About the Book,Close Encounters of the Rustic Kind: Retrospective Rural Recollections
Close Encounters of the Rustic Kind: Retrospective Rural Recollections, Often hilarious, always stoical and charming, captivating recollections take you back to a wild Devon countryside of fifty years ago. Rustic characters from a lost world spring from the pages to delight with their eccentricity and enigmatic philosophies.
About the Author
Born at the beginning of the 1950s, the author grew up in the village of Iver on the south Buckinghamshire/Middlesex border near London, England.
While still in his teens, he moved to the rugged north Devon coastline where he found employment on a farm amongst a rural community little changed since before World War Two.
Immersed in his agricultural life on the fringes of Exmoor, learning on the job became a necessary day to day requirement in an unrelenting and unforgiving workplace but these formative years shaped his philosophy for the decades to come.
He went on to become a farmer in his own right using the skills and knowledge accumulated during his early years in Devon.
Later in life, and until his ‘retirement’, he taught at a Further Education college in Barnstaple.
He has also had humorous articles relating to rural life published in UK magazines, more notably, The Countryman.
He now lives in southwest France and still has several acres of land and a few old tractors to keep him occupied. If he’s at a loose end, he indulges in a touch of writing.
Qn 1: Can you tell us more about your book,Close Encounters of the Rustic Kind: Retrospective Rural Recollections, What is it about?
Close Encounters of the Rustic Kind’ starts in the late 1960s and follows the progress of Will Evans who was raised in the southeast of England just west of London.
He moves to the ‘wild’ north Devon countryside while still in his teens and fulfils a childhood dream by finding employment on a farm amongst a rural community little changed since before World War Two.
However, his semi-rural Home Counties upbringing had ill-prepared him for the rigours and hardships of agricultural life on the fringes of Exmoor, and, learning on the job became a necessary day to day requirement in an unrelenting and unforgiving workplace.
The idyllic rural dream becomes a distant memory but he is captivated by the way of life revolving around the old fashioned village in which he lives and is constantly entertained by the innumerable larger than life local characters.
He gradually establishes himself after an ‘apprenticeship’ lasting several years and the country life anecdotes in the book describe noteworthy and singular events and situations encountered on his long and winding journey working on local farms and in the surrounding villages. Events that were often trying, invariably highly amusing and, sometimes, just downright difficult, but, they were nearly always life-enhancing experiences – although perhaps not always appreciated as such at the time!
He progresses from being employed to being a farmer in his own right – a transformation that presents a whole new set of challenges that culminate in increasingly unpredictable circumstances both in his working life and personal life.
Qn 2: Who do you think would be interested in this book, Close Encounters of the Rustic Kind: Retrospective Rural Recollections, is it directed at any particular market?
The true stories in this whimsical and humorous book will enthral town and country dweller alike, shining a light on country living five decades ago when the world was perhaps just a little less complicated.
Qn 3: Out of all the books in the world, and all the authors, which are your favourite and why?
My favourite authors are:
- Jane Austen. All of her works are remarkable, I probably like Mansfield Park the best.
- Patrick O’Brien. His historical novels about the Royal Navy in Nelson’s time are gripping to read and full of accurate detail. (Although they are fiction, they are nevertheless largely based on the exploits of Lord Cochrane at the beginning of the 19th century).
Qn 4: What guidance would you offer to someone new, or trying to enhance their writing?
Whether writing fiction or non fiction, stick to things that you know about.
Knowledge of your subject quickly creates credibility with your readers.
Do not make your chapters too long – this often encourages the reader to go on to the next one – and then the next…
Don’t edit your writing until you’ve written down everything you wanted to write down in any one session – go back and edit afterwards.
Qn 5: Where can our readers find out more about you, do you have a website, or a way to be contacted?
My Facebook author page at: https://www.facebook.com/rusticwillevans/