Happy New Year! I hope you had a lovely Christmas, however you spent it. I hope too, that you and yours are keeping well, and finding ways to continue with difficulties we’re still facing.
Writing for me is always a lovely distraction, and never more so than now. As The Garden of Little Rose is less than four weeks away from eBook publication, I thought I’d share a bit more about the characters.
Flora is a garden historian, based in Yorkshire, not far from 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, and if you’ve read the December 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 a little girl living with devastating loss. 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 four heroes 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, tall and 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 DIY.
The setting, this time on a Hebridean island, is almost another character within my books. I love the sense of community there, different to Thorndale, when shopping requires planning, you can only leave by boat, and visitors are invited to all social events in the community hall. If you’re not familiar with the Hebrides, then do please look them up to see the pale sands, turquoise waters and endless views. Being there was such a pleasure, and I hope to go back and explore more of these magical islands. Mac is deeply connected to the island of Alana, and falling in love with a dilapidated old house is drawing him back, along with a more personal reason. This image is one I took last year, admittedly not on the nicest day, but still the beauty of these islands shines through the clouds. This is the southern tip of Gigha, with Islay behind, from the mainland of the Kintyre peninsula. 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 Garden of Little Rose was a pleasure to write, and Flora and Mac will always be very close to my heart. I hope you enjoy their story, as well as the chance to catch up with Sam, Charlie, Annie and Jon nearly a year after first meeting them. Do keep an eye on my social media over the next few weeks as we plan an event to launch the book online; I’d love to see you there.