Tag Archives: HarperImpulse

Location, Location: the setting for Vixenhead by Eve Seymour

31 Mar

Today I’m delighted to welcome Eve Seymour to One More Page to talk to us about the location inspiration for her latest novel, Vixenhead. Eve is the author of nine novels and has had a number of short stories broadcast on BBC Radio Devon.

After a short and successful career in PR in London and Birmingham, she married and disappeared to Devon. Five children later, she returned and began to write seriously.

In a bid to make her work as authentic as possible, she has bent the ears of numerous police officers, firearms officers, scenes of crime, the odd lawyer and United Nations personnel. She also works by day as a freelance editorial consultant, specialising in crime fiction. Welcome Eve!

Eve SeymourWhen I write I tend to draw heavily on places with which I’m familiar.  If I don’t know them already, I take pains to do the legwork.  Once, memorably, for a spy novel, I flew to Berlin for four days.  Clearly, some places lend themselves more obviously for certain stories than others.  

I’m a huge fan of Cheltenham.  My last three novels are set there and ‘Vixenhead’ is no exception.  It’s where my main character, Roz Outlaw, lives and works.  I know the place intimately, including the address where she rents and the workplace from where she is made redundant.  I’ve walked down her streets, strolled through her park and driven out of town on the exact same route she takes.  Having said this, Cheltenham does not receive star billing in the way it does in previous novels and for a very good reason:  I needed a creepy and dark environment for the story.  Cheltenham, with its glossy streets and Regency architecture, doesn’t quite fit the bill.     

There is more than a passing reference to Ludlow, not somewhere with which Roz is familiar, unlike myself.  I found it fun to view the centre of the Welsh Marches through a stranger’s eyes.  The main action, however, takes place in North Wales and the choice of location sparked from a short leisure break at Deganwy Quay with my husband.  It was March.  The weather was typically blustery and a little wet – exactly the same as in ‘Vixenhead’.  Having never visited before, I found myself captivated by nearby Conwy Castle, a spectacular backdrop to what is essentially a small walled market town.  From our hotel balcony, we had a perfect view of the castle illuminated at night.  Spooky and beautiful, it got me thinking.  

The hotel in Conwy, in which Roz stays for a short time, was somewhere we went for dinner.  I also ate the same meal as Roz, although I enjoyed mine a lot more! ‘Vixenhead,’ the house where all hell breaks loose, emanates from a drive down a narrow lane.   On our travels, I spotted a sign to ‘Wolf House’ and simply ran with the idea, although ‘Vixenhead’ itself, and the place where it is set, is purely fictional.  Not quite so the grounds.  

I’m not much of a gardener.  In fact, a single glance at a plant from me usually ensures its swift demise.  In other words I struggled slightly with ‘Vixenhead’s immediate surroundings.  If you read the novel, you’ll appreciate their importance.  Happily, around the time I was worrying about my total absence of horticultural skills, we went for a walk near Cowley Manor, a fabulous hotel, with a quirky interior, in the Cotswolds.  It also happens to have 55 acres of land.   Having heard a lot about Cowley’s collection of art and sculpture, we ventured inside for a peek.  We received a warm, friendly greeting from a member of staff who invited us to explore the hotel and grounds.  To find our way around the gardens, we were given a handy map.  This, and our tour outside, provided the basis for the acres of land surrounding ‘Vixenhead’ – gargoyles and all.  

Vixenhead is out now in ebook formats from HarperImpulse.

VixenheadSomewhere in Vixenhead, I’m certain the truth lies…

A sudden disappearance…

When Roz Outlaw’s partner Tom mysteriously vanishes, she knows his life is in danger. Tom has been distracted lately, afraid, as though he is being hunted…

A desperate search…

With the police showing little interest Roz knows it falls to her to find Tom. But as Tom’s secrets are uncovered nothing can prepare Roz for the dark lies and twisted truths she finds. She thought she loved Tom, but quickly realises she has been living with a stranger – a man with murder in his past.

A house of evil.

The key to unlocking Tom’s past lies in his childhood home – Vixenhead. A house of wickedness that keeps its secrets well hidden. Can Roz find Tom before it’s too late or will the evil within Vixenhead claim her too…

Find out more about Eve and her writing at: http://www.evseymour.co.uk/

 

 

Cover reveal! Chalet Girls by Lorraine Wilson

1 Dec

What better way to start December than with an exclusive cover reveal?! I’m very excited to share the gorgeous cover for Lorraine Wilson’s first full length Chalet Girls novel! Isn’t is beautiful?

image1

What happens when life in Verbier suddenly goes off-piste?

