Saturday, March 30, 2013

Lizzy Edmondson Reports on the Paris Book Fair

Paris in springtime -

and romance is in the air.

Lizzy Edmondson, aka Elizabeth Aston, with good news for writers.

Romance is hot in France!

Last weekend, I was in Paris for the Book Fair. My publisher, Bragelonne, invited me to sign my book, Darcy dans L’Âme (True Darcy Spirit), which was published to coincide with the fair.

I signed masses of books and chatted in my rusty (shame on me) French to readers of all ages from bashful teens to chic grannies. I also did an interview for Les Romantiques blog and took part in a conference session, 50 Nuances de Romance.

And, after the day’s work was done, it was out to a delightful restaurant, with Stéphane Marsan, the CEO and founder of Bragelonne, as a charming host.

The Paris Foire des Livres isn’t like Frankfurt or the London Book Fair. Those are trade shows, with neither authors nor readers especially welcome. In Paris, it’s all about the readers, and more than 200,000 of them flocked through the turnstiles - at €10 a time - to throng the aisles and booths, look for favourite writers, discover new ones and talk to authors and publishers. The atmosphere was lively and busy, and, from where I was sitting on the Milady stand, tantalising - we were opposite the cookery section and the demos sent delicious aromas into the air. (Cooking is big in France - quelle surprise - with TV shows immensely popular, just like on this side of the channel.)

So, what’s hot? Romance is what’s hot. The French are taking to it in a big way, not least thanks to brilliant blogs like Les Romantiques. 50 Shades of Grey has made a hit there, as everywhere else, but Frenchwomen’s appetite for romance is much bigger than that. Paranormals, historicals, YA and erotic: Martine and Amélie and Chantal are devouring them in ever increasing numbers.

Which makes it strange that there are virtually NO French romance authors. I didn’t make that up, it’s what my publishers told me. So where do they get their books from? From abroad. They’re thrilled with the success of their romance titles, bought from America and England, from big publishers and small publishers and even self-publishers. They translate - which isn’t cheap - but it’s worth their while as the market is growing all the time. They hope that more French writers will leap to their keyboards and hang out their hearts, but only a few are venturing into these rose-coloured waters. Why aren’t they? Dare one say, intellectual snobbery? There’s certainly an element of that, a shudder of distaste at such a popular mass market. Where’s the noir, the significance in romance?

What an opportunity for English writers. Publishers like Bragelonne are actively looking for titles for their Milady romance list, as well as for paranormals and urban fantasy under the Castelmore imprint. As you can tell, they’re big Dumas fans at Bragelonne, and in a way that’s a statement of intent. They don’t shun what’s popular; what they and the readers want are good stories to make your heart beat a little faster.

This trend hasn’t gone unnoticed in the wider world. This article appeared in the Times business section this week (don’t you love the snooty remark at the end?), proof positive that Romance has come home to La Belle France. Hooray! Or, as I should say, Hourra!

Elizabeth is helping organize a one-day crash course, Pitch across the Pond & Beyond about how to sell your book abroad, and Stéphane will be there, together with Christine Witthohn, a leading US agent - they're a great pair to listen to and meet. 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Interview with Sheila Riley

Today we welcome Sheila Riley to the RNA Blog. Sheila says she has always been interested in writing, and won a few prizes at school for her essays and short stories. Going on to win a distinction in English and History at college she joined a local writer's group and in 2004 the RNA - NWS. She had short stories published in Woman's Own and other weekly magazines, won the North West Libraries short story competition in 2010, wrote a couple of Mills and Boon type novels which weren't successful, and then went on to write sagas - her first love. 

Welcome to the blog, Sheila. I believe you have some exciting news to share with us about a new venture you are involved with. 

I certainly have Freda, and, excited as I am about it I was filled with trepidation when I was offered the chance to complete the ‘Article Row’ series of world war two sagas written by Annie Groves, or as many of us know and loved her, our very own Penny Halsall. You can imagine my shock, but I said yes - then put down the phone and began to worry - was I good enough to fill the shoes of such a wonderful writer? Let the readers decide.

Do tell us how this all came about.

