Withington in Manchester is a place that I lived in from 1968 until 1976, so I knew the area well. I wanted Kerry and Tommy to be in a place I knew so that I could describe and imagine it as I wrote. If you get the opportunity to walk down the same streets, it brings the book alive.
There are four roads in Withington that run parallel with each other; Hatherley Road, Brooklea Road, Ashdene Road and Fairholme Road. Cutting through middle of these roads School Grove. This area is Kerry’s world and where she frequently walks, just as I once did.
Ladybarn Park is in the middle Parrsword Road, Parsonage Road and Mauldeth Road. This is where Kerry frequently goes out for a run and it also where she and Tommy have their first row. At one of the entrances to the park, Parsonage Road and Parrswood Road, there once stood at red telephone box. It is here that Kerry makes a tearful phone call to Tommy after a row with Bill.
The Cotton Tree pub was a place I frequented and used to stand near Cotton Lane, very near Alan Road where Tommy lives. This is where The Secret opens, when Kerry is out with her then boyfriend, Howard. And it is here that she first encounters Tommy.
Withington village is still a bustling area today and the building that held the Scala picture house still stands. Kerry meets Iris, for the first time in the village and Kerry and Tommy frequently drive through it. They also went on a date to the Scala to watch a Clint Eastwood movie.