What’s in a title?

I’ve been working on my second novel for a while now as you’ll be aware if you follow me on social media … it’s another timeslip, set in the present day and this time, WWII, only this one is set in Dorset not Cornwall, a place close to my heart and somewhere I visit on a regular basis – also, (no surprises) – I have an ancestral connection to Lyme Regis. Last weekend Lyme was awash with Warner Bros film crews and tourists, and although I did catch a glimpse of the steam drifter ‘Lydia Eva’ – there was no Timothee Chalamet sighting on the Cobb for me. The Wonka prequel however, is something I will definitely be watching when it comes out, and hey, who doesn’t love Roald Dahl? Interestingly, he attended St Peter’s Boarding School in Weston – Super – Mare, approximately 30 mins from where I live … another obscure link in this post but absolutely, a connecting one.

So, when does the title of a WIP become apparent? well this one appears to be very elusive … The Secret of Creek Cottage title was there from the start and what did help, I think, was that the book cover was already in place. I am very lucky, and grateful, to have secured Jo Grundy once again to commission the cover and am very much looking forward to seeing what this will look like – perhaps once this is completed I will be able to give you a title … but in the meantime … enjoy this snippet from Chapter II.

II

Amelia

1944

Amelia picked up the wicker basket on the hallway table. It was stuffed with old newspaper intended to wrap the fish in and underneath, then safely tuck into the corner of the basket where there was a small black leather purse that held the coins needed to buy the fish. Today was Friday and she was heading to the Cobb early to make sure she got the best of the haul that was due in. Eve, her older sister by two years, had been sent to the market square for the ‘nicer’ produce as she hated the smell of fish and point blank refused to have anything to do with it; although she was quite happy to eat it once it had been cooked. But Amelia didn’t mind, she loved the hustle and bustle of the quayside, greeting friends and nattering, watching the American GI’s who’d arrived at the beginning of winter last year, walking up and down the promenade in their smart uniforms and buttons so shiny you could do your make-up in them. Not that she was allowed to wear make-up, except for a smidgeon of lipstick and some rouge on very special occasions. She didn’t have any make-up of her own so had to beg and borrow from her sister or Ma. Good job her Pa was away fighting though, he’d have the lot wiped off in no time. She could hear him saying, ‘None of my girls will be going out looking like hoars, not if I’ve got anything to do with it… and that includes you too Nelly,’ as he wagged his finger. But somehow Ma, whose real name was Eleanor (although Pa always called her Nelly), managed to put on bright red lippy when Pa returned off furlough and he didn’t seem to mind too much then!

Carefully, she pulled the heavy front door of no 16 Bridge Street closed, and waving to old Mrs. Whittle across the street, skipped down the cobbles towards the promenade, swinging her basket. She was feeling happy… the sun was shining, the sky was blue and void of even a tiny whisp of cloud, but moreover, she was hoping that Bobby White would be on one of the boats due into the harbour that morning, and that singular thought, was enough to put a huge smile on her face. The last time she’d seen him he’d winked at her and said when he saw her next they’d take a walk along the Cobb to End Rocks. So, reliving the conversation for the billionth time, she’d put on her best frock with its delicate yellow and pale blue flowers and borrowed her Ma’s blue paste clip-on earrings. The dress was a little tight if truth be told, but with clothes rationing in force it would have to do. The four glass green buttons which adhered to austerity measures, just about secured her modest cleavage and had been salvaged from her sister’s favourite dress that she’d managed to burn whilst ironing. ‘Make do and mend,’ her Ma had said, and so she had. Her sister’s loss was most definitely her gain.

‘Good morning Amelia, you’re out and about early this fine morning. Hoping to meet someone special on your errands?’ Mrs. Partridge smiled broadly as she folded newspapers, putting them carefully in the rack outside the corner shop. ‘And don’t you forget young lady… loose lips sink ships,’ … they both said in unison laughing. It was a daily occurrence of theirs when they met and even though they were joking, Amelia knew only too well the seriousness of the comment. The fact that the Americans were in the sleepy little coastal town was enough of a reminder that the Germans could come ashore at any moment. A very real threat indeed, and yet to anyone who lived in London or any one of the big cities that had suffered so badly from the bombing of late, Lyme Regis, no doubt, appeared as though life was unaffected and continued as normal. She thanked her lucky stars that she’d not been born to parents who lived in a city and she was very happy, thank you, with the huge expanse of sea & sky that changed colour on a daily basis.

By tinamedwardswriter

Author of poetry and fiction and editor of The Beach Hut, an online coastal inspired writing platform for Poetry and flash fiction.

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