Meet The Family – Lucy Keeling

Lucy Keeling has been a ChocLit author long before I was, so I was shocked to find out we’d not had a chat.

Welcome to my blog “A Story About A Girl” Lucy, I am looking forward to getting to know you…Image

What inspired you to write “Just Friends in Vegas?”

Just Friends in Vegas, which is out tomorrow is the third in my Friends series. Each book can be read as a standalone – but we all know it’s probably best read as a series tee hee.

So the inspiration for Just Friends in Vegas, well… I have to be careful what I say here because throughout the series I’ve been leaving clues as to what Mya’s profession might be, and this is the book where ALL is revealed.

My inspiration was looking at powerful women and how women hold power in male based arenas. But I also wanted to write a romance that had sexy enemies who are obsessed with each other but are also in competition. Ok I’m going to have to leave it there before I give any spoilers away. All I will say is that my books do have steamy elements to them (open door) and Smithy has been described as the master of swoon so…

What made you decide to submit with ChocLit?

They had a Search for A Star competition. And I thought why not. The fabulous and amazingly talented Christine Penhall won but I was and I still am more than happy to be her second.

If you could go back to when you first started writing what one piece advice would you give yourself?

I read something once that said some writers will only ever be dabblers. That they’ll never get past the first five chapters or something. And so of course every time I started to write I would get to that point and get stuck. And I believed for ages that, that was it for me. I was never going to become an author, I’d never be able to finish a book.

But, then I discovered that you could actually plan out a book. Like it didn’t just have to flow from my fingertips. But that I could map it out in advance, and that was a huge turning point for me. So I guess, if you’re struggling keep going and try different methods.

How did you deal with rejections when you started out?

Not very well haha.

I’d like to tell you I’m better now but even a bad review can knock me for weeks, and whilst I understand and appreciate that reviews are for readers and not authors it still hurts. So I have a blanket ban on Goodreads, I don’t read any of my reviews over there and will only check Amazon reviews periodically.

What would you say to someone who wants to write?

Find your tribe and keep going.

The fabulous Evie Alexander has just done a blog post on her website about social media groups for writers that you can find here https://eviealexanderauthor.com/best-facebook-groups-for-a-romance-author/

There is no doubt in my mind that without the support of the fabulous people within these sorts of groups I wouldn’t have got published – I also wouldn’t have some of the amazing friends that I have now either. Writing is a lonely business and non-writers can’t always understand the struggle, or why you are celebrating a personalised rejection (rather than the stock rejection letter), so having people understand why you absolutely cannot write another synopsis and that you’d rather go ahead and write a whole other novel instead (not actually an option), can be really helpful.

If you weren’t writing what would you be doing?

I work full time as a trainer, and I have two young boys to chase around as well. But honestly, even if I could make a living from writing full time I don’t think I could. I need the inspiration that being around people and situations gives me.

Do you have any writing routines or rituals if so what are they?

I don’t have rituals per se but I do have to try and remember the following wherever possible:

  • It’s ok if you don’t get any words done today back-to-school-2707089_640
  • It’s ok if the house looks a mess
  • The hovering can wait until tomorrow it’s fine
  • New stationery DOES help – buy more
  • Watch your posture
  • You can’t and you won’t write perfectly first time, so don’t try, just get it down.

Which authors inspired you to write?

I’ve been reading romance since I was a teenager and there are just so many amazing authors from back then and each one of them inspired me. But I have many authors who are writing now that inspire me to write better. Leonie Mack, Emma Jackson, Lucy Mitchell, Rachael Stewart, Kiley Dunbar, Talia Hibbert, Sally Thorne, Kwana Jackson, KJ Charles, and so many more.

There are also some authors that I’m really excited about that have books coming this year too, such as Caroline Khoury, Lucy Mitchell, and although Helen Buckley’s new book is already out I haven’t chance to read it yet – but I can’t wait.

Who would you want to play the main characters in your book if your novel was optioned for tv / film?

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Hmmm, I always knew that Mya would be someone like Hannah Simone (Cece in New Girl)Gabriel-Macht-640x427

but Smithy is a bit Gabriel Macht (Harvey in The Suits).

 

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

I wish I knew. I’m going to keep writing and see what happens next lol. I would like to finish off the Friends series with Paige’s story, so we’ll see.

More About Lucy

Lucy Keeling is an author writing fun, sexy, stories with all of the happily ever afters.

When she’s not typing at the kitchen table, she’s arranging and then re-arranging to see her friends for the occasional spot of day drinking.

Lucy is currently writing the third book in a Contemporary Romance series, the first of which was Runner-Up in ChocLit’s ‘Search for a Star’ competition. This story has become her romantic comedy debut ‘Make It Up To You’ now titled Just A Boyfriend. The second book in the series ‘Just Friends’ has been described as ‘unputdownable’ and ‘A fabulous will they won’t they love story with moments of hilarity sprinkled throughout’ and is available now.

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@Lucy_K_Author                           Facebook-Xperia  Lucy Keeling Books

 

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Is love always a losing game?

When Mya is with Smithy, it feels like her eyes are constantly rolling. His wheeling and dealing charisma charms everyone but her. Well, that’s not strictly true – Mya is only human after all, and there’s no doubt the man is hot with his suits and swagger. It’s just that Smithy knows Mya’s secret, and she’s not sure she can trust him to keep it from their group of friends.

As they immerse themselves in the glamorous and mysterious world of ‘The Suits’, growing closer as a result, Smithy has to question whether his time with Mya is destined to become a case of ‘what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas’ …

 

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Meet The Family – Helen Buckley

When Helen joined the Choc-lit Ruby-lit family I was keen to sit down with a new member of the family for a chat…

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Hey Helen, and welcome to my blog “A Story About A Girl” I am really looking forward to learning more about your book “Strictly On Ice ” especially after I had the pleasure of reading it myself and Wow!

What inspired you to write “Strictly on Ice?”

I’ve always been enthralled by the beauty, physical prowess, and artistry of Olympic figure skating, and I’m a big fan of Dancing on Ice too. It was so much fun to write a book about the sport, with lots of drama and romance thrown in too.

What made you decide to submit with ChocLit?

They seemed like a really good match for my books. They are award-winning publishers of romantic fiction, and they are incredibly supportive and encouraging. I’m thrilled to be working with them.

If you could go back to when you first started writing what one piece advice would you give yourself?

