I don’t mean I’ve finished writing the final page, the last line, written ‘The end’. I mean I’ve done that and read it about five more times to see if it actually makes sense and if I’m still pleased with it – and I am.
It’s called A lifting of Clouds.
I feel like I’ve brought everyone, my characters, to a good point in their lives. Now the manuscript is with my trusted Beta Readers who’ll tell me which bits are nonsense and which they enjoyed. After that it’s off to my editor for tidying.
I didn’t set out to write a trilogy, but now I’ve done it, I find it’s quite satisfying. It doesn’t feel like a marathon of any kind, even though it was started in the Autumn of 2020; it’s just been so interesting to find out how history changed the world and then work out how that affected my characters. I can understand how many writers enjoy writing series fiction. You get to know your characters as people and worry how they’ll react to events, relationships, the world, how they’ll grow and develop over time. It’s addictive really.
The first book, A bouquet of nightshade is set in 1895, in Victorian Manchester and introduced characters who are still alive in the last book in 1940. The two female leads, Sophia and Alice appear in this book and then twenty years later, in 1915, at the height of WW1 in A legacy of ghosts. It’s set at Haigh Hall in Wigan, and there they meet Florrie. We’re also introduced to Marianne, then a child, but she goes on to become one of the leads in A lifting of clouds set in 1940, This final act is set in Manchester, Salford, and Haigh and at the height of the Christmas blitz. All my lead characters are involved in the final drama.
It developed into a family saga with the women at centre stage, their relationships, their dreams, disasters, triumphs, and yes – what they wore too.
I’m intrigued by psychic phenomena and supernatural concepts, and this is a strong theme throughout the books. Sophia, an undertaker, is also a clairvoyant and medium. Florrie, a maid at Haigh Hall, has these same gifts and in each book, there’s a strong supernatural element.
For the past year I’ve been reading books written before and during WW2, films about the time and documentaries too. I love the music of the time and I’ve used popular songs and hymns to set the scene for each chapter. My favourite is Bye Bye Blackbird but I got my final title from We’ll meet again, the song made popular by Vera Lynn.
‘Keep smiling through,
Just like you always do
‘Til the blue skies drive the dark clouds
This week I’m really enjoying ITVs new three part drama, Why didn’t they ask Evans? based on Agatha Christie’s book of the same name. It’s set in 1934, when war was brewing slowly. It’s a great production.