It was meant to be a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. Nicola was working hard as an English teacher in Japan; she desperately needed a holiday. A long weekend with her boyfriend, Akira, and two other friends, Mai and Masashi, seemed ideal. The four of them would travel by Japan's safest form of transport, the shinkansen ('bullet train'), before boarding a ferry for the trip across to the quiet island of Sado. However, Nicola and her friends could never imagine that they would become caught up in a hijacking. Why would someone want to hijack this train? How would Nicola and her friends respond to being on a hijacked train? Would the police be able to catch those responsible? Hijacking Japan follows events in a real-time format during a dramatic day that threatens to bring the Japanese government to its knees.
When I started writing this book, I set myself a number of challenges. One of these was to avoid having the book lurch from one piece of action to another. Often in books, car chases, for example, only last a few lines, whilst they are said to go on for several minutes. On the other hand, a 'short' conversation may go on for several pages. To address this, I set a word per minute equivalence for the main chapters. If you read at 170 words per minute, you will find each chapter moves forward in 'real time' (although not every activity within that chapter will be correct in how long it takes). It's not perfect as the system assumes no variation in the speed people talk at, for example. Likewise, it doesn't take account of different lengths of words. It also led to the book becoming over 150,000 words long - the equivalent of about 500 pages - which is double the length of many novels. But I hope that the way these chapters are written adds a degree of realism which readers will enjoy.
Hijacking Japan is available in two versions; the original version and a clean version. The overall storyline is the same, but some changes have been made to the clean version to remove contents which may not be suitable for those under the age of about 15. There is also a third, adult version, of the book, but there are no plans to release this as yet.
Hijacking Japan is available as an ebook and paperback. Here are some links to sites where you may want to get a copy from:
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