When I wrote my debut novel Silver Darlings, I never imagined it would grow into multiple stories, but that is exactly what happened, so here's a behind the scenes look at how and why...
The entire 'Watson Family Saga' began when I became fascinated with the histories of Holy Island and Lowestoft, particularly that of ‘The Grit’, the large fishing village below the cliff in Lowestoft which now only exists in people’s memories. (Actually, if I go back even further, it technically began with me writing a memoir of my time living on Holy Island, but that’s a story for another day!).
I’ll be honest and admit that when I first had the idea to expand Silver Darlings into a series, I felt daunted by the prospect. Weaving Jimmy and Clara's stories in with a complex history and multiple settings had been challenging enough, and I wasn't sure about doing it all again! Initially I thought I’d write just one more book, a dual-timeline novel telling Jimmy's sister Marnie’s story and that of her granddaughter. But when the dates of my fictional story coincided with the real history of WW2, it felt too big a story and history to contain within one book. So, Marnie’s story is told over 2 books, The Choice She Made, and The Hope She Found.
I could perhaps have finished the series with Marnie’s story, but the history of Lowestoft in the 1950s and 60s fascinates me. Not only did the 1950s and 60s see the destruction and clearance of The Grit, but it was also the time when the fishing industry was replaced by a new form of industry, as factories popped up where fishermen’s cottages had once stood. The book set during this period will follow Marnie’s daughter Annie, as she escapes the turbulence of Lowestoft to live with Jimmy and Clara on Holy Island. Whether she returns to Lowestoft… well, I’ll have to write the book for us all to find out!
After Annie's story, another book will take us up to the present day, through the eyes of Marnie's daughters and granddaughters.
As I write this, rather than being daunted, this series feels exciting, probably because I’ve now made a big indent in the work! In total it will comprise of 6 books, beginning in the 1800s and finishing in the present(ish) day. Four of those six are now written, and I'm looking forward to getting the final two books under my belt next year. I'll be sharing updates on the series on my newsletter and social media so watch this space!