If you follow the link below you can see some of the inspirations for my characters and story.
Pinterest Board Link - here
A Wedding At Sandy Cove has been published and I can't wait to hear what my readers think of Ella and Kit and the gang. I find Pinterest is a great place to accumulate ideas for stories as I'm writing them and this book was no exception. I squirrelled away various pictures of people who looked a bit like my characters - disclaimer - there may be photos of Tom Ellis with his top off!
If you follow the link below you can see some of the inspirations for my characters and story.
Pinterest Board Link - here
It's become a bit of a tradition that I produce a playlist for each of my books. It's a fun thing to do and hopefully helps to bring the story to life. Here's the list of the songs I think go well with The Girls:Alone Again (Naturally) by Gilbert O’Sullivan
Don’t Go Breaking my Heart by Elton John & Kiki Dee
Dancing Queen by Abba
In Demand by Texas
Get Up by James Brown
Sailing by Rod Stewart
She’s A Lady by Tom Jones
Tiny Dancer by Elton John
You Can’t Always Get What you Want by The Rolling Stones (mentioned in the book)
Does your mother know by Abba
Can’t Get By Without You by The Real Thing
Give Me Just A Little More Time by Chairmen of the Board
Murder on the Dancefloor by Sophie Ellis-Bextor
Jailhouse Rock by Elvis
If You Leave Me Now by Chicago
All Right Now by Free
Link to Spotify playlist - here
The Library is character driven but it is also essentially a book about books. Throughout the story the love of reading is clear and it is demonstrated by the books the characters read. It was a lovely opportunity for me to shout about some of my favourite books and writers.
A couple of readers have said they would like to read the books and authors mentioned in the story so I thought I would put together a list and here it is:
Stephen King (Nothing specific)
I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella
The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
A Game of Thrones by George R R Martin
Frederica by Georgette Heyer
Staying At Daisy’s by Jill Mansell
Me before You by Jojo Moyes
Dark Matter by Michelle Paver
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Animal Farm by George Orwell
The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
Polo by Jilly Cooper
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James
Behind Closed Doors by BA Paris
The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary
Never Go Back by Lee Child
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
I hope there are some books on here that you decide to read and even better if you borrow them from your local library. Happy reading!
The Library is out now in ebook, audio and paperback.
I like to create a playlist for each of my books and The Library was no exception although I think the choices are a little different. I often have pieces of music floating around my head as I work on certain parts of a story although most of the time I need silence to work. Some tunes just fit the moment or the character and I had lots of times where I heard a song and it made me think of these characters and this book. With the two very different generations I felt it was right to have a mix of music that reflected both the characters and the scenes. I loved putting this playlist together. I like to think that Tom and Maggie would approve of my choices.
Here’s the list I came up with and below is a link to the playlist on Spotify:
So Am I by Ava Max
Mr Tambourine Man by The Byrds
Just The Way You Are by Bruno Mars
Yesterday by The Beatles
One Call Away by Charlie Puth
My Girl by The Temptations
Trouble by Coldplay
The Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel
My Generation by The Who
Getting Older Billie Eilish
Levitating by Dua Lipa
Friends by Marshmello Anne-Marie
Respect by Aretha Franklin
I Saved the World Today by Eurythmics
The Village Green Preservation Society - The Kinks
Link - https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1uSOdCCwRUrPDTaMwAsvsj?si=101ed11ef67c4947
The Library is out now in ebook (still only 99p) and audio. The paperback is out on 6th January 2022 and is available to pre-order here.
Pinterest is a very handy tool for writers. I like that I can search for all sorts of things at the idea and planning stages of creating a novel. The trick is not to end up down a rabbit hole and lose a few hours and that’s very easy to do - especially if you like pictures of kittens. But if you can stay focussed you can create a really useful mood board that’s starts to bring your ideas to life. I like to go back to my Pinterest board to add to it and to check things as the story builds.
There were quite a few animals in The Library so I had lots of fun looking for those on Pinterest – I’m very pleased I found a Jacobs ram exactly how I pictured Colin. The border collies were also quite distinctive so they took a bit of searching for.
I had a clear idea of what Tom and Maggie looked like in my mind which was good but it made it hard to find any actors that were similar to the characters I had created. A young Joe Absolom kind of works for Tom but Maggie is really quite unique. That said, I’m sure if she grew her hair Julie Walters would be perfect for the role! An author can dream.
I'm a very visual person so even adding to my Pinterest board can sometimes trigger scene ideas. If you're a writer I'd recommend you give it a try and if you're a reader you might like to see some of my inspirations.
Here’s a link to my Pinterest board for The Library
The Library is out now in ebook and audio. The paperback is out on 6th January 2022 and is available to pre-order here.
If you’ve read one of my books you’ll know I write romantic comedy. So you may be as surprised as I was that my latest book was nothing of the sort. Back in 2019 I had been beavering away on a rom com when two characters popped into my head – a teenager and a woman in her seventies. It was hard not to get distracted by them as they were fully formed and I knew they had a story to tell.
