You were asking me what made me a writer…It has to be, first and foremost, my passion for reading. As a child growing up in Lyon, France, there was nothing I liked more than losing myself in a story and fall in love with its characters and atmosphere. Although I wrote stories (and very bad poetry) in French for years, I only started writing in English after moving to Manchester. For many years, I lacked the confidence to show my stories to anybody, until one day I entered a competition… and I was short-listed. I will never forget the feeling I had when I read the letter telling me my story was to be published! When a few years later another short story won first prize in a local competition, I thought that maybe I could write well enough in English
The real catalyst, however, was attending a one-day romance writing workshop just over four years ago. Exchanging ideas with other would-be writers, getting advice and tips from multi-published authors such as Jean Fullerton and June Davies was so inspiring that I started writing my first novel as soon as I got home that evening…and I never stopped since.
Writing is a peculiar occupation, Maria. The three things I need most are time, quiet and space – all three in very short supply in my case. I don’t set myself a specific target or fixed number of words to write, but I do try to research, write or edit my current project every evening. I have a full-time teaching job and a busy family life, so it isn’t easy to keep up with my writing. There are depressing, frustrating evenings when it’s really hard to get into the plot of my work in progress, when I feel I’m losing the connection with my characters and I fall asleep at the keyboard.
If I am in a bit of a rut, going for a long walk early in the morning at the weekend usually helps get my ideas flowing. The only problem is that I live in a lovely green Lancashire valley which seems to have a microclimate of its own, and where it often pours down with rain, so escaping outside isn’t always possible.
I have published two historical romances with MuseitUp Publishing. My second novel, ‘The Lion’s Embrace’, is set in North Africa in 1845. Although I do not tweet (I barely have time to blog and keep up with Facebook as it is!), I will try and give you a tweet size outline of the plot.
Bookish Harriet Montague hires selfish, arrogant and dangerous Lucas Saintclair to rescue her archaeologist father from a gang of Tuareg fighters. During their journey to the mysterious Hoggar mountains she discoverspassion, lost treasures and deadly secrets…
‘The Lion’s Embrace’ was a joy to research and write. I was always fascinated by North Africa and often felt I was travelling across Algeria with Harriet and Lucas and discovering the country, its people and its treasures with them.
My next novel, ‘Dancing for the Devil’, is another historical romance, this time with a hint of paranormal. It is set in the far North of Scotland, near Cape Wrath – don’t you just love that name? I wanted to stay with the Saintclair family a little longer, and my heroin is Rose Saintclair, Lucas’ younger sister. As Rose sails to Scotland to be reunited with Cameron McRae, the man she married in Algiers a few weeks before, her ship is caught in a violent storm. Rose is rescued by Bruce McGunn, Wrath’s local laird and her husband’s mortal enemy.
Alone in a cold, foreign and brutal land, and a virtual prisoner in the old keep haunted by the mysterious dark lady, Rose discovers that her husband isn’t the man she believed him to be, and becomes increasingly attracted to the dark and tormented Bruce McGunn. Will she risk her marriage, her honour and her heart to help him discover the truth about his past, solve the brutal murders committed on his land and
mend his broken soul?
‘Dancing for the Devil’ is darker than my two previous novels and I hope to finish the first draft this summer.
Thank you again Maria for hosting me today. It was a pleasure talking to you.
THE LION’S EMBRACE