My blog guest this week is Nicola Pryce. Her latest novel in the Cornish Saga Series is The Cornish Captive. Today, Nicola is going to answer the question – What do I do when I’m not writing? Over to Nicola …
Hi Morton, thank you for inviting me on to your blog. It’s lovely to be here. The answer is, I’ll be sewing.
I’ve always loved sewing. I won a prize at school for needlework but my skills are limited compared to so many of my friends. I love basic patchwork and tapestry and I enjoy making fancy dress costumes for my grandsons. I’ve recently made a spate of roman blinds but my favourites must be lavender bags and patchwork hot water bottle covers. I just can’t be without the next project.
I made my wedding dress but I don’t make clothes anymore. My latest project is to get back to my dolls house. I made it from a kit eighteen months ago and I’ve decorated it to match our house. I’ve made the bedding and cushions, I just need to make the curtains and blinds. You can see I’ve tried to match the patchwork quilt.
With my love of sewing, it’s not surprising that I base my books round a dressmaking establishment though, given the choice, I’d rather be one of the wealthy ladies visiting the shop than the seamstresses working there! In 1793 the light would have been dreadful and the hours long but I would have loved handling the fabrics and sorting the ribbons and lace.
Madame Merrick, the senior dressmaker in my book Pengelly’s Daughter, is based on a French dressmaker, Rose Bertin, who was Marie Antoinette’s dressmaker. When the émigrés fled the terror their dressmakers, including Rose Bertin, followed. Many went to London but some stayed in Cornwall and Devon. The new, lighter materials of tuille and silk, together with the change of fashion from heavy corsets and full brocade skirts to higher waists and slim silhouettes, made them easier to sew. Previously, tailors had been involved in the sewing of women’s gowns but suddenly they were redundant. How wonderful was that!
I love researching the fabrics and embroidery used in the late eighteenth century and spend hours collecting photos for my Pinterest pages. The detail is truly incredible. In The Cornish Dressmaker my heroine Elowyn Liddicot makes poor William Cotterell wait two hours while she perfects the art of ribbon embroidery (see above) and I can’t help making all my heroes wear beautifully embroidered waistcoats. I love to imagine my characters sewing together, and I love that I can create a feminine sphere where aristocratic ladies can relax and enjoy female companionship – maybe even meet a rather dashing ship’s captain in the linen cupboard … as in The Captain’s Girl!
So maybe the answer to your question what do I do when I’m not writing is that I’m sewing, but while I’m sewing I’m with my fellow seamstresses in a warehouse above a shipyard listening intently to all the gossip and imagining I’m taking a sip of Madame Merrick’s rather strong punch!
Sounds amazing and makes me want to read your books or be there with you! Mx
About Nicola Pryce
Nicola Pryce is published by Atlantic Books and is represented by Teresa Chris. She trained as a nurse at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, loves literature and history, and has an Open University degree in Humanities. She is a qualified adult literacy support volunteer and lives with her husband in the Blackdown Hills in Somerset. She and her husband love sailing and together they sail the south coast of Cornwall in search of adventure.
Pengelly’s Daughter is her first novel, then The Captain’s Girl, The Cornish Dressmaker, The Cornish Lady, and A Cornish Betrothal. The Cornish Captive was published in January 2022.
Nicola is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and The Historical Writers’ Association.
Do visit her website for more information about her books at http://nicolapryce.co.uk
Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/nicolaprycebooks/
Twitter at @NPryce_Author
Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.co.uk/nicolapryceauth/
Nicola’s latest book is The Cornish Captive
Imprisoned on false pretences, Madeleine Pelligrew, former mistress of Pendenning Hall, has spent the last 14 years shuttled between increasingly destitute and decrepit mad houses. When a strange man appears out of the blue to release her, she can’t quite believe that her freedom comes without a price. Hiding her identity, Madeleine determines to discover the truth about what happened all those years ago.
Unsure who to trust and alone in the world, Madeleine strikes a tentative friendship with a French prisoner on parole, Captain Pierre de la Croix. But as she learns more about the reasons behind her imprisonment, and about those who schemed to hide her away for so long, she starts to wonder if Pierre is in fact the man he says he is. As Madeleine’s past collides with her present, can she find the strength to follow her heart, no matter the personal cost?