Hi Joanna, and welcome to my little corner of Canada. I’m so glad you were able to come at this time of year. I’ve booked us tickets to tour the Fulford Mansion and in the lead-up to Christmas it’s gorgeous with all the Victorian era decorations. The lunch in the tea room is delicious and I heartily recommend you try the tourtiere which is a French-Canadian meat pie traditionally served at Christmas but yummy any time of the year,so we’ll start our visit with a bite to eat.
What is the title of your latest book? Is it a continuation of your Behind Blue Eyes Saga or are you introducing us to an entire new cast of characters?
My current WIP is called The Other Side of Morning and yes, it continues with the Little Court characters, moving on six years from Between Today and Yesterday (we’re now in 1996). Most of the original saga characters like Matt, Ella, Niall, Rachel and Jenny are now in support roles. Ella and Jenny’s daughters Lucy and Charlotte are central to the story as is Christian Rosetti who fronted the rock band Rosetti in Between Today and Yesterday. One of Niall and Rachel’s twins – nineteen year old Caitlyn (Kayte) also features. New characters include the glamorous D’Alesandro family who have recently moved into Higher Padbury Manor. Ex-model Thérèse is now a fashion designer and is about to open a bridal boutique in collaboration with Ella who has turned the manor into an exclusive functions venue. Thérèse’s daughter Felica has followed in her mother’s footsteps as a designer and stepson Gianmarco (Marco) manages the family’s European restaurant chain. Father Gianlucca is based in Milan where he runs his leisure empire of hotels, health spas and restaurants. This time I’ve written a love story but it’s lots of other things too – as always it is about conflict, family loyalties and deception and, of course, things do not appear as they seem.
This will be your fifth book? How do you balance your writing life with your working and home lives? And let’s not forget promoting your books.
I must admit it has been very difficult. Being a writer, as you probably know from your own experience, is a very lonely occupation. You have to hide yourself away and concentrate on the job in hand. Even reducing my working hours to half time, I had to balance writing with day to day claims on my time, socialising and not making my husband feel left out. Luckily he has a classic car which he has been rebuilding and that takes up a good deal of his time. Now I’m happy to say I am a full time writer and absolutely loving it!
As for marketing, well I don’t think I’ve given enough time to this mostly because of my work commitments. However now I’ve finished my 9 – 5 I will be able to concentrate on getting the books out there. All four existing books have received very good reviews on Amazon; it’s just a matter of building on that.
In one or two sentences, can you tell us what The Other Side of Morning is about?
This is the fifth book in the Little Court series but can be read as a stand-alone.
Charlotte Kendrick falls for beautiful Italian Marco D’Alesandro. Coming out of a bad relationship she is learning to trust again, but is he all he seems to be or is she being played for a fool again?
What part of writing The Other Side of Morning did you like the best? Least?
I absolutely love the writing; creating the characters, setting the scenes and blending them both into the plot. I also found the promotional video for Between Today and Yesterday fun to put together and quite easy with Windows Live Movie Maker – although the promo is being handled by Cathy Helms at Avalon Graphics this time. And the part I like the least? I think it has to be editing. It’s a long repetitive chore, however at the end of the day it’s essential. That first draft can be very deceptive. You think you’ve written a brilliant novel but it’s only when you go back and start reading through that you can see where things could be better. And it’s not just structure, the timeline and character descriptions have to be right as well. I’ve read books where eye and hair colour have changed. Although people may wonder how on earth that can happen I do sympathise, a book is a huge project and it is so easy for this to happen. Because of this the editing process, although maybe not as enjoyable as the writing, is equally important.
Who was your favourite character to write?
I think it has to be Ella. She has been in all four books and in the fifth she still features but in a less central role. I wanted to create a feisty heroine; she needed to be that for what she was to experience in the trilogy. Quite innocently she returned to live with her mother (Mel) wanting to get to know her and make up for lost years. Unfortunately she had no idea how manipulative her mother was and how she was about to be used to further her ambitions. She was tricked into marrying a good looking womaniser and kept from the man she really loved by deceit and lies. I created her as a calm, wise-beyond-her years character, although there were rare moments when she did lose her cool. However for the most part she coped extremely well with all I put her through. Main characters do have to be strong and by the time we had reached the fourth book and she inherited Little Court, she had become a woman very much in the image of her grandmother Laura: resilient, astute and very capable. It’s worth noting that many readers have also told me Ella is their favourite character. And for this new book Charlotte has proved a worthy successor to Ella’s crown.
When will it be available?
I’m on schedule with the edits at the moment so hopefully am looking for a publication date in early 2014.
Do you have your cover yet? Are you planning a big ‘cover reveal’ splash?
Yes, I have a cover designed as usual by Jane Dixon Smith who I have to say is totally brilliant! I actually approached her to create it before I wrote the book. The end result was something quite awesome – I think it’s the best of all my book covers. There was one moment of doubt when I thought I’d been rather hasty. My biggest worry was whether I could actually write a book good enough for that cover but I have to say I’m very pleased with how my WIP has turned out. As for a ‘cover reveal’ splash, well the cover has already been revealed but I will of course be promoting it nearer the publication date.
For those of you who may not have seen this fabulous cover before, here it is.
Is there anything you want to add that we’ve not touched on yet?
Only that I hope readers enjoy the Other Side of Morning as much as my other four books. Thank you Melanie so much for having me as a guest on your blog.
It’s been a pleasure to host you here today, Joanna. I hope you enjoyed your tour of the Fulford Mansion and our lunch in the tea room.
Born and raised in rural Wiltshire, I’ve always been a country girl at heart. Currently I live on the eastern edge of Bath in a beautiful village set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Here I have the best of both worlds – there is Bath with its fabulous history and architecture, its cafes, restaurants, cinemas and theatre – and of course wonderful shopping! Then there is this village where within minutes you can he walking in open countryside with fabulous views.
I’m married, own one small grey female feline called Mollie (although I rather think she owns me!) and live with my husband and Bridget, his other woman a 47 year old white MG Midget – a fairly happy menage a trois!