I was asked by my agent if I would pick one of the characters and write a bit about her - so I chose two, to be on the safe side – I emailed it the following morning, after reading My Sweet Valentine the night before, not knowing that it was being shown to the publisher (Thank the Lord I didn't know!) Then I was asked if I could write ten thousand words... twenty thousand words... and then I was told Harper Collins liked it and when could I have it finished? It was an honour to be able to complete the series and right then I decided ONLY A MOTHER KNOWS would be finished for Penny's first anniversary, it was the least I could do for a wonderful writer who has left such a fabulous legacy - and I finished it late at night on the 30th of December only hours before Penny's anniversary.

Those of us who knew and loved Penny, will be delighted to hear that her series is to live on, in her memory. But do you find the prospect daunting?

I hope Annie Groves readers will enjoy my writing as much as they did Penny’s, although, for as much as I have found the whole experience very exciting I will probably be hiding behind the sofa when ONLY A MOTHER KNOWS, a London saga, hits the shops on the 14th of March. I have only written Liverpool sagas before this one, so I had to do quite a bit of research to get the places exactly right.

Tell us something of your own background in the Liverpool area. You must be as equally fascinated by the history of Merseyside as was Penny.

Bomb damage in Liverpool in WWII

I adore the history of Merseyside; its strong, romantic maritime connections has a heritage that evokes powerful emotions and nuggets of golden stories yet to be mined. I was born in Southport and brought up in Sefton, near Liverpool. I trained as a hairdresser, went to college, and married at nineteen (I know, scandalous, but we were in love – and my dad wouldn’t allow me ‘live in sin’ - back in 1977). I was lucky enough to have three children, (although not pregnant at the time of my marriage) and I used to spend the nights when my babies were asleep scribbling in old exercise books about the wonders of motherhood. Then I would promptly tear up the stories in case my husband thought I’d lost my marbles wanting to be a published writer. He didn’t think that though, and when I had my first short story published in Woman’s Own he was very proud of me.

I know you were in the NWS before getting published, in what way did you find it helpful?

I joined the RNA back in 2004 and Penny was one of the first people to welcome me into the fold and was always friendly, and even though she was a busy writer she always had time to chat. I used to love her posts on Romna, especially when she got her dander up about books being given away - and how hard the author has to work to make a bob or two. The world is a poorer place without her and I hope I can be as helpful to new writers.

I found the NWS and especially ROMNA, really helpful, as new writers are given instant access to the professionals who are so generous with their time and their valuable advice. This wonderful guidance cannot be obtained anywhere else in the world, and I have heard of people sitting up until after midnight on the opening of the new NWS year to gain a valuable place – I know I did - and not only are new writers welcomed with open arms they are also encouraged to take part in wonderful, sometimes passionate, but always friendly exchanges.

Research for Only a Mother Knows

What did you find the most pleasurable, and the most challenging aspect in writing ONLY A MOTHER KNOWS? 

The challenge was the most pleasurable aspect of the writing Only A Mother Knows – I love a challenge and I am grateful for it – but the most wonderfully thought-provoking part of it was not only getting into the Annie Groves mind-set but also the mind-set of her characters, I was – and still am - on tenterhooks hoping that I have got everything right.

On a more practical note, tell us something of your routine and where and when you like to write.

I used to write at the kitchen table because I liked to have the sounds of the household around me as I wrote; – my five year old German shepherd, Max pulling down the handle of the kitchen door to go out into the garden, and Missy our tiny, sixteen year old feline fury who often puts Max in his place before snaking her way around my ankles for attention. However, as I had to concentrate on Only A Mother Knows, I moved back to the spare bedroom/office where all my books and research material is stored and I closed the door - nobody dare enter – unless they brought coffee and a chocolate hob-nob.

Are you a plotter or a panster? How much of your journey do you plan before you drive off into the mist? 

I used to be a panster and let the story tumble out. I loved the surprise of writing without plans and was often amazed at the characters who took up residence in my tales. However, I now have to plan from the beginning - and I found that it does, ultimately, save me a lot of time.

Do you have a secret good luck charm? 

