Author takes write approach during partner's ill health

Bruce Harris. Picture: Richard Nash Photography

East Devon author Bruce Harris found solace in novel-writing when his partner was diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease - Credit: Archant

East Devon author Bruce Harris found solace in novel-writing when his partner was diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease.

Bruce’s book, Gemini Day, was published by The Conrad Press on September 3.

Bruce explains: ‘My partner Anthony’s illness was diagnosed while Gemini Day was being written. I think it would be fair to say that it turned what was until then a relatively casual occupation into something with a greater sense of purpose in both our lives.

"Huntington’s Disease is a difficult condition to come to terms with, because there is no known cure or even recommended course of treatment. I felt that if I didn’t find some definite aim or purpose, I would struggle to hold my life together while my partner’s illness deteriorated. Writing has the effect of steadying me and keeping me afloat both mentally and physically."

Although it's not a particularly lengthy book, Gemini Day took Bruce six years to complete, partly because of distractions with his partner's illness and other projects, but also because it needed a fair bit of background research and thinking about.

Gemini Day is about a transatlantic love affair between two journalists, Bob Adkin from London and Ruth Eagel from Boston, USA. They meet in 1937 in the anarchic context of the Spanish Civil War.

We follow them and their family through the traumatic 20th century from 1937 to 1967, including the London Blitz, Pearl Harbour, liberating the concentration camps, McCarthyite America, the Hungarian Revolution and the Vietnam War.

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‘Gemini’ refers to their first two children, born on the same day, one their natural daughter Susannah and the other a Spanish boy, Rafael, orphaned on the death of his wounded mother.

Gemini Day is Bruce’s second novel, but his ninth book, following five short story collections, three poetry collections and Bruce’s debut novel Howell Grange.

Gemini Day is the rollercoaster epic of an Englishman and an American woman who meet and fall in love in the Spanish Civil War. They are both journalists forced to flee to southern France. In an old farmhouse, Ruth gives birth to their child, Susannah, on the same day as a fugitive Spanish woman shot by Nationalists gives birth to a son and dies almost immediately.

Ruth and her husband Bob adopt the boy and call him Rafael after his murdered father. They name the day when their children were born as Gemini Day, and the story tracks the Gemini Days of the future.

Bruce  began writing in 2006 after a career in teaching and educational research. A consistent record of success in short story and poetry competitions has enabled him to publish five short story collections and three poetry collections. Gemini Day is his second novel. For personal reasons, he is donating his income from this book to the Huntington’s Disease Association.

Gemini Day by Bruce Harris (RRP £9.99) is published by The Conrad Press and can be ordered from Amazon and all good bookshops.

All Conrad Press books are also available to buy from The Conrad Press website: www.theconradpress.com


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