A simple holiday just got complicated …
Single mum Amy has been struggling since her mother’s death and now her son, Harry, has been accused of bullying schoolmate Oliver — giving Amy’s dictatorial ex-husband yet another reason to criticise her parenting.
All Amy wants is the chance to spend time with her son. Where better to escape all her troubles than camping at the remote but beautiful Lake District farm where she spent idyllic summers with her mother when she was a little girl?
Her tranquil escape seems doomed when Oliver, and his widowed dad, Matt, turn up on the neighbouring pitch — but at Elder Fell Farm, unlikely friendships can be forged. Are Matt and Amy ready to fall in love again? And will their boys bring them together – or drive them apart?
Thank you for interviewing me for your blog! I’ve really enjoyed answering all your questions, and hope I haven’t said too much in response. I am very grateful for your support, thank you again.
– When and where do you prefer to write?
I have a gorgeous Victorian-style writing desk in the corner of what was our dining room. It’s my absolute dream writing space – though I could do with a desk of about twice the size due to the amount of rubbish … I mean, absolutely, totally essential paperwork … that I tend to keep on there!
– Do you have a certain ritual?
I like peace and quiet. I’m not one of those people who needs music to write; in fact quite the opposite! If I have music on I tend to get distracted and find myself singing along rather than thinking about what I’m writing – which can sometimes lead to some interesting typos (and annoyed neighbours.) And I like to wear slippers to work. If my feet are cold I can’t settle.
– Is there a drink of some food that keeps you company while you write?
Tea. I can get through several cups a day if I’m at my desk for more than a couple of hours. I sometimes intersperse it with coffee, but more than one cup of coffee and I start feeling jittery and make more typos.
– What is your favourite book?
This is a really hard one. It’s like picking your favourite child, isn’t it! There are different ones for every stage of my life. As a child, it was Swallows and Amazons (which incidentally shows up in Summer Showers at Elder Fell Farm) then as an adolescent Anne of Green Gables followed by The Lord of the Rings (which I read thirteen times in a row, I loved it so much). As an adult, one of the novels I keep going back to is The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx. I first read it on a beach in Turkey, and I came home from that holiday with more vivid memories of Proulx’s Newfoundland than where I’d actually been.
– Do you consider writing a different genre in the future?
One of my early attempts at writing a novel was a fantasy epic, entitled To the Far Distant Horizon (well, I say epic but I think it was probably only about 30,000 words long!) so I’d love to try fantasy one day – I like the idea of creating my own world – but it would have to be swords-and-sorcery type fantasy. In fact, there was some good stuff in that early story; the bit where the heroine flees the city and ends up in prison – where did I put the manuscript? It’s probably somewhere under the pile of rubbish on my desk …
– Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
I take aspects of people I know. For example, I might watch someone and think ‘I love the way this person always fiddles with their wedding ring when they’re nervous, I could use that’, or I might take the fact that another person I know loves starting conversations with random people at bus-stops and base a character or a plot around that – but I’d never try and portray a real person in every detail. That way madness (and lawsuits!) lie.
– Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
I used to. These days I e-mail myself if I have a brainwave when I’m out. But I do still keep a notebook by my bed, where I can write things down that occur to me in the middle of the night. Of course, typically by the next morning the notes make no sense. ‘Jenny hurls the cabbages at the farm-shop,’ the note might read – which is great, but my current heroine is called Freda and I’m writing about her business meeting in Dubai.
– Which genre do you not like at all?
I admire the skill that goes into writing it, but I’m not good with gritty crime drama or horror. I’m a bit faint-hearted and I don’t like descriptions of blood and graphic violence. I’ll stick with metaphorical bleeding hearts rather than literal ones, please!
– If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
I am actually co-writing a play right now! it’s a Second World War drama about three women working in a munitions factory and the current working title is Where Angels Sing. I’m writing it with my best friend, Cath Turnbull. She’s a theatre director, so we complement each other quite nicely, and as we’ve been friends for nearly 50 years, it’s an absolute dream working with her as we know each other so well. However, our writing mornings do seem to include a bit too much gossiping (and drinking tea), so we’re not progressing as fast as we would like.
– If you should travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you chose and why?
No question, Canada. Between my love for Anne of Green Gables, The Shipping News and the fact that I’m obsessed with the musical Come From Away, (which is about the planes grounded in Canada during the 9/11 attacks) I’d love to see Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island for myself. All I need is an idea for a plot to research. Wait a minute, I’ve got it! A red-headed orphan makes an emergency landing in Gander where she starts working for the local newspaper …
About the Author
Liz has always surrounded herself with books.
As a child, she was always to be found with her head in one and she still has a bookcase full of her childhood favourites to this day. She went on to work in a library cataloguing early printed books – but as most of the books turned out to be volumes of sermons, she wasn’t tempted to read them all!
Children interrupted her bibliographic career, and Liz started writing fiction and hasn’t stopped since, joining the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme in 2015 to try to learn how to write novels properly. This led to publication of her first romantic novel, The Little Church by the Sea in late 2017, followed by The Manor on the Moors in 2019.
When Covid struck, Liz was working on a novel set in the 1990s, but sadly research proved difficult when she could no longer access the microfilm readers at the reference library. Instead, she wrote Summer Showers at Elder Fell Farm which relied largely on her own experiences of campervans, campsites and noisy children.