I used to swear I would never become a plotter. I was so loyal to my pantser roots. Over the years I have written loads of blog posts about how I am a proud and committed pantser.
As a pantser, instead of writing down notes before I start writing I use my first draft as my planning process. Everything comes together in what can only be described as a chaotic first draft. For years the excitement and thrill of not knowing what happens next has warmed my insides. New characters popped up like moles from mole hills and my plots took bizarre twists and turns. Usually in line with my fluctuating hormones. My character’s eye colour would also change every third sentence.
I have written by the seat of my pants and I have had a blast.
However, I have started to groan at the thought of chaos in the first draft. I also don’t like the idea of my second draft being the one where all the pain comes. As a pantser the heavy lifting starts.
All the first draft chaos has started to make me feel exhausted. *Whispers, ‘what has happened to me?’*
I am craving order and detail with my writing. I want to know what happens next and I want to know why and how. I am sick of planting seeds in my garden (my story) and watching them grow into a wild and unruly forest eighty thousand words later.
So, I have a new novel idea and I have found myself writing a DETAILED NOVEL PLAN. The worst part is that I have found myself ENJOYING putting the plan together. My former pantser self is currently screaming, ‘nooooooooooo!’ in my head. Omg I never thought I would utter these words. For noting, I have not been influenced by anyone on becoming a plotter, no one is forcing me and I have not read a book about plotting. This feels natural and organic.
Also, I have been working on the plan for a week now and keep going back to add more things. I have also written notes on my characters. *Whispers – who are you?*
No more internal panic for me. Its a nice feeling to know that all first draft chaos has been banished. My second draft of this novel will be amazing and all the heavy lifting will have been done.
I am sorry to all my fellow thrill seeking pantsers out there. I will still try and support you all but I can’t deny these strong feelings for a detailed excel spreadsheet titled, ‘plan’ any longer.
Has anyone else made the leap from pantser to plotter?
You will be glad to know a few weeks ago I swan dived into the querying pool with my latest romcom. At the bottom of this blog post is an image of me in the querying pool, chilling and thinking about querying. For noting I am the cool one with the shades.
In my experience querying a draft novel with agents can be a reflective time for the writer.
It’s a process which will make a writer question everything- their creative purpose, their own writing, their writing dreams, their writing life since primary school and ALL the astrologers who predicted that something BIG and WONDERFUL was on its way for their star sign.
If you ever feel like doing six months of intense soul searching – write a novel and query it!
Here are some things to consider when swimming in the querying pool:
Diving into the querying pool is an achievement in itself. You have finally finished that beloved novel of yours after months / years of wrestling with it whilst the world descended into yet more chaos. You should be PROUD of yourself no matter what happens to your novel.
Rejections are like insect stings. Some will hurt for a couple of hours and some will take longer. If only Amazon sold Rejection Insect Repellent which we could all order and spray ourselves like mad after hitting send on our queries. Sigh!
There ARE magical moments in the querying pool. It only takes one agent to cast their literary net and scoop you up. Never give up hope.
Always clap and cheer when fellow swimmers in the query pool get scooped up. You never know what writers have been through or the struggles they have faced. They will one day clap for you ❤️
Querying is a process which the best authors have all gone through. Some will have experienced first time success and some will have kept going no matter what. There are some great motivational author stories out there.
Brace yourself – I have a new way of looking at rejected novels. Are you ready? Your novel might get rejected by all the agents you approach. After the tears have dried up and you feel like facing the world again, don’t build a bonfire using your rejected novel. Instead think about WHY your novel came into your life. Every story has a life purpose and that purpose MIGHT NOT HAVE BEEN to clinch an agent or a book deal – GASP! Let me explain.
I wrote a novel which allowed me to process my dad’s passing. It came into my life to help me process my grief. It didn’t get bought at submission because that was not it’s purpose. That was not the reason that novel came into my life. After I finished writing that novel I could go for a weeks without crying about dad.
The novel I have just submitted came into my life after a painful period of not enjoying my writing and losing my confidence. This novel was so enjoyable to write and it also forced me to break free from some of the things which were not working in my life last year. If this novel doesn’t do well in the querying pool I will know that was not its purpose. It came into my life to cheer me up and show me how much I still loved writing.