Lucy’s been bowled over by the sexy extreme skier who’s hurtled into her life. But can she accept Seb’s commitment to his adrenaline-filled career?

Trusting any man is out of the question after what’s happened to Beth. So why is she so drawn to twinkly-eyed Dan when he’s leaving at the end of the season?

Sophie’s madly in love with her gorgeous fiancé, Luc. Only instead of gleefully planning the winter wedding of her dreams, all she wants is to run and hide…

Three Chalet Girls are about to strap on their skis and find out!

Chalet Girls will be released as an ebook in February and in paperback in April next year. I love Lorraine’s books and if like me you can’t wait to read it you can pre-order it here.

Find out more about Lorraine and her novels at: http://www.harperimpulseromance.com/authors/lorraine-wilson

 

Guest post: My Top 5 Writing Tips by Mary Jayne Baker

4 Nov

Today I’m delighted to welcome Mary Jayne Backer back to One More Page to celebrate the paperback release of The Honey Trap. Mary Jayne grew up in rural West Yorkshire, right in the heart of Brontë country… and she’s still there. After graduating from Durham University with a degree in English Literature in 2003, she dallied with living in cities including London, but eventually came back with her own romantic hero in tow to her beloved Dales.

She lives with him in a little house with four little cats and a little rabbit, writing stories about girls with flaws and the men who love them. You can usually find her there with either a pen, some knitting needles or a glass of wine in hand. She goes to work every day as a graphic designer for a magazine publisher, but secretly dreams of being a lighthouse keeper. Welcome Mary Jayne!

mjbMy top five writing tips

1. Show and tell

You’ve heard the phrase “show, don’t tell”, right? It’s usually the first thing aspiring creative writers learn. Show what’s happening to your characters right now, in an immediate scene that covers their thoughts, actions, dialogue in the present. Don’t recount it after the event, as if you were describing the scene to a friend over coffee.

But like all writing rules, this one was made to be broken. The key thing is knowing when to show and when to tell. Yes, readers want to connect with characters in real time, to feel they’re watching events unfold as they happen, but there will be occasions when for the sake of pace, transition or significance you’ll want to do a quick bit of telling. For example, “It had been three years since the events of that summer. Sarah was a mother now, a wife, with three small children. It seemed a lifetime ago.” Yes, this is telling, but if that period of the main character’s life isn’t a major part of the story, you won’t want to slow it down with a lot of unnecessary showing.

2. Be efficient

Efficiency of language is something you shouldn’t worry too much about when writing a first draft, although if you have it in the back of your mind it can save you work when you edit. When you come back to your work after a break, then it’s time to look at each sentence to see if it communicates what you’re trying to get across without a word wasted.

When I started writing, I often overegged the pudding when it came to body language. A character who was embarrassed might flush and look to the floor. A character who was dismissive might raise an eyebrow and shrug. Later, I started looking at these and realising I was using multiple bits of body language just to make sure my reader didn’t miss the emotion being conveyed. This was both wordy and underestimating the reader’s intelligence. Often it only needed one bit of body language, or none, if dialogue or action had already made the emotion clear. Now when I edit, unnecessary body language and repetitive dialogue are the first things I look to cut down.

3. Forget what you learnt at school

You don’t need to write in full sentences, particularly in dialogue. Contractions like “don’t” or “aren’t” are fine (again, especially in dialogue). Long passages of flowery description might have earned plaudits from your English teacher, but when you’re telling a story they can often seem indulgent or slow things down. Forget what you learnt in the classroom, look at how those authors you most admire communicate with their readers and let them be your teachers.

4, Notice what’s happening in the real world

Always be aware of the conversations that you’re a part of or that are going on around you, the human dramas playing out all over. Hear or see something that makes you laugh? Jot it down. Something sad? Take that too. I shamelessly eavesdrop and plagiarise from conversations I overhear. For a writer, everything is raw material.

5. Never stop writing

The most important tip of all, even if it sounds obvious! I tried three times to write a novel before I eventually managed to pen my debut, and always lost confidence after a few thousand words. Keep writing, see every blank page as a challenge, and no matter how much you doubt yourself, how bad you think what you’ve written is, push yourself to keep on keeping on. One day you might just create something wonderful.