I have, Freda, although I never believed in such things at one time – however, I was in Southport one Wednesday, after an RNA lunch, when I came upon a flight of steps leading down to a cellar that sold lots of shells and crystals, etc. The shop was narrowly old, shadowy, smelled of timeworn books and the salty tang of the sea. I was fascinated and delved into the boxes of curios and trinkets, when I caught sight of some glossy pebbles that had dark marbled markings. Just running the silky stones through my fingers brought me a feeling of intense tranquillity, I had to have one! And although I never really thought of it as a ‘good luck charm’ I have had a wonderful amount of happy coincidences since I bought it for the princely sum of one pound twenty pence.

So what next? Can we hope for more of these sagas in the future? 

I have just finished the fifth and final saga in the Article Row series; A Christmas Promise, which will be published in October 2013. However, I’m still having talks about what will happen next year. But I’m pleased to say that at this moment in time, the future is looking delightfully busy.

Only A Mother Knows - the fourth in the Article Row series will be published on the 14th of March.

It has a fabulous three and a half page Forward by Kate Bradley, commissioning editor at Harper Collins, who so rightly says that the book is; In Memory of Penny Halsall 24th November 1946 - 31st December 2011. And if I may, I have included a small portion:

"The news of Penny Halsall's death came as a great shock. I had been her editor for a number of years at HarperCollins and she was one of my favourite authors. I'd worked with Penny on her Annie Groves books and also on some of the ones that she had written as Penny Jordan - she really was a joy and was much loved by everyone here…

At Penny's funeral, the church was completely packed, not just with family but also fellow writers, friends, fans and publishing colleagues. But despite the sadness there was laughter too. Penny loved a party and when her favourite song was played - The Maverick's, 'I Just Want to Dance the Night Away' - we were reminded of what a wonderfully happy and positive person she was.

Once back at my desk in London, my mind turned to the difficult issue of what would happen now. 'My Sweet Valentine' was in the middle of the series and Annie Groves’ fans would be desperate to know what was going to happen to those well-loved characters..."

Kate goes on to say that after many long talk with Penny's agent, Teresa Chris and Penny's sister, Pru, they all agreed that the series should be finished...

“The last piece to be put into place was to find somebody who would be able to marry all of the pieces together and to turn all of the info available into a narrative that was worthy of Penny… We were almost running out of ideas when Teresa discovered the writer Sheila Riley. Not only did Sheila have something of Penny's style, but she also hailed from Penny's beloved Merseyside - without her, this book would never have existed - thank you Sheila..."

Their biggest battle will be on the home front. 

Four young women in wartime London have already been witnesses to the heartache and pain that Hitler's bombs have inflicted. Tilly is desperate to wed her sweetheart, but he is called back to America. Her mother gets terrible news and incurs spiteful wrath. For Dulcie, the war brings an old flame, David, back into her life. But can she cope with his terrible injuries. Agnes discovers something that will change her life and Sally’s love is tested. In this seemingly endless war, the girls learn about love, loss and heartache on the home front.


Find out more:
Sheila's Blog
On Twitter @1sheilariley
Thank you for sparing time to talk to us today, Sheila. We wish you every success. 
Best wishes, Freda 

Interviews on the RNA Blog are for RNA members, although we do occasionally take guests. If you are interested in an interview, please contact me: 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Interview with Kitty Charles

I am pleased and deeply intrigued to welcome Kitty Charles to the RNA Blog. Kitty was born in 1970 to parents who worked in the Foreign Office. She attended thirteen different schools, speaks five languages and became a Brownie Guides egg and spoon champion aged 8. She has worked as a nightclub cocktail maker, a wardrobe assistant at BBC Pebble Mill and a Postwoman. She can touch her nose with her tongue. 

I understand that Kitty Charles is the pseudonym for a collective of bestselling authors, do tell us how you came up with the idea and formed the writing team. 

Mostly, we blame the cava. You know what it’s like when writers get together. We were on our second bottle (or perhaps third) when one of us said, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun to write something together? In serial form, like a soap opera, or how Dickens used to write? E-books would be perfect for that sort of format: small, cheap, and easy to publish quickly.’

We immediately started to brainstorm the story. We all loved the idea of an old-fashioned shopping arcade in a seaside town, with twelve shops—one shop for each month of the year. We thought we could write one story a month, of 10,000 words or so, each focusing on a different shop. The stories would be self-contained, but they would also tie in with longer story arcs that would span the entire year. We drew a map of Angell’s Arcade and began to come up with the shops and the characters that would inhabit them. It was tremendous fun. We started writing the first episode right away.

