My protagonist, Grace, was born during a writing exercise inspired by George Orwell’s Road to Wigan Pier. She later featured in my dissertation, a screenplay, to complete my BA degree in Creative Writing. While I was completing my screenplay, I became aware that there was a lot more story to be developed, so once my degree was completed in June 2013, I decided to take a year out from study and write my first novel, House of Grace.
House of Grace is a historical fiction family saga. It begins in 1950 and ends on Christmas Day of 1969. Because it’s written in two parts this allowed me to skip ten years in-between.
House of Grace is completely fictionalised but uses a lot of my memories as well as my late mother’s, plus an enormous amount of research. I spent four years of my childhood in Bolton and remember these times as special which is what inspired me to feature Bolton in Part I of my novel.
I like to edit as I go along. I treated each chapter as a short story and revised before moving onto the next. Of course this didn’t mean it was finished, I still completed a major edit once I got to the end. In fact I’m not sure how many complete drafts I edited before I was happy. My editor was a rock, not only did she stick with me in proofing draft after draft but she kept my confidence up when at times I wanted to abandon the whole thing.
I finished what I thought was my final edit in 2015, sent it out to a couple of publishers without success, although Myriad said it was a great story, but too commercial for them. The manuscript then sat around on my PC while I concentrated on my MA degree. After visiting Swanwick, The Writers’ Summer School, last August, I returned home inspired to become an indie author. From that point I resurrected House of Grace and began to edit, yet again. In December last year I submitted my completed manuscript to the formatters. At the same time I instructed an illustrator for the book cover. Early in March, after a few stressful months, a proof copy of House of Grace popped through my letterbox. Strangely, I didn’t feel excited but the opposite, sick. After speaking to my editor she advised me to press the button to submit. She had a glass of wine poured ready to toast Grace for when I gave her the signal that the deed was done. I sent the email to instruct my formatter to publish and poured myself and husband a glass of Prosecco. That was the moment I felt relieved and proud. I had done it. House of Grace had arrived. The publication date was 9th March, 2017 and since then it has been exhilarating to follow my readers’ comments about House of Grace.
Readers keep asking, is there going to be a sequel? Yes there is. I’m in the process of writing another novel, The Coal Miner’s Son which has a child narrator. I hope to return to this fully once my MA module concludes in May. The Coal Miner’s Son will run alongside House of Grace. The plan is to write a third novel in the series, to take over from where House of Grace and The Coalminer’s Son finish and this will conclude the story.
As well as being a novelist I also like to write short stories, screenplays, and poetry. I like to write poetry in-between my novels, especially if I am short on time as I can start a poem in a few minutes whereas getting back into novel writing can take me a couple of hours. I am presently Poet in Residence at a local Victorian Park.
House of Grace blurb on the back of the book….
It’s 1950 and all sixteen-year-old Grace Granville has ever wanted is to become a successful dress designer. She dreams of owning her own fashion house and spends her spare time sketching outfits. Her father, Lord Granville, sees this frivolous activity as nonsense and wants to groom her into a good wife for someone of his choosing…
Grace is about to leave Greenemere, a boarding school in Brighton. She’s blissfully unaware of her father’s plans when she embarks on a new adventure. The quest includes a trip to Bolton’s Palais where she meets coal miner, Jack Gilmore. Grace’s life is never the same again.
Travel with Grace through two decades as she struggles with family conflict, poverty and tragedy. Is Grace strong enough to defy Lord Granville’s wishes and find true love? Will she become a successful fashion designer? Where will she turn for help?
Where can you buy a copy of House of Grace?
It’s available on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com – Kindle, Kindle Unlimited and Paperback version.
My email: [email protected]
For anyone that is interested in Swanwick: The Writers’ Summer School. Here is the link.