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The Story Behind the Story

Updated: Oct 1, 2023

When Kate Delaney interviewed me on The America Tonight radio show, she asked me what a physical education teacher, living in Sydney was doing writing historical fiction novels about 16th century Yorkshire. It was almost as If I had trodden into somebody else's backyard by mistake and needed to get out before somebody spotted me. Well, to be honest sometimes I feel that way too.

Jimmy Brown, the author's father
Jimmy Brown, the author's father

It all started about twenty years ago when I was living up in Mackay, Queensland. My father Jimmy Brown and I were having a few quiet beers in the Australian, a pub that he used to frequent when he drove in from the bush. I simply asked him where our family came from, little did I know that this one simple question was to ignite a flood of emotion in him.

"All from Yorkshire," He replied abruptly while taking a gulp from his pot glass.

I waited for more, but it didn't come, obviously wanting to change the subject he turned to the bartender and asked for two more pots of XXXX, the beer he drank copious amounts of in the hot and thirsty climate of north Queensland.

"Is that it?" I asked stubbornly.

He took another gulp of XXXX, took a deep breath and turned to me, "LLL-look he said with his deep stuttering, guttural voice keep this to yourself, but my mother and father weren't married."

"That doesn't matter," I replied, "Happens all the time these days!"

He went on to say that my real name is Rushworth and I have cousins living up around Denholme in Yorkshire. He recounted the story of how his father, a British Army career man and his mother Marie Ethel Brown had met, fallen in love and had him. Of course, talk of the past started to evoke emotions that he hadn't had for some time, so a small tear started to well in the bottom of his eyelid. He smiled that bright white smile that his bush tan accentuated, and rubbed his eye as if something had been caught in it. He took a deep breath and turned to the bartender and ordered two more beers.

Well, all this impassioned talk of a harrowing family love story and long lost cousins in Yorkshire left me begging for more. Patience wasn't my best virtue, but I knew my dad and any further prying would have resulted in a familiar proclamation:

Knowing better, I reserved any further enquiry until another time. It was, however worth the wait as hearing about how Dad's father got busted down to a corporal while stationed in India is a story worth waiting for.

Paul Rushworth-Brown is the author of two novels:

Skulduggery- An exciting, mysterious, fictional and historically accurate adventure pulls no punches about the life and hardships of peasant farmers living on the moors of Yorkshire in 1590.

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