Burntwood lad and old friend of the blog Stuart Cowley has been busy publishing his first book, which I’m really happy to see and very much looking forward to reading.
You’ll all know how important it is to me that local writing is promoted, and Stuart with his many, diverse contributions to the blog – from his memories of growing up at Chasewater, to his days in local radio and his involvement with local marching bands – has always been a writer with the talent to go much further than this blog, and I’m glad to see him doing so at last.
Stuart has written what looks to be a lovely and engaging historical novella which is already garnering rave reviews including a very favourable write up from the discerning David Evans, who never minces his words when it comes to book reviews!
The book cover and associated media have been a real collaborative effort between Stuart and a host of local talent and helpful historical folk Stuart co-opted from the online community – more of that in a subsequent post as that deserves a writeup all of it’s own!
Another old pal of the group, now resident in the US, Lisa Ashby has worked her video magic on the story and it’s really stunning – see the video below.
Stuart Cowley wrote:
I just thought it worth a mention that I’ve self-published a short novel called ‘Someone In Time’, a fictional story based around the true events of ‘Exercise Tiger’ In the Second World War.
In that exercise, many hundreds of American service personnel died on the beaches of Devon during what was a rehearsal for the actual D day landings.
It follows the lives of two friends from Columbus, Ohio, who join the Armoured division during the Second World War.
One makes it through the war, the other marries an English girl but is classed as ‘Missing in action’ following the exercise. His new bride also goes missing, just after the wedding.
There is speculation that they have turned their backs on everything and everybody to seek out a new life for themselves. In present day Devon the truth of what really happened to the couple, all those years ago, eventually comes to light.
This was the second of two screenplays that I’ve attempted over the years since about 2001. The first being a chase comedy set in the late 70s. Encouragement I received from a UK Film council initiative at the time, inspired me to write this second project.
I soon learned that it’s all very well coming up with ideas but it’s difficult to know where to go with them when finished. The only hope you have of progressing with anything is if you have a spare 5 million or your name is Richard Curtis, or both. So over the years they’ve been in and out of the loft, sat at the BBC writers room, dead in the water.
Just before Christmas I heard a radio interview on an author who had been in the same position and had decided to turn a screenplay in to a novel and self-publish. He now does that full time and is very successful. So over the winter months, I thought I’d have a go at my second project.
It has to be said at this point that some words of praise from yourself about my writing quality on an article that I’d written for the blog also gave me the confidence to proceed. Amazing what a few words of encouragement will do. A lesson to be learned for everyone, I think.
The plan was to get it finished by the end of March…. here we are mid-July.
The idea for it stems back to 2002 when I saw a documentary on the Exercise in Devon and then after hearing a radio documentary called ‘Someone somewhere’ which was probably one of the best radio productions I’ve ever heard. It was about the true story of a girl who had gone missing on Beachy head. In that production there was a recurring verse that was evocative and I’ve tried to replicate that in the book.
The brief for writing a screenplay is to keep it tight, so on converting to novel there was a risk of upsetting the balance of the story if you try and pad out for padding out sake. So this isn’t a short story, it isn’t a full blown novel. It’s what’s known as a ‘Novella’.
Many of the people who have helped me frequent the BrownhillsBob blog and Facebook pages. So this is another example of what this platform is capable of achieving by bringing people together. So in that respect Bob and fellow admins, pat yourselves on the back for what you do!
If you read it, hope you enjoy it then it will have been worthwhile putting the time in.
I haven’t yet got my copy, but I’m really looking forward to reading this. My apologies to Stuart for the late article, too. Hope he’ll forgive me my tardiness.
If you have any questions or observations for Stuart, please do comment here, find me on social media or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com, and I’ll draw them to his attention.