Today I’m excited to welcome Terri Nixon to the blog. I was absolutely blown away by her book Penhaligon’s Attic, a historical drama set in Cornwall, and I gobbled it up in a couple of days. When I realised it was part of a series, I immediately pre-ordered book two, Penhaligon’s Pride, and now I’ve finished that, I’m desperate for book three!
Welcome to Terri!
How did you get into writing?
At the risk of sounding like a cliché, I’ve just always done it. At school I used to write stories for my friends, hooking them up with the boys they fancied; accepting challenges from my colleagues, I used to make up silly (and often quite rude!) rhyming ditties at work; I wrote my first novella in the mid-80s – a sort of chick-lit offering, inspired by Jilly Cooper’s series; I then moved on to horror stories which I had published in several anthologies; and then, in the early noughties, I began writing what would eventually become The Dust of Ancients, the first book in my Mythic Fiction series. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing, to be honest!
What is Penhaligon’s Pride about?
Penhaligon’s Pride is the second book in a Cornish drama series set in the early 1900s. There are breaches of trust; the dangers of working in the tin mines; secrets hundreds of years old that won’t stay hidden; and the ferocity of the Cornish coast that brings out the best – and the worst – in the people who live with it. The central family, the Penhaligons, are neither the richest nor the poorest in the community, but they have their own struggles and joys, bitter-sweet tastes of first love, and brushes with danger and death. It’s very community-driven, with a full supporting cast! The central story is of how a careless slip of the tongue results in a deadly blackmail attempt, and all that stems from that.
Penhaligon’s Pride is a sequel – did you always know there would be more than one book?
I actually thought Penhaligon’s Attic (the first book in the series) would be a standalone; it was supposed to be a traditional Edwardian ghost story, all wrapped up and solved. But after I’d put it away for couple of years and written two other series, the premise changed, the ghosts disappeared, and I’d already discovered the joy to be found in creating characters I could visit again and again. So when I re-started it, I knew it would be a more complex story than I could contain in one book, and that I wanted to follow the characters through several storylines. I have deliberately not called it a trilogy, as it could conceivably continue long beyond three books.
Who is your favourite character in the book and why?
I think Anna Penhaligon (formerly Garvey) has to be my favourite. She’s come from a privileged background, and she’s had to flee her home, with her daughter, to start afresh in a close-knit town where she knows no-one. But she’s come through her various trials with a wry sense of humour intact, and with a strength she never knew she possessed. She’s become the heart of a community that initially mistrusted her, and running a pub frequented by working men whose tempers often flare, she’s shown she suffers no fools. Anna is in her mid-thirties, and she’s strong but fallible; she’s a warm, compassionate woman, and her love for her family is what drives her. Sometimes down entirely the wrong road…
What are you working on at the moment?
With the third Penhaligon book finished, and under contract, I’ve been able to turn my attention to the Mythic Fiction series that sprang from The Dust of Ancients. The one I’m writing now is a prequel, set in the English Civil War era, and anyone who’s reading The Penhaligon Saga, will recognise the main story as one that’s coming to light in that series, through the discovery of some old journals. The book is called The Unquiet Dawn, and I hope to release it in the first quarter of this year. I’m also gearing up for the launch of my scribbling alter-ego, Polly Duncan, who keeps nagging me to give her a fair crack of the WIP. (see what I did there?!)
Terri was born in Plymouth, UK. At the age of 9 she moved with her family to Cornwall, to the village featured in Jamaica Inn — North Hill — where she discovered a love of writing that has stayed with her ever since. She also discovered apple-scrumping, and how to jump out of a hayloft without breaking any bones, but no-one’s ever offered to pay her for doing those.
Penhaligon’s Pride is her eighth novel to be published.
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Terri-Nixon/e/B00DI8R8K6