AS A child, Becky Curtis Jones wasn't allowed into her garden, for fear she might fall into the hands of terrorists.

The 74-year-old who lives in Stockbridge, but she spent a significant part of her childhood living through the Malayan Emergency, a war between guerillas and colonialists.

Becky and her family moved to the region just as the conflict broke out, in 1948, as her father worked for a company which ran rubber plantations.

"It was very colonial," says the grandmother of four.

"Whites were seen as supreme amongst the colonialists, and everywhere we went – school, swimming pools, clubs and so on were whites only."

Becky's family had six servants, including a Chinese nanny, who she has made the central character in her her debut thriller, which has been released through Amazon.

Becky's novel is fiction, but it is grounded deeply in the history of the time, both of the region and of her own family history, and members of her own family, including herself, feature as characters in the story.

She says that it was quite a frightening time. She was just five when her family moved to the region, and the family stayed there for five years.

"We were very aware of the war," she says.

"Two of my father's friends were killed by terrorists and he was issued with a gun. We were driven around in an armoured car and when my mother drove she wore a headscarf, because whites were often targets. My brother, who is three years older than me, and I were very aware of the conflict, although not the politics behind it. But we knew that there was a conflict between soldiers and police and people who were mostly Chinese and were in the jungles. The jungle was kind of an ogre place, it wasn't somewhere we would ever go to.

"It was quite frightening for us as children and I think my mother was scared for us."

Becky says that although she was brought up with very colonial attitudes, she has left them in her past and has come to sympathise far more with the Communists who were fighting against British forces, which is a factor in why her novel, The Rain in Pahang, is written from the perspective of a Communist agent.

"My book is about the colonial attitudes of the time, emphasised by telling the story of the guerrillas from the communist perspective and how the war came about," says Becky.

“From their point of view it was British incompetence in World War II which led to the Japanese occupation and the subsequent chaos.

“I learned how the guerrillas operated from reading the leader Chin Peng’s version of events.

“I also discovered that Agent Orange, the herbicide used by the Americans in Vietnam with tragic consequences, was developed by the British and first used by them in the Malayan Emergency, spraying guerilla crops.

“It was called by the guerrillas ‘death rain’ – and hence my title The Rain in Pahang."

Becky, who worked for the foreign office before she was married, and went on to work as an HR manager within the NHS later on in her career, says she had always wanted to write about Malaya, and that her resolve to do so had been firmed up when, after her mother's death, she found detailed notes that she had kept about her time there.

Becky's mother was quite an unusual character. She developed an interest in racing, and was the first woman to race in the Johore Grand Prix. She went on to fly Tiger Moth planes, and when Becky went through her papers, found that her mother had made 'pay drops', flying low over rubber plantations to drop pay packets for the workers from the air, as the guerilla fighters often ambushed the Jeeps that had been taking the wages previously.

Becky found a flying map with notes written on it, such as places where there was a greater danger of being shot down.

"I think it was quite dangerous, but she obviously enjoyed doing it," says Becky.

Becky's mother also worked for the Special Branch of the police.

"I remember being taken to where she worked and being taken down to the prisons, where they were holding a young woman. I don't know why I was shown that. I was only around six at the time, so it seems fairly ridiculous."

After Becky's mother's death, she began looking up news stories that had been written at the time about her mother, and came across other stories from the time, that caught her interest, such as crops being sprayed with 'death rain'.

She went onto research the era more, including reading the autobiography of Ching Pen and became increasingly uncomfortable with Britain's behaviour leading up to and during the war.

"The Communists had been left to fight against the Japanese in World War II and had led the resistance, and after the war, they felt they should have a say in government, but were clamped sown on, so there was a lot of anger," she says.

"They were looking to be a legitimate political force but were outlawed.

"It hasn't been difficult for me to see the other perspective on the time," she says.

"These days, most people recognise that the colonial times weren't our finest hour.

"Of course, the terrorists did some terrible things, but the British were just as barbarous."

Becky, who has always written stories for her family and self-published two books previously, says that she wrote this story partly for her family but also to tell the story of the Mayan Emergency from the Communist perspective.

The novel has had a lot of interest, reaching number nine in Amazon's political novel charts.

She hopes her story will help tell an often hidden story: “I think it’s important to help get the Communist side out there, as it’s not widely known.”