HomeJournalWightwick Manor

My favourite part of writing a novel is the very beginning – when it’s all shiny and new and nobody knows what you’re up to except you. It’s a wonderful dream time where anything is possible and you can go in any direction.

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One of the first things I like to decide when starting a new novel is the setting. I need to have a strong sense of place when I’m writing – to know the landscape my characters are inhabiting.

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And, with that in mind, we visited Wightwick Manor near Wolverhampton – a beautiful Arts and Crafts home famous for its William Morris textiles, De Morgan tiles and Pre-Raphaelite paintings. It’s just the kind of sumptuous Victorian interior I want to write about in my new novel, and it was a joy to walk around its rooms, asking the room stewards lots of questions and soaking up the very special atmosphere. I remember visiting the house when I was at university in Worcester in 1989 and the house has silently slumbered in my imagination, just waiting for its turn to inspire a story…

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Another wonderfully Pre-Raphaelite-themed day out was when I met up with my lovely writer pal H Y Hanna at Tate Britain where we gasped at the beauties by Rossetti, Millais and Waterhouse, bought some gorgeous arty things from the gift shop and had a good ole gossip!

hsin-yi-2And now it’s back to the novel – to the Victorian Gothic house, the maze, the topiary garden and those characters whose story I need to discover…


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