Meet Me At Wisteria Cottage, Teresa Morgan’s New Novel

We’re delighted to welcome Teresa F Morgan onto the blog today, to talk about her latest novel Meet Me At Wisteria Cottage. Over to you, Teresa …

 

Thank you so much for inviting me on your blog today, and letting me talk about how Meet Me At Wisteria Cottage all started.

I was walking home one day, probably from dropping the boys off at school, when this scene just popped into my head. I envisaged a hysterical woman being thrown over a man’s shoulder into a fireman’s carry to calm her down or shut her up. (I have been put into a fireman’s carry, but that’s another story).

So then, I had to think about why she’d be hysterical, and why would a firefighter be there, or was it something he used to do…

I didn’t want Harry to be a firefighter, as had already pictured him as a landscape gardener, taking his shirt off frequently. But I liked the idea of him used to being one, troubled with PTSD he’d had to go into something less stressful.

I wanted Harry to be a reluctant hero, but his firefighter quality wouldn’t let that happen, and to be honest, when I came back to edit Meet Me At Wisteria Cottage, I loved Harry, so I hope you do, too.

In the past, I’ve been asked if my books are a series and I’ve answered that they are stand alone novels. However, while writing Meet Me At Wisteria Cottage I found a way to link them. I’ve featured the same areas, hence putting them into the same ‘universe’.  This idea was inspired by Sue Moorcroft, one of my favourite authors, who writes most of her novels in her made up area of Middledip.

Knowing this novel needed to be based in Cornwall, I decided to revisit Tinners Bay which I created for Plus One is a Lucky Number. Tinners Bay is based on the seaside town I holidayed frequently at; Polzeath. It enabled me to revisit old characters too, from Plus One is a Lucky Number, but I’ll let you work out who they are.

Enjoy the romance.

Meet Me at Wisteria Cottage

After her house is set on fire and her love life is left in tatters, Maddy Hart can’t believe her luck when a friend offers her the temporary haven of Wisteria Cottage. Overlooking the turquoise blue waters of the Cornish coast, the fresh air feels like a fresh start for her and her broken heart.

Peeking out of the cosy cottage windows, Maddy’s surprised to see her gorgeous but insufferable neighbour Harry Tudor has been employed to landscape the garden. But as the wisteria winding its way around the cottage begins to bloom, an unlikely friendship starts to blossom…

Click HERE for Teresa’s Amazon Author Page

Summer in Tintagel – Amanda James tells all.

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The Romaniacs are delighted to have the very talented Amanda James reclining on our sofa today. Good morning Mandy, and welcome to HQ – Jan’s hoovered the Romaniac cat in readiness for your visit, Sue’s arranged the flowers, Laura, Debs, Vanessa and Lucie are tuning up for a welcome chorus and I’ve just made a fresh batch of scones, so settle back and relax. Jam? Clotted cream?

Mandy: Oooh lovely! Can I have cream and jam please?

Celia: Absolutely. I had a feeling you’d be celebrating in style because you’ve got exciting news for our blog spot and an ebook giveaway as a bonus. Tell us about the launch of your fabulous new novel.

Mandy: Well…ishst crawled Shummer  in… Phew sorry about that, not a good idea to speak through a mouthful of scone. Sorry, Celia? I have cream on my nose? Really? Gawd, thanks for the tissue. So glad we’re not on videocam or whatever it’s called. Okay, it’s called Summer in Tintagel and came out a few days ago. (Ed: It’s out today, folks 😀 ) As you can see from the blurb it’s full of mystery, secrets, love and a search for the truth. I am doing a blog tour and chatting nonsense… no, I mean telling people really interesting stuff about my life and writing. I’m giving an ebook away at the end, so please do try to keep awake. Celia, you’re snoring.

Celia: So, let’s go back in time. How long have you been writing and what started you off?

Mandy: I’ve been writing for a hundred years, or since I was about eight. I asked my parents for a typewriter for Christmas and I never looked back. I was published the next year and made the bestseller list. Okay, yes, I do realise that I might be exaggerating. So the truth is I wrote short stories and poems for years and years and years, but never did anything with them. For some reason I decided that I would take my writing a little bit more seriously around 2002 and eventually had a short story published in 2010. So it didn’t happen overnight as you can see. Since then I have had four novels published, Summer in Tintagel is the fifth .

