Spotlight on Guest Author Chris Penhall

This week I’m joined by Chris Penhall who writes for Ruby Fiction. I asked Chris some questions so that we can get to know her …

  1. Why did you start writing?

I started writing because when I was a child I always wrote, scribbling little stories, or writing poems. Then for many years, it was all about writing essays for exams or writing reports and documents for work, so that storytelling element ebbed away really. But I always had this dream to be a published author, and when we moved to Portugal in the mid 1990’s and the children were at school and nursery, I finally started to put pen to paper. At last I had the time and the space in my mind to do it!

Previously I had tried to start things, but for some reason I felt it had to be perfect from the first word, so I put myself off doing anything about it. So, once I realised I just needed to actually write things down, my big, long learning curve began, and I wrote all sorts of things that needed a lot of improvement.  But at least I wrote, and all the ideas I had accumulated and imagined started to be processed into tangible words.

  1. If you had to cast the film off your book, who would you choose?

My dream casting for the film of the book would be …

Actually, before I start – Tom Hanks if you are reading this, I’d love you to produce it, and there’s a tiny cameo role towards the end of the book that either you or Keanu Reeves could play. Just putting it out there….!

I love Lily James, so if she’s interested in playing Alice that would be great? I think when I was writing the part, I had Kylie Minogue in my head for some reason. I’d love Alice to blossom into the kind of Kylie like gorgeous creature by the end of the book. Mainly for her, but partly to annoy Adam.

When I started writing the role of Luis, I had Antonio Banderas or Javier Bardem in mind, but that was nearly ten years ago, and so I’ve given it a lot of thought and I think that now Poldark has finished Aiden Turner could pass for Portuguese/Australian. I think he’d be perfect.

  1. Where do you write?

I was a great fan of Sex and the City back in the day, so have occasionally attempted to write draped over my laptop whilst sitting on my bed a la Carrie Bradshaw. However, this hurts my back, so it’s a dining table, desk, kitchen table, and occasionally sofa for me. I have every intention of writing in coffee shops too, once I get myself properly organised. I do, however, have a pair of sandals with feathers on should I wish to continue the Sex and the City theme.

  1. What gives you inspiration for a story?

My inspirations for stories come from everywhere. I’m very visual, so sometimes it will come from a place I’ve been to that leaves an imprint on my mind. It could come from overheard words, a news story, things that have happened to me that trigger an idea, or even a song.

Basically, my ideas come from everywhere, and once I’ve got a theme for a story, they ping into my brain, and get incorporated into the writing. My inspiration for The House That Alice Built came from my experience of living in Portugal and the way my outlook changed when I lived there.

  1. If you had to give a piece of advice to a wannabe author, what would it be?

My advice to anyone who wants to be an author would be to get things written down in the first instance and not worry about the quality – once you’ve got something onto the page you have something to work on, or something to throw away, but at least you’ve started to get the words out. I did an online course to help me along, and then I got a mentor, too, but if that’s not possible, there are lots of online groups and forums full of people who love writing. Or you could join a local writing group. Being around other people who love to read books and write make you feel less isolated in your dreams and can push you along a bit.

  1. What can we expect from you next?

I wrote The House That Alice Built as an individual book with no thought of writing a sequel. However, now the book is out there, I think that I want to know what happens to Alice next. Life never runs smoothly does it, and there are many bumps in the road to happiness, so I’m working on a sequel. It also gives me yet another excuse to head to Portugal. Research you know….

Thank you, Chris. It’s lovely to find out more about you. Mx

About Chris Penhall

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Chris Penhall is the winner of the Choc-Lit Search for a Star competition 2019, for her debut novel, The House That Alice Built. She is a freelance writer, radio producer, and occasional broadcaster for BBC Essex, as well as an Associate Producer for the Richard and Judy Book Club podcast.

