My guest today, Suzi Bamblett, is not only a fellow writer but a very close friend who I first met back in 2014 when starting out on our MA Creative Writing course at the University of Brighton.
It’s a very exciting day for Suzi, and a proud day for me as her friend, as she launches her debut novel The Travelling Philanthropist. The Travelling Philanthropist not only has a beautiful cover but a wonderful, exciting story inside. Without further ado it’s over to Suzi.
My Writing Journey
For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved books, quickly progressing from Enid Blyton, through Agatha Christie and on to Daphne du Maurier. Rebecca was the book that made me want to write and I began each teenage summer holiday with a new notebook and pen. Then life got in the way – exams, work, boyfriend, marriage, children…
Reading was still my passion but my writing had to wait patiently on the shelf.
While my children were young, I studied with the Open University and, after completing my Bachelor of Arts, went on to do a PGCE at Canterbury Christchurch. Whilst there, I was asked to research a topic that drew together my two teaching subjects, Religious Education and Mathematics (a weird combo I know). I chose to focus on calendars and became fascinated with the shift from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar resulting in eleven missing days in 1752.
I spent the next twenty-three years teaching, my writing taking a back seat as a holiday pastime. However, my interest in the Gregorian calendar stayed with me and led me to research the Georgian period. One summer I stumbled across the real-life story of Jonas Hanway, alleged trailblazer of the umbrella, and the seeds were sown. This curious philanthropist triggered the inspiration for my fictional character, Janus Gregory, and his work at the Foundling Hospital became the backdrop for my novel, The Travelling Philanthropist.
Finally, after taking early retirement from teaching, I had time for my writing. I studied for my MA in Creative Writing at the University of Brighton (which is where I met my good friend, Tricia).
Daphne du Maurier has always been part of my writing life. Her Cornish novels inspired the location for my YA story, The Changeling, The House on the Strand piqued a life-long interest in time travel, as exemplified in my time slip novel, and Don’t Look Now and The Scapegoat fed my fascination with the uncanny, triggering two of my current works in progress, Three Faced Doll and Prescient Spirit. As you can tell, I have a number of novels in the pipeline, but my loyalty lay with my first born, hence the launch of The Travelling Philanthropist as my debut novel. I hope you enjoy it.
The Travelling Philanthropist – a time-slip novel.
Searching for a lost child… but can she find herself in time?
Would-be journalist Anna Stratton is estranged from her adoptive parents and living with her boyfriend. But something is missing.
Anna’s world fractures when she’s catapulted back in time. Here, in the eighteenth century, she meets philanthropist Janus Gregory and together they embark on a quest for a lost foundling. But Anna soon discovers life in Georgian London is fraught with danger and not everyone has her best interests at heart.
Meanwhile, in the contemporary world, Anna’s parallel existence unravels.
Will Anna locate the child?
Can she find herself in time?
Sliding Doors meets The House on the Strand.
Suzi has provided a teaser for The Travelling Philanthropist below but first, let’s find out a little more about her.
About Suzi Bamblett
Suzi Bamblett lives with her partner, Colin, in Crowborough, East Sussex. A self-confessed chameleon, she is sister, mother, granny, teacher, creative and last but not least, an author. Suzi writes psychological thrillers and suspense stories for adults and young adults. She’s a huge fan of Daphne du Maurier and her Imagined Dialogue with Daphne can be found on the Daphne du Maurier website. Suzi’s writing has been published in literary magazines and anthologies. The Travelling Philanthropist is her debut novel. Her second novel, Pearl Seekers will be released later in 2021.
The young woman stumbles along cobbled streets clutching a precious bundle to her breast. Emerging from the fog, she faces the black iron gates of the convent. Gently she lowers the child into the casket but can’t let go. With a sob, she snatches him back up. Not yet. Bowing her head, she inhales his new-born scent.
Behind her, in the shadows, the man waits.
The woman looks over her shoulder. Is someone watching? Her eyes are drawn back to her child. Still she hesitates. Although the casket is lined with cloth, the wind is biting.
‘’Tis a cold night,’ the man says.
With a cry, she spins round.
‘It is after midnight.’ He sighs. ‘The nuns all a’ bed until morning prayers.’
She stares at him. From tricorn hat to polished shoe buckles, every inch the gentleman.
‘Even if the child should survive the night, he may not be given a place at the Foundling Hospital.’ The man steps closer. ‘The weekly lottery is tomorrow. If a black ball is drawn, they have no choice but to dispose of him. They are reluctant to take a child when they have no details of the mother, especially if he is sickly and weakened by a night out in the cold.’
The woman stands uncertain, her arms wrapped tightly around her child.
‘I can help you,’ the man continues. ‘I know someone who will take good care of him. It is a boy, is it not?’
‘Yes.’ She finds her voice at last. ‘Yes, my son.’
‘He will be well looked after. Trust me.’
What choice does she have? She cannot return to her place of work with the child; they’ll both end up on the streets. A sob escapes her as she thrusts the baby into the arms of the man. ‘Here, take him. God bless you, sir.’ She turns, her footsteps echoing as she disappears into the smog.
With the child under his black cloak, the man strides back to the waiting carriage.
Want to know more? You can purchase The Travelling Philanthropist here.
Links to Suzi Bamblett’s social media and website