The Dead Wife a Lake District Romantic Suspense from Sue Fortin

Ooh, it’s publication day for me today! THE DEAD WIFE is out in ebook, with paperback to follow in September. I’m really excited and was thinking recently about why I enjoyed writing this book so much and whilst I can’t put my finger on any one thing in particular, I did come up with a few reasons.

  • Setting – many years ago me and my husband went on a touring holiday of the Lake District on a motorbike. It was a great week despite it raining quite a bit as I remember. However, this didn’t dampen our spirits and we were both stunned by the beautiful scenery. Writing about my fictitious lake, Conmere, brought back lots of happy memories.
  • Genre – I like to read and write both contemporary romance and suspense/thrillers and over the past six years of being published have gone from contemporary romance to romantic suspense to suspense to thrillers and now I find myself back at the romantic suspense. It is my favourite genre to read and write and although The Dead Wife didn’t initially set out to be a romantic suspense, it did very quickly develop into one.
  • Theme – My books, whatever the genre, all seem to have the theme of family. It hasn’t been a conscious decision but the dynamics of families, the relationships between generations and siblings have always fascinated me. Coming from a big family and having my own children and now grandchildren, it’s very much an integral part of who I am, so I suppose it’s natural to find family and family relationships at the heart of my books.

So, with it being publication day, I’ll leave you with an excerpt of what to expect from THE DEAD WIFE. This particular part is taken from where Harry Sinclair returns back to the family home for the reopening of Conmere Resort Centre and is greeted by his older brother Dominic and their mother Pru.

Thank God you’re here. Mum was just about to send out a search party.’ Harry’s older brother, Dominic, rose from the armchair he was occupying and greeted his brother with a handshake and slap on the back.

‘He’s exaggerating. Take no notice,’ said Pru. ‘Now, I’ll make us all a coffee. Are you hungry? I can make a sandwich or get something sent through from the cafe.’

‘Coffee will do fine, thanks, Mum. I stopped on the way for something to eat,’ said Harry over the noise of the dogs, who were building themselves up into a frenzy of whining and yapping.

‘Oh, the girls are so pleased to see you,’ laughed Pru as she headed out of the room.

Harry exchanged a look with his brother. A sadistic smile spread across Dominic’s face. He looked down at the dogs and gave a swift kick to one of them, catching her bottom. The dog yelped. ‘Now clear off,’ said Dominic, holding his arm outstretched. He hustled the dogs out through the patio doors. ‘Jesus, they get on my nerves. They must be the most pampered pooches in the county.’

‘I forgot what a compassionate soul you were,’ said Harry. ‘You’d better not let Mum see you do that.’

Dominic gave a shrug. ‘Anyway, I’m glad you’re here,’ he said, walking over to the drinks tray on the walnut sideboard. ‘I wasn’t sure if we’d actually see you.’

‘Really? Why’s that?’ Harry settled himself in the wing-backed armchair by the fireplace, a favourite spot of his late father’s. Max Sinclair had always sat in that seat and woe betide anyone who had dared occupy it. Harry rested his hands on the arms and mentally gave his father a two-fingered salute. He hoped the old bastard could see him now and thathe was turning in his grave.

Dominic paused with a bottle of gin in his hand and turned to give his brother a reproachful look. ‘You really need me to spell it out? How many times have you been back to the estate since Elizabeth’s accident?’

‘I’ve been busy in France,’ said Harry, noting the uneasy roll his stomach gave.

Dominic made a scoffing noise as he returned to mixing himself a G&T. He gestured with the bottle to Harry, who shook his head. Dominic sat down on the sofa with his drink. ‘I’ll tell you how many times…three. Christmas two years ago and twice for Mum’s birthday.’

‘I’m a dutiful son,’ said Harry. ‘Like I said, I’ve been busy. Anyway, I’m here now for the grand reopening. What’s the problem?’

Harry knew what the problem was but acting ignorant somehow gave him an excuse, if only to himself. Of course, everyone knew what the real reason was for his absence but for the most part they skirted around it. Dominic, however, appeared to want to buck the trend. Harry eyed his older brother as he rested his forearms on his knees, his hands clasped around the crystal-cut tumbler.

‘Mum misses you,’ began Dominic. ‘She worries about you.’

‘She doesn’t need to,’ said Harry. ‘I’m a grown man in my thirties; I don’t need my mother clucking round me. In fact, I don’t need anyone worrying about me.’

‘Bit of a selfish attitude,’ said Dominic, swigging the G&T down.

‘She worries unnecessarily. It’s suffocating. Why do you think I moved to France?’

