The Path to the Last House Before the Sea by Liz Eeles
Alyssa carefully holds the delicate paper map and looks down at the cottages and winding streets of the village by the shore. She came to Heaven’s Cove for a fresh start. But will the pathways on the map lead her to an old secret?
Fleeing from a heartbreaking mistake, all former nurse Alyssa wants is to focus on her new job giving tours of Heaven’s Cove to visitors and sharing the myths and legends of this beautiful place. Nobody needs to know the real reason she came to the village…
Over cups of tea with elderly resident Magda she soon makes a friend who is alone in the world too. For decades, Magda has been secretly in love with her best friend Stan. Desperate to return Magda’s kindness, Alyssa is eager to bring these two lost souls together. But meeting Stan’s tall, handsome son Jack scuppers her plans.
Dedicated to caring for Stan, Jack says Alyssa’s focus on legends keeps the village in the past. But when Alyssa finds an old map revealing the true story of a Heaven’s Cove couple who sacrificed everything for love, she’s sure the romantic tale could bring Stan and Magda together… and although digging up old secrets soon ruffles feathers in the village, with Jack and Alyssa growing close, she can’t help but think she might find happiness after all.
But will Alyssa ever be able to open up about her own past? Or will the truth tear them apart?
An absolutely stunning read that will whisk you away to the Devon coast, where the seagulls soar and saltwater sprays the air. Perfect for fans of Debbie Macomber, Mary Alice Monroe and Barbara O’Neal.
Liz writes heart-warming and uplifting women’s fiction about families and relationships, and romantic comedies full of love and laughs. You can sign up to her newsletter at http://www.lizeeles.com
Liz worked as a journalist for years and brought up a family on the south coast of England, all the while writing fiction on the quiet. After being short-listed in a couple of national novel-writing competitions, her dream of being a published author came true when she was signed by publisher Bookouture (a division of Hachette UK).
When not writing, Liz likes walking by the sea, catching up with friends and binge-watching box sets. She also loves hearing from readers and can be contacted at http://www.lizeeles.com, or on Twitter:@lizeelesauthor, Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lizeelesauthor, or Instagram: lizeelesauthor
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey, please?
I’ve always loved writing but, as a teenager, I had no idea how to go about becoming a published author. So, I became a journalist instead and enjoyed a career writing for newspapers and magazines. When my children got older, I began writing fiction in my spare time — I couldn’t quite shake that dream of being an author — and started submitting my work to agents and publishers. It was all rather soul-destroying, with minimal success, and, as I got into my fifties, I began to think I’d missed the boat completely. Thank goodness I didn’t give up because my persistence finally paid off when I was short-listed in a couple of national novel writing competitions. That brought me to my publisher Bookouture’s attention and they signed me up to write three romantic comedies. Three? I was convinced I only had one book in me, but I’ve now written eleven novels for Bookouture — six uplifting romcoms in all, plus five women’s fiction novels filled with family secrets and romance. I still have to pinch myself sometimes!
Do you have a soundtrack that you listen to when you are writing?
I love having music on in the background, keeping me company — unless I’ve reached a tricky bit of the plot when silence is required. I listen to the radio or to my Spotify playlists which range from Coldplay and Tom Chaplin to songs from musicals and choral requiems. The only problem is I keep stopping writing to sing along.
How do you decide who your books are dedicated to?
It was easy with my first few novels — I dedicated individual books to my husband, my children and grandson, my mum and dad, and close friends. But as the books keep coming, and I move on to a wider circle of family and friends, it gets more complicated because I don’t want to cause any upset by mentioning some people but not others. I wimped out with The Path to the Last House Before the Sea and didn’t do a dedication at all! Fortunately, with a new granddaughter on the way, the dedication for my next book is already sorted.
What was the inspiration behind your latest release?
A holiday in Devon, including some trips to Dartmoor, provided all the inspiration I needed. I loved striding across wild Dartmoor and it sparked an idea for the first book in my Heaven’s Cove series. That has led to four more books, including The Path to the Last House Before the Sea which draws on Devon’s rich smuggling history — secrets from the past leach into the present, affecting the current-day inhabitants of Heaven’s Cove (who have a few secrets of their own).
Do you find it hard to let your characters go when you finish writing the book?
Not really because I’m usually straight on to writing the next book and my head’s filled with a host of new characters. I like to think that the characters I’ve left behind are carrying on happily without me and still exist in their fictional villages (which feel like very real places to me). Of course, writing a series is great because some characters from older books pop up in the newer ones, so I get to meet them again.
What was your favourite read of 2022?
It’s so hard to choose because I read lots of great books last year. Can I cheat a little and plump for a series – the Slough House books by Mick Herron? I love his fast-paced, witty novels about a group of failed spies who have been put out to grass. They feature a character called Jackson Lamb who is wonderfully written – he’s almost unremittingly gross, unkind and acerbic, but readers can’t help but care about him. Or at least I did.
Who is your favourite author?
Again, it’s hard to choose because I admire so many authors. Authors whose books I’ve loved include Jojo Moyes, Jenny Colgan, Mick Herron (obviously), Jill Mansell and Kate Mosse. The first book I remember reading (at school) that I absolutely loved was Pride and Prejudice so I’d better add Jane Austen too.
Was there a point in your life that a book helped you get through, and which one?
Escaping into a book has definitely helped me through a few tricky times in my life — it’s great to curl up with a good book and shut out the real world sometimes. I’ve also found that writing books is very therapeutic. The writing was a great escape for me when my dad was unwell, and it also helped hugely during the first lockdown, just after my dad had died, when the world seemed a sad and scary place. I love creating worlds where happy endings are (almost always) guaranteed.
Is there anyone that you would like to mention and thank for their support of your writing?
SO many people deserve a thank you, including the fabulous team at Bookouture, my wonderful editor Ellen, and my family and friends. But the person I’d like to thank the most is my husband, Tim, who’s believed in me from the start. We have different reading tastes but he reads all of my books at the edits stage and gives his opinion, which I value. He’d never read romcoms or women’s fiction before, but I like to think I’ve converted him to these wonderful genres!
If you had the power to give everyone in the world one book, what would it be and why?
I’m not sure I’d like this power because people’s reading tastes vary and I might take it personally if people hated a book I loved. Instead, I’d give everyone a blank writing book, with a beautiful cover (I love stationery and have LOTS of these) and I’d invite everyone to write their own fictional or autobiographical story.
If you could go for a cuppa with one of your characters, which one would you pick and why?
It would have to be Stanley, the feisty octogenarian in my romantic comedy, New Starts and Cherry Tarts at the Cosy Kettle. He’s having a late-life crisis, having just hit eighty, and is determined to live life to the full – which includes wild swimming, skydiving and eco-protests. He would be a real laugh, and an inspiration as I get older.
What are you working on now?
With The Path to the Last House Before the Sea published on May 18th, I’m working on the next standalone story in the series. Heaven’s Cove – the fictional Devon village where the series is set – feels like home so I’m happy to go back there, especially as this book takes place in winter. I love describing snowy landscapes and stormy seas.
Do you have any events coming up?
I do! I’m taking part in an online panel event on June 6th at 7.30 pm, organised by Staffordshire Libraries, to discuss Holiday Reads. I’m a bit nervous because it’s outside my comfort zone, but I love a good Holiday Read and I’m looking forward to having a chat about them.
Lastly, do you have any questions for your readers?
Lots! One of the best things about being an author is being in touch with readers all around the world. I love finding out more about where they live and what they like to read, and I’m really grateful for the support they give to my books and my writing.
Thank you so much, Liz, for taking the time to be on my blog today. I am very grateful that you stopped by.
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