Novels and Themes – Romance Weekly #LoveWriteChat Blog Hop – 9th June 2015

Welcome to this week’s Romance Writer’s Weekly Blog Hop. If you’ve arrived from Tracy Gee’s Blog, hi and thanks for clicking!

This week Ronnie Allen has asked us the following question: What is the  theme in your novels, recurring or in one, that sends a message about an issue in society to help people? Was it developed by you intentionally, or did it evolve through the characters and plot?

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What an interesting question! When I’m writing a story I don’t think I explicitly go into it intending to explore certain themes, although since my current books are all set in London it’s hard to avoid some of the issues that affect contemporary society. There are so many problems that affect people in cities (as well as the suburbs), from gang-culture and poverty, to drug use and discrimination as well as the pervasive effect of mental illness and depression, and some of these themes are explored in my novels.
In Coming Down, the plot scented around a Drug-Abuse clinic in central London, where the heroine–Beth–is a volunteer working with the children of addicts. Having taken drugs herself when she was younger, and seen the terrible effects that overdosing can have, she’s more aware of the issue than most. Coming Down, I hope, sends the message that although for some there may be a brighter future, the issue of drug abuse (particularly when mixed with poverty) isn’t going away, and while it may not be possible to solve the problem, treating people with kindness and determination can go a long way to manage it.
Mental Health is another issue that I’ve explored in my books. In Fix You, the heroine (Hanna) suffers from depression brought on after her mother’s death. This also leads to panic attacks, and having suffered from these myself, I can confirm that they are absolutely horrifying to experience. Similarly, in Broken Chords (my latest book) there is post-date depression, which is so common among new mothers, and although it wasn’t something I suffered from myself, I saw a close friend go through the detrimental affects that this can cause.
More than anything, I hope that my books send the message that there should be no stigma attached to mental illness. It’s something that affects both rich and poor, men and women, and we shouldn’t be ashamed to seek help. Having suffered myself, and found help through counselling and the support of family and friends, I’d urge anybody who is feeling the same to seek assistance, to find support and most of all, not to beat yourself up over it. Mental Health disorders should not be stigmatised, and I truly believe we should all strive to understand and support those who are going through them, just as we would support people going through any illness.

So those are my thoughts, I hope you enjoyed reading them and let me know what you think. Do you like your stories to have a message? Let’s hop over to Leslie Hachtel’s blog and see what she has to say. 

Romance Weekly Chat

Flash Fiction Challenge! Romance Weekly #LoveChatWrite Blog Hop – 2nd June 2015

Romance Weekly ChatDo you like to read romance novels? Wouldn’t you like to know more about your favorite authors? Well you came to the right place! Join the writers of Romance Weekly as we go behind the scenes of our books and tell all….. About our writing of course! Every week we’ll answer questions and after you’ve enjoyed the blog on this site we’ll direct you to another. So come back often for a thrilling ride! Tell your friends and feel free to ask us questions in the comment box.
If you’ve arrived from J.J. Devine’s Blog, hi and thanks for clicking!

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 This week Fiona Riplee has given us the following challenge:

Write a flash fiction of 250 words or less about a long lost love. Include the words: hammer, chisel, and coping saw. 

Here’s what I’ve got for you…

 

The first time Ellie met him he was covered in blood. An industrial accident, Trent had said, something to do with a chisel and a coping saw. Not that she’d paid much attention; her focus was on suturing his wound and trying to ignore the persistent hammer of her heartbeat. Even after five years on the job, there was something about blood that made her dizzy. Her mom always told her she wasn’t cut out to be a nurse.
“You’re all sewn up.” She’d looked into his blue eyes. “Try to keep it dry for a few days.”
“Let me take you out to dinner to thank you.” It didn’t sound much like a question, in spite of his words. He’d taken her to a diner, around the corner from the hospital, offering her food as wholesome and down-to-earth as he was. When they went dancing, he’d held her close, smelling of warm cologne and sawdust.
She’d loved every minute of it.
That was back in November of ‘41, less than a month before Pearl Harbor, before life changed forever. Only a few weeks later, she was cleaning blood off more young men than she cared to think about, and that date with Trent Martin was little more than a saw-dust scented memory.
Somewhere among the casualties and the battles they’d lost touch. Ellie got married — a handsome marine who gave her two beautiful children — but she couldn’t help but wonder what happened to the gruff carpenter with the deep blue eyes.
She never did find out.

