A SECONDARY school teacher and blogger has published her lockdown novel which looks at the funny side of living in a South Oxfordshire village.

‘A Dead Polar Bear on a Sledge’ – a humorous take on Oxfordshire village life by East Hagbourne resident and teacher Alsion Lane, follows the life of a woman called Jen who is ‘living in a village by mistake’ as she goes through heart break and longs for her old London life.

The novel leads on from Ms Lane’s blog about non-fictional observations on modern life and living in a South Oxfordshire village, which has provided her with a lot of funny material.

Ms Lane said: “Like many people I had some time on my hands during lockdown and needed a project to keep me going. I have lived in South Oxfordshire for over twenty years now and it is an inspiring place to live and to write.

" I joined the Didcot Writers’ Group during lockdown and that was a real motivation too.”

She added: “I have been writing about my experiences of living here for years in my blog ‘In a Village by Mistake’ and this book was a natural extension of that. There is so much to write about – in fact, there is too much material.”

The novel is about Jennifer Grey who is a 40-year-old urban refugee, ‘living in a village by mistake’ and missing her old London life.

The story follows her trying to cope with infidelity, loneliness and finding love in all the wrong places.

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When her husband Chris leaves her, Jen drags her broken heart around ‘like a dead polar bear on a sledge’, while still somehow remembering to make nutritious packed lunches, sign the reading diary and wash her hair occasionally.

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At first Ms Lane’s novel was turned away by an agent but the author did not lose hope of publishing her comedy novel, instead she published it herself.

Ms Lane said: “I had some interest from an agent who really liked my writing but said that the plot and particularly the ending ‘wasn’t commercial enough’ – but I think readers want something a bit different and not the usual boring romantic cliches.

“So, I decided to take the plunge and design and publish the book myself. I had to learn a lot of new skills.

“The cover is by a talented young artist Sam Jarman, and she’s captured something really special about village life in her illustrations.”

Alison has also completed a second novel, ‘Cover Version’, which will be published in the spring.

She said: “I am also working on an audio version with my friend Angela Spence, also from South Oxfordshire. She has a real vocal talent and we have had a lot of fun learning how to use the recording equipment and software. It’s a real cottage industry.”

She added: “I hope that other people will be inspired to give it a go – if we can do it, anyone can. And now is the perfect time.”