Dominic sat back in his seat. ‘OK, I’ll level with you.’ He gave a furtive glance towards the door. ‘This is strictly between us.’ He took a deep breath and Harry knew he wasn’t going to like what he was about to hear. He steeled himself as his brother continued.

Novel Research

It’s an exciting day for me, my third novel, THE HALF TRUTH is published today. It’s a romantic suspense, set mainly on the south coast of the UK but also in London. I had some interesting search terms when researching it, things like, Glock 26 and Russian gang tattoos but my favourite was St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

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I’ve visited St Paul’s on several occasions, the first, as a child, when my sister, my mum and I stayed with my nan for a week. (She lived in De Beuvoir Square in London, which I also used in The Half Truth.) During that week, my nan took us to St Paul’s and I loved the Whispering Gallery – my sister and I had great fun whispering messages around the walls to each other. As an adult, I’ve appreciated the beauty and splendour of the building, both the interior and exterior.  Writing those scenes brought back very fond memories.

The Half truth

Every marriage has its secrets…

Tina Bolotnikov, widowed after her husband, Sasha, is killed in a car accident, relocates back to her hometown on the south coast of the UK, to bring up her young son. Her life back in London with her adored husband is now nothing but a memory; a history to pass onto her son.

DS John Nightingale saw his partner killed in the line of duty and has made it his personal and professional quest to bring to justice the Russian gang responsible. Five years on and the killer is still free but as reports come in of Sasha Bolotnikov’s brother returning to the UK, John is tasked with tracking him down and following him to the seaside town of Littlehampton.

Tina finds herself an unwitting connection to a world she knew nothing about. She thought she knew her husband. She thought their past was the truth. But now as the investigation draws her closer to DS Nightingale, professional lines are blurred, and only he holds the key to her future.

 

United States of Love: Happy Birthday!

United States of Love … HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

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‘It was so funny and romantic … (There) was so much romance and fun going on I totally loved it! A wonderful author who I hope to read more from.’ Amazon reviewer, Angela.

It’s a year since Sue Fortin’s HarperImpulse debut, United States of Love was released, and we at Romaniac HQ wanted to wish it a fabulous 1st birthday. It’s a great, romantic read with a handsome, hot hero, and a strong heroine who has many dilemmas to overcome.

I wonder what Tex is doing to celebrate. A big hog roast in his restaurant, perhaps, or a trip home to America see his family …

 

And with Sue’s second novel, a fast-paced, gripping suspense, Closing In doing well in the charts, it’s a double celebration!

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‘I would urge anyone who enjoys a good, fast paced psychological thriller to read it – you won’t be disappointed!’ Room For Reading

Along with her novels, Sue is a contributor to Romaniac Shorts, a collection of flash fiction and short stories to suit all tastes. Her third book for HI is expected soon.

So it’s bottoms up, chin-chin and cheers.

Happy birthday, USL

xxx

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Pst … Who’s doing the bumps?

Genre and Voice Part 1 : Louise Rose-Innes

Sue : I’ve been asked quite a lot recently as to what genre my second book Closing In actually falls in, there have been mixed opinions by those who have read it as to whether it’s romance or thriller.  For me, it falls somewhere between the two, under the romantic suspense category. All this made me wonder about the placing of a book and if it’s possible to sit between genres successfully or to even write in a completely different genre. I’ve found it’s a topic that causes quite a lot of discussion and, as such, decided to ask around for other authors’ experiences and thoughts on genre and voice.

I had originally intended to do one post on this, but I received such great advice from the authors I approached,  I didn’t want to cut anything down and have it over three installments.

I’m delighted to welcome Louise Rose-Innes to the Romaniac blog today. Louise is probably most known for her romance novels, but has recently turned her hand to a more dangerous story line.

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I have a split personality. With books, I mean. My teenage reading list comprised of young adult romances, and progressed to Joanna Lindsay and Jilly Cooper fairly rapidly. In fact, I remember getting detention for reading the “naughty bits” from The Thorn Birds out loud to the boys in my tenth grade English class.

Running parallel to this was a deep-seated hunger for thriller novels. Sydney Sheldon was my all-time fave. His direct, suspense-laden style has probably influenced my writing more than any other author. Clive Cussler and James Patterson are close seconds. But then there’s also Michael Connelly and Robert Ludlum and of course the all-time spy-master, John le Carré…

Occasionally, I’ll read a Booker Prize winning novel for the literacy value, and because I feel incredibly guilty if I don’t, but other than that my personal book collection is fairly evenly spread between the romance and thriller genres.

