I am often asked where I find my inspiration – I am sure it is a question that crops up for all writers.
I find a new story begins to bubble up whenever I am getting to the end of my current work in progress. This happened with Lucasta. I just happened to catch a wonderful programme on tv – from one of those idiosyncratic little series that the BBC do so well: Meetings With Remarkable Trees. This particular episode featured the Pitchford Lime which has a three hundred year old tree house in its branches. This wonderful old lime tree is in the grounds of Pitchford Hall and such tree houses were used for dinner parties, meetings and secret assignations - plenty of scope for a creative imagination.
I thought this would make a super retreat for Lucasta, my heroine, where she could escape from her tyrannical father and her beautiful but spoiled sister. There are very few pictures of this tree house but I managed to find this one. Pitchford Hall, Shropshire, summer house in lime tree, Photo by L. C. Lloyd 1939; copyright Shrewsbury Museums Service.
Heaven knows how the Georgian ladies in their heavy cumbersome dresses managed to to get in and out of this tree house without loss of dignity - a hoist of some sort, perhaps?
I only used the tree house for a couple of small scenes in Lucasta, but I think I shall use it again in another book - so many stories spring to mind!
I am very grateful to Shrewsbury Museums for allowing me to use this picture.
Lucasta is out now - published by Robert Hale Limited.