Storyfinds blog – What inspires author Sue Lilley?

I’ve been thrilled to do a couple of author interviews recently. But one question about my own favourite authors caused way more soul-searching and reminiscing than I expected. I never knew I was so indecisive but I guess it’s a bit like music or movies – it depends on the mood!

I’ve loved many different authors during various phases of my life. As a child, I borrowed Carolyn Keene’s Nancy Drew mysteries from my local library. I then devoured all Catherine Cookson’s historical sagas, which were set in the north of England, where I live. I moved on to Judith Krantz and the big sex and shopping novels of the eighties and all the romantic dramas by Danielle Steel and Nora Roberts.

Undoubtedly, my biggest influence has been Rosamunde Pilcher, who inspired my lasting love of Cornwall, which features in both of my own novels. Her novel The Shell Seekers is my all-time favourite book. I adore the wonderful characters, the sense of family history, the vivid setting. I had it in hardback and read it so many times my copy fell to bits and I had to buy it again, obviously well before the days of the Kindle. I even read it to my daughter as a bedtime story when she was a bit too young to appreciate it but insists to this day that she loved it.

If I was ever to be stranded on a desert island, I’d also take Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, Scruples by Judith Krantz and any of the big and fabulous dramas from Penny Vincenci .

The UK may be a smallish island on the world map but Cornwall is as far away from where I live as you can get without leaving the country. But I love everything about the picturesque wilds of Poldark-country and I feel it’s my destiny to live there one day.

High Hopes is set there, with an old family house at the centre of the drama. The characters are childhood friends who are rocked by a twenty-year secret. High Hopes is the name of a place in the book and also represents the theme of having “high hopes” for the future.

Another Summer was inspired when I was visiting after a severe storm had caused devastating flooding. I saw the remains of an ancient bridge which had been destroyed by a rampant river. There was a shiny motorbike trapped in the debris. There wasn’t a soul in sight and I started thinking what if…?