Two women, a world apart.
A secret waiting to be discovered…
VE Day 1945: As victory bells ring out across the country, war bride Ellie Burgess’ happiness is overshadowed by grief. Her charismatic Newfoundlander husband Thomas is still missing in action.
Until a letter arrives explaining Thomas is back at home on the other side of the Atlantic recovering from his injuries.
Travelling to a distant country to live with a man she barely knows is the bravest thing Ellie has ever had to do. But nothing can prepare her for the harsh realities of her new home…
September 11th 2001: Sophie Parry is on a plane to New York on the most tragic day in the city’s history. While the world watches the news in horror, Sophie’s flight is rerouted to a tiny town in Newfoundland and she is forced to seek refuge with her estranged aunt Ellie.
Determined to discover what it was that forced her family apart all those years ago, newfound secrets may change her life forever…
- When and where do you prefer to write?
I love writing on my bed. It’s an old Victorian brass bed I bought when I was eighteen, and I have plenty of room to spread out my notes. I prop myself up with pillows and I have a clever portable lap desk I put the laptop on. I normally travel a lot for business (I teach interior design in China), and pleasure (Morocco, Canada and Grenada are three regular destinations), and I write in hotel rooms, on friends’ tables and desks, and in cafes, too.
I prefer to write from around 11:30-5:30 with a bit of wiggle room either way. I can’t put two words together after 6:30pm. I aim for 1,000-1,250 words a day. I normally teach interior design a couple of days a week in London, and I may have another day or two working on a client’s design project. I’ll write something all the remaining days. I might take a couple of Sundays off a month.
- Do you have a certain ritual?
My daily writing ritual is pretty much: Get up around 7-7:30; yoga/shower/breakfast; answer emails; write a short poem or haiku for Facebook and Instagram (I do this Monday-Friday as a writing limbering up exercise); putter in garden for around half an hour in the spring/summer; settle down to writing (usually after several games of Jewel Legend on my phone); stop for a light lunch for 20 minutes; more writing till 5:30-6:00ish; go for a walk; putter in garden; dinner; watch TV/zoom or text friends; read; bed by 11:00.
- Is there a drink or some food that keeps you company while you write?
Water! I drink loads. I reward myself with some squares of Green & Black’s Milk Chocolate at the end of the day if I’ve done particularly well. Luckily, I’ve never been a snacker.
- What is your favourite book?
There are two I love particularly: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier and Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.
- Do you consider writing a different genre in the future?
Absolutely! The book I’m writing now is an historical family saga over a series of three books, rather than a historical romance. I also love reading and writing contemporary fiction, and have an idea for a contemporary mystery after I’ve written the series.
- Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
I am inspired by people’s idiosyncrasies, their turns of phrase, sometimes a physical characteristic. I love listening to how people talk – I love writing dialogue and I try to capture the right inflections. Many of the characters have elements of myself in them, though no one is autobiographical. They’re often a melange of people I’ve met mixed with totally fictitious characters.
- Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
No, I don’t. I might make voice message to myself if I want to remember a particular conversation or detail. I tend to carry a lot of stuff in my head!
- Which genre do you not like at all?
Crime fiction. Just not my cup of tea. Though there are exceptions. I absolutely loved Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow by Peter Hoeg.
- If you had a chance to co-write a book, whom would it be with?
Carrie Fisher. She would have been a hoot.
- If you should travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would it be to and why?
I love setting my stories in foreign locations, particularly as I love to travel. My first book, The Lost Letter from Morocco, was set in the mountains, cities and desert of Morocco. I have been visiting Morocco regularly for years, so it was an easy idea to write a novel there. The contemporary timeslip story for The English Wife takes place in Newfoundland, where I was born. I spent a month out there last spring researching and writing – there’s nothing that beats going to a place if you can.
My current book is sent in WW1 London and the Isle of Capri, Italy in 1892. I’ve been to Capri in the past for a short visit and I loved it. I’m hoping to be able to visit it later this year again if I can – you pick up so many little details of location, scents, sounds, conversations when you visit a place.
I also have great friends in Grenada and would love to set a novel there; and in Australia and China as well… I ‘ve been to Beijing and Shanghai several times as I normally teach interior design there several times a year. I’d love to set a novel over there.
Thank you, Adrienne Chinn and Rachel’s Random Resources
About the author
Adrienne Chinn was born in Grand Falls, Newfoundland, grew up in Quebec, and eventually made her way to London, England after a career as a journalist. In England she worked as a TV and film researcher before embarking on a career as an interior designer, lecturer, and writer. When not up a ladder or at the computer, she can usually be found rummaging through flea markets or haggling in the Marrakech souk. Her second novel, The English Wife — a timeslip story set in World War II England and contemporary Newfoundland — is published in June 2020. Her debut novel, The Lost Letter from Morocco, was published by Avon Books UK in 2019. She is currently writing her third novel, The Photographer’s Daughters, the first of a 3-book series, to be published in 2021.