I’m thrilled to be hosting today’s stop on the blog tour for The Girl on the Doorstep by Lindsey Hutchinson – many thanks to Victoria at Head of Zeus for inviting me to take part in the tour. I’d have loved to find time to read and review Lindsey’s book but unfortunately my reading schedule didn’t permit it. However, I’m delighted to bring you a Q&A with Lindsey in which, amongst other things, she reveals how a Christmas present provided the inspiration for the book and the essential tools of her craft.
About the Book
Left an orphan, five-year-old Rosie Harris is found and raised by Maria, a Romany gypsy. Life on the road is hard, but the little girl soon feels one of the tribe with the travellers.
As she grows older, Rosie realises she has ‘second sight’ and is able to read people’s palms and see into their futures. Needing to make a living of her own, she befriends the canal folk, known as the ‘cut-rats’ traversing the Black Country waterways with their cargo, and so offers readings to anyone who can pay.
Pursued by Jake Harding, a Romany bandolier who wants her for his wife, Rosie instead finds herself falling in love with a married man. And despite growing ominous signs that her future may be cursed, Rosie can’t quite break away from the dream of a happily ever after…
Lindsey Hutchinson is a master storyteller, and her Black Country sagas are heart-breaking, uplifting and truly addictive.
Format: Paperback, ebook (494 pp.) Publisher: Aria
Published: 7th August 2018 Genre: Historical Fiction
Find The Girl on the Doorstep on Goodreads
Interview: Lindsey Hutchinson, author of The Girl on the Doorstep
Welcome to What Cathy Read Next, Lindsey. Without giving too much away, can you tell me a bit about The Girl on the Doorstep?
Rosie Harris, an orphan, is raised by gypsies and realises she has ‘second sight’. She is befriended by the canal people and reads palms to make a living. Finding herself in all sorts of predicaments, Rosie battles her way through them. All she wants is a ‘happy ever after’ life – will she achieve this?
How did you get the idea for the story?
My sister, Kim, bought me a book for Christmas on ‘Black Country’ canals which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. It sparked an idea so I grabbed my pen and began to write. The Girl on the Doorstep was the result.
I was intrigued by the reference to the ‘cut-rats’, the canal folk Rosie befriends who travel the Black Country waterways. Can you tell us any more about them?
The ‘cut-rats’ were hard working folk who lived and worked on the canals. They were looked down upon by town folk, unfairly in my opinion, as being rough and ready. The women swore like navvies and the men drank like it was going out of fashion. Working long hours at back-breaking work took its toll and many died at a fairly young age.
In the book, Rosie reads palms to make a living. Do you believe in ‘second sight’ yourself?
I do believe in ‘second sight’ – I’ve had too many experiences not to. I also think there are a lot of charlatans out there, so beware before you part with your money.
Were there particular scenes in the book you found especially challenging – or rewarding – to write?
When I write I think about my readers. Will this scene make them chuckle? Will another bring them to tears? Writing a book as a whole is challenging, but then it makes us authors work harder.
What is it about the Black Country that inspires you to make it a location for your books?
The ‘Black Country’ is where I was born and brought up. Although I live in the country now, my heart will forever be in Wednesbury.
As a writer of historical fiction, what do you think is the key to creating an authentic picture of a particular period?
Senses. I endeavour to draw the reader into the place and time with smells, sounds, etc., as well as historical facts.
Do you have a favourite place to write or any writing rituals?
I sit in my easy chair to write and I always use a fountain pen. I write longhand as I find it easier to glance back at the pages should I need to. Once the draft is complete I then type it up before reading through it thoroughly.
Which authors do you admire and enjoy reading?
I have an eclectic mix of books on my Kindle and in the bookcases. I enjoy Mary Wood, Linda la Plante, Lyn Andrews, I also enjoy John Lyman, Dan Brown – anything to do with ancient Egypt or ancient Rome.
What are you working on next?
My next project is set around an orphanage in 1890. A family in abject poverty sell two of their children to an orphanage, which is not council run, for five shillings. The boy knows that to protect himself and his younger sister he has to learn to fight. So he manages to convince a pugilist to teach him bare-knuckle boxing. We will all have to wait and see where these two youngsters end up!
Thank you for those fascinating answers to my questions, Lindsey. Your many fans will be thrilled by your answer to my last question!
About the Author
Lindsey lives in Shropshire with her husband and dog. She loves to read and has recently discovered photography. Lindsey is the daughter of million-copy bestselling author Meg Hutchinson.
Connect with Lindsey