Introducing you to my world of fiction

I always wanted to write but it wasn’t until later in life that I managed to fulfill my dream. As a child I wrote poetry and enjoyed every opportunity at school to write an essay, even better – a story! My first link with the world of being a real writer was when I was thirteen and my mother gave me a typewriter and my first ever copy of The Writers & Artists’ Yearbook. Reading up about all the different publishers was a revelation to me!

I try to put over in words the things I feel strongly about without it being too obvious, so that there is room for you as the reader to respond emotionally. I write because I feel emotionally involved in something, which as fiction goes beyond reporting factually although of course I have to do my research. This is in itself often inspiring. Writing is a deeper experience for me than expressing myself in painting. My late father, Cyril Hamersma, an artist, would have disagreed with me on this. Painting a  picture can be one way of putting over that inexplicable urge to SAY SOMETHING, but words can, in my opinion, get to the heart. I do paint occasionally but I don’t find I can express my deepest thoughts in this way. To understand the meaning in my novels you might have to read between the lines, immerse yourself in the time and place  and feel the emotions of the characters.  Welcome to the world inside my books! I am a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, The Society of Authors and The Poetry Society. Here is a link to my RNA Profile:

The Sea Inside His Head

The Forgiving Sand

 The Gypsy’s Son

Dreamcatcher Girl

Please see other pages on this website for further details.

The first, my debut novel was first published by Robert Hale Ltd. about a coal-miner in Kent, England, is called: THE SEA INSIDE HIS HEAD.  (Now available re-published in kindle by Joffe Books. In March 1985 coal-miners all over the country ended their strike and returned to work. Their defeat marked the end of the year-long fight to save the pits and keep their jobs. Following the life of a miner in the Kent coalfields, ‘The Sea Inside His Head’ is a novel that reveals what it was like behind closed doors in those mining villages. Personal relationships were put under incredible strain; loyalties were bitterly divided; anxiety, poverty and hunger forced some men to break the strike and endure the stigma of being jeered at and called “scab!” Those who broke the strike were ostracized. Those who chose to join the picket line risked their lives demonstrating against Margaret Thatcher’s government policies which planned to close down certain pits throwing thousands out of work. To keep the strikers going, the miners’ wives served hot meals every day in the soup-kitchens week after week; they kept going by fundraising and received donations of food from all over the world. This novel brings history to life.

Please read the following excellent review by the Historical Novel Society. It’s to be found at:

The Sea Inside His Head image

Coal Miner, Bradley Shepstone is desperate to get away from the pit. He hates the job which has already caused the death of his father. He dreams of escaping to live by the sea, to breathe fresh air and maybe have a smallholding – he’ll do anything to be able to save up and take his young wife and little son away to start a better healthier life somewhere else. But then the strike stops him in his tracks; he can’t work, his hands are tied…

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A ‘Question and Answer’ session after my talk.

A couple of weeks ago I was preparing to give my talk at St. Andrew’s Church Cafe for their Open Door event. Now I can hardly believe it – whoosh! – like an express train it’s flashed past in an instant and now it’s  gone! I must say I really enjoyed the evening; twenty or so people piled into the cafe inside the beautiful church, including a very distinguished guest: Councillor Ramesh Srivastava, The Mayor of Rugby.


During the evening I read passages from my second novel The Forgiving Sand alongside telling the story of my life in Cornwall, its ups and downs, the characters I met, artists and fishermen, my successes and my failures. Members of the audience told me they were touched by how I related experiences in my own life to those in the book and how it made the talk unique and personal.??????????????????????

As you can see in the photo above, I also took along a display of items for people to look at while refreshments were served: some of my pottery and paintings inspired by St.Ives, some books I used for research into Deep Sea Fishing around the Cornish coast, a few copies of The Forgiving Sand and a copy of my first published novel: The Sea Inside His Head. (About a coal-miner during the National Coal Strike of 1984).

As the wine was poured I was able to meet people and discuss the origins of my novel. I must say a big ‘Thank you’ to St.Andrew’s Church in Rugby for inviting me to talk, and thank you to all those who came and made me feel so welcome.??????????????????????

