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Aimee tells some heart secrets

Steal My Heart Book Cover Steal My Heart
Aimee O'Brian
contemporary fiction, romance, erotic
C
(5 Aug. 2019)

When a fantasy turns into a cold reality

Lexanne Harris had a plan down to the last sexy detail. Never did she think her attempt to spice up her love life with her boyfriend would involve her in a burglary with a sexier than sin thief whose emerald eyes and serious between the sheets skills are impossible to forget. As a police detective she is expected to stand on the side of the law and fight for justice. But what happens when the lines of justice blur and what’s wrong becomes way too tempting?

The situation might be challenging but Lexanne is determined to get assigned to the case, recover the jewels and catch the culprit.

The question is: What will she do with her sexy cat burglar when she catches him?

Aimee O’Brian, author of Steal My Heart, a hot, contemporary romance with elements of mystery and suspense

  1. Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?

Steal My Heart has been percolating in the back of my mind for years. What might happen when a woman plans to act out her sex-with-a-cat-burglar fantasy with her new boyfriend? What if her plans were to go awry in a deliciously naughty way? I never thought I’d be brazen enough to write this novel, but the boldness of my protagonist drew me in. I’ve always had a strong first-person voice and decided to showcase that by writing a hot, fast-paced, contemporary romance with a heroine who knows what she wants, isn’t afraid to admit it and is willing—at least to herself—to own her mistakes. 

  • How many times have you been rejected before your first novel was accepted or before this book was accepted?

I don’t know how many times I’ve been rejected, but it’s a lot, so I choose not to count them. Those rejections taught me to be a better writer and to have a tough skin.  I started seriously writing in 2011 and joined Romance Writers of America a year later.  That’s where I really learned my craft and made the contacts I needed to begin submitting. I went from form rejections, to the occasional encouraging note, to personalized feedback. Overall the agents and editors who rejected my work were generous in their comments, and it made at tremendous difference.   I finished four novels over eight years—not counting partial and abandoned manuscripts. Steal My Heart is my fourth completed novel and the first to be published.

  • Did you need to self-publish on e-books before a publisher took you up?

Knowing I needed affirmation that my work was ready for publication, I chose not to self-publish. Each rejection was the impetus I needed to get better.  Entering contests also provided valuable feedback.  I never ruled out self-publishing, but I didn’t want to put my work out there before it was ready. Once accepted, this book went through three rounds of edits: developmental, copy-editing and proofreading. I’m grateful for the expertise of my publisher and editors, who not only made the story better and me a better writer, but caught mistakes I missed. One such mistake was assuming the signature of an artist I referenced was legible. The copywriter of her own initiative looked up the signature and let me know that my characters wouldn’t be able to read it off a painting. This required I rewrite the dialogue in that scene for accuracy. So to the writer considering self-publishing, I’d advise investing in professional editing. I know my book is much improved because of it.

  • What do you read when you are ill in bed?

When I’m ill and don’t want to think too hard but want immediate gratification and distraction, I go straight for smart, sassy heroines in pretty dresses.  For me, this usually translates into a historical romance.

  • What is your favourite genre?

I read primarily romance. It’s what I want to write, so I immerse myself in all its subgenres: contemporary, historical, romantic suspense, and paranormal. I enjoy its many heat levels, everything from sweet to hot.  I’ve been known to veer off into science fiction and mystery, but still crave that happily ever after. 

  • What have you done with the things you wrote when in school?

I love perusing my college papers. I was so smart. Sometimes I wonder at the vocabulary I used. I was quite the literary writer. But the ability to write a superlative essay does not translate to commercial fiction. I was quite stunned at how difficult it was to write a romance. Romance writers make it look easy. The easier a story is to read, the harder it is to write.  What did translate from school was the drive to write well.  University classes taught me to work hard and to work on deadline.

  • Do you have an unusual hobby?

I don’t how unusual it is, but I love visiting museums. I can get lost, literally, in a museum for hours. I recently visited the Metropolitan Museum in New York City and had to leave after three hours. It was heart-breaking. I could’ve spent days there.

I also really like being on the water. Every time I go on vacation, I find myself on a boat. I love harbor cruises and ferry rides. And windy days on the water are the best!