Is the Charles part of the name in honour of Charles Dickens, who also wrote in serial form?

Definitely. We came up with all sorts of pseudonyms, but they kept on being already owned by porn stars. So we went back to our original inspiration. We thought about calling ourselves Kitty Dickens, but we quickly realised that our books wouldn’t be easily found by someone typing ‘Dickens’ into an ebook site, since the original Dickens wrote so many. So Kitty Charles it was.

How would you best describe the style, voice or feel of the books? Is this difficult to achieve as a team?

They’re fun, soapy, flirty and sexy. The characters are larger-than-life and they all have secrets. It’s hugely fun to write because we can all egg each other on.

So how does it work in practice? Tell us something of the process you go through to create and write a story collectively.

We’ve divvied up the shops between us: with twelve shops, one for each month of the year, and six authors, we’re each responsible for two shops. But because the storylines interconnect, we have to collaborate on plotting. We have some storylines that we’ve all agreed on already, but each author is more or less in charge of her own episode.

Before we start writing, we might ask some questions or brainstorm together, in person or via email. Then we share a synopsis for each episode, and we add things or comment in it. Then one of us goes off and writes the episode. This is the best part! It’s such a treat to write something that will be shared with five other authors who you think are fantastic.

Of course, it’s also quite scary writing something to be shared with five other authors who you think are fantastic. But it is wonderful getting the episodes to read, about all of these characters we’ve created. It’s like revisiting dear friends every month.

We comment on each episode and revise it, then the part of Kitty Charles who is a grammar stickler proofreads it, and then the part of Kitty Charles who is a tech whiz formats and uploads it, and the part of Kitty Charles who is a PR guru promotes it. (These parts might switch on any given month!)

What do you think is the important ingredient for this kind of story?

There are two vital ingredients. The first, obviously, is alcohol. The second is fun! We are writing and publishing it because it’s fun, and we want the reader to have fun, too, so that she wants to check in each month to see what’s going on in Angell’s Arcade.

Have you involved professionals in the production of your ebooks?

Several of us have self-published successfully already so we feel confident about that part, though we do employ a professional cover designer.

Tell us what you have discovered about each team member’s funny little phobias, superstitions or habits connected with writing.

Coincidentally enough, all six of us insist on wearing our lucky socks when we write.

Are you inspired by music when creating your fictional world?

Actually, that’s a great idea…we could have a different song for each of the shops in Angell’s Arcade. Chocwaves, owned by sexy womaniser Magnus: ‘You Sexy Thing’ by Hot Chocolate. Italian deli Papa Rigatoni’s, owned by warring couple Rosa and Luca: ‘Mama Mia’ by ABBA. Tamara Van de Beur’s jewellers: ‘Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.’ And let’s not forget all the sexy Latin music for Ernesto’s tango studio. You could even have Robbie Williams’s ‘Angels’ for the ghost of Victorian visionary Frederick Angell, who haunts the arcade to which he has given his name.

Who is Kitty’s favourite literary hero and heroine?

Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara.

So what next? Will this series last throughout 2013, and do you have any plans beyond that?

We’ll be publishing THE ARCADE all year in installments, and hope to publish a compilation volume of the whole thing at the end. Beyond that…we’re thinking the sky’s the limit.

Kitty’s author page on Amazon
Kitty’s publishers, Blue Eyed Llama: 
Kitty on Facebook and Twitter: 

THE ARCADE is a sexy, sassy, soapy story set in a beautiful Victorian seaside shopping arcade – where the dramas and rivalries are as dazzling as the window displays. It’s as addictive as chocolate truffles from the Chocwaves store, as sexy as honeymoon lingerie from The Garden of Eden, and as scandalous as a night in Ernesto’s tango studio. And the best bit? The Arcade comes to you in monthly episodes, so you can get your fix of sex and shopping every four weeks… a new story will become available every month throughout 2013.

In January we meet Faith Moore, a newcomer to Angell’s Arcade who’s looking for a new year and a new beginning, to forget her sad past…

In February we spend Valentine’s Day with lingerie shop owner Eden Hart, who sees every man who enters her shop as a possible replacement for her lost love.

March is the story of Libby Bartlett, who wants a night of escape from her four children, but finds more than she bargained for. 

