John Watkins Hyatt - Writer of literary fiction living in South Australia. Currently serving a selection of light tales in a retro setting, garnished with a little crime, and embellished with a touch of humour.
My three novels, each a stand-alone story, are set a few decades in the past. I aim, with realism, to give a view of the world during the war years, the 1950s and 1960s, and to reveal the social and other constraints imposed on my characters during these periods. From our modern point of view, and knowing the state of the world during these times, we can therefore try to predict to some extent the outcomes for the characters portrayed. For example, Making it in Balham is set in London during the late 1950s. Rightly or wrongly, this was a time of great optimism, with financial growth and major development and slum clearances occurring in London and elsewhere. These changes, not always welcomed, caused many people to regret these so-called improvements.
At a deeper level, all my novels deal to some extent with the concept of ambition.
Making it in Balham, set in 1958, portrays Agnes Bracken: ambitious and seeking her goals ruthlessly. She achieves success step by step; but not without some obstacles along the way.
In Doctor Mulecannary, my protagonist George Bradstock works in a humble occupation and it is his wife who is ambitious; she wants her husband to 'advance' with the aim of making more money. She drives him into making decisions that have a profound effect upon the family.
My third novel concerns a young man leaving school in the late 1960s. He becomes immersed in a workplace that has little regard for the health and safety of the employees, and is not therefore a particularly welcoming place for the young school-leaver. Despite these hurdles, my protagonist Terence Thimble still battles through the first few months in his new job with some success. The work assigned to him is not what he expects, but he continues with the firm as all the time he thinks a change for the better is shortly to happen.
Further work in progress includes a sequel to Making it in Balham - Agnes Aspires.... This novel set in 1960, follows the progress of Agnes, along with her extraordinary companion Inga, in Agnes's determined quest for money and recognition.
A new novel called Spies in Battalions is in the planning stage and centres around a family living in wartime London. My elderly protagonist, Elizabeth Little, uses the war to settle old scores with people she dislikes, and this has unforeseen consequences.
Making it in Balham is set in London during 1958 against a backdrop of slum clearance and post war building. There are riots at Notting Hill and racial tension is rife. Despite all this, the prime minister announced the previous year that most of our people have never had it so good. In many ways, this is true. The economy, so set back during the austerity of the post war years is booming. There is an underlining feeling of optimism as Britain heads towards the 1960s.
We meet the ambitious Agnes aware of these changes but feeling left behind. She strives to break from her working class roots through education and elocution lessons; she is a typist and wishes for a better lifestyle with the least effort on her part. She wants to make her mark, to become someone of consequence, and perhaps even famous...
We then meet Inga who is different in every way to Agnes. Inga from Denmark works as a housekeeper to a man of business known to her as Mr Brown. The two women become friends, and Agnes takes advantage of free accommodation when she discovers Mr Brown disappeared several weeks before, leaving Inga in charge of his apartment.
Several unsettling events occur after they move in that has them seeking answers.Buy online
A routine visit to his doctor has unforeseen consequences for George Bradstock. During his consultation, he discovers that the doctor’s car is for sale and buys the vehicle; but the doctor has unwittingly left something in the back that leads him to encounter the mysterious and charismatic Doctor Mulecannary.
George is happy in his somewhat humble occupation; he is a bank teller at a branch of Martins Bank in London. He does not earn very much and this prompts his wife, Dorothy to urge him to seek promotion. Eager to please his wife and having no luck stepping up through the ranks to become manager, George becomes involved in Doctor Mulecannary’s money making scheme that does not go completely to plan.
While George maintains his faith in the ultimate good intentions of the doctor, Dorothy loathes and mistrusts him, and urges her husband to have no more dealings with Mulecannary.
Just who is Doctor Mulecannary? The man is at first a mystery, as he leaves no clues; but eventually George discovers his identity after some strange and life changing events take place.
The reader can decide whether Doctor Mulecannary is a man of business, a crook and confidence trickster, or a medical genius.Buy online
Britannic Metals is the name of a proud old-fashioned company with traditions still planted firmly in the Victorian era.
This is a historical fiction/retro novel set in the late 1960s and features as protagonist Terry Thimble, who at the age of seventeen leaves the comfortable world of school to start work at this company to follow his dream as a laboratory assistant. Here he meets many unusual and interesting characters, some of whom he will remember for the rest of his life; he has his first romantic encounter, he buys a car and learns to drive and is accused of a crime he did not commit; the young man also encounters a ‘ghost.’ Terry regards all of this in the manner of a spectator at the theatre, but eventually becomes disillusioned and resigns. The story represents ‘a slice of life’ for Terry Thimble and puts over with several quips of dark humour, his ambitions, frustrations, and disappointments when he discovers the work is not as he expected.Buy online