Molly’s relationship with her oldest friend, Jenny, is jeopardized when she begins a passionate affair with local businessman William Hamilton. Before she knows it, Molly finds herself married to a man she cannot love, and pregnant with a child she does not want. In desperation, she makes a decision that will cast her relationship with William in a completely new light.
Trapped and traumatized, and longing to regain her friendship with Jenny, Molly is about to receive a blow that will turn her life upside down. It seems Aunt Florrie lied about more than just her ability to commune with the dead: a truth hidden for years is about to emerge, and it will threaten not only Molly’s livelihood, but her very life.
It’s a Victorian era historical novel, set in the 1850s in Preston, the closest city to me (I live in a village), with a fraudulent spirit medium as its protagonist. I first got the idea for the book after reading about Spiritualism in that time (most of my inspiration comes from historical facts I uncover while reading non-fiction or watching documentaries), and Cover the Mirrors was originally going to be a short story, but I soon realised I had far more material than I could fit into a short story, and so it snowballed from there. There’s also a theme running through the story based on the language of flowers (another interest of mine), and of course there are major rifts in friendships and passionate affairs and unplanned pregnancies and all those other juicy things!
How did you and Macmillan New Writing "meet"?
I first became aware of the imprint via a tiny snippet in Writers' News. Actually, I should probably give credit where credit's due and admit that technically, it wasn't me who found it; it was my Mum. She was flipping through the magazine (no idea why, she's not normally interested in these things), and pointed it out to me. I emailed the MS off, and the rest is...well, you know how the saying goes. My friend Jen (she test-read Cover the Mirrors before I started sending it out) thinks that the next time I tell that story I should embellish it a little and claim that Mum spoke in a voice that wasn't her own, and/or that she had no memory of it afterwards, which sounds rather fun if nothing else.
What is your typical writing day?
Probably very dull, from an onlooker’s point of view. I live with a menagerie of animals, so I have to get up reasonably early to feed them (besides, I hate waking up late; puts me in a foul mood). While they’re eating, I wake my brain up by checking emails and blog comments and the like while eating breakfast (at the moment, I’m addicted to unsweetened muesli with orange juice). Once I feel remotely human, I open the file for the work in progress, make sure my notebook and diary are handy (my diary acts as a back-up notebook when inspiration strikes and I’m nowhere near my official notebook, which happens quite a lot), and start writing. As a general rule, I stop when I stop, but that being said, I won’t allow myself to go under 500 words, even on the worst days. If I remember, I’ll break for lunch and then get back to writing. I told you it wouldn’t sound exciting!
Four random facts about you:
1) Favourite colour and why:
Depends what it's going to be used for. I like pastels for decorating (a relatively neutral canvas on which to create a 'look'), brown in general (not really sure; I just find it soothing) and black for clothing (because I'm a stereotype).
2) A book you wish you had written:
I always find it hard to answer questions like this, because every book is the way it is largely because of the individual who worked on it. Therefore, it wouldn't be the same book if it had a different author, and I wouldn’t want to change a book I loved to that degree.
3) Pen or Keyboard:
Keyboard. I appreciate the romantic image of the writer with a pretty pen and notebook, but I work faster and more neatly in Word, I can keep an accurate word count, it's easier to change things and I don't have to transcribe it all when it's time to start redrafting. On the minus side, I can't grow my nails because they catch the wrong keys when I'm typing.
4) Most ludicrous moment in your life:
I’m not sure that there are any major ones, to be honest, and half the strange things that happen in my life are probably down to me. That’s a terribly dull answer, so I’ll pick a strange fact at random – the one time I was supposed to be put under general anaesthesia, it didn’t work. I had the IV injection, remained wide awake for the rest of the day and went to bed at the normal time, which rather baffled the anaesthetist and consultant.
Thanks Faye, and good luck with the novel...
You can find out more about Faye's book, Cover the Mirrors by clicking on the links below:
Macmillan New Writing site
Faye L. Booth official website