Hate is poison - that’s the message of a former Ribble Valley man’s heart-wrenching novel inspired by his own family troubles.
And for Malcolm McGowan (Cowen), formerly of Waddington and Brockhall Village, hate has never devastated the world quite as powerfully as during the Holocaust.
And so the 69 year-old is revealing the atrocities of the genocide in his novel, Broken Lives, to teach children about the terrible impact of prejudice.
“It’s a way to tell them we shouldn’t turn on other people because they are different,” he said.
For, as he added: “We all bleed. And we all hurt.
“But during the Holocaust, the church and the world looked on and nothing was done about it.
“The same issues are happening today. You see it on TV - religious groups are being targeted. I’d like to go into schools and use the story to talk about it.”
While the tale follows a family’s attempt to escape persecution, it’s just as much about the power of love. It’s something Malcolm glimpses in everyday life and has poured into his work.
“In my granddaughter’s class at school, children were helping a disabled boy,” he said, “but he could have been excluded. It’s a lovely picture of how we should be.”
It’s a lesson the author knows all too well. While his relationship with his stepfather was rocky growing up, he ultimately found strength in family.
“I never knew my own father. I was two when I last saw him so I was brought up by my mother.
“I hated my stepfather at first but then I came to love him and cried at his funeral. It was my mother’s love that got me through all that.”
For Malcolm, it was a powerful and personal lesson about prejudice. It’s why he’s so keen to use fiction to help children learn how to step into other people’s shoes and understand their struggles.
And one reader’s reaction says it all.
“A lady at church cried when reading the first chapter, as she’s got a little one and she said she imagined herself in the family’s situation.
“The story is traumatic but hopefully if parents read it to their children it will bring them closer together.”
Still, shining through the book’s caverns of despair is a real grit.
“I hope it will give children determination in life to deal with their troubles,” Malcolm added.
“Because no matter what happens, you have to carry on.”
To purchase Broken Lives, please visit www.troubador.co.uk