Beneath the Old Oak

BeneathOldOak_Cover_Amazon (1)I had never considered doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) before, but in 2012 I got caught up in my writing friends’ excitement and decided to pick up an idea I’d had a while ago…and ‘Beneath the Old Oak’ was revived.

After writing ‘Beneath the Rainbow’, I wanted to find a new writing project and recalled a poem that my mother-in-law had written many years ago (see below, but be warned it does contain spoilers) and it inspired me to write about the old oak tree.
I wanted to write about the things a huge, ancient tree sees within its life span, but wasn’t sure whether to write as the tree or not. I decided not to, so I needed a protagonist. My first notions stirred recalling a character from Beneath the Rainbow, and I decided to write Meg’s story*.

Beneath the Old Oak AD with public reviews* Meg’s character is from ‘Beneath the Rainbow’ so, ‘Beneath the Old Oak’ became a companion book, though each book in the Hope Within series can be read as stand alone stories.

“Meg’s mother is anxious, depressed and neglectful. Meg thinks her mum is broken and wonders if she’ll be next, or is she already broken too? Meg wants to escape, but her mum beats her to it. Solace is found in a huge, old oak tree and Meg begins to learn to grow…”

Meg is damaged and the tree offers not only solace, but its experience

I drew on many of my own life experiences to write for Meg and her mother, and I fit deftly into both characters at times. I suffer chronic clinical depression and have had an anxiety/panic disorder since I was fourteen. Though It’s important to point out this is an entire work of fiction.

My first NaNo teaser is here…

beneath the old oak paperback, lisa shambrook, book,


chapter_head_pageI worked again with Blue Harvest Creative to create a lovely cover and beautifully formatted interior

Beneath the Old Oak was released on 4th November 2014.

See below for stockists.

Beneath the Old Oak:

“Turn those dreams of escape into hope…”

Meg thinks her mother is broken. Is she broken too?

Meg’s life spirals out of control, and when she mirrors her mother’s erratic behaviour she’s terrified she’ll inherit her sins.

Seeking refuge and escape she finds solace beneath a huge, old oak. Life seems as transient as leaves upon the tree and as the seasons change the timeworn oak shares its treasured memories with her.

Meg wants to run away, but a devastating storm will change her life forever.

‘Beneath the Old Oak’ can be bought in print or eBook from Amazon:

Your local Amazon eBook
 Amazon Paperback UK
 Amazon Paperback US

Beneath the Old Oak AD with Synopsis


Here’s my mother-in-law’s beautiful poem that offered inspiration for this book:

The Death of a Tree
It stood as tall as a mountain tower,
Its branches spread out with unending power.
Two hundred years, it had stood there alone,
But only its leaves moved, when blown.
Life in its foliage, hid in its bark,
Like nests in the branches, for sparrow or lark.
Here the birds met every year
Before they moved to a warmer sphere.
Squirrels racing to and fro,
As if they didn’t know which way to go.
Their nuts they hid within its wall
To use again when snow did fall.
So many things this old tree saw,
More of nature, than us for sure,
And on the ground round its feet,
Young lovers there would oftimes meet.
They carved their names on its trunk together,
And knew their love would last forever.
When in the heat of a summer’s day,
Little children would come round him and play.
The boys would climb to the very top,
The little girls scared that they might drop.
Then one day in the midst of a storm,
Some of his branches were from him torn.
A ferocious wind, with claps of thunder,
Trees all around, sent all asunder,
And as the wind grew so much stronger,
He felt he couldn’t stay up much longer.
He tried to be brave and stay upright,
But he knew somehow he’d lose the fight.
Then in a moment all nature stood still,
As the wind was gathering over the hill,
Like the waves of the sea it came up fast,
And now this tree had seen its last.
A few weeks later people came to see,
A fallen hero their beautiful tree.
Nature could see the pain in their eyes,
Because now only a battered trunk lies,
But nature always heals things her way…
So take a walk in that place today,
You will not find a hole, where there once was a tree,
But you’ll see an acorn as proud as can be.
by Doreen Shambrook