And April features the Arcade's most eligible bachelor, Magnus Elsinger, who's about to discover just how hellish a woman scorned can be. 

Thank you Kitty for sparing time to talk to us today. We wish you every success with the new series. It all sounds great fun. 
Best wishes, Freda 

 Interviews on the RNA Blog are for RNA members, although we do occasionally take guests. If you are interested in an interview, please contact me: 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Interview with Kate Jackson

Former research scientist, turned teacher, Kate Jackson lives by the sea in Norfolk with her husband and children. She writes short stories and most recently, a novel set in Norfolk during the First and Second World Wars. Her research took her from a railway carriage house to the archives of the Imperial War Museum. Welcome to the RNA Blog, Kate. Tell us about your latest pocket novel and how you came by the idea? 

ALWAYS IN MY HEART started life as a would-be People’s Friend serial, but it was turned down as it wasn’t quite right for the magazine. I’d put a lot of work into researching the period and the characters were itching to get going, so I decided to try writing it as a novel. The final word count came in at over ninety thousand words - the equivalent of two pocket novels - but by chance I saw an advert for a two-part pocket novel and contacted Tracy Steel, the editor, to see if she’d be interested in seeing my novel. She said yes and bought it a couple of weeks later.

I’m also epublishing it under its original title of SECRETS AND PROMISES. The idea for it grew by putting many different little ideas together. I knew I wanted it set in my home county of Norfolk during the Second World War, to have a railway carriage house, GI’s, Timber Jills, Kinder transport children and First World War VAD nurses. It was a like throwing many ingredients in a cooking pot and seeing what emerged.

How did you research the novel?

I did a lot of research to get the details right; reading books, used the archives at the Imperial War Museum in London to look at old letters and diaries, and listen to recorded interviews with former VAD nurses and Timber Jills. I visited the Poppy Line’s railway cottage to get a feel for what a house made out of an old railway carriage is like. I used a family letter which explained how my great grandmother’s brother was killed at the front in WW1.

Do you plot your novels in advance or do they unfold as you write?

I’m a plotter. Coming from short story writing, where a story’s usually finished in one to two thousand words, the prospect of writing ninety thousand words is terrifying. I always have the worry that I won’t have enough story.

Plotting out where I’m going gives me a story skeleton, but still allows other ideas to come in as I go along. It’s always a lovely surprise when something pops into my mind as I’m typing.

You also write short stories, a shrinking market in today’s world. What advice would you give to an aspiring writer to achieve secret success in this genre?

It’s essential that you read several up to date copies of your target magazine to get a feel for the sort of stories they publish. Each magazine has their own preferences and style. People’s Friend’s short stories are sweeter, emotional stories with a feel good factor, while those for Take A Break Fiction Feast are more edgy.

I know you have to juggle writing with the day job. What is your work schedule?

I fit my writing in around my family and my teaching commitments. I can have a day’s writing planned and all that may suddenly change if one of the children is ill or I get a call at 7.30am to go into school. On an ideal day, I’ll write for about four hours while my children are at school and if I can get 2000 words done then I’m very happy.

How long have you been a member of the RNA, and in what way do you think it has helped your career? 

I first joined the New Writers’ Scheme in 2007 and attempted to write a Mills and Boon, which was a complete disaster. I met Kate Walker at the Leicester conference, she was so kind and helpful and advised me to think about what sort of book I should be writing. I submitted a contemporary Pocket Novel to the NWS in 2010 and it was bought soon after by D.C. Thomson. Without the RNA I think I’d still be floundering around trying to write a novel. I’ve made some great friends who are good fun and understand what writing’s about. The conferences are brilliant too.

Which craft tip has helped you the most?

Don’t get it right, get it written. Writing is about re-writing, so don’t even think about getting it right the first time.

How do you relax when you’re not writing? 

Apart from spending time with my family, I love reading, doing yoga, walking by the sea or in the woods. Spending time with our chickens is calming, there’s nothing like a bit of digging in the garden with them to put things in perspective.

Other than writing, what would you say is your craziest ambition? 

I’d love to fly in a Spitfire and a Lancaster bomber.

So what next? Tell us about your next challenge.

