Hebden Bridge is at the centre of a political revolution in the latest novel from best-selling author Linda Green.
‘The Mummyfesto’ tells the story of three mothers from the town who, after successfully campaigning to save the job of a lollipop lady, decide to set up a new political party and stand in the general election.
The Lollipop Party - which pledges to put children and families at the heart of its policies - gains massive support through social network sites, leading to a surge in the polls and the national media to camp outside its fictional headquarters in Fountain Street, Hebden Bridge.
Author Linda, whose previous four novels have sold more than 200,000 copies between them, says the novel has already secured a book of the week slot in WH Smith and she is hoping it will prove to be her most successful work yet.
“The idea for the book came to me during the 2010 general election campaign when women’s voices and women’s issues were conspicuous by their absence,” she said.
“I’m also the chair of the Handmade Parade and our planning meetings are held around our kitchen table, which got me thinking about just how big an event you could organise from a kitchen table.
“The three main characters - Sam, Anna and Jackie - are all struggling with problems in their family lives and I loved the idea that they might come together around Sam’s kitchen table to try to put the world to rights.
“It occurred to me that if a political revolution was going to happen anywhere, Hebden Bridge was the obvious place to stage it.”
Linda lives in Warley in Halifax and her book is filled with Calderdale references - from Eureka to Market Street and even the Hebden Bridge Times.
She said: “I had enormous fun writing the book and I hope readers enjoy spotting all the local landmarks.
“It’s the third of my novels to be set in Hebden Bridge and I’ve had a lot of positive feedback from readers about what a refreshing change it is to have a novel set outside London in such an interesting place.”
Her previous novels are ‘And Then It Happened’, ‘Things I Wish I’d Known’, ‘10 Reasons Not to Fall in Love’ and ‘I Did a Bad Thing’.
Originally from Enfield, London, Linda is a former journalist and began work when she was 18 at the Enfield Gazette as a trainee reporter.
She went on to work for the Birmingham Daily News, the Birmingham Metro and the Coventry Evening Telegraph.
When she left regional newspapers in 1998, she began freelancing, writing for national newspapers and magazines including The Guardian, The Independent on Sunday, The Times Educational Supplement and The Big Issue.
She and her husband Ian had intended to live in Manchester but then fell in love with Calderdale.
Before her career as an author, Linda taught creative writing for the Workers’ Educational Association in Hebden Bridge and Todmorden.
She decided to create her own novel 16 years ago and went freelance to give herself time to write it.
After more than 100 rejections from publishers, her debut novel ‘I Did a Bad Thing’ was published in 2007.
Within weeks it soared in the best-selling paperback charts at Waterstones and Tesco.
Linda is inviting Hebden Bridge Times and Todmorden News readers to get into the spirit of the book by voting on what they’d like to see in a “Mummyfesto”.
They could win one of 10 signed copies of her new novel - visit her website www.linda-green.com for more details.
‘The Mummyfesto’ is published by Quercus on Thursday, February 14. Copies are available in all main book stores as well as Tesco, Waterstones and WH Smith and will be for sale in The Book Case, Market Street, Hebden Bridge, when it reopens after refurbishment.
Linda offers the following tips to anyone thinking of writing their own novel and getting it published: “Don’t be complacent or believe the saying that ‘everyone has a novel in them’. They don’t.
“To decide to write a novel without learning the craft of fiction writing first is a bit like trying to perform open heart surgery without any medical training (except that no one should die as a result, of course).
“Re-read favourite books and bestsellers looking carefully at the characters, plot and conflict to see how they were constructed, join a writers circle (the good ones encourage constructive criticism), enrol on a creative writing course or at the very least read as many books on creative writing as you can.
“If you would like to get your novel published by a mainstream publisher, you can’t just write the novel you want to write, you have to write a novel readers will want to read and publishers will want to buy.
“If you are not prepared to do this you may want to think about self-publishing but be realistic about the number of copies you will sell.
“Occasionally a self-published book will break through and hit the bestseller lists and perhaps be snapped up by a big publisher - but it is extremely rare.”