Starting Over is part of the First in Series promo in the iBooks store. At the time I’m writing this blog it’s at number 15 in the Free Chart, which is fabulous!
This book has a history. Some time ago my then agent got this close to selling it but, ultimately, Starting Over and the following book, All That Mullarkey, emerged from acquisition meetings unacquired. My first novels published were Uphill All the Way (Transita) and Family Matters (Hale – which only came out as hardback and was later released as Want to Know a Secret? in paperback).
It was a few years before I pitched Starting Over to Choc Lit and they bought it in three weeks flat. And wanted All That Mullarkey, too! I count Ratty, the (slightly unlikely) hero of Starting Over, as my most popular hero because he’s the only one to have received his own fan mail and done his own interviews.
Starting Over is the first of my novels set in the fictitious village of Middledip on the edge of the Cambridgeshire fens. I have a whole drawer devoted to Middledip information, including maps, timelines for each novel and an overall timeline for the series but I wish that when I began I’d realised I was writing linked books because I would have kept more.
Between Starting Over and my most recent Choc Lit novel, The Wedding Proposal, came five other novels, including the others in the Middledip series, Dream a Little Dream and Is This Love?
That some readers like linked or series novels is no surprise to me as I like reading them myself. It’s satisfying to see various characters in the cast get the chance to tell their stories and to check if the characters I’ve already met are getting along (and haven’t messed everything up). I like the constant but secondary characters such as the lady in the village shop who is agog over every bit of gossip or the landlord of the pub who looks like a miseryguts but has a heart of gold. When I find a series I like I tend to read everything in it.
I hope that you find as much satisfaction in reading the Middledip books as I have found in writing them.
download Starting Over
This week sees the publication of my new baby – Darcie’s Dilemma. Writers are fond of calling their books their babies, because we love them so much, even though the labour pains are so fierce. But I’m calling Darcie’s Dilemma ‘a baby’ because it’s a novella. It’s a halfling, to use a handy Lord of the Rings term, and, at least for the moment, it’s only out as an ebook.
Novellas are becoming increasingly popular in the ebook world – publishers don’t have the same economic factors to take into account as they do with a print book; readers seem to like a few shorter pieces on their ereader – and so Choc Lit invited their writers to submit novellas for the ‘Choc Lit Lite’ line. Darcie’s Dilemma isn’t a short story, it’s a shorter book, so there’s plenty of plot, emotion, heat, characterisation, and everything else readers like and, kind of disappointingly, there was still a LOT of research to do! But I really enjoyed spinning a story for Darcie and Jake, and Darcie’s little brother, Ross, and the strange, fey, dysfunctional Casey.
Here’s the blurb:
How do you weigh one love against another? Things haven’t been easy for Darcie Killengrey; left with the responsibility of her troubled teenage brother Ross and a past of unhappiness and heartbreak. And then Jake Belfast strides back into her life, as acerbic and contrary as he is exciting and handsome— he also just happens to be her best friend’s brother. Having parted on bad terms two years previously, Darcie and Jake now find themselves flung back together. Tensions reach new heights when they’re forced to work in the same place and the pair struggle to put the past behind them. And, all the while, Ross is becoming increasingly involved with a dangerous influence, which looks set to make Darcie’s problems with Jake pale into insignificance …
I set Darcie’s Dilemma in Bettsbrough, which readers of Starting Over and All That Mullarkey will have caught a glimpse of as it’s a town close to Middledip village. The plot needed just a little more space to unfold.
It’s a really pretty cover, isn’t it? The colour reminds me of being under water.
Had a brilliant morning, yesterday, being a guest on the Bernie Keith Show on BBC Radio Northampton. You can listen in here – move the slider up to 2:37.30
Bernie (and his gorgeous dog, Riley) made it a relaxed and fun experience and I couldn’t believe it was over so quickly. But Bernie kindly said they’d welcome me back in June when All That Mullarkey hits the shelves.
I was invited on to talk about Loves Me, Loves Me Not and was delighted that Bernie had not only read many of the stories, but had interviewed contributors such as Carole Matthews and Joanna Trollope.
The presenter makes or breaks the interview, of course, and Bernie had done his research and gave me the opportunity to mention just about everything I’m involved with, so I came away delighted. And I left him a chocolate bar and signed book – what greater gesture of esteem is there?
You can also read an on-line interview with me about Starting Over, here at Conversations With Writers, a great site, packed with material about authors.
Choc Lit Blog
Speaking of on-line presences, my publishers for Starting Over, Choc Lit, have begun an author blog at http://blog.choc-lit.co.uk/ and I have blogged the first post, Cover Stories. So do go along and tell us what you think.