This week marks the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’s birth. He was a writer most of us have read as some point, or seen his books dramatized or listened to an audio of his works. So apart from taking a great pleasure in joining in with the virtual celebrations, I’m holding one of my own. Here at my workplace, with the blink and wink of technology around me, I sit quietly, thinking of this great man. The body of mouth-watering stories he gave us is vast. I concentrate on one, Great Expectations, and visualize Pip and his meeting with the convict, Abel Magwitch, on the marsh. This was always my favourite scene, before the book got going. And I’ve drawn from the “feeling” many times, as I’ve written The Baddie. Millions of writers, actors and dramatists have done the same as I and I’ll wager that Charles Dickens has been recalled by the power of thought to this earth, so frequently, that he now treads a red ethereal carpet to our minds, souls and spirits. So today, I’m thanking him for being such a great mentor. He wrote with gut instinct and that’s what I admire and envy the most. Pip had trust in a man he hardly knew. The Baddie who was to change his life after only a short but unforgettable meeting. This trust was the premise of an incredible story. Pip also placed his trust in a young woman, Estella, who, haunted by her past, was in danger of becoming a Baddie. However, through love and compassion, the Baddie is transformed and brought into the light. So Charles, thank you for this one aspect of the written word that had helped me through many dark hours of plot construction. So much more of course in his writing, to be grateful for. But, with the book I shall have published this year in May, The Baddie returns in EAST END JUBILEE. Like Dickens’s heart-stoppingly brilliant character of the lost convict, I create Eddie Weaver, husband to young Rose and devoted father, as a man seeking to make his family’s life better, but unable to stick to the letter of the law. And now I’m smiling as I close this blog. I’m just a rookie at all this stuff and can’t hold a candle to the Great Man’s thinking. But I do have access to my imagination and like to believe it is there that we meet and discuss all The Baddies down the ages. Once again, Happy birthday Charles Dickens. And thank you.