Back in 2014, I contributed a story to Winter Tales, an anthology published by a group of romance writers. It was great fun, so I was interested to hear from Helen Pollard, who needs no introduction to regular blog readers, that she was part of another group collaborating to produce an anthology with the intriguing title Miss Moonshine’s Emporium of Happy Endings. Here she is to tell us about it:
I am fortunate to be part of a friendly group of romance writers who meet for lunch a few times a year in Hebden Bridge, a pretty mill town in Yorkshire.
Why do we meet in Hebden Bridge? As we are scattered across Yorkshire and Lancashire, it’s somewhere we can all get to. Geography aside, it’s also a lovely place to visit, have coffee and look around the eclectic selection of shops. On a fine day, I’m often tempted to arrive early, and then I laugh as I bump into the others who are doing the same before our allotted meeting time.
When, last summer, Helena Fairfax suggested working on an anthology together and we began to discuss common themes to tie our nine stories together, it seemed natural to choose the setting of Hebden Bridge, the place that had brought us together. As time went by and we began to write our stories, we felt it would be more convenient for our setting to be a fictional place based on Hebden Bridge, allowing us the leeway to make the setting fit our individual stories – and so it became Haven Bridge.
Besides the setting, we felt we needed a further common theme. Gradually, the figure of Miss Moonshine took shape – an eccentric old lady who has had a shop in the town for what seems like forever, selling all manner of things old and new, and always having the right item or the perfect words of wisdom for the characters in the stories. To help us envisage the shop for our stories, we decided the building that currently houses The Heart Gallery was perfect and dated far enough back to be included in the historical stories in the anthology.
As our project progressed, I enjoyed my infrequent trips to Hebden Bridge even more – I took more notice of my surroundings so I could give a better feel for the setting in my story, and I found out more about the town and the surrounding area, and its history. Many of the stories in the anthology mention the canal, and I can’t deny it’s pleasant strolling along the towpath!
I particularly enjoyed visiting the nearby village of Heptonstall recently. Although it doesn’t feature in my story, it’s somewhere I might not have thought to visit otherwise. And it does feature in Helena’s!
We call ourselves Authors on the Edge. You can read into that what you will (!) but it refers to the fact that Hebden Bridge is on the edge of Yorkshire, near the border with Lancashire. Here we are after our recent lunch together …
Back row, left to right: Helen Pollard, Marie Laval, Mary Jayne Baker, Jacqui Cooper, Angela Wren.
Front row, left to right: Sophie Claire, Kate Field, Helena Fairfax, Melinda Hammond.
We are all immensely proud of Miss Moonshine’s Emporium of Happy Endings, and it makes it extra special that our stories are set in the place where we’ve spent so many happy hours chatting and laughing and discussing ‘writerly’ things!
Thank you Helen! Here’s the lovely cover of Miss Moonshine’s Emporium of Happy Endings – I can’t wait to get stuck in!
Sometimes what you need is right there waiting for you…
Miss Moonshine’s Wonderful Emporium has stood in the pretty Yorkshire town of Haven Bridge for as long as anyone can remember. With her ever-changing stock, Miss Moonshine has a rare gift for providing exactly what her customers need: a fire opal necklace that provides a glimpse of a different life; a novel whose phantom doodler casts a spell over the reader; a music box whose song links love affairs across the generations. One thing is for certain: after visiting Miss Moonshine’s quirky shop, life is never the same again…
Nine romantic novelists from Yorkshire and Lancashire, including best-selling and award-winning authors, have joined together to create this collection of uplifting stories guaranteed to warm your heart. This intriguing mix of historical and contemporary romances will make you laugh, cry, and believe in the happy-ever-after.