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THE HIDDEN ROAD HOME: Former Garston roofer fulfils lifelong dream of publishing a novel

 Published on: 24th March 2024   |   By: Annabel Stock   |   Category: Uncategorized

A Garston resident and former roofer has achieved his lifelong dream of publishing a novel.

Steve Johnson, who has lived in Garston all his life, was out for a walk with his wife during the COVID-19 lockdown when the idea for the novel came to him.

Sadly, Maggie passed away in May 2023 aged just 59, three months before the book was completed, and the novel is dedicated to her. Getting the book published gave Steve a focus in his grief.

The Hidden Road Home took 18 months to write but Steve, who worked as a roofer for 35 years, says the story flowed naturally.

He said: “From the moment I sat down at my computer, this little world full of characters emerged. It came naturally to me. The biggest challenge was working out how to link everything together.”

The novel is set during the Second World War and centres around a young couple who meet just before the outbreak of the conflict. Waitress Charlotte Reid and fighter pilot Tom Hammond decide to marry just after war with Germany is declared. Several areas in Hertfordshire including St Albans, Watford and Harpenden feature prominently in the novel.

Steve says he has always been fascinated by this period in British history.

He said: “So many people, who would have otherwise led ordinary lives doing ordinary jobs, did amazing things during the Second World War.

“The novel is in part a homage to that generation. I felt I owed it to them to get this right.”

Steve says he has always loved reading and writing and is his friends’ ‘go-to man’ for helping with speeches at weddings, funerals and other events. He also wrote some comedy material for TV presenter and former Watford resident Bradley Walsh.

He already has another novel, set in the 1970s, in the pipeline.

Order Steve’s book at

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