Rachael Lucas is a mother, gardener, coveter of beautiful things, outgoing introvert, reader, bed lover, early morning riser, night owl and a sleep deprived mass of contradictions.
She wrote her first (astoundingly awful) novel at the age of 11, bashing away every night after school on a portable typewriter. It was rejected (very kindly) by a publisher.
Rachael lives by the seaside in the North West of England with her partner, their blended family of six children, a very hairy dog and two and a half cats. She likes listening to BBC Radio 4 and thinking about writing. When she is writing, she hates everything and everyone and doesn’t brush her hair.
For more about Rachael, visit her blog at www.talesfromthevillage.com or say hello to her on Twitter, where she can be found talking nonsense under the username @karamina (and if you ask, she’ll explain the origin of the slightly odd name).
Inspiration for the setting for Sealed with a Kiss
I first had the idea for Sealed with a Kiss when I was living and working on the Island of Bute in my twenties. I loved the idea of someone thinking they could escape to an island and be anonymous, only to discover that island life doesn’t leave much room for secrets. My English heroine Kate is glad of the chance to leave her home town of Cambridge and head north for an adventure by the seaside – she just hasn’t banked on discovering an abandoned seal pup in the process…
The first time you get on the ferry to the island is an exciting experience. It turns around surprisingly quickly, and the mainland disappears in a swirl of foam. On a beautiful day – and the islands get more than their fair share of them – you can stand on the deck and watch the mainland disappear, and then the boat turns around the coastline and before you know it you’re looking as the tiny shapes of houses on the shore of Bute become closer.
Once you’re on the island, it’s not a long drive to my favourite beach, Scalpsie Bay. The Island of Bute is only 15 miles long by 4 miles wide, so you can explore on foot, by bike, or (my favourite) on a horse – there are stables there offering guided treks which will take you to some of the most beautiful parts of the island. Scalpsie Bay is a particular favourite of mine, and I used it as inspiration for Selkie Bay in Sealed with a Kiss. There’s a 200 strong seal colony there, and on a good day you can get close enough to see that the odd-shaped rocks in the sea are in fact basking seals.
From Scalpsie Bay you can get a beautiful view of Arran and the Holy Isle. I’m always drawn to Scalpsie Bay because it’s so quiet, and there’s something magical about it – but the whole island is very special to me, and I think that comes across in the descriptions of the fictional island of Auchenmor in Sealed with a Kiss.
It’s only 90 minutes by train and ferry from Glasgow and well worth a visit if you’re in Scotland – years ago before package holidays were popular everyone loved to visit “doon the watter” and take a day trip – or longer – to Beautiful Bute. I’ll be heading back there soon – I can’t stay away!
About Sealed With a Kiss:
Kate is dumped on her best friend’s wedding day by the world’s most boring boyfriend, Ian. She’s mostly cross because he got in first – until she remembers she’s now homeless as well as jobless. Rather than move back home to her ultra-bossy mother, Kate takes a job on the remote Scottish island of Auchenmor as an all-round Girl Friday. Her first day is pretty much a disaster: she falls over, smack bang at the feet of her grouchy new boss, Roddy, Laird of the Island. Unimpressed with her townie ways, he makes it clear she’s got a lot to prove.
Island life has no room for secrets, but prickly Roddy’s keeping something to himself. When his demanding ex-girlfriend appears back on the island, Kate’s budding friendship with her new boss comes to an abrupt end. What is Fiona planning – and can she be stopped before it’s too late?
Sealed with a Kiss: Kindle
Sealed With a Kiss: Paperback
A big thank you to Rachael for sharing not just a beautifully sounding setting but also these incredible photos!