Celia: My Kindle is waiting for it excitedly – I’ve loved all the others. Thinking more about your writing process now; what/where are your favourite places to write?

Mandy: My dream place to write would be in an old beach house by the side of the ocean. You know the ones one stilts that are found in California? The noonday sun would have peeled some of the paint from the outside and it everything would smell of salt air and hot sand. I would sit on the veranda in a huge straw hat with a cold glass of wine to hand and occasionally raise my head from the laptop to watch a pelican or two glide by… In reality I write in the back bedroom but I can see the ocean six-miles away on a clear day!

Celia: And what are you reading for pleasure at the moment?

Mandy: I’m reading a book that I have always meant to, but never got around to.  I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou is just wonderful. It’s autobiographical and set in segregated Arkansas in the 1930s. I find it quite extraordinary how a poor black girl, more or less abandoned by her parents growing up in such times managed to achieve everything she did in her long life. The writing is stunningly beautiful and the story extremely moving, yet so inspirational. I’m really enjoying it and would recommend it to absolutely anyone. In fact, everyone go out and buy this book now!

Celia: How would your ideal writing day go? Talk us through it…

Mandy: Ideal? Okay, I wake very early and write for three hours, then I have a top chef cook me a very extravagant breakfast, after which I have a snooze on the veranda – see above. Then I write for another three hours and then go off for a walk on the beach. The rest of my day is filled by witty conversation with my friends and family, and to finish, a lovely barbeque on the beach at which everyone drinks champagne, swims in the sea and dances to live music under the light of an unfeasibly bright moon.

Celia: Just getting the sausages sizzling ready to join you. That sounds amazing! Picking up on the live music part, I know live gigs have been happening a lot around you lately – which bands/singers have inspired your writing and do you like to write with music in the background?

Mandy: Yes, I have been very lucky to see some excellent live music lately. Coldplay at Wembley, Tom Jones at the Eden Project and Jools Holland and his band in Falmouth. The highlight was the mighty Coldplay though – they make everyone so happy with their music so much so that you can see pure joy on every face. Having said that I didn’t count all 90,000 faces in Wembley – that would have been impossible. I have also seen Paul Simon a few times and find his music equally inspiring but in a different way. One of the first huge influences on my life and therefore my writing was David Bowie. He will be sadly missed by people of my age group and some younger folk too, I think. No, I don’t like music on in the background while I’m working – isn’t that odd?

Celia: I’m with you on that one. So, what’s your next ambition?

Mandy: To keep on writing and for my endeavours to be well received. Of course, I would eventually like to make best seller list and have the overnight success that in my case would have been a hundred years in the making.

Celia: I can already see your name at the top of that list alongside all the ones who’ve been hanging around there waiting for you to turn up. Speaking of other writers, which authors or books influenced you to start (and continue) reading as a child?

Mandy: I loved all the Enid Blyton ones, especially The Famous Five as they went to Cornwall, or perhaps it was Devon…anyway they had huge adventures. I wanted to be George as she was so feisty and gave the boys a run for their money. The Lord of The Rings was introduced to me when I was 13 and my goodness it was a revelation. I adored it and got totally lost in Tolkien’s world.

Celia: And so – this will probably be tricky – who are your three all time favourite authors?

Mandy: Yes it is a bit tricky…Okay, Dean Koontz because he’s a phenomenal writer and took the time to write to me three times, Charles Dickens because he always roots for the little guy and Tolkien because of the above.

Celia: Okay, now for some quick-fire questions so we can really get to know you;

Champagne or beer? Yes please…Oh I have to pick one? Champagne.

Seaside or mountains? Seaside.

Log fire or hot tub? Hot tub. Just off the veranda in my beach house…

Eric or Ernie? Eric. Loved that guy – he can still make me laugh, even though I know what’s coming.

Ant or Dec?  Neither. Can’t abide them.

Chocolate or cheese?  Cheese.

Dawn or dusk?  Dawn.

Heels or flats? In my head, heels. In reality – flats.

Dancing or swimming? Dancing.

Walking or running? Walking, my knees won’t take the running bit nowadays.

Jeans or frocks?  Jeans. Frocks for special occasions.

Home or away? Home, as Cornwall is just wonderful. Wouldn’t say no to away though!

