Today, I thought I’d share how House of Grace was born. In 2013 I was finishing my BA degree with the Open University with the hopes of becoming a primary school teacher but there was one particular obstacle. I didn’t have any GCSE’s as I went straight to work at fifteen to help support the family due to my father’s disability and inability to work.
So off I went to the local college and signed up for GCSE Maths and English. It was rather strange working on the GCSE English assignments while working on the advanced creative writing course with The Open University. For instance, through the degree I learnt that you avoid using anything other than ‘said’ for the characters as ‘said’ becomes invisible on the page and anything more is the author interfering with the story. However, the GCSE remit encouraged words like ‘exclaimed’ etc.
Anyway, I’m digressing. While studying for the GCSE English, I read George Orwell’s Road to Wigan Pier and one of the assignments was to write a piece of writing about ‘A Day as a Miner’ or ‘A Day as a Miner’s Wife.’ I chose the latter and once the assignment was marked I never gave it another thought. That is until…
I was writing the dissertation for my BA assignment. The life story I was working on became too painful and I realised it wasn’t ready to be written. I panicked. What was I going to do now? I was going to fail my degree. I turned to Google searching inspiration for a story when I suddenly remembered my character, the miner’s wife. So I had a miner’s wife but needed more. I’d enjoyed watching ‘Mr Selfridge’ and in my younger days loved ‘House of Elliott’ so I allowed them to influence me. I decided Grace, my miner’s wife, wanted to become a fashion designer and own lots of big stores. However, as a daughter of titled parents, her father, Lord Granville, had other ideas. Despite being 1950, he wanted her to have an arranged marriage. As for where the miner’s wife comes into the story, well I can’t go into any more without offering spoilers.
House of Grace was therefore inspired not only by George Orwell’s Road to Wigan Pier, but television dramas Mr Selfridge and House of Elliott. It’s a riches to rags story and if you enjoy family sagas like Downton Abbey and Mr Selfridge then it’s likely you’ll enjoy House of Grace too.
House of Grace is the first part of a trilogy but all the books may also be read as standalones. ‘The Coal Miner’s Son’, Book 2 in the series is coming soon.
By the way, I never did make becoming a teacher as I discovered I needed GCSE Science too and I couldn’t face that as well as the PGCE so I opted to become a Master of Creative Writing instead.
For a limited period I am offering signed copies of House of Grace for a silly price of £5 plus postage and packaging via bank transfer or £5:50 plus postage and packaging via PayPal.
This is the perfect time to pick up a copy as The Coal Miner’s Son is coming very soon. A signed paperback makes a perfect gift. Contact me for details.
Rather read on Kindle – you can do that too. By clicking on this link. It is £1:99 on Kindle and FREE to read if you have Kindle Unlimited.