STRONG heroines abound in Broken Ties of Time.
Marla, the main character, fights to save her family home, experiences the adventure of love and comes up against evil in the novel.
Although Josie Arden, the author, claims the book is not autobiographical the story of how the book was written is an adventure in itself as she wrote it while bringing up children, snatching moments of dawn and nightfall to write and has set up her own publishing company.
The book, her first, now stands on book shelves in Pinner and Northwood and the author, who is registered blind, is hoping one day to see it in shops across the country.
Broken Ties of Time first appeared to Josie, 82, in a nightmare.
She said: “The idea came initially from a nightmare. I was camping in France and I dreamt that my three-year-old son had been kidnapped by someone who does experiments on children’s brains. It lived with me for quite some time. I thought that it might make a good horror story but it has been toned down considerably. It is basically a romance. There is a love interest which goes through the entire book.”
In the three years since the book was finished she has been editing 19 drafts and finding a way to get it in to the hands and on the bed-side tables of keen readers.
Josie, a widow, said: “I have been rather busy raising a family in the meantime. I finished it three years ago but I have been having a spot of bother with my agents. I think the length was a problem but it is a 20-year saga so I didn’t want to cut it down. I was mortified I had to hire someone to check the final draft, but the punctuation was too small for me to see on the computer screen.”
The former chairwoman of Harrow Writers’ Circle said: “In the process I have got glaucoma and eventually my eyes began to deteriorate, which meant I had to give up driving and I have had to go on to a mobility scooter. I hadn’t quite finished the final edit when my eyesight got really bad.”
Luckily it wasn’t always this way and she said: ““I used to write late at night after the children had gone to bed and the phone had stopped ringing. I built a small house in the garden and I could write all night. I tried to finish each night on a high note, and each chapter ends with a question, this is what makes it a page turner.”
Josie was born in Peru to English parents and moved to this country in 1939 at the outbreak of the Second World War.
She has two sons, Toby, 46, and Matthew, 48, and is grandmother to Kelly, 16, and Spencer, 10.
Toby, a lecturer in creative writing and screen writing, said: “It is an epic adventure which she has been writing for most of my life. We would discuss certain scenes together but she has kept a lot of secrets about the mystery in the book. It’s a very long book so I am pleased it has finally been published and in book shops. I have just received my copy so I am enjoying the first few chapters.”
The book tells the story of Marla and her father Lord Richard Winsforth who are fighting to save their centuries-old family home.
Josie said: “I have tried to make the characters as real as possible, the good people have faults and the baddies have good points so you wonder how it is going to turn out. It goes all around the world and it is broad ranging, from Bangkok to Chile. There is one quite frightening description of an earthquake and I was in South America for eight years and there were tremors all the time. The book is entirely fictional though. The characters are very diverse, I have tried to paint them as different from each other.”
She said: “I was thinking of fairly well-educated readers who take a certain interest in politics. I have always been interested in politics and with travelling. There are light-weight discussions of politics and philosophy. It is a book with a lot of tension, there is a lot of romance and a standard amount of sex as well.”
The completion of the book marks the end of a dream she has had since she was very young.
Her father gave her a book when she was 14-years-old called How to Write Novels with an inscription saying he hoped her first masterpiece would be completed sooner with the new book than otherwise.
She said: “I was very touched. It was 67 years ago.”
The author is now putting together a collection of short stories, from 60 she has written over the years, and hopes to release them in large print for partially-sighted people.
The idea for the plot may have come from a nightmare, but it doesn’t take much to work out where the idea for a strong heroine came from.
The book is self-published and it is being stocked in the New Leaf bookshop in Red Lion Parade, Pinner, and in Clive Parade, Northwood.
A book signing will take place soon.
She has set up a publishing company, New Outreach Books, and people can get in touch to order copies at firstname.lastname@example.org