Tracy Rees has been called "the most outstanding new voice in historical fiction" by Lucinda Riley and her books are paperback and kindle bestsellers. Tracy has a new novel out and has written this article for the website.
Tenby has always been a special place for me. When I was very young, my parents took me there for short breaks - usually just two or three nights.
When I grew up, moved away, we continued the tradition whenever I had some time at home. By the time I moved back to Wales three years ago we couldn’t do without our Tenby fixes.
I grew up hearing tales of my mother’s summer holidays in Tenby in the 1950s and I was always fascinated by the differences (and similarities!) between her Tenby and mine. I suppose the seeds of a dual narrative - 1950s and present day - were always lurking somewhere in my subconscious.
For Mum it was a place of innocence, fun and summer freedom. And this is very much the flavour of Chloe’s storyline in The Hourglass. When I grew up, my time in Tenby took on the quality of a haven. My visits there offered me a refuge from stressful jobs, eventual burnout and less-than-ideal relationships.
This is Tenby as Nora experiences it in the book.
The final trigger for The Hourglass came when the South Beach Bar Grill opened a few years ago. Mum exclaimed when she first saw it because it had been built on the site of the old Fountains Café, where she used to go dancing. I was absolutely captivated by the thought of the same place having two such different incarnations, only one generation apart. And thus my mind started consciously playing with the idea of a story involving two generations, two different women, two different sets of preoccupations… and Chloe and Nora were born.
It was a joy to set a novel in a place I love so much and it gave me a great excuse to go there more often - for research purposes of course!
By Tracy Rees
Tracy Rees was born in South Wales. A Cambridge graduate, she had a successful eight-year career in non fiction publishing and a second career practising and teaching humanistic counselling. She was the winner of the Richard and Judy Search for a Bestseller Competition and the 2015 LoveStories 'Best Historical Read' award.