Born in South Wales, she has also lived near London and in Portugal, which is where The House That Alice Built is set. It was whilst living in Cascais near Lisbon that she began to dabble in writing fiction, but it was many years later that she was confident enough to start writing her first novel, and many years after that she finally finished it! She is now working on her second.

A lover of books, music and cats, she is also an enthusiastic salsa dancer, a keen cook, and loves to travel. She is never happier than when she is gazing at the sea.

To keep in touch with Chris you can use the following links

Twitter: @ChrisPenhall

Facebook: @ChrisPenhallBroadcasterWriter

Instagram: christinepenhall

Website: www.chrispenhall.co.uk

About The House That Alice Built

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Home is where the heart is …

Alice Dorothy Matthews is sensible. Whilst her best friend Kathy is living it up in Portugal and her insufferable ex Adam is travelling the world, Alice is working hard to pay for the beloved London house she has put her heart and soul into renovating.

But then a postcard from Buenos Aires turns Alice’s life upside down. One very unsensible decision later and she is in Cascais, Portugal, and so begins her lesson in ‘going with the flow’; a lesson that sees her cat-sitting, paddle boarding, dancing on top of bars and rediscovering her artistic talents.

But perhaps the most important part of the lesson for Alice is that you don’t always need a house to be at home.

You can get all the links to buying the e-book or audio by visiting www.chrispenhall.co.uk

Or the Ruby Fiction website: https://www.rubyfiction.com/dd-product/the-house-that-alice-built/

 

Thank you for visiting my blog – Morton S. Gray – Author. I hope you enjoyed this post. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Girl on the Beach published by Choc Lit is available as a paperback and from all eBook platforms – Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

The Truth Lies Buried is available now from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKobo, Apple iBooks. It is also available as a paperback and audiobook.

Christmas at Borteen Bay is available now as both an eBook and audio download – Amazon Kindle, Audio, Apple iBooks, Kobo and Choc Lit for other buying options.

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Five Things You Would Never Guess About Author Angela Barton

This week I’ve asked Angela Barton who writes for both Choc Lit and Ruby Fiction to reveal five things about herself that you probably wouldn’t guess. Over to Angela

  1. I was taken at gunpoint to an investigation room at a Saudi Arabian airport. I was there to work at a military hospital in Riyadh, but there were some visa discrepancies. Thankfully, they were sorted after half an hour and I was free to travel to my new home in Riyadh. (😳 Mx)
  1. When I was thirteen, I ran away from home to find Marc Bolan!
  1. I used to take ballet lessons when I was younger. (Me too! Mx)
  1. I have a phobia about spiders. I literally hyperventilate if I spot a big one – in fact any spider unless they’re tiny!
  1. I have a tattoo of my children’s names, Rose, Luke and Jack, on the inside of my right wrist.

 

About Angela Barton

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Angela Barton was born in London and grew up in Nottingham. She is married with three grown up children and two spoilt spaniels she calls her ‘hairy daughters.’ Passionate about writing both contemporary and historical fiction, Angela has won and also been shortlisted for several writing competitions.

She reads avidly, makes book-related jewellery and loves a nice cup of tea. Having recently planted a field of lavender with her husband in south-west France, she is looking forward to spending more time writing in Charente and watching their lavender grow.

Angela is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and Nottingham Writers’ Studio.

Angela writes for both Choc Lit and Ruby Fiction.

To keep in touch with Angela you can use the following links:

Website angelabarton.net

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/angela.barton3

Twitter https://twitter.com/angebarton

Pinterest https://www.pinterest.co.uk/abarton3862/

 

About Magnolia House

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When you open up your home and your heart …

Rowan Forrester has it all – the happy marriage, the adorable dog, the good friends, the promising business and even the dream home after she and her husband Tom win a stunning but slightly dilapidated Georgian townhouse in London at auction.

But in the blink of an eye, Rowan’s picture-perfect life comes crashing down around her and she is faced with the prospect of having to start again.

To make ends meet she begins a search for housemates, and in doing so opens the door to new friends and new beginnings. But could she be opening the door to new heartbreak too.

