When it came to choosing a location for my new book, The Web They Wove, I already had somewhere in mind. I did a reconnaissance before I sat down to write a word, and I just couldn’t see how I could create the necessary mystery and drama from what was a very isolated, barren setting. I had a very basic plot line (i.e I knew who was going to get killed and how) so the imagery had to fit with the plot, not the other way round – I don’t know if this is how other authors work but it worked for me. It was when I was driving back to base that another area came to me, Woodhouse Moor (or Hyde Park as it’s more commonly referred to locally). It’s an area I’ve driven through hundreds of times, usually on my way to somewhere else if I’m honest, but I knew a little of the rich sense of community that revolves around it (the carnivals and festivals are legendary around Leeds), so I turned the car around and headed out of the city centre towards the University.
Woodhouse Moor was the city’s very first park, and was acquired as a result of the Victorian ‘Urban Parks Movement’, an attempt by social reformers of the time to provide a means of escape from urban squalor. In fact, Queen Victoria paid a visit to the area, and the statue of her still stands proudly there today.
I wasn’t overly familiar with the park, I knew it had a speakers corner, intended to replicate the London one, and that many protests had been held there. In complete contract I also knew that a fun fair was a popular event – apparently I even went once as a child but I can’t remember.
So as I walked around the park, checking out potential areas that a body (or 2) could be dumped and subsequently found I realised I’d found the perfect place. Much like what happened with The Lie She Told, the characters would feel right at home here.
I’ve been back several times since, and I will keep visiting – it has such a diverse and eclectic mix of purpose, from the skate park to the eateries to the colourful festivals.
Like very inner city park, it has it’s problems and downsides and being at the heart of University district of Leeds it is a popular place for students but if you want a slice of real life, that fuels your imagination then Woodhouse Moor has it in abundance.
Below are some of the images that my very talented husband, Mark Skeet took in May 2021 – they are quite moody and imposing (as per my brief!).
To order your copy of The Web They Wove >> https://amzn.to/3nlQwiP
To find out more about the history of Woodhouse Moor