The Fence (working title) is Debbie Ballin's first novel and is a work in progress. It was developed on the MA Writing at Sheffield Hallam University. It is due to be completed in January 2017
Anna, a forty-something, overstretched, working mum, arrives at her mother’s house to drop off her two children, only to find that she is missing. On the kitchen table is a pile of letters, photographs and journals sent to her mother after the death of an old friend. Through them she discovers a hidden secret about Laurie’s past. Using the correspondence as a map, Anna sets out to find her mother. On the journey, memories long buried start to surface and the past begins to unravel. The novel is set in Sheffield in the present day, late 50s Cornwall and Greenham Common in 1981
At the heart of The Fence is a story about a mother, daughter relationship. The novel looks at the way one generation of women’s choices impacts on the next. It deals with themes of grief and regret and how we reconcile the past with the present . Part of the novel explores the experience of being involved in protest movements from a child's perspective and the aftermath of those protests. It extends in fictional form some of the research undertaken in the collaborative project Echoes of Protest.