My website http://www.aimeeobrian.com/ is a testament to both of these activities.

Having lived in both California and Texas, Aimee O’Brian now resides in the beautiful wine country. With her three children grown and experiencing their own adventures, she and her husband are free to explore the world. When she’s not reading, writing, or planting even more perennials in her garden, she can be found stomping through ancient ruins and getting lost in museums.

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Nick Louth tells us:

The Body in the Mist Book Cover The Body in the Mist
DCI Craig Gillard, The Body in the Marsh, The Body on the Shore, Trapped
Nick Louth
Crime, Police Procedural
Canelo
20th May 2019

A brutal murder hints at a terrifying mystery, and this time it’s personal.

A body is found on a quiet lane in Exmoor, victim of a hit and run. He has no ID, no wallet, no phone, and – after being dragged along the road – no recognisable face.

Meanwhile, fresh from his last case, DCI Craig Gillard is unexpectedly called away to Devon on family business.

Gillard is soon embroiled when the car in question is traced to his aunt. As he delves deeper, a dark mystery reveals itself, haunted by family secrets, with repercussions Gillard could never have imagined.  

The past has never been deadlier.

  1. How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a note book where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time?

I do tend to think for quite a long time about a book before setting out to write it. I currently have 3 to 4 novels sketched out to several thousand words, the ideas still circling in my head like airliners waiting to land at Heathrow. I do find that it helps to begin writing some aspects quite quickly. Characters for example do not become real to me until I’ve started writing down their dialogue, and can hear their voice in my head. But plots I can work on for weeks or even months trying to get something genuinely original wriggling in the dark corners of my mind. A lot of my writing is driven by issues that I want to shine a light on. Mirror Mirror for example concentrated on the concept of the instant celebrity, and the costs of that both for the individual and for society.

  • What resources do you use? In general and for the last book that you wrote?

I am good friends with a retired detective inspector, and have contacts with a Home Office forensic pathologist, and a scientist who undertakes DNA analysis. That is a minimum for anyone who is taking their crime writing seriously. There is a lot, of course, available online but some things never seem to be reflected, and you need to know people to know what the issues are. For example when sending off a DNA sample for analysis, do you choose the basic service which may take a couple of weeks, or the highly expensive express service, which may need a senior officer’s budgetary permission? If you want to be realistic about the police you need to reflect some of their day-to-day concerns: staffing shortages, managerial competence, and outdated attitudes to diversity, for example.

  • How helpful do you find authority figures such as the police when you say you want to write about them? Is there a good way to approach them in your experience?

The more successful you are, the easier it is to be taken seriously. As a former journalist I have a forthright way of approaching organisations. In general I would give the advice to make a brief phone call first, then follow-up with a detailed email, which also gives your bona fides, including the name of your publisher and/or agent as well as your own website address.

  •  How many times have you been rejected before your first novel was accepted or before this book was accepted?

Dozens of times. It was a highly dispiriting experience, but if there’s one thing I should say to budding authors it is do not take no for an answer. Keep going.

  • Does writing provide sufficient income to live on? And how long did it take before this happened?

I was very lucky that my first thriller, while still self published, became the bestselling book in the UK for a couple of weeks in 2014. There were no marketing costs, no agent to pay, and I kept a good slice of the proceeds. That was a phenomenal year, and even though I now have all the apparatus of the professional publishing industry behind me, I still haven’t managed to replicate that experience. But overall, for me, it’s been a decent living.

  • What do you read when you are ill in bed?

I’m almost never ill, and if I was well enough to read in bed, I’d be well enough to write. I certainly written tens of thousands of words when hungover, and sometimes they’re  unusually creative ones.

  • What have you done with the things you wrote when in school?

I wish I still had them, particularly some of the stories I wrote when I was seven or eight. In retrospect it does seem clear what I was destined to do.

  • What, in your life, are you most proud of doing?

Two things: Managing to maintain a very harmonious marriage for more than 20 years and the books I’ve written. Without the first, I doubt whether I would ever have managed the second.

  • Do you have an unusual hobby?

