This week marks the one year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting, in which 49 people were killed and 58 others were wounded in Florida, USA. It was the worst mass shooting in American history.

A hundred years ago another such attack took place in America, except this was carried out with a bomb.

In 1927 in the small town of Bath, Michigan, American farmer Andrew Kehoe killed 43 people, including 38 children, by blowing up the main school building in the town during classes.

He was later discovered to have murdered his wife at his home the previous day, as well as two horses and other animals on his farm.

Writer Andy Regan, who grew up in Chelsea but now lives a “stone’s throw” away from Alexandra Park, is exploring this historical event in his debut book The Stars Move Still.

Spanning the late 19th century and into the middle of the twentieth century, the book centres on both real and fictional characters, some of whom narrate sections of their own stories.

The 49-year-old explains why the novel took six years to write and why developing fictional characters felt like the best way to tell the story…

Why did you write the book?

Years ago a seemingly senseless school massacres took place, at Sandy Hook Elementary School. In the shooting, on December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut, 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children between six and seven years old, as well as six adult staff members.

The question of how they originated arose - why would someone target the most innocent of victims and what did they think they were achieving? Like so many of our generation I delved into Wikipedia and discovered what remains the worst school massacre in US history, 90 years on.

I knew nothing about the central events and what gripped me from the start were two aspects. Firstly that the murderer and the murderer’s crimes were so different to what we now expect for such a horrific event: no terrorist involvement and of course no drug-addled teenager on a shooting spree.

That the crime was so carefully planned answered the how, if not in full the why. There is evidence of motive but nothing as detailed as an explanation to anyone with an ounce of humanity. Secondly, I was fascinated by the community at the time - it was a small town thrust into the national spotlight.

One of the “firsts” for a news event at the time was the use of round trip planes sent from New York to take photos that appeared in the next day’s nationwide press. Did the community see the event coming? Could it be stopped? The 1920s resonates particularly - the sadness of looking back to a generation who must have thought the worst of atrocious warfare was behind them.

Is it the first book you’ve written?

Yes this is my first book. It took six years to write it all, with a three and a half year gap in the middle when it was put to one side due to work commitments. Then 18 months ago I re read the first sections and decided to rewrite what I’d drafted then complete the rest. Perhaps I’d been stuck first time by focusing on the central event, so developing fictional characters in the community appeared the best way to tell the story, not least by avoiding writing too much about the real victims.

Where did your passion for writing begin?

As a teenager I wrote poems, song lyrics and short stories. Some were good, some not so much. The issue was often developing them from a simple idea to something more substantial. But I always knew I’d write a book at some stage.

Is writing your full time job?

Not at all. I’m a lawyer and have just left an in-house job. I’ll probably continue in law in some way after a break this summer. I also run a Kumon education centre in Enfield which I really enjoy. On top of that, I manage meetings between supporters and senior staff and directors at a Premiership club that isn’t in north London. Let’s just say I like to stay busy!

Will you write any more books?

Definitely. Having once said one would do it, I’m itching to start writing again, probably in the next couple of weeks. The next will most likely be contemporary - having written a historical account of an event in America, I don’t want to worry about substituting “math” for “maths” again in a hurry.

The Stars Move Still is available to buy on Amazon.