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The Forgiving Sand – Literary Event

St. Andrews's Church posterThis Friday, 23rd January at 7.30pm, St. Andrew’s Church in Rugby have kindly invited me to start the new year’s Open Door events by giving a talk and reading from my latest novel The Forgiving Sand.  Set in St.Ives, Cornwall, I will be talking about living in Cornwall and my inspiration to write.  I will also invite discussion about what drives people to write fiction and how i became published. I’m looking forward to meeting you all: readers, writers, friends, budding authors and anyone who simply loves the sea and finds it inspiring. In Cornwall one often finds artists, poets, creative people who seek out that indescribable ‘something’ within that ancient landscape that sparks an idea. The evening will give you time to take a deep breath, relax, listen to a few passages from my novel, join in some discussion if you’d like to, and enjoy a glass of wine. Hope to see you there.

Event: Talk by novelist Theresa Le Flem

Day: 23rd January 2015

Time: 7.30pm

Venue: St.Andrew’s Church & Cafe, Rugby, Warwickshire UK

Tickets: £5.00 at the door to include wine/refreshments

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The Forgiving Sand latest news!

LATEST NEWS! My novel THE FORGIVING SAND  is available TODAY as an ebook.  Forgiving Sand coverAmazon £2.56.

It’s a bitter-sweet romance.  Christina is fighting to keep her beach cafe open. The novel’s set in St.Ives, Cornwall where a childhood accident leaves her feeling vulnerable yet determined to succeed. She tries everything, while her heartless brother-in-law –  a patronizing entrepreneur –  sets out to ruin her. But a local fisherman  and an affectionate old school-friend both step in to help her. It’s a love story where drama takes over, but “a book hard to put down” I’m told. Please order TODAY and like some, stay up half the night to see what happens!


Published in hardback & ebook by Robert Hale Ltd.

Paperback (large print) edition, published by Ulverscroft Books, available from Amazon at £7.56pLayout 1

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My talk at St.Ives Library for the September Festival

 St.Ives September Festival 2014

St.Ives Library, 15th September 2014, where I’m about to start giving my talk  for the September Festival. I was also reading extracts from my novel THE FORGIVING SAND which is based in the town.  A quick check on my notes and I was away. It’s amazing how the experiences I had living and working in St.Ives as a teenager flooded back to me as soon as I began talking. People gathered to listen attentively as I told them, for example, how we moved into a tiny fisherman’s cottage, without a bathroom, in Downalong, St.Ives. 

This was during the 1960’s. I soon became aware that people were very attentive and curious. Many questions followed!


I was thrilled to have the opportunity to tell them about my experience, moving to St.Ives as a teenager with my creative parents who were inspired by the light and the beautiful landscape – as I was too the minute I caught a glimpse of that wonderful view of the harbour. I chose several passages from my novel which would best describe the magical atmosphere of the place, the eccentric characters, and the artists driven to paint by a passion for nature and the sea.  Continue reading

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St. Ives September Festival

Looking ahead – next month I’ll be giving a talk and reading extracts from my book at St. Ives Library. This will be about when I lived and worked in St.Ives during the 1960’s and how it inspired the writing of my novel THE FORGIVING SAND. Layout 1

Please make a note in your diary! St. Ives Library, Gabriel Street at 3.30pm on Monday 15th September. It will be a chance for me to reminisce; I was a teenager then and St.Ives was all new to me. The event is part of the St. Ives September Festival, a fortnight of literature, arts and music when lots of different activities are taking place. It’ll be great fun for the town which is already bursting at the seams with art and creativity! To see more about the festival and list of events go to:


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The actress Madalyn Morgan

My friend the novelist and actress Madalyn Morgan has published her new novel “APPLAUSE”. It’s the second book in the series following the four Dudley sisters.  Applause book cover Set during World war II, “Applause” tells the story of Margaret, and her longing to go on the stage. An actress herself, Madalyn certainly has the experience to raise the curtain on this fascinating story. I read Applause during my flight to New York and it was so absorbing the time flew too!  Chasing a career in the theatre, Margaret Dudley begins at the bottom but dreams of stardom. But as the war unfolds, her determination to succeed is beset by danger not only to her own safety but to her love life.  Moving gracefully from the first book in the Dudley Sisters’ Quartet – FOXDEN ACRES – the reader is lead backstage to experience how the show really went on! Share in all the war-time atmosphere, the show-biz, danger and excitement and read APPLAUSE!

