Clapham Common Is Setting For New Novel

Wimbledon writer's local inspiration

Wimbledon-based writer Chris Chalmers has had his first novel published - and it's set in south-west London.

Five To One centres on five different lives converging when a helicopter crash lands on Clapham Common at 12.55 on a sunny afternoon. It's a day that changes them forever - and for some of them it's their last.

Chris (left), who lives in Hartfield Road and has worked as an advertising copywriter, won the 2011 Debut Novel competition of his novel's publishers, Wink Publishing.

He said: "Five To One is actually the third book I wrote, after Gillian Vermillion – Dream Detective for children, and my first adult novel, Dinner At The Happy Skeleton. That's about an advertising man undergoing a mid-life crisis.

"The flat I was living in at the time plays a major role in Five To One, and the part of Clapham Common where the helicopter comes down was the view from my laptop.

"I never thought I could write a novel. I used to read them and think, 'How on earth did he/she keep all this in their head?'

"When I tried, I spent the entire eight months convinced I'd never finish it. In fact I remember reaching the last page and thinking 'When's the roof going to blow off? Am I about to drop down dead...?' The idea I could actually write a whole novel still seemed ridiculous!"

The five characters in his story are: a pilot on the verge of retirement who receives a highly unorthodox mission; a City boy-turned-gardener, pursued by a client's stunning Polish au pair; a lonely care home assistant from a Brixton council estate, accused of assaulting an old lady in the night; a Kiwi considering parenthood with a woman from his past; and an estate agent, adrift in the Galapagos, who succumbs to a dangerous infatuation while her fiancé is away with the giant tortoises.

Chris's novel is being produced as an e-book, and is available on Amazon.

  • Chris is taking part in a reading evening featuring local authors at South Lambeth Library at 7pm on Wednesday (May 9).

May 4, 2012

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Chris Chalmers