What’s it about?
Second chances, new loves and scrumptious cakes, in this heart-warming novel. Perfect for all fans of Fern Britton, Katie Fforde and Cathy Bramley.
Folllowing the tragic death of her beloved husband, Anna Hemingway decides it’s time for a fresh start. So Anna and her three-year-old daughter Ellie move to a picture-perfect cottage in the beautiful village of Little Somerby, and when she takes over the running of the village tea shop, Ellie and Anna start to find happiness again.
But things get complicated when Matthew Carter, the owner of the local cider farm, enters their lives. Throughout a whirlwind year of village fetes and ancient wassails, love, laughter, apple pie and new memories, life slowly blossoms again. But when tragedy strikes and history seems to be repeating itself, Anna must find the strength to hold onto the new life she has built.
This beautiful, life-affirming debut novel marks the beginning of the Little Somerby series, and promises to make you smile, cry, reach for a cream tea, and long for a life in the perfect English countryside.
About Fay Keenan
Fay Keenan was born in Surrey and raised in Hampshire, before finally settling back in the West Country. When Fay is not chasing her children around or writing, she teaches English at a local secondary school. She lives with her husband of fourteen years, two daughters, a cat, two chickens and a Weimaraner called Bertie in a village in Somerset, which may or may not have provided the inspiration for Little Somerby.
Connect with Fay
Firstly, could you please tell us a little about yourself?
Well, I’m a nearly-40-year-old author and I also teach English at a local secondary school, as well as being a mother of two small daughters and surrogate mother to a large Weimaraner! Oh, and I’m a wife, as well, so I wear a lot of hats. When I’m not being all those things, I love reading, watching films and, of course, writing.
What was your favorite scene to write?
That’s a tricky one! I think it was Matthew and Anna’s first proper kiss on top of the cider vats – I had that idea in my head from quite early on, and I wanted to make it a really intense moment for them.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
That there is always a silver lining, even in the darkest of times, and that sometimes that lining can appear when you least expect it. Hope is a powerful thing!
How did you come up with the idea of writing The Second Chance Tea Shop? What inspired you?
I’m inspired by the landscape and the features of Somerset, where I’ve lived on and off for twenty five years. It’s a county full of quirks and idiosyncrasies and I wanted to put some of those in a book. I also had a very specific memory of the massive cider vats at one of the local cider producers, that pretty much triggered off the whole story.
Was it difficult to write about the subject of loss and death of a loved one or did the words and emotions come easy? Was it difficult or not to find the right balance between laughs and tears in this novel?
It was difficult to know if I was striking the balance correctly, as I was writing from the heart, so I knew it felt right to me, but I hoped it felt right to other readers. Loss is something that everyone experiences, unless they’re incredibly lucky, and although I’ve not been through (thankfully), what Anna has, I’ve definitely felt the loss of people close to me, so I tried to draw on that. I found that a lot of the time my characters spoke for themselves, so all I had to do was listen very hard to them!
What’s the best compliment/quote you’ve received about The Second Chance Tea Shop? / Any funny critisism yet?
A couple of people have mentioned a particular scene with a particular piece of furniture to me, which raised an eyebrow or two, and that was pretty funny, although definitely not a criticism! So far I’ve had ‘I couldn’t put it down,’ quite a lot, which I take as a huge compliment. I’m sure there will be actual criticism at some point, it’s inevitable, but as an English teacher I’m well used to giving out constructive criticism so I’m pretty well able to take it, too.
Are you working on a new novel yet? Can you tell something about it?
I’m currently working on the next of the Little Somerby novels, which will pick up on an existing character’s journey. This character is definitely someone who is great fun to write, and, hopefully, fun to read, too!
Check out the other stops on the tour too. Next stop tomorrow: The Great British Book Off!