Under the midnight sun of Artic Norway, Cecilie Wiig goes online and stumbles across Hector Herrera in a band fan forum. They start chatting and soon realise they might be more than kindred spirit. But there are two big problems: Hector lives 8,909km away in Mexico. And he’s about to get married.
Can Cecilie, who’s anchored to two jobs she loves in the library and a cafe full of colourful characters in the town in which she grew up, overcome the hurdles of having fallen for someone she’s never met? Will Hector escape his turbulent past and the temptations of his hectic hedonistic life and make a leap of faith to change the path he’s on?
About the Author
Zoe is a magazine journalist and digital editor, starting at Cosmopolitan in 2001 and since freelancing for titles including Glamour, Fabulous, Daily Mail, Healthy, LOOK, Top Sante, Mother & Baby, ELLE, Sunday Times Style and Style.com. In 2008 she had a weekly column in Fabulous magazine documenting her year long round the world trip with “Train Man” – aman she had met on her daily commute. She has since married Train Man and lives in Hertfordshire with him and their two young sons. She is the bestselling author of The Note.
You can catch up with Zoe via Twitter @zoefolbiggauthor.
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Zoe and the staff at Aria Fiction had kindly provided an extract for you to enjoy.
June 2013, Day One
Cecilie wasn’t looking to cause trouble for herself the day she met Hector Herrera. She was in the library at 8 a.m., as usual, before chief librarian Fredrik came in at 8.30. The two of them would always chat quietly, genially, and be ready to open for 9 a.m. Cecilie always loved to hang out in the library before anyone else got there. It’s such a peaceful time of day. Dark in the winter; light all summer, the huge glass façade of the modernist four-storey building looks out onto the small grid of the town, the harbour, its bridges, its mountains beyond, the world below. Sometimes in winter Cecilie can see the Northern Lights through the window that rises all the way to the top floor. A green whisper arcing overhead, reminding her how isolated she is from the world she reads about in the books on the shelves.
That day, Cecilie didn’t go to the basement first, to sort out the children’s activity table. She didn’t put out the pencils and paper ready for the school trip, or the soft-back books and tambourines in anticipation of the baby rhyme-time session. That light and bright June morning, Cecilie got herself a milky coffee and went up the open staircase to the rows of computers on the first floor. She turned the machines on with a satisfying switch switch switch of the clean white sockets behind each terminal.
She looked up to the top floor, to the quiet reading and writing areas among the rows of books, but decided not to go up and turn the lights on, she didn’t want to draw attention to her private world in the public glass space. Anyway, it was June, and there was sufficient light night and day to not warrant them.
At the second terminal in, on the first row of machines, Cecilie leaned over the desk without sitting, typed in the staff login, and waited for a sand timer flipping over and over on itself to align her to another time. Another latitude she had no idea she would soon long for.
Switch switch switch. She stalked the library, awakening, opening, connecting, before coming back to the second terminal. She sat down at a screen, facing out over the Arctic Circle below her.
Cecilie tied her locks into a thick trunk running down her back and took a sip of milky white coffee, holding her cup with her thumbs threaded through holes in the wrist of her jumper. Cecilie went on her usual journey across the world: NRK for her news fix before the bundle of papers arrived. Facebook to see what friends who had set sail from this port town were up to, as far afield as Oslo, Edinburgh, San Francisco and Quito. Then her habitual look on NME to see what was going on in her favourite music sphere. At home Cecilie unwinds by playing the harp to an empty house, but picks herself up again to British synth-pop and electronica.
Depeche Mode played Leipzig last night.
Cecilie took a sip and sought out gig reviews, finding herself in a chatroom for other 80s electronica Anglophiles in no time. She thought she might scour the reviews, the forums, the chat, to find out about future concert dates that hadn’t yet been announced. She logged in and gave herself a moniker: Arctic Fox. With delicate hands that had dry pads for fingertips, she typed.
Arctic Fox: Anyone know if DM are coming to Scandinavia?
I Feel You: More likely Scandinavia than Mexico @arcticfox! Been too long since they came here.
Cecilie’s eyes widened and she marvelled at the world she was connected to. Like-minded music fans thousands of kilometres away.”