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Writing in the Sunshine. Writing in the Shadows.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Bringing Devlin Back

Writing my new Christmas novella - What Happens at Christmas - was a bit of a surprise. It was never on the radar, until it was! I've gone into the details of how that happened in a post on the Being Anne blog, which was part of last week's launch week book blast.  There's a link at the bottom of this post, if you haven't read it yet.

Bringing Devlin back was a bit of a surprise too. After publication of Never Coming Home lots of people asked if I would be making him the star of a series - he got compared to Lee Child's Jack Reacher - a lot - which really surprised me. But I never expected him to have a role like that. He has his Happy Ever After with Kaz, and that's the story, for me.

Except when I was writing What Happens At Christmas, I knew that Drew was going to need some help. He's an action man, but he doesn't have the skills - or the connections - to get himself out of the mess I've dropped him in, on his own. I'd already given him a flat in London - I can't remember if it was already in Chelsea. It may have been, as it's an area I used to live and know reasonably well.

When I realised about the needing help thing, and exactly who was going to be perfect for the role, it didn't take much to make them neighbours in Chelsea, then friends.  And of course Devlin was exactly the person Drew would be able to reach out to, when he needed that sort of skill set.

It was actually great fun to bring Devlin back, in a cameo role, and to get a glimpse into his family life. In fact, I enjoyed it so much I have half an idea for another story with Devlin and Drew. It would have to have another hero too - and a new heroine and a new love story ...

But, three heroes!!!

Can I cope with that?

At the moment it is just an idea. Just an idea.

Three heroes.

That really would be another story 

(Link to the blog post on Being Anne is HERE )

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Celebrating Launch Day.

The best way to celebrate the launch of a book is with friends. Yesterday I was at the Marcher Chapter of the Romantic Novelists Association and we had cake. Roulade, to be exact. Meringue, cream, almonds, fresh strawberries ...


About to cut it, with Jill Barry and Christina Courtney in the background
Elevensis is not always like this at the Marcher Chapter.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Why not Wales?

Scotland and Ireland are popular locations for romance novels – Wales, not so much. As I was born in the Principality and it is my home, I’m curious as to why that is. We have beautiful scenery, a fabulous, accessible coastline, historic buildings, archaeological sites, Dark Sky reserves, myths and legends, traditional food and drink, unpredictable weather, our own language … So why do books set in Wales rarely seem to feature in the best selling romance charts and everyone’s auto-buy list?

The international popularity of the TV series Hinterland - set in Ceredigion, around the town of Aberystwyth, suggests that Wales can be an attractive location - you only have to look at the scenery featured.  The one thing I do take issue with in that series are the interior shots - Wales is not entirely populated by semi derelict farm houses, rusting caravans, tumble down sheds and crumbling Victorian piles. I know they are trying for a desolate, inhospitable ambiance, but it still grates with me. Other than that, the series shows what Wales has to offer. Wales is used often for film locations, but usually appearing as somewhere else. Lots of the locations in the film The Finest, for example, were in Wales, but were portrayed as being in Cornwall. 

So - why not Wales as Wales? And in a book?

I have a vested interest in the question, as I like to set scenes from my books in Wales, usually in and around Cardiff or the National Parks. The second half of Out of Sight Out of Mind is set in Pembrokeshire, and in the new novella What Happens at Christmas  a large part of the action takes place in the snow bound Brecon Beacons. I'm also currently in the throes of developing a series that will be located on a fictional stretch of Welsh coastline, but one based on the area where I live. I’m hoping that those books would be popular and that people would enjoy them – but would they stand more chance of that if I was setting them in the Highlands? 

Is there a reason that Wales is not a go-to destination for romance? Is it simply that few romances have been set here? If so, then it’s clearly my job to provide in that area.

What would make you, as a reader, want to pick up a book that was located in Wales? Maybe even more importantly, what would stop you picking it up and adding it to your shopping cart?
I’d really like to know.  

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

On location for What Happens At Christmas

A large part of the new Christmas e-book novella - What Happens at Christmas - is set in the Brecon Beacons National Park, in Wales. While the converted barn where the heroine stays for the holiday is invented, and I've also messed about with the weather, creating  some freak conditions to make sure I had oodles of snow on Christmas day, the hills and the scenery of the Beacons are real. As is the fact that the Park is a Dark Sky Reserve - making it an excellent place for star gazing. Very romantic, star gazing. At least, I hope it is. Abergavenny, the town where Lori, my heroine, does her last minute shopping for Christmas, is a real place too.

To give you a flavour of the setting - this week's blog has pictures. They wouldn't win any prizes for artistic impression, but they give you an idea. You just have to imagine it all covered in snow.

No - this one isn't Wales - it's Carlyle's House in Chelsea, in London.
This is the area where Drew, my hero, has a flat   
Now these are the Beacons - taken on a day in summer

Summer again.

This is a winter view, November and foggy.

You can see the fog over the hills to the right of the picture. 
And here we are, in Abergavenny
The hills lurk over the buildings of the town.
More lurk, and more fog.
The chickens in the roof of the Market Hall.
And this was the cake and gingerbread latte I rewarded myself with,
 after taking pix on a foggy day.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Stop Press


Just to say the lovely cover of Summer In San Remo is in the Author Shout Cover Wars this week.

Votes appreciated!

To vote, click here

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Outnumbered by books

I appear to have an addiction - cookery books. This was highlighted in the supermarket today when I exercised a great deal of will power and did not buy the Hairy Bikers new Mediterranean one. I very much wanted to, but  I was good, because you know - lots of other cookery books already. I have a sinking suspicion that I may eventually succumb - based on the recipes from said book that were reproduced in one of the Saturday papers that I read in Costa coffee, but for the moment, will-power rules.

I do make things from the books - sticky and dogeared pages testify to that, but mostly I just love looking at the pictures.

What else do I have? Well there is the TBR pile, or shelf. No make that shelves, but we all have one of those. History books - quite a lot of those - mostly to do with the day job, but some for books I plan some day to write - yeah, when the 48 hour day is invented.

Gardening. I have gardening. Not quite on the scale of cookery, but same principle.

Then I have what you might call the esoteric stuff - art and some spookyish stuff - symbols and folklore and a few about railways. Yes, they are all for books yet to be written too. And there are travel guides and plays - including two copies of the complete works of Shakespeare. A smattering of poetry and some classics left over from school and a few family hand me downs with book plates for Sunday school prizes for my mother and my grandmother. Which is where the reading thing came from. And signed copies of friends' books - they have their own shelf in the spare bedroom.

Which has made me realise that apart from the kitchen and bathroom, there is only one room in the house that does not have a bookcase/shelf in it and that's because it's too small to get a bed, my desk and a bookcase in there. Everywhere else there are books and that includes the hall and landing. Not many, but a few. And there are none in the airing cupboard, or there weren't, the last time I looked.

It's official. The house is full of books. I'm out-numbered. All I am is the live in librarian.