Start sooner! For years I convinced myself that I couldn’t write a book. To me, it seemed an impossible feat, like running a marathon. Then once I started, I couldn’t stop. I wish I had started writing earlier.

How did you deal with rejections when you started out?

Oddly enough they didn’t worry me too much because I had already made up my mind that I would be rejected – I had low expectations! While I was submitting to agents and publishers I carried on writing, honing my work, perfecting my pitch, and developing my series, which I then successfully submitted to ChocLit.

What would you say to someone who wants to write?

I would say go for it, as you never know what may come of it. Perhaps you have a story to tell that people need to hear? Have a go, take a chance, and good luck!

If you weren’t writing what would you be doing?

UntitledMy career background is in the charity sector, but I gave up work to look after my children. I fit writing around looking after two very energetic boys!

Do you have any writing routines or rituals if so what are they?

With two children under two I have no time for rituals. I barely even have space to write. As long as I have my laptop I’ll make it work, even if it’s writing under the duvet in the dark of night so as not to wake the baby, or writing in the kitchen while I cook. I have become a genius at multi-tasking!

Which authors inspired you to write?

Catherine Cookson, Donna Tartt, Charles Dickens, Roald Dahl, Stephen King. An eclectic mix of authors I love and admire.

Who would you want to play the main characters in your book if your novel was optioned for tv / film?

Tom Hardy for Jamie – he’s got that rugged gorgeous look and could definitely portray a rugby player. Tom_Hardy_by_Gage_Skidmore

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There’s an Australian actress called Jessica De Gouw and I think she would be a good match to play Katie.

 

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

I’ve got more books coming out with ChocLit so keep your eyes peeled! Strictly on Ice is the first in a series of standalone books about romance and fame. The next book is due out later this year, and there’s a sneak preview of it in the back of Strictly on Ice.

More About Helen

Helen Buckley lives in Bedfordshire with her husband and two sons. After working in the charity sector in the UK and abroad, she turned her hand to writing and her first novel, Star in the Shadows, was published in 2019.

She writes any moment that she can, enthralled by stories of fame, romance, and happy ever afters. Apart from being addicted to writing and enjoying soft play with her sons, she’s an avid reader, action-movie fan, and chocolate addict.

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@HelenCBuckley                            Facebook-Xperia  Helen Buckley Author

 

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When falling in love comes with the risk of falling flat on your face …

Former Olympic skating champion Katie Saunders is well known for her ‘ice queen’ persona in the press. On the face of it, perhaps Katie should have forgiven her former skating partner and ex-boyfriend, Alex Michaelson, for the accident that shattered both her ankle and their Olympic dreams – but she just can’t seem to let it go.

When Katie reluctantly agrees to take part in a new TV skating show, it’s only because she’s desperate for cash. What she didn’t count on is the drama – not only is she partnered up with infamous love rat rugby player Jamie Welsh, but one of the judges is none other than Alex Michaelson himself.

As the show progresses, will Katie be shown the hard way, once again, that romance on the ice should remain strictly off-limits?

 

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Meet The Family – Ella Cook

Ella and I signed for Ruby Fiction at around the same time as I did and we took part in the Choc-lit festival last year. So with her first book finally being released I was so excited to sit down for a chat again.

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Hey Ella, and welcome to my blog “A Story About A Girl” I am really looking forward to learning more about your book “Beyond Grey”

 

What inspired you to write “Beyond Grey?”

A truly horrible journey home. We’d been visiting my parents, and got caught in a truly terrible storm around 30 miles from home. We’d come too far to turn around, and we were miles from services. It was all too easy to imagine an accident could happen. So that’s where the opening line and the storyline in which Jenn dies unexpectedly came from. 

As to the idea of life after death, and that spirits could be around us and watching over us even after they’ve left our world? It’s something I’ve always believed in. There have been moments of inspiration, feelings of guidance, and white feathers in my life too. 

What made you decide to submit with ChocLit?

I’d read a lot of their books in the past, and knew the name. I saw the Ruby imprint at about the same time my amazing group of writing friends were nagging me to start submitting (and stop being such a wimp). The stars aligned and here we are (though maybe there was some guardian angel type intervention too?) 

If you could go back to when you first started writing what one piece advice would you give yourself?

Scrap the self-doubt. Quit the pity party (because I was good at that!) and get on and WRITE. Write what you love, and what you would want to read, and hopefully others will love it and want to read it too. 

Oh, and get a decent lap desk. I’m terrible for writing on the couch, and it’s not good having my laptop on my lap! 

If you weren’t writing what would you be doing?

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Probably cooking, or crocheting. Or reading. Or video-calling with friends. Although, there is a 15,000 piece jigsaw of star constellations taking up half the dining table as well that we need to finish. It’s too cold for gardening, and we’re back in lockdown again! 

 

How did you deal with rejections when you started out?

Really badly. 

When I first finished Beyond Grey, I sent it to a couple of agents, got no replies, and moth-balled it. Which was one of the silliest things I could have done. But it does mean that I got to meet the amazing team at Ruby, and that my debut is right in the middle of a pandemic.  

Beyond Grey is primarily a story about healing from grief, and finding the light beyond the agonising grey of bereavement. It’s about hope, and who doesn’t need a bit more of that right now? 

What would you say to someone who wants to write?

Just do it. Open a notepad – or a new document – and just write. Learn the basics – things like punctuation, structure, how to tag dialog – and then just write. And don’t get disenchanted when your first drafts are less than perfect. You will almost never read the first draft of anything from a good writer: It will have been reviewed and edited – probably multiple times – before you get to see it. So expect to edit too. 

Do you have any writing routines or rituals if so what are they?notebook-4048796_640

I don’t really have any. I work full time, so write as and when I can. The nearest thing I probably have to a ritual is making sure I have a big cup of tea nearby. I also always try to jot down notes to myself as to what I want to write next – it makes it so much quicker and easier to pick up the next day! 

Which authors inspired you to write?

There have been so, so many. My reading taste is eclectic: Terry Pratchett, Tamora Pearce, Enid Blyton, Judy Blume. And most recently, Ann Evans. 

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

A bit a of mix I think. There will always be love and romance of some kind in my books – that’s just who I am. And hopefully humour as well, because I think it’s needed in life. And there will always, always be hope and happy endings. 

More About Ella

Ella’s been obsessed with books since she was a toddler. She decided to become a writer as soon as she realised that stringing letters together in the right order could actually be a career.  

She grew up in the outskirts of London, where fairies lived at the bottom of her Grandma’s garden, so it isn’t surprising that she still looks for magic in everyday life – and often finds it. 

