The Hiding Behind The Couch Universe

Hiding Behind The Couch is a multi-part series of stories surrounding a single group of nine friends that takes place over the course of many years.

While storylines are intermingling, the focus of the story and the point of view frequently change.

It is best thought of as a literary soap opera, with seasons and special episodes – some are 'character specials', some are 'festive specials'.

All stories conclude, but there will be overarching plots that continue from one instalment to the next.

The inspiration for the characters, events and settings is the real world, but all characters, events and locations are entirely fictional.

Gray Fisher

The Gray Fisher trilogy is a stand-alone spin-off featuring two secondary characters from the main series, with some cameo appearances from Josh (the pivotal character in Hiding Behind The Couch).

Front of House

Front of House is an offshoot of the main series featuring the next generation of characters - Krissi (Shaunna's daughter), Jay and their peer group.

Setting

Location

The series is primarily set in a fictional semi-rural town in the north-west of England – essentially an amalgamation of the real towns of Southport and Ormskirk – located on the coast and surrounded by agricultural land, with a number of outlying villages of varying sizes.

The Gray Fisher trilogy is set in and around (a fictional representation of) London.

Housing

Within the town, there are areas of older Victorian houses, newer council housing and new-build exclusive housing, as well as the traditional mix of post-war semi-detached houses and apartment buildings. On the outskirts of the town, there are a number of vast Victorian / Edwardian detached properties with extensive grounds.

Retail and Leisure

The retail area of the town centre has a shopping mall and traditional department store, as well as a number of restaurants, including fast-food outlets with 24-hour drive-thru facilities. The Pizza Place – a (fictional) national chain of pizza restaurants with HQ in Birmingham – has a restaurant in the town.

There is the usual mix of traditional and new pubs in the town, as well as a low-key bar with permanent 'open mic' for live jazz music.

There is an old cinema in the town and several parks, as well as nearby woodlands and outlying smaller villages. The town is within commuting distance of Liverpool and Manchester and a large out-of-town shopping centre; a theme park is a trainride away.

Services

The town has a hospice and hospital, and a number of larger businesses are based there. For many years, Campion Holdings PLC was the most prominent local business, located in a large multistorey office block on the outskirts of the town centre.

There are two primary schools (Parkside County Primary School and St. Mark's C of E Primary School) and a high school (Moorcroft High School) in the area of the town where the characters of the series grew up. The town also has a college of further education and a university.

There are several churches and other places of worship, including St. Mark's C of E, Our Lady's (The Church of Our Lady and St. Joseph) RC, Methodist, LDS, spiritualist churches, Kingdom Hall and a synagogue.

Interactive Map

This interactive map shows some of the real-world locations that inspired locations in the series (I like to think of them as the places where our reality converges with the reality of The Circle).

You can access the map using this link: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zCeM6Pw9_JLA.kza83xNxnbqg&usp=sharing

Or (hopefully) the map in the iframe below works – click the little square frame top-right to go full-screen.


How to Read

Hiding Behind The Couch has many instalments. Below are some suggested ways to read the series.

I've also put together a downloadable checklist so, whichever order you prefer to read and whenever you begin, you can keep track of which stories you've read.

Download HBTC Reading Checklist:

PDF   Doc

Purchase/download links for all available instalments can be found at: https://www.beatentrackpublishing.com/?n1=publications&n7=13

Major Instalments Only

For those readers who aren't (yet) interested in side stories, the main books in the series are the 'seasons' (listed below). These may contain references to events from the minor instalments, but these are not crucial to the plots for each season.

The seasons are:

  1. Hiding Behind The Couch
  2. No Time Like The Present
  3. The Harder They Fall
  4. In The Stars I
  5. In The Stars II
  6. Two by Two
  7. Reunions

Major Instalments + Spin-Offs

For readers who want to bite off a little more of the series, there are two spin-off mini-series as well as several stand-alone novels. These are listed below and can be read as series in their own right.

Gray Fisher Trilogy

(Also available as a box set via Kindle Unlimited.)

