Who would have thought a small dog could have changed the course of a novel?
I am allergic to dogs. Any sort of contact with the average hairy soft makes my eyes stream, my nose run and my chest heave with asthma. So no, I don’t do dogs.
Except for Jeffrey. Jeffrey is a schnoodle, a delightful woolly neighbour of mine, with a sense of humour second to none. OK, he was troublesome as a teenager, but he’s settled down to a life of making people laugh and eyeing hedgehogs with doubt – rather like the first Flash TV ad dog eyes the mud. He is, however, a modest soul, and when I told him I’d like him to star in my fortieth novel, he was unwontedly bashful. I needed to change his name, he said, and to make sure he had no more than a cameo role. Oh, and to scratch his neck just where he couldn’t quite reach. Now!
Not everyone in Head Wound is quite so affable – indeed, there are some particularly nasty incomers to the village, with whom Jane does not enjoy a neighbourly relationship. She needs really friends now, at a time when life for any teacher, especially a head teacher, is extremely taxing. Will those she turns to support her? Or will they back away too?
I know a lot of you really want a happy ending for Jane – but would she recognise such an escape if it presented itself?
Allison & Busby
18 October 2018