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Newsletter Number Five - THEM FELTWELL BOYS

Dear Friend and Reader,

Happy 2023 even though nearly 10% of it has already gone. I won't say flown since that percentage was January, of which I spent a good deal editing the typescript of my next novel, slimming it down by another few thousand words. The original manuscript ran to over 140,000, but I am now below 110,000, still significantly longer than my previous books with professional copyediting yet to come.

Although nostalgia is still an important element, I changed the new novel’s title from The Prankster’s Nostalgia which I came to think was too literary not to say pretentious for my work. While I aspire to write a literary novel, this one will now almost certainly be called Them Feltwell Boys.

The title obviously echoes my 2022 publication Them Roper Girls, but this is not a sequel or prequel any more than Feltwell is the actual Norfolk village of that name (where I may have played football, but otherwise do not know). It is perhaps more in the style of those call and respond pop songs, Oh! Carol drawing a lesser–known retort from Carol’s husband (Oh, Neil), or My Guy which is charming but bears no comparison to My Girl.

There is little charm in Ray Roden, the leading character in Them Feltwell Boys to a much greater extent than any of the Roper girls dominated the earlier work. He is a minor character in that, married to second sister Janet. Ray's story is told with the same level of gritty realism but often in more comic vein than the girls' saga. A third person narrative describes his turbulent relationship with Jan in Puerto Rico, where a major hurricane threatens his career as well as their personal safety. Intertwined with this is an account by Ray of his teenage years and first love, the two strands coming together in a school reunion.

There will be more on the new novel in subsequent posts and newsletters, with the opportunity for some subscribers to receive free copies. I will close by mentioning that Bigjoe, my son’s artwork in the Rugby Open exhibition mentioned in my December post, may not have won the people’s prize but did find a buyer, which is always a good result. Congratulations, Joe!

Stay in touch, all the best David.

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