Thank you Mary Jayne and congratulations on your paperback release! 

The Honey Trap is out now in paperback and ebook formats from HarperImpulse.

the-honey-trap-mjbaker-194x300Journalist Angel Blackthorne is looking for her next big scoop. When her sleazy editor asks her to use her charms on super successful – and married – film director Sebastian Wilchester for a juicy exposé, Angel thinks what the hell? There’s a staff job on the horizon, and, let’s be honest, no one can make a cheater cheat if they don’t want to, right?

After the scandal breaks, Angel tries to put the story – and Seb – behind her, but fate seems to have other ideas. A near miss at a premiere after-party and a shared love of vintage film brings the honey closer to the trap.

But what happens when pretence leads to passion, and a ‘kiss and tell’ becomes something real?

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the stops on The Honey Trap Blog tour this week!

honeytrapblogtour

Find out more about MJ and her writing: at www.maryjaynebaker.co.uk You can also follow her on Twitter, @MaryJayneBaker, or like her Facebook page by going to Facebook.com/MaryJayneWrites

Guest post: The Honey Trap: my fantasy cast from Hollywood’s Golden Era by Mary Jayne Baker

22 Aug

Today I’m delighted to welcome lovely debut author Mary Jane Baker to One More Page with a fab guest post on vintage films. Mary Jayne’s novel, The Honey Trap has just been released by HarperImpulse and sounds fabulous!

Mary Jayne grew up in Bingley, West Yorkshire, right in the heart of Brontë country… and she’s still there. After graduating from Durham University in 2003 with a degree in English Literature, she dallied with living in cities including London, but eventually came back – with her own romantic hero in tow – to her beloved Dales. She lives with him in a little house with four little cats and a little rabbit, writing stories about girls with flaws and the men who love them.

After many years dreaming she could write a romantic novel but never getting around to doing it, she finally knuckled down last year and sat down to write The Honey Trap. The book was accepted for publication by HarperImpulse in March 2016… and she still hasn’t stopped pinching herself. Welcome Mary Jayne!

mjbThe Honey Trap tells the story of handsome – and married – film director Sebastian Wilchester and the journalist sent to set him up for a scandalous exclusive, Angel Blackthorne. After the story breaks the two try to move on with their lives, but when fate pushes them together once again they soon find themselves growing close as they bond over a shared love of vintage cinema.

In the story, the main characters, Angel and Seb, play a game called Remakes – casting a classic film with modern-day actors (they try to cast It’s A Wonderful Life, with Seb suggesting Jim Broadbent as guardian angel Clarence).

Sooo… I thought it might be fun to try the game in reverse! And here they are, my top choices to play the cast of The Honey Trap if I had my pick of any actors from the Golden Era of Hollywood…

Rita Hayworth as Angel Blackthorne

It takes a sassy redhead to know a sassy redhead, and who doesn’t want to be Rita Hayworth, right? Rita has just the right blend of chutzpah and vulnerability to be perfect for go-getting reporter Angel (plus she could do that cool thing with her hair from Gilda…)

Gregory Peck as Sebastian Wilchester https://waldinadotcom.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/gregory-peck-3.jpg

This was a tough one. I initially thought Marlon Brando, because, to quote Seb himself in the book, “If you can be Brando, always be Brando”. But in the end I decided Brando wasn’t really right for Seb and it could only be young, sizzling Gregory Peck. Phew.

Grace Kelly as Carole Beaumont 

Seb’s wife, A-list actress Carole Beaumont, is described as being a dead ringer for Princess Grace: diminutive, porcelain blonde, fragile yet with a certain no-nonsense toughness – and with the comic timing of a Lucille Ball thrown in for good measure.

Charles Laughton as Steve Clifton

Angel’s sleazy boss at The Daily Investigator is a Yorkshireman and as far as I’m concerned he has to be played by a Yorkshireman – no compromises on my native accent, please! In a modern version I’d love to see a (heavily padded) Sean Bean, but in a classic casting? Scarborough-born Charles Laughton would make a brilliantly villainous Steve.

