You might be surprised to learn that the novel is set in British Malaya. It will be fictional, but is loosely based on the story of my grandmother who grew up in Penang and about her mother who left her when she was a small baby.Best news of all though, is that Clare will be here (with baby daughter Elsa Rowan and husband in tow) to research her novel next month. She told Eric Forbes :
I still can’t quite believe we are making the trip—Berlin is still cloaked under what seems to be a never-ending layer of ice and snow—will spring never come? It will really be surreal to arrive in Malaysia with its tropical climate! Just yesterday I was talking with my husband and saying I wonder what my grandmother would think to know her granddaughter and great-granddaughter are now tracing her footsteps.And yes, of course, we are going to organise an event where you can all get to meet her. At the moment e-mails are flying in all directions to get something fixed up - so watch this space for updates.
I think there are some very big fans of Clare's already among those of us who recently attended the British Council's recent workshop as we studied her winning story The Numbers.
Eric Forbes interviewed her for Quill magazine last year, and you can read the piece here.