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Inspiring Tube Stations

The launch of Unusual Places

Seven Sisters tube station

Photo by Maria Molinero on UnsplashI said I’d tell you more about the places that inspired my short stories, so here’s unusual place number three. When my son was a toddler, he could tell you the names and colours of the tube lines. His childminder would get him to do it as a party trick. (Memory is a weird thing. Now we’ve moved to the seaside, he can’t do that anymore.) Most tube stations have some kind of story behind them. Did you know that there’s a disused tube station called Down Street in Central London – that you can still visit – where Churchill sheltered during the blitz?

Why I didn’t write a story in Seven Sisters tube station

We used to live in North London, near Seven Sisters. So, when I discovered that Seven Sisters tube station was named after seven sisters who (according to local legend) turned into seven elm trees, I figured I would go and write a story on location there. Best laid plans and all that, but the noise of the trains every couple of minutes or so, the crowds, the pollution, and the funny looks from staff members who wondered why I was sitting on a bench rather than getting on a tube train meant it turned out not a great place to write. Instead, I went home and wrote a story about seven sisters who plant a special tree. It’s called ‘The Grandma Tree’ and it features in my short story collection Unusual Places. It was published a few years ago on the Seren Press website, so you can read it online here.

Unusual Places

I’ve always written about unusual places. In fact, a lot of my fiction is based on quirky or broken down buildings, such as a half-demolished hotel by the seafront in my home town of Bournemouth. I watched it, and made notes, over about two years. Because some of the walls had collapsed, I could see the light switches, wall paper and the doorways hanging in mid-air. It turned out that hotel was called The Water’s Edge Hotel. The story I wrote became my first novel, The Water’s Edge, and it came out 15 years ago.

Where next?

You can check out the next unusual place in the series here.

You can see a list of all the posts in this series.

Or you can click the button to get a free story from the book.

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