Jane Huxley is an author who can list the likes of Dame Beryl Bainbridge and Simon Cowell amongst fans of her work. I hadn’t been fortunate enough to read any of her previous novels until I picked up A Woman Named Coral and I really wasn’t sure what to expect.
However, I found myself being pulled in with intrigue. It follows the story of Stefan Larsen, an English journalist, who has been commissioned to write an article about San Marco University. However Stefan has an ulterior motive and is also following up a lead of a sighting of a woman whose parents had died in Peru twenty years previously.
Coral is now a fully-grown woman who is married to a wealthy older man named Auerlio. Stefan is introduced to the couple and it isn’t long before it’s clear to see Stefan and Coral are attracted to one another, and we soon learn who raised Coral after her parents died. Embroiled in this story of blossoming love and the duty of marriage, is Silvio. Aurelio’s spoiled older son who uses and abuses women and generally behaves in an odious manner. When Silvio suspects Coral and Stefan may be starting an affair, he begins to behave increasingly abusive towards her, which sparks off many intriguing events.
I was fortunate enough to get some time with Jane Huxley and ask her some pressing questions about the book.
One thing I loved about this novel was how you managed to intrigue me straightaway, how difficult is the process of knowing where to start the story?
It may be of interest to you to learn what Dame Beryl Bainbridge once told me: “If the novel does not grasp you in the first three pages, don’t bother to continue”.
The story is in my mind in its entirety from day one. It never changes; it never leaves me until it is written.
Coral is a very strong and likeable character, what I’m intrigued to know is if she’s based on someone you know in real life?
Not at all. Coral is a fictional character. Hopefully she does have real life traits.
The book deals with lots of different elements, how did it feel to write about some of the more difficult scenarios like betrayal and rape?
In today’s world it is not at all difficult. We live in a society where disturbing things happen and for me it is easy to translate it into my writing.
I found the environment very romantic and perfect for the story, have you spent anytime in Peru yourself?
Yes I have spent time in Peru. I find it to be a fascinating place and the perfect background for this story.
And finally, the book ended leaving a lot to the imagination; do you think Stefan and Coral will make an appearance in any of your future work?
No, no future appearance for Stefan and Coral. The book ended where it ended. I leave whatever might have happened to the readers’ imagination.
A Woman Named Coral is published by Delancey Press Ltd and is available for the Kindle from Amazon.co.uk (RRP £11.99) The Print Edition is available in all good bookstores (RRP £11.99).