What is it about antiques that people love? I could spend hours browsing in antique shops. Even my wedding and engagement rings are antiques. I love the fact there’s a mysterious story behind my rings, that they were once a gift of love and that as things of beauty they are still cherished. And I think this is the case with all antiques – we love to imagine some romance behind these ancient objects.
I hit on the idea for my second novel, The Antique Love, one day when I was ill and lying under the blankets in my living-room. I was too ill even to pick up a book (too ill to read! I must have been ill!), and so I was flicking through the TV channels and came across a BBC programme called Antiques Road Trip. Through the haze of my temperature I lay and watched episode after episode, fascinated by scenes of gentle road trips through the British countryside, rummaging in antique shops. I began to think how lovely it would be to be the owner of an antique shop…and that’s how my heroine, Penny Rosas, came about.
The Antique Love is due to be published in September this year. (You can find details and the blurb here in the Muse Bookstore.) If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know I posted the draft first page of this novel a while back. I was at the stage of wondering if the novel was even any good (I have these terrible doubts all the time I’m writing) and was hoping some of my blog readers would let me know. The comments were all positive – whew! – and so I continued. It’s been a long journey of writing and rewriting, but now my second book is going to appear in print!
If you look back to the first page draft, you’ll find one commenter (Andy) suggested I focus more on the hero in the opening scene. I took his advice and rewrote the passage. Here’s the final first page – I thought you might like to compare the two and see just how much messing about and rewriting I have to do until I’m satisfied! If only I could write a whole novel without having to go back over it again and again! Anyway, here is the opening scene of The Antique Love – I hope you enjoy it!
The sound of leather boots striking the shop’s wooden floor caused Penny to lift her head. There was a hush in the melodious murmur of customers around her and for a couple of disorientating moments her shop seemed to go into slow-mo. The tall man in the doorway stood for a second, his keen grey eyes sweeping the interior before he stepped inside. He deliberated for a moment or two before turning toward the display in the window. His leather satchel, slung casually from one shoulder, clinked with each footfall as he made his way past her counter. A few drops of rain darkened his blonde head and faded shirt and as he passed a hint of fresh mountain air seemed to follow in his wake. Penny leaned forward, eyes wide, following his broad shoulders as he made his way to the antiques in the window.
She touched her assistant’s arm. “See that guy who’s just walked in?” She tilted her head in the direction of the doorway and lowered her voice. “Do you think he’s a cowboy?”
The leather boots and the hard-looking gentleman stood in the window, oblivious to the attention they were receiving. When Tehmeena failed to look up, Penny tapped her arm and raised her voice. “I said that guy’s got to be a cowboy. What do you say?”
Tehmeena finally raised her head from emptying coins into the cash till and proceeded to roll her eyes. She and Penny had been friends for a long time, and she was used to her boss’s occasional flights of fancy.
“I’d say why don’t you take a look outside?” she asked, turning back to her cash-register. “See any white horses tethered up?”
Penny made a pretence of swivelling her head to scan the street outside. She’d worked this shop-floor since leaving school and knew exactly what she was going to see. Sure enough, there were crowds of exhausted shoppers crammed onto the pavement, a never-ending line of stationary cars and red buses, and drizzle. Endless grey drizzle. Yep, everything just normal for a Saturday in London. Plenty of traffic, but a distinct lack of horses.
Do you love antiques? Did you enjoy my first page and would you want to read on? Are you a writer, and do you sometimes get bogged down in re-writes? If you have any comments or questions, please let me know – I’d love to hear from you!