Spanish House Secrets – Susan Gray | Blog Tour Guest Post | #SpanishHouseSecrets | @rararesources

A sprinkle of mystery…a dash of romance…nuggets of hidden secrets combined with an unexpected inheritance and a lingering resentment, provide the ingredients for this engaging, heart warming story.

England 2019. Grace’s childhood memories are stirred by the sound of a familiar melody. Her home in 1950’s England was a Spanish house. An unusual house. A house with secrets. She begins to wonder…who built it and why?

England 1921. Loveable, likeable, Simon receives a letter on the eve of his twenty first birthday – a letter that will change the course of his life. News of an unexpected inheritance uncovers secrets surrounding his birth, which spark sibling jealousy. Viewing his property in Spain he is wowed by it’s design and decides to build a replica in his hometown. As he embraces business life in two countries, he unwittingly becomes English Simon and Spanish Simon – spurred on by his love for two women.

Spain 1922. Elise has experienced many harsh blows in her young life. Returning to her home near Madrid she knows she must pick herself up and move on. Can she continue to live in this Spanish house? The arrival of a visitor creates a new dimension for her.

In 1920’s England, dainty, demure Olivia has much to be thankful for: a beautiful house, a thriving business, a deep love…but a nagging doubt. In the last years of the Roaring Twenties this doubt is compounded by the discovery of a discarded item.

Spanning forty years, Spanish House Secrets is a tale of enduring love, painful loss and surprising secrets.

My thanks to Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for the tour invite. Spanish House Secrets is published by UK Book Publishing in ebook and paperback format (20 February 2023). For my turn on the tour today I’m delighted to share a guest post from the author – thank you Susan.

Susan Gray

The Cooking Pot

Kitchen gadgets attract me. Any labour-saving device, especially one for the kitchen is always worth checking out. I never cease to be amazed at the ingenuity of these creations. I also surprise myself at how quickly I discard their claim to revolutionise my cooking abilities. Too soon they find their way to the dark depths of my cupboards, tucked away out of sight. Their promised usefulness was acted upon for only a few weeks before I returned to my previous methods – the convincing sales pitch was forgotten, and the gadget joined the ranks of dust collectors.

Yet one gadget has stood the test of time – my slow cooker! I must have owned at least six of them over the years, replaced because they were chipped or scratched due to their regular use. Slow cooking is an excellent way to prepare a scrumptious meal. Raw ingredients submerged in a cooking liqueur with added seasoning, can simmer away all day to delight me with its tempting aroma, as I push open my front door hours later.

For me, writing resembles the slow cooking process. In the early stages I take my basic ingredients – the plot, setting, theme, genre, and era. I pop them into my literary cooking pot and mix them together. They are fresh but raw, undeveloped and rough – certainly unpalatable to my literary tastebuds. What will bring them together? My characters.

These ingredients usually need some pre-preparation. I love character creation as I carefully breathe life into my protagonist. Giving him or her a name, an age, a look, a background, a family, an occupation adding in strengths and weaknesses, flaws and quirks. But in essence at this stage the product is still bland. I pop he or she into my pot and turn attention to my antagonist.

The antagonist, in my experience, needs some searing in my literary frying pan, feeling the heat before taking their place in the cooking pot. Now we are cooking. My protagonist and my antagonist rub shoulders, brush up against each other. How do they interact?

As the cooking liqueur is added, the ingredients begin to swim together. The heat is on and the colour changes. I write romance so the love interest takes their place – jostling for attention in the mixture. At this point I reach for my literary condiments – salt, pepper, spices and herbs in my real kitchen – but in my writing pot they become conflict, mystery and intrigue as I twist and turn the various aspects. Quantities are vital – is it a sprinkle, a dash or a good dollop? Each recipe is different.

Eventually, I leave it to develop, absorb and simmer. Occasionally I give it a stir. Towards the end I check one more vital item…the thickening. I liken this to dialogue. Without dialogue my creation is lacking. I weave this essential element into the whole offering, bringing it to life casting an invisible glue- like effect as it fuses my simple ingredients to produce a satisfying and mouthwatering conclusion.

Susan Gray lives with her husband in northeast England. She has a son and daughter, both married, two granddaughters and a grand dog. After a career in primary teaching, she embraced retirement fulfilling her ambition to travel, attend Wimbledon and write a novel. She enjoys reading, walking, crafting, doing puzzles, catching up with friends over a coffee and being a gran. She has written several novels – Spanish House Secrets is the first to be published.

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