Wednesday 26 May 2021


The third book in the "Riviera" series  - The  Villa in Portofino - is finally finished - at least for the moment. Now is the scary part - asking the publisher if they want it. Fingers crossed.

It's a complicated book - which may be why it turned into a bit of a marathon. It has an overall time scale of one hundred years, give or take a few, with three families, set over two continents/three countries. The oldest player has a birth date of 1890, but the story really starts in the Second World War. A friend said that it sounds as if I've written a romantic suspense saga - she may not be wrong! The book that  it turned out to be is not the book that I started with and it has quite a bit of me and some of my family history in it, but I'll talk more about that at a later date - when I know it is going to be published! 

It runs over four generations and sometimes it was tough to keep them all straight. Much resorting to time lines and family trees. I had a panic as late as last night over when a pivotal event took place and who was there. When I checked the time lines - there are more than one, I found I had time lined it and it was fine. Present me thanks past me very much for that! 

What is it about? The core is the villa of the title, unexpectedly inherited by the heroine, and her efforts to restore it, especially the garden, to it's former glory. Put like that it sounds quite simple! The bulk of the story is set in the present - well 2018/19 if you want to be picky - so I suppose even that is historic. I write escapism, so no pandemics, except Spanish Flu, which does get a very brief mention.  

As it is about families there is a lot about secrets - not necessarily ones that are deliberately kept, although there are a few of those, but the kind of secrets that come from different generations of a family only have part of a story, or family memory that is not actually what really happened. I derived a lot of enjoyment from constructing that spider web - I just hope that the reader doesn't get too confused. (and that my editor doesn't want me to iron out the anomalies too soon!) I have ironed most of them by the end, although there are a few tails that are not quite tucked in, or where the solution is only conjecture. Theirs and mine. Working with a few very elderly protagonists I was able to blame faulty memory on occasion, which was an excellent get out of jail free card. That was what nearly got me into trouble last night, until I realised that Edith  had not recalled events in chronological order. 

So - that book is moving on to its next phase of life, ushered to completion by tonight's full moon.

And now I have a big choice - clean the kitchen, or start the next one? 

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