Author Abbie Greaves writes an exclusive piece for Female First / Picture Credit: Charlotte Knee Photography
Author Abbie Greaves writes an exclusive piece for Female First / Picture Credit: Charlotte Knee Photography

In my novel The Ends of the Earth, which comes out in paperback today (January 6th, 2022), I explore the theme of ‘home’: What truly makes a home, and what can happen to a person when their idea of home is shattered by the actions of a family member or partner. The book asks the question: if the person who makes your house a home disappears, how far would you go to help them return?

It’s a question that was born, in part, from my own, personal experiences in moving house and cross country. From Edinburgh to Oxford to Brighton to Cambridge, here’s what I’ve learned about the art of creating a home on the hoof:

Edinburgh - Location, Location, Location

When I moved to Edinburgh in 2019, I had never set foot in the city before. This threw up a bit of a conundrum when it came to looking for a place to rent. In the end, my partner and I opted for a small place, in the busiest, buzziest area we could afford: Stockbridge. I can safely say that we never looked back. As a freelancer, working days can be lonely – so having a library, plus a high street full of cafes and cosy hotels offering their lobbies up for co-working spaces was a dream, as well as a brilliant way to settle into our new home city fast. 

Oxford - Family First

Spring 2020 brought me back to my parents’ house to see through the start of the pandemic. And while that time was rife with instability for everyone, there was something incredibly grounding to going through the first lockdown with the people who have seen me through every other period of life turmoil. Plus, you already know the strings to pull to win any arguments over the remote control! Jokes aside, having family close brings an unbeatable sense of security – so important in a home. 

Brighton - Bring The Outside In

From sea-swims to hikes through the South Downs, exploring the landscape on my doorstep throughout the Summer and Winter of 2020 was a brilliant way to make the city feel like home. It’s easy to think of the four walls around us as the bedrock of a ‘home’, but I found as much security from learning what lay beyond that, as well as reaping the benefits on my physical and mental health. Whenever I feel dislocated from my surroundings, I now know that a quick walk around the local area will often work wonders. 

Cambridge - The Small Touches

It looks like Cambridge will be my final resting place – for a few years at least! While I’m relieved to be reunited with belongings that have lived in storage for over two years and able to decorate for the long-haul, I’ve also found that it’s the smallest things that have made my house feel warm and welcoming at the end of a long day. Nothing gives me greater comfort than seeing my book collection up on the shelves (to which I have just added the paperback edition of my second novel, The Ends of the Earth!), a corkboard of polaroid photos taken with friends, a candlestick given to me by my grandmother in pride of place on the mantlepiece. I can’t wait to keep adding to it.”

The Ends of the Earth by Abbie Greaves is out now
The Ends of the Earth by Abbie Greaves is out now

MORE FROM BOOKS: Seven things I'd like my readers to know about me, by Lori Ann Stephens


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