Published by Fabrian Books (5 June 2018)
It’s a pleasure to welcome to the blog, Linda Huber, with a guest post about the setting of The Paradise Trees, recently republished.
by Linda Huber
When I was about ten, my uncle’s family relocated to Yorkshire, and I began a series of visits to a part of England I’d never been to before. Having lived in Glasgow all my life, I was immediately struck by the greenness of the dales, miles of fields and moorland speckled with groups of darker trees and little woods. One of my favourite places was the Cow and Calf rocks near Ilkley – a breezy place with lovely views over the surrounding countryside.
It was this countryside that came to mind when I was planning The Paradise Trees. What I needed was somewhere with little villages dotted around, and yet also an area with easy connections to a larger town or city. Yorkshire was perfect for this, and I set the book in the fictional village of Lower Banford, with Middle and Upper Banford just along the road, and York a short bus ride away.
In The Paradise Trees, Alicia and her eight-year-old daughter Jenny spend the summer in Alicia’s childhood home, while she arranges end-of-life care for her father. The house is old, one of those places that time seems to have stopped dead in about fifty years ago. I modelled the house on one I visited once as a student in Scotland, on the Kintyre peninsula – an old, old cottage belonging to a friend’s elderly aunt. I remembered the collection of dusty china birds there, the grandfather clock tick-tocking in the hallway, the general air of dimness caused by dark wooden furniture and faded wallpaper. Into my book they all went.
I needed woods, too, at the bottom of the garden, for Jenny to play in. Woods were no problem. We have the perfect ones right here in north-east Switzerland. When I was writing the book we lived about five minutes away (and since then we’ve moved to not much more than five metres away) so it was a matter of minutes before I was walking under the trees, dappled sunshine flickering down on me as I imagined Jenny playing there with Conker the dog, and Alicia calling them home from the garden.
Location is important in a book. I never write about a place I haven’t been to, although I often – as I did in The Paradise Trees – make the immediate story location a fictional place. This means I’m free to create a village especially for my story, without the danger that someone objects later if I place the village shop opposite the library instead of behind the school where it is in real life. And so on. But when you know the area you’re writing about, when you’ve felt the wind in your hair there, the story comes alive in a different way.
So where is The Paradise Trees set? In Yorkshire – with a little bit of Scotland and a little bit of Switzerland thrown in… And they’re all places I love.
| About the Book |
He had found exactly the right spot in the woods. A little clearing, green and dim, encircled by tall trees. He would bring his lovely Helen here… This time, it was going to be perfect.
When Alicia Bryson returns to her childhood home in a tiny Yorkshire village, she finds her estranged father frail and unable to care for himself. Her daughter Jenny is delighted at the prospect of a whole summer playing in the woods at the bottom of the garden, but as soon as Alicia sets foot in Lower Banford, strange and disturbing memories begin to plague her. What happened in her father’s house, all those years ago?
But coping with the uncertainty and arranging Bob’s care plan aren’t Alicia’s only problems. Unknown to her, she has a stalker. Someone is watching, waiting, making plans of his own. To him, Alicia and Jenny are his beautiful Helens… and they should be in Paradise.
| Author Bio |
Linda Huber grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, but went to work in Switzerland for a year aged twenty-two, and has lived there ever since. Her day jobs have included working as a physiotherapist in hospitals and schools for handicapped children, and teaching English in a medieval castle. Currently she teaches one day a week, and writes psychological suspense novels and feel-good novellas with (a lot of) the rest of her time.
Her writing career began in the nineties, when she had over fifty short stories published in women’s magazines. Several years later, she turned to psychological suspense fiction, and her seventh novel, Death Wish, was published by Bloodhound Books in August 2017.
Linda’s latest project is a series of feel-good novellas, set on the banks of Lake Constance and just minutes from her home in north-east Switzerland. She really appreciates having the views enjoyed by her characters right on her own doorstep!