(255 words – I cheated a bit!!)

Thanks for reading. Now let’s hop over to Veronica Forand’s blog and have a read of her flash fiction. 

Romance Weekly #LoveChatWrite #LoveWriteChat – 12th May 2015

Romance Weekly ChatDo you like to read romance novels? Wouldn’t you like to know more about your favorite authors? Well you came to the right place! Join the writers of Romance Weekly as we go behind the scenes of our books and tell all….. About our writing of course! Every week we’ll answer questions and after you’ve enjoyed the blog on this site we’ll direct you to another. So come back often for a thrilling ride! Tell your friends and feel free to ask us questions in the comment box.
If you’ve arrived from Elizabeth Jannette’s Blog, hi and thanks for clicking!

 

 This week Xio Axelrod has asked us to answer our questions on behalf of one of our characters.

So for this, I choose Richard Larsen, the gorgeous hero of Fix You, and Sempre Foi Voce

 

image                    Capa Sempre foi voce

 

1. What’s your favourite word?

Well that’s easy. Hanna, obviously. When I fall asleep every night that’s the name on my lips.

2. What is your fondest childhood memory?

When I was five my dad bought me a sailing boat. Not a full size one, obviously, but a toy one. We used to set it off in the lake beside our summer home. One day it got caught by a gust of wind and carried out into the middle of the lake. Without even thinking, my dad stripped off, dove into the water and swam out to save my toy. That’s my favorite memory.

3. What one thing in your past do you wish you could do differently?

I wish I hadn’t let Hanna leave, we wasted too much time, too many years. Oh, and I wish I’d invented Facebook!

4. Vanilla or Chocolate?

Wait… are we talking about milkshakes or sex? Ah well, let’s go for chocolate anyway.

5. If you could have lunch with one famous person (alive or not) who would it be and why?

Babe Ruth, because the Yankees rule and don’t try to tell me otherwise.

 

Thanks Richard! Now let’s hop over to Susan Scott Shelley’s blog and see where her character wants to take us. 

Romance Weekly #LoveChatWrite #LoveWriteChat – 21st April

Romance Weekly ChatDo you like to read romance novels? Wouldn’t you like to know more about your favorite authors? Well you came to the right place! Join the writers of Romance Weekly as we go behind the scenes of our books and tell all….. About our writing of course! Every week we’ll answer questions and after you’ve enjoyed the blog on this site we’ll direct you to another. So come back often for a thrilling ride! Tell your friends and feel free to ask us questions in the comment box.

If you’ve arrived from Fiona Riplee’s Blog, hi and thanks for clicking!

 

 This week Fiona Riplee has asked us to write a mini flash fiction…

 In 10 words or less, describe a kiss. Include the words pink & sweet.

Before I post, I have to say this might be the hardest flash fiction I’ve ever had to write. Keeping it to ten words means that every syllable counts, and I’ve type-deleted constantly over the past few days, not to mention the number of times I’ve ‘practiced’ with the husband ;). Eventually I think I got there and distilled the essence of a kiss into a few, important words.

So here, without further ado, is my 10 word flash fiction…

THE KISS 

By Carrie Elks

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A breath, a sigh, sweet hesitation… then pink, soft, forever.

 

The End

Wow that was hard! Let’s see how author Dani Jace describes her kiss. And don’t forget that Romance Writers’ Weekly is having an amazing Mother’s Day rafflecopter giveaway – to find out more click on the photo below!

