Pen icon

The Road From Cromer Pier

Following the success of The Road to Cromer Pier, I had a number of people ask if there was going to be a sequel. My initial reaction was no. I hate it when authors leave a cliff-hanger to sell the next book.

My view rather changed when lockdown wiped out live theatre, including of course the Cromer Pier Theatre. I thought about the people I’d met during the launch and the terrible impact it would have on them. My own directorial debut was wiped out when we cancelled our summer play, and then our pantomime too bit the dust.

I was delighted that the enterprising Nigel Hogg kept the revamped Cromer Pier show alive across the summer, in spite of the difficulties. I reflected on the fictional story in my book, set in 2009, and found myself wondering how the lives of my fictional characters would have changed in the ten subsequent years.

It became clear to me that I’d left a lot of unfinished business in their lives, so I set forth to write a sequel, and The Road from Cromer Pier was born. I decided to base it in 2019, prior to lockdown. What has happened since will be written about by authors better than me in the years to come, but I wouldn’t know where to start.

The book features many of the original characters ten years on, plus one or two fresh faces. As with the first book, our story features the real-life location and the real-life show, but is entirely fictional, although people who know Cromer will know some of the locations.

It’s a saga about the less glamourous side of theatre, featuring the only surviving end of the pier show in the world. It’s a tribute to those who make us laugh and move us out of our everyday existence. In a year when we have come to know what we lose when our entertainment industry isn’t there, it explores the lives and loves not only of the performers, but also the people who make theatre happen.

It’s a heart-warming human story, and the reader shares in the innermost thoughts of our character, and the highs and lows in their lives. As a sequel to The Road to Cromer Pier, taking place ten years on, it takes the reader on the journey the characters have been on.

So, Janet Wells is now nearing retirement, along with some others in our story. Having semi-retired myself, rather more quickly than I expected, it isn’t as easy for some as it sounds. For the independent-minded Janet, it is especially hard as the theatre has been her life.

She learns that:

  • As you get older it’s harder to accept change and let go of what you’ve built.
  • Sometimes you need to learn to trust, even if you’ve been let down before.
  • Sometimes, personal prejudices and jealousies can cloud your judgement.
  • Sometimes people are capable of wonderful kindness and generosity.
  • You can still make a difference when you’re retired.

So, what’s the book about then?

It’s ten years on from The Road to Cromer Pier, and Summertime Special Show Director Karen Wells has two potential headliners, but both have issues. Dare she take the risk? And Karen herself is at a crossroads. Will her mother Janet ever retire and allow her to run the pier theatre?

Meanwhile Janet’s nemesis, businessman Lionel Pemrose still has designs on the pier theatre, but he is facing growing financial problems. Bank manager Peter Hodson is haunted by a past indiscretion, and calls in recently widowed turnaround expert Tom Stanley. Can he keep the indiscretion a secret?

Old enmities, loyalties and past mistakes surface as the future of the pier theatre is once again under threat, and those involved must deal with unresolved issues in their lives.