Buying Link – Magnolia House: smarturl.it/fttfc2

 

About Arlette’s Story

For online use

One woman’s struggle to fight back against the enemy in order to protect the ones she loves.

When Arlette Blaise sees a German plane fly over the family farm in 1940, she’s comforted by the fact that the occupying forces are far away in the north of the country. Surely the war will not reach her family in the idyllic French countryside near to the small town of Oradour-sur-Glane?

But then Saul Epstein, a young Jewish man driven from his home by the Nazis, arrives at the farm and Arlette begins to realise that her peaceful existence might be gone for good …

Buying Link –Arlette’s Story: amzn.to/2lAyIlb

 

Thank you for joining me this week Angela and for sharing your secrets.

 

Thank you for visiting my blog – Morton S. Gray – Author. I hope you enjoyed this post. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Girl on the Beach published by Choc Lit is available as a paperback and from all eBook platforms – Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

The Truth Lies Buried is available now from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKobo, Apple iBooks. It is also available as a paperback and audiobook.

Christmas at Borteen Bay is available now as both an eBook and audio download – Amazon Kindle, Audio, Apple iBooks, Kobo and Choc Lit for other buying options.

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Return to the Spotlight – Guest Author Lynn Forth

This week Lynn Forth is back on my blog to celebrate the release of her third novel, The Girl Who Used To Be Me. I’ve just started reading this book with its lovely cover and was immediately transported back to my university days in the first few chapters. I’m looking forward to reading more. I asked Lynn some questions…

Have you always written?

Yes. I think most novelists have always had the urge to write but very often they haven’t had the opportunity to do anything very sustained with it. English was always my favourite subject and I wrote long stories a child, I think my teachers must have blenched at the long screeds I handed in. But later, as an English lecturer, most of my writing was confined to long comments on work I was marking. Eventually freedom beckoned and I seized it and haven’t stopped writing since.

Where is your favourite place to write and why?

Although I have notebooks filled with novel outlines and ideas, I can only really get down to ‘proper’ writing at my computer on my desk. I have a lovely study upstairs with a wonderful open view over hills and trees and a small lake, It catches the early morning sun …and I love it.

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How important are locations to your novels?

It’s an essential ingredient in each of my stories. All my heroines are northern lasses and I like to take them out of their comfort zones and plonk them somewhere foreign where they have to rely on themselves and, in the process, begin a journey of self-discovery.

My Yorkshire heroine, Jane in Love in La La Land ended up in Hollywood and found her principles compromised by the seedy goings on. I enjoyed evoking the flashy shallow trappings of the film world.

Then I was inspired to write Love, Lies and Café au Lait by my own personal experience of delight when I visited Nice for the first time. I loved the French Riviera, so I was able to really identify with my Accrington Annie when she arrived in that super-sophisticated city and tried to fit in.

I used very local settings at the beginning of my third novel, The Girl Who Used To Be Me. My heroine Kate is located in Birmingham and visits the surrounding countryside with her new boyfriend including the Clent Hills …which I can see from my study window.  (Note : These hills were my view when I was growing up. Mx)

Eventually Kate escapes a difficult relationship by going to the Costa del Sol. Once again this is an area I know well after frequent visits to my parents when they lived there. I was able to visualise the locations for when Kate lives there and empathise with her feelings of joy at the bright colours and the warmth of the sun, captured, I think, by the cover of the book.

So all my books have transported me to these wonderful sunny places …and all from my little desk.

What can we expect from you next?

I am mulling over a story which features a rather fabulous character from my last two books. I don’t want to give too much away but many readers have said how they love the flamboyant character of Reen with her passion for pink plastic flamingos and her rather outrageous taste in décor and clothes. She has a large gruff-voiced husband called Ted and three sons Tyrone, Tarquin and Troy and together they are just crying out for a story of their own. Watch this space.

