The Finishing Touches

Bognor Beach

After two years writing my first psychological thriller I have finally reached the end, though looking back, it seems hard to believe it was in 2015 when the idea of this story first came to me. 

Inspiration

Walking the dog along the beach, reflecting on stuff in the news, I would occasionally stop to chat to a group of homeless men in one of the beach shelters – but somewhere in my sub-conscious mind, the threads of a new idea were beginning to unwind.

A professional career woman whose life appears balanced.
A homeless man who has lost his way in society.
Two characters poles apart, yet friends who share memories; a year they met in a children’s home, a sinister place where a third friend went missing.

This weekend, I will be sending the complete draft off to an editor. I won’t reveal who yet, but let’s say, I am both anxious and excited. 

So today I took another walk along the seafront and happy I chose my home town, Bognor, as the setting for this book. This blog is about some of the places I have featured but with many more to add as I go…

The Waverley Pub

The Waverley Pub. Bognor Seafront

The Waverley provides the local watering hole for main characters Maisie, her friend Jess, and later Joe. With outside seating it faces the sea. It was also at the Waverley I interviewed Graham (see previous post) so it has a special meaning now and a place I would most love to hold my launch.

Waverley Pub opposite the sea in Bognor

Mamma Mia Italian

This friendly Italian restaurant (which lies within walking distance from us) is a venue where two characters feel a first spark. It offers a nice selection of pizza and pasta dishes and just around the corner for a Waverley.

Mamma Mia Italian restaurant in Aldwick

Bognor Beach

Like Maisie I am always taking photos of the beach in different seasons which I like to post on Instagram. Her feed would be very much like mine, as mentioned during a conversation in Mamma Mia.

“Beach shots are my favourite. The way the light shines at different angles, it changes the colour of the sea…”
Scrolling through her photos, he understood her passion; the calmness of the sea at dawn so still it shone like glass – a stark contrast to the next image, a thunderous black sky folding shadows into the waves as they went galloping over the breakwaters.

My Instagram feed, showing beach shots

It is one of my favourite places for walking, where no two photos are the same depending on the time of day, the tide and weather.

Seaside Apartments

At least Jess doesn’t have to walk very far and with her own seaside apartment, she resides only a couple of blocks from the Waverley. The seafront is lined with flats, so it could be any one of these.

Bognor Promenade

The white posts at the bottom of the road led to the prom, the blueness of the sea dazzling. Gulls sat like sentinels upon a column of breakwaters and today it was high tide. Glancing out to sea, I heard an explosion of froth as the waves hit the shore, the rattle of pebbles that followed.

A bit like today then… a refreshing breeze perfect for blowing the cobwebs out and I always like to revisit the places I write about.

White posts at the bottom of Victoria Drive leading to Bognor Promenade

What will do with myself when this book goes off for a professional edit I do not know. Thinking about promotion, arranging blog tours for reviews, wondering whether to approach a few publishers or agents… we’ll see.

In the meantime I hope everyone gets to enjoy Christmas and let’s hope 2021 will be a better year.

Riches and Rags, a Day Trip to #Brighton

Brighton is a town of Colour

Today’s post is a recapture of a recent trip to Brighton. I’ve been visiting this town since my early teens, in fact it was 1980 when I was first captivated by the quirkiness of The Lanes.

The Heart of Brighton, leading to The Lanes

Nowadays, I treat myself to a mooch around this lovely seaside town at least once a year. With an ever growing array of amazing shops and restaurants, it never fails to amaze me. Brighton has it all. Added to the cornucopia of clothes shops, I spotted a shop selling traditional sweets, another selling vegan sweets, there were bespoke cakes and macaroons in every colour of the spectrum… It seems impossible to imagine so many temptations, which leaves me wondering if there is anything left to invent.

A traditional sweet shop

Julien Plumart, Brighton

As for the choice of food… cafés and booths sell just about everything from homemade cookies to noodle bowls. Mexican, Spanish, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, I could go on forever listing the choice of eateries but I eventually stumbled across a little French Bistro; a traditional 13th Century Fisherman’s cottage tucked away in the oldest part of The Lanes. It offers an array of fresh seafood and shellfish but all I cherished was a tureen of fish soup. Warming and delicious it was packed with succulent fish and shellfish and a portion of rustic french bread, perfect for a light lunch.

D’arcys Restaurant in the Lanes

But a town blighted by Poverty

As I explored the streets, enjoying the decadence, I could not ignore the number of homeless people scattered around the town. Sadly, rising homelessness is the one regrettable downside of this age and this government conveniently choose to ignore it. It’s all too easy for people to say “get a job, lazy scroungers,” but the truth is NO ONE will employ a homeless person. To qualify for any type of work, you need a fixed abode. But how can anyone at rock bottom climb their way out of this trap? Rents in the south have quadrupled in the last six years but wages have not.

The reason for their plight is often more complicated than people think. Many turn to drugs and alcohol but in some way, I can empathise… No one chooses this existence and will surely turn to anything to numb the harsh reality behind their broken lives.

Graffiti in Brighton
Graffiti in Brighton (interpret this as you will)

I don’t want to end on a depressing note but I will finish my saying that in my next novel (a work soon to be in progress), one of the main characters will start off as a homeless man before the suspense gets rolling… and that’s all I’m saying.