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Romance Weekly #LoveChatWrite #LoveWriteChat – 14th April

Romance Weekly ChatDo you like to read romance novels? Wouldn’t you like to know more about your favorite authors? Well you came to the right place! Join the writers of Romance Weekly as we go behind the scenes of our books and tell all….. About our writing of course! Every week we’ll answer questions and after you’ve enjoyed the blog on this site we’ll direct you to another. So come back often for a thrilling ride! Tell your friends and feel free to ask us questions in the comment box.

If you’ve arrived from J.J. Devine’s Blog, hi and thanks for clicking!

 

 This week Xio Axelrod has asked the question: 

Readers always ask “How much of yourself do you lend to your characters?” Here’s your chance to answer. What traits do your characters have that come from you? And if not you, someone in your life.

They say that your first book is always autobiographical, which isn’t a huge surprise since we’re often told to ‘write what we know’. However, I have to admit that for me a huge part of the enjoyment of writing comes from writing about characters that are completely different from me, facing different challenges and reacting differently.

In ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ Atticus Finch explains that “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” and I think that’s definitely true. For me to understand a character, and to write from their point of view, I have to find myself empathising with them, even if they’re somebody I may not like in real life. For me, the essence of enjoying a story is to be pulled in by the characters.

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In my first book, Fix You, the main heroine, Hanna, shares a number of superficial similarities with me. We were born in around the same era, we went to the same university, and we like some of the same music. However, that’s where the likeness ends. Hanna, unlike me, is feisty and go-getting, she’s an extrovert at heart who enjoys being the centre of attention. She also makes a number of decisions that I don’t think I would ever make, but for Hanna they made sense, and I wanted to stay true to her character.

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In Coming Down, part of my Love in London series, Beth is a character I find extremely interesting. A reformed drug-taker, at the beginning of the story she is very weak, only growing into her character as her story progresses. Being the strong, silent type, I also found this interesting. Beth attached a lot of importance to herself from the men she was dating / married to during her life, and though I love my husband dearly, I define myself as more than a wife, even as more than a mother, I define myself as me, which Beth only learns to do towards the end of the book.

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My latest book, Broken Chords, features Lara–a new mother who is fighting for her marriage. Out of all of my characters I’m probably the closest to Lara. Like me she has a smart mouth, and like me she’s devoted to her child. She suffers from Post-Natal Depression–an illness that I luckily have never suffered from, although I did have some close friends who were affected by this and a lot of the things she does comes from my observations of them.

So, to go back to the original question, all writing has to be based on observation–that’s what makes it believable–but the interesting part of the process is to invent characters who are different from me, who challenge my perceptions and make me question my own prejudices and ideas. As a writer–and as a reader–that is perhaps the biggest joy that a book can give.

 

So that’s a little walk around in my skin! Let’s see how much author Xio Axelrod bases her characters on herself. And if she does… I have to say they will be awesome characters!

Romance Weekly #LoveChatWrite #LoveWriteChat – 13th January

Romance Weekly ChatDo you like to read romance novels? Wouldn’t you like to know more about your favorite authors? Well you came to the right place! Join the writers of Romance Weekly as we go behind the scenes of our books and tell all….. About our writing of course! Every week we’ll answer questions and after you’ve enjoyed the blog on this site we’ll direct you to another. So come back often for a thrilling ride! Tell your friends and feel free to ask us questions in the comment box.

If you’ve arrived from Kim Handyside’s Blog, hi and thanks for clicking!

 

 This week Elizabeth Janette has asked the question: What’s on your To-Be-Read list?

Wow, what a question. It might be easier to ask me what’s NOT on my TBR list. If I didn’t have an e-reader, I’d have a pile of paperbacks as high as a house. Luckily–and thanks to all those clever engineers and scientiest–instead I have a small, compact tablet full of books I’m desperate to read. When I say I take it everywhere with me, I’m not kidding. If I have five minutes spare I’ll whip it out and start reading, it really doesn’t matter where I am!

