Welcome…to the world of
Hiding Behind The Couch

The story of The Circle…
Nine friends from high school,
Nine friends for life.

The Series

About HBTC

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.


Southport Memorial (© Gerald England)


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

The 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:


The series is primarily set in a fictional semi-rural town in North West 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.


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.

Ormskirk Parish Church (© Doug Elliot)

Retail & 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 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, several nightclubs (including the notorious Red Back Club) and a low-key bar with permanent 'open mic' for live jazz music.Further along the high street, there is a milk bar and vintage community cinema. Open-air facilities include several parks of varying sizes, small, managed woodlands and an educational farm in one of the outlying villages. The town is within commuting distance of Liverpool and Manchester and a large, out-of-town shopping centre; a theme park is a train ride away.


Novels and Novellas

The series (so far) consists of seasons (the main novels) and character/seasonal special novels and novellas.The links below go to the listings page for each publication, where you will find the links to buy/download in a range of formats.


Gray Fisher

The Gray Fisher trilogy is a stand-alone spin-off featuring Gray and Rob (two secondary characters from HBTC), with some cameo appearances from Josh.

Gray Fisher Trilogy Book Covers


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.

Front of House Character Art

Reading Order


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.

Gray Fisher Trilogy Book Covers

Ways to Read

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 (which are not crucial to the main story).
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
8. Elementary (in progress)
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)

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.

TitleJosh's AgeRelease Date
Beginnings (Novella)4–10May 2013
Ruminations (Novel)17February 2015
Class-A (Short Story)17December 2016
Hiding Behind The Couch (Season One)35July 2012
No Time Like The Present (Season Two)36November 2012
The Harder They Fall (Season Three)37June 2013
Crying in the Rain (Novel)37November 2014
First Christmas (Novella)37December 2013
In The Stars Part I: Capricorn–Gemini (Season Four)37–38January 2014
Breaking Waves (Novella)38June 2014
In The Stars Part II: Cancer–Sagittarius (Season Five)38June 2014
Chain of Secrets (Novella)10–38February 2016
A Midnight Clear (Novella)38December 2014
Red Hot Christmas (Novella)38December 2014
Two By Two (Season Six)38–39March 2015
Hiding Out (Novella – CHO Crossover)39March 2015
Those Jeffries Boys (Novel)39May 2016
The WAG and The Scoundrel (Gray Fisher #1)39September 2016
Perfect Tenor (Novella)39–40December 2021
Reunions (Season Seven)39–40April 2017
Tabula Rasa (Gray Fisher #2)40June 2018
Breakfast at Cordelia’s Aquarium (Short Story)40April 2015
Reverberations (Novel)21; 40December 2022
To Be Sure (Novella)40December 2017
What A Scorcher! (Flash Fiction)40May 2018
Goth of Christmas Past (Front of House #1)30–40October 2018
The Lost Mitten (see ‘Children’s Stories’)40December 2018
The Advent of Reason (Novella)40December 2018
Not My Christmas (Novella)40December 2019
Highlights ~ co-written with A.M. Leibowitz (Short Story)Almost 41January 2019
Distractions (Gray Fisher #3)41April 2020
Elementary (HBTC #8)44–45WIP

Full Series in Release Date Order

  • Hiding Behind The Couch (Season One) - July 2012

  • No Time Like The Present (Season Two) - November 2012

  • Beginnings (Novella) - May 2013

  • The Harder They Fall (Season Three) - June 2013

  • First Christmas (Novella) - December 2013

  • In The Stars Part I: Capricorn–Gemini (Season Four) - January 2014

  • Breaking Waves (Novella) - June 2014

  • In The Stars Part II: Cancer–Sagittarius (Season Five) - June 2014

  • Crying in the Rain (Novel) - November 2014

  • A Midnight Clear (Novella – also in Boughs of Evergreen anthology) - December 2014

  • Red Hot Christmas (Novella) - December 2014

  • Ruminations (Novel) - February 2015

  • Two By Two (Season Six) - March 2015

  • Hiding Out (Novella – CHO Crossover) - March 2015

  • Breakfast at Cordelia’s Aquarium (Short Story) - April 2015

  • Chain of Secrets (Novella – also in Love Unlocked anthology) - February 2016

  • Those Jeffries Boys (Novel) - May 2016

  • The WAG and The Scoundrel (Gray Fisher #1) - September 2016

  • Class-A (Short Story – also in Take a Chance anthology) - December 2016

  • Reunions (Season Seven) - April 2017

  • To Be Sure (Novella – also in Never Too Late anthology) - December 2017

  • What A Scorcher! (Flash Fiction) - May 2018

  • Tabula Rasa (Gray Fisher #2) - June 2018

  • Goth of Christmas Past (Front of House #1) - October 2018

  • The Lost Mitten (see ‘Children’s Stories’) - December 2018

  • The Advent of Reason (Novella) - December 2018

  • Highlights ~ co-written with A.M. Leibowitz (Short Story) - January 2019

  • Not My Christmas (Novella) - December 2019

  • Distractions (Gray Fisher #3) - April 2020

  • Perfect Tenor (Novella) - December 2021

  • Reverberations (Novel) - December 2022



  • Josh

  • Shaunna

  • Dan

  • Eleanor

  • Andy

  • George

  • Adele

  • Kris

  • Jess

  • Sean

Gray Fisher

  • Gray

  • Rob

  • Will

  • Aaron/Naomi

Front of House

  • Krissi

  • Jay

  • Amy

  • Hadyn

  • Wotto

  • Kaz

  • Stu

  • Ev

Debbie McGowan

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