I wrote a novel a few years ago which I self published because I was having a wonderful midlife rebellion. I did a ton of things that year which took me out of my comfort zone. I got a new job after 10 years doing the same thing, I went on holiday with some friends, I cut my hair, I bought my own car, I sorted out my mental health and I put my writing out into the world. 2019 was one hell of a year for me. Again that novel was rejected in the querying pool but its purpose wasn’t about me getting taken on by an agent. That novel came into my life to shake everything up.
If your novel gets rejected – think about why that story came into your life. It could be that rejection by agents and publishers makes you self publish that novel. Your belief in the story takes hold of you and propels you into self publishing and you become very successful. That novel came to you for that purpose – to make you take another path.
We always think stories come into our lives because they are going to get us book deals. Sadly, stories come into your life for other reasons. A friend of mine started writing her first novel before her marriage ended. She believes the process of writing helped her to find herself again. Sometimes we are quick to dismiss rejected novels and we let ourselves spiral into negativity. Wouldn’t it be great if we could take a step back and reflect on why that story came into our life. Was it teaching us something or was it allowing something else to happen. Was it a catalyst for other things?
Querying a novel forces you to play the long game. It’s a good skill to learn in this age of instant gratification.
It’s not the end of the world if you stagger out of the querying pool with your rejected novel. Look around as there are many of us all queuing behind you to get out of the pool. It’s part of the process and guess what? It makes you a stronger writer.
You will forget about the pain and the rejection stings.
Change your astrologer 🤣
If you are in the querying pool at the moment – give me a wave or swim with me for a lap? Before you ask – no you can’t have a go on my inflatable ring!
I am about to enter my summer beach romcom writing era. A fabulous new story is tugging on my winter coat tails. It came to me while I was delving into the frozen fish section of my local supermarket and precauriously balancing on the edge of a giant freezer. I was forced to drop my bargain priced fish fingers and tap the idea into my phone. As a result I never did buy those fish fingers. This idea better be good!
You know I like to keep up with modern trends, well I am a new fan of the term – era. Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus all seem to be entering new music eras so I thought it would be good to have the same in the book genre writing world. I am offically leaving my travel based contemporary romcom era and entering my summer beach romcom era. Please let me know what sort of writing era you are in or what you are about to enter?
It’s time for me to cuddle up under a thick blanket (UK heating cost crisis), sip a steaming cup of tea, with fingerless gloved hands, reach for my laptop, dust away the icicles and write away the January blues by creating a fictional summer Romcom.
Here are some things I love about summer romances:
Grumpy heroes and bubbly heroines who are like walking rays of sunshine.
The level of passion rising with the temperature.
Moonlit walks along beaches.
Writing hot and sexy beach romcoms in winter can result in several emotional highs and lows:
1. Writing about finding romance on a sun drenched, idyllic beach can feel like you are on your own mini break. The bonus here is that you don’t have to dig out your bikini, bathe in fake tan and run the risk of turning salmon pink.
2. Writing about warm summer evenings, sipping delicious cocktails by the sea, paddling in azure blue water and dancing the night away under the stars (without thermal underwear, many layers and a big coat) is very pleasurable. It can certainly make you forget the size of your heating bill, your teenager’s inability to wear a warm coat in all weathers and your cat’s low mood.
3. You also don’t have to go abroad for your summer romcom either. There are some gorgeous beaches around the U.K. complete with idyllic coastal villages, beach facing guest houses, cute boats bobbing in a harbour and seaside town hustle and bustle. My goodness as I sit here and type I can taste delicious ice cream and hear seagulls overhead.
4. When I said writing a summer beach romcom can feel like you are taking a mini break – your trip length will vary. Some of us don’t have the luxury to escape and write for hours. Some of us are distracted by family, pets, delivery people, car problems, loved ones who are incapable of making themselves a cup of tea and social media. This can result in your fictional mini break lasting a good half hour at most. Before you know it you are back to moaning about the heating and shivering in your chair.
5. If you are writing a beach Romcom you will need to brush up on your swimwear clothing trends and think about things like – what type of bikini or speedos would my character wear and what’s in trend? This will inevitably lead you to browsing some swimwear clothing online sites and getting agitated as you compare the array of golden tanned legs with your own which resemble two pints of semi skinned milk and are buried beneath layers of clothing. This will only reinforce the hard truth – summer is still a long way away!
