Saturday, July 30, 2016

Lucy Beresford: Hungry for Love

Ellie Holmes interviews today's blog guest, Lucy Beresford. Welcome ladies!

Hungry for Love has been described as “an amusing, fun read” but it deals with some serious issues such as self respect. How difficult was it to get across a serious message in a lightheartedbook?

I thought it was going to be quite tricky, as I’d long wanted this to be the corner-stone of this novel,
as I believe that it’s crucial for how we live in the world. But I also wanted to write about food and romance and have a lot of fun with that, so in the end the writing of this novel flowed really easily.

You are a trained psychotherapist. As a result of your experience in this area do you create your characters from the inside out and then develop a plot?
I think they go hand in hand – the type of characters they are always drives the plot in certain way, so I’m a great believer in creating strong, believable characters and then seeing where they want to go.

Cooking features a lot in Hungry for Love. Who would be your fantasy dinner guests and what would you cook?
I’d invite Shakespeare (because I have so many questions to ask him), Daniel Craig, Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan and Nigella Lawson. She and I would share the cooking and rustle up a world feast of guacamole, risottos, curries and pavlova.

You wear a lot of hats – writer, broadcaster and psychotherapist. How difficult is it to carve out writing time for your fiction and stick to a writing schedule?
I’m pretty disciplined. My show is at a set time and I prep for that, and I see patients on the same morning each week. Apart from that, I’m writing!

 One of your earlier books, Invisible Threads, was set in India and dealt with some dark themes.  I was reading on your website about the charity work you now do in India – can you tell us a little bit about that?
I worked as a therapist at a clinic in India and saw at first hand the difficulties women in India face. When I dug deeper I found out about women who have been kidnapped for sex. So I contacted a charity that rescues women from brothels and that runs rehab programmes

One of your previous roles was as an Agony Aunt.  Have you ever failed to follow your own good advice?
Lots of times. As an outsider you can often see someone else’s situation more clearly but when it’s your own issues, it feels impossible to untangle them – but at least that helps me empathise with the struggles other people have: things might look easy on the outside but inside the emotions are complex.

How do relax when not writing?
I’m an enthusiastic amateur cook, which means I spend lots of time reading recipe books in bed! 

What’s next for author, Lucy Beresford?
I’m sketching out a new novel and a new non-fiction idea – but it’s early days so I’m reluctant to say more.

Biog: As a writer, broadcaster and psychotherapist, Lucy’s passionate about helping people tell their stories, with love being a central theme. Her debut novel Something I’m Not features misplaced love in many forms; her second novel Invisible Threads explores forbidden love in India, was shortlisted for the Rubery International Prize and is in film development. Her third novel Hungry for Love explores food and multiple heroes. Feel free to get in touch with her on Twitter @lucyberesford

Book Blurb: Jax cancels her wedding on the day, by text and unleashes culinary mayhem. A scrumptious celebration of survival for anyone who’s longed for love or felt unworthy of it, this is a heart-warming book to show you the importance of self-respect, and that love can be found where you least expect it.

Twitter: @lucyberesford

Thank you, Ellie for asking such interesting questions and Lucy for taking part. Good luck with your book.

If you would like to be interviewed about your soon to be published book please contact the RNA blog team on

Friday, July 29, 2016

Lynda Stacey: Learning to Juggle!

Welcome to first time author, Lynda Stacey, who gives us an insight to her life and how she juggles her busy working life.

I’ve worked towards this moment for over thirty years. I ‘m so proud to be able to finally call myself
an author. I tell everyone that I meet about my novel, but when I do, I always get the same response. “But, you work full time; how do you find the time to write books as well?” Well, that’s easy. I’ve always worked two jobs; sometimes three: I’ve had no choice.

I was married very young. My first husband amongst other things had Asperger’s syndrome. He had many problems, and life became unbearable. I eventually found the courage to leave, after which he committed suicide and I was left with his massive debts he’d incurred. These were debts that I’d previously known nothing about and at 23 years old, I found myself with a debt of over £120,000. All of which I found to my horror that I had to pay back.

