Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Still writing, walking and gardening



So, it's July, the start of summer, and lockdown is slowly being eased (for now.)

It's been an unusual few months, to say the least, a period of adjustment. Thanks to some wonderful weather and a garden to escape into, and fields and woods to walk through, I feel as if I've adjusted fairly well... that's not to say I'm not panicking slightly at the thought that my husband and daughter  may never return to full-time working. I hadn't quite realised until this week how much I value my own space! But, overall, I consider myself lucky to have not been badly affected, and it's good to spend more time than I usually would with some members of my family. And I haven't had to home-school, which is a bonus 😬



I've managed a few socially distanced walks with a friend, and am planning to meet up with another very soon, and although my mum won't be coming down from Scarborough for her usual summer break, we stay in close contact via the magic of WhatsApp - probably more so than usual.


As ever, writing has proved a wonderful escape. Mandy and I have almost finished the first draft of our joint pscyhological thriller, provisionally titled The Bad Friend, and have thoroughly enjoyed the process once again. Knowing that Mandy's waiting for my chapter and vice versa is incredibly motivating, as neither wants to let the other down, and the ideas have kept on flowing. And our first book The Secret Sister is going into The Works this month, which is exciting.

I've recently finished working on the structural edits for my solo book and thankfully, my editor loves the story and is excited as I am to see it published, hopefully in October, though schedules are a little uncertain due to the current situation.

I've made a start on my next novel and am enjoying doing some research. It's set mostly in a remote part of Wales and I'm drawing on my vist there last year, up near the mountains. It might be a while before we can go anywhere again, so thank goodness for the internet to fill in the blanks.

Hard to believe we're more than halfway through 2020. I've gone past the baking and jigsaw phase, but am still reading a lot, and am keen on getting to grips with the garden. I've even dug out a border and planted some flowers, which I wouldn't have imagined doing before lockdown. It wasn't easy as there were a few old shrubs with stubborn roots to remove and the soil is full of stones, but there was a nice sense of acheivement when I'd finished. Okay, I was smug as hell.


I often take my camera with me when I go for a walk these days and enjoy snapping flowers and local wildlife, though there's plenty in our - and my mother-in-law's - garden. The birds and animals have got used to seeing me pop up and seem to strike a pose - probably wishing I'd clear off.



I hope your year so far has been safe and healthy and maybe even productive - and if you've been home-schooling you have my undying admiration. I hope it hasn't been too fraught ♥

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Lockdown

A couple of months ago, I was looking forward to meeting my friend and writing partner Amanda Brittany in London, to celebrate the paperback and audiobook release of our psychological thriller The Secret Sister.

How quickly and dramatically life has changed tince then with the country (world) on lockdown due to the highly contagious coronavirus. It sounds like the plot of a dystopian novel, but is sadly all too real.

It's the second week of lockdown and after days of being on an emotional rollercoaster, when I was certain this couldn't be happening and that surely it was fine to go to shopping - where empty supermarket shelves and queues outside the chemist's brought home the reality  - there's been a period of adjustment and acceptance.

A week of sunny, mild weather made it possible to get out in the garden, and to go for walks and fresh air, and limiting exposure to the news and social media, apart from a check of the headlines each morning, has made it possible to focus on writing, at least in short bursts - mostly in the garden.



I've developed a routine of writing longhand every morning, so I have something to type up later on, and now have plenty of notes for my second psychological suspense novel. I'm aiming to get the first draft in early, which will be a first! I'm also expecting the edits for book 1 back any day, so that should keep me busy, and Mandy and I have have made a start on our second joint book.

One thing I've learnt is, I don't need a cafe or coffee shop to write, I can do it just as well from the dining table, or sitting out in the garden, so I'm saving a fortune on cups of tea and slices of cake. (Still eating cake, but only homemade until all the flour runs out.)

Reading continues to be a solace and an escape, as I'm sure it is for many people. If you're in the mood for a thriller THE SECRET SISTER is available now in paperback and audiobook. Mandy and I will look forward to celebrating when lockdown is over - which may not be for some time.

Wherever you are, stay safe and healthy xx





Saturday, January 11, 2020

The Secret Sister

After a lovely Christmas, the new decade got off to a great start with the digital release of THE SECRET SISTER which has had some great feedback from readers already. (The paperback will follow in April for those of you who prefer print books!)

It's nice to celebrate these things, so co-writer Mandy and I headed into London for lunch and inbetween stuffing ourselves with pizza, talked non-stop about writing, in particular our next book, due out next year, which has the working title The Bad Friend.












After signing a 2-book contract with new publisher HQ/HarperCollins, I'm excited to be working with them on my first, solo psychological suspense novel, and I'm a few thousand words into that and enjoying writing it.

My romcoms are still selling well, thanks to the wonderful team at Bookouture sourcing special promotional opportunities, and my first THE BEACHSIDE SWEET SHOP will be in a Kindle Deal in Austraila later this month.

