I have visited the Isles of Scilly many times. I have friends there and the islands are an excellent refuge for chilling out. I was inspired to write Goodbye, Henrietta Street because Scilly is a very romantic place, with palm trees and white beaches and yet it is still in England. The islands are situated off the south west coast of Cornwall and not so easy to get to these days. You must travel by sea and aeroplane. The helicopter, sadly, no longer runs a service.
About ten years ago, I had an idea to write a book based on the islands, but I also knew the Yorkshire area well and I decided to combine a romance based around the islands with a story in Yorkshire. Eventually the two places come together and if you read the book you will see how this happens.
Pippa Lambton seeks respite after a family tragedy. She takes a long trip from Whitby in Yorkshire to the Isles of Scilly where she meets Norwegian nature warden, Sven Jorgensen, who teaches her about the wildlife of the islands and shows her how to live again. The book is a delight for those who enjoy birds, flowers, and scenery and the story takes Pippa and Sven through a very precarious relationship as Pippa only has three weeks to make a decision about her life. Will she come back to the islands or forget about Sven and stay at home? Was it a holiday romance after all?
This is a poignant holiday read and if you want something to read during the cold winter months, this could be the book for you.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love writing it's very therapeutic. My own lifestyle is somewhat isolated. I came to Holland to follow my husband and his job and gave up my profession as a driver trainer to start a new life. That was twelve years ago and I find local life here is not as exciting as the life I had in the UK. I miss my hills, for which Holland has very few, I was born under the shadow of the North Yorkshire Moors and I miss the scenery very much. So writing for me is important. It allows me to keep in touch with all things English as I can always go back to these places to do book signings. My greatest joys are being able to produce a new book and during the writing process I can immerse myself within the story. I can spend many hours creating a novel. It's extremely satisfying.
What are you working on next?
My next book is full of romance and mystery surrounding an old farmhouse and its owner. My character, Jessica Stamp, has a new job in the south of England and rents a room at the old house. She is now living with a larger-than-life family where all is not as is seems. It's a story of love, hypocrisy, and living with a family whose lives are surrounded by money, or lack of it, and tragedy. Will Jessica stay or move on?
I hope to complete the book in 2014.
Who are your favorite authors?
I read anything I can find, but I do enjoy the novels of Annie Murray and Jean Fullerton. Both are extremely good historical romance authors. Each with their own unique style. Annie Murray's books are always moreish and I have read every one of them. I am always eager to read her next one.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Despite the fact that the housework has to be done, which can be inspiring when it is done as the house looks nice again, I really look forward to writing my next book. Getting out of bed is only an issue in mid winter when the snow is on the ground!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I don't get a lot of free time these days. I do enjoy birdwatching and reading. It's been a pleasure to belong to various nature organisations in Holland. I have just returned from the island of Texel which was delightful; the bird life there is extraordinary. I love to go caravanning in the summer in the UK and visit friends My daughter has just moved back to England and has a lovely house in York, so it's a pleasure to go and visit her.
What is your writing process?
I like to write organically. I type the words on my computer as it comes out of my head and make sense of it later. That usually works for me. I tried planning my novel, but I soon lose interest and refer back to the story in my head. Some days I have thoughts that have to be written down and over a period of days I find I can reflect on what I wrote and make sense of it all. I like the free-style way, it's exciting to think all this came out of my head!
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a Kindle but I have to say I do prefer the feel of a book in the hand and we must all try to support our local bookshops. Many of them have diversified recently to include tea shops and internet cafes. I think this is a great idea for those who enjoy the company of like minded friends or taking the laptop to do a spot of writing perhaps. The Kindle is very useful when I travel to the UK; it's easy to pack in my hand luggage.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
My publisher (Safkhet Publishing) does the marketing for me. I think Facebook has been really good, but I do enjoy book signing sessions. I seem to sell more books that way. There are some authors who don't really enjoy sales. I like mingling with the local people and finding out more about them and what they enjoy reading. I don't just sit there and wait for someone to say 'hello'. I smile and let them know I am not a staff member, but an author signing my novel today. I've met some really interesting characters, a marine archeologist, several more writers, and a guy who drifted through the bookshop last week and bought four copies of my book for his friends. It has been great fun.
Describe your desk
Oh yes, my desk! Well it's a bit untidy, but I like it that way. My dog, Dylan, a Jack Russell terrier, sits on the desk on a cushion and I like to keep my reference material close to hand. I have a very large pine desk with all kinds of drawers and nooks and crannies for the printer and various files. When I move house one day, we shall have to dismantle the desk to get it of the door!
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in North Yorkshire and was born in Saltburn by the Sea. I always enjoyed writing, but never thought I could be a serious writer. I suppose the moorland and the Cleveland Hills have inspired me through the years. The North Yorkshire Moors are very special in both winter and summer. I got stuck in snow on the moors about three years ago, it was a very difficult time. I had a clear window in the weather and when we finally dug ourselves out of the snow, it was bright white sunshine and incredibly beautiful with fields of deep white snow and no footprints.
So yes, my homeland has inspired my writing and my ability to write clear descriptions to make people feel they are really there, which I feel is important when you write a story.
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