Writing projects

2017 Update… Writing to a Ghost became Surviving the Death Railway: A POW’s Memoir and Letters from Home and was published by Pen and Sword last June.

Threadgold Press (my baby) is now in the final throes of publishing a scholarly work by Edwin Green, Calling London: Travels by British Bankers 1904–1963This is due in June this year – hence my poor attendance on my blog.


I did re-start work on Jeannie/Milor’ but… I know I will have to take a blog recess to make any real progress.


I really have had my eye off the ball. This is a year out of date! here is a quick update.

On December 5th 2014 I published Border Line

Border Line is a novel about eleven people who all want to quit life. They find someone on the Internet who promises to help them, but they have first to spend three weeks with him in Slovenia. To their surprise some of them learn to live again, some even to love.

I like first to write a good-read story, but I always have issues that interest me as well. In this case I wanted to look at how decent people deal with guilt. I am also a passionate advocate of the idea that we should be able to choose when we die.

I have two other writing projects still on the go.

Writing to a Ghost: Letters to the river Kwai 1941-1945 is a non-fiction project. I have access to exciting contemporary sources – letters and diaries. I also have the memoirs of the Far Eastern Prisoner of War (FEPOW) who wrote some of the letters. Perhaps even more exciting are the letters of around 70 women from all walks of life describing their experience of living without any news of their sons or husbands for three and a half years. All these sources, along with the letters from some of the men who survived, have been put together to make a chronological story of how relationships survived between the men on the Thailand-Burma railroad and their families back home.

(This book is a full draft. There are so many different voices that the layout needs a professional editor, but getting near one is proving very hard work. I am open to reshaping the project, but I would love to get this material out to interested bodies.)

Jeannie or Milor’ is a fiction project in its infancy. An enigmatic, middle-aged, female music impresario, becomes the research subject of a young man living with a spinal injury…

I am now concentrating on Writing to a Ghost.

There are three published novels, A Small Rain, Unseen Unsung and Border Line. See my website http://www.hilarycustancegreen.com

19 thoughts on “Writing projects

    • I’m a jack of all trades, but writing is what I do these days. The POW book is written – or rather compiled as I have used mostly my father’s memoirs and my parents and others’ letters from the period. The problem is publication. I will do it myself if necessary, but I’d rather have a mainstream publisher if possible.

  1. Hi Hilary – you’ve given so many kind comments on my blog recently and I’m sorry for not coming back again sooner and looking at your writing. It’s truly wonderful the concept for Writing to a Ghost. My dear friend (now a professional writer) said it’s a good idea to have two projects running at the same time to keep fresh – I think your example where you have one fiction and one non-fiction would be very wise. I imagine the different rigour and the styles of writing can bounce off each other, perhaps with interesting results.

    • You are absolutely right. My first novel was written at the same time as my (scientific) PhD. I had to learn the difference between the short, clean route of the academic argument and the bloom-filled garden path of fiction. My thesis gained a bit more life and my fiction became a littler clearer. The POW project is somewhere between the two.

  2. These all sound wonderful, and interesting. I hope a publisher takes you on soon and wish you the best. I didn’t even consider traditional when I published. I was eager to get the story out there. I don’t know why I had such a sense of urgency, but then the Travon Martin/George Zimmerman thing hit, and I was glad it was done.

    • Thank you for this comment. I seem to be three years late responding to this! I got lucky and the Far East POW book was published this year by a niche mainstream publisher Pen & Sword, under the more mundane title Surviving the Death Railway; A POW’s Memoir and Letters from Home (but I use the title Writing to a Ghost when I give talks!). My novels are self-published. I agree it is quicker and you keep control.

  3. Your writing projects sound really interesting. I particularly like Border Line and it seems that you’ve gone quite far with it. I kind of disagree with your I should not play until I have finished the last task, I think you can do it simultaneously. And maybe having fun with Jeannie or Milor ‘ will put you in the “right energy” to find a home for the other two projects. Just a thought.

  4. Thanks so much Carol. I do agree that multiple projects can feed off each other. I have just been doing yet another rework on Border Line after some excellent advice from my daughter. I have also managed to do some work on Jeannie, but I admit to feeling rather thinly spread with three writing projects. I have set a date in April to start the self-publishing process. I am determined that two will be published by Christmas, though as you will know, being a publisher is very time-consuming. It helps to know there are like minds out there.

  5. Have you thought about making your books available as e-Books? I had my novel converted, almost as an after thought, but find I sell 4 times as many e-Books than print ones.

    How is “Writing to a Ghost ” coming? Sounds so interesting and I would love to read it when it is done. (My father was shot down in the Burmese jungle in WWII and fortunately was not captured as a POW, but spent months recovering from the ordeal.)

    • I converted my second novel, Unseen Unsung, to an ebook last July and my recent one, Border Line, came out as both print and ebook simultaneously this last December. I must update this info… ah me, so many things I want to do and not enough time. I am working hard on what I hope is a final revision of Writing to a Ghost. Though getting to publication may still take a long while. (A Place in the World is on my iPad, I’ll get there, but the list is long.)

  6. Really looking forward to reading Writing To A Ghost, as a Grandson of a POW from 27 Line Section having the knowledge from Hilary has been very insightful for my family and myself.

    • Hello Craig, it is so exciting for me to make contact with the families of 27 line Section men. My father often talked about them and taught us great respect for them. I have just sent a draft of the manuscript off to a couple of readers. I’m afraid it is still a long way off publication but after they have read it I could send you a simple PDF of it as it stands at the moment.

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