When I was fourteen, I moved into a small-holding near Penruddock, a small village on the edge of the Lake District’s Matterdale Valley. It was a small farmhouse with two huge barns either side. When my mother bought it, the house had no electric, no water or sanitation – not even an access road. Her solicitor asked why she wanted to buy, “That heap of rubble in a field.”
It took months to make the place liveable, but it was an exciting time. The house had so much character, including a washhouse with an upturned bell as a sink and oak beams which were obviously torn from old ships.
One day, when the builders were removing the plaster which was mainly wattle and daub – reinforced with horsehair, they discovered a hidden cupboard built into the wall. I remember my sister and I were excited as the builder finally opened the cupboard. I don’t know what secrets we expected to find lurking within the depths of this mystery inlet but my imagination was ignited. Maybe gold, maybe a treasure map, diamonds… As the builder prized open the door, we peered in to find… nothing but horsehair, dead flies and mouse droppings. Yes, rather anti-climactic but my imagination has since told stories of what might have been.
One of those stories will shortly be my new book, Unwinding Time. I was originally going to call it Viewpoint but my publisher and colleagues politely nudged me away from my working title. The book is set in and around Penrith in Cumbria but extends out as far as France. The official blurb is below:
An accident. A discovery. The curiosity of a passionate young artist.
Crippled by anxiety, Kayleigh Halsey moves to the Lake District to escape the trauma of her past. An innocent question sees her investigating a mystery and exposing a secret more than a hundred years old.
The deeper she delves, the darker the secret becomes.
Can Kayleigh’s innocence and passion bring the mystery to life?
Or will she realise that you can’t run away from a memory?
Unwinding Time will be released in September 2018 on Outlet Publishing. I’ll be posting more details shortly.
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