About Lynn Forth

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Lynn Forth went to live in Accrington when she was 11 and still has the accent to prove it.

She now lives in Worcestershire (where it doesn’t rain as much) with her family and a room with a view to write in.

With a lifelong fascination with words and people, she studied English and Psychology at University and, as a lecturer at the local College, she tried to impart this love of words and teaching to students of all ages.

An avid reader, she runs two book clubs and, as a bit of a movie buff, she loves participating in the discussions at a local Film Club. Although not a big exercise fan, she enjoys the fun and music at her Zumba sessions, singing along enthusiastically to all the tunes. A great lover of colour, she tries to encourage a riotous array of flowers in her garden.

She now writes romantic comedies full of sparky dialogue. set in sunny foreign climes, which, of course, she has to visit for the sake of research. She set her debut novel, Love in La La Land, in Hollywood which combined this love of films, humour and sunny places. Her second novel Love Lies and Cafe au Lait was set in Nice, a city she loves. And her third novel The Girl Who Used To Be Me follows one of her characters, the fabulous Reen, to her home territory of the Costa Del Sol.

To keep in touch with Lynn, you can use the following links:-

Website: lynnforthauthor.wordpress.com.

Twitter: @lynnforth

Facebook Author Page: Lynn Forth Author

About The Girl Who Used To Be Me

(I’m leaving this full size so that you can really see the lovely cover. Mx)

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An uplifting story about longing and belonging.

After a passionate fun-filled affair, Kate is abandoned by Rob, her first love.

Six years later, she is stuck in a dead-end job and trapped in a toxic relationship. She escapes to the Costa del Sol where she meets flamboyant Reen with her bright clothes, her sparkling eyes and a penchant for pink plastic flamingos.

Kate falls for Troy, Reen’s sexy son, and embarks upon a new phase of self-discovery. Is she finally becoming the girl she longs to be?
 
But when Rob comes back into her life unexpectedly, what will she do?

Full of wit and warmth, fun and flamingos.

Perfect for fans of Milly Johnson and Jules Wake

If you would like to buy Lynn‘s books, they are available as both eBooks and paperbacks from Amazon on the following links.

Love in La La land myBook.to/LoveinLaLaLand1

Love Lies and Café au Lait : mybook.to/LoveLiesandCafeauLait

The Girl Who Used To Be Me : mybook.to/TheGirlWhoUsedToBeMe

 

So glad you could join me, Lynn. I hope that your new book sells loads of copies. Mx

 

Thank you for visiting my blog – Morton S. Gray – Author. I hope you enjoyed this post. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Girl on the Beach published by Choc Lit is available as a paperback and from all eBook platforms – Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

The Truth Lies Buried is available now from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKobo, Apple iBooks. It is also available as a paperback and audiobook.

Christmas at Borteen Bay is available now as both an eBook and audio download – Amazon Kindle, Audio, Apple iBooks, Kobo and Choc Lit for other buying options.

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Spotlight on Guest Author Lucy Keeling

This week I’m joined by fellow Choc Lit author Lucy Keeling. As she is a new recruit to Choc Lit, her debut Make It Up To You was published on 17 September 2019, I asked her some questions to get to know her a little better. Over to Lucy

1. Make It Up To You sounds like a fun read, what inspired it?

Originally, I wanted to try and capture that feeling you get when a relationship turns and you feel that sense of mutual attraction. That feeling that someone fancies you and you fancy them and how it affects your behaviour especially when in close proximity. Then the characters and the setting sort of built up from there.

2. Have you always written?

Recently, I needed to look back for a short story I had written years ago, and I discovered that I had actually been writing since I was a teenager. I used to write something, anything and then that would satisfy the urge, but that would only be temporary before a new thought, a new idea needed to be explored.

3. If you had to cast your book for a film, who would play the lead roles?

So, in my mind Marcus was always a bit of a Jake Gyllenhaal and Sophie was like Sarah Hyland (from Modern Family). I have actors picked out for all the rest of the characters in the series too but I don’t want to give too much away.

