Wednesday, 1 October 2014
October 23rd is almost here, the day when my 2014 novel, TOGETHER FOR CHRISTMAS is published in paperback form. The book's beautiful cover shows my central character, Flora Shine, dressed in her Great War nurse's uniform. Together with her two close friends depicted in the background, this clever artwork hints at the story inside. I'm so grateful to Simon & Schuster, my publisher, for taking such care to make the tale come alive for the reader from the moment the book reaches the shelves. But no sooner than TOGETHER FOR CHRISTMAS is done and dusted, my attention turns to next year's story, where the characters impatiently wait in the wings, eager to be written into life. September's amazing weather has allowed me to work in the garden on my laptop where intoxicating scents of bonfire and horse manure fill the air. I am at once transported back to the blackened chimneys and dilapidated 1930's terraced houses of London's East End, my writing turf . If you've read my first novel, Lizzie of Langley Street, set in 1919, you'll know costermonger Lizzie Flowers is as stubbornly determined to succeed in business as she is to protect her family from the hard men of the capital's underworld. In this sequel, my cast of characters have moved on from their horse-drawn carts and into the modern world of motorized vehicles. Lizzie plans to open a cooperative for women, giving hope to those families who are burdened by poverty and destitution. But the criminal gangs soon get wind of her enterprise and demand a large slice of her investment. Lizzie knows she has some difficult choices to make. Does she pursue her dangerous path, refusing to give in to the racketeers and perhaps putting her family in danger? Or will she finally realise that survival is more important to her than success? Well, you'll have to join Lizzie next year to find out - and I promise it will be worth your wait! Meanwhile, with Christmas shopping already underway, TOGETHER FOR CHRISTMAS might just prove the surprise stocking-filler you're searching for!