Today I’m delighted to welcome Eve Seymour to One More Page to talk to us about the location inspiration for her latest novel, Vixenhead. Eve is the author of nine novels and has had a number of short stories broadcast on BBC Radio Devon.
After a short and successful career in PR in London and Birmingham, she married and disappeared to Devon. Five children later, she returned and began to write seriously.
In a bid to make her work as authentic as possible, she has bent the ears of numerous police officers, firearms officers, scenes of crime, the odd lawyer and United Nations personnel. She also works by day as a freelance editorial consultant, specialising in crime fiction. Welcome Eve!
When I write I tend to draw heavily on places with which I’m familiar. If I don’t know them already, I take pains to do the legwork. Once, memorably, for a spy novel, I flew to Berlin for four days. Clearly, some places lend themselves more obviously for certain stories than others.
I’m a huge fan of Cheltenham. My last three novels are set there and ‘Vixenhead’ is no exception. It’s where my main character, Roz Outlaw, lives and works. I know the place intimately, including the address where she rents and the workplace from where she is made redundant. I’ve walked down her streets, strolled through her park and driven out of town on the exact same route she takes. Having said this, Cheltenham does not receive star billing in the way it does in previous novels and for a very good reason: I needed a creepy and dark environment for the story. Cheltenham, with its glossy streets and Regency architecture, doesn’t quite fit the bill.
There is more than a passing reference to Ludlow, not somewhere with which Roz is familiar, unlike myself. I found it fun to view the centre of the Welsh Marches through a stranger’s eyes. The main action, however, takes place in North Wales and the choice of location sparked from a short leisure break at Deganwy Quay with my husband. It was March. The weather was typically blustery and a little wet – exactly the same as in ‘Vixenhead’. Having never visited before, I found myself captivated by nearby Conwy Castle, a spectacular backdrop to what is essentially a small walled market town. From our hotel balcony, we had a perfect view of the castle illuminated at night. Spooky and beautiful, it got me thinking.
The hotel in Conwy, in which Roz stays for a short time, was somewhere we went for dinner. I also ate the same meal as Roz, although I enjoyed mine a lot more! ‘Vixenhead,’ the house where all hell breaks loose, emanates from a drive down a narrow lane. On our travels, I spotted a sign to ‘Wolf House’ and simply ran with the idea, although ‘Vixenhead’ itself, and the place where it is set, is purely fictional. Not quite so the grounds.
I’m not much of a gardener. In fact, a single glance at a plant from me usually ensures its swift demise. In other words I struggled slightly with ‘Vixenhead’s immediate surroundings. If you read the novel, you’ll appreciate their importance. Happily, around the time I was worrying about my total absence of horticultural skills, we went for a walk near Cowley Manor, a fabulous hotel, with a quirky interior, in the Cotswolds. It also happens to have 55 acres of land. Having heard a lot about Cowley’s collection of art and sculpture, we ventured inside for a peek. We received a warm, friendly greeting from a member of staff who invited us to explore the hotel and grounds. To find our way around the gardens, we were given a handy map. This, and our tour outside, provided the basis for the acres of land surrounding ‘Vixenhead’ – gargoyles and all.
Vixenhead is out now in ebook formats from HarperImpulse.
A sudden disappearance…
When Roz Outlaw’s partner Tom mysteriously vanishes, she knows his life is in danger. Tom has been distracted lately, afraid, as though he is being hunted…
A desperate search…
With the police showing little interest Roz knows it falls to her to find Tom. But as Tom’s secrets are uncovered nothing can prepare Roz for the dark lies and twisted truths she finds. She thought she loved Tom, but quickly realises she has been living with a stranger – a man with murder in his past.
A house of evil.
The key to unlocking Tom’s past lies in his childhood home – Vixenhead. A house of wickedness that keeps its secrets well hidden. Can Roz find Tom before it’s too late or will the evil within Vixenhead claim her too…
Find out more about Eve and her writing at: http://www.evseymour.co.uk/