Tales of a time-travelling umbrella

East Hoathly author Lesley Susan Jepps has rewritten and updated her book Umbrella in Time “to bring it into the modern age.”

Lesley Jepps
Lesley Jepps

It has been published through Amazon (paperback £5.50; Kindle £3.50).

Lesley, aged 70, explains: “I wrote this novel for children of eight to ten years when my own children were eight and nine, and my illusrator and I had over 100 copies printed. W H Smith sold many for us and we had wonderful letters from children who enjoyed it.

“I have always been fascinated by time travel and just had a vision of an umbrella taking its owner through time to solve problems. It was my first novel, inspired by a love of certain periods in history. I did a lot of research on the Second World War in London and the Victorian era and felt it would open up the minds of children to the past, within an exciting adventure story

“Writing fiction has always meant a lot to me since the age of eight years when I lived in the Hook of Holland with my parents. My father was in the forces and I attended the school on the camp there. My teacher Miss Stevenson said I would be a novelist one day and I read my stories out to the class. She entered me into the Cadbury’s writing competition for schools and I came second. I’ll never forget a big box of Cadbury’s chocolate arriving at my gran’s house in Stockport, together with a certificate.

“Miss Stevenson was my inspiration and she encouraged me to continue writing. When I started writing Umbrella in Time, I put my children to bed then wrote until 2am, totally engrossed in the characters and the plot.

“It just seemed to come to me what came next. The starting point for the novel is when the main character Rachel finds a Victorian umbrella in her father’s office cupboard. Later that day, she is given some shocking news, and while in her bedroom, the umbrella begins to move and transport her to a different time.

“I have had some lovely reviews on Amazon and one teacher said she had used the book as a class reader. The children loved it and it inspired research into the Second World War. One lady put that her daughter always took it to bed with her and enjoyed having it read to her at night. I was touched a few years ago as a man contacted my by email. He had read the book we had printed all those years ago and loved it. He now had an eight-year-old and had tracked me down to buy another copy for her. That was special.

“Umbrella in Time was my first novel, and when that was finished, I had a break from writing to bring up my two daughters. My next time travel book for middle grade children isn’t finished yet so I’ll need to do more work on that. I have written five short spiritual stories for Spirit and Destiny Magazine, three of which have been published there in the last few years. The fourth will be published in the October issue this year and will be for sale in September. I have re-written Umbrella in Time recently and updated it to bring it into the modern age. My daughter Emily, who is an illustrator and designer, has redone the cover, to great acclaim by other authors on a Facebook site, and it is now republished and for sale on Amazon.”