I’m counting the days to the release of my fifth novel…Christmas at Winterbourne. It somehow doesn’t seem real. But as I’m now working through the final edits stage, it is getting closer to reality. The release date is November 1st, timed I hope, for readers to enjoy a compelling Christmas-themed read.
This book is special to me as it had its beginnings a long time ago. My partner (now my wife) and I were living in London. Then she got a job up north. I didn’t think she would like it and decided to stay in London. That’s when I started writing what has provided the backstory for the characters in this novel.
After nine months, a significant gestation period, I realised I wasn’t enjoying the experience of a long-distance relationship and finally headed north. Anyone who lives in a big city can probably relate to this—I didn’t think living in the countryside would be very interesting. In fact, it has turned out to be the best thing we could have done. And we’re still here, twenty-two years later.
My first four published novels are based in and around the area where we now live. The new novel, however, is set in southern England. When I decided to bring it into the present day, I briefly thought of resetting it in the north, substituting Manchester for London and the coastal city of Liverpool for Brighton. But it didn’t really work. So the location stayed in Sussex.
Back of the book synopsis:
The Christmas festivities for the guests booked into Winterbourne House have all the goings-on of a traditional holiday. The only difference is that this guesthouse is run by lesbians, for lesbians.
When the guests arrive, tensions are already simmering between the house’s owner Wilma (Wil) and very pregnant partner, Gabriella. Wil has a lot on her plate… ensuring the smooth running of the events, looking after all the guests, including her in-laws and business partners. What she hasn’t planned for is a ghost from Christmas past.
Wil inherited Winterbourne from her adopted mother, Kim Russell, author of a series of successful lesbian novels. Most of the guests who stay, do so because they are fans of the author.
One guest, Sally Hunter, is on a mission to write Kim’s official biography. She meets with resistance from the people at the house she tries to interview, stirring up memories from those who knew the reclusive writer well.
For a bit of extra spice to the festivities, add in an unexpected snowstorm, a disappearing guest, and an imminent birth. Join the guests and staff at Winterbourne for a Christmas you’ll not soon forget.
Something for everyone, I think. Roll on, November 1st!
Where to buy my books:
The Starling Hill Trilogy: