Express & Star

Novel tells tales of the Black Country's past

An author is celebrating the release of his first novel inspired by his previous job as a Black Country market trader.

Local author Frank Chamberlain from Brierley Hill, has a new book released called Misconception, which is greatly inspired by his days at Black Country Living Museum

Frank Chamberlain, aged 48, grew up in Walsall before moving to Brierley Hill 20 years ago.

He firstly discovered his passion for local history on a school trip to the Black Country Museum when he was nine years old.

Frank worked at Brierley Hill market for a number of years where he met the market's caretaker John Hill, who told him of his past experiences of life in the Black Country from over 70 years ago.

He was inspired by John's stories and his own fascination for local history and began researching for the book.

Frank had been writing alternative versions of his debut novel 'Misconception' for a number of years, but 18 months ago he left his job at the market to pursue writing full time.

He said: "I've always been a writer but had never finished a book until this one.

"To be honest it wrote itself, I used my near 50 years of experience and the stories of the people I've met to tie up all the loose ends."

The thriller is set in a fictional town, based on Brierley Hill, in 1941 and follows the story of Judith Page who wakes up after an air raid and everyone in the town has vanished and has to go out alone and find out what's happened.

Frank explained how he wanted to create a strong female lead for the story, he added: "My wife was a big part of my inspiration for the character, particularly how she was when we first met.

"She was a feisty, independent woman and I wanted to write a story on how she would've coped during the war in the local area."

The setting is inspired by Brierley Hill, Stourbridge and Kinver and the tunnels and hidden spaces that are below each of the towns as well as the stories from people he met while working at the market.

Misconception will form part of a series of books which follows Judith and her family set in 11 year cycles beginning in 1919 which Frank is already working on.

"I want the series to enhance people's ideas of the area and show that there are a lot of creative people in Brierley Hill who need a chance." He added.

Misconception can be purchased online as an eBook or paperback through Amazon.