Okay, to answer the question, I’ve narrowed it down to the next 5 books on my list. See below for the top five, and a little bit about why I can’t wait to give them a go!

 

1. The Pact by Karina Halle

the pact

I pretty much devour every book by Karina Halle. Like the author, her heroines are ballsy and sassy, the kind of women that you know you’d be friends with if only they were real. Add to that sexy, complicated heroes who are built, protective and always alpha, you have a recipe for success. I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about this ‘friends to lovers’ story, and I can’t wait to read it!

 

2. Sweet Bea by Sarah Hegger

Sweet Bea

I’m a huge fan of historical romances (thanks in no small measure to a certain Scot named Jamie), and when I saw Sarah Hegger’s Sweet Bea was on sale this January I snapped it up. The story of Beatrice and Garrett has some wonderful reviews, and I know it’s going to be swoontastic!

 

3. The Diplomat’s Wife by Pam Jenoff

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I read Pam Jenoff’s first book–the Kommandant’s Girl–all in one night. The sad story of a Nazi Kommandant and a Jewish girl in hiding, it not was touching and emotional, as well as rich with historic detail. The Diplomat’s wife looks set to be just as fulfilling, telling the story of Marta Nedermen, a Polish girl who survies the horrors of a Nazi Prison camp.

 

4. Reasonable Doubt by Whitney Gracia Williams

reasonable doubt

 

I picked this book up on sale this week, and I have to say I LOVE a series that has a hot, alpha male with problems. This one’s short–only 78 pages–but it looks like it’s going to be a great and fun read.

 

5. The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

rosie effect

 

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion was one of my favourite books in 2014. I’ve been hoarding the follow up to read when I’m next away on holiday. Don Tillman, the hero of both books, is one of my favourite characters; methodical, adorable and yet somehow very masculine. I can’t wait to find out what he and his wife Rosie get up to in this sequel.

 

So that’s the next five books I plan to read. Let’s see how big author Sarah Hegger’s TBR list is. And while you’re at it, take a look at Sweet Bea, it’s on a super-duper January sale! 

Sweet Bea sale

Romance Weekly #LoveChatWrite #LoveWriteChat – 6th January

Romance Weekly ChatDo you like to read romance novels? Wouldn’t you like to know more about your favorite authors? Well you came to the right place! Join the writers of Romance Weekly as we go behind the scenes of our books and tell all….. About our writing of course! Every week we’ll answer questions and after you’ve enjoyed the blog on this site we’ll direct you to another. So come back often for a thrilling ride! Tell your friends and feel free to ask us questions in the comment box.

If you’ve arrived from Lesley Hachtel’s Blog, hi and thanks for clicking!

 

 This week Xio Axelrod has asked the question: What do you do when you’re not writing?

 

writing like crazy

When I’m not writing I’m usually thinking about writing, and that’s the honest truth. I can be driving in my car, but in my mind I’m in a scene, working out what my heroine would say, and what the hero would do. Sadly, sometimes life gets in the way and I also have to do other stuff. So here’s a brief rundown of my life outside the written word.

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I also like to drink coffee with friends. Preferably in some chic Rive Gauche cafe wearing 1920s gear. Don’t ask me why, I’m just a bit crazy that way.

buried in books

I also read. A lot. An average of two to three books a week. So if I’m not on the Rive Gauche, I’m probably buried under a pile of my latest downloads!

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The rest of the time I like to be a superhero, or what I call ‘Mum’. This involves resolving angry disputes (whose turn is it to fill the dishwasher), rally-driving for hours (Scouts, followed by Football, followed by a party – yay!), running a top-class restaurant (what’s that, you want Beouf Bourgingon tonight darling? Of course), and running a 24 hour laundry service.

mad housewife

 

No wonder I need a glass or two of wine in the evening! Of course, I wouldn’t have it any other way!

 

Let’s see how author Dani Jace spends her non-writing time by hopping over to her blog !