Summer 1920. Two worlds are about to collide.
Evie Brunton is a beautiful Devon post lady who loves her job. Twice a day, she spins along the narrow country lanes on her bicycle, delivering letters from a heavy post bag. When the flamboyant London artist, Bernard Cavalier, drops like a meteor into her sleepy village, everything changes. Too distracted by Mayfair’s high society to paint, Bernard has been sent to Devon to prepare for an important exhibition. But the countryside has its own charms, in particular, his young post lady…
Light and witty, and full of twists and turns, The Wrong Envelope is a charming romantic comedy that captures the spirit of another age – when letters could change lives.
1. When and where do you prefer to write?
I prefer to write in the morning and, much to my family’s annoyance, considering I have my own writing desk, I prefer to write in the kitchen. I hog the kitchen table, littering it with coffee cups, laptop chargers and chocolate wrappers. But if the kitchen table isn’t free then I can also write well in cafes. I love the anonymity of being in a café. I enjoy the feeling that other people are around but I have my own space. I don’t mind if it’s noisy, I’m able to switch off and dive into another world. The warmer it is, the more steamed up the windows, the happier I am!
2. Do you have a certain ritual?
No rituals. If I wake feeling good or with an idea, I just start writing, even when I’m eating breakfast.
3. Is there a drink of some food that keeps you company while you write?
Apart from coffee (decaf!) and chocolate…I like dates, walnuts and Redbush tea.
4. What is your favourite book?
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. It’s got all the things I love in a book. It’s nice and choppy, moving between the Second World War and today, and between Poland and the US. It has a very strong, very endearing main character; there is a puzzle for the reader to solve and there’s a novel within the novel. I’ve read it dozens of times and it still makes me laugh in some places and cry in others.
5. Do you consider writing a different genre in the future?
My first two novels, The Wrong Envelope and The Wrong Direction are romantic comedies, set in Devon in 1920. But the book I’m writing now has a contemporary setting and a darker theme – literary fiction with a touch of dystopia! It’s a novel that explores the themes of family, relationships and one man’s desperate search for fulfilment in life.
6. Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
An interesting question! Not really, although some people say that the taciturn Mr Brunton in The Wrong Envelope reminds them of my father! Rather than people, I try and recreate places I’ve visited or lived in. For me places evoke a lot of memories and feelings, so putting real houses or streets into my books, even if they are slightly disguised, gives me access to themes that are helpful to the story – young love, guilt, hope, hard work etc… Basing a fictional location on a real one can help me focus on topics that I want to explore.
7. Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
I have a very messy Filofax with ideas scribbled in the notes section at the back, (or in the address section if the notepaper is full!) But I also use my phone for dictating an idea if I’m away from home. Sometimes I think of something that will solve a plot problem when I’m out walking, so having a phone is really handy.
8. Which genre do you not like at all?
I can’t really read horror. I haven’t got the stomach for it!
9. If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
That’s a very tricky question! I guess it would have to be a writer whose style I felt very comfortable with and so I would choose Maggie O’Farrell. I love her work, her characters and the way she writes, and her style feels quite infectious. She writes so well about all the big things in life like motherhood, bereavement etc, that when you read her work it feels familiar, as if you’ve thought that yourself, even though you haven’t. She makes exploring big topics look disarmingly easy.
10. If you should travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you chose and why?
I’d choose Finland. I went there a long time ago and was amazed by the huge forests which were so thick with trees that meeting a bear or a wolf seemed highly likely. The feeling of unease and excitement this evoked has stayed with me. I’d write a speculative novel about nature and folklore – what exactly I don’t know yet -but I think a few days in the wild and beautiful countryside would concentrate the mind!
Thank you, Liz Treacher and Love Books Group Tours.
About the Author
Liz Treacher is a writer, an English and Creative Writing teacher and an Art photographer. She lives in the Scottish Highlands with a view of the sea. Her love of images influences her writing.