Here is the first of two excerpts from my upcoming novel, Children of the Folded Valley:
From Chapter 1:
“We spend our adult lives trying to regain what we lost in childhood.
I do not claim to be unique in that respect. Whilst it might be argued that I lost more than some, we all, I think, chase after what we once had or never had. What we lost cannot be replaced, but we chase after it nonetheless.
Some think of what they lost with romantic rose tinted spectacles, whilst others are more pragmatic. Some deny it, others get angry about it, others still accept it and seek help from friends, family, lovers, therapists, priests, gurus or anyone else who will listen. But I cannot do that. I can never tell my friends, my colleagues, my wife or my children what happened to me in the Folded Valley.
People perceive that I am obsessive, but they don’t know why. Most of the time I don’t even realise that I am obsessive in the amount of thought I give to the past. Since escaping from the Folded Valley I have been searching. I don’t know what for. Perhaps the quest is futile. But still I search.
Sometimes this is a conscious quest. Other times I am unaware of what I am doing, until someone points out that I am distracted or aloof. But mine is not a sentimental journey. I do not long for the past, yet nor do I think of it as exclusively bad. I don’t ever want to go back, but I want things that are trapped there, lost forever.
What I lost, I lost on the railway line that runs along the southern edge of Dartmoor. I can still see the train disappearing; a silhouette against the bleak moors and darkening sunset skies. I can still smell the freshly cut grass, sense the cool breeze and feel the stinging tears. I remember the relief at escaping, the fear of what lay ahead and the horrible churning sensation at the knowledge that everything I had ever known was gone.
That happened in August 1982.
I was just fourteen years old.”
Check back soon for another excerpt.
Here is the text from the back of the novel:
During a journey to visit his estranged sister, James Harper recalls his childhood in a mysterious valley cut off from the outside world, where he grew up as part of a cult called the Folded Valley Fellowship.
In this seemingly idyllic world, the charismatic Benjamin Smiley claimed to be protecting his followers from an impending nuclear apocalypse.
But the valley concealed a terrifying secret.
A secret that would change Smiley’s followers forever.
Children of the Folded Valley – my first novel aimed at grown-ups – is released on the 20th July in various downloadable digital formats.
Print copies will be available from the 27th July.