Staying in with Lorna Hunting

A month ago I had the pleasure of meeting Lorna Hunting at the Deepings Literary Festival when we chatted all about her latest book. Although I didn’t have time to read it, I knew it would be popular with many Linda’s Book Bag readers so I asked Lorna if she would stay in with me to chat about it. Luckily she agreed so let’s find out more:

Staying in with Lorna Hunting

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Lorna. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.

Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?

I’ve brought New Beginnings on Vancouver Island the seeds of which were sown by my mother telling me about our Canadian forebears when I was a child. It’s “faction” in that I’ve taken an actual journey my 3X great grandparents made in 1854 as the basis for this novel and woven fictional characters around it. My family are not in the book, but I have used their diaries and papers for inspiration and detail. It’s an interesting period in history and not many people are aware that colliers left the UK to set up home just off the west coast of Canada. The cover says it all – historical fiction with romance.

That sound wonderful. What can we expect from an evening in with New Beginnings on Vancouver Island?

You can expect to begin in Cumberland, travel to Liverpool and then emigrate in a 19th century three-masted sailing ship around Cape Horn in winter. To share the hopes and expectations of young enthusiastic colliers from Whitehaven and Brierley Hill who have signed up to work for the Hudson’s Bay Company. Some will find love and others will not survive the trip. Those running away from trouble will learn that it’s not that easy to shake it off. On arrival adjustments must be made by all since a new country means new ways and for some of the settlers this takes a lot of getting used to.

I love the sound of that – and I’ve been round Cape Horn in a force 10 so I think I’d probably find that journey very relatable! How is New Beginnings on Vancouver Island being received?

Amazon reviews include –

“Lorna’s research has given us a compelling historical novel that kept me captivated from the first page. Thanks to the beautiful narrative, I felt I too was on this epic journey to Canada and I’ve done some travelling in my time, but none as tough as this. A stunning read.”

“This is without doubt one of my top reads of the year. Engrossing and page turning from start to finish – I cannot wait for Lorna’s next book.”

“A fascinating historical romance… The book will appeal to many types of reader: those interested in historical romance, sailing ships and a detailed account of rounding Cape Horn and sailing through the Pacific, and to those interested in the life of a British Cumbrian mining community and its hardships and the opportunities offered by Empire and the chance to build a new life. It also shows how Empire was built by very ordinary men and women. Thoroughly enjoyable and a compelling book.”

You must be delighted with those responses Lorna.

What else have you brought along and why have you brought it?

I’ve brought a pair of Staffordshire figures that made the original trip in 1854. I’ve brought them because it’s interesting that with limited space on the ship my forebears took the trouble to travel with something so breakable, so they must have been important to them. I’m guessing they were probably a wedding present they didn’t want to leave behind. The other thing is that it’s a miracle they have survived this long intact. Passed down over the years they are now safely back in England after over 160 years. They have no financial value except for their provenance. It’s a privilege to have them, but I have to admit it’s quite a responsibility to be the keeper of these country folk and they are on a very high shelf.

Oh wow! What a fabulous story. No wonder you’re feeling the responsibility of keeping them intact. Thanks so much for staying in with me to chat about New Beginnings on Vancouver Island. I think I’d love it. Let me give readers a few more details:

New Beginnings on Vancouver Island

The year is 1854 and Stag Liddell, a young collier from Whitehaven, signs up to work in Vancouver Island’s new coal mines. Whilst waiting for his ship to Canada, he meets ambitious school teacher Kate McAvoy who is also making the trip.

As the ship nears its destination, Stag and Kate’s relationship begins to blossom, but damning information comes to light and a pact made years before comes into play.

Will their budding romance survive these devastating revelations? And will they both achieve their dreams in this new land?

New Beginnings on Vancouver Island is published by Goldcrest and available for purchase here.

About Lorna Hunting

Lorna was born and brought up in Lincolnshire in the UK. After teaching the piano and raising a family, she exhibited and lectured on antique Chinese textiles in the UK, New York, China and Hong Kong. Following on from that she studied and taught at the School of Oriental and African Studies [SOAS] in London gaining a doctorate in Chinese history. She now writes historical fiction full time and lives in Stamford in a very old house with stone walls and lots of beams. Just the place for a historian. She is very fond of rabbits.

For more information, visit Lorna’s website, follow her on Twitter @lornahunting or find her on Instagram and Facebook.

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