Not exactly unusual, but I’m a county standard chess player. While I have occasionally included a plot strand or two about chess, I do know that it should never be mentioned on the cover because it’s the commercial kiss of death. 

Author Bio:
Nick Louth is a best-selling thriller writer, award-winning financial journalist and an investment commentator. A 1979 graduate of the London School of Economics, he went on to become a Reuters foreign correspondent in 1987. It was an experience at a medical conference in Amsterdam in 1992, while working for Reuters, that gave him the inspiration for Bite, which was self-published in 2007 and went on to become the UK No. 1 Kindle best-seller for several weeks in 2014 before being snapped up by Sphere. It has sold a third of a million copies, and been translated into six languages.

The terrorism thriller Heartbreaker was published in June 2014 and received critical acclaim from Amazon readers, with a 4.6 out of 5 stars on over 100 reviews. Mirror Mirror, subtitled  ‘When evil and beauty collide’ was published in June 2016. The Body in the Marsh, a crime thriller, is being published by Canelo in September 2017. 

Freelance since 1998, he has been a regular contributor to the Financial Times, Investors Chronicle and Money Observer, and has published seven other books. Nick Louth is married and lives in Lincolnshire.

Website: http://www.nicklouth.com/

Twitter: @NickLouthAuthor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Nick.Louth.Books/

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What happens when? Caro; explains.

Suddenly Single
Carol Wyer
contemporary fiction, romance, Women’s Fiction
Canelo
8th April 2019

When bestselling romance author Chloe Piper’s marriage implodes a week before Christmas, she flees her cheating ex and the village gossips for the solitude of the newly built Sunny Meadow Farm and the company of her hapless dog, Ronnie.

But Chloe is soon pushed out of her comfort zone. Because with a lively development building crew – headed up by charming Alex – and a larger-than-life neighbour determined to make Chloe’s love life her pet project, Chloe finds herself in a whole new world of chaos…

This enthralling romantic comedy of self-discovery and new beginnings is perfect for fans of Kirsty Greenwood, Colleen Coleman and Marian Keyes.

  • Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?

All my comedies have serious threads running through them and in this one I wanted to tackle the subject of self-confidence and especially social anxiety disorder. Many people suffer from this debilitating disorder that prevents them from mixing with others. Following the death of her parents and sister in a light plane crash, Chloe developed this disorder and struggled all her life with it. Her husband William used it to bully her and the story isn’t just one of finding love and friendship but of overcoming something that can really ruin people’s lives. When Chloe meets her new neighbour, a larger than life figure, who runs a singleton’s club and who won’t take no for an answer, she doesn’t realise at the time but she has taken the first step on a path that will aid her recovery. All the madcap events she attends, and people she meets, help her find out who she really is and that she is stronger than she believes she is. I am incredibly sympathetic towards people who suffer from this condition. I struggle at times with mild anxiety disorder but know others who find it too difficult to combat. I suppose that’s what makes the book different. It isn’t just a crazy, laugh-out-loud novel of people learning to enjoy life but puts a fresh spin on the heroine of the story and her lifeline – the hapless mongrel, Ronnie.

  • How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a note book where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time?

All my books start as ideas – a series of scrawled notes in brand new notebook. Some can take months or years to be turned into a story. The idea for Suddenly Single came about in 2012 after we moved onto a half completed new development of only six houses. I jotted down notes and possible scenarios. A few months later, I added character notes and then stacked it in my ‘To Be Written’ pile of notebooks. I didn’t begin work on it until early 2018.

  • Did you need to self-publish on e-books before a publisher took you up?

I actually self-pubbed my first book in 2010. I’m not sure if I needed to but I simply didn’t have enough patience to wait for a publisher to pick it up and after three rejections, decided to go alone. As it turned out it wasn’t a bad move because the book did remarkably well and I was then offered a contract by a small publishing house. If I were to do it all again, however, I would definitely be more patient and by that, I mean wait up to a year or longer to get a contract with a publisher. It was extremely hard to make a name for myself and do all the marketing and promo as well as write a sequel.

  • In your opinion who is the funniest author now writing?

