.

“Those chapters just poured out of me. It’s called an unresolved conflict. Two years after my wife passed away, I invited the girl to Audley End to read the first three chapters of the book, which are about us. It made her upset. But it was closure. I promised her I would send a copy of the finished book and I have.”

David, who has three children and grandchildren too, met Katie at a dance in London which he wasn’t meant to go to and they spent 44 years happily married.

“I never went to dances but my friends invited me that night, it was May 1, because I had a car. We went along, found some girls, took them to a club, which wasn’t very good. But that’s where I met Katie.”

Finding April is available to pre-order on Amazon now and available to buy on October 28.

David will be officially launching his novel at Hart’s Books in Saffron Walden on November 1 at 6.30pm.

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