Gareth E. Rees, author

SOME people call me a geographic writer, but I write about landscapes. I was your usual person. I moved to London, had a job, and was in that crazy life of tubes and buses and pubs. My wife got pregnant and had a baby, we got a dog, and I sort of settled down for the first time.

It was then that I'd escape from family pressures by going out every day into the marshlands, and I fell in love. My first book, Marshland, was based on the blog that I set up in 2011 called the Marshland Chronicles.

I was in my late 30s and finally found what I was supposed to be writing about. This strange, semi-industrial place had Victorian remnants and old factories and canals and ancient marshlands and long-horned cows and kestrels; this really weird mix of the urban and the rural.

I was always writing: my first novel when I was six (all ripped off from Doctor Who and Star Wars), poems and short stories as a teenager, a novel when I was at St Andrews. It was all s***.

I'd almost given up hope that my writing would ever go somewhere, but then this strange accidental hobby came out of it. Things just fell into place when I discovered landscape writing.

That became a book: an even split between weird fiction and the every day. But I think they both expressed the place. I didn't want to write a history or a geography but write about how it inspired the imagination.

When I moved to Hastings I just kind of continued the process. Car Park Life first happened by accident as I walked through Morrisons on the way home.

There were all these strange characters dwelling there, and strange signs, and noises and clangs and bangs and a fox in the petrol station. I found this Mercedes with the number plate 1066 that was crashed into the wall. These little implied narratives. There seemed to be stories happening and not being particularly noticed.

I had to keep going. I started to walk through them like I would any other landscape, recording what I saw, my emotions, and kind of digging back into my own life.

Going public with it was kind of like going public with a strange fetish. People looked at me with a raised eyebrow.

That's why I started putting some of them on the website: just to confirm I wasn't mad. But when I did, everyone would turn to me and have a car park story. People seemed to get it.

I think that's the main thing that's shocked people. That a book about car parks can talk about Brexit and Trump and climate change.

It's about the power of the imagination and being enchanted every day. A lot of people think that car parks are non-spaces: places without identity or culture or social function, just kind of spaces in transit. But anywhere can be interesting.

I'm seeing something magical that other people just don't.

Car Park Life by Gareth E. Rees is published by Influx Press, priced £9.99

Ryan Dinsdale