6. There’s a higher chance of you getting annoyed with your cast of romance characters in a beach romcom while writing it in the middle of winter than any other time of year. In view of it being cold, grey, damp and miserable (in the U.K.) you will have zero patience for moaning fictional characters basking in the sun, dipping their painted toes in the sea and feeling tipsy after too many cocktails. At least in a winter based holiday romcom you can shove them in a snow drift if they irritate you but you don’t have that luxury with a beach romcom. This can cause unwanted author / character tension. Before you know it you will end up writing a beach based grizzly thriller.
Here are the things my draft novel made me do last week. Do you like how I am blaming everything on my draft novel? I knew you woiuld – ha ha!
I am not going to say the title of it or the premise as it will take away the excitement. I will say that it is a forced proximity romcom (where circumstances throw the main characters together) and it’s crammed full of comedy, chaos and some touching romantic moments. I am currently doing several rounds of edits. This book has been continually revised since last September. It has had more revisions than I have had hot dinners. I am about to swan dive gracefully into the literary agent query pool so I am just dusting off my frilly costume,
Here’s what my draft novel made me do last week:
Add more conflict. I am changing as a writer. In some of my early novels I shied away from conflict. With this book I have had a little devil on my shoulder whispering, ‘make them suffer more,’ and for once I have listened to it. You should ask yourself as you write – am I making life too easy for my characters?
Hack away pointless scenes. I have been a lot tougher with this book than my others. This was something I also used to avoid. I have found the more you hack the deeper you get into your story because you end up being left with scenes which all serve a purpose.
Experience a range of strong feelings 🤣 – frustration, anger, happiness, joy, sadness and hope were all felt last week as I knocked this story into shape.
Ignore my inner critic at certain times of the day. I should NOT make crucial decisions on my book before 6.30am. My mind is not rational before 6.30am. Even better I should not think about changes until after I have eaten. About 9am I start thinking clearly. This week I saw how my mind and perspective shifts after breakfast. Also I should not make book decisions after 10pm as I am always tired and I will go for the easiest option. A big shout out to all my past stories which suffered because of this.
Go for more walks. Fresh air is a writer’s friend
Cry. I have found that the books you write which make you cry whilst writing they have something special about them. Last week I cried. Historic moment.
Get impatient. I do hate it when draft novels try to hurry you up. They want to be out in the world seeking their fortune but you know there’s more work to do.
Accepting the followingwith editing: editing can be soul destroying, there will be some chapters littered with typos and incorrect character names but structurally they will work, there will be some chapters where there will be no typos but structurally they will be a wreck and some chapters where even I, the author, won’t have a clue about what’s going on 🤣
Skip some household chores. I do love novel writing when it makes me do this.
Wear a bolder lipstick – hot pink for writers in 2023 👏🏻
How are you? I’m good. Here are my writerly thoughts from last week:
I listened to a few podcasts on song writing. Before you all grip the edge of your seat and gasp – ‘OMG Lucy’s going to be the first romcom author to write a pop song’ – I can assure you I didn’t listen to them for that purpose. I was interested in the creative song writing process. I find listening to other creators talking about how they bring things (art / music / books) to life really interesting. My favourite was the Rolling Stone Music Now podcast on Spotify and ‘How Harry Styles Made ‘Harry’s House’ – Kid Harpoon, producer song writer. I loved listening about how ideas for songs are born, how the creative process can be as chaotic as writing, how they take pieces of songs they wrote years ago and slot them into new songs to make something which works, how they will revise again and again, how they build a body of work over time and how some songs take months, even years and some take days. So much of this is the same for writing.
Elizabeth Gilbert, in her book, ‘Big Magic‘ was right about when a magical idea comes knocking, you have three options. This idea will try to get your attention. A lot of the time you won’t notice it as you’ll be too wrapped up in a funny TikTok, the book you’re reading, a conversation with someone or shopping. If you do recognise it the idea will ask – do you want to work with me? If you don’t fulfil your half of the invisible contract it will go find somebody else. In 2020 I had an idea for a book. It was a detailed idea with an unusual premise. I wrote it out in a notebook with the title, plot and synopsis. Then a pandemic got in the way and my idea sat in a notebook for two years. Clearly the idea viewed the pandemic as a rubbish excuse for me not fulfilling my part of the contract and it went to find a new home. New ideas are so disloyal. Last week I saw my idea on Twitter – someone else had been contacted by the EXACT same idea. They had gone further and written a book with my title and premise. All credit to that writer 👏🏻👏🏻 The fault here is all mine. I had locked it away in a notebook with a vague promise of a return. The bit which really made me angry at myself was that the other writer had secured a book deal. The moral of the story – don’t trust new story ideas and don’t think cute story ideas will be happy to sit and look pretty for two years in a dusty old notebook. Sigh!