4. Some fun questions – Which would you choose?

  • Coffee or tea? I have to have coffee first thing then I drink brews like they’re going out of fashion.
  • Seaside or countryside? Erm, well I happen to live near to some gorgeous countryside, but I do really love the seaside too. That’s not really answered that question has is it haha. I guess I need both, I find both settings very restorative and brilliant for mapping out new ideas. (See pic)

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  • Shopping or a walk? Definitely a walk. I do enjoy the odd shop but I find it much easier to get frustrated when shopping then I do walking.
  • Sweet or savoury food? I have the worst sweet tooth.
  • Fashionable or comfortable shoes? Converse or flip flops. So I guess comfortable? Check out these I’m wearing now (See pic).

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  • Morning or evening person? I have two young kids that have forced me to become a morning person, but I do most of my writing in the evening. Basically I’m fine until I get too tired then I’ll find any excuse for a nap because I love and miss my sleep desperately.

5. What can we expect from you next?

I am currently finishing my revisions for book 2 in the series, this one focuses on the story of Polly and Bailey. Then I will be sending that in, and I can’t wait because I am desperate to get started on Mya’s book which is book 3.

About Lucy Keeling

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Lucy Keeling is an author writing fun, sexy, stories with all of the happily ever afters. When she’s not typing at the kitchen table, she’s arranging and then re-arranging to see her friends for the occasional spot of day drinking. Lucy is currently writing the third book in a contemporary romance series, the first of which was runner-up in Choc Lit’s ‘Search for a Star’ competition which was sponsored by Your Cat magazine.

Lucy lives in Greater Manchester with her family.

To keep in touch with Lucy you can use the following links:-

Twitter is @Lucy_K_Author

Facebook Page is @lucykeelingbooks

Website is lucykeeling.com

 

About Make It Up To You

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What do mascara wands and gardening shears have in common? Absolutely nothing! At least that’s what wannabe beauty influencer Sophie Timney thinks when her friend Polly suggests involving her brother Marcus in Sophie’s make-up tutorials. She needs more views, Marcus needs promotion for his gardening business – in Polly’s mind joining forces will help them both. Sophie isn’t so sure.

Because Marcus Bowman has a habit of getting under her skin in a way that no exfoliating face scrub ever could. But, as the views and comments on her videos begin creeping up, it becomes increasingly obvious that Sophie’s subscribers like Marcus, and what’s even worse is that Sophie might be starting to feel the same way …

Amazon buying link is: https://amzn.to/2ylSO92

For other markets check out Choc Lit page where you will also find a free audio short story by Lucy.

 

Thank you so much for joining me this week, Lucy. I do hope we get to meet in real life one day. Mx 😄

 

 

Thank you for visiting my blog – Morton S. Gray – Author. I hope you enjoyed this post. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Girl on the Beach published by Choc Lit is available as a paperback and from all eBook platforms – Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

The Truth Lies Buried is available now from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKobo, Apple iBooks. It is also available as a paperback and audiobook.

Christmas at Borteen Bay is available now as both an eBook and audio download – Amazon Kindle, Audio, Apple iBooks, Kobo and Choc Lit for other buying options.

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Five Things You Would Never Guess About Author Kirsty Ferry

I can’t believe that fellow Choc Lit author, Kirsty Ferry has been on my blog several times, but I haven’t yet asked her to take part in my “Five Things You Would Never Guess” feature. Her latest novel, Jessie’s Little Bookshop by the Sea was published on 10 September 2019. Over to Kirsty for her five things …

Number One

I have a City and Guilds qualification in Cake Decorating. My overwhelming memory of that course is that I chose to decorate a cake with a Peter Rabbit sugarpaste plaque whilst kneeling on the floor at home. The phone rang, I jumped up – and there was an enormous crack. I’d broken a bone in my foot and ended up on crutches!

