Katie is desperate to leave her stressful job, so she doesn’t think too hard about moving to Devon to run a B&B, even if it means uprooting her family. She is certain that she and Jason have a strong and loving relationship which can weather any storm.
Hooked by the beauty of Torringham with its quaint harbour and stunning coastline, they purchase Flotsam Guesthouse which needs more than a lick of paint to keep it afloat. Soon, Katie finds that renovating and running a guesthouse is taking its toll, especially when dealing with challenging guests and madcap neighbours, Shona and Kim. Katie comes to learn that trouble is afoot whenever Shona begs a favour.
However, when her adored daughter moves back to their old hometown, she wonders if they’ve made a huge mistake, especially when cracks begin to show in her marriage.
Her seaside idyll is crumbling along with her relationship. Should she let Flotsam Guesthouse founder while she salvages her marriage? Katie needs to decide where her priorities lie. The only issue is, she doesn’t know.
1. When and where do you prefer to write?
By choice I’d like to roll out of bed and get started, but mornings are the busiest times at a guesthouse, so my writing time is snuck into the odd spare hour in the afternoon or evening while we’re waiting for guests to arrive. In low season I am co-opted into other chores such as decorating, so late afternoon is my most usual time.
2. Do you have a certain ritual?
No. If I have five minutes to write, I try not to waste it (or get sucked into Facebook).
3. Is there a drink or some food that keeps you company while you write?
Just a cup or two of black coffee.
4. What is your favourite book?
The Magician by Raymond E Feist. I am a closet fantasy fan.
5. Do you consider writing a different genre in the future?
‘Bedlam & Breakfast in a Devon Seaside Guesthouse’ was the fourth novel I have written and the first in this genre. Prior to this, I wrote domestic thrillers. My first novel in 2006 was about a woman trapped in an abusive relationship, my second about child grooming and the third about a bullied child seeking revenge in adulthood. I’m proud of the child grooming book – it wasn’t graphic – but showed the emotional trauma and it had an impact on my beta-reader friends. However, it didn’t get published.
I’m currently writing the sequel to Bedlam & Breakfast.
6. Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
I find it difficult to write about someone I know. I might write about something a person has done and wrap the act around a fictional character, adding a dash of hyperbole to the event, but I don’t like to be constrained by what a specific person would say or do.
7. Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
No. Several years ago, I used to have a dictaphone but I annoyed my husband by recording him once during an argument and playing it back the next day to prove I’d been right, so he hid it! I must ask him where it is.
8. Which genre do you not like at all?
I can’t think of a genre I dislike. It depends on the book.
9. If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
I’m sure I should be mentioning a fantastic author, but the truthful answer is no one! On the few occasions I join friends at pub quizzes, I’m always outvoted when the team need to settle on an answer. I’d worry that it would be the same with storyline ideas. I think this is an area where I’d prefer working alone and have support at the editing stage.
10. If you should travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you chose and why?
Australia. If I am going to convince my husband that I need to travel abroad to research a book (I can imagine the look on his face), I may as well go the whole hog and spend at least four weeks and a fortune doing so.
Thank you, Sharley Scott and Rachel’s Random Resources.
About the author
While ‘Bedlam & Breakfast at a Devon Seaside Guesthouse’ is fictional, I am a guesthouse owner. Thankfully, we have been blessed with lots of amazing and kind-hearted guests, who are nothing like some of the characters featured in this novel and the subsequent books in the series. I would be a lot greyer if they were.
Likewise, Jason is quite different to my husband, who I sometimes nickname Victor Meldrew. He is lovely though and has a fab sense of humour, although some of his dryness has rubbed off on Jason.
Bedlam & Breakfast is set in South Devon, in the fictional town of Torringham, which is loosely based on Brixham. If you’ve been to Brixham you may recognise some of the local features, including the seals, fishing industry and the fantastic lifeboat crew, but the businesses, people and a number of settings are fictionalised.
The same applies to the B&B owners featured. Many guesthouse owners undertake work when they move into a property and our current B&B was not an exception. While, thankfully, our previous owners were nothing like Jim and Maureen, this also means we don’t get to live next door to the fabulous Shona and Kim. But we do have many lovely B&B friends. B&Bers are a wonderful and hardworking bunch, although the ones we know have a perchant for parties in the low season. That’s why I had to end Bedlam & Breakfast at a party.
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