I don’t know where I come from. Or, at least, I never know how to answer the question, ‘Where are you from?’ because I was born in Germany, left at six weeks old, went to Cyprus, Malta, England and Malta again before returning to England at the age of eight. But then I settled in England and have been boringly here ever since.
Fun fact: there’s a reference to Formula 1 in each of my Choc Lit novels.
Honor Sontag leaves her home in west Connecticut and travels to Brighton, England to search for the mother who left her as a baby. She loves Eastingdean, near Brighton, where she rents a bungalow from Clarissa Mayfair. Clarissa’s “little” brother is 6’4” mysterious Martyn Mayfair who doesn’t seem to have a proper job but does have a stalker. Honor goes to work for the stalker, which is unfortunate, and finds herself drawn into several eccentric English lives, including Ru, the stalker’s fourteen-year-old son, and Frog, Ru’s bully. Ru really needs somebody, so I’m glad it’s Honor, because she’s lion-hearted. Martyn Mayfair is fascinated by Honor – but she’s exactly the kind of woman he’s sworn off. So he has to find a way past that. The action also travels to Connecticut for a few chapters because when people get in trouble, they go home. And Honor gets in trouble …
Martyn Mayfair would be played by Jared Leto when Jared has long hair brushed forward, and stubble. Not a beard. This is an important distinction, as I hate beards! Nobody with a beard, in my books, ever does well. Honor could be played by the fabulous Julianna Moore – but she’d have to get her hair crimped and be a lighter auburn. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind. It’s a good cause.
My first published book was Uphill All the Way (Transita) but I’d written Starting Over and All That Mullarkey before Uphill. The market didn’t seem quite right for them at the time, although they went into acquisition meetings (ie fell at the final hurdle). But then I found Choc Lit and they publish exactly what I love to write most, and they wanted Starting Over and All That Mullarkey. A book called Family Matters had gone to Robert Hale, meantime, but only in hardback, so I rewrote it as Want to Know a Secret? for Choc Lit. I love my Choc Lit books.
I can never answer this question. I love them all. They’re different but equal. Except I love the heroes more than the heroines – or differently, anyway.
I’m writing a book with a working title of Dream a Little Dream. It’s about Liza, who is the sister of Cleo, from All That Mullarkey. She was far too naughty and sparky to leave as a secondary character, so I rescued her. Unfortunately, she’s had an awful life experience, since All That Mullarkey days. She’s currently butting heads with Dominic, who has had to leave his career as an air traffic control officer as he has been diagnosed with narcolepsy. His marriage has gone down the drain, too, so he’s looking to kind of reinvent himself. It’s an interesting combination!
I always say two things:
i) persist. I truly believe that the name for a writer who doesn’t give up is ‘published’. I got some real knockbacks but I didn’t give up and here I am.
ii) educate yourself. Don’t fall for the line about writers being born and not made. It’s dismissive of our art. Artists, dancers, actors, they all go through years and years of rigorous training and mentoring so it’s unreasonable to suppose that writers don’t to learn their craft. How you choose to learn is up to you. There are courses, classes, books, conferences, forums, talks, magazines … Learn your craft and keep your ear to the ground for market news. Good luck!