When I went back to work (I no longer work there, I hasten to add), they told me to cover a department on the fourth floor: ‘but good luck with the eight flights of stairs, because the lifts are broken’. I do think my supervisor hated me for some reason!

Number Two

I failed my Art ‘O’ level. I was too lazy to go in an prepare the watercolour paper on my lunchbreak, so used coloured pencils instead. I think I knew I’d failed when I went back to the classroom to see my teacher holding up an absolutely appalling drawing and shaking her head defeatedly; and it was my drawing.

My teacher and I had a weird relationship. She used to pick on me the whole time which is the best way to get my back up. As an adult, I’ve come to realise that she picked on me because I could have done so much better and she knew that. If only she’d approached it differently. The art thing is a big regret of mine, and I’d love to resit the course and pass at some point!

Number Three

You might know this if you’ve read the acknowledgements in A Secret Rose, but it is a story I started writing over twenty years ago. I stapled it together and made a pretendy book out of it. I kept trying to revisit it and kept failing to get into it. It wasn’t even very long, being only about 10 or 15k words, but eventually it’s become a ‘proper’ book and I’m so proud of it…and myself!

Jessie’s Little Bookshop by the Sea, by contrast, only took a month or so to write as I was so into the characters from doing the other Tempest Sisters books. It was much, much easier, which is possibly something to do with it being contemporary and not dual timeline, so I didn’t have to worry too much about doing thorough historical research. I’m not sure, really. But I loved writing it, regardless!

Number Four

My old house was haunted. I know there was an old lady there, but I never saw her. I often sensed her coming into my bedroom and she was heralded by a proper chill, even on the warmest of nights. I’d bury my head under the covers until she’d gone. It was all fine, and we co-existed quite happily until the day she decided to stomp up my staircase very loudly and not just enter gracefully and quietly. I must confess, I did tell her to be quiet and that I didn’t appreciate the noise as my toddler was sleeping. She never stomped again, but went back to being nice and quiet – which suited me quite well.

Number Five

I have a ridiculously large collection of empty notebooks. I am completely obsessed and even if I hand wrote every novel and story I produce, I’d never ever fill them. I have at least sixty on the shelves, plus probably the same amount again in boxes in the garage, in the desk in the summerhouse and scattered around the house in various rooms. They’re even creeping into my locker at day job work, but at least I do use those ones. (But you know, the covers are sooooooo very very pretty…)

Fascinating, Kirsty thank you.

About Kirsty Ferry

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Kirsty Ferry is from the North East of England and lives there with her husband and son. She won the English Heritage/Belsay Hall National Creative Writing competition in 2009 and has had articles and short stories published in various magazinesHer work also appears in several anthologies, incorporating such diverse themes as vampires, crime, angels and more.

Kirsty loves writing ghostly mysteries and interweaving fact and fiction. The research is almost as much fun as writing the book itself, and if she can add a wonderful setting and a dollop of history, that’s even better.

Her day job involves sharing a building with an eclectic collection of ghosts, which can often prove rather interesting.

For more information on Kirsty visit:

www.twitter.com/kirsty_ferry
https://www.facebook.com/kirsty.ferry.author/

About Jessie’s Little Bookshop by the Sea

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Take a trip to the little bookshop by the sea …

Jessie Tempest has two main interests: reading books and selling books. Her little bookshop in the seaside town of Staithes is a cosy hideaway from the chilly Yorkshire wind, but it’s also Jessie’s sanctuary from the outside world.

When writer Miles Fareham and his son Elijah arrive to stay in the holiday apartment above the shop, it’s a test for Jessie who has always felt clueless when it comes to kids. But as she learns the story of the single father and the inquisitive eight-year-old, Jessie realises that first impressions aren’t always the right ones – and, of course, you can never judge a book by its cover!

