Have you ever been walking, cycling, or driving around town wishing that they would do something awesome there, or regretting that that row of streets was ever demolished? Have you ever had ambitious plans that would be so utterly fantastic but which would never get built?
Writing Mr Tumnal, set in a version of Oxford that I call Wren Hoe, I am able to make these dreams and ideas – at least in my world – real. I’ve been doing this in Wren Hoe. Oxford now has a metro that funs from beneath Broad Street, round into St. Giles and under the Banbury Road to a major bus terminus at Water Eaton. There are trams on Woodstock road and all across the East and South of the town. The trams rattle down Walton Street, stopping outside of the Universiity Press, on rails that run between cobbles and broken bitumen. In my world Oxford’s West End is a down town area, but historic in a maze of Edinburgh style tenaments on the banks of the Thames, filled with little streets and closes at different levels.
I’m just loving creating a new city that is, in the crucial ways, distinctively Oxford.