While I was struggling to make any headway with either “The Truths We Live” or “A Wounded Heart” earlier this year, I tried to get my creative juices flowing by looking back at other books in the Westmouthshire Universe and sketching out a timeline of the events within it.
It was an interesting thing to do, although it serves little point beyond perhaps helping with the stalled Westmouthshire Wiki project on this website. It’s the kind of thing that anyone who’s read all the books would find interesting to browse, but because it obviously contains “spoilers”, it’s not something you’d want to read if you’ve yet to read any of the books at all.
Plotting out the timeline was fairly easy with some of the books, as the timescale is clearly laid out. I had to do a little bit of digging to find the “actual dates.” In some cases, all I’ve got is a vague “month and year” or even just a year, but that doesn’t matter quite as much since those events are “backstory” rather than “main plot”.
The timeline as it stands currently starts in 1998 when Chloe Goodman takes on her first television role and concludes at the end of October with the climax of “The Lies We Lead”.
Interestingly, the current timeline on the Wiki goes back further than that—all the way to Will and Amy’s birth in the 70s—and ends with Will’s death in “The Future” (2048).
The books included in this timeline project currently are
- Kissed by a Rose
- Eternally & Evermore
- The Big Four Ohhh!
- The Lies We Lead
- Charlotte’s Secret
- A Good Man
- A Tortured Soul
“Lost & Found” isn’t “officially” part of the Westmouthshire Universe, so isn’t included. If I ever could be bothered to get the publishing rights to the book back from Phaze, I may look to “retcon” it to become part of the Universe.
The “Ladz” stories are officially part of the Universe, but none of them have dates quoted, so I can’t currently place them on the timeline. I may have to do something about that.
As for my other short stories, none of those are “officially” part of The Universe either, although I’m seriously considering small rewrites (they are never “small” and always end up “major”, which is why I haven’t done it yet) to “retcon” them into The Universe as well.
The advantage of doing that is it gives me more locations and more existing character to play with. For example, I have an idea for a short story about an Estate Agent who will ‘do anything’ to make the sale to a rich client. And the perfect character for that already exists in the form of Susan from “Measuring Up”. She and her husband, Mike, are also perfect for another short story idea I have for a couple that enjoys “swapping” from time to time.
But they are not part of The Universe, so I either have to make them so or invent new characters.
That said, Carla from the “Ladz” series is also an Estate Agent, so she could be my star, although for the story idea she really needs to be married. And Dave and Ruth from “The Big Four Ohhh!” could well be my swapping couple—if I didn’t already have other plans for them.
This is all just me playing with ideas for now though. I like playing with ideas. I will try and keep you posted should any of those ideas come to fruition.