Buy link for Jessie’s Little Bookshop by the Sea is https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07V9Y5RKQ

 

Thank you for visiting my blog – Morton S. Gray – Author. I hope you enjoyed this post. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Girl on the Beach published by Choc Lit is available as a paperback and from all eBook platforms – Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

The Truth Lies Buried is available now from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKobo, Apple iBooks. It is also available as a paperback and audiobook.

Christmas at Borteen Bay is available now as both an eBook and audio download – Amazon Kindle, Audio, Apple iBooks, Kobo and Choc Lit for other buying options.

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The Spotlight Returns to Guest Author Marie Laval

Marie Laval let me have an excerpt of A Paris Fairy Tale when it was published by Choc Lit on 23 July 2019. You can see that post here.

I’m eager to find out more about how my fellow authors get a book ready for publication, so this time I’ve asked Marie about how she came up with the story and the process it went through before A Paris Fairy Tale appeared on your Kindle/bookshelf/audio device.

Hello Morton, and thank you very much for welcoming me on your blog today to talk about A Paris Fairy Tale, my latest Choc Lit release.

  1. How did you come up with the concept of A Paris Fairy Tale?

It was a stroke of luck… I was shopping in Manchester with my daughter when the heavens opened. As we were near John Rylands library on Deansgate, we decided to pop in to look at the exhibitions. The library is a wonderful and very atmospheric building, with fascinating collections of books and ancient manuscripts, including the oldest known piece of the New Testament – the St John Fragment. That particular day, there happened to be an interactive exhibition about illuminated manuscripts in medieval Paris… and inspiration struck! I spent the following hour making notes while my poor daughter patiently waited for me to finish.

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  1. Is the heroine Aurora like you in any way?

Aurora Black is hard-working and a romantic at heart like me, but that’s where the similarities end. She had a lonely and traumatic childhood and was raised by strict grandparents, whereas I had the most wonderful and loving family. She hides her most secret dreams and longings under a cold exterior and comes across as unsympathetic, hence the nickname ‘Black Ice’ her colleagues have given her. It was very interesting for me to write about a character very different from me.

  1. It is one thing to have the idea for a book, but quite another to get it ready to send to a publisher. Can you share with us a little about your writing process?

Writing takes me a long time, usually one year or longer. I work full-time and I have to fit in writing around my job and my family, but one of my biggest problems is that I don’t really plan. I just ‘go for it’! I do a lot of research and have a good feel for my main characters and their motivations, but apart from that, every day is an adventure – for them as well as for me! Therefore I often have to rewrite a story many times.

  1. When your publisher Choc Lit said they would like to publish your book, what comes next (I know of course, but thought readers might find it interesting)?

A Paris Fairy Tale was my second novel published by Choc Lit (the first one was Little Pink Taxi), and the process has been the same in both cases. After the excitement of receiving the email telling me that the panel of readers loved the story, I waited for my editor to send her editorial report and the first batch of edits. There are two rounds of edits – the first one usually deals with quite big changes, including plot changes, and the second is more about style and grammar. In the case of A Paris Fairy Tale, I had a lot of material and sub plots to delete because I had got carried away and the book was far too long! One of the most wonderful stages of the process is when I see the final cover. The book then really exists…

  1. Have you been in a Paris auction house? Did you buy anything?

Although I lived in Paris as a student, I didn’t go to any auction house there – probably because I would have been too poor to be able to afford anything! However one of my uncles was a very eccentric gentleman who used to buy and sell all kinds of weird and wonderful things at auctions and store them in his basement. It was a real Ali Baba’s cave and we used to love visiting him when my sisters and I were children. Once he even bought a dentist chair at an auction!

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  1. What other research did you have to do for the book?

I read extensively and watched documentaries about illuminated manuscripts, the conservation process and the work of palaeographers. I also completed two online courses with Future Learn, one about art trafficking and the other about ancient manuscripts. Both were free and incredibly useful and informative. I love history and research, sometimes a little too much, and I often have to remind myself that I am not writing an academic book but a romantic novel!

