Working as a 999-call handler for the ambulance service offered vital insight for Horsham author Daisy White whose new novel Remember Me is published on February 6 by HQ Digital.
The psychological thriller is released under Daisy’s pen name D E White – a gripping, chilling tale about a small Welsh village hit by scandal and sorrow when a girl disappears, never to be seen again.
Daisy’s 999 work was extremely useful.
She’s currently training with her village group as a volunteer community first responder.
“I saw how hard they work and how we all need more ambulances and more crews,” she says.
“As a writer, from a human point of view, you are always picking up bits and pieces, but as an ambulance 999-call handler, you are talking to people in the worst moments of their lives. A loved-one might be dying. It is a huge honour and a privilege to be part of that, but also it is something that as a writer you absorb. It is a huge responsibility, and you have to learn to deal with it.
“You have to have a certain level of professionalism. You cannot get too involved, but at the same time, if you are not affected by it, you should not be doing it. You have got to be able to have that connection and that empathy.”
In the book, 15 years ago Ellen Smith vanished from the woods near her small Welsh village. Eight people were in the woods that night: eight splintered lives, eight people hiding a terrible secret. But who can remember the truth?
Now, Ellen’s best friend, Detective Ava Cole is all grown up and back in the village where it all began, and everyone is asking the same question. What really happened to Ellen?
“My father-in-law who very sadly passed away a couple of years ago grew up in South Wales, in the valleys, and he used to describe what it was like. It was quite fascinating that he loved it and he hated it. It was extremely difficult to get work and very, very hard, if you grew up in South Wales, to get out of South Wales. And that was the starting point for the book.”
Daisy’s father-in-law grew up there at a time of no opportunities, and he was desperate to escape, but his love for the country persisted his whole life.
The book is full of his memories and is dedicated to him.
“I always knew it was going to be in South Wales. I also always knew that Ava would suffer from post-natal depression. That was something I wanted to explore, the fact that Ava is now a detective and has lived in Los Angeles and worked in Los Angeles and has come back to the village of her childhood where all sorts of awful things happened.”
Daisy wanted to show what was under her toughness.
“I had not really thought about my post-natal depression until I thought about this book. I don’t think I realised how bad it was. Looking back, I think ‘Why didn’t I ask for help?’
“But I think for a lot of women asking for help would be like an admission of weakness, that they are not a very good mother. But I was lucky. I had a very supportive partner, but with Ava, I wanted to take it a stage further…”
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