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My novels

The Water's Edge cover

The Water’s Edge

The Water’s Edge

I used my experience of growing up in self-catering holiday flatlets to write my first novel, The Water’s Edgewhich was set in a ramshackle hotel. The Water’s Edge was a real hotel near the East Cliff in Boscombe, Bournemouth. I never went into the hotel; instead I watched while Bournemouth Council slowly knocked it down over two years, and imagined what it would have been like inside. You can see some pictures of the actual hotel on Flickr.

The book is loosely based on my life as a child in the 1980s, when almost all my friends lived in hotels, although only one event in the book actually happened as I’ve recounted it. I did a lot of research into Bournemouth in the 1940s for the book, as some of the story is told as flashbacks into the lives of Maggie and Grace, who ran the hotel during the second world war.

The Haven Home for Delinquent Girls

The Haven

The Haven Home for Delinquent Girls is also partly based on a buildingThe Haven in Ely, Cambridgeshire, used to be a home for unmarried mothers. I found it because I was researching homes for unmarried mothers for the book and it was the closet to where I was living in Cambridge. It is right on the waterfront next to the Great Ouse. At the time I first visited it was a tea shop selling fancy cakes. Since then it became a private home – I’m not sure what it’s like today.

Oddly, at one point in its history it was a hotel called The Waterside Bed and Breakfast. I only saw the downstairs before I wrote the book – the tea room – when the owner kindly produced maps and historical documents related to the house and told me where the young women used to sleep. After I published the book a friend took me for tea and I finally saw upstairs, which was nothing like I had imagined it.

Both books were published by Headline Review and are still available to buy second hand on Amazon.

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