Nicola Beaumont's Q and A

Hyacinths in Winter is a strange title. How did you come up with that?
Well, there's an angel in the story, and so many people over the centuries who have claimed to have supernatural experiences have reported accompanying fragrant scents. I wanted to incorporate that into the story. The story is also about forgiveness, so I researched the symbolic meaning of flowers, and discovered that the purple hyacinth is symbolic of forgiveness.

Is it true that when you name your characters the names have a special significance?
That's true to an extent. Not all character names have a special significance, but I try to have at least one character in each story that whose name has a special meaning. In Hyacinths in Winter, it's Magdala. In the Bible, Mary Magdalene is one of the greatest sinners, who sought and received forgiveness and faith, so I named Maggie after her. In The Resurrection of Lady Somerset, Lark can't speak, so ironically, I named her after a songbird.

What is the meaning of the lighthouse--why a lighthouse?
The lighthouse has long been a Christian symbol for the light of Christ, and in this story, it holds that same significance. Things are revealed under the beam of the lighthouse, that were once hidden in shadow.

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