I’m joined by fellow Choc Lit author and Apricot Plotter, Angela Barton this week, as she tells us about the inspiration for her novel Magnolia House, which has just been released in paperback format. Over to Angela …
Thank you very much for hosting me on your blog today, Morton.
Where do authors find inspiration for their next story? We get them through doing and thinking, from feeling and imagination, from experiences and dreams. Ideas can be convoluted or very simple. Inspiration is everywhere and my storyline for Magnolia House came from something as simple as a tree.
Five years ago, I went to The London Book Fair and while I was walking back to my hotel, I passed a long terrace of Georgian townhouses. Although they looked identical, one of them stood out from the rest because it had a large magnolia tree in full bloom growing in the small front garden. I wondered who lived there, whether they were happy and what dramas had played out behind their front door? Who were their friends and what had made them buy that house? What did they do for a living and were they happy in their jobs and relationships? (Writers are generally nosey, people-watchers!)
And so, I invented a married couple and created their backstory with wider family and friends, old and new. It’s strange how something as simple as a magnolia tree can inspire a book full of characters.
There needed to be conflict in this story, because without it the storyline wouldn’t be authentic or interesting; after all, no one’s life escapes without a little drama now and again. People aren’t perfect either. In Magnolia House, my characters display jealousy, secret desire, betrayal, obsessive compulsive behaviour, anger and grief. Of course there is plenty of romance and passion too, but love doesn’t always come easily. That would be too convenient.
One of my favourite characters is Mason (Ace). Ace is a very witty gay man who becomes best friends with my protagonist, Rowan Forrester. Reading my reviews it seems that my readers love Ace too, because he makes them laugh out loud and balances out the more challenging subjects in Magnolia House.
I was born in Clapham, South London, but moved to Nottingham when I was young. The setting was a nod to my early years. Some scenes take place on Clapham Common, which is where my earliest memories were formed. I dedicated this book to my dad who we lost in 2012. He was born and raised in the capital and it always remained close to his heart.
I learned a lot from my characters. They helped me find answers to their individual problems and walked me through the process of moving forwards each day. I miss the characters from Magnolia House as they found a way into my heart, especially James. You know you’ve created a hero when you miss him five years on!
Yes that does sound like a hero! I can relate fully to all that you have said, having had my own strange inspiring experiences. Thank you for your lovely blog post. Mx
About Magnolia House
When you open up your home and your heart …
Rowan Forrester has it all – the happy marriage, the adorable dog, the good friends, the promising business and even the dream home after she and her husband Tom win a stunning but slightly dilapidated Georgian townhouse in London at auction.
But in the blink of an eye, Rowan’s picture-perfect life comes crashing down around her and she is faced with the prospect of having to start again.
To make ends meet she begins a search for housemates, and in doing so opens the door to new friends and new beginnings. But could she be opening the door to new heartbreak too?
Some reviews by readers
“This is emotional, beautifully written, heart-breaking and heart-warming story. I love how realistic the plot is. Rowan’s personal story could happen to anyone, the reader can really relate to her. All the character’s are beautifully created and very likeable, even the secondary character’s such as Tom’s sister Libby who goes through her own issues. Magnolia House is a story that is full of hope, love and compassion, highly recommended!” ★★★★★
“This book is outstanding. I finished it in 24hours, and was totally gripped by it. I was actually moved to tears in some sections due to the magical descriptions by the author that allowed me to play out the whole story in my head.” ★★★★★
“Oh wow, what a rollercoaster of a book! Angela has captured so many emotions in this story. There is love, hatred, disbelief, astonishment, compulsion and then honesty.” ★★★★★
“Magnolia House was a wonderful emotional read. I cried along with Rowan at the beginning but also found myself laughing at some of the situations Rowan ends up in and I loved the intrigue and mystery behind the letters Rowan received. For me this was a perfect novel full of heartbreak, romance and mystery. Angela Barton really brought Magnolia House to life and I loved it.” ★★★★★
“Magnolia House is much more than a romance, the characters have depth and sensitive issues are dealt with compassion and understanding.” ★★★★★
Morton’s Review : 5.0 out of 5 stars A Thoroughly Enjoyable Read
I loved Magnolia House. This is the first book by Angela Barton I have read and I will now be investigating other titles by this author. Interesting characters with lots of intrigue and secrets, which is just how I like my novels. Great read – thank you!
Angela Barton’s Books Buying Links:
Arlette’s Story: amzn.to/2lAyIlb
Magnolia House: smarturl.it/fttfc2
You’ve Got My Number: http://amzn.to/35Q19jB
About Angela Barton
Angela Barton was born in London and grew up in Nottingham. She is married with three grown up children and adorable seven-year-old twin granddaughters. She is passionate about writing both contemporary and historical fiction and loves time spent researching for her novels. In 2018 Angela signed publishing contracts for three of her completed novels with Ruby Fiction and Choc Lit.
In addition to writing, Angela also relaxes by making landscapes using free motion sewing on a machine. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and a reader for their New Writers’ Scheme. Angela is also a member of Nottingham Writers’ Studio, the Society of Authors and Ellipses and Ampersands’ fiction critique group.
To keep in touch with Angela you can use the following social media links: