The first part of a trilogy, it is available as an ebook and as a paperback on Amazon.
“My mother Sheila ran a b&b in Fishbourne for about 35 years. I think she was about 55 when she bought the house, a 16th-century old coaching house, and she ran it until about three years ago, in Fishbourne Road West.
“My mum ran it very successfully and I used to help her occasionally, waitressing and cooking, and there were lots of stories about the guests and funny things that happened. She was very popular. She had lots of people that would come year after year and tradespeople that would come along. It was a very happy time for her.
“It was a hard way to earn a living. You are tied to the job. You can’t easily get away. If you get someone to come in and run it for you, they have got to be people that you really trust.
“She used to get me in a lot of the time. But she did very well. She made a very good living. She had 16 bedrooms, and it was very popular with the Americans because it was a good location, near Chichester in a really nice spot. She had passing trade and people would keep coming back.”
All memories and experiences which have helped shape Clare’s book, her first novel – a fictional story set in Willow Cottage. Clare has kept the name of the original.
When Holly Bradbury turns 30 and decides to buy a wonderful, former coaching-house, trading as a bed and breakfast establishment in the country, everyone thinks she has lost her senses Her seemingly-perfect relationship with Mac, a high-flying executive, is now firmly on the rocks and Holly wants to change her life. Fast. But is burying herself in the country, the answer?
As Clare says, the book will tell us whether her new life as a bed and breakfast queen, tripping over bundles of washing and mounds of ironing, is the answer or not. Will she fall flat on her face or will it prove the gateway to the life of her dreams?
“She has done very well in her career but she is in a bit of a rocky relationship. S”e wants to have a family and settle down, but her boyfriend doesn’t.
“She has known him a long time. But then she inherits a bit of money, and with this she buys Willow Cottage. Everybody thinks she is crazy, but she leaves London and falls in love with this house she is going to buy.
“The book is about her adventures. It is a bit of a love story as well…”
It is also the first part in a trilogy. Clare is hoping to bring the second book out before Christmas and the final part next year, the three together becoming The Willow Cottage Trilogy.
“The first is a very light-hearted love story touching on a few more serious elements. The second book will be a lot more meaty. But it is also talking a lot about the house. There is a lot of really interesting history to the house.”
As for Clare’s mum, currently living in residential care, she is happy about the book: “She was the original bed & breakfast queen!”