'The past is never dead...'
How the Book Came About
Where do books come from? I guess it’s different for every writer. For me it happens when
two or three ideas coalesce and start to intrigue me.
Undoubtedly The Cheesemaker’s House began with the house itself. In 2006 my husband’s
job moved to Manchester and we spent the best part of a year commuting alternate
weekends and falling in love with the north of England, Yorkshire especially. After a great
deal of heart searching we decided we would look for a home there and almost at once
stumbled upon the house of our dreams. We had to have it.
In the way of house purchases it took six months to go through and finally became ours on
Friday 8th June 2007. It also had readymade tenants – a local couple called Mark and Victoria
who moved in for a few months so that the chain could complete – and ended up staying for
five years. On Monday 11th June my father died and it became obvious over the next few
months that relocating to Yorkshire just wasn’t feasible in the short term.
On the dining room wall of the house was a framed will belonging to one of the previous owners, and knowing I had been really interested in this the family who we bought the house from passed some other documents on to me and I began to piece together the story of the house. It had been built by a woman – the village cheesemaker – in 1726, and had been owned by an unusual number of women throughout its history. What would a woman coming to live here now make of it, I wondered.
I knew I didn’t want to write an historical novel but I still needed to do some research about what life would have been like at the time the house was built. Information about rural life in the 1720s was thin on the ground so I turned to my father’s library of folklore books, and there I found a reference to charmers. Once important but now almost forgotten, another idea slotted into place and The Cheesemaker’s House was on its way.
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