The year is 2013 and I’ve been working on my first novel, Synthesis:Weave, for a few months. My partner, Kris, and I are taking part in the St. Michael’s Hospice Wheelie Big Cycle, a sponsored bike ride – that’s him in the first picture – when we stumble across a little village called Yazor. I’d never heard of the place before, but thought it so quirky that it could make it’s way into my book.
Nearly a year before this, when I first moved to Ross-on-Wye, I discovered a village named Sollers Hope on my way to work. The name inspired the sense of a pioneering spirit, of a town in the middle of nowhere, struggling to survive. A perfect name for a mining colony…
But the name! The signs on opposite sides of the same road didn’t match. Looking on Google Maps for the correct spelling, I was met with equal confusion. The maps showed the town as being spelled Sollershope with no space.
The Google Maps reference seems to have been corrected, and at present the right-hand side sign has collapsed since vehicles performing road surfacing works damaged it. Strangely enough, a couple of weeks later I noticed someone had temporarily corrected the sign with electrical tape. It was as though a kid had been told “put the sign right, make it into an E”. The funniest thing about it was that it wasn’t corrected from Sollars Hope to Sollers Hope, but to SEllers Hope!
Needless to say, when the name made it into my book, the characters who live in the town were bound to have a slight chip on their shoulder about it.