Read more about Madalyn by going to:

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Large print edition

My novel THE FORGIVING SAND  set in St.Ives, Cornwall has been released in Large Print paperback format on 1st. April by Ulverscroft of Leicester. It’s a romantic story which will instantly whisk you away to the beach with the seagulls screaming overhead and the waves breaking on the shore. Christina is fighting to keep her quiet Sea Cafe going against all the odds. Nestled on the sand, it’s threatened with closure when her bullying brother-in-law arrived from London with ideas on taking it over. Local fisherman, John, earnestly seeks her attention. Widowed, with a small child, his intensity moves her. Could she love him? But when old school friend Peter comes down to Cornwall and steps in to help save her beloved cafe, will she be bowled over by his passionate embrace?Layout 1

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Cheers! My friend and fellow author *Madalyn Morgan are celebrating!


We are both LOCAL AUTHORS in Rugby so Kelvin has given our novels a prominent position at the front of his store.  It’s a huge advantage to have somewhere not only to display and sell our books but to have a venue for book-signings and readings.

 Theresa and Maddie Summersault 2 (1)  Here we are having a  coffee at Summersaults Restaurant, where until recently the bookshop occupied the basement. We had a great time catching up with news, comparing notes on our writing, sounding out ideas and really taking advantage of a relaxing morning away from our computers. The lonely hours we both spend typing away…as well as reading, researching, editing…is enough to give anyone the appetite for a delicious cappuccino and cherry scone or two!

 (*Madalyn Morgan is the author of Foxden Acres, a war-time romantic novel)

This is a photo taken early in June this year, in Hunt’s Bookshop in Summersaults; it’s of Kelvin and I at the launch of my recent novel The Forgiving Sand.

Kelvin and me Hunts Booksignin_0921

And the picture below was taken by Madalyn in the new premises when she and I visited yesterday. HUNT’S BOOKSHOP, Rugby’s only independent bookshop under proprietor Kelvin Hunt,  has just re-opened in new larger premises at 9 High Street, Rugby. It’s in an ideal position to catch passing trade, easy to find and with plenty of light and space. 

  Kelvin and Theresa in Hunts 3 The shop has a wide selection of new and second-hand books, fiction and non-fiction, hardbacks & paperbacks, children’s books, maps and lots more. Enjoy browsing? Believe me, it’s well worth a visit!  I’d like to take this opportunity to wish Kelvin all the very best for his new shop. Good luck Kelvin!

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Just wanted to share some complimentary comments I’ve had recently from people who are reading or have just finished my novel THE FORGIVING SAND.

“I could feel the sand between my toes!”Forgiving Sand cover

“I only read in bed, and now I’m going to bed earlier and earlier!”

 “I took it with me to read on holiday and really enjoyed it.”

 “What a brilliant twist at the end!”

 And I’m thrilled with the first review on Amazon at:

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The Sea Inside His Head

My novel ‘The Sea Inside His Head’ has just been released as an e book.  This is a dramatic love-story that reveals what it was like to be caught up in the Miners’ Strike during the 1980’s.The Sea Inside His Head image

In this controversial but moving love-story, Bradley Shepstone is a coal-miner in Kent. His father, a miner before him, died from lung disease and Bradley fears he will suffer the same fate. Now after months without work or wages, Bradley is desperate to get out – he wants to leave the pit for good. He dreams that he, his wife Helen, and their baby son, could get away and begin a new life. He argues that if he could get redundancy money, he could work in the fresh air, go to sea or even rent a small-holding.  But Helen’s immersed in the fight to keep the pits open; she’s giving everything she’s got to save the miners’ jobs and she’s happy and confident in her new role leading the campaign.  When Bradley owns up to Helen he’s thinking of breaking the strike and applying for redundancy their marriage reaches a crisis. She says he will become what she – and all miners hate – a scab.

This is a fictional story based on the facts surrounding the fight to keep the pits open. Wounds are still smarting on both sides of the argument even now – these days there is no trace of the Kent coalfields left apart from historical information available through the museum for tourists and schoolchildren. To see more go to:

Please read my novel and judge for yourselves…who do you agree with: Bradley or Helen?

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The Forgiving Sand

Theresa booksigning 1On Saturday (8th June) an enthusiastic crowd invaded Hunt’s, the tiny independent bookshop (inside Summersault Restaurant, opposite Rugby School), to celebrate with me and to toast the launch of The Forgiving Sand. It was a busy and jolly event and I was delighted to have one book after another appear on the desk in front of me waiting to be signed.

