In Yorkshire – Resisiting Mr Rochester

Stand by for some lovely pics – today we’re visiting Yorkshire, one of my favourite places in England, along with my fellow Fabrian Books writer Sharon Booth, who sets her books there. Over to Sharon to tell us about her new release:

Resisting Mr Rochester is very loosely based on Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel, Jane Eyre. You probably guessed that from the title!

Any Brontë fan knows that Charlotte lived in Haworth, West Yorkshire, and most likely set her novel on the moors around her home. As an East Yorkshire girl, who regularly visits the North Yorkshire Moors, but seldom gets over to West Yorkshire, I decided it was probably wiser to base my own novel in more familiar territory. My Mr Rochester’s home, Moreland Hall, is therefore located near the fictional village of Hasedale, somewhere around the real Glaisdale/Egton/Grosmont area.

Most of my books are based in or around the Yorkshire Moors, and I’ve built up quite a network of fictional villages and towns similar to real-life ones. Central to this fictional region is the market town of Helmston, which was inspired by Helmsley. I moved Helmston further north than Helmsley actually is, nudging it closer to Robin Hood’s Bay, the inspiration for Kearton Bay. Orbiting Helmston are various fictional villages, such as Bramblewick, Farthingdale, Thornley Beck and Hasedale—all inspired by real places. I mention one or more of these villages in each of my books (apart from the Skimmerdale books, which are located in the Yorkshire Dales), and I also mention York and Whitby frequently, to anchor the stories in a real location.

Another new place makes its debut in Resisting Mr Rochester—Newarth. It’s inspired by the main street in Haworth. I pictured the quaint little shops and cafés, and the pub at the top of the hill. I named the pub in Newarth The Cock and Bull, as a tribute to Branwell Brontë’s favourite Black Bull, the inn he frequented, where you can still find his favourite chair. Newarth is the birthplace of my heroine, Cara Truelove, who is a true child of the moors. All Cara wants to do is go back there and be in the place she loves. Home.

The best holiday I ever had was in Whitby. The sun shone all week, and I had my fifteenth birthday there. Every day, Dad would devise a different walk for us, and with cries of “Follow the pathfinder”, he would lead us off on our travels. We discovered so many beautiful places that week, and I made my first visit to Robin Hood’s Bay—setting eyes for the very first time on the place that would one day mean so much to me. Such happy memories of a very special time in my life ensures that I consider the area my second home. I can definitely relate to Cara’s longing.

When my own children were little, we would often take them for days out on and around the Moors. Goathland, Sandsend, Staithes, Pickering, Hutton-le-Hole and Thornton-le-Dale were other favourites.

The villages are so stunningly pretty, and the scenery so breathtaking, that they make the perfect locations for my novels. Plus, I have a great reason to visit often. Research! That’s what I tell my husband, anyway. 😊

Thank you, Sharon! I feel a Yorkshire trip coming on… soon, hopefully.

Here’s the blurb for Resisting Mr Rochester:

Cara Truelove has always been a romantic, burying her head in books and dreaming of being swept off her feet by her very own Brontë hero. When she was a gullible teenager, she believed boyfriend Seth to be a modern-day brooding Heathcliff. Fourteen years later, when Seth has proved to be more like Homer Simpson, Cara vows never to fall in love again, and turns her back on romance for good.

Leaving Seth behind, Cara secures a job as nanny at Moreland Hall on the Yorkshire Moors, but is shocked to discover her new employer is none other than the tall, dark, and disturbingly handsome Mr Rochester.

Her resolve to be more level-headed is soon tested when strange things begin to happen at Moreland Hall. Why is Mr Rochester’s mother hidden away upstairs? What are the strange noises she hears from the attic? Why is the housekeeper so reluctant to leave her on her own? And where is Mr Rochester’s mysterious wife?

As events unfold, Cara knows she must keep a cool head, curb her imagination – and resist Mr Rochester at all costs. After all, one Brontë hero in a lifetime is more than enough for any woman. Two would be downright greedy.

Sharon Booth wrote her first book when she was ten. It was about a boarding school that specialised in ballet, and, given that she’d never been to boarding school and hadn’t a clue about ballet, it’s probably a good thing that no copy of this masterpiece survives.

She is the author of six novels, and has also written for The People’s Friend.
Sharon lives in East Yorkshire, with her husband and their dog. She is one tenth of The Write Romantics, and a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.
She has a love/hate relationship with chocolate, is a devoted Whovian, and is shamefully prone to all-consuming crushes on fictional heroes.

You can find out more about Sharon and her books on her website, Facebook,  Twitter, and Amazon.

