You can't write a book without doing your research. So, in the name of immersive writing I set off to sunny West Dorset, armed with laptop, notebooks and reading material (you can't write well unless you read well).
I wanted to share the experience of my time in Long Bredy, West Dorset, how I was inspired by the churches I visited, the council meetings I sat in on, and how speaking with the local vicar, ex-parish council members, headteachers, and attending fisherman's meetings gave me an (albeit limited) understanding of village life.
Click on the slideshow below for how This Green and Pleasant Land began...
Exploring the Village and Beyond
Babbels End – the fictitious village in which This Green and Pleasant Land is set – had to be a character in itself. The place is so integral to the way the story unfolds that I wanted to ensure it came to life for the reader.
There I am, below, carving wood in the barn that inspired the Nativity scene, and St Swithun's church was inspired by the one in the photograph. I'd look inside Long Bredy's church and sit for ages, reading the plaques and noting down details of the architecture to be used for when I eventually came to write the story proper.
There are flowers laid on the beach for someone who was caught in the tide and died, and it got me wondering about loss and the varying degrees of tragedy associated with it.
The theme of loss is interwoven into the story and forms a huge part of each character's growth and development.