The inspiration for A Single Breath

On the release of her second book, A Single Breath, Dr Amanda Apthorpe discusses what inspired the novel.

It’s strange how something so easily overlooked can provide the catalyst for an idea that grows and grows. I refer to a small article on page 10 in a newspaper several years ago, in which a male obstetrician was exonerated following the death of one of his patients.

Of all the articles in that paper, why did this particular one catch my eye?What mood was I in that caused me to tear it out and file it away?

I don’t know the answer, but that article prompted the writing of A Single Breath.

I pondered for days how that doctor, the caretaker of life’s first moments, must have felt when the otherwise healthy mother-to-be died of asphyxiation. But I also found myself wondering how the female-dominated profession of midwifery gave rise to such a male-dominated profession of obstetrics?

What followed was a fascinating journey through the history of midwifery and obstetrics and a contemplation of what a woman might compromise to break into that profession.

A PhD thesis and a journey to the Greek island of Kos, followed. As a result, Dana, the central character in A Single Breath was ‘constructed’, but as I followed her, and her sister Madeleine across the world, she became more than a vehicle to address some of these issues that the newspaper article had prompted.

Dana took on an independent life from me, and I found myself marvelling at her strength and despairing for her sanity. This is the strange phenomenon for writers of fiction. How can a character you created live independently from your own mind? Of course, rationally, this can’t happen, but then again, where do we draw the line between the rational and the non-rational?

Such is Dana’s dilemma in A Single Breath.

A Single Breath can be ordered from all good bookstores or order online from Amazon in ebook and print.