  1. The WAG and The Scoundrel
  2. Tabula Rasa
  3. Distractions

Front of House

  1. Goth of Christmas Past
  2. Scene But Not Herd (in progress)

Front of House is 'the next generation' (in their twenties when the main characters of HBTC are in their forties).

Full Series in Chronological (Series Timeline) Order

Note: As the series is ongoing and is not always written chronologically, new releases may appear earlier in this list.

  1. Beginnings (Novella) - May 2013
  2. Ruminations (Novel) - February 2015
  3. Class-A (Short Story – also in Take a Chance anthology) - December 2016
  4. Hiding Behind The Couch (Season One) - July 2012
  5. No Time Like The Present (Season Two) - November 2012
  6. The Harder They Fall (Season Three) - June 2013
  7. Crying in the Rain (Novel) - November 2014
  8. First Christmas (Novella) - December 2013
  9. In The Stars Part I: Capricorn–Gemini (Season Four) - January 2014
  10. Breaking Waves (Novella) - June 2014
  11. In The Stars Part II: Cancer–Sagittarius (Season Five) - June 2014
  12. A Midnight Clear (Novella – also in Boughs of Evergreen anthology) - December 2014
  13. Red Hot Christmas (Novella) - December 2014
  14. Two By Two (Season Six) - March 2015
  15. Hiding Out (Novella – CHO Crossover) - March 2015
  16. Breakfast at Cordelia’s Aquarium (Short Story) - April 2015
  17. Chain of Secrets (Novella – also in Love Unlocked anthology) - February 2016
  18. Those Jeffries Boys (Novel) - May 2016
  19. The WAG and The Scoundrel (Gray Fisher #1) - September 2016
  20. Reunions (Season Seven) - April 2017
  21. To Be Sure (Novella – also in Never Too Late anthology) - December 2017
  22. Tabula Rasa (Gray Fisher #2) - June 2018
  23. What A Scorcher! (Flash Fiction) - May 2018
  24. Goth of Christmas Past (Front of House #1) - October 2018
  25. The Lost Mitten (see ‘Children’s Stories’) - December 2018
  26. The Advent of Reason (Novella) - December 2018
  27. Highlights ~ co-written with A.M. Leibowitz (Short Story) - January 2019
  28. Not My Christmas (Novella) - December 2019
  29. Distractions (Gray Fisher #3) - April 2020
  30. Perfect Tenor (Novella) - December 2021

Full Series in Release Date Order

  1. Hiding Behind The Couch (Season One) - July 2012
  2. No Time Like The Present (Season Two) - November 2012
  3. Beginnings (Novella) - May 2013
  4. The Harder They Fall (Season Three) - June 2013
  5. First Christmas (Novella) - December 2013
  6. In The Stars Part I: Capricorn–Gemini (Season Four) - January 2014
  7. Breaking Waves (Novella) - June 2014
  8. In The Stars Part II: Cancer–Sagittarius (Season Five) - June 2014
  9. Crying in the Rain (Novel) - November 2014
  10. A Midnight Clear (Novella – also in Boughs of Evergreen anthology) - December 2014
  11. Red Hot Christmas (Novella) - December 2014
  12. Ruminations (Novel) - February 2015
  13. Two By Two (Season Six) - March 2015
  14. Hiding Out (Novella – CHO Crossover) - March 2015
  15. Breakfast at Cordelia’s Aquarium (Short Story) - April 2015
  16. Chain of Secrets (Novella – also in Love Unlocked anthology) - February 2016
  17. Those Jeffries Boys (Novel) - May 2016
  18. The WAG and The Scoundrel (Gray Fisher #1) - September 2016
  19. Class-A (Short Story – also in Take a Chance anthology) - December 2016
  20. Reunions (Season Seven) - April 2017
  21. To Be Sure (Novella – also in Never Too Late anthology) - December 2017
  22. What A Scorcher! (Flash Fiction) - May 2018
  23. Tabula Rasa (Gray Fisher #2) - June 2018
  24. Goth of Christmas Past (Front of House #1) - October 2018
  25. The Lost Mitten (see ‘Children’s Stories’) - December 2018
  26. The Advent of Reason (Novella) - December 2018
  27. Highlights ~ co-written with A.M. Leibowitz (Short Story) - January 2019
  28. Not My Christmas (Novella) - December 2019
  29. Distractions (Gray Fisher #3) - April 2020
  30. Perfect Tenor (Novella) - December 2021

Characters

Note: some of these characters, by virtue of their listing here, may spoil stories if you are still reading earlier in the series.

