Someone I Used To Know by Paige Toon
One of the things that sets Someone I Used To Know apart from all my other books is that the characters don’t jet off to another country.
I’ve loved writing about sunny, summery locations over the years, including Key West and LA, Thailand, Norway, Italy, France and Spain, not to mention Australia on numerous occasions, and one of my favourite things to do as an author is visit amazing places for research.
But when the idea for Someone I Used To Know came to me, my heart immediately gravitated towards North Yorkshire as a setting. You might think this is because a worldwide pandemic is currently making travelling to foreign countries difficult, but the funny thing is, I’ve had this book idea for three years. I chose to write about North Yorkshire in the UK simply because I love it.
Having met my husband-to-be (a Yorkshire boy through and through) at university, I’ve spent over half my life regularly going up north to visit his family, and we always fit in trips and mini breaks to stunning locations while we’re there. I’ve written plenty of scenes set in Yorkshire, but never a whole book, until now.
Brimham Rocks is one of my favourite places in the world. It’s an incredible collection of dramatic giant rock formations set amongst a carpet of vivid green grass, feathery ferns and purple heather, and my characters use it as their playground.
The book is set across two different timelines, told in alternating chapters: Then, when the main characters are fifteen and Now, when they’re thirty.
At the age of fifteen, my heroine, Leah, lives with her parents on an alpaca farm at the edge of Brimham Moor. Her mum and dad are foster parents and there are currently five other children and teenagers living under Leah’s roof. George is about to take that number up to six.
Theo is also new at the local state school. A wealthy landowner’s son, he’s mysteriously dropped out of boarding school, and is making no attempt to fit in with his peers. But Leah soon discovers that he and George have more in common than first appearance would suggest. As summer wears on, she grows to love both boys, but falls head over heels for only one.
In the Now section, Leah and her young daughter are home again, but while George has returned after fifteen years, Theo is absent. As the story unfolds, the journey takes us to sunny Devon, but we never leave the shores of Great Britain.
The vast majority of my readers live in the UK, and I’ve had countless messages over the years from people telling me that they have purposefully gone to visit the places I’ve written about. In a year when we might not be able to travel far, I love that this story celebrates some of the beauty we have right here on our own doorstep. I hope my readers who don’t live in the UK will forgive me, but these gorgeous locations will be open to you again soon, I’m sure. And it will be worth the wait, I promise.
Lots of love, Paige x