My Books

So, Is It Fiction?

When most people hear about my book, the next thing out of their mouth is usually “I hope it’s fiction?”

Considering my novel is about a British woman living near San Francisco, who runs home to England when her husband cheats on her, I can hardly blame folks for making the connection. In fact, it’s kind of them to ask. And, as a first-time novelist, it’s a fair assumption that I’ve put some personal perspective into the book. But there’s not actually that much, and certainly not as much as the dear friend who is convinced I’m Grace, believes.

Here’s a quick run-down of where fact stops and fiction takes over:


  1. Yup: I’m a British ex-pat, living in the San Francisco Bay Area.
  2. I’m married to an under-appreciated computer security expert.
  3. I do indeed believe that a nice cup of tea can solve 99% of (my) problems.
  4. It’s true I have an unhealthy obsession with cake, especially British options like sticky toffee pudding and custard tart. But I don’t eat dessert quite as often as my main character.
  5. When in London, I’m rather partial to combining 3. and 4. in the drawing room at Dukes Hotel.
  6. There are plenty of other real places mentioned in the book, including Saffron Walden, bits of Cambridge, Southwold, Aldeburgh and Snape Maltings.
Photo: Vtorous

Photo: Vtorous


  1. As far as I know(!) hubby has never been unfaithful.
  2. Saffron Sweeting is a completely made-up village. I visited some Cambridgeshire locations for research, but all the village components are fictional. So, sorry, but you can’t visit Brian’s bakery.
  3. I’ve never fallen into a river while pushing a car, or fallen into bed with a property developer in Suffolk. But I can confirm I have fallen off my dad’s shoulders, down a cattle grid, and onto a barbed wire fence. On different days, fortunately.
  4. My mother doesn’t keep chickens and my father isn’t writing a calculus text book. Nor are they as annoying eccentric as Grace’s parents.
  5. Amelia, Nancy and Jem contain only tiny amounts of real people. Truly. So, if you think one of them is you, sorry.

To guess for yourself which other parts of the book are fact and which fiction, you might like to read the first few chapters on Wattpad (chapter 3 is going up today). I’d love to know what you think.

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7 Comment

  1. Reply
    March 19, 2013 at 10:28 am

    I was reminded of some of your early blog posts when reading the book. The color that came to mind when describing the client’s bedroom was the color used in a room you decorated in your home. And when Grace gave advice to the B&B owner, I remembered a post you wrote on things to check before having company.

    You did a masterful job of combining real elements into a fictional story – apparently too good!

    1. Reply
      March 19, 2013 at 10:59 am

      Alea, you have a great memory! Yes, I love eggplant / aubergine but chickened out of using it for more than accessories in my own home. My walls are much safer… I guess that’s the fun part about writing fiction: I can decorate virtual rooms!

  2. Reply
    Marina Sofia
    March 20, 2013 at 2:48 am

    Thanks for clearing that up! I had to laugh… I loved the first two chapters, by the way, and will leave a comment to that effect on the Amazon site. Good luck!

  3. Reply
    March 20, 2013 at 10:30 am

    I don’t know if you have joined the Chick Lit Goddesses Group on Facebook – it is a group of chick lit writers who all promote their books together – you will love it https://www.facebook.com/groups/113851555421507/
    Emma Kaufmann author of Her Ten Year Itch

    1. Reply
      March 20, 2013 at 11:29 am

      Thanks, Emma, I’ll be sure to take a look.

  4. Reply
    March 20, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    What a lovely post Pauline! I really liked your first chapters and what a coincidence you should mention Saffron Walden in your article, as I lived there for seven years! I adored it and I still visit occasionally, in fact I will be there this Friday.

    As an expat myself I could see a lot of your heroine in me, I’m really curious to read the rest of the book when it’s published.

  5. Reply
    March 21, 2013 at 1:45 am

    Interesting post Pauline, especially as my novel is fiction based on a few facts. I’m wondering what people will pick up on 😉


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