Memories take fictional turn for Polegate author

91-year-old Dennis Leonard Cox from Polegate – writing as Leon Dennis – is in print with Jason’s Place (published by Amazon, paperback £6.99, Kindle £2.99), a look back at his memories in fictionalised form.

Leon Dennis
Leon Dennis

Dennis explained: “The idea behind the book comes from living through World War Two. It lives in my soul and will never leave me.

“I wanted to share some of the experiences that I went through as a boy growing up during the war. It is set in the village I grew up in. We had an evacuee stay with us so I wrote it from his point of view, but some of the things he experiences come from my memories.

“The book will appeal to anyone who lived through the war or who has heard family stories of the antics their grandparents or parents got up to especially if they were evacuated.

“I came to write the book when I retired in 1996 so it’s been a labour of love. I suppose it was from reading John Betjeman.

"His poetry inspired me to write my novel.

"The narrative festered in me for some time before I was brave enough to start writing, I thought I knew it all, sometimes I gave up, only to take it up again a while later and rewrite until I had run out of storyline.

“Jason’s Place is historical fiction, but has a lot of reality in it. For instance the life-sized painting of the Zulu warrior chieftain must still be around, a mystery as to whom it belongs to now.

"I even contacted the V&A but to no avail. The manor house is still there, which was Bob Monkhouse’s home until his passing.

“When bombing intensifies in London, Henry Kneally and five friends are evacuated to a small rural village in Bedfordshire. His life changes through the people he meets and adapts to a different way of life. He is given opportunities that he would never have been given in London.

“I have had poetry published in the past but this is my first novel. Do I have another book in me? Yes but time is against me. I am 92 this year and the main carer to my wife.

“I started writing in 1996.

"This book has been an ambition in life so when I retired it was time to write.”