Polly's Story: Swallowcliffe Hall by Jennie Walters
Polly Perkins can hardly believe her luck when she's taken on as a housemaid at Swallowcliffe Hall. At first, it's all she can do to keep up with endless fires to be laid, carpets to be swept, and beds to be made—never mind when guests arrive from London for a country house party. Will she ever feel at home in this grand old place, so full of ghosts from the past? But friendship and comfort are found in unexpected places, and Polly slowly begins to find her feet—until a tragic secret leads her to question everything she's ever believed. Could the elegant life of Swallowcliffe Hall be nothing more than a glittering façade?
About Jennie: London with my husband, two cats and a dog - and occasional visits from our two grown-up sons.
version: tell us about your book in 140 characters or less.
Swallowcliffe Hall trilogy is about three generations of girls who live, work
and fall in love in a grand English country house.
--How did you get the idea for the story?
Dates helped with the idea. I suddenly
realized that a young girl in late Victorian times might have a daughter
approaching adulthood in 1914, and a grand-daughter of the same age in 1939.
What fascinating periods of history, and how the world changed between 1890 and
1939! I’ve always been interested in servants, so decided to ‘root’ my stories
in a grand country house where servants and the gentry would live side by side
– perfect for passionate illicit encounters and overheard secrets!
character would you most/least like to have dinner with?
I’d most like to have dinner with Grace,
heroine of my second book, to ask her what it was like, living through the
First and the Second World Wars (as my own grandmother did). I’d least like to
have dinner with Lord Edward Vye, for reasons which become clear in ‘Grace’s
--What are some
of your favorite books? Do you still have much time to read?
I find I’m less likely to read when I’m
trying to write, as it’s confusing to have someone else’s voice in my head. I
love all of Anne Tyler’s books and have recently discovered a wonderful British
writer called Jane Harris. At the moment I’m reading ‘The Whereabouts of Eneas
MacNulty’ by Sebastian Barry, and loving it!
--Do you have
any other works in progress? Any teasers or release dates?
I’m re-writing a story about a girl who
wakes up one night to find a young man from the 1920s in her room. He seems
more real than a ghost but somehow she must work out whether or how he died,
and find a way of preventing it (which of course means that she’ll never see
him again). I hope to get it right by the end of the year – watch this space!
The book is called ‘See You in My Dreams’.
--If a fairy godmother told you your life could be
like a favorite book for 24 hours, which book would you pick and why?
Hard to decide between ‘Swiss Family
Robinson’ and ‘Anne of Green Gables’. I think it would have to be the former,
so I could ride on an ostrich and sleep in a tree house!
--Do you need
anything to write (music, coffee, etc)? Are there any songs on your playlist- songs that inspired you or that were playing
while you wrote?
I have to write in silence, with lots of
coffee breaks! But a song that inspired a lot of my early thinking behind my
current story was ‘I know we’ll never have that night’ by Rose Elinor Dougall
(think you can find it on Youtube). It’s just lovely.
--If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
The ability to fly. It would save so much time in the London
rush hour, as well as being fun.
writing, what do you like to do in your free time?
Lots of walking – we have a big dog! I
also like cooking. Not very exciting hobbies but very good for coming up with
anything else you want to add or say to your readers?
Only that I hope they’ll find my stories
entertaining, and that if they’re interested in the historical background
behind them, they might like to look at my website, http://www.jenniewalters.com,
for lots of information, original photographs, and much more.
round: this or that?
Vanilla or chocolate? Chocolate
Edward or Jacob? Edward (Robert Pattinson went to the same
London school as my nieces)
Hockey or soccer? Soccer
Ebook or paper? Hmm, tricky. Can I have both?
Salty or sweet? Salty
Beach or mountains? Beach – I can’t ski!
Phone call or email? Email, every time
Early bird or night owl? Early bird
Dog or cat? Dog
Messy or neat? Messy, unfortunately
Ninjas or pirates? Pirates
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