First rule of writing: hoard notebooks. Second rule of writing: never write in your 28 notebooks that you have hoarded
I had an amazing new idea come to me in the frozen aisle of the supermarket last week. It asked me to work with it by the frozen breaded turkey burgers. All my ideas come to me in the freezer section of a supermarket. Most arrive as I am reaching for the fish fingers but this one pinged in as I gazed longingly at the freezer food. Now that I have been betrayed by a new idea (see above) I am wary of them. I have written it down in a notebook and I plan to write it next. Watch this space.
I will leave you with a photo of a supermarket freezer aisle in case any of you are struggling with new ideas. The colder the better. Good bye my friend – until next week!
Due to the success of my post about the things to consider when writing second chance romance I thought i would cover a new trope today – fake romance.
As a romance book blogger I LOVE reading this trope. I love how the fake relationship starts out of convenience; pretending to be together for a social commitment, pretending to be in love for a competition or needing to show the world that a secret love interest does exist, but soon the fake relationship starts to change into somethinge else. I get so excited when the chemistry between the characters gets to work and things get awkward. There’s so much potential for good comedy and hilarity.
Most of the time fake romance stories focus on reputation or pride.
Here are the things I think we need to consider when writing this wonderful trope.
Both characters need to be unlikely candidates for a relationship at the start. Fake relationships work best if the characters really dislike each other or are very different. I think the best fake romances blossom from a place of dislike, as healthy relationships sometimes do. Under normal circumstances they would never ever consider dating each other. Also remember both parties must benefit from the fake romance.
Both chartacters need to be aware of the arrangement and the detail. Things can get tricky if you have one character being unaware of the plan to fake a romance. Fake romances usually mean a few fibs and some acting so its essential they do some planning in advance. Make sure they set their PDA limits. For instance will they just hold hands, give quick pecks on the cheek and never sit too close together? They have to agree pet names for each other. You also need to include some great lines of fake romance dialogue like – ‘can you at least pretend I’m funny?‘ or ‘just so you know, I don’t like you.’
It must be easy and enjoyable at the start. Even though they dislike each other they don’t find it too much of a struggle to fake a romance. This is where they become ingrained in each other’s life. It’s an enjoyable stage for the reader because whilst they are busy faking a romance they are also noticing little cute things about the other like their style of wit, their dirty laugh and the way they touch their hair. However there still must be a question in the reader’s mind about whether it will turn into a romance. We all know there’s a risk with fake dating. So make sure they keep reminding each other that it is just an act.
Let them get carried away with faking a relationship. These two are putting on such a good romantic show everyone is convinced they are an item. It is essential during this stage they start to chuck common sense and their ‘fake romance rule book’ out of the window. You can include some great dialogue like ‘everyone’s gone, why are you still kissing me?’ or ‘shall we practice kissing lying down on a sofa? Yeah? Great, let’s get practicing.’
Things must get tough as they both start experiencing new feelings. This is my favourite part of this trope. It is great to read a fake romance where one person’s feelings start to turn real. Suddenly the simple act of touching hands becomes charged with electricity. Bring on the lingering touches, breathless moments, intense eye moments…over some balls of wool in the case of the couple below. So much good dialogue can be added here. Things like, ‘I’m starting to think you don’t hate me as you say you do,’ or ‘I never thought I’d see this new side to you.’
The big reveal. When they are at their most vulnerable one of the characters will have to take the biggest risk of revealing the truth. They will have been struggling with their strong feelings, missing the other before they leave, on cloud nine everytime they are next to them and replaying all their conversations in their head. After all this time hiding, they must find the courage to speak from the heart. This is a great time to add something like – ‘be real with me – how much of this was fake?‘ Will the other feel the same way?
Enjoy writing your fake romances, writers. They are such fun to read.
I am thrilled to bring you a super guest blog post from a romance author who I think is brilliant – Élodie Garroway. I am a fan of her romance stories and I am excited she’s here today on my blog putting a unique twist on Imposter Syndrome.
Please welcome Élodie Garroway.
