The Fox of Richmond Park
By Kate Dreyer
If the Animals of Farthing Wood had lived in London and hated each other a little bit more, their story may have been a lot like this one.
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"Get out of the way or get an antler up the arse, yeah? I'm sick of these glorified donkeys."
Londoners are generally an optimistic bunch. A massive community of eight-and-a-half million humans, all just trying to find their own way amongst tourists, obscene house prices and artisan coffee shops.
But this is a story of one Londoner who just happens to have fur and four legs.
The ruling deer have always cast a dictatorial shadow over the other animals in Richmond Park. When they decide they want a change of scenery and kick him and his friends out of their homes, Vince the fox has had enough.
He's never left the safety of Richmond Park, but he's got nothing to lose anymore. Not since his ex-girlfriend left him for another member of the pack. His grandparents came from the other side of London -- could he find their old home and create a better life? Will the capital's modern, mechanical, multi-cultural challenges help or hinder his adventure?
Following with a dream of finally experiencing the big city is Rita, an adventure-seeking magpie with an ill-advised love of singing. Vince agrees to let her tag along, as a pair of eyes in the air will no doubt come in handy.
Together the pair traverse London, helped by the urban creatures they encounter along the way: Westminster's bumbling peregrine falcon, the timid family of hedgehogs in Regent's Park, Soho's hipster rats, and the occasional human.
Back in Richmond Park, Edward the alpha-stag is paranoid: if Vince's departure encourages a multi-species mutiny and the rest of the animals up-sticks, the deer's power over the park will be lost.
Just what has Vince started beneath the eye line of London's human population?
When Kate Dreyer was seven years old she wrote a children's book optimistically titled "Animal Story 1", in which a young girl rescues a fox. She bound it herself using a cereal box as a hardback cover. Although she never completed the much anticipated sequel, she devoured all the animal stories she could get her hands on.
More recently, her love for animals has manifested itself in other creative ways, namely painting, getting tattoos, and looking out of office windows longingly. Writing was always there in the background, but one day it tapped her on the shoulder and asked why she wasn't doing more of it. She said she didn't know, so she started doing more of it.
The Fox of Richmond Park is her first 'proper' novel, sparked by eight years of living in London and working in dull office jobs. Her ultimate dream is to write, paint and look after animals for a living. Or to be a magpie. But you can't really help with that one. You can help with the writing part though.
Kate is delighted to be crowdfunding her book on Unbound, and can't wait for all of you lovely pledgers to read it.
“Why I should leave,” Vince snarled as he prowled back and forth in the semi-circle of bare earth that marked the entrance to his den, black ears flat to his head, “just because some entitled deer want to be near the goddamn lake?”
“It's not like that. And you can dig a new, bigger den in a day or two. I don't see what the problem is.” Edward tilted his antlers towards the small skulk of foxes several metres away, who had gathered at the edge of the woodland to wait for the sun to set. “Your friends are being very cooperative.”
“That's because you've told them a load of crap about how great the cemetery is,” Vince spat, the copper fur on his back bristling. He’d had every intention of talking this through civilly with the stag, but his temper had other ideas. Just like last time.
“The cemetery is perfectly lovely, there's trees all around, and there'll be more food for you there.” Edward clenched his jaw.
“Because it's right next to the town! There are people everywhere! It's not like there's not enough room here for all of us here.”
“Hardly,” Edward snorted.
If these glorified donkeys think their pathetic promises will persuade me to leave without a fuss...
Vince stopped pacing and sat on his haunches, eyes narrowed. “If the cemetery is so bloody great, why don't the deer move there?”
- 22nd June 2017 Final Cover Design for The Fox of Richmond Park!
I must apologise again for the lack of updates - Since my last post I have actually managed to land myself a new job as a student veterinary nurse, after working in digital marketing for 7 years. It's been a massive change and I've obviously had a lot less spare time than I did while I was freelancing and working from home! No excuses though... I am just bad at blogging and all…16th February 2017 A Blast from the Past
If you have read my author bio on my Unbound page, you may remember the following statement:
"When Kate Dreyer was seven years old she wrote a children's book optimistically titled 'Animal Story 1', in which a young girl rescues a fox. She bound it herself using a cereal box as a hardback cover."
You may have thought this an adorable lie to encourage pity-pledges for my novel, but yesterday…9th January 2017 Editing
Hello lovely pledgers,
Hope you all had great Christmasses and New Years. Thought I'd write a quick update for you all as things are coming along quite nicely now...
Just before Christmas I received my edited manuscript back from my editor. It took me a while to build up to opening the document as I saw it like a Schrodingers Cat of stories: It existed as both amazing and awful at the same…17th November 2016 The End (The good kind!)
Hello lovely pledgers,
Just a quick update to let you know that yesterday I finally managed to write 'THE END'.
Here is evidence:
The last few weeks have been very intense. In order to make sure I was writing enough words every day I came up with a very basic solution, which is best explained by the picture below...
Rather than telling myself to write 1,000 words a day, I gave…3rd November 2016 Update! (Finally) (Sorry)
A pledger very kindly informed me that I haven't posted an update since June. Oops. Since I post on Twitter a lot, I kind of made the assumption that everyone knew how hard I was working on getting the book finished, but obviously (duh!) not everyone follows me on Twitter. Sorry!
(https://twitter.com/KateDreyer by the way)
I realise that other Unbound authors post updates…29th July 2016 Five Classic Animal Novels For When You're Sick Of Humans
If you're bored of reading about humans, or just sick of our species in general, then why not try a nice story about animals? No, I'm not talking about Spot the Dog or Miffy the Bunny (although Miffy will always hold a place in my heart) - There are actually more novels about animals than you might have thought, and they aren't exclusively for children. In fact, some of them are pretty gruesome and…16th June 2016 A Long Overdue Update & Some Extracts
Hello lovely pledgers,
I have been very quiet, and I apologise - your support means a hell of a lot to me. I have been swamped the last few weeks with moving house, decorating said house, and trying to deal with no longer having a regular income, which has meant I've neglected promoting my book.
Also, when the days are creeping towards the deadline and you feel like you are shouting into a…20th April 2016 Guest Post
Hi all, and big thanks and hello to all my lovely new pledgers :)
I am hovering at 19%, so once again I ask you to share my page with all your animal loving friends. This can be done via Twitter, Facebook, email, strategically placed post-it, shaved into a llama... It's all good. A bump up to 20% would really make my week.
So, just a quick update... Fellow Unbound Author Tim Atkinson has kindly…25th March 2016 Update #1 & Thank yous
It's been 10 days since my campaign launched and I'm up to 15% funding, which is amazing, so I wanted to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who has pledged so far. Your support means the world to me. In fact, your support means MORE than the world to me. More than the ACTUAL GROUND we walk on. THINK ABOUT THAT.
I still have a long way to go though, so if you have already pledged…
These people are helping to fund The Fox of Richmond Park.
Rhel ná DecVandé
Peter and Angela Seary
Madge & Ron Dreyer