The Mistress of Pennington's Tour

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Please welcome fellow RNA member, Theresa Le Flem...

Hi Theresa! It's great to welcome you to my blog - I'm looking forward to learning more about you and your latest release, The Gypsy's Son. Let's kick off with my questions...

Thank you for inviting me to be a guest on your blog, Rachel. It’s strangely satisfying and relaxing to answer questions about myself and my writing. For once I know the answers without having to look them up!

1.)            What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a vet at first but having discovered ‘The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook’ at the age of thirteen I began submitting my poetry to publishers. It was then that I decided Journalism was for me. But ‘career advice’ never came my way; I had no idea how to go about achieving such a goal. Then I had second thoughts when I realized I’m much too sensible to be chasing celebrities along the streets of London - or worse, travelling the world reporting from various war-zones - so sitting at home with a typewriter became my dream.

2.)            Coffee, tea or hot chocolate?

I’m a tea addict. I love to have a cup of tea by the computer. Sometimes I stand it on the radiator in my study to keep it warm, but once I’m writing I often forget it’s there.

3.)            What genre do you typically read? Why?

I enjoy reading romantic fiction but like it to have some interesting background. As long as it is well written and reveals information about people, places or history along the way I’m hooked. However, when I’m researching a new novel I wade through loads of non-fiction books. I like old musty books about country life, social history etc. They may be old-fashioned in style but usually contain gems. I’m interested in the ‘old days’, trawling-up forgotten crafts and ways of life. Alarmingly, I’m finding that events in my own lifetime are now classified as history!

4.)            Share a favourite childhood memory.

I was one of four girls. My mother was creative and wrote press releases for my father, Cyril Hamersma, who was an artist. (  ) While exhibiting in London galleries, he worked as a barber to support the family. It was a busy household, as I remember, with visitors, phone calls, classical music blaring and wet oil-paintings hanging everywhere. We lived on the ground floor of a large Victorian terraced house in West Hampstead, London. Upstairs, where my great aunt lived, it was quiet and orderly. There I could read a book in peace, or just be with her while she ironed or cooked or entertained. It was one of my childhood joys to sit under her kitchen table, concealed by the tablecloth, and listen-in on conversations!

5.)            Do you have any shameless addictions? ie. Tea, Books, Shoes, Clothes?

I love second-hand bookshops and junkshops. I’m a terrible hoarder of all things old and unwanted, including animals. We have taken-in a succession of scruffy cats from the Cats’ Protection League and at the moment we have a Persian who keeps well out of the way of our ‘rescued’ racing greyhound, Rosie. I can recommend re-homing a retired greyhound. She’s so affectionate (when she’s awake) and no trouble at all. She never barks, needs little walking, and sleeps for hours and hours. She’s the ideal dog for an author and we love her very much.

6.)            What do you think is the biggest challenge of writing a new book?

Feeling settled in my mind that I’ve done all I need to do first. There’s a constant tug-of-war going on in my head because there’s never enough time! I do what I can in the way of promoting my books, particularly the one I recently published myself: ‘The Gypsy’s Son’  However, I’m always trying to catch up with the housework (ugh!), emails, letters as well as seeing friends. I can’t settle down to work (and switch off the real world) when I feel distracted. Yet I’m constantly fighting the urge to forget everything and just sit down to write! So that’s the challenge – life itself – it gets in the way.

7.)            Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages a day?

No, I used to have quite a rigid timetable when I would do about six hours a day. This would be time, rather than word count orientated. But more recently I’ve relaxed that routine. I’m hoping to get back to it at the start of the New Year.

8.)            What are your thoughts on writing a book series?

This has never struck me as being a viable option. I like to see a story through from beginning to end in the one novel. Some readers have asked me if I would write a sequel, especially for ‘The Sea Inside His Head’ published by Robert Hale Ltd.

This was my debut novel. Primarily a love-story, it’s about a Kent coalminer who, in his desperate search to escape the pit and work in the fresh air, faces losing his wife, family and friends. There is the temptation to revisit these novels and explore what happens to them because they have become very dear to me, but I doubt I will. Although all three of my novels have, I feel, satisfying endings, there is always room for my readers to speculate themselves about the future once they have put the book down. After all, there are too many new characters just waiting in the wings.


Set in Cornwall in the 1950s, this moving novel explores family relationships, romance and memories. When a frightened young boy runs away from home, Gideon Tremayne, a Romany gypsy, resolves to take him back. But their journey takes a lifetime. This is a thought provoking book which delves into the past and challenges the reader to re-evaluate the meaning of life, home and survival. It’s a novel about reconciliation in which the search for love and security beckons…


Theresa Le Flem inherited the creative gene. Born in London, she studied Art and followed various occupations including hairdressing, before running her own studio-pottery business in Cornwall. Finally she settled down to write full-time. Her first two novels were published by Robert Hale Ltd and she has just published her third novel independently. For relaxation Theresa enjoys painting in oils, playing the violin and gardening. She has three children and five grandchildren, all who live abroad. A member of the Romantic Novelists' Association and the Society of Authors, she lives in the Midlands, England, with her husband Graham, and their greyhound, Rosie.

Twitter:             @TheresaLeFlem
Facebook:            Theresa Le Flem’s own Facebook Page
                        Romantic Novelists’ Association Facebook member
                        Belmont Belles Facebook member
LinkedIn:            Theresa le Flem
Google+           Theresa Le Flem author (Author page in its initial stages only)
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