A seasoned look at life - January 31, 2013

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HAVE you ever dreamed of residing in a village? Well, don’t be dismayed, you probably already do.

Most of us live in a village of our own making, that survives through goodwill.

The historic parish of Great Marton is my neighbourhood. Most of what I now need is on the doorstep, along with friendly greetings from passers-by.

In the past I worked in Manchester, then London and later Hong Kong and Sydney.

I could find my way about European capitals and also New York. But I rarely felt at home.

However, people who do settle in a great metropolis say that, at heart, it too becomes a village.

Most of us regularly visit only a few locations; while living with those closest to us, through choice or work, and others greeted in passing. Scaling the world down is only human.

The same is true of most fiction. After writing a dozen books, I now spot villains and looming dramas in stories – just as a villager suspects a stranger who doesn’t fit in.

My first novel’s setting was based on a real village in Cheshire.

As children we cycled out to Lymm from our suburb of Manchester.

It was quaint: with a hump-back bridge over canal barges, cobbled lanes, and woods round a lake of dam water.

Later as young men we drove to Lymm. I even dreamed of living there, as a writer, in a lakeside cottage opposite historic inn the Spread Eagle.

Where Angels Tread was described by Feelgood Books as: “Romance with a twist of humour and haunting end.”

An Edinburgh review judged it, “A clever and touching story, full of atmosphere and wonderful characters.” Very flattering, yet I wrote it more as a light thriller about how life should be lived.

Agatha Christie set her murder mysteries in villages where, as her Miss Marple remarks, all of life can be observed.

In my fictional village of Wellworthy I tried to explore that meandering path between good and bad; lit and shadowed by our blessings and fears. More details are on website royedmonds-blackpool.com. But you will already know something of that place and journey – because we’ve all been there!

It is said that life goes in circles and is stranger than fiction. Well, Great Marton here in bustling Blackpool, may seem a long way from picturesque Lymm in Cheshire. But to me, now, it is more of a village.

Perhaps that old dream of mine ran full circle after all. I hope yours will too.

• Reader offer: Limited signed copies of Where Angels Tread are now available at Gazette reception for £4.99 (rrp £6.99).