Flora in The Garden of Little Rose was a joy to write, not least because we share a love of gardening and she shares her gift to reach a little girl in desperate need of some hope in her life. The book is set on the island of Alana, which was inspired by Gigha in the Hebrides. I still think of the island and wonder if one day I might go back, and write the story of a character who occasionally pops up in my head!
Flora is a garden historian, based near Thorndale. She’s also Charlie’s younger sister, making Sam her merry and mischievous sister-in-law. Charlie and Sam’s baby daughter is nine months old when the book begins, and if you’ve read the epilogue to The Cottage of New Beginnings, then you’ll know the name they chose for her.
Flora studied horticulture at university and worked in private gardens before taking a post with a charity, and she adores her job. Gardening and being outdoors is something she truly loves, and she passionately believes that gardens are good for you. As you read on through the book, you’ll discover why and how her encouragement might just help Tamsin, the young girl in the story. I loved writing Flora and she’s confident, capable and not interested in romance. But then she meets Mac, quite unexpectedly, and things begin to change.
I’ve written seven male main characters now, and choosing a favourite would be like trying to choose a favourite child. Impossible. But … Mac would be up there. He was great fun to write, and one of the most enjoyable things about creating characters is devising a back story for them. I pictured Mac as being close to his family, even though his parents and sister don’t live in the UK. He’s active, loves sailing and is an architect who has a passion for Arts & Crafts designs. He and Flora share a deep sadness over recent losses, and this is something they’re both still adapting to as their story progresses. He’s also an excellent swimmer, a great cook and good at solving problems.
The island setting was almost another character, with it’s pale sands, turquoise waters and endless views. I love the sense of community, when shopping requires planning, leaving the island is by boat and all visitors are invited to social events in the community hall. Mac is deeply connected to Alana, and falling in love with a dilapidated old house has drawn him back, along with a more personal reason. Imagine a secluded beach, two tiny cottages perched by the sea, an intimate meal at sunset… more about that evening and what Mac shares with Flora when they are alone is part of their story.
The prequel to The Garden of Little Rose will be coming after this; I love to hear from readers and if you have a character or a story you’d like to know more about, please do drop me an email to let me know.
Love Suzanne xx