I spent the next twenty years doing just that. I worked as a nurse, an Emergency First Response instructor, and as a model - I know, hard to believe it now. I worked in bars, nightclubs, laboratories and in later years, I trained as a PADI Scuba Diving Instructor. I set up my own school, and worked most weekends. I’ve even taught in open water while snow was coming down sideways. Crazy you say, yes, I thought I was just a little crazy too.
I’ve always been ambitious, and I did all of this while working my way up through a company, where I’d begun doing just a few deliveries and a few sales, to now being the Sales Director for that same company.

So, being busy has never been a problem. I’d had no choice, but I was proud of what I’d achieved. I’d made my mark on the world and I managed to pay back all my first husband’s debts, as well as living a reasonable life with my new husband, Haydn.
However, in 2009, I was involved in a freak car accident which left me with limited mobility in my right arm. I had no strength to rescue students and couldn’t risk teaching Scuba any more. My school had to sold and for the first time in my life, I had nothing to do.
This is when I once again began writing.

My writing week
I work full time, five days a week and finish somewhere between five and six o’clock, I then go home, make tea, tidy up and by 6.30pm I sit down to relax. This is when I write and even though I have a perfectly good home office, I prefer to sit on the settee, with my laptop on my knee. I never work to a word count, I can’t. Some nights I only get an hour in which to write, some nights I get three or four hours. It all depends on what else is happening, and of course, how much time I spend on both Facebook and Twitter.
My main writing time is on a Saturday or Sunday morning. I tend to get up very early, at around six o’clock. This is MY TIME, the time when no-one else is around, no television to spoil my thoughts and no one else who I need to talk to. It’s during this time that I tend to go back over the work that I’ve done during the week, and I edit as I go. But when I type the words ‘THE END’, I know that it doesn’t really mean ‘THE END’.
All ‘THE END’ really means is that the story has found its final chapter and that then, as we all know, is when the hard work really begins.

Lynda x

Lynda, is a wife, step-mother and grandmother, she grew up in the mining village of Bentley, Doncaster, in South Yorkshire. Her own life story, along with varied career choices helps Lynda to create stories of romantic suspense, with challenging and unpredictable plots, along with (as in all romances) very happy endings.

Lynda joined the Romantic Novelists' Association New Writers' Scheme in 2014 and in 2015, her debut novel House of Secrets won the Choc Lit & Whole Story Audiobooks Search for a Star competition. She lives in a small rural hamlet near Doncaster, with her husband, Haydn, whom she’s been happily married to for over 20 years.

Twitter: @Lyndastacey

Thank you, Lynda and good luck with your writing career.

If you would like to write for the RNA blog please contact us on

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Carol Cooper: How did I end up here?

It is a delight to welcome Dr Carol Cooper to the blog today. We all have our personal journeys to publication and we are sure Carol’s will resonate with many of our members.

When people ask about my writing routine, I admit I don’t have one. Other stuff keeps getting in the way. I’ve always wanted to write novels, even as an undergraduate, when I knew nothing except how to pass exams.

After qualifying as a doctor, I put my energies into medicine. Then I went part-time, raised children, and wrote lots of books on parenting. By now I was a GP, and teaching medical students at Imperial College. I was also busy with broadcasting and medical journalism, contributing to titles as varied as The Sun and The Lancet.

Writing fiction seemed less possible than ever. Then my father died. The plot of a novel about dating came to me while on the plane to his funeral.  I scribbled notes furiously onto a paper napkin over a drink. Those jottings eventually turned into a story.

My debut novel One Night at the Jacaranda came out in 2013 and was short-listed for a couple of awards. The next novel would have followed a bit more promptly, but I got side-tracked again.
I have a memory from long ago, of a consultant who phoned me shortly after an interview. Someone else had got the job, but, she added, “Nothing is ever wasted.” Yeah, sure. They were just words to let me down gently. I thought nothing more of it.

