My father always said he rued the day my mother ever put me on a horse because from that moment on I was horse mad. I grew up in a village and at the back of our house was a field, ‘Sultan’s Field’, where I would insist as a toddler on going to feed Sultan almost every day. At 3 I had my first riding lesson and if I wasn’t riding on a horse I was playing with my Sindy horses and My Little Ponies. My aunt would take me to Gatcombe Park Eventing every year and I would sit for hours watching the eventers race around the park. Sadly, when I was 8 my local stables told my parents that I needed a horse of my own and they saw this as an opportunity to change riding lessons for clarinet lessons *sobs*. I did take up riding again as a teen but with studying and no financial capacity to afford a horse of my own, it never became anything more than a hobby. I still love horses though and am like a moth to the flame whenever I see one. Meet Me at Number Five was the third novel I wrote and was originally entitled Fall for Grace. An anonymous but wise critique author from the Romantic Novelists’ Association told me to write about where I live and what I know. So, having lived in the Cotswolds all my life, it wasn’t difficult to set my novel here and incorporate my lifelong love of horses. When I was 20 I was very lucky to have the opportunity to work for a man called Alan Wright. HR Director, Alan, took me on to learn the ropes of personnel and got the publishing company we worked for to fund my HR qualifications. But HR was not Alan’s passion, it was also horses and he was a racehorse owner. Instead of learning interview techniques or how to set up a payroll system, I was tasked every morning with wandering around to the local bookies to place his bets and collect yesterday’s winnings. He religiously read the Racing Post every morning and while frustrated at the time that I wasn’t learning my craft, little did I know just what a valuable lesson it would become to me over a decade later.
My husband’s passion is food. We frequently have the Good Food Channel on in our house and if we aren’t watching it, we’re cooking it or out eating it. His greatest passion is fine dining. In the four years we have been together, I am very lucky to have eaten at Gordon Ramsay’s, Bath Priory, Gidleigh Park, two of Nathan Outlaw’s restaurants, The Pony & Trap and the Champignon Sauvage, all of which have at least one Michelin Star; one even has three! Not to mention sitting at the table next to Greg Wallace at Bath Priory! It’s another world eating in a Michelin Star restaurant. Eating at Gordon Ramsay’s was like being treated like a princess; it’s not just the food, it’s the service too. That said, the food is amazing and the talent, creativity and precision that goes into creating such delicious, vibrant, taste bud blowing dishes is truly inspiring. But it comes at a price. These chefs are so dedicated, working long hours in hot conditions which was where the inspiration for Sam came from. He needed internal conflict and that came from his desire to be a Michelin Star chef vying against his ability to share time and a life with Grace.
I hope you’ve enjoyed a week of blogs dedicated to my new novel, Meet Me at Number Five. If you have any questions regarding the novel, my inspiration or the Cotswolds, or what I’m planning to write next, why not get in touch? I’d love to hear from you.
Ooh, and before I forget! If you have been lovely enough to read my novel, currently reading or about to purchase it, please, I would be oh-so grateful if you would leave me a review. Nothing essay length, just a one liner would be perfect, on the platform where you purchased it. You will have my eternal gratitude 🙂