When she’s not living in a fantasy world of her own creation, she writes bids and develops programmes for children’s services. She lives in rural Warwickshire (where there are probably more fairies) with her husband who is ever loving and understanding, and makes her gallons of tea in magical cups that can keep drinks warm for whole chapters.  

Throughout lockdown, Ella’s spent a lot of time cleaning (who hasn’t), crocheting rainbows, and writing. She’s got two new novels in progress – but did take a few breaks to write a stories (featuring a lot more dinosaur poop and talking animals than her usual style) for some very special youngsters spending birthdays in shielded lockdown.  

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@EllaCookWrites       Facebook-XperiaWritten by Ella

 

Check out the YouTube video of Ella, Helen and myself chatting during the Choc-lit festival

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What if you became an outsider in your own life?

Jennifer Hughes doesn’t have an extraordinary life, but that doesn’t matter – she loves her family and enjoys her job as a teacher. In her eyes, her unextraordinary life is utterly perfect.
But then, in the blink of an eye, Jennifer finds herself cut off from everything she knew and loved, confined to a strange new world and forced to watch from a distance as her family and friends pick up the pieces.
Can Jennifer hold her perfect life together, even though she’s not living it herself

 

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Meet The Family – Marie Laval

Marie Laval is another one if Choc-Lit’s international writers. I am really looking forward to catching up with Marie and learning all about her books and her life across the pond.

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Bonjour, Marie and welcome to my blog “A Story About A Girl” I am really looking forward to learning more about your book “Escape to The Little Chateau.

 

What inspired you to write “Escape to The Little Chateau?”

It was a family holiday in Provence, Clare. Being from Lyon, I often holidayed in the South of France as a child, and I always loved the area – the sunshine, the picturesque villages, the vibrant colours and the riot of scents… and the fountains. There are fountains everywhere – some were very grand and ornate like in Aix-en-Provence, others a plain stone trough with only an old tap spurting fresh water.

One fountain in particular captured my imagination. It stood on a secluded square in the small seaside town of Cassis where we had stopped for an impromptu picnic. As soon as I saw it and read its Latin inscription, I knew I had the basis of a plot.

What made you decide to submit with ChocLit?

I liked the idea of the panel reading submission and making a recommendation, and they have fantastic authors who I love and admire. Having been with Choc Lit for a couple of years now, I am delighted with the care and attention they bring to the whole editing and publishing process and with the gorgeous covers they have designed for my novels. They are great publisher to work with.

If you could go back to when you first started writing what one piece advice would you give yourself?

I would tell myself to be patient! It takes a long time from the moment you send your story to your publisher to the day the book is published…

If you weren’t writing what would you be doing?

school-2276269_640I do have a full-time job as a teacher and I fit my writing around it, but I can’t ever imagine not writing…I always have so many stories swirling in my mind, so many stories I want to tell…It is also a great community to belong to. I have made such great friends, some I meet regularly (although not in the last few months, unfortunately), and others I only ‘talk’ to on social media.

How did you deal with rejections when you started out?

It wasn’t easy, Clare. In fact at one time my partner said that I should stop writing because I was only making myself miserable and I had enough rejection letters to wallpaper the backroom! I didn’t listen to him, of course. I carried on writing and submitting, and one day, I had an offer of publication…

What would you say to someone who wants to write?

Read lots, attend workshops if you can (although these may be virtual in the current circumstances), talk to people, and most of all write every day in order to keep in touch with your characters and their emotions.

Do you have any writing routines or rituals if so what are they?

balcony-1834990_640I write whenever I can, which means that I often doze off on my keyboard late in the evening. One of my favourite and most productive times for writing is early Saturday and Sunday morning when my family is still asleep and the house is quiet.

Which authors inspired you to write?

There are so many it would be impossible to choose, but my passion for writing started at an early age, when I still lived in France, so the authors who influenced me the most where French. Joseph Kessel, Colette, Barbey d’Aurevilly, Maupassant, to name but a few. As a teenager, I also loved Agatha Christie, Mary Higgins-Clark, and I devoured Harlequin romances!

Would you want to play the main characters in your book if your novel was optioned for tv / film?

It would be a dream come true if the story was ever adapted for the cinema or television… tumblr_mezvn71Z8n1s02bw9o1_400

However I cannot think of anyone I would cast as Fabien, except a young Alain Delon or a young Jude Law, which of course would be impossible!

photocall-in-time-with-justin-timberlake As for Amy, it would have to be Amanda Seyfried. She is brilliant and has a very appealing combination of vulnerability and quirkiness…

 

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

I do have a number of projects I am hoping to complete in the next few months – three romance novels, including a Christmas story for next year. I am also hoping to revise and republish three historical romance novels which are all very dear to my heart.

More About Marie

Originally from Lyon in France, Marie now lives in Lancashire and writes historical and contemporary romance. Best-selling LITTLE PINK TAXI was her debut romantic comedy novel with Choc Lit.  A PARIS FAIRY TALE was published in July 2019, followed by BLUEBELL’S CHRISTMAS MAGIC in November 2019. She also writes short stories for the bestselling Miss Moonshine anthologies, and is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors.

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@MarueLaval1          Facebook-Xperia Marie Laval Author

 

ESCAPEFINALCOVER

Will Amy’s dreams of a Provençal escape come true?

There are many reasons Amy Carter is determined to make Bellefontaine, her farmhouse hotel in the French countryside, a success. Of course, there’s the time and money she’s put in to making it beautiful, but she also has something to prove – particularly to people like Fabien Coste.

Fabien is the owner of the nearby château, and he might just be the most arrogant, patronising man Amy has ever met … unfortunately, he’s also the most handsome.

But as rumours circulate in the local community and secrets about the old farmhouse begin to reveal themselves, Amy quickly sees the less idyllic side of life at Bellefontaine. Could Fabien be the man to help prevent her Provençal dream from turning into a nightmare?

This was previously published as A Spell in Provence by Accent Press in 2015. This is a revised, edited and updated version. Published October 2020 by Choc Lit.

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Meet The Family – Evonne Wareham

It has been a while since Evonne Wareham has published a book so I was SUPER keen to get to meet her and get to know the author behind the upcoming book “A Wedding on The Riviera”

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Hi Evonne and welcome to my blog “A Story About A Girl” I can’t wait to learn more about your book “A Wedding on The Riviera.

What inspired you to write “A Wedding on The Riviera?”

