Tuesday, 1 March 2016

GUEST BLOG POST by Grace Macdonald, Author of The Ruby Ring

The Ruby Ring by Grace Macdonald

A spellbinding timeslip story of two young women, each with a secret. A ring unites them, a century divides them. An international bestseller, set in a seaside town in Devon in Victorian times and the present day.

After a whirlwind romance, Laura Marchmont marries the charming Charles Haywood. Leaving her old life behind, she struggles to fit into Charles’s world, and to be accepted by his young daughters from his first marriage. Laura also hides a terrible secret from her new husband, which casts a shadow over her life. Then, she discovers the story of a young girl who lived more than a century before. Laura is compelled to uncover the fate of Mary Rose.

1886. When Mary Rose Marchmont’s widowed father remarries it signals the end of her childhood. A series of tragic events leads Mary Rose to be accused of a shocking crime, after which her life will never be the same again.

A moving family story of history, romance and secrets.

Grace Macdonald is a pen name of the hugely popular romantic fiction author Sophie King. 


Seven years ago, my second husband and I moved out of London to the south west. It was a huge step for me as I had always lived within spitting distance of a tube station. I’ll never forget driving down the motorway, thinking ‘what are we doing?’ In fact, we had a deal that if, after five years, one of us hated it, we would move.
In fact, we loved it from day one.

I’d always wanted to live by the sea. My childhood summer holidays were spent in my Godmother’s cottage in the Isle of Wight. I wrote poetry in those days (something I’ve recently taken up again) and I clearly remember taking inspiration from the woody landslip below her cottage; the downs above, studded with gorse bushes; and the golden sands with little inlets.

We don’t have a great deal of sand on our beach unless the tide is out. But it’s a glorious place to be. I can breathe properly for the first time in my life. The scenery is stunning. And I run every morning along the front with our dog.

I also write differently.

Almost from the first time I sat down at my computer in our new house, I found that the sea crept into every story. It had become so much a part of my new life that it also stepped into my plot. My heroines walk on the beach as I do. They swim in the sea like me. And they get lost in the hills as I have.

You don’t need to move somewhere different. You could just visit it. Another writer once said to me years ago, that if I got an invitation to go somewhere different, I should take it – even if it was just another town down the road. ‘It gives you a new world to write about,’ she told me.

Very true. Twice a month, my husband and I go out for day trips, partly to explore our new part of the world. And partly for my plot. I also buy postcards when I’m in a new place and stick them on the walls of my study.

One of my children worked in Vietnam for three years. I visited her twice and then found that one of my heroines ended up there. It’s no coincidence that The Ruby Ring is set on the coast and that the heroine’s house is above some old lime quarries. It’s one of my favourite daily walks.

Nor do you don’t need to spend too much money to go to another place. A bus or train ride to somewhere you haven’t been to before can be just as effective for inspiration. Sometimes the actual journey is more interesting than the destination. We went on a £3 tram ride a few months ago through a nature reserve. To be honest, I didn’t really care for the marshes around us. But I loved the tram and its quaint furnishings. That too found its way into a book.

So book your tickets now! If you plan your journey carefully, you’ll end up with a great trip from page one through to the final paragraph. Bon voyage!

Get your copy here