Set in St.Ives, Cornwall, England, the novel is a love story concerning a disabled girl, Christina, and the fight to keep her Sea Café going through difficult times. Old friends, fishermen and local people come to her aid, but will they be able to help her? The crisis in the Cornish fishing-industry, and a lull in the seaside tourist trade, could spell financial disaster not only for her café but for the whole fishing community. But who cares when Christina’s world comes crashing down?Porthminster view 2009

To read my recent interview with Halebooks and delve into the inspiration behind this, my second novel, please go to:

Forgiving Sand cover


The Forgiving Sand was published in hardback by Robert Hale Ltd. and is available from Robert Hale Ltd, Amazon, Waterstones, W.H.Smith, Telegraph Books, Hunt’s Bookshop (in Summersault) Rugby, and all good book shops.

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Dreamcatcher Girl meets Goldcrest Books

My publisher Sarah Houlcroft of Goldcrest Books asked me how I came to write Dreamcatcher Girl – I replied that I didn’t really know! It just came into my head!

What first gave you the idea to write Dreamcatcher Girl?

The initial idea haunted me for ages, even years. The story I had in my head was of a twin being killed falling from a tree. Not only that his teenage brother, Clem, never seemed to get over the loss, but the tree itself became haunted by the tragedy. The tree even had a voice, I felt, even though I didn’t want my novel to get too weird! Twins, and the unique perception experienced between them, has fascinated me for a long time. Those who have read my previous novels will know that I have written about the effect of a freak accident on family relationships before.

The dreamcatcher girl was a separate idea I had on the backburner originally. An artist in Cornwall – on the rebound from an abusive relationship – she lives with her little boy, Tom, and spends her days painting and making crafts to sell. She longs to find what she believes to be that elusive dream: real love. When she returns to the family farm, tension between her mother and father baffles her – they are always so ‘together’ – as my own parents were. My father was an artist and it was his desire to join the artists’ community in St. Ives, Cornwall. This is what made him sell-up and move us as all as a family down there to live in a tiny fisherman’s cottage.

Do the themes in this novel arise from your own experiences?

I don’t know why but the subject of adoption and tracing one’s family history keeps creeping back into my work. No, I have no occurrence of this in my past. While the concept of the tree and the twins was still ticking over, however, I was ill for a few weeks and ended up watching Long Lost Family on TV. I don’t often watch daytime television, but I found it very moving. The experience of being reunited with a ‘stranger’ who is actually your own child came home to me. Again, similar to the bonding between twins, there is that connection. Isobel discovered that her mother as a young girl had been forced to give up her illegitimate baby for adoption and she had never told anyone.  So you see, my novels grow of their own accord. I pick up bits, influences, dreams and life’s own legacies.  My writing becomes an organic process in which I become very engrossed. It’s almost like watching a film as I don’t know where the next scene will be or what will happen next.

The subtitle says it is “A love story of mystery and obsession.” Does that mean it isn’t really a love story?

When these two stories merged in my own mind, I realised they were always part of the same story. Clem is drawn to the solitary oak tree again and again and he becomes obsessed with it. The tree becomes his only link with his dead brother. In fact when I was first writing about Clem, my working title for the novel was called: The Tree Was His Brother. When Isobel came into his life, he with his own relationship on the rocks and she with problems of her own, they – in a mysterious way – balanced each other. The abstract spirit of the dead twin, with rumours of Isobel’s own lost brother – who she never knew existed – starts to affect Isobel. Would love find a way to save them both from this downward spiral? It is a complex, deep, and heavy story if you like – but dreamcatchers are meant to help you relax, clear away all that dark stuff and help you sleep – aren’t they?

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Dreamcatcher Girl. a Cornish love story of mystery and obsession

Dreamcatcher Girl

Delighted to tell you my new novel ‘Dreamcatcher Girl a Cornish love story of mystery and obsession‘ is now published! You might have noticed I’ve been very quiet lately, but this is partly the reason – Dreamcatcher Girl has taken me the last five years to write. It’s a novel both mystical and romantic; it explores the depth of human frailty yet as in all my novels, the characters are constantly chasing their dreams. My thanks to @Sarah Houldcroft and her team at Goldcrest Books for producing and bringing to fruition my own dream – my fourth novel, and now it’s out there in the world I know I’ll miss it – but I hope you, my reader, will enjoy the journey it takes you on. Here is the link to Amazon:

It’s available in both paperback (my favourite!) and kindle!

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