I’m so pleased to be part of the blogtour for Nikola Scott’s new novel The Orchard Girls. Thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation to take part. I loved Nikola’s last book, Summer of Secrets, but just couldn’t fit this one into my reading schedule just now. However, Nikola has kindly shared #TenThings she’d like her readers to know about her including her writing habits, why you might find a lot about baking in her books and her gardening skills.
- My favourite place in the world is Cornwall. It’s impossible for your imagination not to run joyously wild there, in fact, it’s where my novel Summer of Secrets started: I was walking along a cliff path with my family, above a cove revealed only at low tide. I was wondering, sightly uneasily, what would happen if you got trapped down there all alone… And just like that, a story was born, of 16-year-old Maddy who has witnessed a tragedy on a cliff exactly like that, which will forever bind her to her beautiful, remote home of Summerhill.
- I envy writers who sit in cafes, listening in on conversations around them while writing their best words. I need silence – I even bought a set of noise-cancelling headphones for my writing sessions and whenever those are on, my family knows not to disturb…
- A little-known fact about me is that while I write all my books in English, my first language is actually German. I was born and went to school in Germany, then moved abroad with my husband, and worked, read and wrote exclusively in English until eventually I was bilingual. Now, any German editions of my novels have to be translated into German by my German publisher.
- My guilty pleasure is …. anything freshly baked! I love baking, I love when characters in books are baking or opening cafes, preferably based on an old cookbook chock-full of their grandmothers’ secret recipes. Consequently, Addie, my very first heroine in My Mother’s Shadow, ran a patisserie and there’s a LOT of baking in that book.
- Before I was a writer, I used to be an editor in book publishing. I worked mainly with crime authors, but I always had a soft spot for women’s and historical fiction. So when I made the switch from publishing to writing, I had the chance to explore that genre from the other side of the fence.
- I’m an inveterate, enthusiastic walker. Walking helps me clear my head, knocks loose all sorts of ideas and keeps me sane. I used to be afraid to hike in the woods by myself and would always rope in a child, husband or dog to accompany me. Until, one day, I decided to brave the deep dark woods by myself – and I’ve never looked back.
- People always ask me when I get all my reading done – and the answer is that I’m a terrible insomniac. It is a hideous affliction and I go to ridiculous lengths to optimise my sleep hygiene (see, I even use the lingo!), but I think my brain is often just too busy and buzzy to settle. It’s a good thing that there are enough excellent books on my Kindle to keep my company.
- And in the spirit of full disclosure — I’m a terrible gardener! My husband says I have the black thumb of death and the most I’m allowed to do is to go out with a watering can. And even that is currently up for debate as I’ve managed to make one too many root ball rot and die…
- Two years ago, I started my newsletter and it’s quickly become one of my favourite things about being a writer, because it connects me directly to my lovely readers. I get to talk about my current work-in-progress, what I’m reading and listening to and I get so many inspiring emails back, with anything from recipes to bits of family history. If you’d like to join us, I’d love to have you!
- My third novel, The Orchard Girls, publishes this week: Violet, Frankie and a group of rabble-rousing Land Girls take you from a gorgeous apple orchard estate in war-torn Somerset all the way to modern-day London. It’s a story about family secrets, the power of friendship and the courage to search for freedom against all odds, and I really, really hope you’ll enjoy it! Unbelievably, I’m still as nervous as I was with my very first book. You’d think writers get used to it, but every time it’s a new, exhilarating, terrifying, amazing experience!
From the back of the book
London, 2004. Frankie didn’t always have it easy. Growing up motherless, she was raised by her grandmother, who loved her – and betrayed her. For years, the rift between them seemed irreparable. But when their paths suddenly cross again, Frankie is shocked to realise that her grandmother is slowly losing control of her memory. There is a darkness in her past that won’t stay buried – secrets going back to wartime that may have a devastating effect on Frankie’s own life.
Somerset, 1940. When seventeen-year-old Violet’s life is ripped apart by the London Blitz, she runs away to join the Women’s Land Army, wanting nothing more than to leave her grief behind. But as well as the terror of enemy air raids, the land girls at Winterbourne Orchards face a powerful enemy closer to home. One terrible night, their courage will be put to the test – and the truth of what happened must be kept hidden, forever . . .
Nikola Scott worked in book publishing for many years before she sat down at her kitchen table one day to start her first novel. Obsessed with history and family stories (‘How exactly did you feel when your parents gave the house to your brother?’) she is well-known – and feared – for digging up dark secrets at dinner parties and turning them into novels.