Carenza Hayhoe

The written word

For thirty years I was a studio potter and my delight was to welcome children into my workshop and share with them the magic of my grownup mud pies. As I worked with my hands my mind was filled with poetry and stories. Some found life on paper but many more have vanished.

Until 2006 my published work was concerned with ceramics, but with the start of the new millennium I began to build doll houses and each one seemed to have a story waiting to be told. When the time came to close the pottery my new career was waiting for me. My first dolls’ house became the inspiration for 'Phoenix House' a novel for younger readers based on an island threatened by flood. Characters in a novel have a tendency to take charge of the plot and I found myself exploring the problems of child carers, and growth though grief and loss. As the second house developed so I entered into the lives of a new set of characters and soon I was writing The Dragonfly, a novel for older readers. It has a more complicated plot concerned with the problems of inherited responsibility, illegal immigration and exploitation of frail and elderly people.

The third house is a fisherman's cottage; the hero of this story is the great grandfather of Ginny the heroine of Phoenix House and has prompted research into the eighteenth century wine trade and wrecks on the Chesil Beach. Already the characters in the cottage have become real people who inhabit my mind and share their lives with me in the small hours of the morning.

All these works in progress had to be put aside when a plot inspired by NaNoRiMo last November took over my life and Loneliness is a Killer was born. My intention is to complete this one by the end of the summer and the others by Christmas. There are never enough hours in the day – I just hope I live long enough to complete the tasks I have set myself!