‘Trying Times’ for former teacher with debut book

A former teacher has combined his talent for writing with his love of the Lincolnshire countryside for a whimsical and original debut novel.

Keith Rylands-Bolton
Keith Rylands-Bolton

Keith Rylands-Bolton taught at Market Rasen’s De Aston school for many years, later becoming head of drama.

During his spare time, he acted in and directed many productions at the Broadbent Theatre and it is clear this theatrical side has helped fire the imagination needed to create the title character in Trying Times for Sebastian Scattergood.

The novel chronicles the annus horribilis of an earnest but kind man.

Set in 2012, Mr Scattergood is a retired chemist and inveterate bore, who feels his life is one big failure.

Yet, despite all of the setbacks, he shows that through the support of friends and the inspiration of Alfred Lord Tennyson, it is still possible to recapture love and happiness.

Keith said: “The novel is also an exploration of a particular area of England, Tennyson’s Lincolnshire, both factual and satirical.

“Factual, because most of the places and walks described in the novel exist; satirical, because it enjoys poking fun at the eccentricities of the life of a small community and its characters. In this sense, the novel is a cultural tour.

“However, beneath the amusing surface, there are also darker elements contained within, such as the moral turpitude of the gutter press and the crippling consequences of dementia.”

Although this is Keith’s first published book, it is not his first foray into novel writing.

He said: “I have been writing for many years, more actively since I retired in 2010.

"I was shortlisted in 2017 for the ‘Spotlight First Novel’ Competition run by Adventures in Fiction for my unpublished novel, In the Land of the Beehive.”

The thoroughly English tale of Trying Times for Sebastian Scattergood is published on January 24, 2023, and is available in paperback and Kindle format.

However, the author has already given some sneaks previews on social media – www.facebook.com/KeithRybo .

He will also be reading from the novel at Tealby Christmas Market, which takes place this Saturday, December 3, 12.30pm to 1pm.