Tag! You’re It!

At Romaniac HQ, we’ve been discussing author tags.

Without turning into Violet Elizabeth, (Just William), I would really like one. The problem is, I’m yet to come up with something that captures the overriding sense of what, or how I write. It needs to be catchy, relatable and relevant.IMG_6365

Truth or Dare? has been cited as ‘Romance with bite’, ‘A love story with oomph’, and ‘A love story without the soft edges’. In one review, the style is likened to one of my all-time favourite authors, Jodi Picoult. I do enjoy a gritty, thought-provoking read. I love stories that challenge perception. Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You is a fine example.

First and foremost, I write romance, mainly coastal, but having completed two novels, and planned my third, I can see trends appearing. Family relationships are extremely important to the story, I enjoy strong female leads, and at the book’s heart, there is always an issue. It’s dark in Truth or Dare?, a shade lighter in Follow Me, and pitch black in What Doesn’t Kill TOD_FRONT largeYou (book 3). But … I love a happy ending. I like all the loose ends tied neatly and tucked away, and I believe good must ultimately defeat evil. What I hope to achieve is to guide the characters and the readers through the cold shadows, out into the brilliant sunshine.

Romance by torchlight? Hmm.

As I continue to ponder, I would love to see your author tags and learn how they came about. Or perhaps it’s not something you find necessary. Should the book do all the talking?

Tag! You’re it!

Laura x


Life in a Book

Some stories, whether in novel, song, poem or film, get right beneath my skin. They’re the ones that stay with me.

Paloma Faith
Paloma Faith

I’m obsessed at the moment with songs from Paloma Faith. I made mention of it on my site last week. It’s possible you’ve caught me posting on Facebook too. I’ve listened to both her albums for some time, but it’s now only that I’m relating to the lyrics. Is it that I’m paying proper attention to the words or that the songs are relevant to this point of my life? Or have my life experiences been such that I now understand more?

Recently, I read Sue Moorcroft’s Dream A Little Dream, and aspects of the story resonated within. It was the same with Me Before You, Jojo Moyes.When I read these books, their subject matter was extremely pertinent to what was happening in my life, and their effect on me was made all the more powerful by the skill and care with which the books were written.Sue Moorcroft DALD

The first book to make me cry was Love and Devotion, Erica James. If I remember rightly, I read it not long after I’d had my second child. I won’t give away the plot, but the questions the book raises, and the fact the tragedy that befalls the children in the story is not outside the realms of possibilty, affected me greatly.

Jodi Picoult and Laura.
Jodi Picoult and Laura.

My Sister’s Keeper, Jodi Picoult, was the second book that made me weep.

I was watching Home Alone with Child Number Two a few days ago, and even though I warned him I would cry at the end of the film, he was still surprised by my emotion. ‘Really, Mum?’ he asked, eyebrows as high as the Empire State. ‘Really,’ I replied, as Gajitman passed across another Kleenex.

Have you ever watched Beaches? Yep. Makes me cry every time. Sound of Music does too. And I know why. It’s because I understand the parents’ point of view, and feel for the children. Since having my two, my tissue expenditure has increased ten-fold.

So, which books, films, songs or poems get beneath your skin? Which make you sob your heart out? Why are we affected so much by stories?

Laura x

Me Before You. A Romaniac Review.

Me Before You – Jojo Moyes.

I had read such good reviews of Me Before You, I was intrigued as to how this book achieved a universal ‘must read’ status. I followed a link on Facebook to a video interview with Jojo Moyes, hosted by Richard and Judy, which I watched with intent. I found the author an engaging and thoughtful guest, which served to pique my interest further.

The love story revolves around Will Traynor, a quadriplegic, and his reluctant carer, Louisa Clark, a woman of twenty-six, who has been launched on her unexpected caring path, having lost her job at a local tearoom. It is the success of the rival tearoom at the tourist hotspot, the town’s castle, which has brought her to this point. Ironically, the castle is owned by the wealthy Traynors.

Will, a once active and virile man, is frustrated with the life he now leads, the majority of his body paralysed following an accident. When Louisa realises what he has planned for the future, she enters into an unlikely and difficult arrangement with Will’s mother, in the hope Will can be persuaded to change his mind, but Louisa has a little less than six months in which to do so. The situation is further complicated by her growing affection for her boss.

Will Louisa succeed? Will the path of true love take them to freedom or lead them down a dead end?

The first thing that struck me was the choice of name for the hero – Will – an apt name. He is wilful.

The second thing was how quickly I became absorbed in the story. It is well structured and flows with the grace of the Danube.

Finally, I noted the hero is not typical of a contemporary romance; for the most part, he is in a wheelchair and has no desire to engage with people.

But this is the story of life and the wonders and challenges it holds and Jojo Moyes handles the complex subjects with great sensitivity, humour and understanding.

I thank her for having the courage to write it and I applaud her skill in delivering it.

This is the first of Jojo Moyes I have read, but it will not be the last.

Me Before You will remain a very special book.

Laura x

Gorgeous book – I loved it and found it heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time. I thought the characters were beautifully portrayed. I fell in love with Will Traynor on Louisa’s birthday – for the present he gives her and his line to Patrick, Louisa’s boyfriend, as he leaves. That was the moment I stopped seeing the wheelchair and began seeing a romantic hero.  It was probably around the same time I realised this book isn’t really about Louisa saving Will, it’s about Will saving Louisa.

Vanessa x

Naturally, we do not wish to give away the ending, but we would love to know your thoughts on Me Before You?