Richard Ayoade as Leo Courtenay 

This is a difficult one to cast from the classic film era because according to the back story I wrote for him in my plan, Angel’s best friend and ex-boyfriend Leo has dual Nigerian and British heritage. So for that reason I’ve cast the modern actor I’d like to play him instead – gorgeous and hilarious Richard Ayoade from The IT Crowd.

betteBette Davis as Emily Graziana

It would take someone with a bit of edge to play Angel’s other best friend, flatmate Emily. She needs to be feisty, tough and occasionally sweet – a young Bette Davis, with her head of Emilyesque golden curls, would be perfect.

Angel and Seb’s top five vintage films

Seb

  1. The Maltese Falcon
  2. Sunset Boulevard
  3. A Streetcar Named Desire
  4. The General
  5. Kind Hearts and Coronets

Angel

  1. The Apartment
  2. Monkey Business
  3. Some Like It Hot
  4. It’s A Wonderful Life
  5. Casablanca

Thank you Mary Jayne!

the-honey-trap-mjbaker-194x300The trap is set – but which one of them is the bait?

Journalist Angel Blackthorne is looking for her next big scoop. When her sleazy editor asks her to use her charms on super successful – and married – film director Sebastian Wilchester for a juicy exposé, Angel thinks what the hell? There’s a staff job on the horizon, and, let’s be honest, no one can make a cheater cheat if they don’t want to, right?

After the scandal breaks, Angel tries to put the story – and Seb – behind her, but fate seems to have other ideas. A near miss at a premiere after-party and a shared love of vintage film brings the honey closer to the trap. But what happens when pretence leads to passion, and a ‘kiss and tell’ becomes something real?

Find out more about Mary Jayne and her writing at:

www.maryjaynebaker.co.uk | @MaryJayneBaker | www.facebook.com/maryjaynewrites

Guest post: An Interview With My Fictional Heroine by Nic Tatano

29 Mar

Today I’m hosting the final stop on Nic Tatano’s blog tour for his fab new release The Love Triangle. Nic spent fifteen years as a television news reporter and anchor. His work has taken him from the floors of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions to Ground Zero in New York to Jay Leno’s backyard. Nic grew up in the New York City metropolitan area and now lives on the Gulf Coast where he is happy that he will never shovel snow again! He’s happily married to a teacher and they share their home with a tortoiseshell tabby cat, Gypsy. Not only am I delighted to welcome Nic back to One More page but I’m very excited to meet the star of Nic’s new novel, Lexi Harlow. Welcome Nic!

Photo-Nic-Tatano-1-218x247Lexi Harlow is the snarky, redhead heroine in my new book, The Love Triangle.  Like many authors, I tend to get attached to my characters, so I like to conduct an exit interview before sending them out into the world. Lexi took time from her busy schedule as a fictional character to sit down with me and chat.

Me: Lexi, good to talk with you again. I missed you while you were in the editing process. You look well.

Lexi: Thankfully the editor didn’t change me. I was worried she’d remove my sarcastic attitude and turn me into something sweet and                       innocent. Pffft. Like anyone would buy that.

Me: And pretty hard to do that considering your escapades in the book.

Lexi: I wouldn’t call them escapades. Besides, you wrote them. Speaking of which, did you have to throw two terrific guys into my life at the           same time?”

Me: Hence the title, The Love Triangle. I could have given you a third guy and called it The Love Polygon.

Lexi: At that point the title should be Dating for the Mathematically Challenged.

Me: So, I assume you’re happy with how things turned out. At least you seemed that way at the end of the book.

Lexi: Hey, can’t complain with Happily Ever After. But did you have to make the journey so hard? I mean, I know you authors love that                     conflict thing, but geez, this was torture.

Me: You didn’t seem to mind being in that hot tub with—

Lexi: (Blushing, as her face begins to approach the color of her hair.) Okay, maybe torture wasn’t the right word. But why couldn’t I be like           some of those other heroines who meet the hero in chapter one and fall madly in love for three hundred pages without any obstacles?

Me: Because I don’t want to give readers a cavity. Snarky and saccharine don’t go together.

Lexi: Point taken. I like the sweet guy I ended up with and we’re a good balance. Sweet and salty are a great match, like those pretzel M&Ms.         Speaking of which, those gals in the HarperImpulse office are a lot like that.

Me: Like pretzel M&Ms?”

