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Author Guy Sheppard returns with brand new mystery thriller

All Areas > Entertainment > Literature

Author: Thomas Hadfield, Posted: Monday, 17th February 2020, 14:00

Guy’s mother, who was the inspiration for Jo Wheeler Guy’s mother, who was the inspiration for Jo Wheeler

When Cheltenham author Guy Sheppard last spoke to The Local Answer in March 2019, he had just published his third book, ‘The Silent Forest’.

Based in World War Two-era Gloucestershire, the book tells the story of Jo Wheeler, a fire guard with a troubled past who tries to solve a seemingly supernatural mystery.

‘The Silent Forest’ was Guy’s third novel, and this month will see the release of his fourth – ‘The Unwanted Bride’.

“The Unwanted Bride’ follows on from ‘The Silent Forest’ in so far as it’s another Jo Wheeler mystery, though this time her voice is told in the first person,” explained Guy.

“From now on ‘The Unwanted Bride’ is part of a series.”

Whilst the novel is fictional, Guy describes it as “semi-biographical”.

The story, he explains, was based on letters sent by his father during the war to his childhood sweetheart and wife Marjorie.

“When they divorced in 1944 after a marriage of only five years, the letters took on an added significance, since in those five years they saw very little of each other.

“What I wished to tell in ‘The Unwanted Bride’ was less his side of the story than Marjorie’s. It doesn’t make a conventional love story because there is no happy ending – although ironically in real life, they were corresponding again by 1979 and went on doing so until his death in the 1990s.”

In the book, Sidney Sheppard is killed by a fall at Gloucester Cathedral, and Jo is convinced his wife is to blame.

Of course all is not as it seems, and the story takes the reader through plenty of twists and turns.

“I particularly like the new trend in crime/mystery fiction which is more psychologically based,” continued Guy, “in that the reader cannot readily tell if the leading character is really as guilty as everyone around them would have them be.

“Because I have letters from the period (1940s) and I grew up with people who lived through the war, I’ve always been fascinated by how they coped – or didn’t – under so much stress.

“I’m not interested in excessive blood and gore, but in the minds and hearts of those who simply had to get on and live the best way they could. Nor do I want to write purely historical novels as such – I like a good crime!”

And Guy admits that the subject matter that the story is based on has made writing this novel a very personal experience.

He added: “It is a bit special to me because my father’s story is one I’ve always wanted to understand better.

“By reading and rereading hundreds of wartime correspondence I managed to come closer to a man whose early life I never knew. He was 40 when he married my mother and still haunted by his divorce and spell in a mental hospital.

“You could say I went on a bit of an emotional journey myself.”

‘The Unwanted Bride’ is available in ebook and paperback from www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B084DRN6FZ

Other Images

Guy's father Sidney (third from right, standing at back) acting in play in Ealing in the 1930s
Sidney and Marjorie on their wedding day in 1939

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