By Shelley Hinchliffe-Reece
They say we’ve all got a book in us but most never get round to writing it with the pressures of life and frustratingly, the lack of time. This was so for me with other issues of life taking over until 2019 when I had this feeling that it was time to get it done and out there before I got too old.
I was fifty two and had always wanted to write. I felt it was in there just waiting to jump out and I knew what I wanted to say but it took my ageing process to make me sit down and get on with it.
‘Under the Clock’ is my first novel and has a Two-tone theme in keeping with my love of the music and the era. A semi-autobiographical story that follows sixteen-year-old Shell Rogers leaving school in 1981 with nothing but her love for Two-tone music, fashion and her best mates.
Set in a small seaside town in Essex, she is desperate to get away from her troubled past and head for the city. Leaving behind her best mates and the love of her life, she makes a pact with them all to meet again ‘Under the Clock’ when they are fifty. It is a story of friendships that stand the test of time and an emotional secret that is carried for over thirty years.
The music along the whole story line will take you back to a time when we had no social media or mobile phones. A time where we made our own amusement and just hung out together. The group of friends were all loosely based on some of my old school mates and ex-boyfriends who were, and most still are, very beautiful people.
The book was self-published in December after a year of writing. I decided to put it out there myself as soon as I finished it, not wanting to wait around for a big publishing company to come along and accept it. I was passionate about it staying real and raw and I’m aware that editing can often completely change the feel of a book.
So, here it is! Full of sex, drugs, love, pain, mighty fine music and pretty strong language, so not for the faint hearted! Loads of memories and nostalgia to take you right back to those days of waiting to get out to the local disco, getting ready at your mate’s house and getting up to all sorts of mischief.
Young Shell Rogers is of course loosely based on my own life experiences, growing up with many difficult times along my journey. Spending most of my childhood in foster care and hating the world around me. I couldn’t wait to get to London and start a new fresh life, leaving the difficult memories and troubles behind me. I will leave you to decide on the fact and the fiction as you read along the way.
I have lived in London for over thirty five years now. Married to my wonderful man, Gray for twenty seven years. A fantastic musician, I have watched him on his drum kit for many years in awe of his talent. We share our love for Two-tone music and many other genres. We have two lovely children age eight and fourteen who both adore the Two-tone music too. I have finally met up with some of the lovely friends I left behind all those years ago. It was a very beautiful and emotional moment.
Since publishing, I have had the most wonderful messages of support from readers so far. Many who haven’t read a book for twenty years or more but have been hooked from the start and totally engrossed in the book, unable to put it down. It has been a great experience for me to write for the first time and share those amazing memories with others.
My goal now is to find the time to write a sequel. I miss writing and immersing myself back in time to a great era with my huge passion for music. My wish is that one day my book will be turned into a play or a TV drama with a backdrop of all that amazing music going on. Well, you have to dream big in this life!
I hope that many will enjoy the read as much as I loved writing it
Shelley Hinchcliffe-Rees is a writer who lived the Ska dream back in the day. Married to Gray, the mum of two penned her first novel at the age of 52.
Under the Clock – A Two Tone Themed Novel can be purchased direct from Amazon by clicking here.
Thanks to Shelley for writing exclusively for Mrs SVJ – the community blog of Sue Vincent-Jones. Sue is a journalist, editor, and communications specialist who blogs about Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a quirky, and queer, girl done good.
One of Wales Arts Review 100 Women Writers of Wales, the dedicated community supporter, passionate arts lover, and award-winning queer activist, will keep you “informed, entertained and inspired.”