Working title: Going, Going, Gone
Auctioneers and auction houses fascinate me. I love the competitive thrill of bidding, the once-in-a-lifetime chance it seems to present. One of the central families in the Lodes Chronicles was an auctioneering one, and featuring them in a book was a gift when it came to big characters and big scenes. By now I knew many of the cast of the series really well so I had a lot of fun with them, and I tried to contrast the sadder side of the book – a marriage coming apart at the seams – with as much riotous village fun as possible. Having a character like Faith Brakespear who I’d written from early teens to young adulthood was particularly satisfying as her long, slow burning crush on Rory Midwinter comes to the boil. Although I went on to write another book featuring Rory and other Lodes characters, this was the last one that I wrote for my brilliant first editor Sue Fletcher with whom I giggled over ten tightly knitted plots, and that makes it very special. I put in the mother of all sunsets at the end just for her.
Trivial fact: The paperback was delayed almost a year because the publisher couldn’t agree on a jacket, the one used for the hardback having been a bit of a disaster. In the end, they opted for a retro look reminiscent of my early jackets from the nineties with legs flung over chairs.