The book is the second in an intended series of romantic suspense, set in Riviera locations, so I was waiting for an idea that would lend itself to that setting. By chance I’d read two ‘runaway bride’ stories back to back – ones where the bride leaves her groom standing at the altar.

I started to play the writer’s game ‘What if …’ which made me think about a runaway groom, rather than a bride. I decided that he had to be a villain, and that led to him being a con artist. And that led me to a group of friends who decide to take him on, connected to the detective agency that appears in the first book, Summer in San Remo.

A plan for a glamorous wedding in the South of France was the result. Two of the group are on the verge of a love affair, although naturally there are obstacles in the way, or there wouldn’t be a story, and that gave me my romantic thread. The wedding research was a lot of fun. The book is self contained, so it can be read as a stand-alone, but readers who have read the first one will get the chance to catch up with characters from that book.

What made you decide to submit with ChocLit?

I had a chance to pitch to them at a Romantic Novelists’ Association conference. I’d had some success in American competitions for unpublished authors so I had two books to pitch that had a bit of a track record. I was very attracted to the fact that Choc-Lit wanted their authors to write from both heroine and hero’s points of view, because I really enjoy writing the love affair from both sides.

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If you could go back to when you first started writing what one piece advice would you give yourself?

Keep trying. It took me a very long time to discover what it was I wanted to write, but in that time I was learning the craft, experimenting with a lot of different genres. Everything I wrote had an element of crime in it, and eventually I stumbled over American romantic suspense authors and everything clicked. I’ve never asked, but I suspect I may be one of the longest serving members in the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme. And we are talking decades here, not years. There were a lot of times when I nearly gave up, but I just couldn’t do it.

If you weren’t writing what would you be doing?

library-1147815_640In the big picture, probably studying for something. The reason that this book took a while to complete is because I was finishing my studies for a PhD. One half my brain is a writer, the other half is an academic – an historian. I like the research involved.  Let me loose in an archive, and I’m a happy bunny.  In the smaller picture, I really should be decluttering the house, but we won’t talk about that.

How did you deal with rejections when you started out?

Badly. And I had lots. You do get used to it, but if you have tried your best with something, it always hurts to have it rejected. If agents and editors take the time to explain why you are getting a rejection letter, that can be very valuable, particularly if you are getting the same comments from more than one source. You have to learn to make the most of that kind of advice, but it isn’t easy.

What would you say to someone who wants to write?

That you need to try, and possibly keep trying. There are people who hit the jackpot straight away, but I’m not sure how often that happens. You need hard work, a bit of luck and perseverance. Take any opportunities you can to learn and to practice, enter competitions, especially ones that give feedback, write because you enjoy it, not because you think something will make money. You do have to please the reader, and there has to be a market for what you are producing, but if you enjoy what you are doing I think that comes through.

Do you have any writing routines or rituals if so what are they?

notebook-1840276_640I’m fairly unusual these days in that the first draft is always done long hand. I think that’s years of note taking. My handwriting has now degenerated into a kind of shorthand. Sometimes I can’t decipher it myself. It has the advantage in that I can write anywhere. I particularly like writing on trains, although that hasn’t been happening recently. I’m hoping that it will happen again eventually.

Which authors inspired you to write?

As I’ve mentioned, it took me a long while to find out the genre that suited me, and that turned out to be one that is better known in the US than in the UK. With such a vast country, there is so much more room for all sorts of varieties of romance that are not so well known over here. I read a Nora Roberts – it was The Reef – and that made me think – ‘Maybe I can do that?’. And it finally worked!

Would you want to play the main characters in your book if your novel was optioned for tv / film?

Lancome Penelope Cruz3 (KCSPresse Splash News Online)

This is usually a tricky one for me, because unlike a lot of authors, I don’t use pictures of actors or models as inspiration. In this case I have to say that the Lancôme adverts for Tresor perfume with Penelope Cruz and Noah Mills, that were current when I was writing the first draft, captured my mental image of Nadine and Ryan. So that would be the image I would want to re-create.

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

More Riviera books. I like writing them – glamour and sunshine! I have one already begun and am researching for the one after that. For some reason the hero has turned out to be an Egyptologist, and as I know very little about Egyptology, I’m having fun finding out. That’s the academic coming out again. If it all gets too complicated I might try to talk him into being an art historian instead. The Riviera series is on the lighter more glitzy side, but I also have some partial manuscripts for grittier stand-alones, that I would like to revisit.

More About Evonne

Evonne is an award winning Welsh author of romantic suspense – more crime and dead bodies than your average romance. She likes to set her book in her native Wales, or for a touch of glamorous escapism, in favourite holiday destinations in Europe. She is a Doctor of Philosophy and an historian, and a member of both the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Crime Writers’ Association.

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thumbnail_A WEDDING ON THE RIVIERA by Evonne WarehamA return to the Riviera on the trail of a runaway groom …

When out-of-work actor Ryan Calder attends a wedding as the plus-one of successful businesswoman, Nadine Wells, he doesn’t expect to get in a scuffle with the groom.

But Ryan has a good reason. He recognises the groom from another wedding where the same man made a quick getaway, taking the wedding money and leaving a heartbroken bride in his wake. It seems he’s struck again, and Nadine’s poor friend is the target.

Ryan and Nadine decide they can’t let it happen to another woman, so with a group of friends they hatch a plan that will take them to the French Riviera, hot on the heels of the crooked groom. But could their scheme to bring him to justice also succeed in bringing them closer together?

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Meet The Family – Jan Baynham

Today, I have caught up with Jen Baynham to talk to her about her long awaited novel Her Sister’s Secret which is set in the summer of ’66.

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Hi Jan and welcome to my blog “A Story About A Girl” I’m so excited to get to sit down and chat to another member of the Ruby-Lit family and learn about the summer of 1966.

What inspired you to write “Her Sister’s Secret?”

I have always been fascinated by long-held family secrets and skeletons lurking in cupboards. Many years ago, I was told of one such secret that only came to light when someone I knew was applying to go to college. Her Sister’s Secret was inspired by the story that has always stayed with me. The ‘what ifs?’ began and I wondered how the girl felt when she found out. How would she react? What would she think about the people who had kept her in the dark for almost eighteen years? As with all my novels, I wanted it to tell two stories so that I could explore that special bond between mothers and daughters and how the actions and decisions of one impact on the other. In 1966, my character, Jennifer Howells, reacts badly to finding out that, in her eyes, she has been living a lie and that her life is a sham. At first, she rebels and becomes a wild child unrecognised by her parents. She puts her life on hold until she endeavours to find answers and heal the wounds that fractured her family back in 1947. Having lived all her life in rural mid-Wales, Jen’s journey to find the truth takes her to first to the city of Cardiff and then to Sicily.