Naturally, the same would prove to be true with my writing. When I began, I thought romance would be the easiest genre to master. I’m not convinced I was correct, but the ten years I’ve spent writing the genre have taught me a huge amount about character development, internal and external conflict and (the hardest part) how to write a good love scene. Because romances are character-driven stories, you need to understand your hero and heroine extremely well and develop them and their relationship throughout the story.

Thrillers on the other hand are primarily plot-driven. Planning is essential. All the various elements of the story have to be factored in at the right moment, from clues and red-herrings to action sequences and reveals. And this has to be done in such a way that the pace doesn’t falter, so the reader keeps turning those pages. No mean feat!

There are parallels. The lessons I learned (and am still learning) writing romance, are definitely applicable to thrillers. For instance, I found characterising my protagonist in my current thriller series fairly easy. His faults, his demons, his personal journey are all extremely well developed. The same goes for my antagonist. The depth of character that I’m able to reach in my thriller writing I attribute to the many rejection letters I got when I started writing romance. Those early submission editors saying my inner conflict wasn’t well enough thought out or my characters lacked emotional depth. Hurtful at the time, but beneficial in the long run. 🙂

My latest novel, Personal Assistance (Entangled Ignite), is a romantic suspense set in a Middle Eastern kingdom on the brink of an Arab-spring type conflict. The heroine, an employee of the Arab prince, stumbles upon a highly classified document and is now on the run for her life. With the embassy shut, the only person who can help her escape is a disgraced SAS commander with a hidden agenda. But can she trust him to get her out, or will he sacrifice her for his own ends?

Personal Assistance is available now from Amazon and other online retailers. Read the first chapter here…

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Publication Day : Closing In by Sue Fortin

 

I’m delighted that my second novel CLOSING IN is published in digital format today by HarperImpulse, with paperback  to be released 31 July 2014.

I wondered if it would feel any less exciting than the first book I had published. I have to say that it’s just as exciting, if not more. I’ve been overwhelmed by the interest and Shaz Goodwin of Fiction Addiction Book Tours has organised a fantastic book tour. My idea of a small tour, kind of, took on a life of its own as more book reviewers expressed an interest – I’m very honoured.

I have the day off from work, so will be celebrating by hanging out on social media for the most part, consuming plenty of tea and cake!

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Flight, Fight, Fawn or Freeze?

Helen has had to leave everything she’s ever known behind; her home, her family, even her own name.

Now, returning to the UK as Ellen Newman, she moves to a small coastal village, working as a nanny for Donovan, a criminal psychologist. Attractive, caring and protective, this single father and his sweet daughter are a world away from Ellen’s brutal past. She thinks she’s escaped. She thinks she’s safe.

But something’s wrong.

Strange incidents begin to plague her new family, and their house of calm is about to become one of suspicion and fear. Who can be trusted? Who is the target? Who is closing in?

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

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Google Play

iTunes

 

Thank you, as always, for all your fabulous support.

Sue 1

Sue

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Closing In : Cover Reveal

Sue Fortin author pic Jan 14I’m delighted to be able to announce that my second novel, Closing In, is to be  published by HarperImpluse, and will be released on 15 May. Initially, in digital format but paperback to follow soon afterwards.

I’ve prepared a book trailer to show you the cover and give  you an idea what Closing In is about.  So, if you have less than a minute to spare, I’d love you to take a look.

 

 

Thank you and have a great day.

Sue

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Tuesday Chit-Chat with Paul Pilkington


Another man in the house – this is becoming something of a habit 🙂 Today we have with us Paul Pilkington, author of the Emma Holden suspense novels.

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Hello, Paul. You found Romaniac HQ okay then? Come on in and take a seat.

Yes, found it pretty easily thanks. And without need for Sat Nav. Thanks for inviting me over for a chat. I can see you’ve got a cup of tea waiting, so that’s great!

Tea and one of Celia’s famous cakes. Now you’re settled, can you tell us about your writing background, please?

I’ve always enjoyed writing fiction, and English literature was one of my favourite subjects at school. But it wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties that I started really considering writing longer pieces of work, just for the fun of it. It took me a couple of years with those thoughts in my head to actually begin writing consistently. At first, I started out writing comedy, and really enjoyed that – I had some success in terms of competitions and even a comedy sketch on TV. But eventually I turned my hand to mystery suspense, as it was the genre I’d become a big fan of as a reader – particularly the Harlan Coben standalone novels and ones similar in style. I love the challenge of creating suspense and also aim for my books to be hard to put down. My novels are never gory, nasty, or particularly gritty (I don’t read those kind of books, and certainly wouldn’t want to write them!). I prefer to focus on relationships, emotion, and sometimes romance too. All wrapped up in the mystery of course, with a bit of darkness and danger thrown in!

