A Bed of Barley Straw Cover MEDIUM WEB

A Bed of Barley Straw by Sam Russell
The inspiration for A Bed of Barley Straw was multi-layered, but there were three things in particular which stirred my creative juices and got me writing.
The characters were my initial motivation. I saw Hettie, my heroine, as strong-willed and captivating, but far from perfect. Someone who hadn’t always got it right and still makes mistakes. I knew that Hettie would be no shrinking violet and that her history with men would be chequered. Complicated to the point that she had abandoned romance, Hettie would find it easier to love the quirky dogs and horses that she shares her life with.
My hero, Alexander Melton, is more darkly flawed. I enjoy a challenging character, but there had to be morality at the core. Finding the damaged decency buried in his heart was the crux for Alexander, a test of character development. To take a man with too much pride but create him worthy of love. Events which occur through the story were intended to shake both Alexander’s and the readers’ preconceptions. Leading him through his journey of discovery was deliciously infuriating.
The clash came next. I love a glorious mismatch. A freefall into lust with absolutely the wrong person; the gritty struggle which ensues between chemistry and reason. My idea was to delve into the minds of two people who are struggling against formidable attraction, and to find out if the wrong person can ever become the right one.
I had a lot of fun exploring that dilemma. The sparring, the spats, the stand-offs and the battles of will. The moments of physical and emotional connection. The stimulation to write became boundless!
And finally to the setting. My passion for the countryside and my background in horses and farming dropped the tale in rural England. I could clearly envisage the picturesque Cotswold village and the grandeur of Draymere Hall. Villages can be a wonderful stimulus, spurning a wealth of colourful characters, intrigue and gossip. Add to that the joys of a cosy local pub in which to play out the antics and my scene was ready to tempt the characters in.

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