Celia: Thanks for being with us today, Mandy – and just for being so interesting, you can have the last scone.

Mandy: Thanks, for having me Celia! I have really enjoyed it…and by the way, you have jam on your lip.

Celia: Oh, cheers! Pass the tissues over here, please. Hey, we forgot to give the details of the ebook giveaway competition thing…

*Mandy has promised the lucky winner of our competition a digital copy of Summer in Tintagel, hot off the press, as it were. All you have to do is tell us who is your all-time favourite author, and why – in no more than three sentences.*

Here’s some background information about Amanda James and her new book.

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Bio:

Amanda James has written since she was a child, but never imagined that her words would be published. Then in 2010, after many twists and turns, the dream of becoming a writer came true.

Amanda has written many short stories and has four novels currently published. A Stitch in Time was published in April of 2013 by http://www.choclitpublishing.co.uk and has met with great success.

Also with Choc Lit are Somewhere Beyond the Sea and Dancing in the Rain (March 2014)

Cross Stitch (December 2014)

Her latest novel is Summer in Tintagel – Urbane Publications and is out now.

Amanda’s blog – http://mandykjameswrites.blogspot.com/

Twitter – @akjames61

Summer at Tintagel

BLURB:

We all have secrets……

Ambitious journalist Rosa Fernley has been asked to fulfil her grandmother Jocelyn’s dying wish. Jocelyn has also passed on a secret – in the summer of 1968, fleeing from the terror of a bullying husband, she visited the mysterious Tintagel Castle. Jocelyn wasn’t seeking love, but she found it on the rugged clifftops in the shape of Jory, a local man as enigmatic and alluring as the region itself. But she was already married, and knew her husband would never let her find happiness and peace in Jory’s arms.

Now as her days are nearing their end, she begs Rosa to go back to Tintagel, but is unwilling, or unable, to tell her why. Rosa is reluctant – she has a job in London, a deadline that won’t wait and flights of fancy are just not in her nature. Nevertheless, she realises it might be the last thing she will do for her beloved grandmother and agrees to go.

Once in Tintagel, Rosa is challenged to confront secrets of her own, as shocking events threaten to change everything she has ever believed about herself and her family. She also meets a guide to the castle, Talan, a man who bears a striking resemblance to Jory.

Will the past remain cloaked in tragedy, sadness and the pain of unrequited love? Or can Rosa find the courage and strength to embrace the secrets of the past, and give hope to the future?

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Summer-Tintagel-Amanda-James-ebook/dp/B01H9BS1JE?ie=UTF8&ref_=asap_bc

Summer in Tintagel eBook: Amanda James: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store

www.amazon.co.uk

Summer in Tintagel eBook: Amanda James: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store

 

Summer in Tintagel (Urbane Publications July 2016)

Cross Stitch (Choc Lit December 2014)

Somewhere Beyond the Sea ( Choc Lit April 2014)

Dancing in the Rain (Choc Lit March 2014)

A Stitch in Time (Choc Lit) – http://www.choc-lit.com/

Righteous Exposure (Crooked Cat) – http://www.crookedcatbooks.com/

Blog – http://mandykjameswrites.blogspot.co.uk/

 

 

 

 

 

Find Out Friday with Juliet Greenwood.

A Romaniac Interview with Juliet Greenwood.

Good Friday morning to you, Juliet, and welcome to our blog. It was great to meet you at this year’s Romantic Novelists’ Association Conference where your love of nature was even more apparent in person. What did you think of the teaching garden at the Penrith site?

Thank you, lovely Romaniacs. It was great to meet you too. Sorry I couldn’t make it to your famous kitchen parties – I was with you in spirit!

I adored the teaching garden at Penrith. I love my garden at home, and I’ve recently installed a polytunnel, so to find the unexpected gem of a horticultural garden at Penrith was wonderful. I enjoyed every minute of the conference, but there was so much to take in it was great to be able to disappear for a few minutes into the peace and quiet of the gardens. I loved the little meadows of wildflowers amongst the ponds and the cottage garden feel of the beds and those polytunnels full of produce and surrounded by herbs were just to die for. It was a perfect place to sit and read and absorb everything – and take notes for my own garden!

How are you taking advantage of the late burst of summer?

