An Oxfordshire writer’s novel about love and war has become a Top 3 success on Amazon, the world’s biggest selling bookshop...
Neil Topping, a Lighthouse Club Welfare Officer, was delighted to see one of the volumes from his Seasons of Love series sore up the charts recently. This follows on from the rave reviews the books have earned with critics heaping five-star ratings for the four titles; Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Neil was inspired to write the series by two very important women in his life.
After completing his first novel ‘Seasons of Love’ Neil became aware from the comments made by friends and family, that the background to the story was a story in itself. Neil’s first wife Tina inspired him to write his first novel. Then after she died from cancer in 2006, he remarried and his second wife, Heather, encouraged him to get his story published. ‘Seasons of Love’ tells of an English girl who meets a German
prisoner of war, their relationship and their lives and those of their families over the next 50 years. It is told against the background of the national and international events that affected the British and German populations from the end of the Second World War until the Millennium. All four volumes of the book contain a dedication to both Neil’s wives.
‘To Tina, for encouraging me to write this book and to Heather for supporting me in getting it published’.
Before she died, Tina left a letter for her husband to open after her death in which she urged him to get his book published. Neil, 68 and a retired construction director explains why he embarked on this ambitious project which contains in excess of 300,000 words. “It all started when Tina was watching a four part American drama on TV and I said ‘I don’t understand how an intelligent woman like you can watch this rubbish night after night. “She threw down the gauntlet and said ‘If you can write something better then why don’t you? So, I had a go. I’ve always been interested in the lives of the German POWs in this country so that formed the basis of my story.” Neil met Heather in 2007 and they married last year. She was instrumental in supporting Neil through the challenges of self publishing. The four volumes of the novel were published last year through a London based company PublishNation. Each volume is available through Amazon in paperback and kindle versions. They were published to coincide with the seasons of the year, ‘Spring in February and ‘Winter’ in December with ‘Summer’ and ‘Autumn’ sandwiched in between.
Three years of detailed research went into the writing of ‘Seasons of Love’. Neil explains; ‘When I was researching the story, I got tremendous support from the staff at the Imperial War Museum, the German Historical Institute, car manufacturers Volkswagen and Mercedes as well countless other organisations. They all seemed to be fascinated by my project and were keen to play a part in it.’
Neil said that his novel is not a money-making exercise and all royalties from the sales will be going to Chalgrove Primary School, the Oxfordshire Advocacy Service and the construction industry charity, the Lighthouse Club. Neil has been involved with all of these organisations for a number of years in a voluntary capacity.
The national marketing of the novel is in the hands of the publishers. However, since the last volume was published, Neil has embarked upon a series of talks to local organisations in which he describes the challenge of writing a first novel, the research that went into it and the self publishing process. Both the book itself and the talks have been well received. Neil is available to give talks to groups in Oxfordshire for which he does not make a charge. He can be contacted on 01865 890650 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All four volumes in paperback or kindle version can be purchased through Amazon or the newsagent in Chalgrove.