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:
- Yup: I’m a British ex-pat, living in the San Francisco Bay Area.
- I’m married to an under-appreciated computer security expert.
- I do indeed believe that a nice cup of tea can solve 99% of (my) problems.
- 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.
- When in London, I’m rather partial to combining 3. and 4. in the drawing room at Dukes Hotel.
- There are plenty of other real places mentioned in the book, including Saffron Walden, bits of Cambridge, Southwold, Aldeburgh and Snape Maltings.
- As far as I know(!) hubby has never been unfaithful.
- 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.
- 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.
- My mother doesn’t keep chickens and my father isn’t writing a calculus text book. Nor are they as
annoyingeccentric as Grace’s parents.
- 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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