Well, I suppose my answer should be that I’m catching up with my garden. I’ve done a bit of tidying, so it doesn’t totally disgrace me, but I’m making the most of the sun by going out and seeing other people’s gardens. The sort of grand ones that belong to castles and stately homes. I live in the Snowdonia National Park, where people come from all over the world on holiday to see the sights. It’s really easy to take where you live for granted and not make the most of it, so that’s what I’m doing now. I’m going out with friends, being a tourist at home! So far we’ve spent a day at Portmeirion, which is one of my favourite places of all, and visited Gwydir Castle and the lovely grounds at Glynllifon. I’m planning a trip round Anglesey next, if we get any more sun, and then probably back to Portmeirion again…

In what ways do the seasons affect you? Which inspires you the most and why?

Now that I live halfway up a mountain, I’m so much more aware of the seasons than when I was in London. Having a collie, who needs lots of exercise whatever the weather, helps. I’m so glad I live in a place where the seasons give a rhythm and a pattern to the year. Winter is time for log fires and beavering away at the next book. It doesn’t take much for us to be cut off up here. A bit of snow and the cars stay put. Whichever way you go it’s steeply downhill – and we’ve all seen too many cars that have gracefully slid into stone walls to try. My day job’s office is based by the sea, when it never snows, but like most employers round here they take a look at the hills and know I’ll be working from home for a few days! Spring is always a miracle. I feel full of optimism and energy and buzzing with new ideas. And summer – when we have one – is a great time to be out enjoying the countryside and the sea and relaxing with friends. I love summer evenings. That’s when my garden is great for parties or for just sitting listening to the sounds of the neighbours (the ones that aren’t sheep) enjoying being outside. But my favourite season is autumn. I love its richness mixed with fragility, the crystal clear quality of the light, and the sense that every day is precious and must never be taken for granted, for tomorrow everything might be encased in ice. Exhilarating!

You post amazing landscape pictures on your Facebook page. Have these images sparked ideas or are you simply sharing the sheer beauty of the natural world?

Thank you, I’m glad you enjoy them! I’m really lucky to live in a beautiful part of North Wales, with the mountains on one side and the sea on the other, and a few ruined castles thrown in for good measure. I studied photography when I lived in London and the best advice my tutor gave me was to always keep a small camera in your bag because you never know. I love sharing the unexpected things I come across while on the daily dog walk, like a stunning sunset or finding an octopus on Llanfairfechan beach. I do find the images sparking ideas too. They creep into my books when I least expect them. It was an early morning walk on a beach in Cornwall that inspired one of the central scenes in ‘Eden’s Garden’. Even though I didn’t know it at the time.

Please tell us about your latest book, Eden’s Garden.

Eden’s Garden is a time-shift, based partly now and partly in Victorian times. It follows two women, living a hundred years apart, each trying to find their own true path in life and in love, despite the conventions and expectations that still surround us as women. At the story’s heart is a fading mansion with a neglected garden that holds the key to a mystery and an extraordinary secret. I loved writing the novel and I was so excited when Eden’s Garden was chosen by the Welsh Books Council as Welsh Book of the Month for May this year.

How did it feel when Eden’s Garden hit the top 100 best sellers Amazon list, and then continued to climb?

Gobsmacked! There’s no other word for it. I’m an unknown with a small publisher and it never crossed my mind that it would go anywhere near the bestsellers, except in my dreams. I was scrabbling around hysterically trying to work out how to do a screenshot when it got to 97, so it was very exciting when it crept up further and further and ended up in the top 50 of the Historical Fiction kindle charts. I’m still cheering inside!

The book is based in Cornwall, Wales and London. What are your connections to these places?

It was great to set a book in my three favourite locations. Wales is my home and my passion. Although I wasn’t born here, I’ve been visiting since I was six months old and I’ve lived here for the past twenty years.

I love London. I’ve always had family there and I studied and worked there for nearly ten years. It still feels like home when I go back for visits. Plus Dickens is one of my favourite authors. I love his depictions of the hustle and bustle of London streets. It was great to spend time in Victorian London in my head. 

Cornwall and Devon are some of my favourite locations. I’ve been visiting since I was a teenager. When I was younger I walked the coastal path with friends, carrying tents on our backs. The last time I chose a more civilised mode of camping, with Emily, my ‘Romahome’ mini campervan. Emily has since succumbed to old age, so next time it’s just going to have to be a cottage on the Lizard. I can’t wait!

