I’ve been sharing background to the books I’ve published as paperbacks – all had been previously published as eBooks, but I belatedly realised they could become tree-books as opposed to e-books! I’ve only written one book set in a real location, and that’s ‘Flipside’ which is set in Oldham where I spent many very happy and lucky years working and then as a stay-at-home mum, then back to work! I made some marvellous friends, and have such wonderful memories of my time there – where I met and married my husband, and where my two children were born. I lived in the village of Lees, which has now become subsumed into the Pennine town, but it still retained its village-y feel.
The main action in ‘Flipside’ takes place in Lees, although I have created some extra buildings, a deserted mill called Spo Mill, a couple of extra pubs to add to the bevy of great public houses which actually exist there, an imaginary junior and secondary school and an extra Bangladeshi restaurant to complement the others already there in reality. I found it really difficult to write about a real place, interesting, but challenging. I was living there at the time, so I could prowl the streets and the cemetery and the disused railway line, now a lovely country walk.
‘Flipside’ was inspired by a man I noticed when I went to collect my car from a service; he worked in the garage and was on reception – he looked so sad, almost heartbroken in a stoic way, but his fellow worker who seemed also like a friend, was a jolly, lively, bouncy chap. I was fascinated by this couple of men who I only saw for a few minutes, and I couldn’t help wondering why one was seemingly so sad, and the other so jovial. The sad man became David, or Des, who was traumatised from incidents which happened while he was serving in the army in a special services corps in Bosnia. The other man was Kiran, a long-standing university friend; Kiran’s sister, Jaz comes to Oldham to a new job in my imagined secondary school in Lees, and she is the narrator of the story:
Jaz has moved from Bristol to be with her recently widowed brother; she is a teacher and she has moved from a high-flying head of faculty post in a top school to take a lowly temporary position in a challenging school in the north of England. She is up to the challenge, but she does not expect to find her life is in danger from a man who has already butchered three women; she has met the love of her life, but is he, could he possibly be, the murderer?
She discovers some brutal truths about her beloved brother, he seems on the verge of a breakdown, convinced there is a conspiracy surrounding his wife’s death… but where does he go on Fridays, and what does he do?
“I was alone, utterly alone. I thought I’d been brave running away from my life in Bristol, my friends and familiar places; I was pleased to be so daring and impetuous, and so certain of my love for David when our eyes had met in the Lees Spa Hotel. But I hadn’t taken him home and made love to him in order to enter a violent world of fear and hate and danger.”
Here is a link to the paperback ‘Flipside‘: