forget me not
suzanne snow
forget me not
suzanne snow, romantic fiction author

Welcome To Thorndale

Friday 31st July

Welcome indeed, it’s lovely to catch up with you here on Friends & Flowers and I hope you’re enjoying the posts I’m sharing. Please do send me a message to let me know what you think, and if there is anything about my writing you’d like to see here.

What can I tell you about Thorndale, the village in the Yorkshire Dales where The Cottage of New Beginnings is set? Firstly it’s fictional and mainly inspired by Arncliffe in Littondale, and there is a picture of the green in Arncliffe below. This tiny hamlet was the first setting for Emmerdale Farm back in the day and the local pub stood in as The Woolpack before the series grew and moved elsewhere.

On the day I took this photograph, haymaking all around the area was in full swing during a short window of dry weather. It was lovely to see that the grass on the green is left to grow long enough to cut and bale, and you can see the evidence above. Tractors were whizzing to and fro collecting the new bales and safely storing them for winter before any rain arrived.

In Thorndale there is a pub (of course, and it does play a small part in the book); a church, post office, tea room, art gallery and two farms whose buildings have been converted for other uses, and Annie enjoys exploring the changes now she has returned. It’s also home to a cast of characters who I loved writing about and you’ll get to know some of them well if you read Annie and Jon’s story. Jon’s life and work keep him closely involved with the local community too, and his mentoring of a young man escaping trouble and searching for a better life is something else he takes seriously. Whitby pops up as a location but I still haven’t managed to eat fish and chips there yet!

Research for each of the books is something I love doing and I knew I wanted to set a book in Yorkshire after exploring some of Littondale on foot with friends. It’s a beautiful location and I think rural settings will always be at the heart of my stories. Years-old stone walls, barns standing in meadows, busy farms, quaint cottages and rocky rivers all played their part in creating this place and then I began to imagine the people who might live here.

I’m about to begin work on editing Book 3, which is due to be with my publisher in December. The character of Ben, who is literally running away from something in his past, popped up in my head, and I began to think about his life. About why he behaves as he does and who might he need around him at this time. Then Daisy arrived and I was on my way, their story soon following. I wrote it over several months, and I’ve shared a few lines below. These might not make the final draft though, once my editor begins work on the manuscript!

An idea quickly formed in Daisy’s mind and she took four brownies, slid them into a container and made her way to the cottage. She hesitated on the terrace as silence and a closed door met her, not certain Ben was still inside even though his bike was propped against the wall. She knocked and when there was no reply tapped once again, ready to turn and make her escape without being seen. But then the door was slowly pulled back, revealing Ben, changed from the cycling gear into casual shorts and a navy T shirt.  Apprehension fluttered in Daisy’s stomach at the lack of warmth and sudden uncertainty in his gaze and she gave him a dazzling smile to counter it.

‘Hi Ben.’ She rushed on, noticing one of his hands resting lightly on the door and it wasn’t hard to imagine him preventing entry should she try and attempt it. ‘Sorry to bother you, I’ve brought you these.’ 

She thrust the container towards him, startled still further when he made no move to take it. ‘It’s only chocolate brownies. Don’t worry, I’m not planning to pop in every day. Call them a ‘welcome to Parlour Cottage’ gift if you like. Oh, I forgot to mention earlier, I left a few basics for you and there’s fresh milk in the fridge.’ She paused, chilled by his expression and a nervous giggle escaped. ‘I promise to leave you in peace after this.’

Ben’s gaze fell to the box but he still didn’t attempt to take it from her. She rattled it, as though trying to prove the existence of the brownies and finally he spoke.

‘That’s kind of you but I’m afraid they’d be wasted on me. That type of ingredient combination doesn’t form part of my current nutrition plan and I’ve absorbed enough fat for today so I’m going to have to pass. I appreciate the thought but I’m sure I’ll find something more suitable for tonight.’

Daisy’s eyes widened and her brain quickly caught up, registering the polite but quite definite dismissal of her gift.  Silence tinged with tension filled the space between them as her incredulous gaze challenged his steady one. She blurted out the words filling her mind, offering him a cooler smile that added sarcasm to her meaning as her gaze remained locked to his.

‘Well, the macrobiotic shop in the village has closed for the weekend but never mind, there might still be a tin of beansprouts if you’re lucky. Oh, and the milk in the fridge? Really sorry but it’s just dairy. You know, from cows?’

© Suzanne Snow 2020

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this snippet from Book 3, an early glimpse into Daisy and Ben’s story before it’s published next summer. Next time I’ll share more about my journey to publication and some of the work I do that goes into making my first draft a finished manuscript for the publisher to take into production.

All the best, looking forward to catching up again,

Suzanne x

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