I’m working on a plot for a serial idea for People’s Friend magazine - I’m determined to get there one day. I’m developing ideas for a contemporary multi-viewpoint novel and I have a long queue of short stories waiting to be written. Plenty to keep me busy.

When Bessie Rushbrook takes in an evacuee, it starts a chain of events which stir up old secrets and promises kept hidden since the First World War, threatening to rip her family apart.

Find out more about Kate Jackson:
Follow on Facebook
Twitter @katejacksonauth

Thank you for sparing time to talk to us today, Kate. We wish you continuing success with your books and short stories.
Best wishes, Freda 

Interviews on the RNA Blog are for RNA members, although we do occasionally take guests. If you are interested in an interview, please contact me:

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Interview with Cathy Mansell

Today we welcome Cathy Mansell to the RNA Blog. Cathy’s began he writing career by entering competitions in national magazines with short stories and articles. She was Editor in Chief of the Leicestershire Anthology, ‘Taking Off’, a book promoted and supported by Arts Council UK. More recently she has turned to full-length novels set in Ireland and England. She was a recent contestant on the TV show Food Glorious Food, the nine part series to be broadcast from 27th February. Tell us about your first book and the excitement of getting that call. 

When I got the email from Tirgearr Publishing offering me a contract on SHADOW ACROSS THE LIFFEY, I sat staring at the screen for a good five minutes before it registered. I had just had a huge disappointment from a lovely publisher a few days before, and was feeling rather down. I read the email again, excitedly printed it off, and hurried to tell my husband. Unfortunately, he is very deaf so he had to find his hearing aid and adjust it, while I jumped up and down waiting for him to express his delight. The excitement continues even now.

Where did you find the inspiration for the characters?

The main characters, Oona and Jack just came into my mind. The theme and plot for the book sprung from incidences taken from my own life. The baddie Vinnie is total fiction and I have no idea where he came from. Vinnie and Sean, Oona’s son, were the characters I enjoyed writing about most.

Some writers need silence, others prefer the bustle of a coffee shop. What is your favourite mode of working?

Cathy's Work Space
I love the quiet solitude of my garret, an attic room created by my husband for his use when he retired as an architect, but I’m delighted to say that my obsession to write was greater than his was to draw. It has been mine ever since.

What is the best piece of craft advice you ever had?

We are all too close to our work. I recall when I had finished my first novel and sent it off to an agent. I felt as if I had let my baby go out into the big wide world. That book, I realised later was just a learning curve. The best piece of advice I can recall someone giving me was to print off your work and read it aloud. It is the only way you can hear your own mistakes, reading from the screen is not the same.

Do you think writers should follow the latest hot fashion or write what they love?

Personally, I could never do that. But, I know of writers’ who can, and do follow the trend. It changes all the time, so I would prefer to write about what I know and do best. What do you do when the going gets tough? I don’t think I have ever had writer's block, but I have got stuck in the middle of a novel. The best thing I find is to print off the previous few chapters and read them. I soon find the thread again. Another thing I do is have a break, a strong cup of coffee, talk to the dog, or go for a walk. They all work.

I know you have been short listed for the Hessayon Award, if you were fortunate enough to win, who would you wish to thank? 

When I joined the RNA nearly ten years ago as a new writer, I found the help I received invaluable. I would want to thank Margaret James and Melanie Hilton for all the work they put into the scheme and especially the dedicated readers. Other people I would want to thank connected with the RNA are Jean Chapman for her sincerity and belief in me. And Margaret Kaine for her friendship and support.

Are you ever driven to write by hand?

Not since the age of technology. Occasionally, when I’m out and an idea strikes I write it down in my notebook. At night I keep a pen and notebook handy as, more often than not, I’ll wake up with an idea that I think is wonderful and scribble it down while half-asleep. Come morning, I can’t read my own writing and find that I've written a load of rubbish.

What was your favourite book as a child?

We were not encouraged to read as children in spite of my father being an avid reader. I made up stories in my head all the time. We had a library close by and often took out books, nothing terribly exciting. Enid Blyton and Rupert Bear. My sister and I used to hide at the bottom of the garden to read. When I was a teenager, my sister bought me my first book. Wuthering Heights. It is still my favourite. I love the description of the moors, the contrast of dark and shadow throughout the story. The melancholy broody Heathcliffe and his pursuit of Cathy give the story a menacing quality. For me, it is a timeless classic.

