ABOUT OFF DUTY

THE DEBUT NOVEL FROM BEX KILBURN

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One of the unusual things about this book is that it didn't start out as a book at all.

In the spring of 2018, I had access to three important things - a police uniform, a warehouse in Basildon, and a crew of people mad enough to enjoy making horror films at the weekend with me. So, from one Friday evening as the warehouse closed down for the weekend, to the early hours of Monday morning when the first delivery arrived, we shot a story about a young female police officer who could talk to ghosts. 

In the coming weeks, as the story came together in the edit, a few things became clear. Firstly, ware­houses make for great horror settings, and police officers are a pretty great starting point if you need a hero, a villain, or just someone likely to be poking their nose around in a dark warehouse. Secondly, the eight-minute film we just made was nowhere near long enough to do the idea justice. 

And so, even as the short film began screening around the world at horror festivals, the longer version of Off Duty was born. However, even as I started typing away at a full-length screenplay, I knew deep down that trying to get fund­ing for a debut feature film would be nearly impossible. I had spent years making projects with whatever resources I had to hand, telling stories simply for the enjoyment of it - so I would be hard-pressed to persuade someone to hand over a large budget. 

That’s when I finally realised why I was making films in the first place – all I wanted was to tell a good story, and get that story out where an audience could enjoy it. As someone who believes that no room is complete without a generous sprinkling of books, the answer was obvious – in prose, I could get my story to readers around the world. 

I would love to think that one day Off Duty will make its way back onto the big screen, this time in all its full-length glory. But right now, I couldn’t be happier to finally have something of my own that I can stuff onto my groaning bookshelves. 

I really hope you enjoy it. 

Bex Kilburn

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