If you’ve ever tried to create something, you’ve heard the term “Imposter Syndrome.” Imposter Syndrome is feeling like your skills and talents are in doubt, not by others but by you.
I’ve been having a not-so-secret affair with imposter syndrome since I was seventeen.
I had secured an audition for a school of music I wanted to attend. It wasn’t a perfect audition but I got in. I was proud until I realized I was one of two trombone players. I got in because of what I played, not what I could do– quantity over quality.
And that is how I met my unsupportive Ex, Imposter Syndrome. It didn’t matter if everything it said was lies. I believed it. It ate at my confidence. It invaded my speech, my actions. In spite of it, I graduated top five.
I made it. Right? That ish was over?
This Ex invaded every aspect of my life and I unknowingly made it room, questioning how I was raising my son, teaching my students, and yes, my writing.
And I am not its only relationship, maybe you know it too?
So how do we do ensure we never get back together, even though they keep coming back?
Keep telling yourself you are amazing until you believe it.
There is nothing more powerful than positive self-talk. Remember it’s you. You feed the syndrome and let it pay rent in your mind. Naturally only you can keep it at bay. You have to decide to not feed it anymore. Just like you tell that ex that you aren’t getting back together, you have to tell yourself, “I’ve got this. I can write. My words are worth reading.”
Surround yourself with positive people.
It’s hard to make headway if the inner voice doesn’t match the out voices. Maybe those who love you can’t get on board with your “hobby.” That’s okay because we exist. Who’s we? Why the writing community of course! Trust me, if you have a genre, there is a group for you. Just find us. We want to meet you and support you!
Prove yourself wrong over and over again.
The Ex won’t stop calling with nasty comments? Fine. Prove it wrong. Do you doubt your world-building abilities? Take a class or ask a fellow writer for help, find a way to learn and improve. Then what can the voice say? Challenge that voice and make its argument worthless.
Do what scares you.
Don’t be the one holding you back. It is scary to put yourself out there. I put it off for years. I didn’t hit the top of anything the first time I published solo. Heck, I still haven’t. That doesn’t mean I should give up. What I should do is put myself out there again.
You should too. Even if you get a negative response. Then go back to number three and now prove them wrong. Keep doing what scares you, it’s the only way to move forward.
And break up with Imposter Syndrome. It never did anything for you anyway.
Élodie’s first taste of reality came from her Southern upbringing. She climbed majestic Dogwoods, chased fireflies, and ran from mosquitoes and no-see-ems. This idyllic world helped her see beauty, love and magic all come with a cost. That never stopped her from dreaming big!
Life continued to reinforce its duality – she overcame personal trials that would threaten her life and her vision. Dreams don’t die easily, so she pushed through and found a way to share the love stories that kept her on the lighter side of life.
She also managed to find her brooding prince and against all odds, have the most wonderful son with an imagination that rivals hers. Proving once again, the price of love is always worth it!
Grab a mason jar of lemonade and let Elodie Garroway show you the ups and downs of real love, so you can Capture the Feeling.
If you follow me on twitter you will know of my pinned tweet. It is about how I got through to the final round of the Penguin Michael Joseph Christmas Love Story Competition and my strong urges to cartwheel with joy on zoom calls at work.
According to the competition FAQs last week was when the winner was going to be notified. At the start of last week I knew of just 4 other writers who, like me, had got through to the next round. I wasn’t looking forward to a tense, nail biting and lonely week which would mostly be spent watching my email with hawk-like eyes, jumping everytime my phone rang, eating far too many penquin biscuits and overthinking every possible competition outcome.
Well, my week did include all of the above (especially the penguin biscuit binge) but it wasn’t a lonely week and it did change my writing world in unexpected ways.
I think it was Audrey Niven, on Twitter who kickstarted things at the start of the week. She tweeted about wishing all the Penquin finalists lots of luck. Then the magic started. Fellow finalists joined in by liking her tweet and by the end of Monday there was a small gang of us on Twitter all sharing writer love and support with each other. By Tuesday our gang had grown some more as a few more finalists had found us. We all started tweeting funny snippets from our days and what we were doing to distract ourselves from the competition waiting game. By Wednesday we had grown from a small gang to a collective and this was when ideas were shared on what we could call ouselves. Bettina Hunt suggested the Penguin Collective and a Twitter list was created by Amy Gaffney. Everytime another finalist made their way onto Twitter and found us we’d all welcome them in.