On July 1, I had two new books out. One is my second textbook of general practice. Aimed at medical students, it tries to convey the essence of primary care, its richness, complexity, and the many opportunities for getting things wrong. The other book is my second novel. Hampstead Fever tells of the intertwined lives and loves of six people one hot summer as emotions reach boiling point.
Chef Dan should be blissfully happy. He has the woman of his dreams and a job in a trendy Hampstead bistro. But his over-anxious partner, engrossed in their baby, has no time for him.
Burnt-out doctor Geoff finds solace in the arms of a moody actress. Journalist Harriet’s long-term relationship with Sanjay is on the skids, leaving each of them with serious questions. Meanwhile single mother of four Karen lacks the appetite for a suitable relationship. As with my first novel, Hampstead Fever evolves through multiple viewpoints, and each chapter often has several scenes.

Why do I write like that, people ask.  I don’t know. It’s what comes naturally to me.

I’m a GP. Every ten minutes or so, there’s someone new in front of me.
Medicine has kept me away from writing. But it has taught me to be observant and to put myself in other people’s shoes. My patients also show me life and share things they’ve never told anyone else. There’s not a single real patient in my novels, but they’re there all the same, and it’s a privilege to have known every one.

That’s why and how I write.  As that consultant said, nothing is ever wasted. I could do with a routine, though.

About Carol:
Carol Cooper is a doctor, journalist, and author. 
She graduated from Cambridge University where she studied medicine and her fellow students. Following a string of books on childcare and an award-winning medical textbook, she made her fiction debut with the independently published One Night at the Jacaranda.  Her latest is Hampstead Fever, and further novels are in the pipeline.
Carol lives with her husband in Hampstead and Cambridge. She has three grown-up sons and three step-children. Her books are available in bookstores and links below.

Twitter: @DrCarolCooper

Thank you, Carol and good luck with your writing.

If you would like to write for the RNA blog please contact us on

Friday, July 22, 2016

Jean Fullerton: The RNA’s Chapter Liaison

We welcome the lovely Jean Fullerton to the RNA blog. Jean will be taking on our monthly interviews with the RNA chapters. So, if your chapter has not yet been interviewed please get in touch with Jean.

For those who don’t know me I’m Jean Fullerton and I write sagas set in the East End of London but the other hat I wear is that of RNA Chapter Liaison and it’s in that capacity that I’m on the blog today. 

Firstly, let me say how thrilled I am that Elaine has asked me to organise the monthly chapter blog
spot. As many of you will already know I am passionate about the RNA Chapters as I believe they are the backbone of the organisation. With that in mind I thought I’d tell you a little about what I’m hoping to promote over the next year or so. 

As the Chapter Liaison I’ve had the great pleasure of visiting the Norwich, Cambridge, Southern, Exeter, Oxford Leicester, Southern Belle and the Cornish chapters as well as regularly attending my home chapter, the London and SE, in the past twelve months. I’m hoping to drop in on many more before too long. Enjoyable thought it is to have lunch with you all and getting together with different chapters it has also given me some ideas about how we might increase members participating in chapter events.

I’ve proposed a set of chapter guideline and although this may sound very official it is in fact just setting down what many chapters are already doing. However, in addition it will cover things such as financing of events and creating new chapters.

I’d also like to encourage chapters to put on regional activities such as the recent Yorkshire and Chelmsford Chapters’ afternoon teas both of which were a huge success.  By holding such events members who are unable to attend the London based awards and parties can celebrate and network with RNA friends closer to home.

I’m hoping, in conjunction with Alison May our membership secretary, to assist members to locate their nearest chapter and set up a buddy system so new members can link to a long standing member to allay the anxiety of turning up to a meeting and not knowing anyone. To this end I’m looking at ways of contacting all members to provide details of their local chapter.

However, I won’t be doing all the work as I’m looking for chapters to write an account of their news and activities for the RNA blog.  Watch out for an email from me popping into your inbox.

Please feel free to contact me on with any suggestions or queries about the RNA chapters as I’m more than happy to help.

Thank you, Jean. We look forward to your monthly bulletins and interviews.

If you would like to write for the RNA blog please contact us on