FORMER councillor Chris Vobe has launched his debut novel, “The Water Tower” which he says was inspired by the loss of Warrington’s historic Garnett Tower from the town’s skyline.
The Culcheth based author’s The Water Tower is a two-volume epic and both parts have been released simultaneously
The novel has been highly anticipated since the beginning of the month when a dedicated Facebook page in support of the book reached over 1,600 people in the first 24 hours.
Described as “equal parts heart-breaking and life-affirming”, The Water Tower clocks in at over 500,000 words. It is being released in two volumes, which combine to tell a powerful story that offers a candid exploration of the way we deal with loss.
The Water Tower’s primary setting is Little Bassington; a fictional village located somewhere between Hampshire and the South East coast. The story follows reluctant journalist Adam Chapman who returns home after the death of his great aunt to find a community on the cusp of war with a development company, whose plans to construct a sweeping estate of luxury homes would result in the demolition of the iconic Water Tower.
The campaign to save the Tower provokes a charged debate over issues of identity and heritage – while dark secrets long since consigned to memory are poised to come to light…
The novel’s style is unusual, in that it incorporates a wide variety of written styles. The Water Tower tackles a number of social issues – including the class divide; poverty; domestic abuse; drug addiction; self-harm and the consequences of infidelity, whilst simultaneously retaining a heavy focus on the nature of relationships.
Following The Water Tower‘s release, Chris explains how the epic novel came to be:
“Picture the scene. There I was in the summer of 2018, standing in Palmyra Square – approaching the anniversary of my grandfather’s passing, in the wake of a friend’s untimely death, talking on the phone to a colleague who was about to fly away to pastures new, and watching the Garnett Tower fall.
“That moment led me to start thinking about loss. How we deal with it, how we respond to it, and how it changes us.
“I wanted to explore the concept of ‘losing something’ not just through the prism of grief, but what it means to face losing your identity, or your sense of place. That was the genesis of the story which eventually became The Water Tower.
“As our principal cast come together to save their beloved Water Tower in the slipstream of their own private tragedies, they discover that Little Bassington is a village which harbours secrets. It’s down to a reluctant journalist and the woman with whom he falls unexpectedly in love to bring the deepest of those secrets to light – for better or for worse…”
In addition to the fictional setting of Little Bassington, The Water Tower will propel readers into the London districts of Mayfair and Bloomsbury for some “pivotal flashback scenes”, whilst the denouement to one storyline thread takes place on the Brighton seafront.
Despite not setting out to write a “political” novel, Chris reveals that readers can expect to find themselves immersed in the trials and tribulations of an “unconventional political romance”, which serves as the “beating heart” of the story.
“At its heart, The Water Tower is a love story – but not necessarily in the traditional sense. It challenges us to confront who we love, how and why we love them – and crucially, through the eyes of two of the most important characters, the lengths we’re willing to go to for the one who means the most.”
The Water Tower (Volumes I and II) are available to purchase exclusively from Amazon.
Readers can follow The Water Tower’s dedicated Facebook page via: facebook.com/TheWaterTowerNovel