Can you tell us a bit about your Emma Holden series of books? They’ve been very successful, you must be really pleased.

I’m really pleased about how things have gone. The One You Love, the first novel of the series, has been very well received, and has been downloaded around two million times since July 2011. It’s been in the top 10 in the UK Kindle free download chart since then, as well as being in the top 100 of the US Kindle chart for the same length of time. It’s also doing really well on Apple’s various iBookstores around the world, and was recently highlighted as a “Breakout Book” by Apple. It’s fair to say that it took me by surprise, and I still can’t quite get my head around it. The novella sequel has done really well, and the third and final instalment, The One You Trust, will be out in summer 2013. I’ve worked with the characters for quite a while now, and really do care for them. It will be good to complete my “grand plan” but it will also be sad to finish with them. I’m sure Emma in particular will be glad that I’ll be leaving her alone to get on with her life.

How in-depth is your planning when plotting a new novel?

It depends. I did a lot less plotting for The One You Love than I did for Someone to Save You (where I plotted out each chapter from the beginning). To be honest, if I plot too much, it spoils it for me. I feel like things have already happened and that I’m just some reporter writing up yesterday’s news. Whereas if I know just a few key points (start, middle, end, and then a few other key scenes), then it’s much more exciting for me as a writer, as things happen that you never considered before, and could probably not artificially create before putting pen to paper (well, finger to keyboard). That’s what I love so much about writing – that magical moment when you are typing away, and creating things that just pop into your head from it seems like nowhere. 

The covers look great and give a real brand to your books. Did you design your own covers and can you tell us the process?

I did design my own covers initially, which were okay but obviously pretty amateurish. Then last year I had my covers professionally designed by a lovely lady called Jeanine Henning. I’m so happy with them, and they really communicate the books and my brand much better than I could have done. I’d definitely recommend having covers done by a professional.

What are your views on social media and raising your platform as a writer?

I do use social media. I have a Twitter account, a Facebook author page, and a website. However I must say that I’ve never been terribly pro-active on these. Partly it’s because I always feel embarrassed doing self-publicity (like a lot of authors, I’m not particularly self-confident about what I do), but also I’m not convinced it works. Especially when there are so many other people out there doing the same thing. I’m not saying it can’t work, but I do think the effort required is probably pretty huge, and means you may well have no time for actually writing! I do love connecting with readers through Facebook and Twitter though, and they are great ways to build an audience once they have already read your work.

How do you fit your writing around your ‘day job’?

It’s difficult! Things change, and where I once had a neat period of time in the day to indulge myself with my writing, I now have a very different routine, where writing has to battle for space with lots of other priorities. When writing The One You Fear, I took time off on leave to get it finished, and I expect to do that again. Writing has always been a hobby for me, and it still is really. Like any hobby, you have to make the effort to fit it in around everything else. I find that once I get into a particular project, I do then find it easier to make time, as the momentum pushes you along and motivates you to carve out space to continue. It’s the getting started that’s the hardest part, especially if you’ve taken a few months off from writing.

As a successful self-published author, would you consider submitting to an agent or publishing house in the future?

TOYLI wouldn’t rule anything out. I didn’t self-publish to try and get a deal with a traditional publisher, so it wasn’t a means to an end. I also haven’t submitted to any agents or publishing houses since my success. However, I have been approached by both agents and publishers, and always make a point of listening to what they have to say. At the moment I’m more than happy with what I’m doing, but who knows. My personal view is that we’re going to see more massive changes in publishing over the next few years, and big name authors may well begin to explore self-publishing. As for myself, I’ll just keep writing and will see what happens. If it all ended tomorrow, I’ve had two amazing years, so I certainly couldn’t complain.

What’s the best piece of advice you could offer someone considering self-publishing?

I would say make sure before you publish that you get your manuscript professionally copy-edited. Or at least, you do your very best to ensure there are no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. My biggest mistake was not doing this initially, and it caused a lot of problems. All my novels are now professionally copy-edited. You have to treat readers with respect, and ensuring an error free work is a big part of that.

Random Quick Fire

Right or left handed? Right

Wine, Beer or lager? Beer

Chinese or Indian food? Indian

Football or Cricket? Rugby league actually! But football out of those two.

Town or country? Country

To love or to be loved? I think you need both really.

MI5 or MI6? MI5

Maverick or conformist? Conformist.

Thanks so much for coming in Paul, it’s been great to meet you. Wishing you every success for your novels.

No problem, happy to drop by, and thanks for the cuppa!