IT'S SAGA SATURDAY! Please welcome saga author, Lynne Francis...

Happy Saga Saturday, everyone, and a big thank you to Rachel Brimble for featuring me on her blog today. I took up writing fiction after a career as an editor in non-fiction publishing, with my first book, Ella’s Journey, part of a Yorkshire trilogy, being published in 2017.

The Margate Maid, the first book in my second trilogy, is set in Georgian Kent. The inspiration for it came from the chance discovery that I had family links to the area – ancestors on my father’s side. I moved to my home ten miles from Margate in 2016, having lived for many years before that in London, and prior to that in Yorkshire, where I was born. I was under the impression that my paternal relatives had always lived in Hull, so it was a surprise – whilst researching names for something else I was writing – to find them living in Margate in the early 1800s, where one of them had a cow barn and sold milk, and the other farmed on rented land.

The census listed their addresses so off I went to take a look at the streets where they had once lived and worked. The germ of an idea grew out of this into the story of Molly, who worked as a dairymaid for her uncle and sold milk in the town alongside her father. I visited the Turner Contemporary gallery in Margate at around the same time and came across a watercolour sketch that Turner had made of some cows. Before I knew it, the young Turner and his early paintings set in Margate had found a place in my story and there was also a walk-on part for Jane Austen. She and Turner were born in the same year and both visited East Kent, Jane Austen spending time with relatives at Goodnestone, not too far distant. Perhaps their paths crossed?

My writing is often inspired by family history, in particular the facts that we know about previous generations as well as the bits in between – the things that have been hidden or lost with the passage of time. I’m intrigued by family secrets and how they can unravel over the years, or remain undiscovered for generations. This idea plays into The Margate Maid, where the young Molly makes a momentous decision that will prove to have an impact on the rest of her life.

More about The Margate Maid

A saga of love and betrayal in late 18th century Kent and London
Margate, 1786. Dairymaid Molly Goodchild dreams of a better life. Up at the crack of dawn to milk her uncle's cows, the one comfort of her day is her friendship with apprentice gardener, Charlie.
When dashing naval officer, Nicholas, arrives in town, Molly's head is turned by his flattering attentions and she casually spurns Charlie - believing this is her chance to escape a life of drudgery. Yet when Molly needs Nicholas most, he lets her down.
With her hopes in tatters, Molly is forced to flee Margate for London, where she finds herself struggling to survive. What will she risk in her search for a better life? And will she ever find the love she deserves?

Published by Pitakus in hardback, ebook and audiobook on March 5th

More about me
Lynne Francis grew up in Yorkshire but studied, lived and worked in London for many years. She draws inspiration for her novels from a fascination with family history, landscapes and the countryside.

Her first saga series was set in west Yorkshire but a move to east Kent, and the discovery of previously unknown family links to the area, gave her the idea for a Georgian-era trilogy. Lynne’s exploration of her new surroundings provided the historical background for the novels, as well as allowing her to indulge another key interest: checking out the local teashops and judging the cake.

When she’s not at her desk, writing, Lynne can be found in the garden, walking through the countryside or beside the sea.

Facebook: @lynnefrancisauthor
Twitter: @lynne_francis1
Instagram: @lynnefrancisauthor

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