Can love blossom in the countryside?
Artist Holly Hunter is turning her life upside-down! She’s leaving the bright lights of London (and a cheating husband) behind her and hoping for a fresh start as she escapes to the peaceful Cotswolds countryside.
Men are off the cards for Holly. Instead, she’s focusing on her little gallery and adopting an adorable Border Collie puppy named Tubs. Or so she thought…
Because no matter how hard she tries to resist him, local vet Adam Whitney is utterly gorgeous. And in a village as small as this one, Holly can only avoid Adam for so long!
Thank you for hosting me today, Beth.
Tell me about your book.
Holly’s story takes place for the most part in a beautiful and to me much loved area of the country. Unable any longer to deny even to herself her husband’s numerous affairs, she leaves London to stay with her childhood friend in order to give herself breathing space to sort out her life. It doesn’t take her long to realise that the village of Cuffingham in Escape to the Cotswolds is where she wants to settle down.
An outstanding art student, Holly is able to buy a property with the legacy left by her parents and open her own small gallery at the end of the high street. She is discovered by an American connoisseur who whisks her off to Philadelphia but her heart is in Cuffingham. Back in England, Holly, gets a puppy in whom she invests her emotions, convincing herself that she is happy enough without a man in her life. But local vet Adam is in the background and while she values his friendship she is unable to see that, bubbling beneath the surface, her feelings for this man are taking a quite different turn.
Catastrophe strikes in the form of summer floods and she and the rest of the inhabitants struggle to fight back from the disaster. Holly learns just how strong the community is of which she has become a part.
What do you love about writing?
Oh that’s an easy one. Before embarking on my first novel I wrote short stories for women’s magazines. To be able to encapsulate a complete episode in one to two thousand words was a huge thrill but then I found I wanted more. I wanted to tell my heroine’s whole story, not just one aspect of it. I become completely immersed in a world of my own creation and my characters become as real to me as any flesh and blood people I know. And like many of the people I know they talk to me, argue with me, have their own sometimes very strong opinions. When a book is finished I do not leave them behind. They are as much a part of me as anyone else who has touched my life.
Are you working on anything at the moment?
I’m a few chapters into a dual time line romance – present day and Tudor. Yes, the romance is always there. This time I have two heroines to become acquainted with. How lucky am I!
Who inspires you?
When I look around me at the dedication and application of other writers I am in awe of how much of themselves they give to invest in their dreams. Let’s face it, writing isn’t the easiest occupation and success can be elusive. I know a lot of writers. Every one of them gives wholeheartedly of themselves. It’s as if they don’t have a choice. They have to write. If that isn’t inspirational I don’t know what is.
Have you read anything lately that you've just loved?
I don’t tend to read beyond the first few pages if a book doesn’t grab me. Consequently everything I read tends to be loved. But I have two forms of escapism. I’m a sucker for Jack Reacher and recently finished Lee Childs’ The Affair. In complete contrast I will also immerse myself in romance set in Regency times. It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Georgette Heyer and that many of her books in my collection are in danger of falling apart through being read and reread.
I’ve really enjoyed your questions, Beth. Thank you.
Natalie, a born and bred Londoner, would love to live in the area she so enjoys writing about. While this isn’t practical at the moment she stills allows herself to dream of honey-coloured stone cottages, quaint villages and rippling brooks. Maybe one day.
A late-comer to writing, she has two published novels and many short stories to her name. She attributes her success to a determination to improving her craft, attending any and every writing event she can. All that and a weekly attendance at The Write Place Creative School in Dartford where cream cakes are frequently on the agenda.
Natalie lives with her husband, Louis, in Blackheath, south-east London - except when she’s tripping off to The Cotswolds in the name of research. Somebody has to do it!