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Book about drug addict was inspired by Ilfracombe

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: December 20, 2012

Sherry Chiger with her daughter on Croyde beach

Sherry Chiger with her daughter on Croyde beach

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A WRITER from the USA has written a novel about a woman's search for her drug addict brother set in the fictional town of Billicombe, which was inspired by Ilfracombe.

Beyond Billicombe was written by Sherry Chiger, a Connecticut resident, while she lived in Barnstaple.

In the book, available in paperbook and as an e-book from Amazon, young actress Suzanne travels from Hollywood to Billicombe, a fictional town based on Ilfracombe, to find her older brother, who had been living there prior to disappearing six months earlier. Her search also takes her to the nearby market town of Boutport, a fictionalised version of Barnstaple.

Ilfracombe High Street and seafront and Barnstaple Pannier Market are among the local sites that make an appearance in the novel, albeit under different names.

"I didn't want to be beholden to render the towns with 100 per cent accuracy, so I changed the names," said Sherry.

"This way I could take literary licence while still capturing the unique spirit of the area."

Sherry moved to Barnstaple in 2007 for work. "I fell in love with North Devon the second I arrived," she said.

"When I had to return to the States three years later, I felt as if I were being exiled. Given the opportunity, I'd move back in a nanosecond."

And the local link doesn't end there, as Barnstaple based designer Tim Munnelly (timtimdesign.com), created the jacket cover.

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  • schiger  |  December 22 2012, 4:54PM

    The title of this article is indeed unfortunate (though I'm pleased about the article), because the book isn't really about a drug addict, and Ilfracombe didn't inspire the plot--anymore than the character Jax became an addict while living in the fictional town of Billicombe (he became involved with drink and drugs whilst in California). Yes, Beyond Billicombe focuses on some of the area's seamier aspects, but it also shares some of its more positive ones: its natural beauty, the friendliness of the people. How do I know? Because I'm the author of Beyond Billicombe--and I really would move back to Devon in a nanosecond if I had the chance.

    |   3
  • sandunes25  |  December 20 2012, 9:17PM

    Has anyone here actually read the book? I live in ilfracombe, I love my home town and have read the book. It is great to read the book, following in the footsteps of Suzanne around familiar sights and sounds. There are laugh out loud funny moments, sad moments and heart-warming moments in the book. Be honest - do you really want to read a stroy about sugar & spice and all things nice - or something with a decent storyline?

    |   5
  • kegs23  |  December 20 2012, 5:42PM

    According to an interview with the author on the web you may be able to put your comments to the lady direct - 'A native of Philadelphia, she lived for three years in North Devon, the area of England where Beyond Billicombe takes place, and where she dreams of returning—much to the dismay of her husband and daughter, who are quite happy with their current residence in Litchfield County, CT.' Intriguing that skareggae claims they don't read the Journal - but does go on line to read it!

  • skareggae72  |  December 20 2012, 4:49PM

    Looking at the misleading title of this article,i cannot help feeling this is yet another cheap dig at the town of Ilfracombe by the NDJ,bringing out the usual outspoken rubbish from people like accom & co. Stopped buying the NDJ a long time ago,so when they go bust goodbye and good riddance.

  • skareggae72  |  December 20 2012, 4:35PM

    Looking at the misleading title of this article,i cannot help feeling this is yet another cheap dig at the town of Ilfracombe by the NDJ,bringing out the usual outspoken rubbish from people like accom & co. Stopped buying the NDJ a long time ago,so when they go bust goodbye and good riddance.

    |   2
  • accom  |  December 20 2012, 1:09PM

    Ifracombe is by far the most scuzzy place in the whole south-west so this is no surprise. Good choice of location by the author!

    |   -7
  • whothellami  |  December 20 2012, 11:14AM

    Read 'The Western Witches' by Bob Gill! It is set in Ilfracombe and surrounding areas and starts with a body found on Hele beach. It's brilliant - exciting and funny. Amazon have it in paperback and on kindle.

    |   3
  • Sue200  |  December 20 2012, 9:55AM

    BOGOFF2 To have a balanced view I thought I should at least google the title to see what it is all about. It says "Suzanne has come to Billicombe, a faded English resort town on the Bristol Channel, for one simple reason: to find her adored older brother. A recovering addict, Jax had moved to Billicombe after completing rehab, but it's been six months since Suzanne last heard from him. Her search, however, turns out to be anything but simple. For one thing, Suzanne is a former child actress, well known for her role on a long-running TV series, and she needs to avoid being recognized while exploring Billicombe's seamy underside." Not sure what to make of that really!

    |   1
  • BOGOFF2  |  December 20 2012, 9:40AM

    I'm sure the residents of Ilfracombe are delighted their town has inspired a book about a drug addict.

    |   4
  • Sue200  |  December 20 2012, 8:33AM

    Are we supposed to be grateful? I was going to write something humorous but I am sure there are those far more eloquent a I am who can think of a comment or two!

    |   3

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