Lexi: No. Sweet and a bit salty. Nice women who have a cool job with books that can get a little naughty. You should see them when they’re           searching for a guy to put on a book cover. They actually get paid to look at shirtless men. Damn, I need a job as a romance cover artist. And           once in a while they get to work on a steamy book. I met this other heroine from an erotic novel that was being edited at the same time and it         sounded like she spent more time looking at ceilings than Michelangelo. Speaking of which, how come every time it seemed like a sex scene           for me was coming up the chapter ended? Then I’d turn the page and be somewhere else.

Me: Because it’s a sweet romance without anything too explicit. The sex is implied.

Lexi: Well, you implied me right into a cold shower about five times in the book.

Me: Besides, guys can’t write sex scenes because they only last one paragraph.

Lexi: Why does that not surprise me?

Me: No comment. Anyway, looking back, is there anything you would have changed in the book?

Lexi: You didn’t have to reveal my age.

Me: Readers need to know so they can get a mental picture of you.

Lexi: Fine. But you could have said I was in my thirties with the body of a twenty year old.

Me: Your hero seemed to think you’re the most beautiful woman in the world. Isn’t that all that matters?

Lexi: You got me there.

Me: Anything else?

Lexi: Well, I’d like to know how things turn out after the book ends. I mean, what happens after we get married? I get the HEA thing, but can         you be more specific?

Me: Are you saying you want a sequel?

Lexi: Nah, you’d throw that conflict thing at me again. I’m just curious about the future.

Me: Hey, you met the guy of your dreams. So live the dream. Let the wave take you and enjoy the ride.

Lexi: Fair enough. By the way, I understand you started another book. And that you’ve already connected with another snarky redhead.

Me: I… uh…”

Lexi: (rolls her eyes) Writers. And they say men can’t commit.

Me: That’s why I left you with your dream guy.

Lexi: I’m just yankin’ your chain. Oh, one more request.

Me: Sure.

Lexi: Don’t ever put my book on sale. I’m not a cheap read.

Thank you Nic and Lexi!

The Love Triangle is out now in ebook format and will be released as a paperback in June from HarperImpulse.

Find out more about Nic and his books at: http://www.harperimpulseromance.com/authors/nic-tatano/

154448-0_The_love_trianglePublic relations expert Lexi Harlow is the queen of getting her clients out of sticky situations. But can she do it for herself?

After an incendiary breakup (setting fire to her cheating boyfriend’s pants), Lexi decides to play the field for the first time in her life. Two suitors are vying for her affections: New York’s most eligible bachelor and pro quarterback Jake Frost, and sports agent Kyle Caruso. But when the athlete hires the agent, and both enlist her services to take care of public relations, well…

There’s only one way Lexi can get out of this love triangle before everything blows up in her face: choose one.

But when the candle she’s burning at both ends meets in the middle, the choice is no longer hers.

Cover reveal: Reader, I Dumped Him … by Lorelei Mathias

20 Jan

A fab new cover reveal from Avon today for Lorelei Mathias’ novel, Reader, I Dumped Him … This sounds like a fun read from a fab author – the book will be released in ebook formats on 4th February.

reader i dumped him

This story is a celebration of the people that bring you back to life when your world closes in: your mates.
Relationships come and go, but the Break-up Club membership never truly expires.

Holly Braithwaite and loveable loser Lawrence have been together for five years. But the obvious cracks in their relationship can no longer be ignored and Holly soon finds herself saying ‘it’s not you, it’s me.’

In the shock aftermath of their break up, Holly finds unlikely companions in Olivia, Harry and Bella. Together, they form the Break-up Club, as they support each other through their mutual melancholy and find ways to love, laugh and function as human beings again.

Break-up Club meets every Sunday. Each week, as the comedy and drama unfolds, they discover a new BUC ‘rule’. And, one by one, the rules become vital markers on their journey to recovery . . .

‘BREAK-UP CLUB’
To our members, we’re the first emergency service

Find out more about Lorelei Mathias and her writing at: http://www.loreleimathias.com

Guest post: Strong Women in Fiction by Erica Hayes

19 Jan

Today I’m delighted to welcome Erica Hayes to One More Page with an excellent guest post on ‘strong women’. Erica is an Aussie living in northern England, where she’s delighted that the hospitality and the beer are warm even if the weather isn’t. Erica’s hobbies include writing in coffee shops, feeding her enormous cat, and watching TV or reading until far too late at night. If it’s got serial killers, superheroes, monsters or spaceships – preferably all four – Erica is there. On the big issues: Captain Picard is cooler than Captain Kirk, Batman would beat up Superman, and vampires are hotter than werewolves any day. Welcome Erica!

