Essex writer Luke Butler releases debut novel inspired by Essex asylum

Essex writer Luke Butler releases debut novel inspired by Essex asylum

Jimmy Ford is too young to be a soldier, several years too damn young. But that’s only if you measure life by the number of years it has been lived in.

Jimmy is a dreamer, a charming boy, curious about the world outside his small town of Brentwood, Essex. With the intensity of the war surging and his bright, ubiquitous thirst for literature and adventure, Jimmy hatches a plan to make it to the Western Front. Little does he know; it is a day which will change his life forever.

1917 – Jimmy Ford awakes to find himself confined to Warley Lunatic Asylum.

As he gets acquainted with the colourful characters at the asylum, Jimmy’s childlike perspective of mental health blossoms into a deeper understanding of human nature.

The novel explores the human compulsion to survive, how we bear loss and when in the face of adversity; overcoming fear and finding love is still what we strive for.

Flitting between the outdoor serenity of his childhood at the outbreak of World War I and the confines of the asylum walls, with his age and illness against him, will Jimmy ever find his purpose?

View the book trailer below.


Luke Butler graduated with a degree in Film Studies & Animation from Roehampton University. He moved to Brentwood, Essex and lived in a converted chapel on the grounds of an old asylum, which is where the inspiration to write his debut novel came from. Almost the entirety of the novel is set in the area surrounding the old asylum. Luke now runs his own video production company based in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, where he currently lives. He has a passion for storytelling and has nine years of experience across film, TV and video.

Luke says, “I have always been fascinated and somewhat romanticised by war and mental health. My wife studied psychology and worked in mental health for some time following graduation. Combining these two fields of interest is where the idea for the novel was born. This, and the grave of a shell-shocked soldier outside our front door, got me pondering of the futility of both.”

Find out more about Luke Butler here!

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