What made you decide to submit with Ruby Fiction?

The manuscript for my first novel was also with three other publishers when I received the offer of a three-book deal with Ruby Fiction. Their slogan, ‘Stories That Inspire Emotions!’, appealed to me and I knew my family stories would fit their remit. I contacted the others to let them know that I was going to accept Ruby Fiction’s offer and each one kindly replied to wish me well.

If you could go back to when you first started writing what one piece advice would you give yourself?

To write often and every day if possible. That piece of advice is something I still find difficult to follow even now. If I don’t, it always takes me longer to get back into my writing.

If you weren’t writing what would you be doing?

If I hadn’t begun writing when I retired, perhaps I would have taken up painting or pottery again. I studied art and specialised in pottery and ceramics and although I’ve dabbled in painting a little over the years, I pottery-4286961_640haven’t done any clay-work. I don’t have a kiln or access to one since giving up teaching ceramics. I joined a small writing group at a local library as soon as I gave up my job in education and from then on, I haven’t looked back. Alongside my writing, I enjoy reading and Pilates. I also co-organise Cariad, our local Chapter of the RNA.

How did you deal with rejections when you started out?

I’ve always regarded rejections as something to learn from. Once they moved from being general comments with no indication of the reason for the rejection to ones where details were given, I felt I was making progress. With ‘Her Mother’s Secret’, my debut novel, I got a great deal of helpful feedback from one publisher after finally being rejected by a submissions panel. I then used those suggestions for improvement as a list of things to work on before submitting again, and I received the offer from Ruby Fiction shortly afterwards.

What would you say to someone who wants to write?

people-4050698_640I would say to go ahead and start writing. Join a group and enjoy the support and friendship of fellow writers. It’s a lonely business on your own. The next thing I did was to join a writing class at the local university run by a published author. I would also recommend becoming active on social media, especially Twitter.

Do you have any writing routines or rituals if so what are they?

Not really, apart from reading through what I’ve written the day before. I always try not to finish mid-scene and if I can end with a cliff-hanger or something for the reader to wonder about, all the better.

Which authors inspired you to write?

11253741Rosie Thomas is one. I have enjoyed many of her novels but ‘The Kashmir Shawl’ stands out for me. I remember thinking how wonderful it would be to write like that.

Another author is Honno writer, Judith Barrow, whom I met not long after I started writing a novel, and she has become a supportive writing friend ever since. In her Howarth trilogy and its prequel ‘A Hundred Tiny Threads’, I have the perfect models for creating characters who are true to the times in which they live.

Who would you want to play the main characters in your book if your novel was optioned for tv / film?

Now there’s a wonderful thought. I took ages to pick these actors, but I had great fun choosing these:

karen GillanRose has auburn hair and sage-green eyes and in the end, I decided on Karen Gillan, the Scottish actress and film maker. She played Amy Pond in Doctor Who, as a companion to the 11th doctor played by Matt Smith. More recently she portrayed Ruby Roundhouse in the Jumanji film series (2017-2019).

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Jennifer (Jen) has long dark hair and brown eyes. To play her, I chose Jenna Coleman for her early roles as Jasmine Thomas in the ITV’s Emmerdale and Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who.

Michele_RiondinoMarco was the hardest to cast. In my head, he has black hair with brown eyes and an olive skin. There were so many handsome actors who could fit the bill but, in the end, I chose Michele Riondino who plays the young Montalbano in the detective series set in Sicily. What a coup that would be for my story!

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

My third novel is planned and partially written. It’s another mother daughter story with a secret at its heart. It’s set at the beginning of World War 2 and the second story is twenty years later in 1959. This time, the contrasting setting is Northern France, an area I know well.

More About Jan

After retiring from a career in teaching and advisory education, Jan joined a small writing group in a local library where she wrote her first piece of fiction. From then on, she was hooked!

She soon went on to take a writing course at the local university and began to submit stories for publication to a wider audience. In October 2019, her first collection of short stories, ‘Smashing the Mask and Other Stories’ was published.

Following a novel writing course, Jan began to write her first full length novel. She loves being able to explore characters in greater depth and delve into their stories. She writes about family secrets and the bond between mothers and daughters.

Originally from mid-Wales, Jan lives in Cardiff with her husband.

 

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How far would you travel to find the truth?
It’s the 1960s and Jennifer Howells is a young woman with the world at her feet, just on the cusp of leaving her Welsh village for an exciting life in the city.

Then the contents of an inconspicuous brown envelope turn Jennifer’s world upside down. The discovery leaves her spiralling, unsure who she is. Overnight, Miss Goody Two Shoes is replaced by a mini-skirted wild child who lives for parties and rock’n’roll.

But Jennifer’s experience with the excesses of sixties’ culture leaves her no closer to her true identity. She soon realises she’ll have to travel further – first to Cardiff, then across the ocean to Sicily – if she wants to find out who she really is …  



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Meet The Family – Christine Penhall

Meet The Family – Christine Penhall

 

Today, I have caught up with Christine Penhall to learn about the Portuguese paradise that awaits in her new book “New Beginnings at the Little House in the Sun”

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Hi Christine and welcome to my blog “A Story About A Girl” I was so excited to get to sit down and chat to another member of the Ruby-Lit family and learn about this Portuguese paradise.

 

 

What inspired you to write “New Beginnings at the Little House in the Sun?”

New Beginnings in the Little House in the Sun is the sequel to my first novel, The House That Alice Built. Before that won the Choc-Lit Search for a Star competition in 2019 I had started planning another book altogether but decided that I wanted to find out what happened to Alice next. So New Beginnings follows her after she’s made a huge decision about her life and decides to settle in Portugal permanently. But things don’t go entirely to plan, because they never do, do they!

Congratulations for winning the choc-lit search for a star last year! I can’t wait to see what 2020 brings us.

What made you decide to submit with ChocLit?

I think Choc-Lit and Ruby Fiction are the perfect home for the kind of books I read and write, too. I was about to send my manuscript for The House That Alice Built to them, cat-1151519_640and when I visited their website found that the Search for A Star Competition was sponsored by Your Cat Magazine, and they were looking for novels that had cats in. Strangely enough, mine did – Alice ends up cat sitting Aphrodite when she arrives in Cascais. And so I went down that route.

