Why I Wrote About A 21st Century Girl, Dracula And Turning Evil To Good By Paul Thomas

Today’s world of the “written word” is incredible for an old newspaper man like me. Digital, written on computers, read on E-books, influenced by social media, world reach, fake news, fact or fiction?

Paul Thomas

I was born in the days of quill pens! The start of the second world war when survival was the aim, no colour television, phones didn’t reach round the world, indeed barely around your own country. Let alone without wires – or mobiles. That world hadn’t been created.

My first job was as a cub reporter in the East End of London, in the days of the Krays, those gangster twins.

I didn’t go to university – but sure did get a degree in street wisdom thanks to the Krays and the male-dominated world of gangsters. But after three quarters of a century of productive life I am happy now to witness a time when women are (often, no usually) in charge.

And women, you are already top, dominating many markets – including writing books!

Having made it as a Fleet Street journalist (when that street had newspapers in it); then as a global publicist and film-maker, I wanted to write a book - perhaps my final words. In my 70s, and fiction rather than facts. What a change, what and a challenge!

Today, apart from a few past greats, a William Shakespeare and a Charles Dickens, well-known fiction authors today are usually female. Indeed the 2017 top ten literary fiction list featured only one male writer. And there is recognition that the vast majority of novels are written by women for women. This imbalance can be upsetting – particularly if, like me, you want to be a male writing fiction, let alone fantasy/romance.

But that was what I chose to write. And a book about a woman no less. Changing Colours set out to show good coming from evil over centuries of long-established prejudices.

My story is about Nicoleta, a young Transylvanian village girl who heard, at school, of Dracula’s legendary image and notoriety. She sets out to become world-famous (like him), turn her rags to riches and prove that some alleged evil types were not necessarily all evil! All in an exciting, romantic mixture of 15th and 21st century drama.

While my past as a reporter certainly has helped the world see the Krays as evil, in fact they brought some good to ordinary people’s lives by stopping gangsters from other areas. They kept their own criminals under control and probably “ruled” the East End better than the councils, perhaps even police, would otherwise have done in those days.

My book’s story shows women standing up for men. It also suggests Dracula, or Vlad the Impaler – the factual inspiration of Bram Stoker’s fictitious monster, in fact killed and sucked blood of the true enemies of his country, thereby protecting its citizens from death. For some that was good.

I created Nicoleta as the 21st century re-creation of Dracula’s wife Ilona who battles for his image – and does she turn evil to goodness?

She sings her way through early days; then works as a waitress and hostess – and yes, into entertaining men to earn – she does what she has to to get by. She heads for London, singing her way to success and meets a PR man who will really change her image and ambitions. Then she is fallen for by a strange peer, a wealthy Lord and on into more drama and a surprising ending. Is it a whole new future for Nicoleta? And is she finally in charge of her destiny?

Dinner x lots of friends at NBYC last night.  Some praised the book... And Christina Barron was super.  She scored me 12 out of 10 - and is only half way through Changing Colours.  You wait till the ending Christina (and Suzanne who is just starting it!). I tweeted the news,  it's produced lots of interest... Hurray!!!

Hi all. What a very special day yesterday. That lovely Meghan, good young Harry... And thoughts of his wonderful mum. Meghan's ma was moving too. Then to Brundall boat show - and guess what? Lots of people asking for n commenting on Changing Colours. Yes, keep it coming. Thanks again.

The more you investigate the fictitious Dracula, and the factual Vlad from the 15th century, apparent inspiration of the Bram Stoker vampire, the more you think.  

And my book Changing Colours, explores the possibility that Vlad’s second wife, Ilona, was believed to have sought goodness from his evil.  Did he kill thousands for the sake of it – or to defend his country?   And the prospect that Vlad, or Dracula, still exists today, be it in fact, or fiction, is also a challenging question.  

Today’s Nicoleta, or Ilona, also resembles Meghan Markle, remarkably closely.  Meghan came from a lowly background – Nicoleta too, created as a little Transylvanian village girl with an ambition to sing for world fame.  Like Meghan she embarks on a rags to riches trail… and the results are surprising.  But there is drama along the way… where will it all end?

Page in Daily Express yesterday on Krays during my East End reporting days 50-60 years ago. Provocative but included Changing Colours website. All comments welcome.