Location Inspiration - Such Crooked Wood
Did you know there’s an indoor climbing wall in a converted Victorian water pumping station in London? Although I’ve only been once around 15 years ago, the unique location made an impression on me. Couple that with a throwaway line in Victoria Wood’s dinnerladies about an old church being used as a carpet shop and you’ve got the inspiration behind one of the vivid settings in my upcoming novel Such Crooked Wood.
A church converted into a workshop is the home of my protagonist Lily (read more about her in this post). I’ve seen churches transformed into all sorts of things, including another climbing wall and various shops. Still, whether you’re religious or not, every church retains some sense of its original majesty, and I wanted to convey that in Lily’s workspace.
Along with the church, another notable setting in Such Crooked Wood is the bar where Lily spends most of her evenings. The layout and style of Spectrum is closely modelled on one of my favourite pubs in Yorkshire - the Victorian Craft Beer Cafe in Halifax. Anyone who’s been there will recognise certain elements, but mostly what I wanted to convey was how welcoming the place is.
As ever, the background to my novel is about as Yorkshire as you can get. That said, a couple of the characters are from the wrong side of the hills, much like my good wife. There’s nothing inherently wrong with being from Lancashire - it’s about as close to Yorkshire as you can get.
In all seriousness, Such Crooked Wood wouldn’t be the same if the characters and story were transplanted anywhere else. Yorkshire’s as woven into the fabric of the novel as the church and the bar are embedded into Lily’s life. It can’t be any other way.
Such Crooked Wood will be released on Thursday 23 April and is available for Kindle pre-order now.