Thank you to Angela Harrison for the stunning images of Robin Hood’s Bay used in this post.
Where do you get your ideas from?
It’s a common question authors get asked, though nobody has actually asked me yet, but I’m expecting that at some point somebody will! So I’ve been preparing my answer and here it is.
Places. For some reason, with everything that I have written so far, an idea of place has been strong and has started the story. A single image began this one – I was writing something entirely different, when I took my characters in that plot to a seaside village for a day out in the winter. I found myself thinking about the little fishing villages on the Yorkshire coast near where I live – Runswick, Robin Hood’s Bay, Whitby, Staithes … and an image popped into my head. A small cottage in one of the crooked alleyways, with an anchor door knocker and a Christmas wreath. In the original story my characters walked past the cottage and commented on how pretty it was, but my imagination started asking, who would live in a cottage like that? The first novel never got written, but from that one simple image the whole village of Rawscar and its inhabitants grew.
People. The other main inspiration for The Little Church by the Sea was the character of my heroine, Cass, the vicar of Rawscar. Like Rawscar itself, Cass sprung from one very simple moment – her opening words. “Shit,” said the vicar. From the start, I knew that Cass had an inner conflict between her religious ideals and the reality of the world she lives in and that she doesn’t always know how to deal with it – and she doesn’t always get it right.
At the heart of this is Cass’s ideal of celibacy. All her life she has believed that sex outside marriage is wrong – and as she has never been married …. So when she falls for Hal, an attractive man who has “slept with half the women in the village” what should she do?
Well, you’ll have to read the book, coming out in November, to find out!