Wednesday, 31 October 2012

My Worst Writemares

At the invitation of lovely author, Liane Spicer, I'm over at Novel Spaces - a universe for writers and readers -  talking about writing terrors that go bump in the night.  Join in the discussion about writerly fears for a chance to win a copy of Move Over Darling

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

'The Next Big Thing' as tagged!

My fellow Choc Liteer, Christina Courtenay tagged me in her post ‘The Next Big Thing’ and kindly handed the baton to me… there’s only one problem, which is that I don’t actually discuss my work in progress and I’m far too worried about jinxing anything I do to describe it as a 'big thing'! That said, this post does give me the opportunity to talk about some different aspects of my current book, Move Over Darling, so that’s what I’ve chosen to do instead. 

What is the title of your book?
… the tricky ones first, eh.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
Initially it was moving to west Wales and discovering that the population of the county I’d moved to was roughly equal to the small Surrey borough I’d just left. The legacy of working in various research posts in the past has left me (someone who loathed maths at school) with a bit of an appetite for statistics. Looking more closely at the figures, I noticed that increases in the population here are mainly due to middle-aged incomers, masking out the migration of young people in search of better-paid jobs away from a county reliant on the hard-hit sectors of farming and tourism.

And that, dear reader, must surely count as one of the least romantic premises ever for a romantic novel.

What genre does your book fall under?
I write relationship stories about love in many different guises; new lovers find each other, established couples reassess their love, families forge new bonds and the odd pet becomes the object of affection along the way too.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a film version?
Chance would be a fine thing. 

However… I have had a wonderful email discussion with the lovely narrator Charlotte Strevens who will be reading the audio book of Move Over Darling. Charlotte contacted me to ask if the Penmorfa in my novel was the Penmorfa in north Wales… at which point I had to take the email equivalent of a deep breath! Both Little Spitmarsh in Turning the Tide and Penmorfa in Move Over Darling are entirely the products of my imagination, as indeed, are their inhabitants (though strangely, I now live next to a hamlet called Penmorfa which rather threw me!).

More to the point, as anyone who lives in Wales will realise, there’s quite a difference in the language and accent of north Wales compared to the rest of the country with both sides convinced they speak Proper Welsh. I couldn’t possibly comment  except to say that I was relieved that Charlotte got in touch before Gethin Lewis, the hero of Move Over Darling ended up with a North Walian accent especially as I’d been thinking far more along the lines of Richard Burton reading Under Milk Wood!

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Girl who’s escaped to the country meets boy who’s escaped from the country. 

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It’s published by Choc Lit. 

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Too long. 

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
That’s up to the reader. 

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
The image of my hero, Gethin Lewis, returning to the village where he was born. 

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
My heroine, Coralie, is adopted by a stray cat she names Rock. I’ve written a short story about how the two met for the December issue of Your Cat magazine. 

I’m now passing the baton to new Choc Lit author, Sarah Tranter, who's become a good writing buddy giving me encouragement and helping me along when I’ve been flagging. Over to you, Sarah!

In other news – and if you’re not completely fed up with listening to me, I’m in Best magazine this week (issue 43) making the case for romance. Writer Karen Clark’s clever short story’s in there too.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Doris Day, Shades of Grey and Sasha Fierce

Absolutely the best bit for me about being an author, apart from writing… or maybe that should be ‘having written’ since the process involves an awful lot of toil and tears… is getting feedback from readers. The ones who’ve enjoyed it, that it is. Getting feedback from folks who haven’t enjoyed it isn’t much fun at all, but, there, everyone’s entitled to their opinion.

Reaching those readers, though, is the tricky part. I’m put off by authors who use social media only to trumpet about their latest book so it makes me reluctant to shout about mine. 

Sometimes, however, I’m genuinely too excited to keep it in, like on Monday, when Move Over Darling did something extraordinary, racing up the Amazon charts and settling – for a heady moment – at #2 in the Movers and Shakers chart and at #3 in Women Writers & Fiction. I was very tickled to see my title with its bright cover and Doris Day references resting between two editions of Fifty Shade of Grey so forgive me for sharing the screen grab here. And I haven’t forgotten that the higher you climb the pole, the more of your backside you reveal!

Talking to journalists is a mixed blessing too – I’m not whining about the fact someone is interested enough to want to speak to me, believe me, but I’m more comfortable talking about my books than myself. ‘You need a Sasha Fierce, Mum,’ says Rose, referring to BeyoncĂ©’s alter ego, making me laugh as I conjure up visions of fearless Chris Fierce strutting around out there. Until she appears though, I’ll muddle along and give grateful thanks to my nearest and dearest for putting up with me and to all of you for permitting me the occasional outburst of trumpet tootling. 

And now here’s a tootle for lovely Debs Carr who’s worked at her writing with such fierce determination and secured representation by top agent Luigi Bonomi. Fantastic news, Debs – many congratulations to you.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Romantic Novelists' Association

I'm over at the Romantic Novelists' Association blog today talking about myself again, but if you've got a spare moment I'd be very happy to have someone to talk to so please leave a comment if you have time.  Thank you!

Painting is Blue Pool by Tom Tomos

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Relieved and Release

What lies beneath?

I’m afraid,’ says the man peering into The Cesspit of Doom at the bottom of our garden, ‘that you will have to have The Big Lorry out.’ He then goes on to give us the grave news that if this tactic isn't successful, deployment of The Jetter may also be required at considerable extra cost.

It’s only now, since moving away from a house with the luxury of mains drainage, that we are discovering what country living really means; constant vigilance against incoming mice exploring the cavity walls and defending the loo from outgoing foreign objects. Visitors blanch when they get The Loo Lecture, but I have stopped short (no pun intended) of putting up a sign that boat owners sometimes display (boat loos also being notoriously fussy): ‘If you can eat it, so can I. If you can’t eat it, I won’t try.’ (I’m not sure I want to think about that too deeply, but it sort of makes the point and it was National Poetry Day last week).

After a certain amount of cross-questioning when our loo starts misbehaving, we decide that the ridiculous amount of rain we’ve had this summer may have affected the soakaway. Then we lift a manhole cover…

‘Well, everything’s working,’ says the The Big Lorry Driver, cheerfully. ‘I can tell by the smell. It just needs emptying, that’s all.’ I retreat to make coffee, which he and Tom bravely elect to drink as they watch the cesspit empty. A couple of hours later, it’s all done. The friendly driver leaves wishing us all kinds of joy that I’ll spare you in case you’re eating and we’ve learned a very great deal about our drains. Nice.

On a happier note, it’s the official release day of my second novel, Move Over Darling. I've also blogged on the Choc Lit Author's Corner today, with some images and ideas which composted down and found their way into my story.

To celebrate the official publication of the book, my lovely publishers, Choc Lit, sent me this delightful gift. So I did - eventually - come up smelling of roses, after all.