Today I am thrilled to welcome author Caroline England to My Chestnut Reading Tree. When I saw that Caroline had set parts of Beneath The Skin in Cheshire near to where I live, I just knew I needed to investigate further!
Beneath the Skin is set in South Manchester and Cheshire. How important is location to the story?
An interesting question! At first thought I’d say no. I feel Beneath the Skin could be set anywhere because it’s more about people than plot, and though I’m stating the obvious, people are universal! Whatever our size, shape or age, whatever our colour, race or creed, we’re all human beings, so different on the outside, but so similar within…
Of course that’s a simplification. We’re all complex and different inside too, but in my humble view, we all have fears and frailties that we often hide beneath the skin. We all lie and cheat at some point in our lives. That’s not to say any of your lovely readers lie or cheat quite to the extent of the characters in my book, but in some small way we do. Many of us are insecure or jealous or greedy sometimes. Some of us make mistakes or fall in love when we shouldn’t. And try as we might, we can’t all show our best sides all the time. It’s just too exhausting!
But back to location. The advice is to write what you know, so I’ve done precisely that. Sami and Sophie live in a modern townhouse in my village, Didsbury, so I have to be very careful what I say! I love Didsbury, so I’m only joking, but if readers want an idea of what it’s like, they should check out the TV programme Cold Feet which is both set and filmed here. I didn’t deliberately write Beneath the Skin to ape it, but it has been described as a ‘very dark Cold Feet’ many times.
Mike and Olivia live in Chorlton. I once read an article which said the pros of living there were that it was a ‘Guardian-reading heaven’. The cons were that it was ‘A tad self-righteous’ and that people hung out at Unicorn Grocery to discuss falafel recipes and their kids’ food allergies. Ouch! I’m glad I didn’t say that. I like Chorlton very much; Dan, my favourite character in my next book lives there too.
We travel south to Cheshire for Antonia and David. They live near Alderley Edge, the champagne capital of the North. We have finally reached the location which, I feel, is important to the story! This area of Cheshire is gorgeous! In the middle of the undulating green countryside, it is littered with glossy shops, bars, restaurants and spectacular gated mansions; it’s where the super wealthy and the Manchester City and United footballers live!
Antonia and David are no different from their neighbours. They are the lucky rich! They live in White Gables, a huge house set in large gardens with stunning views of The Edge. They have every gadget and gizmo. They are what many people aspire to! They have everything. Don’t they? Ah, there’s the rub. Money doesn’t buy happiness. All is not what it seems. Why does Antonia self-harm and isolate herself in that huge house? What is David hiding beneath his gregarious, larger than life personality? Check out Beneath the Skin and find out!
And if you’re intrigued by that then why not enter my giveaway to win a paperback copy of Beneath the Skin! Just leave me a comment below telling me why you would like to win and I will pick a winner tomorrow!
About the book…
Three women. Three secrets.
Antonia is beautiful and happily married. Her life is perfect. So why does she hurt herself when nobody’s watching?
Sophie is witty, smart and married to the best-looking man in town. She likes a drink, but who doesn’t?
Olivia is pretending to be a happy wife and mother. But her secret could tear her family apart.
Their lies start small, they always do. But if they don’t watch out, the consequences will be deadly.