If you could go back to when you first started writing what one piece advice would you give yourself?

I remember many years ago sitting down after work with a pen and a pad – it was long before everyone had computers – and deciding to start writing. But I didn’t get even one word on that page and got quite despondent about it. Looking back, I realise I’d read so many good books I had this subconscious idea that my writing should be  perfect from the start. It was only when I just began to write, knowing that I had to have something to work with that could be edited and re-edited that I actually got going. So, that’s the advice I’d give myself – just start writing.

If you weren’t writing what would you be doing?

It’s taken me a long time to become a published author, so I feel I have a lot of writing in front of me, but if my mind wasn’t full of stories, I would be looking forward to doing a lot of travelling in the next few years. Although I plan to do than anyway. Maybe I’ll get some ideas as I go.

How did you deal with rejections when you started out?

Like a lot of people, when I first started sending my novel out to agents I hawomen-1209678_640d this dream that I would get accepted immediately and it would all be plain sailing. However, after the first couple of very kind rejections, I just braced myself! Then I’d get despondent, pick myself up and send it out again. When I got the e-mail from Choc-Lit saying they wanted to speak to me I was at work and got three people over to my desk to check what it said as I was expecting yet another rejection!

What would you say to someone who wants to write?

I would say just start writing. Do it because you love it, not just because you want to be published, and don’t expect to be perfect as soon as you begin. Engage with writers groups locally and online, and find people who love books as much as you do, as they will help to motivate you. And most of all, never give up on your dreams.

Do you have any writing routines or rituals if so what are they?

The House That Alice Built took me many years to write and I fitted it around looking after my children and work so I don’t think I had any routines for that. For New Beginnings at the Little House in the Sun, I also fitted it around work commitments, but on a writing day I would write for an hour or so, potter, go out to a café and write some more, come home and do something else and have another writing spurt. I have a vague word count target, which gets more stringent the closer I get to the deadline!

Which authors inspired you to write?

I read voraciously like all authors, so I can’t pinpoint one writer in particular, as I think they all inspired me to write. But as books were part of my life from childhood I should go back there and say I loved What Katy Did, What Katy Did at School and What Katy Did Next by Sarah Chauncey Woolsey, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis, The Wombles by Elizabeth Beresford and The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas.

p04h6n0f(I went to see Top of the Pops being recorded behind the scenes when I was very young as my friend’s father was an engineer there. The Wombles were one of the acts performing that day and we passed through the green room briefly –   my dreams were shattered when I saw Orinoco wearing his head like a hat and smoking a cigarette….however, its still one of my favourite books!)

Who would you want to play the main characters in your book if your novel was optioned for tv / film?

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I think that Emelia Clarke or Lily James would make a1d0d68f6f5595b0edc39b960141f0d2e great Alice, and Aiden Turner from Poldark would be perfect as Luis.

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What can we expect to see from you in the future?

I’m writing the novel I’d planned before The House That Alice Built. Its set in the UK and is about Miriam, who has sold her business, and goes for a much-needed break to a house by the sea in a village she used to visit as a child. She needs rest, relaxation, no responsibility, and really wants as little company as possible. Due to an administrative error she gets anything but. There’s also something of a mystery to be solved as to the whereabouts of the owner of the house she’s renting.

More About Christine

Chris Penhall is the winner of the 2019 Choc-Lit Search for a Star competition, sponsored by Your Cat Magazine, with her debut novel, The House That Alice Built. The sequel, New Beginnings at the Little House in the Sun is published in August 2020.

Born in South Wales, Chris has also lived in London and in Portugal, which is where both books are set. It was whilst living in Cascais near Lisbon that she began to dabble in writing fiction, but it was many years later that she was confident enough to start writing her first novel, and many years after that she finally finished it! She has now completed her second and is busy writing her third.
A lover of books, music and cats, she is also an enthusiastic salsa dancer, a keen cook, and loves to travel. She is never happier than when she is gazing at the sea.

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Follow your yellow brick road ….

Alice Dorothy Matthews is on the road to paradise! She’s sold her house in London, got rid of her nasty ex and arranged her move to Portugal where friendship and romance awaits. All that’s left to do is find a place to call home.

But Alice’s dreams are called into question when complications with friends, work and new relationships make her Portuguese paradise feel far too much like reality.

Will Alice’s dream of a new home in the sun come true?

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Meet The Family – Morton S Gray

Meet The Family – Morton S Gray

 

Today, I have caught up with Morton to talk about her new book “Sunny Days at the Beach”

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Hi Christine and welcome to my blog “A Story About A Girl” I was so excited to get to sit down and chat to another member of the Choc-Lit family and learn about your new novel.

 

 

What inspired you to write “New Beginnings at the Little House in the Sun?”

Sunny Days at the Beach features a gin distiller for a hero. This character, Graham Frankley, was inspired by an article I read several years ago about a craft gin distillery. I followed up the article by taking my husband for a tour of the gin distillery for his birthday treat, thinly disguised as my novel research trip.

I needed someone to pitch up against Mandy Vanes, a character who has featured in several of my novels to date. She runs Owl Corner Crafts in my fictional seaside town of Borteen. I also avidly watch Long Lost Family on television and the link will be clear when you read the book.

What made you decide to submit with ChocLit?

I entered a competition with Choc Lit – Search for a Star – and unbelievably I won with my debut novel Who is Harry Dixon in 2016, which became The Girl on the Beach.

If you could go back to when you first started writing what one piece advice would you give yourself?

Believe in yourself and your writing! I think I could have been published much earlier if I had believed in my work enough

If you weren’t writing what would you be doing?

If I’m not writing, you can find me researching family trees or engaged in a new craft adventure.

I’ve traced my family history and other peoples for many years and there is nothing I like better than a family mystery to solve. When I first started tracing, I had to travel around the country to access original documents. I have to say that those were probably the most exciting times, especially if you discovered a family will or other unexpected document. For many years now I’ve researched on the internet, but the latest excitement concerns the advances in DNA research, which I’m just getting to grips with.

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Craft-wise I’ve tried most things. At the moment, I’m enjoying weaving and creating my own solid shampoo and soap.

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How did you deal with rejections when you started out?

I never really had any rejections as such, probably because I didn’t start submitting my novels until just before I won Choc Lit’s Search for a Star. I had begun to shortlist in first chapter novel competitions by then and was getting more confident. One of the best things I did was to join the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme. This scheme allows for a critique of a full-length novel for each year that you are a member and the feedback I received definitely contributed to my growth in confidence with my work.

