Back in Christmas 2017, I visited the pretty Alum Chine area of Bournemouth in the UK with my daughter and my mum. I'd already started writing The Family Secret /The Girl on the Beach, and knew I wanted to base the wintry out-of-season seaside town on Alum Chine. So as it's just a couple of hours' train ride way plus a Nordic Christmas market was being held there that year, what better excuse did I need to go?
Did I also mention I stayed in a chocolate hotel? Yeah, really! I'd like to say that was an essential part of the research but truth is, I just love chocolate!
It was great being able to walk around and take in the atmosphere. I think British seaside towns have a different quality during the winter. Quiet, calm, cold! I needed to get a sense of what Amber, the gift shop owner who discovers a girl walking on the beach barefoot, saw, felt, smelt and tasted during those cold sparse winter months.
It was also a great way to get me in the Christmas mood. A lot of the scenes in The Family Secret are based during the festive period. Don't let that fool you into thinking this winter tale is full of joy and laughter. Frozen deathtrap lakes, chilling family secrets and wintry heartbreak are all included too. This is a Tracy Buchanan novel after all!
See a gallery of pics from my travels to Alum Chine below. If you want to order The Family Secret here or in the US, click here.