Hello everyone, this is my first post on a blog too, and I’m delighted to join this talented group. I write multi-viewpoint sagas set either in the Lake District or Manchester. Regional differences seem to be fast disappearing in modern Britain, as are the old industries which created them, so I generally start the research for my novels by talking to the people who were a part of them. I feel privileged to listen to their memories: so real, so personal, so vividly recalled. Some of the subjects I’ve studied for my books have been the water industry, forestry, sheep farming, the Lakes steamers, travelling theatre, carpet and shoe manufacturing, and customs and traditions by the score. These stories of the social under-classes, the weavers and land girls, the ordinary farmers and folk of the hills and dales, the oral history of our past, is the life blood of my sagas.
My new one is House of Angels, coming in hardback in September, paperback Spring 2010. It’s set largely in Kentmere, a beautiful Lakeland Dale. It is 1908, and to all appearances, Livia, Ella and Maggie Angel lead a privileged life, with seemingly little to disturb their happiness. But since the death of their mother, their family home has been far from a quiet haven. Their bully of a father, Josiah Angel, who runs a high-class department store and has aspirations of becoming the town mayor, sees his daughters as mere bargaining tools in his property empire. Empty-headed, spoiled Ella is married off to a farmer in a remote part of the Lake District, but Livia, the eldest and most spirited of the three, refuses to be dictated to and suffers bitterly as a consequence. Having found true love with a man from the poorest district in town, she is not going to give in to her father’s wishes quietly. The youngest sister, Maggie, is not so lucky, and her young life is blighted by her father’s actions. When the sisters discover their father had an affair many years ago, which resulted in the birth of a baby girl, they determine to find their half-sister, and their search begins in the local workhouse. Mercy, however, is not so sure she wants to be found…