A FORMER Brierley Hill Market trader has released his first novel - inspired by a lifetime of living and working in the Black Country.

Frank Chamberlain, aged 48, first fell in love with the unique character and history of the area on a school trip to Dudley's Black Country Living Museum when he was nine.

After growing up in Walsall, he moved to Kinver and 20 years ago settled in Brierley Hill where he had a stall in the town's market hall and later became the caretaker.

Over the years he soaked up tales told by traders and customers, young and old, and it was these stories that inspired him to write his first novel Misconception - a thriller set in 1941 in a fictional town reminiscent of Brierley Hill and Stourbridge as they would have been during World War II.

The plot follows Justine Page - a young woman who embarks on a search for answers after waking up after an air raid to discover all of her friends and her lover Harry have mysteriously vanished.

With her world turned upside down by bombs, missing people and revelations that throw her whole life into a new focus - Justine enlists help from a passing company of Australian soldiers as she tries to find out what has become of everyone; and the book centres on just part of a story which Frank plans to tell through a series of novels set from 1919 through to 1963.

He said: "This book just wrote itself as the characters came to life and made decisions of their own.”

The strong female lead in the story is based on his "feisty and independent" wife Justine Chamberlain-Page and he said: "She was the perfect model for a character who could adapt to difficult situations and overcome the traumas of waking up in a world smashed apart by war."

Frank, who volunteers for a host of groups in Brierley Hill, was also keen to feature places that some Black Country readers will recognise and he said: “All the locations are based on real buildings, tunnels and hidden spaces that I have either visited or studied diagrams and archives of.

“I wanted this book in particular to enhance people's ideas of the amazing spaces we live in, the region's fantastic history and the resourcefulness our families showed in times of war and great losses."

For more on the author check out frankpages.net or follow him on Facebook @FranksPages.

Available to buy as a paperback or a digital download, Misconception has already received five star reviews on Amazon - with one reader saying the book is blessed with "great characters and intriguing plot twists" and "it really captures the atmosphere of life for ordinary people in the Black Country in the days of WWII".