It is a week since Under A Feathered Sky was published. In that time the book has been sold in the UK, the US and in Europe. It has also arrived in Kosovo, where it was hand-delivered to the Commander of the Kosovo Security Force, General Rahman Rama, by the UK Defence Adviser, Lieutenant Colonel Martin Browning RE. It was a proud moment, seeing the fruits of my labours in the hands of the man who had such a positive influence over the creation of the new force back in January 2009.
So how did I come to write this book?
When I returned from Kosovo in February 2009, the first thing I had to do was collect my kids from their primary school. I had just flown back to the UK, I was in a mess, and standing amongst the other parents at the school gates, mostly Mums who didn’t know me, I felt like an alien. Intensive military operational tours do that to you.
Back in September 2008, I realised within a few weeks of being in Kosovo that I was going to have to tell the story of what I was witnessing at some point. Throughout my tour I made copious notes, I kept personal and work diaries. Almost nothing happened without me writing it down.
When I returned to England, I immediately mapped out the chapters I was going to use for the book, and even started writing about some of the key events. But I quickly realised that the emotion was too raw; the sense of stress too pressing. I knew I had to stop, I was writing on pure adrenaline, and it was the best decision I made.
I didn’t open my laptop or look at any of the notebooks for another 6 years. It was in a small house in northern Portugal where the story you can read here really started to take shape. Writing retreats in the UK and again in Portugal, over the course of the next 5 years, finally delivered what you can read today.