What would you say to someone who wants to write?

Just do it! A lot of people talk about writing, but unless you actually start you will get nowhere. Join a writing course, learn the craft, make all of the mistakes and learn from them. Go for it.

Do you have any writing routines or rituals if so what are they?

Lol I wish I did have routines!

I like to write longhand into notebooks when I’m feeling my way into a project. That way the first time I type things onto the computer I am performing a first edit as I go along.coffee-2306471_640

I don’t have any set routines as regards when I write, it’s usually when I get chance with a busy household and an elderly mother to keep an eye on. I have ideas for stories, poems and novels all the time, particularly in the shower, so I could do with finding a way to speed up my process. At the end of the day I try to write the sort of books I like to read. I never plan, so each manuscript is an adventure for me and hopefully the reader too and that’s the way I like it.

Which authors inspired you to write?

Sue Moorcroft has to be the main one. I admired her books and wanted to write like her. I’ve been on her courses and she used to be with the publisher I’m with now too!

Other influences would be Jane Austen, Pamela Belle, Lucy Dillon and Linda Gillard.

Who would you want to play the main characters in your book if your novel was optioned for tv / film?

Rachel McAdamsI always find this a difficult question. The reason being that I think Dan Stevenseveryone who reads your book will imagine someone different. It’s actually the reason why authors don’t describe characters too closely, so that people can use their own imagination. But, if I had to choose – Graham would be Dan Stevens of Downton Abbey fame and Mandy would be Rachel McAdams (About Time, The Notebook, Eurovision).

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

I published three books with Choc Lit after my competition win and have just signed a further three book deal with the publisher. Sunny Days at the Beach is the first of these three. I have a Christmas novella out later this year and I’m working on another book for 2021.

More About Morton

Morton lives with her husband, two sons and Lily, the tiny white dog, in Worcestershire, U.K. She has been reading and writing fiction for as long as she can remember, penning her first attempt at a novel aged fourteen. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and The Society of Authors.

Her debut novel The Girl on the Beach was published after she won the Choc Lit Publishing Search for a Star competition in 2016. This story follows a woman with a troubled past as she tries to unravel the mystery surrounding her son’s new headteacher, Harry Dixon.

Morton’s second book for Choc Lit The Truth Lies Buried is another romantic suspense novel, The story of Jenny Simpson and Carver Rodgers as they uncover secrets from their past.

Christmas at Borteen Bay is Morton’s first Christmas novella. It is set in her fictional seaside town of Borteen and follows the story of Pippa Freeman, who runs the Rose Court Guest House with her mother, and local policeman Ethan Gibson, as they unravel a family secret as Christmas approaches.

Morton previously worked in the electricity industry in committee services, staff development and training. She has a Business Studies degree and is a fully qualified Clinical Hypnotherapist and Reiki Master. She also has diplomas in Tuina acupressure massage and energy field therapy. She enjoys crafts, history and loves tracing family trees. Having a hunger for learning new things is a bonus for the research behind her books.

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From party nights at the pub to sunny days at the beach …

Craft shop owner Mandy Vanes has always enjoyed a commitment-free singleton lifestyle — in fact, she’s well-known for her wild ways in her small seaside town on the coast.

But when local teenager, Nick Crossten, turns to her for help, Mandy has the opportunity to prove she can be a responsible adult. Although things get tricky when gin distillery owner Graham Frankley comes to town with some unexpected news.

Could this mean that Mandy the party girl is finally ready to grow up?

 

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Meet The Family – Angela Britnell

Meet The Family – Angela Britnell

 

Today, I have caught up with Angela Britnell to learn about how Cornwall has an influence on her work!

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Hi Angela and welcome to my blog “A Story About A Girl” I was so excited to get to sit down and chat to another member of the Choc-Lit family and learn all about you and what you have in store for us.

 

What inspired you to write “A Summer to Remember in Herring Bay?”

This book, along with many of my others, is inspired by Cornwall where I was born and my own long, happy transatlantic marriage. Aspects of Mevagissey, a Cornish fishing village where my mother lived definitely sneaked into this story and there’s also an abandoned Methodist chapel in the book that’s similar to one in the village where I grew up.

What made you decide to submit with ChocLit?

Back in 2013 (I think!) Choc Lit held a Search for an American Star competition and I entered what turned out to be the winning manuscript. After a name change it became Sugar and Spice, my first Choc Lit novel and now A Summer to Remember in Herring Bay will be my twelfth.

If you could go back to when you first started writing what one piece advice would you give yourself?

Find a local writers’ group and/or join an organisation like the Romantic Novelists’ Association or Romance Writers of America because the support and the amount you can learn from other writers is invaluablerna-logo-red-2

If you weren’t writing what would you be doing?

I’m not sure at this stage, probably thinking about retirement!

How did you deal with rejections when you started out?

At first they were extremely hard to take but with time I’ve been able to view them less personally. I know that as a reader I enjoy some books and dislike others which means it’s the same way for an editor/publisher reading one of my manuscripts. Plus they are looking at whether my story fits with their business model and whether they believe it to be marketable

What would you say to someone who wants to write?

Write every day, the length of time isn’t important and it doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad but get the words down. Learn more about the craft through books, writing groups etc. but always keep in the back of your mind that what works for one writer might not for you. After listening to other writers talking about their methods I tried to plot my stories but it was an exercise in frustration where I was concerned. I concluded it wasn’t for me and that’s perfectly okay.

Do you have any writing routines or rituals if so what are they?breakfast-1728140_640

Before I start to write I do what I call the business side of things and check my email and social media. That can become a wander around Facebook, Twitter etc. if I don’t rein myself in! Next it depends what stage I’m at in a book. If I’m in hard core first draft mode I usually do a light edit of the previous days’ words before keeping going. I keep track of my daily words written and usually challenge myself to reach a certain number but don’t beat myself up if I miss it! It could also involve doing research or reading my manuscript on my Kindle to see how it is coming together. The most important ritual though involves tea and biscuits at frequent intervals.

Which authors inspired you to write?

It’s hard to say because I’ve always been a voracious reader so I suppose I’ve soaked up a lot from various authors without being aware of it. Anyone who can tell a good story that I don’t want to put down and am sorry when the book finishes is the best answer I can come up with!

Who would you want to play the main characters in your book if your novel was optioned for tv / film?

