Having recently flown back from my family holiday in France, I’m very grateful to Linda Huber for a lovely post today about the setting for her new release, The Attic Room. I’m very excited about this book. I thoroughly enjoyed her previous novels, The Paradise Trees and The Cold Cold Sea, and if it comes anywhere near their standard we are certainly in for a treat. Here’s Linda to tell us a little more about it.
At the beginning of The Attic Room, my main character Nina is sitting outside her farmhouse home on the Isle of Arran in Scotland, looking down over the Firth of Clyde and watching the water sparkle in the sunshine. It’s something I’ve done many times myself.
As a thirteen-year-old I went to Arran for the first time, to spend the summer holidays with my school friend and her family, who had a holiday home there. I travelled alone from the mainland, and I remember to this day how the island loomed and I stepped off the ferry and fell in love with the place.
My friends met me and we drove south along the winding road, from Brodick round to Lamlash, where the beautiful Holy Isle dominates the bay, along through Whiting Bay, and up the hill to a clutch of buildings. Largiemeanoch. And there was their holiday home, an ex-cowshed with no electricity, and cold water only. Foot-thick, whitewashed stone walls dropped under a red roof. It was absolutely perfect, and I stood there with tears in my eyes, looking out on the exact same view that Nina has at the start of my book.
The Attic Room isn’t only set on Arran, though. The action soon changes to Bedfordshire (where, years later, the same friend made her home for a while), but all the time Nina’s away, the only thing she wants to do is return to the island. Meanwhile her mother, Claire, is in Edinburgh (where my godmother lives), on Arran, in Bedford and London, then finishes up in the Glasgow hospital where I worked for two years.
So I was able to picture, vividly, the scenery my characters move around in; I could identify with Nina’s homesickness and frustration, and Claire’s need to return to Scotland. It’s so important to have the flavour of a place before you write about it.
The Attic Room is my third novel, and the first I’m self-publishing. Why? is a much-asked question here. I’ve been circling around self-publishing ever since The Paradise Trees came out and I looked round my new world as a published writer, and realised that it was possible to put a book out without a publisher too. (I was completely ignorant about most things in publishing at that time; your typical hobby-writer-got-lucky’.) I love working with Legend Press and being traditionally published, and I certainly hope I’ll repeat the process one day, but by the time I got The Attic Room licked into shape, the only way to have it out this year was to self publish. It’s been a fun ride so far; I’ve loved working with my editor, and the absolute highlight was making the cover image. This book may not sell as many copies as its traditionally published siblings, but that doesn’t matter. It’s my baby and I love it. And all its locations.
And sometime soon I’ll be back on Arran, sitting outside my friend’s home, looking down across the Firth. Just like Nina.
Thanks Linda. I’m looking forward to reading my copy. The Attic Room is available here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Linda Huber grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, where she trained as a physiotherapist. She spent the next ten years working with neurological patients and handicapped children, firstly in Glasgow and then in Switzerland. During this time she learned that different people have different ways of dealing with stressful events in their lives, and this knowledge still helps her today, in her writing.
Linda now lives in Arbon, Switzerland, where she works as a language teacher at a school in a medieval castle on the banks of Lake Constance.
The Paradise Trees is her debut novel and was published by Legend Press in 2013. Her second Legend Press book, The Cold Cold Sea, was published in August 2014.
Linda has also had over 50 short stories and articles published in women’s magazines, and contributed a story to the 2014 published anthology Winter Tales. All proceeds from this book go to The Teenage Cancer Trust and The Cystic Fibrosis Trust.
Visit Linda’s website: www.lindahuber.net