Chocolate-box cottages, winding, narrow lanes, craggy coastline – where am I?

The answer is – South Devon, England, where research for two new projects took me last week. My grandfather’s family hail from this area and I felt real empathy for its beauty, perhaps because of my heritage. Alas, the family home (once perhaps a smuggling den that might make an appearance in the second project) has long been sold. Nothing daunted, my dear husband and I drove down the tiny lanes exploring the legend that sparked my latest story idea. The hedges towered above us on either side and the roads were so untravelled, grass grew down their centre. Villages snuggled into hidden valleys and dells, their houses often ancient and thatched, revealing secret worlds with tales to tell.

Something shocking happened 1000 years ago in one of these villages and I felt Fay and Percy (of the Spirit Level series) should investigate. With a working title of Devon Cream, this story centres around three hard-pressed women of today who each struggle with their modern lives. The ancient women of this picture-postcard village did something very brave in their lifetimes and it is their whispers that galvanize each of their contemporary sisters into action, with the help of our psychic detectives, of course.

I’m excited that my writing mojo has returned after its absence. A short one perhaps, but the lack of any creative spark felt dismal! And I have some other ideas that may spawn a whole new series. This one is about pirates, linking South Devon (and that smuggler’s haunt) with the Gower Peninsula where I live now. It will be set in Elizabethan times so I was tickled pink when I discovered that the hotel we stayed in last week had been honoured with a visit by not only Elizabeth the 1st but also her ‘sea hawk’ Sir Francis Drake. Now if that’s not a green light to write a story, I don’t know what is.

Boringdon Hall, near Plymouth, Devon, England.

What I’d like you lovely readers to tell me is, which story would you fancy reading first, and why? A signed paperback copy of ‘The Rose Trail’ will be awarded and posted out (for free) to the best answer!