- 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.
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.