Hayes_EricaWe hear a lot these days about Strong Women in fiction. ‘You should write Strong Female Characters!’ everyone says, and they talk about female empowerment and agency and the Bechdel Test and if we don’t pass it we’re disrespecting the entire female gender.

Hell, yeah, let’s have some stories that are actually *about women* for a change. Enough sidekicks and one-dimensional love interests and femmes fatales. We want women taking charge… But is having a woman front and centre enough? Can a woman be the main character and still be… well, lame?

We could talk all day about what Strong Female Character actually means, and why on earth it should be any different from Strong Male Character. We could wonder why male action heroes can be motivated by anything from politics to revenge to a bad hair day, but for some reason the only valid motivation for a woman to take action seems to be motherhood. We could argue about where the line is between Kick-Ass Chick and Man With Boobs, and why no one ever calls an emotionally sensitive male character Woman With Dick, and why no one ever says Kick-Ass Dude, as if any Dude who *isn’t* Kick-Ass is somehow not dude-y enough to be worthy of the name…

The Kick-Ass Chick is much maligned, probably because in recent years she’s become kind of a caricature of herself, complete with unnecessary snark, tight leather pants, improbable weapons and the famous ‘tramp stamp’ tattoo. But hey, I write about super-powered crime fighters: kicking ass—and lots of it—is what they do. And what’s wrong with having a heroine who knows how to fight her way out of trouble?

Verity, the superheroine in my Sapphire City series, may not have miraculous martial arts prowess and a tattoo above her butt, but she’s 095815-FC50unashamedly a Kick-Ass Chick. She’s a crime fighter, so she’s done her share of beating the tripe out of villains. She’s physically tough—she has to be, to survive the wringer her nemesis puts her through. In Book 1, SCORCHED, Verity’s mental strength is also put to the test, when her memories are tampered with and she can no longer trust those close to her. And in the new book, SCARRED, she’s challenged with moral and ethical problems when she must decide how far she’s willing to go to beat some utterly unscrupulous villains.

But her problems aren’t any harder to deal with because she’s a woman. They aren’t any easier, either. They’re gender-indifferent. SCARRED isn’t about a female crimefighter. It’s about a crimefighter who happens to be a woman.

That’s another cool thing about superhero stories: super powers can level the playing field between the sexes. It can reverse the clichés. Men aren’t always ‘stronger'; women aren’t always ‘more perceptive’. Which isn’t to say we ignore gender. We can still have romance and sexual tension, or characters with differing world views. But in my series, when the fists start flying and the action heats up, no one is standing about wondering whether a girl will be up to the job. Verity’s story isn’t about proving that a woman is as strong and capable as a man. Everyone just assumes she will be.

Including the archvillain, Razorfire. Is he too gender-biased to have a woman as his nemesis? Hell, no. He’s an equal opportunity bad guy. Bring ‘em all on, so long as they keep him entertained. And he’s no gallant white knight, either, gifting his female adversaries an easy option. Just because he’s a man, don’t imagine Verity can flutter her lashes and sexx him into thinking with his ‘little brain’.

And isn’t that what wri095816-FC50ting Strong Female (or Male, for that matter) Characters should be about: showing us a world where gender truly doesn’t matter? Where ‘strength’ is unisex, and expectations aren’t based on body parts but intelligence, personality, resourcefulness, drive and sheer stubborn willpower?

So, yeah, we could talk all day about what makes a Strong Female Character. Or, y’know, we could just let people be people and enjoy some awesome action—no matter who’s doing the ass-kicking.

Thanks Erica!

Scorched is out now in ebook formats.

Scarred is out now in ebook formats and will be released in paperback on 24th March.

Find out more about Erica and her writing at: http://www.ericahayes.net/

Guest post: My Favourite Vintage Find by Jane Linfoot

24 May

 

In celebration of the publication of Jane Linfoot’s new novel, The Vintage Cinema Club, today, I’m delighted to welcome Jane to the blog to tell us about her own favourite vintage find. Jane writes fun, flirty fiction, with feisty heroines and a bit of an edge.She lives in a mountain kingdom in Derbyshire, with her family and loves hearts, flowers, happy endings, all things vintage and most things French. Welcome Jane!