Central Characters

The central characters of the series are The Circle, who come together as a close-knit friendship group during the latter years of their high school education.

The Circle
Joshua Sandison (Josh)
Eleanor Davenport (Ellie)
George Morley
Daniel Jeffries (Dan)
Andrew Jeffries (Andy)
Jessica Lambert (Jess)
Shaunna Hennessy
Kristian Johansson (Kris)
Adele Reeves

Extended Circle
Sean Tierney
Sophie Spyris
Adrian Simmons (Ade)
Charlotte Davenport (Charlie)

As children, the friends attended different primary schools, but all ended up at the same local high school.

Josh, George, Dan, Andy, Shaunna and Adele were all pupils at St. Mark's C of E Primary School; Jess and Eleanor both attended Parkside Primary School; Kris attended Harwood, a private prep school. Whilst they all end up in the same school year eventually, Josh is a year younger than the others, and Andy is a year older. Josh is moved up a year right at the start of his education, as he is a 'gifted child'. Andy fails his A Levels in sixth form and drops back a year to join the others.

Other Significant Characters:

(in no particular order)
Krissi Johansson
Oliver Brown
Toby Brown
Little Shaunna (Shu) Jeffries
Robbie Jeffries
Dylan Robert Spyris-Tierney
Libby Williams
James Brown
Alice Friar
Jason Meyer
Carl Watkinson (Wotto)
Iris Morley (George's mum)
Pauline (Iris's friend)
Henry Hartley (Aitch)
Rob Simpson-Stone
Michael Jeffries (Mike)
Barbara Evans (Andy, Dan and Mike's mum)
Saorla Tierney (Sean's mum)
Aileen Cullen (Sean's 'Aunty Aileen')
Finn Tierney (Sean's brother)
Cordelia Kinkade
Vincent Asher
Graham Farrar
Siobhan Hennessy (Shaunna's mum)
Jim Hennessy (Shaunna's dad)
Simon Henderson
Gabby Bowes
Lee (Jono) Johnson
Xander Etherington-Bowes
Michelle (Adele's mum)
Sally-Anne Reeves (Adele's stepmum)
Hadyn O'Farrell
Stu Drake (Jay's colleague)
Byron Walker

The Davenports:
Marie and Paddy (Mum and Dad)
Their children (in age order) + spouses -> granchildren:
Eleanor + James -> Oliver, Toby
Ben + Jo -> Louise, Amy
Charlie
Luke + Kaz -> Kamesh, Kali, Kohl
Tilly + Craig -> Ashleigh, Benjamin
Teddy
Pete

Gray Fisher Series Characters:

Gray Fisher
Will Richards
Rob Simpson-Stone
Naomi Silvestri/Aaron Tanner
Dom Hooper
Dee Knight
Brian Macintyre (Tie)
Lucas Simpson-Stone
Zoë Clifton
Dom Hooper
Martina Hedley
Freddie Berringer

Front of House Characters:

Krissi Johansson
Jay Meyer
Hadyn O'Farrell
Carl (Wotto) Watkinson
Stu Drake
Amy Jones
Kaz McBride
Ev Uzun
Bridget McBride (Kaz's wife)
Laura, Priya, Niall and Erin (Milky's staff)

Genres (in progress)

The series as a whole is contemporary, realist fiction and features diverse characters (including LGBT+). As such, the characters and the situations they encounter are the everyday, real-life situations we all deal with - births, deaths, marriages, sickness, romance, crime, family feuds, and so on. Thus, the series crosses genres; an indication of the genres of each instalment is given below.