The Cottage on Winter Moss is the latest title by Allie Cresswell. The paperback was published earlier this month and the Kindle edition became available yesterday. To celebrate its publication, the Kindle edition is available at 99p for today only.
For readers who are familiar with Allie’s books, this new book marks a departure from her historical Talbot family saga series as it’s a standalone with a contemporary setting. However, history lovers, never fear, because it features a cleverly intertwined historical thread.
Burned-out author Dee needs fresh inspiration. Impetuously, she abandons London and her good-for-nothing boyfriend to go wherever her literary quest takes her. Journey’s end is a remote village on the shores of a wild estuary, overshadowed by a ruined pele tower. She rents Winter Cottage and waits for a story to emerge.
The bleak beauty of the whispering dunes, the jacquard of colour and texture of the marsh and a romantic tree in a secluded glade—The Trysting Tree—all seduce Dee. Nevertheless, the secretive behaviour of a handsome neighbour, lights across the marsh, a spurious squire and a bizarre, moonlit encounter all suggest there is something odd afoot.
Local gossip and crumbling graveyard inscriptions give Dee the opening she needs. She begins to weave hints about the tragic history of a local family, feuding brothers and a fatal fire into a sweeping historical saga. Her characters clamour for a voice as the tale spools effortlessly onto the page—demanding to be told. Dee feels more like its instrument than its instigator.
As she becomes enmeshed in the local community, Dee is startled to find her fiction unnervingly confirmed by fact, her history still resonating in the present-day.
Is she being guided by echoes of the past?
The Cottage on Winter Moss takes it’s inspiration from a walk that Allie took with her husband on the wild northwest coast of Cumbria.
Walking along the dunes one day a couple of years ago, they came across a large, strange structure made of flotsam and jetsam from the beach. It was built in a horseshoe shape, with an opening on the landward side. The grass growing up through it suggested it had been there for many years. Allie’s thoughts were who built it and why? What was its purpose?
Allie’s thoughts became those of Dee, her novel’s main protagonist, as she takes a similar walk. You can read that extract here. The local landscape is a characteristic feature of the book as Allie explains,
I wanted to pour into it all the colour, texture and wildness of this far corner of NW England. The weather would necessarily play a large role. I wanted all the character and atmosphere of my home county to be reflected, as well as some of the history.
However, as authors often discover, the book took on a life of it’s own as it also became a book about writing. Allie’s blog post A book about writing a book sheds more light on how the writing process intruded on her original narrative.
About the Author
Allie Cresswell is the recipient of two coveted One Stop Fiction Five Star Awards and three Readers’ Favorite Awards.
Allie was born in Stockport, UK and began writing fiction as soon as she could hold a pencil.
Allie recalls: ‘I was about 8 years old. Our teacher asked us to write about a family occasion and I launched into a detailed, harrowing and entirely fictional account of my grandfather’s funeral. I think he died very soon after I was born; certainly I have no memory of him and definitely did not attend his funeral, but I got right into the details, making them up as I went along (I decided he had been a Vicar, which I spelled ‘Vice’). My teacher obviously considered this outpouring very good bereavement therapy so she allowed me to continue with the story on several subsequent days, and I got out of maths and PE on a few occasions before I was rumbled.’
She went on to do a BA in English Literature at Birmingham University and an MA at Queen Mary College, London.
She has been a print-buyer, a pub landlady, a book-keeper, run a B & B and a group of boutique holiday cottages. Nowadays Allie writes full time having retired from teaching literature to lifelong learners.
She has two grown-up children, two granddaughters and two grandsons, is married to Tim and lives in Cumbria.
You can contact Allie via :-