The Howl of the Waves

also known as Secret Cliffs, my w-i-p title!

If you've ever walked at Seven Sisters cliffs in Sussex, and back past evocative St Mary's Church at Friston, you'll have passed the grave of murdered Excise Officer, Thomas Fletcher. The injustice of his murder and how such brutality might have affected individuals in the local community was the starting point for this novel. 

This story first drew breath during my MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University.

An early full draft now provides me with inspiration for some settings, certain scenes and a motley crew enabling my imagination to focus on developing each character's motivations and, importantly, on coiling the narrative tighter.

I'm 32 000 words in and having lots of fun with it! Reckon it will take me until Christmas.

Comments from tutors at Bath Spa University on my manuscript submission of an early version, for which I was excited to receive a Distinction. 

"I am impressed by the way you so easily attach human emotion to what they eye is seeing – ‘a drop of fear falls to the mud beside a speckled blackbird foraging for insects,’ and admire the narrative instinct with which you end your scenes, weighing up what has happened and compelling us to read on. You have so many strengths, but perhaps the greatest of these is making the reader wonder what on earth is going to happen next.
It is a strong story."

Fay Weldon


"What a wonderful evocation of a rural underworld in the eighteenth century. You have painted a canvas full of incidents and details that make this world come alive.This is powerful writing, dense with incident and strong emotions. You have a gift for writing quite complex actions scenes, too"

Celia Brayfield


Fay Weldon is a prolific feminist author, playwright and screenwriter. Much of her fiction explores issues surrounding women's relationships with men, children, parents and each other, including the novels Down Among the Women (1971), Female Friends (1975), Praxis (1978) (shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction), The Life and Loves of a She-Devil (1983), The Cloning of Joanna May (1989), and Wicked Women (1995), which won the PEN/Macmillan Silver Pen Award. Recent works include the ‘Love and Inheritance’ trilogy, concerning the family and servants of the aristocratic Dilberne household, set around the turn of the twentieth century. 6th April is the publication date of her new book Death of a She Devil – a sequel to The Life and Loves…

Celia Brayfield is a novelist, journalist and cultural commentator. She is co-author of Writing Historical Fiction (Bloomsbury, 2014). Her most recent novel is Wild Weekend (Little, Brown/Time Warner Books) a comedy that transposes the 18th century play She Stoops to Conquer to a Suffolk village in heyday of New Labour. Previous novels include Getting Home and Mr Fabulous and Friends, Harvest and Sunset; and Heartswap. Her first three novels, Pearls, The Prince and White Ice, were international genre bestsellers.