Stone and Water
A young woman is on the run. She stands by a grey moorland reservoir in the middle of the
Pennines and, as she looks at the water, a face from her past appears crying for help. So
begins the first crime thriller by Sheffield-based writer David James Buckley.
Stone and Water is set in the Bradford of 1956, and this is a story with a strong sense of place. As Buckley explains: “I was brought up in Bradford. Like Sheffield, the city is nestled in a bowl of hills so you can see right across to the western edge of Ilkley Moor from Wibsey,
where I grew up. Views have always been important to me. I renamed Wibsey ‘Chapel
Heights’ in the novel.”
Buckley later moved to the steel city. “I came to Sheffield in 1979 after starting my teaching
career. My first house was on Brincliffe Edge Road, looking out towards Blacka Moor. I loved
the idea of living on a road named after a real geographical feature which seemed
connected to the other nearby edges – Froggatt, Curbar, Stanage – which make Sheffield’s
location so unique.
“Although my wife and I have moved since, I still live in the Ecclesall Road area in a house
which offers a view right across Sheffield.”
Like many other writers who have made the city their home, the landscape inspires Buckley
in his writing. “I like being able to see the city I now belong to, and that great feeling when
you’re driving back from the Peak District down Ringinglow Road or the A625, see Sheffield,
pick out landmarks, and think ‘I live there’.
“The greenness of the city itself is inspiring, with its parks and woodland areas. It’s also quite
a cosy, community place – a collection of individual areas with their own character.
Sheffield’s creativity must owe something to its having two universities, two professional
theatres, three art galleries and number of old factories now turned into studios for painters,
sculptors and jewellery makers.”
Buckley is a graduate of the creative writing MA at Sheffield Hallam. “I did the course
between 2009 and 2014. A great attraction was that you had to produce complete texts.
Learning how stories are structured and developed was a real eye-opener.”
Stones and Water is available to buy now. The publication of the book comes after careers
in teaching, journalism and radio play writing. “My first radio play was broadcast on Radio
Sheffield. And when I first came to Sheffield I had a couple of poems commended in the
South Yorkshire Literary competition.
“Sheffield has been a lucky city for me as a writer.”