The Women of Heachley Hall
- Mystery & Suspense
Miriam has one year to uncover Heachley Hall’s unimaginable past and a secret that only women can discover.
The life of a freelance illustrator will never rake in the millions so when twenty-eight year old Miriam discovers she’s the sole surviving heir to her great-aunt’s fortune, she can’t believe her luck. She dreams of selling her poky city flat and buying a studio.
But great fortune comes with an unbreakable contract. To earn her inheritance, Miriam must live a year and a day in the decaying Heachley Hall.
The fond memories of visiting the once grand Victorian mansion are all she has left of her parents and the million pound inheritance is enough of a temptation to encourage her to live there alone.
After all, a year’s not that long. So with the help of a local handyman, she begins to transform the house.
But the mystery remains. Why would loving Aunt Felicity do this to her?
Alone in the hall with her old life miles away, Miriam is desperate to discover the truth behind Felicity’s terms. Miriam believes the answer is hiding in her aunt’s last possession: a lost box. But delving into Felicity and Heachley’s long past is going to turn Miriam’s view of the world upside down.
Does she dare keep searching, and if she does, what if she finds something she wasn’t seeking?
Has something tragic happened at Heachley Hall?
| Interview |
Born in the Midlands, Rachel Walkley grew up in East Anglia and is now firmly lodged in the North West of England. Her first writing achievement was her Brownie badge and after that she never let go of the dream of becoming of an author. Once a librarian and caretaker of books, she’s now a teller of tales and wants to share with you the secrets that hide in the pages of her books.
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17766384.Rachel_Walkley
- What book from your childhood still has a place in your heart today?
Pick one! I don’t think one book really stands out for me as I was a book worm and devoured many. I skipped over the children’s classics that my friends read as I preferred adventures and thrillers. I was a bit of a Tom Boy! Many of the books I read are no longer in print. So I was delighted to find a historical series by Ronald Welch was available as a limited edition reprint. I acquired all of them. The books are about the same family, starting with the Crusades and continuing through to the twentieth century, and they capture each era in history with wonderful authenticity. Ronald Welch also wrote The Gauntlet, which was my first timeslip story and one of my favourites.
- Which fictional character stayed with you long after you finished the book?
For me, it is often the setting that sticks the most. The castle in The Gauntlet caught my imagination as a child and that fascination with ruins continues as I attempt to write a book about castles. It isn’t finished yet. I love the knights of old and their chivalrous adventures.
- Can you tell us a little about your journey with your new release?
My book began life four years ago and like many writers, it’s often a long process to accomplish the first one. I had the idea, but put the manuscript to one side while I started another book, which still isn’t finished! The first draft took six months and from then it was editing and re-editing. I was side-tracked writing another unpublished book, then after receiving advice from agents, editors and publishers, I polished the manuscript into the final version.
My next book took three months to write and is likely to reach publication much quicker!
- Do you get an emotional connection to your character’s?
I’d like to think I’m firmly in control of my characters’ destinies until I reach the final chapters and then I realise I can’t let go of them. It’s easy to see the appeal of series, whether it is a fantasy like Game of Thrones or a family saga where you can build your characters through a sequence of books. Deciding to say good-bye to Miriam and her friends was pretty hard. She evolved alongside me and we’ll always be close.
- Can you please, share a photo with us that tells a story.
This question led to a long period of not writing as I became trapped in my images folder searching through hundreds of pictures for a photo that actually only exists in print format (Do you remember spending hours sticking photos in albums?) In the end, I picked this one, which was the wallpaper for my phone for a few years. It was taken on safari in South Africa in 2003, the year I got married. I consider it a huge privilege that my husband and I were able to spend time with these big cats (I’m a cat lover). These two young lions were basking in the early morning sun waiting for an injured sibling to catch up with them. We waited too. The lion eventually limped into view and head rubbed each of its family members as if to say thanks. Not all wild animals survive injuries if they can’t keep up and we left to fly home that morning hoping his pride would continue to wait for him.
- What was your favourite read of 2017?
In Love and War by Liz Trenow, which is a historical novel about three women from different countries who travel to post-World War One France to seek out the graves of their missing loved ones. A wonderful portrayal of a devastated region and the importance of healing wounds that don’t always show on the outside.
- If your book came with a theme song what would it be?
What is Love by the late Miriam Makeba. The song simply states that loving somebody is love, and the lyrics and gentle melody fit the theme of my book which is about the nature of love and redemption.
- Is the genre you write your favourite to read?
I’m quite eclectic and enjoy reading across many genres. I started out reading crime as a teenager, especially procedural crime writers like PD James and Ruth Rendell, then fell in love with historical novels, before discovering I had a love of magical realism and romance. I enjoy women’s fiction because it has many sub-genres that cover everything from mystery to romance and doesn’t confine itself to one niche.
- If you could ask your readers anything, what would you want to know?
What grabs your attention when you find a new author? There are so many books out there to read, I wonder if it is getting harder to discover new writers in the midst of many established great writers.
- What are you working on now?
I’m working on a contemporary story about three talented sisters who struggle to live with their gifts. The theme of family secrets continues as each sister hides something from the others and only reveal their fears when one of them is potentially threatened.
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