She spent countless hours in the British Library researching the history of tea, Indian railway networks, and medical advances in the dying days of the British Raj.
But all those painstaking hours have paid off with the publication of Fiona McIntosh’s 35th book, The Tea Gardens.
McIntosh visited Launceston on Monday to discuss her book as part of the Tamar Valley Writers Festival launch, entertaining more than 80 attendees with a discussion of her writing process.
She said she had no idea what the story would be when she began researching – but the final result brought about a strong and complex main character with a powerful voice.
Set in India, the foothills of the Himalayas, The Tea Gardens tells the story of Isla, an English medical practitioner who is facing both an eligible marriage and her own dreams of working at a midwifery clinic in Calcutta.
“She’s a very modern woman of the 1930s … she has status and power and wealth,” McIntosh said.
“This is by far the best book I’ve written.”