It was a very different writing competition experience for me. We all tweeted and laughed our way through the week talking about the anxious wait, how we felt like we were in the Big Brother House (Lily Joseph), how some of us had turned to playing Europe’s pop classic, The Final Countdown (Jake G Godfrey) to get through, how some of us were busy ordering Penguin biscuits (Sarah Shard) how we were all looking forward to cracking open the wine on Friday at 6pm and how lucky we were to find each other. There were so many funny tweets over the course of the week, from Jenny Bromham’s thought provoking GIF ‘one more dawn’, Donna Dobbs’s hiring of a geeky IT student, Joanna Knowles Author’s tweet about how she was starting to waddle like a penguin, Rebecca Duval’s obsessive email refreshes, Hayley-Jenifer’s Benedict Cumberbatch’s GIF and Jackie Morrison’s caravan holiday which was spent checking for a phone signal. As you can imagine when Sarah Louise Robinson started a Facebook group for us we all flapped our penguin wings and waddled over there too. It wasn’t just laughter, there were also ideas from Kimberly Adams, Sarah Shard and Amy Gaffney on how we could work together in the future.
There were other finalists still joining the Pengin Collective on Friday; A Novel, tweet by tweet, Writtenbymisshm, Tallie Samuels, Helen Hawkins, Katy George.
The end of the story is that no one we knew about heard from Penguin Michael Joseph on Friday. Someone probaby has heard and we wish them the best of luck. I also hope they come on my blog and talk about their new book in the future.
For me, that’s okay. I got WAY more from this writing competition than I ever imagined; a story idea validated by Penguin Michael Joseph (which is now at 23k), new romance writer friends in the Penguin Collective group and a lot of happy twitter memories from last week.
As Breea Keenan said, ‘this chat has made my week’ and I couldn’t agree more.
Writing competitions which give you so much more than you expected are priceless.
A few creative moons ago I read, Without a Hitch, by a romance author called Bettina Hunt. From the start of the book I loved her humour, her relatable characters and her take on romantic comedy. I went onto read one of her other novels; A Tempting Trio, and laughed so much at her hilarious book I nearly fell off my chair. Since then I have become a bit of a Bettina Hunt author superfan. She still hasn’t managed to shake me off – lol.
In real life she’s one of the funniest people I know and always makes me smile. Now that her fabulous new book, High Heels on the Beach, is out I have persuaded her to come on my blog.
I thought it would be fun to do an author interview so you can all find out more about Bettina Hunt.
Please welcome one of my favourite romantic comedy & women’s fiction authors, Bettina Hunt.
Hello, thanks for having me on your blog, it’s such an honour!
Bettina – can you tell us about yourself?
Such a difficult first question, Lucy!
I’m a forty something writer of romcoms and women’s fiction. I have two young boys and I can tell you that homeschooling them during Covid was certainly not an easy thing as one thing I’ve never wanted to be is a teacher, huge respect to those who are!
I used to work in product management however, at one time I was thinking of becoming a lawyer… that attention to detail that I learnt during my law degree has held me in good stead 😉
As a gemini I have so many interests, I can be known to be indecisive but the one thing I knew was that I always wanted to write in some capacity. I started writing a blog about beauty and afternoon tea when I was at home with my eldest boy and then added a Friday Column so that I could share my poetry and short stories. My first book – A Tempting Trio – was originally a short story on my blog.
I’ve published four books and partially written another five. My ultimate dream is to have at least one of my books made into a film. I would also love to be part of a comedy writing team, writing either comedy sketches or a sitcom (i’m not fussy!) Sharon Horgan is one of my favourite writers and she’s written two of my favourite TV Shows – Catastrophe and Motherland. Most recently I’ve become obsessed with the BBC ONE series This Is My House. It’s a brilliant concept, so entertaining and funny.
Just before lockdown I also discovered Schitt’s Creek which is the ultimate heartwarming, feelgood comedy series. With perfectly written characters that evolve beautifully as the series plays out I laughed and cried. It’s the best series ever.
Tell us about your new book?
High Heels on the Beach is a heartwarming contemporary romantic comedy set in both London and the fictional seaside town of Sunny Bay. It tells the story of Becca who’s used to letting her bestie make decisions for her in a twist on the Choose Your Own Story books that they used to read. When her world comes crumbling down, Becca realises she needs to stop relying on others and take control of her own destiny. Her planned voyage of self-discovery is thwarted by the need for her to return to the one place she’s been avoiding, home. In Sunny Bay she’s forced to take on the running of the family’s B&B, bringing her face to face with old flames and adversaries and meeting a host of colourful residents at the B&B. The story follows Becca’s emotional journey and her struggle between the pull of her old corporate life and a new life in Sunny Bay.
Where did the idea for the book come from?
I actually got the idea when I was on holiday in Spain. I was looking around at the people by the pool and wondered how many of them were not looking forward to getting back to their jobs and the idea spiralled from there. I had planned to start writing it during NanoWrimo in November, however I felt compelled to write as soon as I got home and wrote 30,000 words during the Summer Holidays.
When you are not writing books what do you like doing?
Most of this hasn’t been possible since COVID struck but … I love going out for afternoon tea, eating out and enjoying cocktails. I love going on mini breaks. I love the theatre, the west end shows. I love watching comedy shows on TV to lift my spirits. And I LOVE to sing 🙂 just for me mostly although I do lip syncs on Instagram too.
Best piece of writing advice you have ever been given?
You have to turn on the tap to let the water flow AND you can’t edit an empty page.
How long have you been writing books?
I wrote my first full book in 2015 but i’ve always had ideas bouncing around in my head. Still do. Every day in fact. Especially when I’m doing the washing up or in bed, trying to sleep.
What book are you reading at the moment.
I’m reading a romcom (not much of a surprise there!) called The Summer Job by Lizzie Dent. It’s made me laugh out loud so that’s a good sign.
Who are your favourite authors and why?
I love Lucy Vine for making me laugh out loud. Milly Johnson’s books are like a cuddle, warm and funny with fantastic characters. John Grisham for page turning suspense – My favourite book of his was The Runaway Jury. More recently I’ve discovered JP Delaney for thrillers. But honestly I read so many wonderful books that I wish I could give them all a shout out.
9.Favourite social media channel?
Twitter I think – I love how instant it is and I love to talk and chat, connect with people 🙂
Favourite romance film?
How can I choose! I love romantic films and even better if they make me laugh… But if I really, really, had to choose – Okay I have 3 films in mind.
Some Kind of Wonderful made me cry buckets and has some fantastic lines in it. My two favourite romcoms are Sweet Home Alabama and You’ve Got Mail. I could happily watch all three over and over again.
Decision shy Becca is used to her best friend making decisions for her, but after a disastrous 30th birthday, London living Becca realises she needs to stop relying on others and take control of her own destiny.
With her life plans in tatters, she’s forced to return home to the quiet seaside town of Sunny Bay and the family’s B&B, where the bedrooms are covered in chintz and her mother is still serving up culinary delights from the 1970s. Adamant that she’s not staying, Becca embarks on a soul-searching trip to Europe.
She’s barely stepped foot abroad before a family crisis sees her back in Sunny Bay and in charge of the B&B. Coming face to face with old flames and adversaries, Becca’s reminded why she left and is determined to get back to her old life in London.
But when the mysterious Madame DoTell, fortune teller to the stars, insists that home is where the heart is, Becca begins to wonder if she should listen…
If home is where the heart is, where is home?
High Heels on the Beach is a light-hearted and fun packed Summer tale perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella and Lindsey Kelk.
I have been threatening to do a newsletter for sometime but haven’t felt like I know enough about the subject to whip one up. So, you can imagine my excitement when historical romance author Emily Royal told me she had a guest blog post for me on the subject of newsletters. Now, I am on Emily’s newsletter distribution list and I love them. They’re filled with photos, info on her new books and a lot of Emily Royal book vibes.
This blog post is packed full of Emily’s top 10 tips for newsletters and I am so grateful she’s here today.
Right I know you are keen to read on. Please give a warm welcome to Emily Royal:
Many authors have a newsletter, and you might be wondering whether it’s worth the effort—or even what it involves. A newsletter is basically an e:mail which is sent to a list of people who have signed up to hear from you, and could be anything between a couple of paragraphs, to something a bit longer with images and links. The benefit of having a newsletter is the direct contact with readers—you’re not advertising through Facebook or Amazon, or using a service which sends details of your book out to its own list (such a bookbub)—you’re contacting your own readers, so you have total control over what they read, and when they get it. To me, a certified control freak, that sounds ideal.