Author Paul TN Chapman is a prolific writer with a robust website and several books currently found on Amazon. His latest, “THE SYDFIELD SPY,” brings to the forefront a subject rarely if ever addressed in espionage thrillers; PTSD. Chapman spent almost three decades working in the social service. He gained writing experience and honed a skill set that is not confined to any particular genre; Chapman can draw on a variety of life experiences to reflect upon when writing in various genres.
From the release:
“Hugo Bromley is the last of an old and very wealthy family. He is a spy and (unknown to his colleagues) an assassin. He is kidnapped, tortured, shot, and left for dead. A television newsreader discovers his bleeding body in a rainy alley, and destroys Hugo’s espionage career by revealing his identity to the world.
Wounded in body and mind, Hugo returns to the family estate in Sydfield, to pursue a ‘normal life’–but what is ‘normal’? Hugo’s work was always below the radar, and his identity whatever his Control wanted it to be.
Surrounded by new companions, Hugo relives parts of his past, and wrestles daily with PTSD. Between flashbacks, and memories of previous missions, Hugo’s present-day strengths and limits are tested by critical situations–a break-in at the Hall, a near-arrest, a massive flood, and chaos in the aristocrat’s household.
In the climactic finale, traumatic events are repeated, and Hugo’s life once again hangs in the balance.”
Chapman discussed “THE SYDFIELD SPY” with Chaospirations the day of it’s release.
“I have just finished writing ‘The Sydfield Spy’, which is my third novel. It concerns an intelligence officer, Hugo Bromley, who has been kidnapped, tortured, shot, and left for dead in an alley. His cover blown, he must develop a ‘normal’ life while dealing with the remnants of his past. You will read not only of some of his exploits as a spy and assassin, but of his struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, to which (you may be surprised to learn) spies are just as susceptible as anyone else.”
The concept is unique to have the protagonist of a spy thriller suffer from an affliction that millions of people suffer with on a daily basis. Chapman described why he presented the story of this unconventional hero.
“I like spies, and I thought writing a spy book would be fun. When I was in my adolescence in the 1960’s, spies in fiction were the rage. I have fond memories of Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin, and I’m still in love with Emma Peel. I thought it would be fun to write about espionage, which was my primary reason for writing the book.
My second reason was to describe life with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Despite everything that’s been written about PTSD, people remain incredibly clueless about an intensely chaotic and terror-fraught condition. Making PTSD a central element of the book gave me an opportunity to tell what it’s really like. As a person with physically and mentally disabling conditions, other people and their assumptions have always caused me more problems than the conditions themselves. This book addresses that.
I never was a spy, and an assassin only in fiction, so what I wrote about Hugo Bromley’s exploits are pure invention, although I was helped along the way by Clayton J Callahan’s book, ‘Armed Professions A Writer’s Guide’. I drew from many of my own PTSD experiences, so you can be sure those elements are realistic.”
How does the main character, Hugo Bromley, interact with other characters in the book?
“[He] has a privileged background, a daring past, and a realistic present. Many of the characters who surround him support him as he works to develop something he’s never had before–a normal life in a world not of spies. He has some startling secrets which contribute to his difficulties. Of course, there are villains in the cast of characters–where would an espionage novel be without them?”