Today I welcome author Jane Lacey-Crane to shine the spotlight on her character, Abby Cowan …
The character I’m going to focus on is my heroine, Abigail Cowan.
Abby is 37. She owns and runs her own café, in a not very trendy part of East London, called Rosie Lee’s.
When we meet Abby at the start of the book she’s single (that might have changed by the end of the book but I’m not giving anything away!) and has been for more years than she cares to think about!
She is a single parent to her 18-year old daughter, Lucy.
When did you create Abby?
Abby’s character was the foundation of the book and I created her before any of the other characters. I wanted to write a real woman with real problems. Abby’s business is failing, her daughter is leaving home to go to university and she hasn’t had a date in years. I wanted her to be someone that readers could relate to and, hopefully in the end, cheer for! She’s like a lot of women I know, myself included, who are a mum first, and everything else second.
She isn’t glamorous or young and she couldn’t fit into a pair of skinny jeans if her life depended on it, but she has the potential for a great love affair with a gorgeous face from her past.
Did you write Abby to accommodate the book or the book to accommodate Abby?
Abby was my starting point – I knew what I wanted her story to be. I plotted the book out quite extensively before I started to write and everything else just grew from her.
What do you like most about Abby?
The thing I like most about Abby is her commitment to her family – and by family I don’t just mean blood relatives. In the book there are two characters, Flo and Liz, who aren’t related to Abby, but they are as much a part of her family as her daughter and brother. Abby is loyal and honest in her dealings with people which I think is a great strength of hers.
What do you like least about her?
The thing I like least is Abby’s initial lack of confidence in herself. At the beginning of the book she questions why a man like Jack (our romantic hero) would want to be with someone as ordinary as her. She doesn’t see her own strength or beauty and because of that she lacks the confidence to take risks. I would say though, that by the end of the book, she starts to rethink her outlook on lots of things, not least her opinion of herself.
Did your early readers like her or did you have to change her in any way?
I was very lucky – everyone who read the early drafts liked the character of Abby very much. And my editor at Aria, Lucy, really liked her too and understood what I was trying to do with her. Phew! That was a relief!
Does she have any similarities with anyone real?
Abby is a mixture of lots of women I know, including a little bit of me I think! Her love for Lucy, her daughter, and her desire to do the very best for her, even if it means putting herself at the bottom of the pile – these are qualities that I see in all the women I know. Her fear about what the future holds for her after her daughter leaves home, is something that I hope lots of mums will relate to. What do you do after so many years of being ‘Mum’? At the time I was writing those parts my eldest daughter was preparing for the move up to secondary school and I was coming to terms with the fact that she didn’t need me as much anymore! That was hard enough – god knows what I’m going to be like when she leaves home like Abby’s daughter in the book. I’m going to be an emotional wreck!!
What are your plans for her?
I don’t have any more plans for Abby. I think I’ve told her story as completely as I can. I’ve achieved what I wanted to with her – I’ve taken her from a place in her life where she was lost and a bit afraid of the future to, hopefully, a place where she has found her strength again and is using her rediscovered confidence to live a fantastic life.
Would you be friends in real life?
I think I would be friends with Abby in real life. Although I’d probably be very jealous that she had such a gorgeous other half! It’s not a recipe for long lasting friendship if you lust after your friend’s man!! It’s not weird to be a little bit in love with a fictional character of your own making is it?
I wrote the book for all the women I know who just want a chance to escape into someone else’s world at the end of a long day working or wrangling children! Or husbands! I want them to sit down with the book, have a glass of wine, or what’s probably the first hot cup of tea or coffee they’ve managed to have all day (I drink lots of lukewarm forgotten cups of tea during the day!) and just enjoy reading about Abby and her café, her family and friends and, of course, the handsome hero, Jack Chance.
Thank you so much for joining me, Jane! Abby sounds great! Find out more about Abby and her café by getting your copy of the book, Secrets and Tea at Rosie Lee’s.
Here’s the blurb …
Aria (1 May 2018)
Welcome to Rosie Lee’s cafe in the heart of the East End – where there’s not an avocado, slice of sourdough or double-shot no-foam soy milk caramel latte on the menu!
Rosie-Lee’s owner Abby is a woman without a plan… and her beloved little cafe is a business with a serious lack of customers. The Rosie Lee’s fry-up is legendary, but cooked breakfasts alone – however perfectly sizzled the bacon – aren’t going to pay the bills.
Fast approaching forty and fighting a serious case of empty nest syndrome, Abby realises it’s not just her menu that needs a makeover. And when Jack Chance, her The One That Got Away, saunters through the cafe doors and back into her life things definitely look set to change…
Abby has always believed a cup of strong builders tea makes everything better, but Jack’s reappearance is a complication even the trusty sausage sarnie can’t resolve…
About the author …
Jane has reached the age now where she no longer tells people her age! She’s old enough to legally be able to do everything and that’s all that matters. ‘Secrets & Tea at Rosie Lee’s’ is Jane’s debut novel. Born and brought up in London’s East End, she now lives in Lincolnshire with her family. Thankfully she recently discovered the joys of mail order pie, mash & liquor, so she can relive her youth anytime she feels like it!
Although writing stories was something that Jane had always done, she never thought anyone would pay her to do it so she focussed on learning to act instead, figuring that this was a much more reliable way to earn a living. Sadly, her career as an actress was shortlived, actually it was non-existent, so she turned her attention to another reliable line of work – Cable Television! This was where Jane managed to finally get paid (badly!) doing something she enjoyed – writing. She began with scripts for a series all about Serial Killers (imaginatively entitled ‘Serial Killers’) and then moved on to a series of history documentaries. This series never saw the light of day in the UK but Jane has been informed that it used be very popular with insomniacs staying in hotels in the Far East. This may or may not be true.
She is currently working on her second contemporary novel for Aria Fiction.