Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Me
One: I used to be a psychiatric nurse. There is a long, boring story here… After twenty year’s service, the NHS decided to retire me because I have MS. However, nursing has gifted me with the skill of observation. I am a ‘people person’ one who knows a lot about people – even ‘nincompoops’ like the ones who live in my romantic-comedy-drama series Curmudgeon Avenue.
Two: I have only been to France twice during my life, even though most of Edna and Genevieve Escape From Curmudgeon Avenueis set in France. I went to Brittany when I was eleven years old on a family holiday. And Rocamadour – another family holiday this time with my husband’s family. Plenty of wine was required on the latter holiday, and this is reflected in the book.
Three: Staying with the French theme, I cannot speak French. My high school French was lurking inside me, willing me to be one of those clever bilingual folk. So when I retired, I attended a two hour per week French course at my local library. This was a wonderful experience, the teacher was amazing. Despite this I am still unable to speak French and as time goes on, I am forgetting even more. I do remember the teacher talking about how, in France, bread is bought twice a day. I missed an hour following this statement, imagining my life as a French woman, dragging myself on my mobility scooter to the shop and back – twice! If you do happen to read Edna and Genevieve Escape From Curmudgeon Avenue, you would find *slight spoiler alert* that French speaking skills were not required. And anyway, one of my proof readers lived in France for a year (with full command of the language).
Four: I had a great Auntie Edna when I was little, and she was nothing like the character Edna in my book. Auntie Edna was actually my dad’s auntie. Sadly no longer with us, but memories of her are. Dad tells me that she ‘married beneath herself’ (admit it- you love archaic phrases like this), to his mother’s brother. Whenever she opened her handbag, the room would fill with perfume – even to this day I have tried to recreate this glamour. Auntie Edna taught me how to put lipstick on when I was seven years old, by ‘smacking my lips together’. I chose the name Edna for my character because she is an absolute horror and do not know any living person with this name – (I once accidentally called a horrid character Elaine, I know an Elaine in real life, she’s lovely).
Five: Auntie Edna taught me how to make Radcliffe h’ors doevres. Or rather, mini cheddars with a squirt of Primula cheese dotted on each one (Primula with ham if you can get it) and presented on a serving plate. Perfect for impromptu parties, camping, or simply coming home tipsy and hungry. Radcliffe h’ors doevres feature heavily in the Curmudgeon Avenue series. Other brands of cheese crackers and spread are available.
Six: I’m very happily married, I really am. Although many of the characters in my series are either unhappily married or in an on/off entanglement, this is not based on anything that is happening to me. *Had to put this in because Mr Henthorn is always really concerned that ‘people will think it’s about him’ – it isn’t. (Rolls eyes).
Seven: I hardly ever say ‘well fancy’ and if I do, I’m joking or writing it in dialogue. Ahh vernacular within prose, a punishing mistress. I do sometimes have a feeling of self doubt; do people think I’m stupid? Do I sound stupid? I cannot help, and wouldn’t want to change where I’m from. I love Manchester, in particular the northern parts, Whitefield and Radcliffe (where the Curmudgeon Avenue series is set) and Bury, where I’m from. I enjoy our quirky way of saying things, our sense of humour. I have aimed to breathe Manchester life into my characters.
Eight: I’m studying a creative writing degree with the Open University and this helped me to decide that the Curmudgeon Avenue series should be witness narrated. ‘Walls have ears’ so this four storey terrace witnesses what goes on with the intertwined lives of its residents and narrates the series. The example of witness narration that the Open University quoted was The Great Gatsby… hark at me stylizing myself on a modern classic!
Nine: One of my books, 1962 is about cycling and I don’t even own a bicycle. This novel was inspired by my dad’s love and obsession with cycling. He seemed to have a special language dedicated bicycles and in turn, that inspired me.
Ten: I am covered in tattoos. The final fun factoid about me is that I have been ‘collecting artwork’ … Covered is perhaps an exaggeration, but I am inked! Usually only visible during the summer months, when jumpers and socks can be discarded my skin boasts a strawberry plant and butterflies on my foot and ankle. A large cherry blossom on my back and a pin-up-girl nurse on my arm (tasteful in full Gabardine cape). None on my face.
About the Book
When Genevieve Dubois returned to Curmudgeon Avenue, this opened up the opportunity for Edna to realise her long held dream of escaping to France. But as Edna embraces all things European, Genevieve appears to be shying away from her French roots.
Meanwhile, returning to Curmudgeon Avenue for the third time, the wind had blown in the truth about the tall, handsome stranger and although Harold and Edith had been relieved to discover that he is neither an elephant detective, nor a fraud investigator, Toonan had been a little disappointed that he was not interested in her either. Matteo Dubois was looking for his mother, Genevieve Dubois, and although he did not find her on Curmudgeon Avenue, you have probably guessed that he is about to cause a disturbance- FINALLY! There is hope that the set of nincompoops that live here currently will move out, and leave me in peace! Edna had already escaped with Genevieve to France, which was a real shame for me, because Edna was one of the less annoying ones. This delightful third off-beat comedy romance book in the Curmudgeon Avenue series will make you smile.
About the Author
Samantha Henthorn was born in 1970something in Bury, England. She has had short stories and poetry published in magazines. Her books include the Curmudgeon Avenue series (The Terraced House Diaries and The Harold and Edith adventures). ‘1962’, ‘Quirky Tales to Make Your Day’ and ‘Piccalilly’
She has two cats, one dog, one gorgeous grown up daughter and one husband. When not reading or writing, she is listening to heavy metal and would be thrilled to bits if someone read her books.
You can find the rest of the stops on this tour at the following blogs: