Neighbours say Hargreaves' book is based on people from Eccleshall (fotodiscs4u co uk)

Erotic novelist Angela Hargreaves has been ostracised by friends and neighbours after they read her latest book - and found some of the characters were a bit too familiar.

Hargreaves, author of Rotten Row, which she published herself on 4 October, says her novel is made up of fictional characters.

The book is set from the 1950s through to the present day, and its 57-year-old author says it "contains tales of love, death, nostalgic regret, sexual encounters, romance, marriage, divorce and desperate times but ultimately how quickly our fortunes can and do change.

"Rotten Row is about the petty spitefulness and complexity of living in close proximity to some neighbours.

"However, the characters in Rotten Row are fictional and many of the things that happen in the book didn't happen at all."

Hargreaves is adamant she hasn't based any of her characters on those close to her. She says the stories in her book are either made up or are stolen from the lives of people she has met randomly over the years - explaining she has a collection of comic public episodes she always wanted to use.

Hargreaves' neighbours in the Staffordshire town of Eccleshall, however, don't appear to believe her. Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, one neighbour said the book has caused huge problems in the community.

Sex-crazed widow

Characters include a cheating boyfriend, a sex-mad widow who is described as a "hag", a curvy caterer and an old man who likes hunting and breasts. The florist widow is thought to be based on an elderly woman who lives by herself near Hargreaves.

"There have been a lot of tears shed," the neighbour said. "How would you like to live next to somebody who was writing things that were talked about in private into black and white? It is unreal. People have turned their back on her now. I don't know why she has done it."

Next door neighbour Emma Williams told the newspaper that she is based on the "boring" and "mundane" character Lucy - as many of her private conversations with Hargreaves appear in the book.

"The things I've been involved in have now come out in a book. I haven't spoken to her since the novel came out and she is no longer a friend," she said.

In retaliation to her neighbours, Hargreaves said: "When Rotten Row first came out I was really excited, but when I realised that a few people thought they were the characters in the book I was quite upset, because my characters are fictional.

"Some locals made it very plain that they thought some of my characters were based on them or others. We've been crossed off the invitation list for Christmas parties and cards."