Little Woodford by Catherine Jones
- Women’s Fiction
Little Woodford has a sleepy high street, a weekly market, a weathered old stone church and lovingly tended allotments. A peaceful, unexciting place, the very heart of middle England.
In Little Woodford no one has fingers in more pies than Olivia Laithwaite, parish councillor, chair of the local WI, wife, mother and all round queen bee. So of course it’s Olivia who is first to spot that The Beeches has been sold at last.
Soon rumours begin to swirl around the young widow who has bought this lovely house. Why exactly did she leave London with her beautiful stepdaughter and young sons? Are they running from someone? Hiding something? Though if they are, they won’t be the only ones. Sometimes the arrival of newcomers in a community is all it takes to light a fuse…
What book truly inspired your life and why?
Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford inspired me as a writer (but not in a life-changing, scales-falling-from-eyes kind of way) because I realised that if your life is even slightly abnormal you can use lots of autobiographical stuff in your novels. As an army officer and then an army wife, my life was far from the ordinary and large chunk of my writing has been inspired by things that happened to me – my first book (Army Wives) was almost entirely autobiographical. But as to a book that inspired me to be who I am… I don’t think any one book did.
How did you pick who you dedicated your book too?
This is a tough one. My book is dedicated to Fearne Lace Stibbs – my first grandchild who was stillborn last year
Did you do a lot of research for your book?
The answer to this is either twenty-five years or almost none at all. Little Woodford; Secrets of a Small Town is set in a place similar to where I have lived for the last quarter of a century. Over that time I have absorbed the goings-on in this place and now I am even on the town council. Everything that I have observed has informed the book but as to specific research… none whatsoever.
What was your favourite read of 2017?
I read Elizabeth Chadwick’s The Winter Crown. I rarely read historical fiction but I really enjoyed this one.
If you had to take three books on a desert island what would they be?
War and Peace – what a love story! Love in a Cold Climate because it makes me laugh and it makes me cry and possibly Proust – Remembrance of Things Past, This last because I feel I OUGHT to read it one day and if I had nothing else at all to read I would be forced to. Who knows – I might even enjoy it.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?
I self-published a humorous book about the trials and tribulations of being an army wife back in the late 80s. Then I wrote a novel about the same subject which was much more truthful and consequently devoid of any humour at all – trust me, being an army wife is no picnic. I was lucky enough to find a publisher – mainly because of the success of the self-pubbed one and I’ve been writing ever since.
Can you share with us a photo that tells a story?
Because of my army background ,I can be (ahem) a tad bossy and as a result ,I found myself on the RNA committee. I became increasingly annoyed by the press always portraying romantic novelists as clones of Barbara Cartland and as being pink, fluffy and dim. She might have worn a lot of pink but she wasn’t fluffy or dim and neither is anyone that I know in the RNA. So I made it my mission to prove it publicly – and I did. We got to the finals of University Challenge – the Professionals in 2005
What would you like your readers to know before starting your book?
Little Woodford is entirely a figment of my imagination as is everyone in it!
Do you have any questions that you would like to ask your readers?
Which sort of characters do you like to read about the best – the really kind, nice caring sort, like Jane Eyre. Or the naughty sort, like Becky Sharpe?
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Thank you to Catherine Jones and Melanie at Aria Fiction for the opportunity to be on the blog tour.
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