Is the garden in your novel influenced in any way by your cottage garden in Wales?

The garden in Plas Eden is on a much grander scale of course, but my cottage garden was a wonderful place of healing for me when I was ill for a year with a severe virus and ended up with M.E.  I think it was that year when I hit rock bottom and had to rebuild my life, when I was sitting in my garden grown wild, that the first idea for ‘Eden’s Garden’ began to take shape.

If you had to describe you book as a flower, which one would you choose and why?

I think it would have to be a forget-me-not: deceptively delicate, an emblem of memories, both cultivated and wild. Oh, and it spreads like wildfire. (Here’s hoping…)

What have been the best and worst moments of your writing career?

My best moments were working with my wonderful editor, Janet Thomas, at Honno. It was the most incredible learning experience, one that stretched me to the limit and made me so much more professional in my approach. I’ve never worked so hard in my life, but it was also exhilarating, feeling that I was being pushed to take my writing to another level. Utterly life-changing. And a total privilege, knowing that someone had seen potential in my writing and was giving me that rare feedback it’s so hard to come by. When I did something and I could see that it worked, then it was the greatest buzz of all!

As for the worst. Mmm. There are so many to choose from. I think the very worst was in my early thirties when I decided it was time to grow up and forget the dream as it was never going to happen, and I needed to settle down to a proper job instead. It’s no coincidence that was the time I became really ill. Which, ironically, was what set me off on the journey to becoming a published writer. So you never know.

Have you any future plans you would like to share?

I’m busily working on my next book, which is based around three women during the First World War. It’s getting a bit nail biting at the moment, so I can’t wait to get back to it every day. My alter ego, Heather Pardoe, is also busy writing a serial for ‘The People’s Friend’, which is based in the Welsh Gold Rush – and yes, there really was one!

Thank you so much for visiting our blog today, Juliet. Good luck with the continued sales of Eden’s Garden.

Thank you for having me. I’ve had a wonderful time. I feel I’ve joined the Romaniacs for one great party!

My website:    http://www.julietgreenwood.co.uk/

Facebook:        http://www.facebook.com/juliet.greenwood

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/julietgreenwood

Amazon link to Eden’s Garden: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Edens-Garden-Juliet-Greenwood/dp/1906784353/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1347440140&sr=8-1

Eden’s Garden

Sometimes you have to run away, sometimes you have to come home.

2011 – Carys agrees, with mixed feelings, to look after her mother after a fall. This decision unsettles everything – her job, her plans, her relationship with Joe. Once home she is drawn back into village life, into her family history hidden in the attic, and into the history of Plas Eden, the ramshackle great house that was so much part of her childhood. Where, at 18 she forced herself to say goodbye to David Meredith. How will she feel when they meet again?

1898 – Ann, destitute, stands on London Bridge. She remembers her last visit to London, a spoilt aristocratic bride, sure of the power of her youth and beauty. Now she is running from everything she trusted. Is the river her only option, or will the Meredith Charity Hospital hide her?

Two women struggling with love, family duty, long buried secrets, and their own creative ambitions. But over a hundred years ago, Ann left a trail, through North Wales, Cornwall and London, that may help Carys find her true path. What is the secret of the statues in the garden?

Juliet’s Bio:

Juliet lives in a traditional Welsh cottage halfway between the romantic Isle of Anglesey and the beautiful mountains and ruined castles of Snowdonia.

After studying English at Lancaster University and King’s College, London, Juliet worked in a variety of jobs, from running a craft stall at Covent Garden Market to teaching English.

Juliet began writing seriously about ten years ago, after a severe viral illness left her with debilitating ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for years. Juliet always says that M.E. was the worst, and the best, thing that ever happened to her. On one hand, it sent her from being able to walk up mountains with ease to struggling to do the simplest of everyday tasks for more than a few minutes at a time. But on the other, it forced her to re-evaluate her life and her priorities. And it made her a writer.

She is now well and back to dog walking and working on her beloved garden. As well as novels under her own name, Juliet writes stories and serials for magazines as ‘Heather Pardoe’.

When not writing, Juliet works on local oral history projects, helping older people tell their stories before they are lost forever. .