Which Yorkshire locations inspired Spiked?
Long-time readers will know that Yorkshire settings are at the heart of my novels. It’s not only the place I come from, Yorkshire is also the place I belong to. At the very least, there’s always going to be something connected to the Yorkshire landscape or urban areas in one of my books.
My seventh novel, Spiked, continues this trend.
The main action takes place in a fictional North Yorkshire town called Gabberley. It’s a small tourist location surrounded by countryside and with easy access to some spectacular walks. Like many places, however, there’s an underbelly the tourists don’t see and it can manifest itself in poverty, petty crime and seedy alleyways.
No single place inspired Gabberley, but I do remember being sat in a Costa Coffee in Otley several years ago looking across the road. It was a greyish day with not much going on and, as authors do, I started thinking about what the worst thing that could happen right that moment would be. I settled on a body falling out of the sky and, with that, the opening chapters of Spiked were born.
A real-life location does make a short appearance in the novel. Just as they do in the Valerie Series, journalist Stevie and her MP friend meet in Knaresborough for a chat. Whereas in Max the conversation took place with the viaduct in sight, the meeting in Spiked takes place in the comparative privacy of Bebra Gardens.
Last time the wife and I went to Knaresborough, we stumbled across Bebra Gardens. I didn’t know it existed until then, but it’s a quiet spot with some gorgeous colour during the right seasons. Out of the paddling pool season, though, it’s a great place for a quiet talk between friends.
You’ll have to read the novel to find out what Stevie and Valerie are talking about!
Spiked will be released on 22 May 2023 and is available for pre-order now.
It doesn’t have to read alongside the Valerie Series, but the first three books in that series are now available in a boxset.