Many years ago in my distant past, when I was still living on the southeast coast of England, I spent four memorable summers working for my mother in her small seaside hotel. I laid, waited on and cleared dining tables, cleaned rooms, welcomed guests and hauled heavy luggage up two flights of stairs since we had no elevator. It was hard physical work and long hours, made even longer by my mother’s insistence that I entertain the guests on the piano when all the chores were finally done. All I received for my pains were room and board, and tips that were few and far between. A poor return for the efforts I put in. At least, that’s how it seemed at the time, when I was stumbling exhausted to my bed, only to rise a few hours later and do it all over again.
Looking back on that experience much later in my life, I realized it had given me so much more. I made some wonderful friends, met some bizarre characters, and had adventures that would have made my mother’s hair curl if she had ever found out. Life back then was unpredictable, exciting and fun!
More than twenty years later, when I was searching for an idea for a series, I remembered those days. What better background in which to set my Edwardian mysteries! A seaside hotel, run by a strong woman with a dedicated staff, eccentric characters, wild adventures…it was all there, just waiting for me to spin my tales around it.
I have now written seventeen Pennyfoot Hotel Mysteries, and each one brings back memories of those bittersweet days. As I write each book, I’m reminded that there’s a positive side to everything. All we have to do is look for it, believe in it and make it work for us. May you all have a wonderful year making your own unforgettable memories.