 

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Holiday superlatives…

It’s summer holiday time, everyone’s favourite season. We have sunshine (hopefully), we have freedom – so what’ll we remember most about summer ’17?? Some of my past hols have been more memorable than others – for various reasons. A small selection:

Best childhood holiday:
That would be the first year we went to Cornwall, when I was seven or eight. To a child used to the beaches of the Clyde coast, Newquay was a revelation. Cliffs! Beaches with caves! And that sea; those waves… And it was hot, too. Decades later, I still remembered the feeling of complete happiness you only ever have as a child.

Wettest holiday:
This could also be worst holiday; it wasn’t just the weather, though it rained virtually all day, every day. We were in Silloth, in the north of England, and I was about fourteen. I’d been allowed to bring a friend, which was the good part. The less good part was the weather and the fact that, back then, there was little for fourteen-year-olds to do in the area on rainy days. We spent a lot of time raising our eyes heavenwards… That was the year my mother bought a huge box of incredibly dry plain biscuits in mistake for cream ones, as well as a bottle of disgusting green syrup for us kids to drink. It wasn’t all bad, though – that holiday provided us with a lifetime of memories to laugh at!

Best teenage holiday:
I spent part of every teen summer on the lovely Isle of Arran, Scotland, with friends. It was amazing. The family owned a tiny cottage (which had once been a cow shed). We cooked with calor gas, and the only running water was cold. The loo was outside, 20m down a sloping path – murder when you had to get up in the night and it was black dark and raining. And it was quite simply the best place ever. The view was – and is – out of this world.


First holiday abroad:
That was the year I was seventeen, and my friend and I went on a youth exchange trip to Erlangen, near Nuremberg in Germany. We were with a crowd of about twenty other youngsters from all over Glasgow, and we drove there from Glasgow in a Parks of Hamilton bus, going through Belgium on the way. We stayed in the youth hostel (in those days it was girls on one side, boys on the other and Rottweilers in between…) and it was my first taste of continental sunshine and hearing a foreign language all around me.

Best adult holiday: I couldn’t possibly choose, so I’ll just point you to last year’s holiday with John Lennon and the upside down horse….

Over the next few weeks we’re having a handful of people visit the blog with posts about books set in different places. Some of the photos are amazing – I’ve collected a whole list of new ‘must-visit’ destinations! I’ll be back around the end of July, hopefully with lots to share about summer ’17 – have a good one!

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Book Lovers’ Tag… (followed by very exciting book news)

Here’s a fun Q&A idea I saw recently on Shelley Wilson’s blog.
Below are my reading habits, good ones, bad ones, and downright ugly ones. What are yours?

Do you have a specific place for reading?
In trains, in bed, on the sofa, on the balcony with a nice glass of chilled white wine, and my feet up (summer only).

Bookmarks or random pieces of paper?
I mostly read on kindle now, but when I do have a ‘real’ book, I use a bookmark of some kind. This could be a proper bookmark, or something that comes to hand, like a coaster or a pen.

Can you just stop anywhere or must it be at the end of a chapter?
I usually read to the end of a section break, though I’ve been known to fall asleep in the middle of just anywhere.

Do you eat or drink while reading?
In trains and on sofas and balconies, yes. Coffee, biscuits, wine, crisps, sometimes lunch.

Music or TV while reading?
Heck, no. Unless someone else puts it on. Quietly.

One book at a time or several?
I used to have about four on the go, but that was back in the day, before I was a published writer – I had so much more TIME to read then.

Do you prefer to read at home or elsewhere?
I don’t mind, but it has to be quietish.

Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?
A book is there to be read – if breaking the spine is the only way to make it a comfortable experience, then I break the spine without batting an eyelash. Exceptions: my own books. There are limits…

Read out loud or silently?
The only books I read out loud nowadays are the ones I’m writing, when I’m trying to work out what sounds best, and occasionally I read at book events. I used to read to my children when they were small – I loved doing that.

Do you write in your books?
Very rarely, but if I ever had to for some reason, I would. Possible exceptions: My own books. 🙂

Do you read ahead or skip pages?
If I find myself skipping bits it’s usually a sign I’m not enjoying the book, and then I stop reading it. Reading time is too precious to spend on something I’m not enjoying. But – I never read the ending first.

The End. If anyone fancies doing this too, consider yourself tagged!

Book News: I’m delighted to have signed another contract with Bloodhound Books. Death Wish will be out later this year, and I’ll be able to share the cover image with you soon. Watch this space!

