Sunday, 13 December 2020

Easbury Green

 One of the first decisions I made about Easbury Green was that it was going to be a substantial novel. My two previous books had been quite short, each something less than 50,000 words and I felt I wanted to get my teeth into a project more like Passing Unseen or A Distinctive Flourish.

At the same time, I also wanted to see if I could rise to the challenge of telling a story most of which would take place in a relatively small geographical area. That would remove the luxury of a range of far-flung locales. It would also mean creating characters that could fulfil a number of different roles in the story, just as the casts of television soap operas live through a much larger range of situations than real people in such a community would experience. Haven’t most people in Britain smiled at the number of wives, fiancĂ©es and girlfriends Ken Barlow has had during the 60 years Coronation Street has been broadcast?

Easbury Green is an imaginary village in West Sussex. In medieval days the area near where I’ve sited it was in one of two ‘hundreds’ West Easwrith and East Easwrith. In the way that names evolve over 500 years, that's led me to the fictitious name for my village and the title of my novel. 

I’ve opened my story in the spring of 1415. That may lead students of Shakespeare or English history to think they have discovered a clue to my story but let me assure them, it’s partly a red herring and partly something that emerges only in the final chapter!

In fact, most of the story takes place in the latter half of the 20th century. I chose that period because within its confines many English villages like Easbury Green underwent far-reaching changes and it's the story of the people who lived through those times that I've told in my novel.

Finally, a word about my books that is particularly relevant to Easbury Green. A number of my kind readers have commented that my stories often involve a large cast of characters. Some have told me that if they come back to one of my stories after a pause in reading, they sometimes have difficulty recalling who particular characters are. To help overcome this difficulty I’ve started including a cast of characters at the end of my books. My hope is that I've not inadvertently revealed any plot details.