I am on leave from councillor duties until the end of August. Twenty-three years ago, I scribbled the idea for two history books while relaxing in a beach bar in India over Christmas and New Year. It followed a week doing preliminary research in a library in Los Angeles. Over the next decade, I steadily collected information from archives around the UK, in LA and from printed books. More than a million words.

Work on the books slowed while I campaigned to become a councillor, and having been elected in 2014, my writing on this project pretty much ground to a halt.

If I don’t finish this mammoth project soon, it will never be done. That’s why I am taking two months off from most council duties. I will still be attending essential council meetings so as not to pass the burden onto others or to let time sensitive agendas slip. I will still answer urgent queries or pass them onto colleagues.

Otherwise, I will be lying low, including on social media where I have temporarily dropped out of several groups. I will be back in September.

What am I writing? I can only tell you that is set in the late eighteenth century and the first half of the nineteenth century. It is a true story of love, lust and sexual abuse. It is story of personal and political intrigue, and of jealousy and betrayal. Of arrogance and exaggerated self-importance. Of religious struggles. Of laughter and joy. There are voyages, shipwrecks, pirates and untimely deaths. Giraffes even get a mention. Set in some of Britain’s most treasured buildings and landscapes, it is ultimately a story of strong women and weak men.

Shipwrecks, pirates and giraffes aside, this could be a story of contemporary Britain. But these are not political books. I am writing about people, their struggles, their tears, their dogs. About their children some of whom you might cry for. I certainly do.

I’ll be back fulltime as a councillor in September.

12 thought on “I’m taking a break from the lust and political intrigues, betrayal and deceit of modern life”
  1. If only there were more people serving the public with your care, concern and integrity. Ludlow is so lucky to have you. Good on you for focussing on your book: it’s challenging enough, we’ve just been through it (it took 8 years and several near divorces….) We wish you luck!

    1. Tx! I can’t get divorced But I was getting divorced from my subject. It’s hard work but I am enjoying every second!

      1. It’s just as well you can’t get divorced – it’s a mess. (Bin there). The journey to research our book was so stimulating, we agree one of the best things ever we’ve both done in our lives – our book being a biography of a self-effacing man who was the driving force behind the creation of the Antarctic Treaty which is just about the strongest international treaty in existence today.

      2. Penguin Diplomacy
        The life of Brian Roberts, polar explorer, treaty maker and conservationist
        Authors June Roberts and Steve Heavens
        Published by Mereo Books, 2020
        I think Stanton may still have a few copies. But you need a break from politics. However, it is full of big, true adventures. If you’d like a copy, we’ll send you one with our compliments. But you probably don’t need a distraction! We are in the throes of improving it for a second edition.

      3. I’d love a copy, which seems a lot to ask. What set you off on this polar adventure?

      4. He was my uncle, and an enigmatic man whom I could never fathom out when I was young as he had 2 full-time jobs. One was a diplomatic and advisory one as head of the Polar Regions Department in the Foreign Office, taking him to conferences all over the world to negotiate – and help create the framework for the Antarctic Treaty. (His other job was at the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge. I massively admired him and was very sad at losing him as well as my father in my mid 20s. It took a second marriage to my present husband, with his enthusiasm and interest in politics to get this latent ambition achieved. The “near divorces” with him were caused by my inability to write good grammar and him taking on the monumental task of editing the book, which took a year.

  2. We’ll pop a copy in the post to you with our compliments – I assume to 11 Chestnut Grove?
    Good luck with your muse!

  3. A well earned break!
    I have followed your thoughtful commentaries on local politics with interest and agreement.
    I wish you well with the writing project.
    All best …

  4. Good luck I did this too with a cookbook and it is really absorbing and changed my life in unexpected ways. I will miss your posts as you have a refreshingly honest approach to things and I value your work. I don’t live in Ludlow yet but have been following your threads as I look for somewhere to live there and your posts have helped a lot. Thanks and good luck.

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