I find it takes the perfect mix of ingredients, a sprinkling of serendipity, and a good stir to make a story! In Elsetime’s case, it took just three main ingredients for the tale to be born:
First, came treasure hunting. I am a big fan of beachcombing and mudlarking the shores of rivers, searching the pebbles, sand and mud for elusive hagstones, pretty sea-glass and shards of pottery. Though they were young, my twins were seasoned treasure hunters too, and each piece they found, be it a bottle top or a marble, was worth millions to them! Lucky things! We would hold the muddy treasure in our hands and imagine the story of how the old plastic button or rusty metal washer spent its life. An 1800s mudlarker suddenly sprung to mind – a twelve-year-old boy, searching the foreshore for things to sell. He would hold his new-found treasure in the palm of his hand and read its history. I named him Needle Luckett – after all, he could, with a little bit of luck, find a needle in a haystack!
The second ingredient for Elsetime was the delivery of small shards of pottery, glass and metal that our visiting crows would leave at our garden feeders in return for nuts and seeds. More extravagant gifts arrived – amber glass, a tiny spiderman head and even a small potato! At first, I thought I was imagining it, but soon became aware that this was not a unique situation – though it is rare, crows are known to deliver gifts in return for food. Magpie, Needle’s pet crow, was born. She was named Magpie because of her obsession with sparkling treasure, just as thieving magpies are known to have. She’s good at robbing stuff too, as you will see in Elsetime!
And the final ingredient: I imagined a jeweller’s apprentice who would take those bits of found treasure and transform them into treasures to behold – sparkling necklaces and headpieces, dazzling earrings and brooches just like those worn to the wild flapper parties of the 1920s. Twelve-year-old Glory had arrived into my story-world, along with her hard-nosed taskmaster, Mrs Quick.
Then came a serendipitous find: I stumbled across a newspaper clipping that listed souls lost in The Great Flood of London in 1928. One name – Mrs Quick – shocked me, as that was the name I had already chosen for Glory’s mistress. A bit of googling later, and I was staring back at the warm eyes of the real Mrs Quick in an old black and white photograph. She looked strangely familiar and it felt like a message from the past – this was a story I had to write.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Be sure to check out other blogs on the tour, which can be found on the banner below.
Elsetime is published by Everything With Words, and is available from all good booksellers from 17th September 2020. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Eve for writing this incredible feature for my blog, and Everything with Words for allowing me to be a part of the blog tour.