If you could know the future, what would you wish for?

Now that I’ve had my debut novel SHADOW ACROSS THE LIFFEY published, my wish would be that I don’t have to wait another ten years to have my second book published.

A gripping story of how family secrets can wreak havoc on the present. 

In 60’s Ireland life is hard for widow, Oona Quinn, grief-stricken by the tragic deaths of her husband and five-year-old daughter. Struggling to survive, she meets charismatic Jack Walsh at the Shipping Office. 

Vinnie Kelly, her son's biological father, just out of jail, sets out to destroy Oona and all she holds dear. Haunted by her past, she has to fight for her future and the safety of her son, Sean. But Vinnie has revenge on his mind . . .'s blog  

Thank you, Cathy, for sparing time to talk to us today. We wish you every success with your debut novel. 

Best wishes, Freda 

Interviews on the RNA Blog are for RNA members, although we do occasionally take guests. If you are interested in an interview, please contact me:

Monday, March 18, 2013

March Self Published Releases

Kate Jackson -  Secrets and Promises
KDP Amazon Kindle ebook
22nd March 2013

When Bessie Rushbrook takes in an evacuee in July 1944, it begins a chain of events which expose hidden secrets and promises and threatens to tear her family apart.

Sue Welfare - Cooking up Storm
March 2013

But will love be on the menu?

When newly single Sarah Peterson rents a cottage on Kit Roseberry’s country estate and swops cooking supper for rent, she isn’t expecting TV producer, Magda Holmes, to fall for Kit and his culinary skills, or offer him a slot on her TV show.
Kit can’t boil water, but he’s got the look and needs the money. Magda is keen to go for a traditional feel, happy families, picnics on the beach and birthday teas, so Sarah - along with her two boys - finds herself as undercover cook, and an instant wife and family for Kit’s TV debut.
But what will that do to Sarah's fresh start, her new man, ex-husband and the rest of her life? Is it a recipe for disaster or does it have all the ingredients for a great romance?

Nell Dixon - Radio Gaga 
Brierley Rose Press
Kindle - paperback and other ebook formats to follow
March 1st 2013
£2.99 - $4.50

Over the airwaves everyone can hear you scream! 
Radio researcher and part-time presenter Chloe Lark is certain her big show biz break is just around the corner. Live it Up radio may not be the big time, but surely - one day soon - fame will come her way. And, if she could convince the hunky guy next door to give her a chance, her love life might improve too. 
Ex-soldier Ben isn’t sure if his new ‘Z’ list celebrity neighbour is crazy or on medication. Either way he’s looking for a quiet life out of the spotlight. The last thing he needs is an accident prone media hungry blonde complete with mystery stalker. Problem is - Chloe doesn’t seem to have received that particular memo…

Noelene Jenkinson - Grace's Cottage
eBook and paperback
13 February 2013

A cottage, a secret and a betrayal.
For Jennifer Hale, with a rebel sister and ailing mother, a cottage in the small Australian country town of Bundilla holds the key to a dream. Or more correctly, her mother's wish - as the wife of an itinerant minister - for a home of her own.
For city architect, Sam Keats, the cottage with its treasure of old letters and diaries unlocks a mystery stretching back to the Vietnam war, exposing long held family secrets and a betrayal of promises made.
From Australia to America and Malaysia, Jennifer and Sam must each confront their own ideals and personal restrictions to find the courage to open their hearts enough to build a possible future together.

Noelene Jenkinson - Peacocks on the Lawn
eBook and paperback
23 February 2013
£9.70 / £5.30

Young Scotsman, Duncan Penross, lands on the pioneering shores of the colony of Port Phillip in 1838. It is the dawn of the pastoral era in colonial Australia. Driven by a lust for women and fierce ambition in this rough man’s world, he is determined to succeed, make a fortune and build an empire.
To this fledgling colony Isabelle Waring courageously emigrates from northern England to also forge a new life and is employed by Duncan Penross as his housekeeper.
With an eye to securing his dynasty, Duncan marries Isabelle to bear his sons. But his expectations do not develop as he planned. As his family grows, their lives and fates unfold with tragedy, struggles and always the hope of love.
As secrets and lies emerge, can Isabelle stay loyal or will she find happiness elsewhere?
From cottage to bluestone mansion with its flamboyant peacocks on the lawn, this engrossing new Australian saga is filled with the lives and passions of a pioneering pastoral family in the nineteenth century.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Interview with Tony Drury

