BENEATH THE APPLE BLOSSOM
BY KATE FROST
Genre: Contemporary women’s fiction
Release Date: 04/08/16
Publisher: Lemon Tree Press.
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?
Connie stopped and looked around. She had wandered a little way off the path and was in a small grassy clearing surrounded by trees heavy with spring leaves and blossom. Not in the mood for making small talk with a stranger, she chose a spot in semi-shade out of sight of the path, leant back against the slender tree trunk and closed her eyes. A slight breeze caressed her face and every so often she got the wonderful sensation of sunlight on her. She took a deep breath and drank in the scent of damp grass and spring flowers – fresh, sweet and alive – then opened her eyes to the canopy of white against the blue sky. The apple tree was bursting with blossom like masses of white teardrops.
She had everything to live for even if it didn’t feel like it right now. Life was a journey, and the best journeys were the ones that couldn’t be predicted before setting off, or that weren’t an easy ride to reach the destination. Right then, on a perfect spring day beneath the apple blossom, she made a pact with herself to keep loving life whatever was thrown at her. She may have suffered yet more disappointment but she could still see beauty in the world and feel at peace.
ABOUT KATE FROST
Kate Frost is a writer and author with a MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University where she has also taught the lifewriting course to Creative Writing undergraduates. Alongside writing articles and short stories for magazines such as New Welsh Review, The London Magazine and QWF, Kate has worked in a bookshop, a cinema, as ground staff at Edgebaston Tennis Tournament and as a Supporting Artist in the films Vanity Fair, King Arthur and The Duchess.
Kate’s debut novel, The Butterfly Storm, was published in 2013 and featured on Amazon’s Movers and Shakers chart. Beneath the Apple Blossom is the first book in a series and Kate also plans to release the first in a time travel adventure trilogy for children by the end of 2016.
Kate lives in Bristol with her husband, her young son and their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and fits in writing and publishing books around looking after – and being amused by – an energetic toddler.
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7131734.Kate_Frost
PAPERBACK COPY OF THE BOOK
The Importance of Location
Usually my ideas for a novel come from a place and the story evolves from there. My debut novel, The Butterfly Storm, came about from the time I’d spent in Greece visiting my husband’s family. The second location, on the north Norfolk coast, is a place I know well as that was where my grandparents had lived, however, the village most of the story takes place in was fictional. (If you know that part of Norfolk well though it’s possible to work out the village Marshton’s based on.) The idea for my children’s fiction trilogy Time Shifters (the first book Into the Past will be released in October) was sparked by a visit to Warwick Castle and the story evolved from there.
Beneath the Apple Blossom, the first in The Hopeful Years series is different. Unlike my previous novels where place came first, the themes of infertility, loss and hope, with a woman struggling through the ups and downs of IVF was the initial idea and where it was set was secondary. The location in my debut novel was integral to the story, whereas Beneath the Apple Blossom is character-driven and so where it was set didn’t matter as much.
I was born in Bristol and still live there, plus I did a MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and so know the beautiful Georgian city of Bath well. Setting a novel in a familiar place saves time too – there’s no need to do extensive research if you’ve been in the coffee shop on George Street and you know what the view along Pulteney Bridge looks like. Because the novel is told from the point of view of four women I had two of the characters, Pippa and Sienna, living in Bath, Georgie living on the outskirts of Bristol, and Connie living on the waterfront in Cardiff. That was the only place I wasn’t familiar with, and although I’ve been to Cardiff a few times, I resorted to Internet searches and Google Maps (a novelist’s best friend) to visualise Connie’s apartment and waterfront view. I also had Connie’s parents living in Cheltenham, and the drive Connie does via Westonbirt Arboretum to visit her parents is one I’ve done many times, albeit to visit a friend. The arboretum is the one location in the novel that is integral to the story – it’s even the place where the title comes from: ‘Right then, on a perfect spring day beneath the apple blossom, Connie made a pact with herself to keep loving life whatever was thrown at her.’
Of course the other advantage of using real locations in a novel is being able to approach local media for press coverage or an interview, by using the local connection as a hook (particularly relevant if you’re a local author too). So even when location isn’t the focus of the story, it can play an important role in the marketing and publicity for a book once it’s actually published.
There’s an authenticity to setting a novel in a real place. Personally I like reading books where the story is set in a place I’m familiar with. The downside for the author is basing a book in a real location means you’ve got to get it right, as eagle-eyed readers will likely pick up on inconsistencies if there are any.
The rest of The Hopeful Years series will leave behind the familiarity of Bristol and Bath, with the next book heading to an exotic location (that I have visited, so I at least have a starting point). With the subsequent two books being based further afield too and needing quite a bit of research, I might just have to organise a holiday to each of the locations…
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