The Itchenor coast provides inspiration for new book

The Itchenor coast provides the backdrop to The Lightroom, a second novel from Humphrey Pilcher.
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In the book, one random confrontation derails a man’s life completely; and one unexpected act of kindness gives him the chance to rub out all that went before and start again.

As Humphrey, aged 73, says: “The Lightroom deals with issues both fundamental and topical, such as male vulnerability and loneliness in a big city. It takes the reader from a childhood spent sailing in Chichester Harbour, through some difficult years in London and a new life in Dorset, where the main character finds the sense of belonging that has previously eluded him. At its core, it is an uplifting love story.” It has been published by Backleg Books, set up by Humphrey, at £7.99 paperback; £3.99 Kindle, available online from Amazon.

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Humphrey, who writes under his full name A H Pilcher, draws his inspiration from places including Chidham, Itchenor and Bosham: “There is a lot of sea swimming and dog walking in the book!”

Humphrey PilcherHumphrey Pilcher
Humphrey Pilcher

Humphrey added: “The idea behind the book is to explore a man’s sense of belonging and to look at people’s frailties as well as their strengths. It’s an insightful story for today and it’s about winning sometimes, losing sometimes. I think the story will appeal to people because what happens to Max, the main character, could happen to anyone under the right circumstances. His life is derailed completely at one time – and I have known this happen to people – and then something good happens, which offers him the chance of a new beginning. It looks at relationships and family and how important these are to a feeling of well-being.

“I’ve worked in the building trade for most of my life, but I have always been regarded as a deep thinker. I was encouraged to write down some of the observations I came up with and gradually these turned into longer pieces. I’m inspired by everything around me, particularly the beauty of Chichester Harbour. We have a dog and we’ve walked for miles around Itchenor, Thorney, Dell Quay, Chidham, Bosham and further inland, and we regularly go to New Park cinema, the little independent cinema in Chichester. Films feature in the book and – as you will see from the cover – inspired the cover of The Lightroom, created by Macaulay Design.

“I enjoy the writing immensely. When I’m writing, I am completely immersed in the character’s lives and I live every moment with them. I often joke that writing is the easy bit – the hard bit is the editing, re-writing, proof reading etc and all the work connected with actually progressing the book, with the editorial and design team, to publication. I don’t write the story in a chronological order. With this one, and my earlier novel, Arc of Doubt, I just start with an event, and then I may move forward or backwards, or look at what’s happening from another character’s point of view and then I gradually bring it all together into one narrative.”