Please could you give us a brief overview of the story… (of course we’ll keep the ending a surprise!)
Susy longs for a wedding ring. Freddie says only if the Thursday Ritual finally ends. Can Susy stop the mayhem to become the new lady of Lodge Castle?
What inspired you to write this story?
I lived in a relatively remote northern village with high unemployment at the time that I wrote the story. The local residents had little time for London politics, except for what they could get out of the government. A lot of places in the north had lost a lot of jobs through the government policies of the day and were struggling to survive. In its own way, this story is a protest about the damage government policies can do to communities – the village of Little Piddlington becomes totally amoral through such political neglect.
Who is your favourite character?
This is so hard, as there are several. I admire Miss Susy for knowing what she wants and using every trick in her book to get it. I love the way her father, Sharkie Sharp, supports her while maintaining his loyalty to his own team.
The persona of Michelle ‘Mike’ Smith was most closely based on me at that time in an exaggerated form, although I’ve never been able to floor a guy with a punch, and my platform shoes were only six inches high.
What’s your favourite part of the book?
When the four ladies from the WI steal a helicopter from glad-eyed Commander Millet Airey, using his advances against him.
What does the title mean?
The Thursday Ritual in the title, refers to the local village sport of trying to steal the benefit and pensions money each fortnight, before the money can be paid out by the Little Piddlington Post Office. The novel describes how that tradition comes to an end, hence the word ‘Last’ in the title.
What did you learn when writing the book?
I learned a lot about Sea King helicopters, English brass bands and Morris Teams, to ensure my descriptions of these elements in the story were reasonably accurate – or at least, as accurate as an absurdist comedy would allow.
You can purchase The Last Thursday Ritual in Little Piddlington here.