The weather has turned so cold these days that the magic carpet has gone into the garage for the winter. I’ve whisked over today’s guest, my friend, co-author, and Crooked Cat editor, Sue Barnard by other magical means.
We’re cozy in my kitchen, tucking into tea and cake, while Lilydog makes a fuss of one of her favourite “aunties”.
So, Sue. You have a new book coming out soon. Give us a few hints. I’ve been lucky enough to have a sneaky peek. It’s not Shakespeare this time, is it?
No, not this time. That doesn’t rule out going back to him in the future, but I think he deserves a rest for the moment.
But, it is founded on a historical or mythical tale, right?
Yes, it’s inspired by an old French legend. Unfortunately I can’t say which legend, as that would give away too much about the plot.
How long has this one been brewing? When did it first come to you?
Overall, it’s been on the go for quite a long time. I first came across the legend a few years ago, when I visited the area of western France where the original story is set. A few weeks after that visit, I had a sudden flash of inspiration whilst I was gardening (I get quite a lot of my writing ideas when I’m gardening!). A single line of dialogue popped into my head: My name isn’t [X], it’s [Y] – where [Y] was the name of the character from the legend. The main character is reluctant to reveal her real name, and is quite happy to let people believe that she’s called something different.
I first wrote a short story based on this idea, but then decided to develop the idea a bit more and turn it into a full-length book.
I’m glad you did. Who is your favourite character? If it were a film, who could you see playing the leads?
I don’t think I can nominate a favourite character. But I can imagine Mel being played by Jenna Coleman, with David Tennant as Ray.
I know I love the book already but anything with Mr. Tennant would get me as a viewer Without giving too much away, anything else you’d like to tell us?
It’s a time-slip romance novella with a touch of the paranormal. It’s set partly in medieval France and partly in present-day North Wales, and uses a lot of the history and folklore of both places. Here’s the blurb:
Leaving her native France and arriving in North Wales as a postgraduate student of History and Folklore, Mel is cautiously optimistic that she can escape from her troubled past and begin a new and happier life.
She settles into her student accommodation and begins work on her thesis, concentrating particularly on one fascinating manuscript: a compelling and tragic tale of a cursed medieval princess.
Then she meets Ray – charming, down-to-earth and devastatingly handsome. Within days, Mel’s entire world has transformed from lonely and frustrated to loving and fulfilled. Despite her failure with previous relationships, she allows herself to hope that this time, at last, she can make it work.
But Mel’s dreams of happiness are under constant threat. She is hiding a dark and terrible secret, which Ray – or indeed anybody else – must never ever discover…
And this book is being released very shortly – when exactly?
It’s due out officially on 9 February 2017, but it’s available for pre-order now.
BIO AND LINKS
Sue Barnard is a British novelist, editor and award-winning poet whose family background is far stranger than any work of fiction. She would write a book about it if she thought anybody would believe her.
Sue was born in North Wales but has spent most of her life in and around Manchester. She speaks French like a Belgian, German like a schoolgirl, and Italian and Portuguese like an Englishwoman abroad.
Her mind is so warped that she has appeared on BBC TV’s Only Connect quiz show, and she has also compiled questions for BBC Radio 4’s fiendishly difficult Round Britain Quiz. This once caused one of her sons to describe her as “professionally weird.” The label has stuck.
Sue joined the editorial team of Crooked Cat Publishing in 2013. Her first novel, The Ghostly Father (a new take on the traditional story of Romeo & Juliet) was officially released on St Valentine’s Day 2014. Since then she has produced three more novels: Nice Girls Don’t (2014), The Unkindest Cut of All (2015) and Never on Saturday (2017).