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  • Writer's pictureLilac Mills

Strange beginnings

The Tanglewood Tea Shop started life about fifteen years ago as something rather different. I'd written two novels before I started this one (dark family dramas - never to see the light of day) and I found that humour kept creeping into my writing, so I thought I'd give something more lighthearted a go.

Originally titled Black Cats and Cupcakes, the story had a strong hint of magic running through it, where Stevie, the main character, had been gently cursed (if there is such a thing as a gentle curse, that is!). Remnants of the original story can still be seen in Betty and the way she appears to know things she has no business knowing, ans Peggy the cat. I didn't actually complete the story as it was.  I got about a third of the way through it, and sent the first three chapters to an agent - who sent back a rather scathing reply, asking me what she was supposed to do with it. She had a point back then; because there weren't as many genres and sub-genres as there are today, she had no idea where to place it or how to pitch it. These days, it would probably sit nicely alongside books by Jenni Keer. There is definitely a market for chick lit with a bit of 'otherworldliness' about it, but I didn't have the courage to continue with Black Cats and Cupcakes as it originally was, and so it became The Tanglewood Tea Shop, and I'm delighted with the way it turned out. 

Readers seem to enjoy it too, and that's all that really matters.

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