Torn Blog Tour: Researching Afghanistan…

Hello and welcome to the last stop on the Torn blog tour! Today author David Massey is joining us here at Books, Biscuits and Tea to talk about his research methods for his debut novel, Torn. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and I can’t recommend it enough! If you like young adult fiction (or if you’re looking for a gripping adventure) you might want to give it a try. If you missed my review on Monday, you can read it by clicking here. And without further ado, please welcome David Massey!

Researching Afghanistan…

I did think of going but… there’s a war on. Fortunately though I’ve been privileged enough to have travelled to Africa, Europe and America and to Romania just as the revolution was ending. I think that gave me a feel for how young people are caught up in wars and conflicts too. In Timisoara, the two teenage sons of our contact had just got back from digging up some of their family who had been killed in the uprising and they showed us the very graphic video they were making so that the rest of the world would hear about what they were going through. Guns were still being fired at night although nobody seemed to know who was shooting, or why, now that the revolution was over. As we were leaving the town we met a young boy who took us to see the doorway where his friends and family were gunned down when they were demonstrating in the town square.

In Bucharest, we met a man who told us that the storming of the palace only started when the children rushed up the steps of Ceausescu’s palace. The adults, he told us, were too frightened. It took the kids to start the surge forward to storm the line of soldiers.

Torn by David MasseyRunning an emergency supplies business gave me an insight into some of the medical kit Elinor might need as an army medic. Things like Israeli bandages for serious trauma and gels that expand to fill entry and exit wounds like the one Ellie uses in the mountains… And for everything else I needed to research? All I can say is thank God for YouTube. I spent hours watching videos shot by soldiers, medics and documentary makers in Afghanistan.

Thank you David! If you’re interested in David’s work, make sure to stop by his author page, or purchase a copy of Torn. :)


  1. says

    The war in Afghanistan… That’s a whole debate by itself. :p It’s a shame you couldn’t go, but your other experiences sound as though they provided enough research. Your visit to Timisoara, in particular, sounds so sad and touching!

    YouTubing is fun, and the fact that there ARE videos that helped you is quite upsetting… Not BECAUSE they helped you, but because these things happened in the first place.

    The novel itself sounds so great, I’ve read so many raving review for it! Big thanks to David for writing this, and Vicky for hosting. (:

    • David Massey says

      Thanks for the comments Ria – sorry it’s taken me so long to respond. It is a shame I didn’t get to go, but in another way I’m pretty relieved! For my next novel I’m making sure that I get as hands-on as I can with the research so watch this space…

      Glad you’ve been hearing good things about TORN – it’s up for the Coventry Inspiration Awards and another national one which I can’t talk about yet.

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