Bikers and The People's Friend magazine - not something you would expect to hear in the same sentence, I know!
In my story, we are taken out of the cosy café people might expect to see in the magazine, and into a transport café. A different setting maybe, but one where the story remains true to the magazine's values of hope, friendship and loyalty.
One Big Family is a story about Janice, who has never married and has no children - she hasn't time for a family as Woody's transport café, which she bought five years ago, takes up all her time. When the café is threatened with closure after a bypass is built, she realises that her loyal customers have become, essentially, her family.
The inspiration behind my fictitious Woody's Café is in fact a real transport café on the A281 near Cowfold, called The Chalet Café. It is set back from the road and often has bikers sitting on the wooden benches outside. The funny thing is, I've never actually been inside the café but have passed by hundreds of times on my way to visit my mum, in too much of a hurry to stop. It appears from the outside to be a traditional place: simple, functional and from what I've read on their website, serving the hugest breakfasts imaginable.
Every time I've passed The Chalet, I've thought that it would make a great setting for a story. One day, as I was driving by, I wondered what would become of the café if something happened to take away their passing trade? Would the customers be loyal enough to keep on coming?
It was a light bulb moment. That would be the story I would write.
Now I am imagining walking into the café with a copy of The People's Friend in my hand to show them. I wonder what the customers would think!