Sunday, 28 May 2017

Southern Virtual Mini Book Festival - Introducing Terri Nixon

Now it's time for me to introduce our next lovely lady, Terri Nixon, author of Penhaligon's Attic and several other fantastic books. It looks like she's brought along a couple of guests but let me introduce you all to Terri first and then we can find out who she's brought with her.

Photo courtesy of Terri Nixon

Terri was born in Plymouth in 1965. At the age of 9 she moved with her family to Cornwall, where she discovered a love of writing that has stayed with her ever since. She also discovered apple-scrumping, and how to jump out of a hayloft without breaking any bones, but no-one's ever offered to pay her for doing those. 

Since publishing in paperback for the first time in 2002, Terri has appeared in both print and online fiction collections, and is proud to have contributed to the Shirley Jackson award-nominated hardback collection: Bound for Evil, by Dead Letter Press.

Terri  is represented by the Kate Nash Literary Agency. She now lives in Plymouth with her youngest son, and works in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at Plymouth University, where she is constantly baffled by the number of students who don't possess pens.

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Terri's guests are Freya Penhaligon, one of the characters from her book and a journalist who writes for The Royal Cornwall Gazette but it looks like they're deep in conversation. I know it's rude to eavesdrop but I'd love to know what they're talking about. . . . come on, follow me and let's earwig!

In Conversation With:
 Freya Penhaligon.

June 1910, Penhaligon’s Attic, Caernoweth, Cornwall.

Interviewer: Good morning, Miss Penhaligon. It’s nice to catch up with you – you have a busy life!

Freya: Yes! I’m running the family business – this book shop – and I also work as a chamber maid up at the Caernoweth Hotel in the afternoons. My grandfather is supposed to be helping me in the shop, but he’s recently become unwell.

Royal Cornwall Gazette: Who else lives with you?

F: It’s just myself, my father, and Grandpa Robert. My grandmother died a few years ago, we were very close. The book shop was her business, really; Papa is a fisherman and I don’t see much of him now, as he works from before dawn until after nightfall. Sometimes he doesn’t come home for two or three days. But he’s happy now, and that means a great deal.

RCG: Have you always lived in Caernoweth? It seems a quiet sort of town for a young woman like yourself.

F. I was born in a cottage between here and Porthstennack, but I actually moved to London with my mother, when I was eight; Mama – who is Spanish – was never really happy here. Papa used to drink a lot, and we never had enough money. Anyway, one night there was an awful incident…people say I nearly died. Anyway, she blamed Papa, and took me away to boarding school. I came back three years ago, when Mama went to live in America with her new husband, and have been living here ever since. I don’t think I could move away again, I love it here.

RCG: Yes, it must be nice, living so close to the beach.

F: Actually I don’t go near the beach anymore. I used to love it, I would go down with Papa when he went to work, and I’d spend whole days down there, watching the fishing boats, and picking up treasures. Then… there was that incident, and I haven’t been able to go near the sea since.

RCG: I see. I’m sorry. Still, a bright, attractive young woman such as yourself must have plenty of friends to keep company with. And perhaps a young man?

F: I have one good friend, Juliet Carne, although most people think she’s rather… flighty? Is that the word? We were best friends when we were little, and then I moved away of course, but  now we both work at the hotel, so we see each other quite a lot again. There isn’t any time for chatter or socialising really – if Mrs Bone, our supervisor, catches us she’s likely to dock our wages, and send us to do the very worst jobs. She’s very strict, and I can’t afford to lose that job – the shop doesn’t do very well.

RCG: And the young man?

F: I was hoping you might forget that part! I’m not as forward as Juliet, she’s never short of attention. She tells me she even… Sorry, I shouldn’t gossip. As for me, no, there really isn’t anyone. 

RCG: Excuse my manners, but I think you’re blushing, Miss Penhaligon!

F: I’m sure I’m not!

RCG: Don’t be shy. I won’t tell a soul.

 F: Oh, alright. The Batten family, who own the big manor house at the top of the hill – Pencarrack, perhaps you saw it on your way into town? They own Wheal Furzy too, that’s the tin mine. And Polworra Quarry. Well anyway, the son and heir keeps bringing his young nephew into the shop, all smiles, and he teases me a lot. He’s very nice looking, and he does make me laugh… but no. He’s a Batten! Absolutely not someone I might look at with any kind of eye to the future. I hope to find someone more suitable, but I suppose we never know who we’ll meet, and how, do we?

RCG: Indeed. I’m quite sure some lucky young man will soon catch your eye, and turn your life into an adventure!  To change the subject then, tell me about your father. Matthew, isn’t it? You said he’s a fisherman.

F: Yes, he works on Roland Fry’s trawler. Roland gave him a chance when no-one else would, and since Papa and Grandpa Robert have a… well, a difficult relationship, Papa looks to Roland a little like a father. I just hope Roland’s real son doesn’t come home.

RCG: Is there bad blood there?

F: They used to be the best of friends, but not any more. It’s a long story…

RCG: I heard some people in town speaking of a newcomer. An Irishwoman. What can you tell me about her?

F: Anna Garvey. She’s a widow, though quite young, and came here with her daughter a month or so ago, to take up an inheritance – the Tinner’s Arms, down the hill. Everyone thinks there’s something strange about them both, but she was here to help when I needed her, and she seems quite nice. Just a bit mysterious. I’m sure she’s keeping secrets, and even if she’s not out and out lying, she’s stepping around the truth, and she’s very good at it.

RCG: What about her daughter?

F: Mairead is… very forthright, and frightens me a little bit, to be honest. I’m not sure what to make of her. She’s a year or two younger than me, but she has the manner of someone much older. She and her mother are obviously close, though. I just wish I knew what they’re hiding. 

RCG: I’ve heard your father’s a handsome man, and still under forty - do you suppose this Mrs Garvey might set her cap at him?

F: Gosh, I hope not! With her running a pub, and him with his… difficulties, that would be an awful thing, don’t you think?

RCG: I hadn’t thought of that, it would certainly cause problems. Well it’s been good of you to spare the time to talk to me today, Miss Penhaligon. I look forward to meeting you again sometime, to see if you’ve found out what Mrs Garvey and her daughter are up to. And whether that elusive young man has arrived yet!

Freya sounds like an interesting character and after overhearing her conversation I really want to find out more about her story. It was wonderful that you could bring her along Terri and I hope she won't mind us listening in on her conversation!

Penhaligon’s Attic is now on sale in paperback and ebook and will be available in large print and audio in the near future.

If you'd like to find out more about Terri and her books you can use the links below:


I'd like to thank Terri for taking the time to stop by today and for bringing along Freya and her new found friend. It was delightful to meet you all.

1 comment:

  1. GREAT interaction !!
    I love reading up on authors I am not familiar with.