Liz Davies – Tabitha Locke’s Key to Happiness

I’m delighted today to be joined on my blog by the lovely Liz Davies to talk about her latest book Tabitha Locke’s Key to Happiness.

Liz is married to her best friend, has one grown-up daughter, and when she isn’t scribbling away in the notepad, she carries with her everywhere (just in case inspiration strikes), you’ll find her searching for that perfect pair of shoes. She loves to cook but isn’t very good at it and loves to eat – she’s much better at that! Liz also enjoys walking (preferably on the flat), cycling (also on the flat), and lots of sitting around in the garden on warm, sunny days.

She currently lives with her family in Wales but would ideally love to buy a camper van and travel the world in it. 

Tabitha Locke’s Key to Happiness

Tabitha Locke suspects she must be the only twenty-nine-year-old in the UK who doesn’t own a mobile phone. She has a good reason not to.

When she fled to Bath and her grandfather’s vintage key shop, all Tabitha wanted was to hide from the world. And for three years she does precisely that – until she meets a handsome IT expert.

Appealing to her love of history,
 Rhys Flint persuades her to show him around the city, and gradually she begins to believe in love again, despite what happened in the past. But a secret can’t stay hidden forever, and when it raises its head, Tabitha is terrified Rhys will find out.

With her feelings for him starting to grow, will Tabitha keep her heart locked up tight or will Rhys be the key to her happiness?

Hi Liz, thank you for joining me on my blog today, to talk about your fabulous new book Tabitha Locke’s Key to Happiness. I have to say I really enjoyed it. Seeing as we’re talking about Bath, I thought maybe a Sally Lunn bunn with our drink, so sweet or savoury? – (which burn would you go for?)

Hmm… can I say both?! It depends on the mood I’m in and the time of day. If it was for breakfast or lunch, I’d go for a savoury; mid-afternoon and it would have to be the sweet topping – who can resist lemon curd!

Tell me about trenchers?

As I understand it, before around 1400, when the use of plates became more widespread, food was often served on pieces of bread, which soaked up the juices of the meat. It was claimed that only greedy people ate the bread as well as the meal it sat on, but I think the bread is the best bit – as evidenced by Sally Lunn’s successful menu!

The book was set in Bath, it’s one of my favourite places too and it’s fairly local to me, so we get to visit quite often. What made you set the book here? 

My daughter lived there for a year when her boyfriend was at university, so I visited a couple of times. I loved the city, as it’s quite small and compact, and has so much character. When I was thinking of a setting for Tabitha, it seemed perfect for her. 

Any point of interest that you think a visitor shouldn’t miss?  I notice you don’t have them visiting Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein. It’s on my list, but I’m not sure I’m brave enough. Have you?

No, I haven’t been there either, but I must put that on my list too, for the next time. 

I think wandering around Bath is an experience on its own, marvelling at the amazing architecture. The abbey is a must-see, and so is The Royal Crescent, and if you’re there in September The Jane Austen Festival is a great event.

Jane Austen is one of Bath’s most famous residents, is Tabitha (or your – if you prefer), a fan of her novels? Which is your favourite? Have you ever attended the summer ball?

Tabitha has to be a fan, surely! I love all Austen’s novels. When I did my degree, I made a point of reading as many of the classics as possible, and hers were some of my favourites. I particularly loved Northanger Abbey – Catherine Morland is such a quirky character and has so much spirit. I really have to read it again soon.

As for the summer ball, I’ve never been, but it sounds such good fun that I must go at least once. That’s another thing to add to my bucket list.

Tabitha wears some lovely beautiful vintage clothes, if you could choose a  vintage outfit, which period would you choose to dress from?

I like the gothic medieval gowns – all those draping sleeves and underskirts. And I’m particularly drawn to a girdle – I think it could be quite  flattering. 

Bath felt like the perfect setting for a key emporium. I have a huge collection of keys that I have no idea what they fit, but can’t part with, in case I need them, consequently I have a huge keyring. Tell me about your keyring.

I’ve never been asked about my keyring before – what a lovely question. Aside from the usual assortment of keys (some of which I have not the slightest clue what they unlock, but I keep them on there in case) I have a silver-coloured horseshoe that my daughter made in school many years ago, although I’ve no idea what the metal is. I’ve also got a small brass imp that used to belong to my dad. Whilst they were on their honeymoon, he bought two of them, one for him and one for my mum. When he died, my mum asked whether there were any keepsakes I’d like, and I chose that. I also have the dog tag that my little Westie wore on her collar. It reminds me of her every day.

Tabitha meets Rhys when he brings his grandmother’s box in for her to open. The attraction is obvious, from the minute he walks in. I know that you’re married to your best friend, so was this – love at first sight or more of a slow burn romance?

It was a slow burn romance. We worked at the same place and gradually got to know one another first, so I suppose you could say it was a friends to lovers romance, and the happy ever after is still ongoing. Awww…

I know that you’ve written and published many lovely books, so I’m going to put you on the spot and ask some writing questions? Which comes first – characters or plot?

Gosh, that’s not an easy one to answer! It’s not often the character who sparks my imagination, it’s usually a title, or a setting, or a job. In the case of Tabitha Locke, it was seeing a large box of assorted keys in a flea market, and I imagined how they might look if they were displayed properly, and that led me to thinking who would sell those keys – and Tabitha was born.

I know you make copious notes, are you good at going back and reviewing them? 

Yes, but I don’t always follow them. I’m more of a pantser than a plotter, so I’ve usually got the first few chapters outlined, and after that it’s anyone’s guess. More often than not, they story takes me in a direction I don’t envisage, so the initial notes become obsolete and I’m forced to make some more. 

Do you have a favourite character? Which one and why?

My favourite character is always the one I’m currently working on. She – or he – becomes my best friend and is the person I spend most of my time with in my head as the book progresses (Shh, I have to say that, or the others will get offended – but secretly my favourite is Hattie from the Ticklemore series. She’s eighty-years young, and a real terror, but her heart is in the right place).

What’s next from the Liz Davies stable?

I’ve got the first in a new series, The Cottage in Sweet Meadow Park, coming out on 4th April that I’m really looking forward to sharing with everyone.

Thank you so much for chatting to me today, Liz and good luck with your books. Ax

Book link for Liz:


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