Seaton-based, award-winning author pens his first novel
PUBLISHED: 17:00 10 February 2020
Richard Nash Photography
Seaton-based author Bruce Harris has written his first novel, Howell Grange.
Fresh copies of Howell Grange, the first novel penned by Seaton-based writer, Bruce Harris, are now lining the shelves of the bookshops.
The prolific multi-award-winning writer, originally from the north-east, started writing short stories and poetry in his spare time, a year before moving to Devon with his partner Anthony in 2003.
A couple of years later, in 2005, Bruce took early retirement from his distinguished career in teaching and educational research, to concentrate on his passion for creative writing.
Naturally, Bruce was excited to talk about his seventh book and first novel, Howell Grange.
He said: "Howell Grange might be, ambitiously, said to be the northern Downton Abbey, though only some of the action takes place in the north".
The captivating story follows the complex and interlacing lives of the mine-owning Howell family, during the years 1844-1866. Told in five parts, the chronicles visit the family at historical intervals.
The story is set in Northumbria where the mine-owning George Howell and his aristocratic wife Elizabeth, endure the usual trials and tribulations of life.
Their eldest son Charlie goes into battle in the Crimean War, whilst the second son Francis, becomes an MP and lobbies to make the mines safer.
The eldest daughter, Charlotte, marries a substantial landowner and runs the vast estates largely on her own, while the second daughter, Anne, marries a local firm clerk but is unable to have children.
The youngest daughter Alice, aims to be one of the first female doctors and becomes involved with a major pit disaster.
Yet, their lives are united and their safety is compromised, after a knife-wielding miner breaks into the family home and accuses one of the family members of murder…
Readers who love the book will be delighted to know that Bruce's commitment to writing is enduring and he has several other books lined up.
He said: "I have already written a sequel to 'Howell Grange', which I hope to get into print. I also have a new collection of short stories in the pipeline and a completed novel probably best described as a contemporary thriller".
Already, Bruce has written several poems and short stories which have won him a multitude of awards.
Consequently, he has compiled his best work into three poetry books and three short story books.
The poetry ensemble includes three collections, namely, Raised Voices (2014), Kaleidoscope (2017) and the Huntington Hydra (2019).
His first two short story books namely, First Flame (2013) and Odds Against (2017), consist entirely of tales which had won prizes, commendations and listings in fiction competitions.
His third book, The Guy Thing (2018) is a compilation of 'rites of passage' stories.
The proceeds from the books, Odds Against and The Guy Thing, along with the poetry book The Huntington Hydra, were generously donated to the Huntington's Disease Organisation.
The reason for the kindly donations is tied to a cause that is close to Bruce's heart.
His partner Anthony was diagnosed with hereditary Huntington's Disease in 2016, and Bruce spends much of his time at home to be there for Anthony. He uses some of that time to write.
Bruce said: "I now feel we need to keep what proceeds we make to contribute towards our own future costs".
Explaining what inspires him to write so prolifically, Bruce said: "All kinds of things inspire me to write. Some are historical, some are comical, some are based on people I've known or places I've visited".
When asked about his favourite genre of book, Bruce said: "Probably historical fiction, though I read a lot of other stuff as well".
His favourite writers include big power-authors such as Dame Hilary Mantel, John Le Carré, Patrick O'Brian, Philippa Gregory and Peter Ackroyd, to name a few.
Howell Grange by Bruce Harris has been published by The Book Guild and can be bought for £9.99 at a variety of good bookshops.
To discover more about this local author, visit at www.bruceleonardharris.com
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Midweek Herald. Click the link in the orange box above for details.