Seeking Eden by Beverley Harvey
’50 is the new 30 – haven’t you heard?’
Or so says Ben Wilde’s record producer on the eve of his comeback. If only Ben could win back ex-girlfriend, Kate, he’d be a happy man.
But married Kate has moved on, and moved out – to Eden Hill, a quiet housing estate in the suburbs. Lonely and homesick for London, can Kate resist ego-maniac Ben’s advances and save her own flagging marriage?
Streets away, Kate’s new friend Lisa, a Chihuahua toting ex-WAG, is primed for a fresh start – until her footballer ex-husband is found dead and she is vilified in the gutter press.
But Kate, Lisa and Ben aren’t the only ones having a midlife crisis; local shop owner Martin dreams of escaping his dutiful marriage, and develops an unhealthy obsession with Lisa and her friends in Eden Hill.
Alongside a colourful cast of friends and family, Kate, Lisa, Ben and Martin are living proof that older does not always mean wiser because in Eden Hill, there’s temptation around every corner.
What inspired me to write Seeking Eden, by Beverley Harvey
Write what you know may be a cliché but it’s also brilliant advice for fledgling writers. It was a principle I kept close to my heart when I began writing Seeking Eden, which is about the lives and loves of the residents of Eden Hill, a suburban housing estate.
I have lived in such a place for the last ten years; a ‘new town’ which did not exist twenty five years ago, yet now has a population of over 8,000.
I love living in an arear where there is little to no crime; where people are friendly and terribly decent to each other, because community spirit comes as standard, along with a double garage and two en-suites, and where this is a pioneering spirit as residents set out to create clubs and societies where previously there were none.
But the other side of this bright and shiny coin is that it can become claustrophobic. Just try avoiding someone you’ve fallen out with – practically impossible when you’re all shopping at the same supermarket, and going to the same gym/Costa Coffee/doctors/dentist/hairdressers!
Then there’s the insidious threat of materialism taking over; keeping up with the Joneses can rule your life if you let it.
So when I started my novel, I had a readymade location and the stage was set. All I needed was a believable cast of above-averagely dysfunctional characters and I was on my way.
I soon realised that the lives of friends and neighbours were a rich seam to mine. Not actual personalities, but fictionalised versions of people in similar circumstances. So I started to write about a couple in their forties, Kate and Neil, who leave London after a burglary, but are unprepared for the culture shock that awaits them in Eden Hill.
Homesick for London and missing her friends, Kate’s loneliness leaves her vulnerable to ex-boyfriend Ben’s amorous attentions. Wilde by name and wild by nature, one-hit wonder Ben returns from abroad hoping to revive his recording career – and his relationship with Kate.
Meanwhile, former-WAG Lisa is looking forward to independence and a new life in Eden Hill. But her happiness is cut short when her ex-husband is found dead following a ‘drinking accident’ and unscrupulous journalists blame Lisa for his demise. At a low ebb she befriends Martin, a shop owner from the neighbouring village. As Martin teeters on the brink of a midlife crisis, he picks up all the wrong signals, obsessing about Lisa and the ‘good life’ her perceives her to live.
It’s a book about materialism, loneliness, and burgeoning mid-life crises. About searching for something – and not even knowing what it is; of feeling like a fraud and not quite belonging; of making mistakes and committing indiscretions that cannot be taken back. Of looking out for your friends, but not always knowing who they are. And, whilst the plot may appear racy and salacious, it’s based on real life. Because there’s no such thing as ‘ordinary’ or ‘normal’ – scratch the surface and we are all flawed and for me, there’s nothing more fascinating than real life.
About Beverley Harvey
Seeking Eden is Beverley’s debut novel, following almost thirty years in corporate communications, working first in advertising and then in PR. She was born in Yorkshire but raised in Bromley in the South East; Beverley then lived in London until 2007 when she returned to Kent with her partner Mark. Beverley is currently working on the sequel to Seeking Eden.
Seeking Eden was published by Urbane on 6th July. Follow on Twitter @BevHarvey_ or visit www.beverleyharvey.co.uk .