That’s tough because there are a lot of incredibly funny authors. I’ve always enjoyed Janet Evanovich and Ben Elton’s books. I suppose if I had to narrow it down to one person, I’d go for Caitlin Moran, the journalist and author of How to Build a Girl. She’ll make you sort tea from your nose.

  • What, in your life, are you most proud of doing?

There are a few things I’m proud of:

I learnt to fly a helicopter in my 40s

I got my PADI diving licence and dived with sharks for charity.

I took up stand-up comedy in my 50s and performed gigs around the Midlands.

I won The People’s Book Prize award in 2015 for Grumpy Old Menopause and was on BBC Breakfast television and Sky news.

But most of all, I am proud of my books. Every time I receive an emails or message from a reader saying how much they’ve enjoyed reading one of them, I feel ridiculously proud.

Author Bio:

As a child Carol Wyer was always moving, and relied on humour to fit in at new schools. A funny short story won her popularity, planting the seed of becoming a writer. Her career spans dry cleaning, running a language teaching company, and boxercise coaching. Now writing full-time, Carol has several books published and journalism in many magazines.

Carol won The People’s Book Prize Award for non-fiction (2015), and can sometimes be found performing her stand-up comedy routine Laugh While You Still Have Teeth.

Twitter: @carolewyer

Previous Books: What Happens in France

Links to Book:

Amazon (UK)

Kobo (UK)

Google Books (UK)

Apple Books (UK)

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What stars?

The Stars in Her Eyes Book Cover The Stars in Her Eyes
Love in LA Quartet #1
C.M. Albert
Contemporary, New Adult, Reverse Harem, Romance
March 26th 2019

When Creslyn Knight auditions for the role of a life time, she never expects three things:

  1. To know the casting director—intimately.
  2. To be insanely attracted to the three stand-in actors at the audition.
  3. That she’d soon be putting her morals to the test when her resolve weakens.

Acting is in Creslyn’s blood, and she’s focused her sights on one thing: landing the role of a lifetime. But she’s always been told that everything comes at a cost. The casting director names his when he tells her she must make him believe she can surrender to a harem of men, or he can’t justify giving her the lead role.

Determined to prove him wrong and show him she can tap into a passion that deep, Creslyn throws herself into rehearsals. But the fine line between script and reality soon starts to blur, leading her and three men into unchartered territory. The only problem? She has a jealous roommate, a disgruntled mother, and a string of paparazzi hot on her trail, making Creslyn question the cost of everything.

In a world where some things are best kept secret, is the price of fame too high when it comes to the heart?

The Stars in Her Eyes is book one of the Love in LA Quartet and is a new adult, steamy contemporary romance reverse harem LOVE STORY that can be read as a stand-alone or as an introduction to the series. All the heat you’ve come to expect with a reverse harem, AND a storyline worthy of a contemporary romance love story. Finally, the best of both worlds!

CM Albert:

USA Today Best Selling Author C.M. Albert writes heartwarming romances that are both “sexy and flirty, sweet and dirty!” Her writing infuses a healthy blend of humor, inspiration, and high-heat romance. She’s a sucker for a good villain but is a die-hard believer in everlasting love. In her spare time, she and her husband wrangle their two kids and enjoy spending time outdoors. When not writing or kid wrangling, C.M. Albert is also a Certified Medical Reiki Master, chocolate chip cookie aficionado, kindness ambassador, and seeker of naps

  1. Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?

    Thank you so much for having me! This is actually my first Reverse Harem novel, and boy was it a challenge at first. I was inspired by a publisher who asked me to write a short RH for a boxset—and since I love stretching myself as a writer, I accepted even though I’d always said I’d never write a RH. But as one reader said, I always need to put a “Colleen spin” on the concept. And that was very true for The Stars in Her Eyes. I wanted the story to be realistic and not just a bunch of sex for the sake of sex. Since it’s a contemporary romance and not a paranormal or fantasy RH, I really wanted to understand the female main character and how she could find herself realistically falling for three men at the same time—let alone having an arrangement to explore their relationships sexually. This book seriously wrote itself. It’s a cliché, but it truly did. Creslyn Knight came through hard and fast demanding that her story be told, and it’s now my favorite story to date. I think it’s different than most RH’s in that it is a longer book, and is equally balanced between the HOT HOT HOT scenes you expect with an RH (and there are plenty!) and the plot-driven storyline and characters readers need with a contemporary romance  love story.

