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Devizes bookshop is backdrop to hit debut novel
New author Jo Platt has used her experience of growing up in Devizes as the background to Reading Upside Down, her romance novel that has seen success in the world of e-literature.
Mrs Platt, who now lives in Bristol with her anaesthetist husband Martin and their two children, set the book in her former home of St Albans.
But an antique bookshop central to the plot is firmly based on D’Arcy Books in The Chequers, Devizes – premises now housing the Funky Rabbit children’s shop.
Mrs Platt said: “I’ve got such fond memories of that shop. I bought all my books for university there and I was able to take my own children in there before it closed.
“The heroine of my book, Ros, works in an antique bookshop and I had D’Arcy Books in mind as I was writing it.”
Mrs Platt is the daughter of Gary and Barbara Butler, who lived in Devizes for many years before moving to Chippenham two years ago. Mrs Platt and her sister both went to Devizes School and remember the commotion when two lions escaped from the circus on The Green and entered the school grounds, sparking a crisis widely reported in the national press.
She studied at university in London, where she met her husband, and they lived in St Albans briefly before moving to Bristol.
She wrote Reading Upside Down in secret, only deciding to publish it online via Amazon in February. The reaction took her by surprise.
She said: “I have been overwhelmed by the response. So many people have emailed and tweeted to say how much they like it. It is a great feeling having people entertained by something that has come out of your own head. I felt very exposed when I finally decided to make it public but it is wonderful people are enjoying it.”
The second novel is already in preparation, though it does not have a title as yet. Mrs Platt said: “The title on the cover at the moment is Scribblings 2. Reading Upside Down only got its name fairly recently. Until then it was just called Scribblings.”
Reading Upside Down is available on Amazon or can be downloaded from bit.ly/jepbook
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