Jane-Linfoot-218x247Vintage has always been my thing. Over the years I’ve rescued lots of stuff, and bought a whole lot more. My garage alone is full of enough junk/treasure to stock a large shop. With so many items, all with their own story, it’s hard to settle on one thing I love more than all the rest…but I do have a vintage cherry stoner which is very special to me, because of its history.

My mum bought this cherry stoner the day after my dad proposed to her. I’m not sure what it says about her anticipation of the married life ahead of her. If she was imagining a house with a cherry tree, and a kitchen filled with endless, delicious, stone free, cherry pies, sadly, she didn’t get it. I never actually saw her use the tool to stone a cherry. But as kids we used it endlessly playing doctor’s and nurses, because it made an ideal quasi injection machine.

Once we grew up it stayed hidden in a drawer. But it came out again when I moved to a French farm, which had a huge cherry tree, just behind the back of the house.

The first summer we were there the tree was laden with luscious black cherries. The local farmer brought his tractor along, and we climbed up on that to pick them. But sadly, the tree had been struck by lightning, and was already half dead, so even as the cherry juice was running down our chins, the farmer was telling us we needed to have the tree felled as soon as we’d picked the cherries.

So, for that one solitary summer, the cherry stoner came into its own, and was used to stone the cherries. In fact, as a stoning tool it was pretty rubbish, because it mashed the cherries as it pushed out the stone. And then we made clafoutis.

Clafoutis is a favourite French way of using cherries. It’s a desert, which consists of a batter similar to Yorkshire pudding, with fruit in, and sugar sprinkled on top. Some versions are as leaden as it sounds, but if you’re lucky enough to chance on a light fluffy one, it’s delicious.

Usually the French don’t bother to stone the cherries, and you have to spit out the stones as you eat. The drawback of making the desert with stoned cherries, was that the cherry juice bled into the pudding, and discoloured the base. So even if the tree hadn’t been chopped down, I doubt we’d have used the cherry stoner again.

In The Vintage Cinema Club, there’s a French house, called Les Cerisiers – The Cherry Trees – with big cherry trees behind the barn. Like a lot of things in  my books, I didn’t plan to put them there, they just arrived on their own. It was only as I’ve been writing this that I realised where they came from.

And even though the cherry stoner has proved to be completely useless, I still like to keep it in my kitchen drawer, as a reminder of my mum’s hopes and dreams.

Thanks Jane – I’m a huge fan of all things vintage too and love hearing the stories behind precious items.

Vintage Cinema ClubMeet The Vintage Cinema Club….

Izzy is a wow at making unwanted things pretty, but with three brothers and her shabby chic furniture business to run she doesn’t have time to date. Could a fabulous French proposal change her mind?

Single mum Luce’s vintage bridal dresses are exquisite, but there’s no way she’s ever going to wear one or walk down the aisle for that matter. She’s a strictly no romance, one night kind of woman – or so she thinks…

Ambitious Caitie came down in the world fast when her husband’s business crashed. Only The Vintage Cinema Club, and Caitie’s great eye for quality pieces, kept them afloat when they lost their home. But even though Bonkers, her beloved pet Lurcher, is great, he isn’t cutting it as a child substitute and the sadness she felt before is starting to creep back in.

Dida seems to have it all – a chocolate and banana cake recipe to die for, lovely kids (most of the time!) and a great lifestyle. But what good is a fabulous home, when your marriage has more cracks than a pavlova and your husband is having it off with half of Lithuania?

Four retro fabulous friends, in love with all things vintage, run their dream business from the faded grandeur of a rescued cinema. When that dream comes under threat, they’ll do whatever it takes to save it.

The Vintage Cinema Club is out now in ebook formats from Harper Impulse.

Guest post: Nice to meet you, Hannah… by Hannah Emery

19 Mar

Please welcome debut author Hannah Emery to One More Page today on the latest stop of her Secrets in the Shaows blog tour. Hannah studied English at the University of Chester, and has written stories for as long as she can remember. She loves writing about how fragile the present is and how so much of it depends on chance events that took place years ago. The most important things in her life are family, friends, books, baking on a Saturday afternoon, getting glammed up to go out for champagne and dinner and having cosy weekends away. Hannah lives in Blackpool with her husband and daughter. Welcome Hannah!

