Really excited about my blog tour starting next week!!
Huge thanks to Accent Press and to everyone taking part – you are all stars!! 😍 😍 😍
Really excited about my blog tour starting next week!!
Huge thanks to Accent Press and to everyone taking part – you are all stars!! 😍 😍 😍
When quiet Cally, an amateur ballet dancer, is diagnosed with cancer she runs away from her boyfriend Liam, her job in a call centre and her safe life in Wildham – in order to experience ‘real’ life in London. Taking a job as a stripper and flat-sitting in the top of an office tower she meets her obnoxious neighbour Bay; a tattooed, drug-taking, suicidal artist, haunted by the death of those close to him. Despite their differences, the two strike up a friendship – Bay pushes Cally to try new things while Cally provides Bay with a muse – and they fall in love. But their secrets threaten to tear them apart and time is running out…
Before We Fall, a standalone novel and the second book in The Wildham Series, will be published in both e-book on 9th August and in paperback on 16th August 2018 and is already available to pre-order online here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07D2CC9ST
A huge thank you to the team at Accent Press for all their hard work 😊
When I wrote my first novel it was purely for my own pleasure. I had no intention of letting anyone else read it, no concerns about fitting into a genre or potential marketability and certainly no expectations of getting published. I wrote because a story had sprung up in my imagination, the characters wouldn’t stop talking, and I needed to get it all out of my head! No one was more surprised than me when, following an author-friend’s recommendation, I was offered a publishing contract. I still consider it a wonderfully brave decision on the part of Accent Press.
Kindred Hearts is ostensibly an erotic romance novel – the story of a woman in love with her best friend’s brother – but that’s not all it is. At the time I created it, I had not read much in that genre, and with hindsight I think that afforded me a certain amount of freedom – to tell a story not guided by the usual ‘rules’ of romance. For anyone who hasn’t read the book, I won’t give too much away, but there is a third character, the protagonist’s best friend, who has equal, if not more prominence, than her brother, the male lead. Her name is Celeste.
Neither heroine nor villain, Celeste is attention-seeking, damaged and refuses to be sidelined, and yet, several years on, she remains one of my all-time favourite characters. But Kindred Hearts isn’t for everyone – the writing is raw, the sex scenes are graphic and the ending isn’t so much ‘happy’ as ‘bitter sweet’. So, where to go from there?
Having accidentally dipped my toe into the world of book publishing and inadvertently joined a vast online community of bookaholics and authors, I quickly gained a far greater understanding of the benefits of writing stories with potential readers in mind, and of sticking to genre. As a reader myself I appreciate having certain expectations fulfilled by a book – when real life is turbulent there is temporary comfort and reassurance to be found by escaping into a fictional love story, secure in the knowledge that you will be rewarded with a Happy Ever After. From a practical and financial standpoint it is also far easier to market a book to the right readers, if the genre is clearly defined – it’s common sense.
Armed with this new awareness and with a potential audience firmly in mind, I sat down to write a series of three new novels. And I am pleased with result, proud of the Wildham Series and excited to have people read these books, despite my characters persistently rebelling as I wrote them. Ultimately I have to write the stories I want to write, and these latest works, though romantic, seem to dance under the umbrella of Contemporary Women’s Fiction, due to the heavy themes involved. What can I say? I like a bit of grit to my fictional relationships – a dash of darkness to better emphasise the light – and I’ll always be a sucker for a juicy twist.
At the time of writing this, only Safe With Me, the first book of the series has been released, with the next, Before We Fall, due out in August, but I’m delighted to report that so far most of my readers’ feedback has been positive. I fully admit that I am still finding my feet as an author, but enjoying the process immensely. So do I regret the raw honesty of my debut novel?
No. Sure it could do with a little polishing, and it will probably never make me rich, but I remain proud of it’s originality and like to think of it as the rough diamond in my collection – the black sheep if you will – full of glamour and sweet longing and skating dangerously close to taboo. My first, wayward, child.
Are you a writer? Have you written a story that colours outside the lines? If so how do you feel about it? And if you are a reader looking for something a bit different, maybe give Kindred Hearts a try and let me know what you think! 😉
It’s World Book Day and children everywhere are dressing up as their favourite book characters in celebration! My parents read hundreds of books to me as a young child – works by Roald Dahl, Ted Hughes, Judith Kerr, C.S. Lewis, A.A. Milne, J.R.R. Tolkien and Margery Williams Bianco, to name just a few – but there was one book that was always my favourite.Tilly’s House written & illustrated by Faith Jaques and first published in 1979, is the story of a wooden doll, a kitchen maid called Tilly, who decides to escape the dolls’ house she resides in, and find a home of her own. Along the way she befriends a teddy bear called Edward, who helps her on her mission and by the end, her journey is happily complete. It’s a simple story, plainly written, and seeing it again had me questioning why it made such a strong impression on me as a child.
