Author releases debut novel after finding ‘the perfect place to live’

A HISTORICAL mystery set in Australia and Britain, Widow’s Lace, is the debut novel of an author from Woking.

Lelita Baldock, was born and raised in South Australia but is now based in Surrey, with a full-time career as a web developer.

NEW CHAPTER – Lelita Baldock with a copy of her first novel

She first wrote the book in 2011 after returning to Australia from living in London. After moving to Woking two years ago, she re-worked the manuscript through most of 2019 until it was ready for publication in March.

“It was while I was on a family holiday to the Finniss River in South Australia, about 50 miles south of Adelaide, that the idea for Widow’s Lace came to me,” Lelita said. “The river is quiet and winding, teeming with birdlife and buzzing insects, and just feels so isolated from modern life.

“The idea of someone living alone on its banks started me thinking and I was inspired to discover why someone would make a life there alone, cut off from the rest of the world. That was the seed of the story that grew into Widow’s Lace.

“It follows fictional English poet Edward Barrington, who travels to South Australia in 1886 with his wife, and two years later disappears. Then, in 2018, a body is found on his former property by the river.

“The story covers life in remote South Australia, the social pressures of 1900s Britain and the historical role of women, and tackles themes of obsession, fear, love, secrets and regret.”

The book’s lengthy gestation is in partly due to Lelita moving back and forth between here and Australia.

“In 2010. my husband Ryan and I moved to Wimbledon to work as teachers,” she says. “While travelling the UK the other half of my story solidified in my mind, and I finished my first draft. It was very rough, and way too long. I had the outline of a story I believed in, though.

 “Then, as it does, life happened. We returned to Australia for a few years, even adopted a rescue cat, Jasmine. But we missed the UK and decided we had to return.

“We settled in Woking, and brought Jasmine over from Oz. We could never leave without her.

“I wanted to focus on things I really enjoyed, one of which was writing. I was so determined to pick up Widow’s Lace again.

“Now I’ve been using my time in lockdown to complete my second novel, a crime mystery set in Devon, and I’ve just finished the second draft. I hope to publish it by the end of this year.

“I’m also outlining the plot of my third novel, which will be a return to historical fiction.”

Lelita is keen to encourage other budding authors. “As a former high-school teacher I’m passionate about writing and reading, and anyone who has a story in their head should give it a go,” she said.

“It might take time, but the process of writing a novel is so rewarding, the sense of achievement when you complete your work makes the hours and toil worth it.”

Lelita is balancing work and writing, but hopes one day to change the emphasis. “Ryan and I run our own web developer business, called Mesuva, from home here in Woking.

“Writing is still my part-time passion, but one I take seriously. I commit time to it after work each night and on weekends. It can be tiring, but I enjoy it and want to make more of myself as a writer.

“My goal is eventually to be able to work part time at Mesuva and part time as an author.”

And Lelita’s globe-trotting days seem to be behind her. “We love living in Woking and don’t see ourselves leaving,” she said. “It’s a beautiful town with a friendly community feel. We are really happy here.

 “It’s the perfect place for an author to live. There is a vibrant and welcoming community, but also a quiet and peaceful vibe. The best of both worlds.”

(red blob) Widow’s Lace is available now on the Amazon website.

Recommended For You

About the Author: Editorial Team