The story behind the story #5 – Wearing chickens as hats, saying inappropriate things and depression!

The story behind the story #5 – A Very Rural Affair – Book 3

Continuing with the theme of sharing which of my own real-life experiences have influenced my steamy books, I bring you ‘A Very Rural Affair – Book 3’; the final book in the ‘Village Affairs’ trilogy.

But firstly I’d like to take a moment to observe that not many blogs can boast covering such a wide range of subjects as that title, can they?!

So, which elements of the final part of the Rural Affairs trilogy are personal to my life experiences?

  1. Crazy chicken lady
    I’ve kept chickens for the last couple of decades so I am well acquainted with their quaint personalities and strange ways. Indeed, there was a good chance of my turning into a crazy chicken lady myself about fifteen years ago when I owned over 50 hens, cockerels and bantams. You’ll be glad to hear that I’ve only got 4 now!.

    I remember one day I was crouching down in their field sorting something or other out and a council worker walked down the drive and approached me. The person was clearly an “official” (complete with business suit and clipboard) and their appearance came as such a surprise that I rose to my feet and very seriously said “How may I help you?”. Unfortunately, at that exact moment, one of the pure white cockerels I had bred took it upon himself to get a better view of proceedings. With a swift flap, he perched himself on the top of my head, just as I was rising to my feet.

    In terms of wearing a chicken/cockerel as a hat, I can confirm they certainly keep your head warm! However, the claws digging into your scalp, as they attempt to maintain balance, would probably put most sensible people off using a live chicken as a fashion accessory. I guess I should remain grateful he didn’t decide to undertake any bodily functions while perched up there! Basically, I must have looked like a complete loon, although it is still very funny to remember, even now.

    But on the whole, I’ve always found poultry to be extremely friendly and mostly just very inquisitive. So it should come as no surprise that my own experiences with chickens helped me to write the following scene in this book:

    ‘Can we talk for a second?  Please?’ Janie begged, as Dean showed no signs of slowing.  

    Unexpectedly, Dean came to an abrupt halt.  They were just behind the barn which housed the hens at night, meaning they were hidden from view by the farmhouse.  

    Immediately recognising Dean as one of the trusted people who regularly fed them, the hens dashed forwards, attempting to peck the tied laces of his formal shoes, incorrectly assuming they were a new species of worm. 

    Janie tried to hide her horrified gasp at being surrounded; she wasn’t a major fan of chickens, but would clearly have to deal with them if she wanted to speak with Dean.
  2. Depression
    In this story, Patrick is hit hard with depressive thoughts brought about by events which stir up memories of his tragic past. For a significant part of this story, the thoughts prey on his mind, by sucking the happiness from his days and filling his nightmares with the worst possible images.

    On the whole, I’m an annoyingly happy and resilient person, but I have once been badly hit with depression, to the point that I started to take medication to combat it. However, the physical side effects of the drugs were so scary for me, that I stopped taking the medication within days and managed to recover without.

    My depression came about from a couple of things combining forces. I could probably have handled each one individually, but together, as a double-whammy, they completely floored me and left me with no emotional strength to fight. The first issue was my job which was complete and utter pants; highly stressful, highly visible with outcomes that would be reported on by the media at a national level, working way beyond my full-time hours and my manager was a complete dick. There are no other words to describe him. He was simply a dick.

    The second issue was a boyfriend of five years who, quite out of the blue, informed me he didn’t love me any longer and was moving out of our jointly owned home. This was a major shock and, although if I’m completely honest with myself, I didn’t really love him any longer either, it was a massive change to every aspect of my life. I became single within the space of a day, I lost a whole group of (formerly his) friends who stuck with him as friends do, and I knew I either had to sell my house or discover some additional funds hidden in my mattress!

    I went downhill fast, taking way too much exercise to combat my misery and eventually knackering my body so I could no longer take any exercise until I healed. I almost instantly hooked up with a COMPLETELY UNSUITABLE guy – we were all about the sex (which to be fair was pretty amazing), but didn’t have any emotional attachment. And I hated myself for that – I’ve never been with somebody before just for the physical release; sex has always been about more than that for me.

    I remember at one stage, the house opposite applied for planning permission to do something or other. I really wanted to object to it, because it would be detrimental to my home, but I physically didn’t have either the energy or the mental capacity to log onto a website and click “object”. Instead, I just cried all day and all night. So yeah, I know what it feels like to feel low, and pointless and like the biggest waste of space in the world.

    The good news is, there is always a way out. I got away from the Mr Unsuitable and began to feel better about myself. I spent time with friends and family and felt worthwhile again. I purposefully did activities I enjoyed as a singleton and treated myself to the occasional back massage which made me feel good. I changed my working hours and my manager at work, once I’d had some time off, and my new manager was a complete joy. It might just be little steps you take each day, but it can be done…..
  3. Saying more than you should!
    Haven’t we all got that one friend who says inappropriate things at the worst possible moment? And, by the way. If you don’t know anybody who falls into the category of being that friend, the chances are, that person is you! I fear it is certainly me!

    In this story, once his mojo is restored, that person is definitely Duncan. Full of life, joy and mischief, Duncan shines at his very brightest when he’s playfully teasing his closest friends. And particularly when he’s in the company of his gorgeous boyfriend, Welsh International Rugby player, Gareth Evans. Having said that, when the gang travel to Janie’s home, to help her escape her bullying and violent husband, Mike, even Duncan’s good nature is tested to its limits, although his sarcastic wit reigns supreme.

    ‘I don’t think he’s such a big fan of yours,’ whispered Duncan confidentially in Mike’s direction. ‘Now,’ he continued, his voice back to a normal level.  ‘Obviously, Janie will be filing for a divorce and you should probably expect domestic abuse charges to be heading your way too.  All the power is in Janie’s hands now, which I guess you seriously can’t stand?  But hey ho.  That’s life…’

    Duncan ground to a halt as Mike’s confused, astounded expression failed to dissipate.  There was no doubt he was seriously perplexed.

    ‘D…domestic abuse?’ he repeated.

    ‘Oh, I am sorry,’ drawled Duncan, proving that he was wasted in banking.  He really should have pursued a career on the stage.  ‘You thought it was your right to bully and assault your wife?  Didn’t you get the memo?’

    ‘Memo?

    ‘Yeah.  You see, we’re no longer in the seventeenth century so Janie isn’t your chattel now.  At this stage in history, women can earn their own money, they can vote… they’re even allowed the freedom to speak their own mind.  I know!’ laughed Duncan.  ‘How crazy is that, right?  And don’t even get me started about homosexuality being legal too!’ he added, sending a playful wink towards Gareth.  ‘Because that would seriously blow your tiny mind!

~~~~~~~~~

‘A Very Rural Affair – Book 3’ is available from Amazon.comAmazon.co.ukAmazon.com.au and Amazon.ca. This book can either be purchased, or read via a Kindle Unlimited subscription. Here are the links to sign up to a free 30-day Kindle Unlimited trial on Amazon.co.uk  or Amazon.com.

~~~~~~~~~

The latest news from Fenella Ashworth can be found at http://www.fenellaashworth.com.
Fenella is a British author of contemporary steamy romance for 18+. All of her stories are available from Amazon and Kindle Unlimited. Her most popular books are ‘One Hot Wynter’s Night’, ‘To Love, Honour and…Oh Pay’ and the Daniel Lawson Series.

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