Fay Keenan talks about her new book which is set in Somerset.
1. Tell us more about The Second Chance Teashop?
It’s a story about a widow and a cider farmer, who find love second time around after both have had heartbreaks. That makes it sound terribly serious, but if you throw in some gorgeous scenery, scrummy cakes and a bucketload of cider it becomes something much more comforting! Anna, my heroine, comes back to where she grew up to run her Godmother’s tea shop, and, in the process, she finds a new life, a new love and new happiness. And there’s a lot of cake, too!
2. If you have to pick one favourite character from the book, who would it be and why?
As I was writing, I’d probably have said Matthew, my hero, but actually, it’s his daughter Meredith who I enjoyed writing the most. She’s funny, clever and has her head screwed on. She’s the one who spots that Anna and Matthew would be perfect together, and sets them up.
3. What was the hardest part of the book to write?
Without being too spoilery, the real moments of drama in Meredith’s storyline. As a parent, it was incredibly difficult to put her through what she ends up going through. I felt quite guilty at times!
4. How did you come up with the plotline for the book? Is it in any way based on your own experiences?
The landscape and the village life is based on my own experiences. I’m lucky to live in Somerset, which is a beautiful part of the country, and I wanted to reflect that in the story. I drew on my own experiences as the mother of two daughters and a teacher of teenagers to make them as real as I could, but the plot and characters came straight out of my head.
5. What do you do to relax after a long writing day?
A hot bath and a good book on the kindle is wonderful, or dinner with my husband and some decent television.
6. Who was your favourite author growing up? Has it changed?
I’ve always loved Jilly Cooper – I read her Rutshire novels at a very formative age, and I return to them again and again, but I’m a voracious reader with a wide ranging taste; everything from Elizabeth Gaskell to Robert Rankin has been through my fingers!
7. What fictional character do you have a crush on?
Crikey – only one?! Mark Darcy from Bridget Jones, of course, but then I’ve always adored Mulder and Scully from the X-Files, too. John Thornton, Guy of Gisburne from most incarnations of Robin Hood, Rupert Campbell-Black and Declan O’Hara. Oh, and very recently John Smith from The Man in the High Castle. The list is endless!
8. What is one thing about you your readers would be surprised to know?
I don’t actually drink a lot of cider! Oh, and I’ve adored James May for a very long time.
9. If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
Write what you want to write, and enjoy it. If you can tell yourself a story you love, then that’s half the battle.
10. What’s next for you?
I’m currently working on book 2 of the Little Somerby series, which is due out next year.
Second chances, new loves and scrumptious cakes.
Folllowing the tragic death of her beloved husband, Anna Hemingway decides it’s time for a fresh start. So Anna and her three-year-old daughter Ellie move to a picture-perfect cottage in the beautiful village of Little Somerby, and when she takes over the running of the village tea shop, Ellie and Anna start to find happiness again.
But things get complicated when Matthew Carter, the owner of the local cider farm, enters their lives. Throughout a whirlwind year of village fetes and ancient wassails, love, laughter, apple pie and new memories, life slowly blossoms again. But when tragedy strikes and history seems to be repeating itself, Anna must find the strength to hold onto the new life she has built.
This beautiful, life-affirming debut novel marks the beginning of the Little Somerby series, and promises to make you smile, cry, reach for a cream tea, and long for a life in the perfect English countryside.
Fay Keenan was born in Surrey and raised in Hampshire, before finally settling back in the West Country. When Fay is not chasing her children around or writing, she teaches English at a local secondary school. She lives with her husband of fourteen years, two daughters, a cat, two chickens and a Weimaraner called Bertie in a village in Somerset, which may or may not have provided the inspiration for Little Somerby.