Welcome to the second of our alumni bookshelf features, where we celebrate the creative endeavours of our alumni and the power of the written word.
In this feature we take a look at the work of Stephen Baker, a former Hull City Councillor and whose monologues are influenced by the work of Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads teleplays.
We also meet Gillian Parsons, a former investment banker whose book “According to Laura” is the third in a political trilogy set in an alternative present where Prime Minister Giles Luscombe has cancelled Brexit and the Country teeters on the edge of civil unrest
About Stephen Baker
Stephen hails from Hull and has various careers including that of a local politician. He was elected onto Hull City Council in 2002 and served as a councillor until 2014; and held a Cabinet post for 5 years. He met some very ‘interesting’ people in the political arena. He is now an Honorary Alderman of the City. He is also a trustee of the Hull Homeless and Rootless Project.
Stephen enrolled on a part time degree course at the University in 2006 studying for a BA, he studied History, Literature and Film and benefited greatly from many inspirational lecturers. He then enrolled on a full-time masters Historical Research course. He had previously studied at Hull College on an A-level English Language/Literature Programme; this is when he studied the work of Alan Bennett. He was particularly interested in Bennett’s Talking Heads plays. His love of writing drew him to enrol with the Adult Education on a creative writing class and that proved to be the inspiration he needed to write his own monologues. Although influenced by Bennett, he developed his own style. Stephen’s involvement in politics is evident as politics comes into a lot of his work.
About Against the Tide
These monologues depict characters who see situations differently to mainstream society; and who, due to circumstances, feel isolated and somewhat estranged even from those around them. It is a collection of 6 plays, 3 men and 3 women. Topics include: politics, ambition and relationships. The plays are quite light-hearted but are intended to make people think. The reader may feel some empathy for the characters as they talk about what is happening in their lives. The old saying: ‘Can’t see the wood for the trees’, is very apt as regards the protagonists in the plays.
About Twists and Turns
This collection of monologues, again 3 men and 3 women, takes a more serious view of people’s lives. The dramas reflect individuals who are driven by ambition, revenge or by the need to be loved. The characters are faced with choices and react accordingly; but find that the outcome is not always what they had planned. The old adage: ‘Be careful of what you wish for,’ might be appropriate for the some of the protagonists. The plays may elicit all sorts of emotions for the reader.
Both books can be found in the drama section of TSL books. Stephen’s third collection of monologues, Secrets is due out very shortly. To buy, or to find out more about Stephen’s books, please follow the link.
About Gillian Parsons
Gillian Parsons is a retired Investment Banker who worked in The City of London for 28 years. (Hence her interest in the Chancellor). She lives in Scarborough with her husband Steve.
I have been creating alternative reality fiction for years but due to pressure of work was unable to write until taking ill health retirement. “According to Laura” was my fourth novel and the conclusion of “The Luscombe Chronicles”.
My 5th and most recent novel “Uncoupled” is stand alone and deals with the personal relations within several branches of the same legal professional dynasty.
I have written extensively for the stage and had two short plays staged at SJT Scarborough where I studied stage writing. Prior to that, I studied “Screenwriting for Film & TV” at Hull University, Scarborough.
I pay attention to detail and research so my novels are educational as well as; I hope; fun. All political facts are 100% accurate and “situations”. This is true of the legal situations within “Uncoupled” fictionalised have a hint of truth.
“The Promise You Made” (Book 1) has a cover photo of 11 Downing Street. Book 2, “Family Ties” bears a photo of the plaque at “Northstead Manor” the politically famous one of course! “According to Laura” has a photo of the London Eye, just down river from Parliament. As you read the novel, you’ll see it’s symbolic as situations go in circles. I’ve returned to the theme of “circles” for the front cover of my latest work.
This is my first “stand alone” novel, Unlike the Luscombe saga the story has various locations around the UK, Scarborough features prominently. The characters visit lots of famous landmarks wherever relevant to the storyline. Hull Campus gets a mention too. We met Paul & his girlfriend who are young law students.
There are several sub-plots each one interconnected hence the graphic on the front cover. Although most of the main players are or have been legal professionals the story isn’t directly about their day job, it’s about a group of credible, flawed human beings with all their plans, hopes and dreams.
It is set around the time of COVID, but in “Uncoupled world” the nightmare never happens. Great joy with the eventual victory of humanity over this dreadful disease will be tainted by so much grief and sadness. So, as I thought mentioning it might distress my Readers and also “date” the novel, I decided to leave it set in the early twenty twenties without mentioning COVID.
I have a plan in my head for the sequel “Re-coupled”. My Readers might enjoy re-attaching the various characters, as with jigsaw pieces and then read this second instalment to see if they have solved the puzzle correctly.
About “According to Laura”
This is the final book in my saga: “The Luscombe Chronicles” and should be read after the first two books; The Promise you Made, Family Ties and the backstory novella Anthology.
The saga is set almost exclusively in London and Scarborough. The characters visit lots of famous landmarks.
Prime Minister Giles Luscombe has cancelled Brexit and the Country teeters on the edge of civil unrest as his shaky Government struggles on. Giles himself is in hospital as he maintains he has no memory of the last two years of his life including the momentous decision he took, seemingly alone, to revoke Article 50. He visits the actual site of Northstead in Scarborough; much famed for being part of the process invoked when an MP wishes to resign.
All five of my books can be purchased both in paperback and Kindle format on Amazon.co.uk. Follow this link to find out more.