Well, I’ve now talked a bit about writing, but I’ve barely mentioned my current pet project. I thought you might be interested to hear a little more about what it’s all about. So, without further ado, I’m going to try to give you a rundown of The Perfect Garden and, specifically, the first book, which is currently in the beta reading stages (for those unfamiliar with the process, beta reading is the point – in this case, after the second draft – when you hand off your precious book to other people and ask them to let you know what works and what doesn’t).
The Perfect Garden actually came about by accident, when a collection of characters I’d thrown together on a whim and sketched out a brief backstory for suddenly exploded into life on the night of November the first, 2013. Given that it was November, I promptly abandoned my resolution to skip NaNoWriMo that year in order to focus on my studies, and began repeatedly slamming my fingertips against the keyboard. The story that took shape quickly grew from one novel to several, and the series is now likely to be four or five books long. The first book is tentatively titled The Perfect Garden: Buds of Spring, though that may change in the future.
The series follows the lives of the Fitzherbert family, who are wealthy, proud, and somewhat detached from reality. William and Anne are well-established in their home village of Wildehaven, while their son Robert and daughter Elizabeth spend more time further afield. The relationships between family members – and other people they come into contact with – each carry their own intimacies, tensions, and misgivings. Will their garden ever truly know perfect harmony?
Here’s an extract from Buds of Spring, in case you’re curious:
‘The Fitzherbert family might not have had particularly respectable origins, but they were pleased to say that they were perfectly respectable people. Their most illustrious ancestor, though dogged by the same scandal that lived on in their surname, had been nothing but generous towards his unexpected offspring, and his mistress had been very well looked after until the end of her days. Generations of frugality and canny investments had not diminished this fortune at all by the end of the twentieth century; indeed, the Fitzherberts were still living very comfortably in a house one could, without exaggeration, confidently term a castle.
William Fitzherbert took no small amount of pride in the ever-growing financial success of his family, as well as their aristocratic blood – however they had come by it – and their castle, while relatively small, only added to his esteem of their worth. He was determined, therefore, that nothing should jeopardise their comfortable lifestyle and noble bearing, and accordingly ruled over the family finances with a rod of iron. Beyond their austere spending habits, however, he was quite content to leave the day-to-day running of the family to his wife, Anne, while he harangued everyone he came into contact with.
“Speaking frankly to anybody one meets is one of the few pleasures of age,” he told anyone who tried to moderate his moods, “and I’ll not be denied it. Not by you, sir, nor by anybody!”‘
To read more, and meet the rest of the family, you’ll have to hope I get it published soon… wish me luck!