Dear Saffron Trail

Well, we’ve come to publication day at last and you know what this means. It’s been a long road. It started at the beginning of June 2013 when I first decided I wanted to write about saffron – I didn’t even know the most mysterious and exotic spice of them all came from a crocus at that point. The trail continued through the initial ideas – deciding I wanted to explore female friendship and the father/ son relationship for example – and early bits of research. (I couldn’t concentrate on you properly at that stage as I was still working on your older sibling doing revisions on ‘Return to Mandalay’). You were there though nevertheless. Growing.

But the first real spark came when I went to Morocco. In order to write about it, any setting has to draw you in, make you fascinated by the culture, the history, the landscape – and I was. The maze of the Marrakech medina seemed to echo the tangled relationships that were already forming in my head and which would become the main contemporary plot of the novel, whilst the hippie laid-back atmosphere of Essaouira fitted in perfectly with my emerging ideas for the 1960s sub plot. The saffron farm in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains had the tranquillity I’d hoped for and the visit to the waterfall gave me a new idea about transformations…

And so the writing began. It was October 2013 by now. More research came up – about the Vietnam War, about Bridport when the GIs came to town in World War 2, about Moroccan design, architecture and cuisine… But throughout, saffron remained the most important element in the book. I got in touch with Dr Sally Francis who runs the Norfolk Saffron Farm and I started doing my own cooking with saffron. Meanwhile the story – your story – began to take shape.

Suddenly it was late spring 2014. How did that happen? The first draft was completed, the cover had been chosen, the stories were interwoven, and it was time to send you off to lovely agent and lovely editor in the hope that they liked you. The revisions were done in the summer, the copy editing and proof reading in the autumn. By then I was working on the next novel, but you refused to be forgotten. And the following spring the pre-publication publicity work began… It was March 2015 and you were about to come into the world.

And now here we are. It’s May. We’ve had your launch party in Bridport, we’ve had your publication day celebrations in London and it’s time for us to say goodbye. You’ll always be close to my heart but you belong to the readers now. Thank you. Good luck. Have fun. I hope you are everything I wanted you to be.

Love from Rosanna xxx

© Rosanna Ley
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