Learning about Lizzie

I have decided to add a blog post to my (sadly neglected) blog to celebrate the publication of my latest novel: The Girl in the Painting. Once again, it’s published by those lovely people at Choc Lit and it’s a sort of linked sequel to my first Choc Lit book, Some Veil Did Fall. By that, I mean that we meet a new couple, Cori and Simon, but my original people flit in and out as necessary. I will admit it – I wrote this straight after Veil because I just didn’t want to let the characters go! It’s another timeslip and this time the spookiness occurs around a diary, but I won’t put any spoilers in here, I promise.

I will say, however, that the painting Cori loves so much – and the painting referenced in the title – is the famous Millais picture of Ophelia, which is housed at the Tate Britain and was modelled for by redheaded Pre-Raphaelite ‘supermodel’, Lizzie Siddal . I’ve developed quite a fascination with Lizzie – I’ve done a lot of research into her for this novel and for other pieces of work which have evolved out of it. The Girl in the Painting itself grew from a short story which was very different in content, I have to say. The only constant between the two is Lizzie and the Ophelia painting. I’ve also ‘used’ Lizzie (I hope she forgives the term!) in a piece of flash fiction which is published here:  http://www.tubeflash.co.uk/tubeflash/october-1869/#content

That was the winning entry for Highgate Station in the 2016 London TubeFlash competition and when I was deciding what to write for the competition, I was delighted to recall that Lizzie is buried at Highgate cemetery and therefore I leapt straight into the writing, knowing exactly where I was going with her legend. I’m also creating a piece based around her for an assignment in my Masters degree so I will see where it all takes me. My tutor says it’s potentially a good PhD project but that just seems waaaaay scary (and time-consuming) at the minute.

I’m going to finish off by thanking my own artist friend Geoff, who trawled around Highgate tube station for me, determined to see if my TubeFlash story was displayed in the station at all – it’s not there yet, but he did present me with these lovely (and I think atmospheric) photos of the station. You can see more of his work on his website, www.geoffpattison.co.uk.

And this, if you’re interested, is the link to The Girl in the Painting – well, I had to put it in there, didn’t I?


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