  2. How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book?

    I usually research as I go, when I discover I don’t know something or one of the characters throws a curve ball at me – like River in The Stars in Her Eyes, who ended up going to Julliard and was a classic cellist. On the plus side, as a result, I discovered the amazing duo 2Cellos during my research. But sometimes the topics are heavier, like with an upcoming novella where some of the characters are LGBTQ. I’ve already started interviewing several people who identify as this so I can do the story and characters justice from the get-go. But for The Stars in Her Eyes most research, particularly around location, was done as the need arose. 


  3. Would you recommend self-publishing and building an audience before approaching a publisher? If so, what benefits do you see that it might have for the aspiring novelist?

    So far, I am strictly self-published by choice; most of that has been because of a need for complete flexibility in my schedule up to this point. I am also a stay-at-home parent and my family comes first every single time. That’s not always the answer a publisher wants to hear. That said, I’m lucky enough that as the kids have gotten older and are in the same school now, I am able to write a lot more than I used to during the day. In general, I do believe it’s helpful to build a strong audience and brand before approaching a publisher. It’s certainly not required, but I think it does help them to see your dedication, commitment, and business savvy ahead of time. It also doesn’t hurt for them to know you have a built in audience and to see how people respond to your stories before taking a chance on an unknown author. In today’s market, it’s not that uncommon for authors to take this approach, or for publishers to find writers who bust their butts and are able to shine in a very dense market of eBook self-publishers. I also think it benefits the author because it helps give them a broader understanding of everything that’s truly required to publish a book and be successful, because only a small percentage of that is actually writing. 

  4. What do you read when you are ill in bed?

    I tend to go one of two ways, depending on my mood: YA dystopian (like The 100, Steelheart, Pure) or romance (Colleen Hoover, L.J. Shen, Skye Warren, Elle Thorpe, Melissa Foster).  

  5. What is your favourite genre?

    Hands down it’s romance, which is why I write it. I’m a hopeful romantic and love characters who are able to overcome personal challenges and still find a way to open up and love. In real life there’s always a lot going on politically and socially, so I think romance is a nice escape; it strips things down to the individual level while still giving us the bigger hope that love wins, despite the odds stacked against us. Humans are very complex (alone and in our relationships), and I love peeling back their layers to discover motivation. It takes a strong person to soften and open their heart to love again after experiencing tragedy, pain, heartache, or loss. And I think most of us can relate to that. Nothing makes me happier than for characters to get their happy ever after, whatever that looks like for them.  

  6. If you recommend a living author – who would it be? A dead author?

    I could recommend a dozen living authors, but if I had to pick just one right this moment, I’d probably choose L.J. Shen. I never understood the appeal of “the bad boy,” until reading her books. And she writes hot bad boys like nobody’s business. I haven’t read a book of hers I didn’t end up loving, including her latest release, The Kiss Thief. What she excels at is making the bad boy sympathetic by the end of the novel (even if he still is a bad boy). It takes talent to make a reader cringe at someone’s behaviors throughout a book but by the end everything clicks into place and you love them more than any regular hero—exactly because of everything they had to overcome to brave it all for love. There’s something about cracking open a hard heart and seeing the light.

    As for a deceased author, I grew up reading Bertrice Small. She is the QUEEN of sexy as sin historical romance. I’m not even a huge historical romance reader, but I devoured every one of her books and miss her greatly. She was so detailed in her knowledge of the time period, wrote an amazing anti-hero, and set the pages on FIRE. That’s probably where my love for explicit romances began, as I read my first Bertrice Small book—Skye O’Malley—when I was just sixteen.

  7. Which author had the most influence on your writing? Your writing style? Your writing genre?

    I’d probably say Melissa Foster. Her knack for writing both sweet, soul-quenching romance with a lot of heat really inspired me that it could be done well and be done successfully. Most writers are either sweet and clean, or bad and dirty. I think you can be both—which is why my author tagline nails what you can expect with my books so perfectly: “Sexy & flirty, sweet & dirty.” My first book, Faith in Love, was originally published as a part of Melissa Foster’s Kindle World. I chose to do that because I knew our audiences would be similar and I loved the world she created for her characters the Remingtons. It was an easy fit for my contemporary writing style that combines real, complex emotions with a high dose of heat and soulmate level attraction. Even though Kindle Worlds went away, I’m forever grateful that it pushed me to write and release my first book in the genre I love most.

