A York writer and his friend have published a book based on a fortnightly series they have been co-writing for two newspapers.

Since 2019, Jon Markes and his friend Michael Braccia, from the Midlands, have been writing alternate episodes of their series, Leeford Village, which centres around the lives of a cast of villagers, for the Express and Star and Shropshire Star websites.

Due to its popularity, the pair, who met at work in the 1990s, have now self-published a book based on the first year's episodes.

Read Next:

Jon, who is the treasurer of York Buddhist Centre in Walmgate, said: "Leeford Village has been described as a contemporary soap opera, a bit like The Archers but funnier and with less farming.

"Some of the plots border on the absurd, though there are more serious moments, too. We say that Leeford Village tells of tales of ordinary and not-so-ordinary village folk.

"We edit each other’s episodes for grammar, punctuation and continuity but we are not allowed to alter the plot.

"So, Michael might put a character in a particular situation and then I can choose whether to continue the narrative, change it, or let Michael run with it.

"Each chapter of the book ends on a bit of cliff-hanger. Over the course of the writing we have had a lot of fun putting characters in situations then batting the plot back and forth until one of us decides to come to a resolution."

Read Next:

The pair had come to the realisation that they had enough material to compile the episodes into a book, and decided to write four extra chapters dedicated to specific characters, to reach a wider audience.

Jon added: "At first, our distinct writing styles were apparent. However, by about the sixth episode, our styles became more convergent.

"When I was editing the book for publication I often couldn’t remember which one of us had written the episode.

"I suspect we have our own favourite characters which we enjoy writing about more than others. I love the character of Cody, who runs the chip shop with his wife Agnes and have to be careful not to include them in every plot!

"Maintaining the integrity of each character so that they react to situations that either one of us puts them in is both the main challenge and enjoyment of writing Leeford Village.”

The characters include gnome-fanatic Vera Cleeve, Cody and Agnes who own the local chippy and are way past the seven-year itch, Ethel, who has an ear for gossip in her coffee shop, sisters Linda and Sherry, who have a crush on market trader and launderette manager, Allen Gomez, and the band, trying to put a set together for the village fête without falling apart.

The book is available from Cleggs in Goodramgate, jonmarkes.com, and Amazon.