Today we welcome Tony Drury to the Blog. Tony, a City Corporate Financier, blogger, author and entrepreneur is more well known for his financial books and helping to raise £2.8million for Quercus, the company that published The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo books, but in 2006 decided to follow his dream to write fiction and in May 2012 MEGAN'S GAME was published by City Fiction. Tony's writing has gone from strength to strength, launching THE DEAL in October 2012, both books receiving rave reviews from The Daily Telegraph, City A.M, Money Maker Magazine, The Times to name but a few. He blogs weekly for Enterprise Britain, both in his name and that of his alter ego, Mr. Angry. Tony lives in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire with his wife. They have just become grandparents. 

Do tell us something of your writer’s journey, and what made you want to write fiction?

Over the years as a corporate financier I’ve written extensively both for financial journals and six books. The most successful was ‘Investment Clubs’ which sold 25,000 copies. When I reached 60 years of age I decided to try my hand at fiction.

Your crime thriller, MEGAN’S GAME, is to be released as a feature film next year. Where did you find the inspiration to write it?

I was inspired to write it because we had a holiday home in Aberdovey, central coastal Wales. There’s a legend that if you hear the bells from the sunken village ring at midnight you’ll find romance. It took me five years to find out if this applied to Megan a Welsh widow looking for love.

As a writer, what do you think will be your greatest challenge in seeing your work filmed?

None. There is no challenge. It is perhaps one of the greatest fulfilments of my life the day Paul Tucker, the producer, said he wanted to make the film. I stood in the middle of Shepperton Film Studios and said “thank you” to Him upstairs.

What part does romance play in the story?

Tony with Paul Tucker, the producer.
Huge. I’m a very average writer. Therefore I write about what matters most to people. Megan wanted to find love. That’s what many people want to do.

Are you a plotter or a panster? How much planning do you do before you start a novel? 

Because my base is corporate finance and London, the plot is fairly easy. It’s characterisation and particularly women that is my big challenge. My editor Laura is working overtime to help me.

As a businessman with a heavy schedule, can you work anywhere, or do you have a favourite place to hideaway and write?

I write mentally 24 hours a day. I was fined for speeding on the Leighton Buzzard southern relief road recently. I opted to take a Driver Awareness Course. That’s in my next book. I write between 5.00am and 10.00am.

Which author has most influenced your work?

Tolstoy and Anna Karenina. Makes me seems like Enid Blyton. Gerald Seymour has been important (his first book was ‘Harry’s Game’ which is where I’ve taken ‘Megan’s Game’ from. Love Wilbur Smith. ‘When the Lion Feeds’, is definitive.

Which temptation do you find the hardest to resist?

Answering questions that could land me in huge problems.

If the aliens landed which book would you suggest they read first?

Any. They’ll be arrested by DCI Rudd for loitering.

Your next title, CHOLESTEROL, will be published this summer. Which character from this book would you most like to trade lives with?

DCI Sarah Rudd. I have a DI from Bedfordshire Police helping me with her character. I’m not sure which one I’m most fond of.

Adrian Dexter is a corporate financier struggling through the turbulence of recession in 2012. Far away from the City of London, the love of his life waits for him in Johannesburg - as does his mortal enemy and notorious South African fraudster, Nigel de Groute. As if that wasn't enough, he is also about to turn sixty.

When Adrian meets the beautiful Helen Greenwood and they embark on a passionate affair, he begins to feel young again. But his newfound happiness is about to be rudely interrupted…

A business merger; an unplanned pregnancy; a kidnapping; a royal ambush - suddenly Adrian's life is spiralling out of control. Can he get a grip before it's too late? Can DI Sarah Rudd continue to triumph in her fight against evil and corruption? And don't forget about those nasty fatty deposits lurking beneath the surface...

Amazon Author Page

Thank you for sparing time to talk to us today Tony. We wish you every success with your books. 
Best wishes, Freda 

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Interviews on the RNA Blog are for RNA members, although we do occasionally take guests. If you are interested in an interview, please contact me: