Monday, 21 May 2018

Interview with Lucinda Lacey – Another Mother










I’m sitting in The Cornish Bakery on Fore street in St Ives. The smell of pasties and pastries mingles with fresh coffee and my stomach is rumbling. Through the window I spy Lucinda, or Lu, as most call her. She’s the protagonist in my book Another Mother. Lu’s looking both ways before crossing the narrow street, her raven hair lifting on the breeze as she walks. As she enters the bakery, her lively green eyes light up and her smile reflects mine as she hurries over to my table. She looks self-assured comfortable in her own skin. She’s come a long way, and that makes me happy.

‘Hi Lu, how are you?’ I say giving her a quick hug.
‘I’m good, thanks. Really good.’ She smiles again and sits opposite.
‘You look it. Now, can I get you a pasty or a pastry?’
Lu looks towards the counter at the delicious food on offer, and then back to me with a mischievous twinkle. ‘Hmm, can we be naughty and have both?’
I laugh, and we select a pasty each and a delicious almond croissant too. Back at the table she regards me thoughtfully over the rim of her coffee cup. ‘What brings you to St Ives today then, Mandy?’
Lu always uses Mandy rather than Amanda. ‘To see you of course. It’s been a while. Also, would you mind answering a few questions, so the readers of Another Mother can get to know you a little more?’
‘I’d be delighted. Anything to help.’
‘Great. Okay, first question, how old are you?’
‘You know the answer, you gave me life after all.’
‘I did indeed,’ I say from the corner of my mouth as it’s full of pasty. ‘But then I know all the answers. The readers don’t though.’
‘I’m thirty-one.’
‘And what do you do for a living?
‘I run a café with my partner Rosie, just along the coast a bit.’
‘How’s that going?’
‘We are so busy, I had to rope Rosie’s mum in to cover for me today while I came.’ Lu blows on her pasty and takes a big bite. ‘I like busy though.’
‘You sound happy, are you?’
Lu swallows and gives me a huge smile. ‘I have never been happier.’
‘Couldn’t say the same a year or so ago though, eh?
A dark cloud slips behind her eyes. ‘No.’
I feel guilty for dragging up the past, but if readers are to know Lu, we must visit it. ‘If you’re okay to, would you mind if we went back to your childhood for a bit?’
A deep sigh. ‘I guess not. All that stuff’s all behind me now…all I can see ahead is sunshine.’
I take a sip of coffee and plunge straight in. ‘So, you were adopted as a baby but never really accepted it. You felt different and were bullied because of it at school, weren’t you?’
‘Yes. Kids can be cruel. But because I felt rejected by my birth parents and betrayed by my adoptive parents I kept it all a big secret. Then I confided in my so called best friend and she told the school bully, Megan. Megan was a vile girl. She haunted my dreams for years, even after I’d left school.’
I nod and give her an encouraging smile. ‘What do you mean by betrayed?’
‘Well, they didn’t really, I just saw it as that. They told me I was adopted when I was seven. I couldn’t take it in, couldn’t believe that they weren’t my ‘real’ parents. Overnight I’d lost them and felt as if nobody wanted me. My birth mum obviously hadn’t had she?  I really didn’t know who the hell I was anymore. Everything I had ever knows was false. I was false. Unloved, unwanted. Or so it seemed back then.’ Lu dabs at her mouth with a napkin and stares at her plate.’
‘But they did love you really, didn’t they? Your birth parents?’ I put my hand on her arm.
She looks at me and nods. ‘God yes. I couldn’t have wished for better parents. That’ why I was so destroyed when my mum…’ She tails off and picks up her croissant but doesn’t eat.
‘When your mum died?’ I pick my pastry up too and take a bite. She copies me and gets icing sugar on the tip of her nose. I point it out and we laugh. The misery lifts and she washes the mouthful down with coffee.
‘Yep. After she died I knew I needed to find my birth mother. I wanted to for years but felt like it would hurt my birth mum. Make her feel like she wasn’t enough, you know?’ I nod. ‘Dad totally understood, said they had expected that I’d do it much earlier. He was fine about it, though he did miss me lots when I came down here to Cornwall from Sheffield, my home town.’
‘This is where your birth mother’s address was, here in St Ives?
She gives me a withering look and yawns. ‘You know it was, you wrote the story. This interview is a bit daft really. Can we talk about you for a change? I never really got to know much about your life.’
‘Er, perhaps another time. Humour me.’
‘Okay. Yes. This is where I found her.’
‘You were over the moon, finding her after such a long time?’
‘To start with. Then there were a few let’s say, inconsistencies in her personality that began to ring alarm bells.’ Lu swirls the last of her coffee in her cup and drains it.
‘Is it safe to say that your dreams of finding your birth mother quickly turned into a nightmare?

‘It certainly is. Once, we were on the boat and I—’
I hold up my hand. ‘No, don’t mention that. In fact, I think we have enough now to give readers a flavour of who you are and what your story is about.’
Lu shrugs her shoulders and pushes her plate to one side. ‘Make your mind up, Mandy. First you want the low-down, then you want me to stop.’
‘That’s because the story’s just waiting to be discovered. No point in giving the game away before the readers have even opened the first page is there?’ I smile and drain my cup too.
‘Right. Shall I fill you in with what I’ve been up to recently?’
‘Best not, because that might give too much away too,’ I say and shrug my coat on. ‘Let’s go down to the pub for a drink. The readers won’t hear us there. I’d love to hear all your news.’
Lu grins. ‘Now you’re talking.’

We stand and I follow her out of the café into the bright sunshine of St Ives.

If you have enjoyed finding out about Lu, you can get her full story here.










































Saturday, 30 December 2017

Writing is Good for Your Health

Well, I haven't written a blog post since March....to be fair, I do tend to neglect this blog, but there has been rather a lot going on this year, most of it not good. As we are just a day or two away from 2018, I thought I'd just tell you about my year.

Last year around this time, I was worried about my dad who was having awful pains in his leg. He was generally unwell. My mum had her usual health problems and at 89 most of us would, but was mostly not too bad. The doctor was trying to find out what was wrong with Dad's leg, but of course everything shut down for Christmas. My daughter and I had to take Christmas lunch down to them as Dad couldn't walk.

By the 3rd of Jan, I think it was, Dad was worse and was taken into hospital. To cut a very long story short, he was diagnosed with lung cancer and secondary bone cancer. His thigh bone was fractured. He was given months rather than years, but they couldn't be more specific. Although Dad was 88, it was still a bit of a shock for us all and Mum, who had started to have much more than the normal memory lapses for her age, didn't really take it in - neither did Dad come to that.

Again, cutting to the chase, by the summer Dad had been home and then back in hospital after a fall, and the big shock - Mum had a fall and went to hospital. Six weeks later she died. That was on the 14th of June and then on the 23rd of July came the biggest shock for me personally, I had a heart attack.

I couldn't quite believe it to be honest. I'm not your average candidate - I don't smoke, don't eat much processed food, I was drinking quite a bit given the stress of Mum and Dad though. Stress is what they reckon caused it. There was so much to do during that time, involving sorting out my parents with carers and hospital appointments, rushing round there at 2am when one of them had fallen again, so, so much to worry bout. Anyway, just as I was trying to get my head around the heart attack and Mum's death, Dad died in August.

I can tell you I wasn't really in a good place after all that. My husband and family were wonderful, but in the end they couldn't really understand what I was feeling. Neither could I, so I just threw myself into writing. It wasn't a conscious decision, it just happened. Over the year I'd had quite a lot of interest from various agents asking for the full manuscript of a previous story, but in the end they all said no. So I decided to start a new one. Well, actually I was 2,000 words in, when a publisher said they's like to see the rest - that's when I was in hospital. Ten weeks later it was finished. Two weeks after that, I had a book deal with the brilliant Bloodhound Books. Rip Current will be out in April and Another Mother, will be out in June.

When I was writing, I didn't have to think about the real world and dwell on my heart attack. I was still having chest pains, which the consultant said was atypical and that nothing could be really done about it. He was satisfied it wasn't cardiac related. I still get them now, but not too often thank goodness. I have quite a few meds, which is all new to me too. Writing helped take my mind away from the death of my parents too for a time. I have always written - it's like breathing to me, but it is even more important now than it ever was. It got me through the darkest time I've ever had, and for that I am very thankful.

Right at the end of the year it all feels a bit surreal and I expect it will take a long time to process it all and eventually come to terms, but I do feel hopeful about next year. 2018 can't come soon enough, and I will do everything I can to make sure it's a good one. One thing's for sure it will involve writing as I'm convinced it is good for my health. Here's a picture of the Cornish coast not far from me - that's good for my health too. Here's wishing all of you a happy and healthy 2018!




Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Behind the Lie

Well at last I can reveal that I have now signed with HQ Digital - an imprint of Harper Collins! How exciting is that? My new book will be out on the 21st of April 2017 and I'd thought you'd like to see the cover...It is a suspenseful read with a good many twists and turns and set in Cornwall and London. Anyway, more later :)


Monday, 16 January 2017

Come and meet Victoria Cornwall and The Thief's Daughter!



Welcome to my blog, Victoria. Please take a seat and would you like a glass of something? 

It’s a pleasure. And yes please. That Prosecco looks inviting and we are celebrating after all aren’t we?

We are indeed! I can't wait to read The Thief’s Daughter, it sounds so full of adventure, mystery and good romance of course. I'm sure those that love Poldark will be very interested in Jenna's story! 




Can you tell me where you got the idea for the story?


Yes, my husband and I were walking the coastal path of North Cornwall and came across Pepper Cove. The strange name came from its murky past as it had been used as a popular landing site for smuggled spices in the 18th century. I wanted to write a story which was set near the coast and seeing the cove reminded me of Cornwall’s smuggling history.

 How much do you depend on Cornwall for your inspiration?


Quite heavily, I think. The geology, its history, the historic buildings, monuments and local industries, all inspire my writing. The names I choose for my fictional villages are often formed from its old Celtic language and I like to give some of the characters Cornish names.

I love Cornish names too. Did you have to do lots of research to make sure you had the right setting and terms for 18th century Cornwall?

Yes, but I enjoy history and researching the past. The internet is very useful for research purposes, although you have to be careful and recheck the accuracy of the material. Cornwall also has several museums which feature the history of smuggling. I was able to visit them and learn how goods were hidden until they were able to be collected, see the implements the smugglers used as weapons and be reminded of how prolific and well organised the smuggling operations were.

Fascinating. Who is your favourite character in the book and why?

I love all of the main characters. Jenna is feisty and shows great loyalty, but finds herself in a very difficult situation. The mysterious, brooding Jack Penhale is on a mission, but he has a great sense of humour which only Jenna can bring out in him. However, I think I enjoyed writing the character of Silas the most. His behaviour is so outrageous that at times I had to rein myself in as he had no intention of doing it for himself! 

Isn’t it odd how characters just do as they please sometimes? Is this your first book and if not, are your others historical romances too?

The Thief’s Daughter is my first traditionally published book, but in actual fact it is the third I have written. The first two were self published historical romances which were both nominated for the RONE Indie and Small Published Book Award in America. The second was also short-listed for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romantic Fiction in England.


Excellent! What are you working on now?

I’ve just completed another book and am researching the next one. I would love to tell you about them, but can say very little for now, other than they are all set in Cornwall.

Cornwall is the best! I would say that though wouldn’t I? How long does it take you to complete a book?

It takes me between 8 to 12 months to write a book as I also have a day job too.

Where would you like to be career wise in five-years?

A few years ago I would have said where I am now, with a traditional publishing contract. However, writers are terrible for moving the goal posts and wanting more … an award … a best seller … enough money to give up the day job etc. It would be lovely to have all of those things, but most importantly for me I just want my books to be available to a larger audience, for readers to enjoy my books so much that they recommend them to their friends.

I’ve always said that I would like to see my book in someone’s grocery trolley, wedged between a tin of baked beans and a bottle of ketchup, as it would mean my books are mainstream and a part of everyday life. I think that wish, or perhaps I should say goal, still holds true today.

Oh I would love to see that for mine too! One day I hope. Thank you so much for joining me today and best of luck with The Thief’s Daughter!

Thank you for having me, I’ve really enjoyed it.

The Thief’s Daughter is out now.  Grab one today!



Find out more about Victoria here:

Twitter: @VickieCornwall

Buying Links




Thursday, 21 July 2016

Lynda Stacey tells all about her debut - House of Secrets!

Today I am chatting to Lynda Stacey about her debut released this week - House of Secrets. Great to have you here, Lynda! Make yourself comfortable and can I interest you in a Cornish Cream Tea?




Cream Tea?? Now you’re talking, of course you can.

The blurb for The House of Secrets is very intriguing. Can you tell me who discovers the main secret, or will that give the game away?

The secrets are hidden within a diary that’s found by Madeleine and the hero of the story Bandit. The diary belonged to the former owner of the house. The diary of Emily Ennis begins when she’s just a young lady, and takes you through her life, during which you find out the secrets that have been hidden for many years.


Ooh, sounds intriguing! Can I ask who is your favourite character and why?

My favourite character, Wow, that’s a hard question. I love them all. But, if I had to choose one, it would have to be Nomsa. She’s a lovely, happy-go-lucky Caribbean lady, with a huge personality. She works at the hotel and becomes a mother figure to Madeleine. She’s certainly someone I’d love to sit at the kitchen table with, drinking gallons of tea.
Talking of which…. Do pass a scone..!

Of course, more cream too? Now, which character do you like least and why?

Well… that really isn’t a hard question. I’d have to dislike Liam O’Grady. He’s Madeleine’s ex-partner. He’s cruel, nasty and terrifies poor Poppy, Madeleine’s young daughter.


But they do say that children are intuitive and Poppy is terrified for a reason. She’s managed to work Liam out very quickly and he knows it.

I see. Not sure I like the sound of him either. So which scene did you enjoy writing the most and which did you find the most difficult?

Gosh… I don’t think any of them were easy. It’s like asking me to climb Everest and then asking which step hurt the least lol.
If I really had to choose. I’d say that the most enjoyable, would probably be the one where Madeleine first see’s Wrea Head Hall.


It brought back all the feelings I had when I went to Wrea Head Hall for the very first time. My husband took me for my birthday, which is Christmas week. I remember driving towards it and seeing it towering up before me, gargoyles and all. I loved the way the amber lighting, along with the huge twenty foot Christmas tree shone back at me through the grand window and the way the log fires brought a feeling on ambience to each room. I remember the first moment I walked in through the huge, gothic, arched front door, I could feel the history seeping out of the walls. It was as thought the ghosts of the past were still there, but in a nice way and I knew right then that the house needed a great story.

The most difficult scene. That’s an easy one to answer, but I can’t. It would give away the story. But, I will reveal that I was sat one night, tapping away on my lap top, writing this scene, I almost threw it off of my knee. My husband looked at me in shock and asked what was wrong, and all I could say was, “I have no idea where all that came from, but if I don’t stop writing that scene now, I’ll give myself nightmares.”

Oh, I felt a shiver then... More tea? Okay, you have a dual time-frame in your novel. Which time period would you most like to live in, the present or the past?

I’d just like to live in a time when everyone got along. There’s so much hate in the world right now, it’s awful and to be honest. I don’t get it. There’s absolutely no need for it, everyone should be nice to one another. In my mind, it really wouldn’t and shouldn’t be that difficult.

Totally agree there! Can you tell me a little of what your WiP is about?
I’ve just finished writing my 3rd novel and I’m researching my 4th.  I was born a miner’s daughter, lived through the miners strikes and left school at an early age to find employment, so our family could eat. I thought it would be a good idea to write a time-slip, going back to the miners strikes, to the times when communities looked after each other and then, in the present day part of the novel, show how things have changed. I guess you could say that I‘m kind of going back to my roots.
Oh, and of course, there will be romance, and suspense, and probably murder…. But you’ll have to wait and see.

Can't wait!  Where do you find your inspiration? Is it always easy for you to come up with new writing ideas?

My problem is that I have too many ideas. I think I have some kind of ADHD, my brain never stops. I’m a very active person, which is why I work full time, run a home and write books. Just watching television on a night would drive me insane. I think I drive my husband mad by waking up in the middle of the night, thinking up and writing down future plots. Or I get up at stupid o’clock on a Saturday or Sunday morning to write. You’ll often see me logging onto Facebook or checking Twitter before six in the morning.
At the moment, I have a possible 7 different books that I could start.

My inspiration comes from life. I believe in romance, and in love, but I know from very personal experience that life isn’t always that simple. I’ve had a very diverse life and was married very young. My first husband was a narcissist, a very controlling man who also suffered with autism. Nothing had a grey area with him and unless you did things his way, he wasn’t happy and yes… I saw sense and eventually left. But I did live through it for 3 years.
  
I am similar to you regarding ideas - my brain won't switch off either!  And yes, life experience good and bad brings great inspiration. Which writers influenced you the most?

Again, so many. I’ve always loved so many genres and I think I’d miss someone out if I were to choose. But I can say that I loved all of your books, especially the Stitch in Time and the Cross Stitch, you can’t beat a bit of time travel. And what’s more, I’m really looking forward to reading your new book, Summer in Tintagel.

Oh that's so kind. Thank you! Did you have a dream to become a writer when you were little as I did?

I wanted to be an author for as long as I can remember. My father was a strict man and I would have to sit quietly for hours. Which is when I sat and wrote stories. At the age of 14, my English teacher advised that I look for a job in journalism, or followed my dream of being an author. But, just before leaving school, I went to my careers advice officer and he asked me what I wanted to do. I very proudly told him my ambitions and he rubbed his chin and said, “Have you ever thought of being a shop assistant, I hear they’re taking on at Boots the Chemist.” Hence to say, if I were to ever meet him again… I think I’d have a word or two to say to him.

Indeed. And where do you see yourself in two years in terms of your writing career?

Well… I’d like to still be sat here eating Cornish Cream Tea with you, but other than that, I’d like to think that I could do something good. It would be amazing to win an award and to be called an ‘award winning author’ or to sell so many books that I’d be able to put ‘best-selling author’ on the covers.

I’m very ambitious and if nothing else, I already have my sights set on completing another couple of books in that time.

And I'm sure you will achieve your aims too. Thanks so much for stopping by today and eating all the scones ... I mean sharing my Cream Tea! It has been lovely to chat! :)


Find out more about House of Secrets and Lynda below:

HOUSE OF SECRETS

Short Synopsis

A woman on the run, a broken man and a house with a shocking secret …

Madeleine Frost has to get away. Her partner Liam has become increasingly controlling to the point that Maddie fears for her safety, and that of her young daughter Poppy.
Desperation leads Maddie to the hotel owned by her estranged father – the extraordinarily beautiful Wrea Head Hall in Yorkshire. There, she meets Christopher ‘Bandit’ Lawless, an ex-marine and the gamekeeper of the hall, whose brusque manner conceals a painful past.
After discovering a diary belonging to a previous owner, Maddie and Bandit find themselves immersed in the history of the old house, uncovering its secrets, scandals, tragedies – and, all the while, becoming closer.
But Liam still won’t let go, he wants Maddie back, and when Liam wants something he gets it, no matter who he hurts …

Winner of Choc Lit & Whole Story Audiobooks 2015 Search for a Star competition.

Author Bio
Lynda, is a wife, step-mother and grandmother, she grew up in the mining village of Bentley, Doncaster, in South Yorkshire.
She is currently the Sales Director of a stationery, office supplies and office furniture company in Doncaster, where she has worked for the past 25 years. Prior to this she’d also been a nurse, a model, an emergency first response instructor and a PADI Scuba Diving Instructor … and yes, she was crazy enough to dive in the sea with sharks, without a cage.
Following a car accident in 2008, Lynda was left with limited mobility in her right arm. Unable to dive or teach anymore, she turned to her love of writing, a hobby she’d followed avidly since being a teenager.

Her own life story, along with varied career choices helps Lynda to create stories of romantic suspense, with challenging and unpredictable plots, along with (as in all romances) very happy endings.
Lynda joined the Romantic Novelist Association in 2014 under the umbrella of the New Writers Scheme and in 2015, her debut novel House of Secrets won the Choc Lit & Whole Story Audiobooks Search for a Star competition.

She lives in a small rural hamlet near Doncaster, with her ‘hero at home husband’, Haydn, whom she’s been happily married to for over 20 years.


Link to Choc Lit

Link to Amazon

Facebook

Twitter
@Lyndastacey

Website




Monday, 20 June 2016

Summer in Tintagel - a sneaky peek!


I'm so excited that Summer in Tintagel will be out in a few short weeks! The 14th of July is publication day and the Kindle version is available for pre-order now. You can't see inside yet, so I thought I'd give you a sneaky peek at the opening lines. Hope you like them! 






Chapter One

Rosa kneels on the lawn. It is summer, but the grass is damp under her bare legs and she wishes that she had taken the picnic rug that Mummy had tried to give her just now. Mummy said that she was wilful and she’d have to learn by her own mistakes. Rosa wonders what wilful means as she pours water from the plastic teapot into a tiny cup and places it in front of Barney, her oldest teddy bear. Wilful is perhaps the same as stubborn. Daddy often says she is stubborn.
            ‘Would you like tea too, Miss Jemima Puddle-duck?’
A stuffed green and brown duck looks at her from its one glassy eye, but says nothing. Rosa nods. ‘Yes, of course you would. You can have a biscuit too.’
            Rosa puts cups in front of all her toys and looks back across the long expanse of grass towards her house. The sun hides itself behind a cloud, but that isn’t the reason she has goosebumps forming along her arms. She feels her heartbeat quicken and she tightens her grip on a biscuit. It crumbles and leaves as sticky smear of chocolate on her fingers. Rosa licks the chocolate, but her stomach rolls and she tries to blot out a voice in her head. Daddy will be angry, very angry.
            A scream pierces the silent afternoon. It comes from the house and it sounds like her mother. Rosa leans her back against a tree and draws her knees up under her chin. She looks at a grass stain on her white sock and her whole body begins to shake. A siren wails up the valley and she knows that something bad has happened. Very bad.
            She has been under the tree what feels like a long time, but then she sees Daddy burst from the house as if he has been fired like a bullet from a gun. His hair is messy and he runs his hands through it with wild jerky movements. Daddy’s tie is pulled to the side and he doesn’t look at all neat. Being neat is something he is very proud of. Rosa tries to make herself small, but he has seen her and runs towards her ... fast.
            Daddy kneels beside her and puts his big hands on her shoulders. He shakes her roughly. ‘This is all you fault! Dabbling in evil always ends in disaster, do you hear me?’
            ‘I ... I ... haven’t done anything ...’
            ‘Don’t lie! All this mumbo jumbo about ghostly old ladies appearing in my house and warning you to ...’ Daddy’s face looks like a Halloween mask and his mouth twists down at the corners.  ‘Never mind. You are going to your room and staying there for the rest of the day!’

            Rosa’s arm hurts where Daddy is squeezing it as he drags her back to the house. Her eyes fill, but she won’t let him see. She is glad she is going to her room, because she doesn’t want to know exactly what has happened; the bad thing that has made Daddy so angry. Rosa has a good idea already and this makes her so sad that she can hardly breathe...

Friday, 20 May 2016

The Little Things

I know the new IKEA advert is quite sentimental, but the tag line stuck in my head. It is something along the lines of - enjoy the little things in life, because one day you will realise that they were the big things. Now, this won't make me rush out and buy IKEA products, but it has encouraged me to think more about the little things. 




My five-year-old grandson picked these for me today as we walked from his school. As we threaded through the crowds of children, he kept stopping and picking them from the verge even though his friends were around. His little face showed love and pride as he presented me with the tiny bouquet. He said, 'These are for you, Mimi.' 

As you can imagine, I found I'd a lump in my throat. Not because he'd picked me daisys, buttercups and a dandelion, but because he was totally oblivious to the social pressures that some of the older children in his school would be aware of. In a few years time, it will be uncool for him to pick his Mimi flowers, or to do or say lots of other wonderful sweet and innocent things that he amazes me with on a daily basis.

So I will treasure these flowers in their egg cup vase, because they are a symbol of the little things in life being the big things ... in fact, I'd say that they are bloody huge things.