Nice to meet you, Hannah…

I have this weird thing where if I’m driving along, particularly near my childhood home, I imagine seeing a younger me, waiting for the school bus, or bicycling to the library (oh yes, I wasthat cool).  I then run through what I’d say to myself and what I might give away about the future.

I think that previous versions of yourself are so fascinating – probably because the past us is so close to us yet so impossibly far.  With this kind of mind, it’s probably inevitable that I’m also obsessed with family history.  I’d love to meet my great great grandmother.  But it’s not so much about going back in time: it’s about bringing the past and present together.  I’d want to give my great-great grandmother (who was also called Hannah, and died when she was around my age) a hot shower, a glass of Pinot and a go of my GHDs.  I’d love to have a night in with my twenty-something mum and talk to her about some of the things that were going to happen.

It’s because of all this that I adore multiple timeline books.  I love placing characters from different times alongside each other, so that you see their lives reflected in one another.  You can see the impact of a word, or a split second decision, fifty years later, clearly laid on the very next page.  You can think about what might have happened if that word hadn’t been spoken, if a different decision had been made.  You can watch the characters from the past with the wisdom of the present.  You can’t do this in real life, but books let you live out these bizarre, impossible dreams.  Books make that kind of thing seem almost possible.

And this is exactly why, if I did bump into a young me, she’d be cycling furiously towards the library, and possibly wouldn’t stop anyway.

Secrets in the Shadows is published tomorrow by HarperImpulse. 

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Find out more about Hannah and her writing at: http://hannahcemery.wordpress.com/

Don’t forget to check out the other stops on Hanna’s tour!

Guest Post: Creating the setting for The Right Side Of Mr Wrong by Jane Linfoot

5 Mar

My guest today is author Jane Linfoot whose second novel for HarperImpulse, The Right Side of Mr Wrong is published tomorrow. Jane writes fun, flirty fiction, with feisty heroines and a bit of an edge. She lives with her family and pets in Derbyshire, and loves hearts, flowers, happy endings and all things vintage. Welcome Jane!

Creating the settings for my books is one of my favourite parts of the planning process, because I love buildings and interiors. I have a stack of boxes where I keep my inspiration clippings and when I begin a new book I dive into these. Somehow looking through pictures helps me develop ideas for the whole book.

This was the first time I’d set a book in such a large house. Originally I’d intended to set The Right Side Of Mr Wrong in a scottish castle, but as the story developed Brando needed to nip back and forth to London, and Scotland was too far away for this. The summer before I wrote the book we were on our way from Derbyshire to Dorset and hit some festival traffic jams, and our accidental diversion took us through the Cotswolds. When I was trying to find a new setting for the book I remembered our detour and realised the honey coloured stone and the green undulating landscape of the Cotswolds would give the perfect backdrop for Brando’s manor. The kind of rambling country house you find in the Cotswolds somehow fitted the characters and story much better than an isolated castle too.

I pictured Edgerton Manor as being a bit like Chatsworth House or Calke Abbey, but less formal and large. It does help to have an exact photo to work from, and in the end I came across the perfect place in one of my building trade magazines in an ad for windows!! I always like to sketch out a plan of the house and the surroundings, because for me it’s much easier to describe what my characters are doing if I know exactly where they are doing it. Working to that plan helps keep the action descriptions consistent and this was especially important with a property as big as Edgerton Manor.

I love visiting National Trust properties, and that helped with the interior descriptions for The Right Side Of Mr Wrong. I have a Farrow and Ball colour chart in my bag so I can check out colours I like as I see them. It’s very important to me to know what colours the rooms in my fictional house are painted, and how they are furnished. I don’t like to overload the reader with descriptions as this slows the pace, but I find the occasional detail can set the scene very vividly, and if I have a clear picture of the setting I can choose the snippets that will work best.

In my head I spent long hours at Edgerton Manor whilst I was writing the book, and I fell so much in love with it I’ve popped back there again for a visit in the book I’m finishing now. If you read The Right Side Of Mr Wrong I hope you enjoy spending time at Edgerton Manor too!

The Right Side of Mr Wrong is published on 6th March in ebook formats. Find out more by clicking the image below:

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Find out more about Jane and her writing at: http://www.janelinfoot.co.uk/