Aside from writing, it's been a wet, grey start to the year, but I've done plenty of walking through muddy woods and fields, which has been good for getting my brain away from mince pies and Christmas cake and back into writing mode (and good for working off all that festive food!)

Whatever you're doing this January, I hope your year has got off to a good start.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Cover reveal



Yesterday, Mandy and I revealed the cover for our psychological thriller THE SECRET SISTER which was an exciting moment. It really stands out, and hopefully, the blurb will draw readers in. Those clever people at HQ/Harper Collins have even made ME want to read it 😄 It's out in January and only 99p - less than the price of a cuppa!

We're currently getting our second book underway, and after a lovely meeting last week, I've been working on outlines for a couple of solo psychological suspense novels and keeping my fingers crossed I'll be given the go-ahead to write them, as I'm excited about the stories.

In rom-com news I'LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS is selling well, and it feels okay to talk about it now that the shops have burst into full festive-mode - though I still prefer not to do any bursting until December's well under way!

Anyway, we've only just had bonfire night with fireworks all around for at least a week. Having owned a dog, I'm not as big a fan as I once was, as our Molly used to be so terrified we were genuinely afraid she'd have a heart attack. If only they were confined to displays, and only on November 5th.

Ah well, off the soap box and back to plot-wrangling - and trying to ignore that it's nearly time to start untangling the Christmas tree lights...



Monday, October 7, 2019

Book news

Along with the release of I'll be Home for Christmas I'm excited to announce a joint writing project that's finally come to fruition.

Back in 2015, I blogged about writing a psychological suspense novel with my lovely writing friend Amanda Brittany, which we put aside to focus on solo projects. After finally submitting it to Mandy's editor at HQ Digital/Harper Collins earlier this year, our book is going to being published. We now have a 2-book contract and a fabulous agent Kate Nash.

The first book will be released in January 2020, the second a year later, and we're currently excited to see a cover and title (to be revealed) which we'll be sharing via our joint Twitter account @clarkebrittany2. It's all very exciting (for us, anyway!)

After writing nine (hopefully) uplifting romantic comedy novels in three years and selling over 160,000 of them (beyond my wildest imaginings) I'm putting them on hold for the moment while I attempt to write a standalone suspense novel, alongside the one with Mandy. I may regret it, but might also regret not trying, as it's something I've wanted to do for a while. I'm sure I'll come back to romcoms - I love writing them too much not to - but for now, I'm going to take a walk on the dark side and see what happens (hopefully, nothing too grim and murdery.)

Aside from that, it's hard to believe how fast the year has flown, as they increasingly seem to these days, but I'm lucky to have had some nice trips; to Barcelona, Cornwall, Devon and Snowdonia in Wales. The weather there wasn't great, but that somehow added to the atmosphere, especially travelling up Mount Snowdon, and I couldn't help thinking it would make a great setting for a novel. Then again, I think that everywhere I go...



I hope whatever you've been doing your summer's been a good one, and if you fancy a festive read to get you in the mood for you-know-what, I can recommend a funny, feelgood book by...me ☺️ (other festive-themed books are available.)


Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Shelfie

SUMMER AT THE LITTLE FRENCH CAFE has now been released into the world and it's getting some lovely reviews, which is always music to a writer's ears.

Meanwhile, my first book (with Bookouture) The Beachside Sweet Shop has appeared in paperback in The Works. It's long been a dream to see a book on a shelf in a shop, so I was down at our local branch waiting for it to make an appearance so I could capture it for posterity!

A proud moment after 10 years of this writing lark and hopefully not the last!

Now I've finished the final book in my Cafe series, I'm having a think about what to do next - lots of options and ideas whizzing about, but nothing settled just yet.

I've just had a break in St Ives in Cornwall with my daughter, and it's so beautiful, even when it's raining (which it did on our second day) that I can see now why so many authors choose to set their novels there - maybe it will crop up in a future book!


In the meantime, I hope you're all having a wonderful summer whatever you're doing.


Friday, April 26, 2019

Summer's arrived early


The cover for Summer at the Little French Cafe has landed and really evokes that seaside, sunshine feel - lovely when the weather is currently wet and stormy!

I loved writing this story, and revisiting some of the characters from the first in the series, and am currently engrossed in book 3, which is set around Christmas. I have a new editor and am looking forward to working with her. I love the editing process - making the book better, like a carpenter whittling at a table until the legs are even, ensuring the coffee cups won't slide off. Terrible analogy, but you get the drift (wood)!

With summer fast approaching, I'm looking forward to a trip to St Ives in Cornwall with my daughter. I've heard a lot about the light there, inspiring artists - and hopefully, writers. I'll be taking a notpad and pen and looking for inspiration for a new book, but in the meantime, it's back to the mince pies and Christmas Carols.

Ding-dong, merrily on high...

Still writing, walking and gardening

So, it's July, the start of summer, and lockdown is slowly being eased (for now.) It's been an unusual few months, to say the ...