    In your opinion who is the funniest author now writing?
  8. I don’t read as many funny books, but in the past I’ve enjoyed Laurie Notaro, David Sedaris, and Elise Sax when I needed a dose of laughter with my books.

  9. Have you ever tried to imitate another author’s style? And if so, why?

    I really haven’t, and that’s because I think for your writing to feel authentic to readers, you have to write it from your heart. There is something missing when a person just writes words to spit out books. The connection is missing. For example, I LURV L.J. Shen’s sexy AF, bad boy anti-heroes, but I would fall down all over the place if I tried to write one like her. It’s just not ME. And I think my readers would feel that disconnect in an instant. I always think it’s best to tell the story your way, because you’re the only one who can. The best feedback I get from readers is when they say they are touched by the way I was able to so easily blend heart, hope, and high heat—and I think this is my own unique style and brand – my “Colleen spin!” One of the best reviews I got was simply, “Fun, sexy, and poignant.” That’s what I try to hit every time.

  10. What have you done with the things you wrote when in school?

    I have kept them, but haven’t published any. In high school I wrote a lot of very angsty, depressing poetry. My dark years. Haha! I still have every horrible poem because that was what I was needing to release through my writing at the time. In college, I wrote more non-fiction and poetry (which got marginally better when I was told I could throw everything I thought I knew about poetry out the window).

  11. Do you have any pets?

    Absolutely! I think pets bring so much happiness and healing, so I’m a big believer in the strong connection you can forge with your pets. (I have had one soul mate kitty and one soul mate dog.)
    1. If so, what are they?
      We currently have 1 dog, 3 cats, 1 fish, and a bearded dragon. My daughter wants a chinchilla since she just lost her fish named NASA, and I’m obsessed with adorable little hedgehogs, but I doubt either will join our household. We have enough chaos right now!
    2. And what are they called?
      Dog, Beau. Cats: Patty, Sarah, & Leo (who is our asshole kitty; there’s always one). Fish: Javier. Bearded Dragon: Waffles.
    3. Do they help you write?
      Beau is my faithful companion. Sometimes the cats curl up with me, but Beau always is my sidekick. I write in a big club chair for comfort, and Beau is always napping on the couch right next to me in the sun, just being near me for love and comfort. It’s sweet.
    4. What is the funniest thing they have done while you are writing? Mostly it’s just Leo who chases the other cats. I’ve been concentrating before on a really intense scene and two cats will tear through the room at warp speed, flying off the couch over the coffee table like mini super heroes, all spitting and hissing. Scares the bejesus right out of me every time because it’s so fast and unexpected. Leo is ALWAYS the instigator too. Haha! 
    5. Do you want to add a photo of them to this Q&A?
      Sure. I’ll attach a rare photo of Leo not being an asshole and snuggling up with my baby Beau on the infamous couch in my writing room.

Thank you so much for having me today—this was fun!

Beau and Leo snuggling

https://colleenalbert.com

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14931260.C_M_Albert

https://www.facebook.com/cmalbertwrites

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Darcie tells us about Cornwall

The House at Greenacres Book Cover The House at Greenacres
Darcie Boleyn
Women’s Fiction
Canelo
25th March 2019

All roads lead home…

When Holly Dryden fled Penhallow Sands nearly a year ago she was determined to put the past – and Rich Turner – behind her. But now an unexpected loss and financial trouble has led her back to the family vineyard and it’s time to tell Rich the truth – he’s a father.

Surrounded by the memories of what they once shared Holly’s anger fades in the glow of Rich’s undeniable love for their son and the way he selflessly steps in to help the vineyard out of trouble. As Holly watches Rich flourish in his new role as father to baby Luke, she realises that though they can’t change the past, the future is still theirs to write…

An uplifting, emotional romance set in Cornwall perfect for fans of Holly Martin and Phillipa Ashley

Darcie Boleyn

  1. Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it?