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River…

I’ve always lived near water. In Glasgow, we have the Clyde, and nowhere in Scotland is hugely far from the sea. (Insert horror memories of learning to swim in a North Sea fed pool in St Andrews.) Arriving in Switzerland in the 80s, I was pleased to be living so close to another lovely river. I took one look at the oddly green waters of the Aare swirling through Olten, and I knew I was going to be right at home there.

I wasn’t aware of it then, but the Aare would be in and out of my life for years.
It rises in the Bernese Alps and winds down through the Haslital. When the boys were small we spent several autumn holidays there, so the Aare is in my memories of many of the places we visited in those days.

Just past Meiringen (Sherlock Holmes fights to the death with Professor Moriarty near here) the Aare expands into Lake Brienz…

…then passes Interlaken and flows into Lake Thun. At the town of Thun it moves northwards, a river again.

And on to Berne, where it flows right through the centre of the old town.

On it goes through western Switzerland, in and out of Lake Biel, and northwards…

…through Solothurn…

…and Olten (see top photo) and on towards the border of Switzerland and Germany, where it flows into the Rhine. At 280 km, the Aare isn’t a long river – but it packs a lot in.

Book News: It’s been a fabulous week for Baby Dear, doing very well on both sides of the Atlantic and hitting number 13 in category Crime – a large category so I’m really pleased with that.
And – I’ll have some very exciting new book news to share soon! 🙂

 

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Summer…

At long last we’re getting shorts and t-shirts weather here in N.E. Switzerland, and it’s lovely. Breakfast on the balcony overlooking the woods, birds singing and wasps buzzing – okay, maybe I could do without the buzzing wasps. Here’s a sunshine pic of the woods today, at 6.42 a.m. exactly.


Even sunnier was my mood yesterday, when I was compiling a list of crime writers, and came across my own book at number 9 in the hot new releases chart on Amazon US. Baby Dear is doing very nicely on both sides of the Atlantic – big thanks to everyone who’s helped.

One thing we could use is a few more customer reviews, so if you’ve enjoyed the book and would like to leave a review, I’d be very grateful. On the UK site (and I imagine in the US too), there’s no word limit, meaning a review can be as short as one word long. The more customer reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it – it all helps!

Baby Dear and I are over on Helen Pollard’s blog today – have a quick look here. Helen has a new release coming up too, in her Little French Guesthouse series. It sounds like a lovely summery read! Definitely one for the balcony with a glass of chilled white wine…

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Come back, Madame – all is forgiven…

Remember your French class at school? I do. At least, I remember the class. I sat beside one of our six Annes, with two others in front, and we had Roddy up the back who kept us all amused with clever remarks… What I don’t remember much of is the actual French, which is a great pity. This week, I’ve wished a couple of times I had Madame at my right elbow.

 

We had two happy book events last week here in N.E. Switzerland. Tuesday saw the publication of Baby Dear (thank you, Bloodhound Books!), and like most new mothers, at first I only had eyes for my new-born. When I took a moment to look at the big wide world again, I saw a small girl in a blue and white dress, staring out at the cold, cold sea… Olivia.

The French edition of The Cold Cold Sea has finished its year in the French book club it was in, has been given a brand new cover by its publisher, Presses de la Cité, and is available as a regular purchase.

 

 

It’s lovely to see my book out and about, even if I don’t understand what people are tweeting about it. Wish I’d paid more attention back in the day, in room 52…
A couple of people have posted photos of my book in different places, too – here’s one in Paris, by French blogger Karine Fléjo, who kindly agreed to me using it here.

My book, in Paris. Wow.

 

As for Baby Dear, we are just past the middle of the blog tour, so I’ll be posting more about that when it’s over, but I’ll say again – THANK YOU, to all the amazing bloggers who have given their time and a corner of their blog to my baby. High spot of the week was reaching 18 in the Crime category on Amazon UK – a big category, so I’m delighted with that.

 

I’ve drunk quite a lot of Prosecco this week, but hey – I can celebrate my baby, can’t I? And my new small girl…

 

 

 

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Happy birthday, Baby Dear…

A very happy birthday to my sixth book! It’s been quite some week in N.E. Switzerland – I’ve had a birthday, Mother’s Day, and now a book launch. We’ll be celebrating in style until the weekend at least, so I’ll raise a virtual glass to my book right here!

 

A few book details:
Setting – somewhere in central Scotland – the fictional town of Bridgehead.
Characters – Caro, who wants a baby. Sharon, who isn’t sure. Julie, who loves hers.
And Jeff, who is terrified…
Availability – Right here.
Cover image – see below.

Again, huge thanks to all concerned, especially the amazing Bloodhound Books team! xxx

 

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