Monday, 22 May 2017
Caroline Wallace - The Finding of Martha Lost - blog tour
Today we're delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for The Finding of Martha Lost. Martha was found as a baby on the platform of Liverpool's Lime Street station, and has spent all her life there, living in the flat above the lost property office. Setting is obviously a key point to the novel and author Caroline Wallace is here to talk about just that ...
The original plan was to set The Finding of Martha Lost in Paris. For many years, I’d been infatuated with the culture, the romance, the language too. At eighteen, I even ran away to France, to find myself and to fall in love; neither happened.
My outline for The Finding of Martha Lost was to focus on a character called Martha being lost, then found, on departures and arrivals in a train station, with a host of quirks that I imagined would feel at home in France. The novel was forming nicely in my mind, despite the many obstacles of the setting being overseas, but everything changed when I walked through Lime Street Station in Liverpool (on my way to a Nik Kershaw concert).
I needed cash but couldn’t recall where the cash machines were located inside the station. After several minutes of searching, and having spotted a man sitting inside, I stepped into Lime Street Station’s lost property office and asked for help. The man behind the counter glared at me. I swear he growled as he pointed at a laminated sign on his desk: ‘CASH MACHINES ON PLATFORM 7’. I laughed, he didn’t. He continued to scowl, so I thanked him and hurried out of his lost property office. As I turned and looked back, I considered the amount of times the man must have been asked that same question before deciding he needed the sign. The thought made me smile.
That was the seed, or perhaps the switch.
That’s when I started wondering if Paris was the correct location for Martha Lost to live. I thought about when I’d first arrived into Liverpool by train, freshly broken from France, all lost and alone. I thought about the city and how its people had embraced me. I thought about falling in love with a local boy, about finding myself, about the friends I’d made, about the stories I’d been told. I thought about how the city had saved me, about walking down the aisle to The Beatles’ When I’m 64 on my wedding day and about how I couldn’t imagine ever living anywhere else. I thought about how the funniest, grumpiest, friendliest people live in Liverpool, a place that was my rescuer and soon became my home. I thought about how the people were defiant, brave and (often brutally) honest, so far from stereotypes in popular culture that had been created to mock. I realised that I was a fan of Liverpool’s culture, the romance to be found, the language too.
It didn’t take long for me to grasp that Paris didn’t hold the passion or the quirks that I needed for The Finding of Martha Lost. I realised that everything and more could be found in my city and that Lime Street Station would function at the heart of my story. Somehow, and unexpectedly, my Parisian novel transformed into a love letter to Liverpool.
Thank you Caroline - I personally can't imagine the novel being set anywhere but Lime Street station.
If you're now intrigued and want to know more about The Finding of Martha Lost, check out Maryom's review here