The final day has to belong to Polly, whose anguish reverberates throughout Barefoot on the Cobbles. She wasn’t intended to be the main character but I think most readers will identify her as such. It was meant to be Daisy’s story. In fact, before the novel got a title, I referred to it as ‘Daisy’. Daisy’s role however is reactive; it is Polly who plays a significant part in driving the narrative. Without doubt, Polly is the character with whom I found it easiest to identify. I understood her fears, her hopes and her despair. She is not a typical ‘heroine’; for most of the book she is elderly, prickly, diffident and not particularly sociable. William Golding wrote, in Free Fall ‘‘My yesterdays walk with me. They keep step, they are gray faces that peer over my shoulder,’ and this sums up Polly. She is a victim of her life experiences, as indeed are we all. I am fascinated by human behaviour and what makes individuals act in a particular manner, especially if their actions are those that others find strange. Writing the novel gave me the opportunity to explore and attempt to explain, Polly’s motivations and those of the people she encountered.
Polly Wakely was born on 1 April 1872, in Peppercombe Valley, the daughter of a ship’s carpenter. The 1891 census shows that she was in service at Chudleigh Villas, East-the-Water, Bideford. In 1893, she married Albert and as the novel shows, they set up home in Clovelly and had eight children. Barefoot on the Cobbles is Polly’s story, I hope I have done her justice.
There is no quotation from the novel today because tomorrow you can read it in its entirity for yourselves. More information about the novel can be found here. Copies will be available at various events in the weeks following the launch or can be pre-ordered from Blue Poppy Publishing or the author. Kindle editions can be pre-ordered for the UK and also on Amazon.com.