‘Where do you get your ideas?’ People tend to ask that question when they hear that you write novels. But ideas are everywhere, available to everyone: you only have to recognise them, and store them in your mind until you have a need for them.
This process can take years, or decades. Along the way, ideas can change, or head off in a new direction. You simply have to drift with them. As I did on one long journey before that first idea finally became a book.
The year I joined the staff of the anti-apartheid newspaper, The Rand Daily Mail, in Johannesburg, we moved into a brand new building. Almost immediately, an altercation broke out between News and Advertising, each department accusing the other of purloining working space. News departments can be snooty, looking down on Advertising, and matters had got fairly heated until somebody discovered that there was a secret room in the middle of the space which didn’t have a door to it.
It was all the builders’ fault ! Egg on face – apologies. And I was thinking – secret room. There’s an idea for a novel. It took years before I wrote it – and I wrote other novels first. But the idea remained with me, travelling 9,000 miles until I found the place for it.
Seeking Clemency is set in a Georgian manor house on the shore of Lough Derg in County Clare. Returning to her childhood home, a woman finds a secret room, pervaded by a lingering perfume, with faded bloodstains on the windowsill, nail marks on the wallpaper and beneath the bed a gold bangle inscribed with a name which means nothing to her: Clemency Conroy.
Who was Clemency? And what happened to her in that room over 30 years ago? In Seeking Clemency Caroline Tremain finds the answer to those questions – and finds herself along the way.
Get your copy of Seeking Clemency HERE!
Joy Martin was born in Limerick. A former journalist, she is the author of eight novels. Her agents are Coombs Moylett Maclean, 120 New Kings Road, Fulham, London SW6 4LZ.