Author plots debut around key Lancaster locations

Amanda Saint
Amanda Saint
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Lancaster Castle, the river Lune, the canal and the Freehold area of the city are all key locations in the debut novel by a new author.

Amanda Saint lived and worked in Lancaster for two years, and says it is a place she has never forgotten and returns to often.

She set her debut novel As If I Were A River in the city as it one of the favourite places she has lived.

Amanda and her husband, John, are nomadic by nature and since they got together in 1998 have lived all over England in Reading, London, Brighton, Exmoor, Lancaster, Twyford and Dalton-in-Furness.

They also travelled the canal network for nine months on a narrowboat, spent three years living in New Zealand in 3 different cities and have backpacked for months at a time in Asia, the South Pacific coconut islands, Australia and Europe.

Since 2014, Amanda and John have been homeless and have been travelling around England, Scotland and Wales house sitting and looking after people’s pets and homes when they go on holiday.

In 2015 they spent 6 months in rural Ireland on a long-term house sit looking after four dogs. For the past four months they have been looking after 12 alpacas, five hens and two cats in a smallholding just outside Dent, Cumbria.

As If I Were A River tells the story of three women in one family, all of whom were born and lived in Lancaster.

Amanda, 43, said: “As If I Were A River is inspired by my love for contemporary women writers and the power of the truths we hide not just from others but ourselves to do what we think is right.

“There are complex and emotional connections between generations of women and I wanted to explore the emotion and mystery of those connections.”

Silverdale also features in the book.

When Amanda is not writing or pet sitting, she runs writing retreats and competitions through her creative business, Retreat West.

She studied Creative Writing and Literature with the Open University and her short stories have appeared on the Fish Flash Fiction prize and InkTears Short Story prize longlist, in the best-selling Stories for Homes charity anthology, and in a range of literary magazines.

Angela Clarke, best-selling author of Follow Me, said the book was “a compelling, intricate, psychological exploration of the lies we tell ourselves and the truths we run from. Beautiful.”

The novel was published on April 11, and Amanda will be hosting a book signing event at Waterstone’s book shop in King Street, Lancaster on April 30.