_methode_times_prod_web_bin_631748fa-99b3-11e9-872e-73f33f6fa5f5No one who knows me will be surprised when I say Aidan indexTurner to play Ruan but he’s the perfect age plus it needs a man who can carry off fashionable clothes the right way. I’m sure he would need input from the author to help with his character too J As for Essy I think Reese Witherspoon could pull it off, she’s a southern girl so the accent wouldn’t be a problem.

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

I’ve just finished a Christmas novella titled Mistletoe and Moonshine and will soon go back to work on a spring book I started a while ago.

More About Angela

Angela grew up in Cornwall, England and returns frequently from her new home in Nashville, Tennessee to visit family and friends, drink tea and eat far too many Cornish pasties!

A lifelong love of reading turned into a passion for writing contemporary romance and her novels are usually set in the many places she’s visited or lived on her extensive travels. Thanks to over three decades of marriage to her wonderful American husband she’s a huge fan of transatlantic romance and always makes sure her characters get their own happy-ever-after.

She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Romance Writers of America and the Music City Romance Writers. Her first novel ‘Truth and Consequence’ was published in 2006 and she’s now had over 30 novels published internationally and several short stories in women’s magazines.

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A Summer to Remember in Herring Bay cover

 

Essy Havers is good at finding things. Her company specialises in helping clients track down anything, from missing china pieces to rare vintage clothing. But now Essy has something more important to find: herself.

Essy has always been curious about her mother’s secret past and her Cornish roots. So, when the opportunity arises, she hops on a plane in Tennessee and ends up in Herring Bay in Cornwall; the village where her mother grew up.
But once there, she’s mystified by the reactions of the villagers when they realise who she is. Was Essy’s decision to visit Cornwall a mistake, or will it lead to a summer she’ll never forget?

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Meet The Family – Helen Bridgett

Meet The Family – Helen Bridgett

 

Helen like myself is a debut author and her novel Summer at Serenity Bay is being released tomorrow.

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Hi Helen and welcome to my blog “A Story About A Girl” I was so excited to get to sit down with you again now your debut is closer to be released!  I can’t wait to here what you have instore for us.

 

What inspired you to write “Summer at Serenity Bay?”

First of all, I’ve recently moved back to the North-East of England and I’m rediscovering all the fabulous beaches we have up here. They really are the best in the world! image-1

Also – I love being outdoors and do believe that a simple walk along the coast can cure most ills. I wanted to write something that expressed my love of these two elements and of course I always aim to put a smile on readers’ faces!

What made you decide to submit with Ruby fiction?

I took the advice of the writing community! I asked other authors to recommend publishers and Ruby Fiction were strongly recommended. I love that their books are selected by a panel and it has been fabulous working with the team.

If you could go back to when you first started writing what one piece advice would you give yourself?

I probably wouldn’t listen to any advice I gave myself!

However, I would say to all new writers – reach out to the writing community. Everyone has been there before – we’ve had the same concerns, faced the same issues – ask someone and they will help you. I’ve found other authors incredibly supportive.

If you weren’t writing what would you be doing?

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I really don’t know. Even between books I get twitchy.  I like to think I’d spend more time hiking and perhaps I’d find another creative outlet like photography but I’m slightly addicted to writing at the moment!

How did you deal with rejections when you started out?

To begin with you take it on the chin – everyone is rejected when they start out and you’re kind of prepared for that. However, after a time it does get you down. The best advice I can give is to walk away from the submissions process for a while, then re-look at your synopsis, first few chapters and submission letter. Are they the best they can be? Re-write and get back on the horse!

What would you say to someone who wants to write?

Just do it. There are many forms of written word and you it poetry, short stories or perhaps scripts. To complete a novel means sitting down at your pc every day – every day and writing. Hitting that word count, plotting the story, revealing your characters and entertaining readers. It’s not an easy task and you have to really want to do it. I would say, however, that it’s a fabulous feeling when you complete your first novel.

Do you have any writing routines or rituals if so what are they?

I try to fit in some exercise during the day otherwise you end up with really stiff people-2573216_640shoulders and an aching back. So I walk the dog, write for a couple of hours then do some pilates and another couple of hours writing. I like to set myself a word count for the day and I also leave the manuscript in a place that’s easy to pick up the next day – so, for example, I’ll write the first line of the next chapter before finishing. You spend all night thinking about it so the words flow when you open the pc the following day!

Which authors inspired you to write?

This is always a tough question to answer because I read all genres. Like many people I began with Enid Blyton and she was the first author to transport me to other places through the Faraway Tree, The Wishing Chair and even Mallory Towers – so I’ll say Enid was the very first inspiration.

Who would you want to play the main characters in your book if your novel was optioned for tv / film?

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Ooh – Andy could be played by Chris Hemsworth, Chloe by Lily Collins, Roisin by Jessie Buckley and Heather by Dame Judi Dench. I hope they’d get on!

Claire – Chris seems to be a very popular choice with the ladies of Choclit and Ruby Fiction

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What can we expect to see from you in the future?

Well first of all I hope that readers enjoy Serenity Bay but later this year I have two short stories appearing in anthologies. Next year I’ll be releasing my first crime novel with Ruby Fiction.

More About Helen

Helen Bridgett lives in the North East of England. Outside of writing feel good fiction, Helen loves the great outdoors and having a good laugh with friends over a glass of wine. Helen lives with her husband and their chocolate Labrador, Angus; all three can often be found walking the Northumberland coastline that inspired Serenity Bay.

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Helen_Bridgett                 Facebook-Xperia Helen Bridgett Author

 

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Escape to Serenity Bay this summer with this fabulous funny, uplifting read.

What happens when you send a group of celebrities to a tiny seaside village? Advertising executive Chloe Walsh thought she was visiting her friend Roisin to get away from it all, but little does she know her kooky friend has a master plan to breathe some life into her sleepy seaside village through a new wellness retreat – and she needs Chloe’s skills.

So starts a community effort to put the retreat, Serenity Bay, on the map. Everyone from Andy at the Surf Shack to Tony at the chocolate shop is involved – even Roisin’s Gran has a few ideas! But Chloe strikes gold almost too soon, attracting the attention of a major production company. Now a colourful group of celebrities are preparing to descend on Serenity Bay to film a reality TV show. Is the village ready for the fun and scandal that are bound to follow

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Get your copy here

 

I caught up with Helen as part of the ChcoLit festival, see our video chat HERE!