There is something universally appealing about dolls’ houses; miniaturisation; of viewing the world in a different scale, and of toys coming alive. A few examples in popular culture spring to mind: Hoffmann’s The Nutcracker ballet, Mary Norton’s book The Borrowers, the 1989 movie Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, the Toy Story franchise, and more recently, Jessie Burton’s novel The Miniaturist, which was made into a BBC television adaptation last year. It helps that Tilly’s House is full of charming, colourful illustrations. But for me I think it was more (or less) than that.
I suspect I was drawn to Tilly’s plight because it seemed utterly plausible (living toys aside) to me. As a character Tilly isn’t overtly beautiful, ambitious or heroic – she isn’t trying to save the world and doesn’t rely on a ballgown, magic powers or long golden hair in order to snag herself a prince. She is hard-working, friendly and quietly determined – she simply decides what she wants – independence – and sets about finding it. I can’t help but admire that.
Making one’s own home is part of the plan for most people, but for me, throughout sharing a room with my sister as a child, a student house at university, and then a cottage with my mother, it was my enduring, number one goal, even above finding Prince Charming. Leafing through Tilly’s House now I can’t help wondering if the little book was the initial seed of that relentless dream.I’m happy to admit that nowadays, when entertaining friends in my own tiny flat, I feel the same, proud, sense of achievement as Tilly in her greenhouse-bench home. In fact, Safe With Me, the last novel I had published, features a woman who escapes from a life of drudgery to a semi-rural garden centre, so maybe Tilly is still inspiring me, even now. In my opinion the power of children’s books cannot be underestimated.
What’s your favourite childhood book and what effect has it had on you?
Kat, the heroine in Safe With Me, has suffered a tough existence – from being abandoned as a child and raised in foster homes, to life as a virtual slave to her husband. But Kat has an irrepressible spirit, a big heart and stubbornly clings to her love for Jamie, a small boy she once knew.
Nothing expresses Kat’s natural warmth and determination, nor complements her passion for dancing with abandon, more than her uplifting taste in music.Below is a short playlist of the songs referred to in the book, which can also be found here on spotify:
Don’t Stop The Music – Rihanna
Shake It Off – Taylor Swift
Gravity – DJ Fresh, Ella Eyre
Real Love – Clean Bandit, Jess Glynne
Lost & Not Found – Chase & Status, Louis Mattrs
Slam – Pendulum
Highway To Hell – AC/DC
Have a read, have a listen, have a dance – and let me know what you think!
What do I mean by undercurrents? I write women’s fiction, mainly romance, so each story has an exploration of love at its core and the promise of a Happy Ever After at its end. But I want each book to have its own unique sense of atmosphere – that almost intangible, often emotional, awareness that stays with you long after you have finished the book. While this is created by a number of different factors, such as the plot, the style of writing, the setting, the personalities of the characters, the weather and so on, there is a subtler tool that you can also employ.Most people refer to this as a motif: imagery or symbolism that is repeated throughout a narrative. I call it an undercurrent because of the way it weaves and threads its way through a story, like a secret message, often hinting at something sinister or unexpected to come.For example in Kindred Hearts, the undercurrent I chose was water – not the refreshing, life-giving aspect of the element, but rather the lurking, conductive, slippery power of water and its potential threat. Near the start of the book my characters are innocently playing in the water as children, but as the story progresses the water resurfaces, several times and with varying degrees of menace – like waves eating away at sand – right through to the epilogue. It isn’t a theme I expect a reader to consciously pick up on, but my hope is that it underpins the atmosphere and helps tie the story together.
So what other motifs tease a reader’s subconscious? Aside from the remaining three elements (earth, air and fire), there are an unlimited variety of objects, actions, sounds, colours and phrases that can be employed as symbols. For instance in Safe With Me I use plants to echo my main characters’ struggle to put down roots and grow, and in the second book of my Wildham series, Before We Fall (due to be published August 2018) I use the colour scarlet to hint at blood, sex and death.There is often more than one undercurrent running through a story, and if you are a writer you may find that they develop naturally through your writing anyway, but I suspect the key is to be both subtle and consistent.
Which undercurrents run through your favourite book?
I’m absolutely delighted to be able to share the brand new cover for my latest book with you – I think you’ll agree Accent Press have done me proud!
An emotional and evocative story about the deepest bonds of friendship.
Abandoned as children, Kat and Jamie were inseparable growing up in foster care. But their bond couldn’t protect them forever.
From a troubled upbringing to working in a London greasy spoon, Kat’s life has never been easy. On the surface Jamie’s living the high-life, but appearances can be deceiving.
When they unexpectedly reunite, the bond they share becomes too intense to ignore. But as secrets come back to haunt them, are they destined to be separated once more?
Perfect for fans of Hilary Boyd and Nicholas Sparks.
Safe With Me, a standalone novel and the first in The Wildham Series, will be published in both paperback and e-book on 22nd June 2017 – in time for the summer holidays – and is already available to pre-order online here:
A massive thank you to the team at Accent Press for all their hard work in bringing this book to life!
