What is your connection with Lincolnshire?
We lived in France for ten years but when we came back to live in the UK again, five years ago, we chose south Lincolnshire because we had lived on the Lincs/Cambridgeshire border previously for many years and we have family who live in this area. We are right on the edge of the Fens and so have a range of countryside around us. It’s very flat with huge skies and black soil on one side but behind us it’s rolling hills, fields and woodland. Having said all that, though, I had a relative back in 1287 who was the Earl of Doddington which is a little north of here. Thereby lies another story!
The huge skies were the thing that struck me most when I visited Lincolnshire and ultimately inspired me to write Endless Skies. What inspires you most about the county?
It’s the second largest county behind Yorkshire, so it has huge diversity. It has a prehistory from stone and bronze age with the beaker people being well documented. Iron age and Roman period similarly so, with many excavations to prove the point. The county is derived from the merging of the ancient Kingdom of Linsey with the Danelaw borough of Stamford. There are many famous sons and daughters, too from Isaac Newton to Margaret Thatcher, Alfred Lord Tennyson and John Clare.
Similarly, the geography is diverse from the Wolds in the north to the flat fertile fenland of the east and the rolling fields and woodlands on the surrounding westerly borders. There’s the seaside, too with miles of sandy beaches.
Culturally there is the Georgian festival at Stamford, the science festival, Gravity Fields, in Grantham and our own Deepings Literary Festival in the south.
World War 2 and Cold War RAF stations with associated museums and memorabilia are still here to be visited.
Such a diverse place is a fabulous area in which to live. There is always something happening, somewhere to visit. What I love most is the variety of amazing places to walk and enjoy fresh air. We take a daily dog walk and even on my doorstep there are fields, woods full of bluebells in the spring and quiet country lanes.
Have you ever set a book in Lincolnshire?
No, I haven’t but re-reading my answers perhaps I should. Ha!
You latest release, Bird in the Hand, is set in my adopted county of Cornwall. What made you decide to do that?
I had family who lived in Penzance and we visited on many, many occasions. I have such fond memories of a different beach each day; sand in the Cornish splits with jam then cream on my Mum’s birthday; wading across to St Michael’s Mount before the tide was fully out because that was so much more fun. I still have a yearning to return and we do from time to time. We were at Kynance Cove this time last year.
My Cornish cousin and I are the same age and it’s through her I met my husband of nearly fifty years now. In the 1960s and 70s she was always desperate to be fully ‘on-trend’ because she agonised she was so far away from London which was the ‘happening’ place at the time. My heroine in Bird in the Hand worries her future is repressive and mapped for her. She craves freedom and excitement. This is most definitely not my cousin’s story but aspects of her life at that time reflect.