Jane Lacey-Crane talks about the fun and tears during the process of writing her new book.
Write a book, they said. It’ll be fun, they said. Well, I can confirm that it was definitely a lot of fun but there were also plenty of tears, angsty late night Facebook posts and tea along the way. Lots and lots of tea.
Which is a handy segue into talking about my book – Secrets and Tea at Rosie Lee’s. I can confirm that there is tea in the book, along with plenty of romance, lots of sexual tension, a touch of drama and a few laughs.
The book tells the story of Abby, a 37-year-old single parent to an 18-year-old daughter. She’s dealing with a failing business, a severe case of empty nest syndrome and a love life that’s as stale as a 3-day-old loaf. Throw into the mix the return of her first love and the dramatic uncovering of a long-held family secret and you have the perfect recipe for a story that will keep you hooked until the very last page. At least I hope so anyway!
I think Abby is a character that a lot of women will be able to relate to. She isn’t glamorous or young and she couldn’t fit into a pair of skinny jeans if her life depended on it, but she has the potential for a great love affair with a gorgeous face from her past.
Apart from Abby and Jack, who are the focus of the story, I think one of my other favourite characters would have to be Flo – the 70-year-old white-haired whirlwind with the quick tongue and no-nonsense attitude. She is based on my lovely Nan, Betty. Sadly, she’s no longer with us but I know she’d have been over the moon to have a character in a book based on her! Especially one who gets some of the best one liners in the book. And my Nan was typical of the kind of strong willed, feisty women I was surrounded by growing up. They all had a strong work ethic and a wicked, sometimes slightly dark, sense of humour; managing to find the funny side in even the worst situation. That’s something I think I’ve definitely inherited! The inappropriate jokes I’ve told at many a family funeral are a lasting testament to that. Sorry Grandad.
When I was thinking about the locations for the book I knew straight away that there was only one place I wanted to set this story and that was London’s East End. Although I’ve lived in Lincolnshire for the last 17 years, I was born and brought up in East London and it’s true what they say: “You can take the girl out of London, but you can’t take London out of the girl”. The people I knew there, the friends I made at school, my family – they have all influenced the development of the characters I’ve written about and the events that shape their lives. I’ve made sure that no one will be able to recognise themselves though. I don’t want any lawsuits on my hands. That wouldn’t be a great start to my career as a published author!
I wanted to write a book for anyone who just wants a chance to escape into someone else’s world at the end of a long day working or wrangling children/pets/husbands (delete as appropriate). I want them to sit down with the book, have a glass of wine, or what’s probably the first hot cup of tea or coffee they’ve managed to have all day (I drink lots of lukewarm forgotten cups of tea during the course of an average day!) and just enjoy reading about Abby and her cafe, the colourful supporting cast of family and friends that help her along the way and, of course, the handsome hero, Jack Chance.
Most importantly I just want people to enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Welcome to Rosie Lee’s cafe in the heart of the East End – where there’s not an avocado, slice of sour dough or double-shot no-foam soy milk caramel latte on the menu!
Rosie-Lee’s owner Abby is a woman without a plan … and her beloved little cafe is a business with a serious lack of customers. The Rosie Lee’s fry-up is legendary, but cooked breakfasts alone – however perfectly sizzled the bacon – aren’t going to pay the bills.
Fast approaching forty and fighting a serious case of empty-nest syndrome, Abby realises it’s not just her menu that needs a makeover. And when Jack Chance, her The One That Got Away, saunters through the cafe doors and back into her life things definitely look set to change…
Abby has always believed a cup of strong builders tea makes everything better, but Jack’s reappearance is a complication even the trusty sausage sarnie can’t resolve…
A frank, funny, feel-good look at grown-up life and love – as it really happens!
Jane Lacey Crane was born in London. Jane’s writing career began in cable TV, writing true crime documentaries. More recently, she has contributed to an anthology of short stories and written two weekly crime serials. When she’s not writing, Jane loves to read good books, binge watch TV boxsets and drink tea. And wine.