Beneath the Apple Blossom:The Hopeful Years Book 1
Published by Lemon Tree Press – 31 July 2016
It’s a pleasure to take part in the blog tour for Beneath the Apple Blossom with a very personal post provided by Kate.
From Bump to Book
Although my latest women’s fiction novel, Beneath the Apple Blossom, is in no way autobiographical, I wouldn’t have been able to write it without having undergone fertility treatment and eventually getting pregnant. Following four rounds of ICSI (a more complex and expensive form of IVF), and the eventual happy outcome with the arrival of my son in February 2014, I had considered writing a memoir but decided it was far too personal to share. Despite not shouting from the rooftops about it, I was always quite open about our struggle to conceive and subsequent fertility treatment. I’d gotten to that age (married and in my mid-thirties) when well-meaning friends would ask the dreaded question, ‘So, when are you going to have kids?’. Faced with the choice of either lying or telling the truth, I always opted for the truth and then tried to not make the person feel any worse than they already did, when red-faced they’d apologise profusely and gingerly ask how the treatment was going.
I decided that I wouldn’t want either friends or strangers reading the highs and lows of what had been the hardest four years of my life, but at the same time I felt that infertility was a subject worth talking about – it’s difficult to understand how being unable to get pregnant consumes your life unless you’ve been there and gone through month after month (and often year after year) of bitter disappointment after disappointment.
The ups and downs of fertility treatment is naturally wrought with emotion – anger, despair, joy, jealousy, sadness, hope and grief to name a few – perfect fodder for a novel about women, for women. Infertility, fertility treatment and miscarriage are also subjects that aren’t openly talked about enough – even with support from friends and family, fertility treatment can be a lonely experience. Fiction can be a wonderful way to bridge that gap – make someone feel that they’re on a shared journey or to allow a reader to walk in someone else’s shoes for a while.
I can’t even remember how I got the idea for the book – I don’t think it was a light bulb moment but a slow build focusing on one character, Pippa, and her struggle with being unable to conceive. I began to play around with the idea of the unfairness of life with so many women desperate to have a baby and can’t, while on the flipside getting pregnant is the last thing some women want, yet they can without even having to try. This is when the idea of a story told from four women’s points of view developed, with Pippa and Connie longing for a baby, and Sienna and Georgie desperate to not be pregnant. I started writing the book when my son was ten months old (once I’d emerged from a permanent sleep-deprived state to a lesser one) and finished the first draft nine months later.
Shaped by my own experience of fertility treatment and the emotions within the novel coming from a real place, Beneath the Apple Blossom is a story about four women struggling with the choices they’ve made and the hand that life’s dealt them. I hope it’s a book that lots of women (and indeed men as the often silent sufferers of the emotional turmoil of infertility) can relate to, and be swept up in Pippa, Connie, Sienna and Georgie’s lives.
About the book:
Four women, linked by blood ties, friendship, betrayal, loss and hope, struggle with the choices they’ve made and the hand that life’s dealt them.
All Pippa’s ever wanted is marriage and kids, but at thirty-four and about to embark on IVF, her dream of having a family is far from certain. Her younger sister Georgie has the opposite problem, juggling her career, her lover, a young daughter and a husband who wants baby number two.
Pippa’s best friend Sienna has a successful career in the film world, and despite her boyfriend pressurising her to settle down, a baby is the last thing she wants. Happily married Connie shares the trauma of fertility treatment with Pippa, but underestimates the impact being unable to conceive will have on her and her marriage.
As their lives collide in a way they could never have predicted, will any of them get to see their hopes realised?
About the author:
Kate Frost lives in Bristol with her husband, an energetic toddler who loves waking up before 5am, and their cute and chilled out Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. When she’s not yelling ‘slow down’ to said toddler or being used as a climbing frame, Kate writes women’s and children’s fiction. Her debut novel, The Butterfly Storm, was published in 2013, her second contemporary women’s fiction novel, Beneath the Apple Blossom, has just been released, and her first children’s book, Time Shifters: Into the Past, an exciting time travel adventure and the first of a trilogy, will be published in October 2016.