Shiloh was an attempt to do another literary novel, one about a strange young woman called Shiloh, effectively telling the important episodes of her life. The idea was to tell the tale of somebody whose mother was a hippie, and follow the character through a series of misadventures. Apart from a single scene, there are no fantastical elements in this novel.
Shiloh is one of my longer novels, being over 230,000 words.
Extract from Shiloh
Late 1969, the last year of an old, dying decade. The Aquarian dreams of the peace-seeking Flower Children had ended in Altamont and violence. Brian Jones was dead. Both JFK and Martin Luther King have been assassinated. But the world keeps on turning. It takes no notice of the death of mortals.
Mary Ann King had been one of those Flower Children, but she refused to abandon the dream. It had been a good dream, and one well worth preserving. Love and Peace. Ban the Bomb. Make Love, Not War. Well, the last one was what Mary Ann King was currently engaged in.
It wasn’t the Summer of Love. More like the Autumn of Incessant Rain. Well, it was Oxford, and not San Francisco, after all. But Mary Ann King was still wearing flowers in her hair. They were just a little soggy, that was all. But at least they were getting plenty of water.
Mary Ann King was out with her new boyfriend. She didn’t even know his real name. She never would. But that was cool, because he called himself Starsong Dreamer, and she liked the sound of that. She wished that her name was more interesting: so, for a while, she became Elderberry Love.
Starsong Dreamer was everything that she had ever wished for. He was tall, and elegant, and he always knew the best sort of wine to order. He could write poetry, without appearing un-masculine. He was perfect, as far as Mary was concerned. He was also perfect as far as he was concerned, as well.
One night after Elderberry Love became drunk on non-elderberry wine, love and dreams joined together. The next morning Starsong Dreamer was gone, and Mary Ann King never saw him again. But that did not matter to Mary Ann King, as he had left her with a present, and nine months later Mary Ann King gave birth to a baby daughter, in the late summer of 1970.
Mary Ann King decided to call her daughter Shiloh. Not because she thought that the name held any specific meaning, but because Mary Ann King (still calling herself Elderberry Love) liked the sound of the name. Mary thought that she had heard the name in a film some time. And that was how Shiloh had come to be.
It is not easy being a single mother, and it was not easy being a single mother in the Seventies. It did not help that Mary Ann King was not particularly skilled at being a mother. She loved Shiloh, and she tried her best, but she did not have the right sort of personality to be put in charge of anybody else.
The problem was with Mary Ann King herself. She had too much love, and wanted to share it with the entire world. This, unfortunately, sometimes meant that Shiloh got forgotten. In one case, literally: once, Mary Ann put Shiloh down in a dress shop while she was trying on a dress, and forgot to pick her back up when she had finished trying on the dress (which, incidentally, Mary Ann did not buy). It was two hours before Mary Ann realised that she was missing something. It took her another ten minutes to realise that it was her daughter. Shiloh had made quite a few friends in the clothes shop by then, she was such a sweet little baby.
Mary Ann King had many gentleman friends through the years, but none of them could ever compare to Starsong. So Mary ditched them, still searching for perfection in an imperfect world. If she had still been alive, then she would have been searching still…
Mary Ann King never realised that she had perfection with her everyday: Shiloh.
Shiloh is available as an e-book on the Amazon Kindle store.