The book is based on years I spent living and working in the Brendon Hills in the hedonistic 1970s, what’s sometimes called ‘the me decade’. I fell in love with the landscape and the life it offered. Some of these experiences have influenced what’s written in this coming-of-age novel. But when circumstances bring the five friends back together, mid-lives in the mid-90s are also explored.
The cultural texture of British life probably changed more quickly between 1970 and 1990 than during any other post-war decades. And although we often think of the 1970s as the tired, miserable hangover after the Swinging Sixties, it makes much more sense to see them as the beginning of a new chapter in the story of modern Britain. So many things that started then – gender equality, sexual freedom, environmental awareness, travel for the masses and a focus on individualism – which are now mainstream.
These issues underpin the territory that Wyld Dreamers explores through people and relationships. Experiences of intimacy, secrets and why we tell them, the meaning of friendship are themes. But the county of Somerset is a character, too, providing the beautiful setting for this story of how youthful follies can come back to haunt.