When I’m plotting a romance novel, one of the things I have to consider is what trope or tropes I would like to include. Often, the tropes come organically from the characters themselves and their backgrounds. With The House at Greenacres, I had a vision of the main character, Holly, returning to Penhallow Sands for a funeral, emotional and anxious, clutching a baby to her chest. This developed into the knowledge that Holly and her ex boyfriend, Rich, have been separated for some reason, and now, the thing that brings them back together is Holly’s grandfather’s funeral. I enjoy mixing tropes in my stories, so I combined the lovers reunited trope with the secret baby trope. I also wanted to write a story about what it’s like to come home after time away, about how emotional it can be to return to the place where you grew up and to see it from a different perspective.

  • How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a note book where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time?

I write notes all the time and have notebooks all around my house as well as notes on my phone. I might not start working on an idea properly for months if I’m already working on a different project, but it will often be bubbling away at the back of my mind, waiting for its turn to be nurtured into a novel.

  • How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book?

I did a lot of reading about vineyards and contacted a vineyard owner to research for The House at Greenacres. It was fascinating to learn about how a vineyard works and how wine is made. I researched before writing and during to ensure that I got the finer details right.

  • What do you read when you are ill in bed?

I rarely get to read in bed these days as I have two children and three dogs, so if I am ill, it’s time on the sofa in the lounge. I read whatever is next on my TBR pile as I have a very full Kindle and a table piled high with paperbacks.

  • What have you done with the things you wrote when in school?

I was always writing poetry and prose as a child and I still have some of them stored in the attic. When I was 12, I won a school poetry competition with a poem about Wildlife in Nature and I had to stand up in front of the whole school and read my poem out. I won a £12 book token and I was delighted. I also wrote a project about guide dogs when I was 13 and really enjoyed researching the topic as it meant contacting charities and speaking to people with guide dogs. I think that project is in the attic too. I’ll have to take a look…

  • Do you have any pets?

I do! I have three dogs – two British bulldogs called Spike and Zelda and a rescue greyhound called Freya. They are my writing buddies as they join me in the study and snore gently while I write. As I’m home alone all day, they are good company. As for funny things, one has to be the farting (especially the greyhound!) and the other is that Spike often sings along to my music. I also have three bearded dragons called Andrew, Loki and Cheeky.

  • What, in your life, are you most proud of doing?

I was a teacher for twenty years and once, when I went for an interview at a school, the governors asked me what I was most proud of doing. At the time, my daughter was only a year old, and my answer was having my daughter. Of course, that wasn’t what they were looking for (they wanted something teaching related), but it came straight from my heart. My children are my greatest achievements, along with marrying my husband, because I never thought I’d fall in love so deeply. Nothing is guaranteed in life except for today, but being able to love is one of the greatest gifts of all; being loved in return is priceless. However, in terms of my writing career, I’d say I’m most proud of being published. I always dreamt of being an author, but never thought it would happen. To date, it has been a wonderful, exciting rollercoaster. I am proud every time I finish writing a book and every publication day. I am grateful to the publishers who have accepted my work and to the readers and bloggers who read my stories and support me. I am grateful to my agent for taking me on. I am grateful to my family for being the centre of my world.

Thanks for hosting me! J X

Author Bio

Previous Books: Summer at Connwenna Cove, Christmas at Conwenna Cove, Forever at Conwenna Cove, Love at the Northern Lights and Love at the Italian Lake

Darcie Boleyn has a huge heart and is a real softy. She never fails to cry at books and movies, whether the ending is happy or not. Darcie is in possession of an overactive imagination that often keeps her awake at night. Her childhood dream was to become a Jedi but she hasn’t yet found suitable transport to take her to a galaxy far, far away. She also has reservations about how she’d look in a gold bikini, as she rather enjoys red wine, cheese and loves anything with ginger or cherries in it – especially chocolate. Darcie fell in love in New York, got married in the snow, rescues uncoordinated greyhounds and can usually be found reading or typing away on her laptop.

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Twitter: @DarcieBoleyn

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