Tom and Maggie were special characters but at first I wasn’t sure if I was up to writing their story and at that stage I didn’t even know what genre it would be. I decided to just write the story so I could free up some headspace. The Library was an absolute joy to write and I think it will always have a special place in my heart. I loved how their friendship developed and how this unlikely pairing found support and kinship. Their shared love of reading is what brings them together and their love of their local library gives them something to fight for. The plight of their library is sadly one that is mirrored up and down the country and something I wanted to spotlight.
I'm a big planner so I stuck to the three act structure which I usually use for my novels although it was slightly different in places as this wasn't a romance. But that said key elements were the same - my characters needed to meet and whilst it wasn't a romantic 'meet cute' it was still entertaining and a little unusual. The point where it all looks like it's gone horribly wring or dark moment was basically the same. And whilst there's no key romantic scene towards the end there was an emotional one. I'm used to writing in four parts which provides three key plot points or cliffhangers and this worked well for this story and the character arcs.
When I’d finished a first draft and given it a bit of a polish I sent it off to my agent. After having a mild panic that I was switching genres completely she was reassured when I explained that The Library was a one off, I would definitely still be writing my rom coms but I felt this story had to be written. She believed what I had written would appeal to book clubs and was known in publishing as inter-generational uplit – who knew?
I had no idea if anyone would want to publish my manuscript but I was still happy to have spent time with Tom and Maggie. My fab agent took the story out on submission and we found the perfect home for it with Aria, Head of Zeus. The only problem was that they wanted me to write more books in the same genre – argh! Time to panic.
I had one idea which I pitched and thankfully they loved it so I signed a two book contract and I’m happy to say I’ve loved every minute of my little venture outside of romance.
The Library ebook is currently on offer at 99p here! The paperback is out on 6th January 2022 and is available to pre-order here.
It's become a little bit of a tradition that I share the Pinterest board I set up for each novel. I thought this time I would also share a bit of the process I go through at the start.
Often I get a new idea when I'm working on something else and have to fight not to be distracted. I sometimes jot down the idea and put it to one side until it's that book's turn to be written. I also need a bit of time to mull the idea over to check it definitely has enough potential to be a 100k word novel because not all of my ideas do.
I then flesh out the characters - I write bios for them and seek out actors or models who resemble them. This is usually when I start my Pinterest board. It's a handy place to drop in pins that help me to build up pictures in my mind of the characters and also the location. This is the one time I get to look at animals on the internet and it's not procrastination! There's always an animal in my stories and Pinterest helps me to pin down (do you see what I did there?) what they look like. At the same time I concentrate on what my characters are each trying to achieve or what they think their goal is - often the two things are different.
I then look at the plot. Often the initial idea and characters pop up together but it takes some work to really weave a robust plot. I jot down key scenes, plot points and cliffhangers and make sure I know any secrets that my characters are keeping so I can work out who else knows them and when they will be revealed.
Next I map out the whole story with post-it notes. I use different colours and sizes on a large piece of brown paper. These sticky notes get added to and moved around as the story builds.
When I get to the point that I'm itching to write the story I know I'm ready to start!
Here's the Pinterest board I made for The Promise of Summer.
I think it's fair to say we'll not forget 2020 in a hurry! On top of it being a thoroughly hateful year for everyone it has also been a difficult one due to serious illness in my immediate family but I am pleased to report that currently we are all fit and healthy - this really is all that matters.
I wanted to look back on the year and pick out the positives. Here is that very random list of things, aside from my wonderful family, that have cheered even the darkest of days:
Here's to a happy and healthy 2021 for us all x
With each novel I write I like to have an accompanying playlist of songs. These are songs that I feel fit well with the story and various scenes. Because of the way my brain works I tend to see my book play out in my mind like watching a film. Sometimes those scenes lend themselves to a bit of musical accompaniment. Different scenes conjure up different moods and just like a film I think the right music adds to that. It's also very handy to have just in case one day someone would like to make the book into a film - you have to have dreams! They are also a group of songs that I really like. So here they are:
Angels by Robbie Williams
Leave Right Now by Will Young
Oh Come All Ye Faithful by Boney M
Torn by Natalie Imbruglia
Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses
All I Want For Christmas is You by Mariah Carey
Colour by MNEK
Love Me Again by John Newman
Happy Together by The Turtles
Back for Good by Take That
The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole
I’m yours by Jason Miraz
Also check out the link and have a listen to the playlist on Spotify and let me know what you think.
I'm a very visual person so seeing things is how I work them out. When I start working on a new story idea I use Pinterest. It's a good place to gather images in one place which helps my mind to work out the details.
My characters often appear fully formed in my head but I like to try and find an actor or model who looks similar as that helps to cement them in my mind. Pinterest is a great place for this.
As the characters and story build so does the associated board. By the time the novel is written in first draft the board is swamped with pictures some of which I now have no idea what triggered me adding them - which is sometimes the case when ideas no longer fit.
At the end of the writing process, somewhere in the editing, I edit my Pinterest board so it is whittled down to a manageable number of relevant pictures. It's a great tool and also helpful when I'm trying to explain to my publisher what characters look like and can help to inform the cover design.
But writer beware - Pinterest is also a massive rabbit hole where you can get sucked in for hours rather than actually writing the book!
Here's the one I did for Meet Me At Pebble Beach - link.
Author - BELLA
When I grow up I want to be a writer...