I enjoy reading a wide range of fiction in a variety of different genres and my favourite authors range from Iain Banks to Sarah Waters; Chuck Palanhiuk to George R.R. Martin; and Kate Atkinson to Stieg Larsson. But I write Women’s Fiction and mainly Romance so I’ve come up with a list of ten favourites.While not all are classed as ‘Romances’ these books contain love stories that inspire me. I am drawn to those with an unusual quirk to them, a sinister edge or a tragic undercurrent – traits that I try to bring to my own work. To narrow down the selection I’ve excluded fave classics such as Pride and Prejudice, and focused on those published within my lifetime. (The list is arranged alphabetically, because that was easier than trying to order them by preference).
Archer Hale, the tortured male lead in this story, is both original and beautifully compelling and the main reason this book made such an impression on me. Bree Prescott is a girl with her own problems, but has the right combination of skill and determination, to draw Archer out of his shell.
A masterfully written book, by one of my favourite authors, which starts in 1935 and takes us on through the Second World War. The potential relationship between Cecilia and Robbie, is witnessed second-hand through the eyes of Cecilia’s younger sister Briony, and yet it is as romantic, powerful and moving as any I’ve ever read.
I’m a huge fan of this author’s work – she has a distinctive, almost neurotic style of writing, which quickly becomes addictive. This is the story of a woman torn between two, very different, potential lovers and the book is both erotically charged and laugh-out-loud funny in places. I can’t recommend it enough.
For those who like a bit of taboo, this explores the relationship between a university professor and his student, and has a deliciously Gothic feel; woven out of literary themes of sin, hell and spiritual love. I must admit I didn’t enjoy the second book in this series as much, but I highly recommend this first one.
This book also features an enigmatic male lead, in the form of reclusive writer Matt Sky, who is as bold and darkly intriguing as he is secretive. This book is the first in a trilogy, and although I’ve yet to read the third, I definitely recommend the first two.
The quirk of this book is how it cleverly follows the relationship between two people over twenty years, but only on the same day of each year. The characters of Emma and Dexter are brilliantly written and believable and the story moved me to tears.
The enduring appeal of this gem of a book for me, aside from the main characters being stranded together on a desert island, is the unusual dynamic between the two – Anna is thirteen years older than TJ and was due to be his tutor before they found themselves marooned. But as they struggle to survive, with only each other to rely on, the years pass and their relationship strengthens and deepens.
A gripping time-slip novel set in rugged Scotland. Claire, the heroine, is feisty and determined, and Jamie Fraser – a true hero in every sense of the word – is perhaps my favourite leading male character of all time. I don’t usually choose to read historical novels, generally preferring a contemporary atmosphere, but I am in awe of this author’s epic work and am currently reading the eighth book in this phenomenal series.
I first devoured this book, in one sitting, when I was just a teenager and I have never forgotten it. The poignant story of two people who meet and have a brief tender affair in middle age, is as memorable for its quietly beautiful setting, as it is for the fact it made me cry.
An enduring favourite and one of those books that really made me want to write. Henry is a sporadic time traveller but with no control over his ability, which often leads him to some dark places. The journey of Clare and Henry’s unusual relationship (she has known him since she was a child) is deeply emotional and told from both points of view.
What are your ten favourite book romances?
Hello world – welcome to my new website and my first blog post!
I’ve finally got this sorted because it’s Easter weekend (time off from the day job) and quite frankly I needed a break from my WIPs.
Don’t get me wrong, I love writing – nothing beats being sat at the keyboard letting my imagination pour out onto the page like glorious fresh wet paint. But then I have to go back and coax some order out of the chaos – get right in there up to the elbows, move things about and check every last detail makes sense – and that can be messy. I’m currently working on three separate novels with overlapping time-lines and reoccurring characters, so the editing process is proving to be even more complicated and protracted than usual. But hey, the end is almost in sight!
As you’ve probably gathered, I write stories – mainly romance – but like most writers I’m also an avid reader. I tend to prefer the pure escapism of fiction and generally something with a touch of darkness. Whether it’s a thriller, sci-fi, historical, contemporary, horror, crime, supernatural or romance, it makes no difference. I do enjoy a good bit of humour, but I’ll take a sinister undercurrent over chick-lit any day. Not sure what that says about me, but probably best not to dwell on it.
I have too many favourite authors to list and I hate the idea of leaving someone wonderful out, so here is a random selection from one of my blue shelves:
Yes, rather than organising my books in alphabetical order or by genre, I display them by spine colour for a cheerful rainbow effect – a habit which no doubt horrifies Librarians the world over, and often makes locating a certain book difficult. What can I say? It must be the installation artist in me. Unfortunately some of my best loved books are relegated to the bedroom floor, where they form three wobbly stacks in the corner; because who wants to look at a shelf full of black book spines?
So anyway, that’s a bit about me, what about you? Do feel free to say hello, I promise I don’t bite.