It's been a busy time publication-wise over the last couple of weeks but by far the most exciting has been the first episode of my serial 'Life at Babcock Manor' in The People's friend.
This is my second serial and is an 'upstairs-downstairs' style family saga set in the 1850s. It starts when governess Emily arrives at the house owned by Doctor Craven and his wife to tutor their daughter, Elizabeth. Why is beautiful Mrs Craven so strange and distant? What trouble will her brother Lewis cause for the family? Will new maid Elsa come between kitchen maid Jenny and young footman Robert? I can't tell you the fun I had trying to answer these questions and more.
The inspiration behind Life at Babcock Manor was a Christmas story I wrote for The Friend a couple of years ago called, The Last Candle. Even as I was writing it, I knew there were more stories to be told about my characters. Eagle-eyed readers might remember some of the characters: gruff Mrs Banbury, the cook; serious housekeeper, Mrs Peters; Jenny's little brother, Jed. All of them return - along with new characters, flighty ward Belinda, dashing Lewis and kind new doctor James Upton. Governess, Emily, was the heroine in my People's Friend canal-side story, Workshop of the World. I love re-using characters, moving them to different locations and seeing what happens to them.
As I've mentioned before, the People's Friend is holding a serial writing competition. To help promote it, I was asked by Writers' Forum columnist, Doug McPherson, to give a few words about serial writing to go alongside those of fiction editor, Shirley Blair. Seeing this photo had made me realise I really must get a new one done - it's been around too long.
Alongside Life at Babcock Manor is my short story, The Iron Man. It opens the magazine. Did you know that this is the name given to the wind pumps on American farms? No, nor did I until I started to write the story for the great illustration my editor sent me, and did some research. Every now and again I'll write a story set in another country just for a change. I find writing about a different place (especially one I've never been to) challenging but also refreshing.
I also have a story called The Grapes of Love in Take a Break Fiction Feast, but as it relates to something I shall be doing in a couple of weeks time, I shall leave the inspiration behind this story until then.
You can find Lynne's Column in Writing Magazine.
So that's it for this week. On Tuesday I am off to Skopelos for a week to soak up the sun and to add the final details to my Greek romantic suspense. It's all but finished and will hopefully be ready to send out to agents once I'm back. Exciting stuff. Can't wait!