How my Fictional Village got its Name
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I've already had my box of ten free author copies, and started giving them away. I quite forgot to warn local friends that the village where the book is set is called Thundersley. This was quite an oversight, given that the village where I live is called Thundersley so it may have come as a surprise to them to see my home town detailed in the pages of my novel.
I didn't deliberately name my fictional village after the place I grew up as any kind of sentimental tribute (although I do love where I live). Neither is the fictional village of Thundersley in the same place as the real village: the real village is in south Essex, whereas the fictional version is in Suffolk.
Originally the village in my book was called Easterfield, a name plucked entirely from my imagination. Readers of my previous books will remember that my 2008 novel was called Easterfield, and in fact Fields of Glory is set in the same village, with some of the same landmarks--for example, the heroines of both live in a house called Westleigh, Catherine Waters in 1850 and Eleanor and Patricia Field in 1942.
My publishers didn't want the village to be called Easterfield because that tied it too much to my previous book which is now out of print. They didn't want anyone thinking they couldn't buy this book because they hadn't read the previous one, for example. They're both standalone novels, although readers may have a wry smile as they recognise characters from the previous one - Alex Farrell has portraits of his ancestors on his walls, for example, and those ancestors are characters in the first book.
So I sent a list of possible village names to my editor, including Witnesham which is the actual village which stands where my fictional village does. From that she picked Thundersley as being an evocative, appealing and typically British name, and I was quite pleased to honour the place where I have been so happy for so many years. The real Thundersley is nothing like my little Suffolk farming community, but it is a beautiful, historic and characterful large urban village, and I'm glad it can be honoured in print.