Langford author pens contemporary romance novel Bloom
'I never imagined that my book would be published, but it just goes to show that dreams do come true!'
A Langford woman has penned her debut novel drawing readers into the world of gardening, wellbeing and blossoming romance.
Hayley Lockhart, 55, is proud to have published Bloom, a contemporary romance about a lady whose life is changed when a new arrival moves into her village.
Hayley told the Chronicle: "The protagonist Lydia is passionate about gardening and she's happily divorced, an independent woman.
"She's a copy reader for a gardening magazine and she works at a local plant nursery where the owners are struggling to keep up with the bigger centres.
"Then she meets this chap called Tom who moves to the village who's a little bit mysterious..."
She added: "I never imagined that my book would be published, but it just goes to show that dreams do come true!"
Readers of Bloom will learn that, sadly, Tom's son died by suicide at university after a battle with depression.
However, Tom is interested in horticulture as a therapy, and the pair endeavour to set up a group to help people's mental wellbeing.
Hayley said: "The heart of it is that being outside you can really see the benefits to somebody's wellbeing. There's sowing the seed, planting it, watching it grow.
"I can lie awake for hours and hours at night with anxiety but as soon as I get up and go outside - even just walking round the garden, sitting and looking at something - it just makes you feel good."
Hayley has always loved reading and received a confidence boost when a short story she wrote won a competition with Prima Magazine.
This gave her even more drive to send her novel, Bloom, which she had been working on for a couple of years, to publishers.
Hayley, who used to work at the garden centre in Langford, said: "I was always tinkering at writing and abandoned several stories that my heart wasn't in.
"I was always saying to my colleagues, 'I'm going to write a book'. The garden centre was charming and characterful, and I've always had an interest in horticultural therapy. The story just bloomed."
Lydia and Tom live in the fictional village of 'Longford', which as you may guess, was inspired by a village very close to home!
Hayley laughed: "I think it's very amusing that I've called it Longford - although it's got a bakery and other shops that don't exist here.
"I think people will like the rural aspect; Longford is surrounded by fields."
Hayley would like to thank her husband David, 61, children Daisy, Dan, Emma, Michael-Anne and Ashleigh, and four grandchildren for their support. Even her cat, Bubble, inspired a furry character in the book!
She was also proud that her father, who died in March, was the first person to finish the novel from cover to cover.
The author added: "He was my first proper reader and he would have been delighted."
Hayley is looking forward to the future as she plans to keep writing and has three more grandchildren on the way!
Bloom is sold by Amazon, Waterstones, The Book Depository and The Endless Bookcase.