  1. What can we expect from you next?

I am delighted to announce that Choc Lit will be publishing my next novel – a Christmas romance called Bluebell’s Christmas Magic – in November. It is a contemporary romantic comedy set in the Lake District, and I hope the first of a series.

About A Paris Fairy Tale

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Is Paris the city of happily ever afters?

Workaholic art historian Aurora Black doesn’t have time for fairy tales or Prince Charmings, even in the most romantic city in the world. She has recently been hired by a Parisian auction house for a job that could make or break her career. Unfortunately, daredevil journalist Cédric Castel seems intent on disrupting Aurora’s routine.

As Aurora and Cédric embark on a journey across France, they get more than they bargained for as they find themselves battling rogue antiques dealers and personal demons, not to mention a growing attraction to each other.

But with the help of a fairy godmother or two, could they both find their happily ever afters?

About Marie Laval

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Originally from Lyon in France, Marie now lives in Lancashire with her family. She works full-time as a modern languages teacher and in her spare time she loves writing romance and dreaming about romantic heroes.

She writes both historical and contemporary romance. Her historical romance The Lion’s Embrace won the Gold Medal at the Global Ebook Awards 2015 (category Historical Romance), and best-selling Little Pink Taxi was her debut romantic comedy novel with Choc Lit. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors. Her native France, as well as her passion for history and research, very much influences her writing, and all her novels have what she likes to call ‘a French twist’!

Her latest romantic novel A PARIS FAIRY TALE is available as an ebook and audiobook on Amazon and various other platforms.

You can find out more about Marie on Facebook  or Twitter 

You can also find on Pinterest the many beautiful photos of Paris and illuminated manuscripts which inspired the writing of A Paris Fairy Tale.

Thank you for joining me this week, Marie x

 

Thank you for visiting my blog – Morton S. Gray – Author. I hope you enjoyed this post. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Girl on the Beach published by Choc Lit is available as a paperback and from all eBook platforms – Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

The Truth Lies Buried is available now from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKobo, Apple iBooks. It is also available as a paperback and audiobook.

Christmas at Borteen Bay is available now as both an eBook and audio download – Amazon Kindle, Audio, Apple iBooks, Kobo and Choc Lit for other buying options.

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Holidays, Birthdays and Giveaways

Where did the summer go? We had a lovely holiday in North Wales and walked, literally, miles. I’d almost forgotten how much I love being on a beach – my ideal job would be a professional beachcomber! Of course I took lots of beach photographs and came home with a haul of interesting stones and sea glass 😄. While we were away the painted lady butterflies had a hatching day and the garden of the holiday home was full of them.

bHEEvoSiQbu+dXex6Z9iEwbx8l5ugdTzCQrH0GyidaEgeB804nC9TIyYPg1u4dCn3Qfullsizeoutput_27dezjVRHPSoQn+k6MUqbbzXzQBack to reality this week with a daily morning alarm, as my youngest son started sixth form today. Where did all of those school years go? He looked very smart this morning in his suit and sixth form tie.

I was always the oldest in my class at school as my birthday falls in the first week of September. This year I’m celebrating with a giveaway over on the Apricot Plots Facebook page here. Just like the page and answer the question on my birthday post to have a chance to win.

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I’ll be back next week with the beginning of my autumn/winter series of blog posts. Watch out for featured authors Marie Laval, Kirsty Ferry, Angela Barton, Christine Penhall, Margaret James, Lynda Stacey, Berni Stevens and Angela Britnell.

 

Thank you for visiting my blog – Morton S. Gray – Author. I hope you enjoyed this post. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Girl on the Beach published by Choc Lit is available as a paperback and from all eBook platforms – Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

The Truth Lies Buried is available now from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKobo, Apple iBooks. It is also available as a paperback and audiobook.

Christmas at Borteen Bay is available now as both an eBook and audio download – Amazon Kindle, Audio, Apple iBooks, Kobo and Choc Lit for other buying options.

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Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments