My story ideas are born from all sorts of sources. Usually when I’m doing something mundane, like ironing or washing the floor etc, and ideas will come into my head then. Sometimes they might come from researching. I might be flipping through my research books and I’ll see something interesting that leads to ideas for a story.
I love the Victorian era. It was a time for immense change. Populations were growing rapidly and people were no longer content to stay in their own village. Of course, there were circumstances which forced many people to leave their homes and search for new lives, and this only highlights the way people adapted to new changes. The Victorian era gave women freedom to travel and explore and in many ways educated them beyond their role as mere mothers and wives. A fascinating time.
The House of Women was a great book to write. The idea came from wondering what it would be like to have a young woman at a cross roads of her life. Grace was always busy taking care of everyone else and not listening to her own wants and needs. I loved the idea of a large family all pulling different ways. With a selfish mother, a tyrannical father and seven daughters, the family was complex, but add to that a lost love, a heroic butler and a handsome stranger - well, the real fun began then!
I wanted to know how far I could push Grace. I wanted to see what she would do and how she would react to certain situations. Above all I wanted to show a strong yet vulnerable character, who did what she thought was the best for her family and ultimately herself – only it takes a while for her to really find out what that is and along the way she runs a gauntlet of emotions and experiences.