Can a runaway bride stop running?
Elle Jamieson is an unusually private person, in relationships as well as at work – and for good reason. But when she’s made redundant, with no ties to
hold her, Elle heads off to a new life in sunny Malta.
Lucas Rose hates secrets – he prides himself on his ability to lay his cards on the table and he expects nothing less from others. He’s furious when his summer working as
a divemaster is interrupted by the arrival of Elle, his ex, all thanks to his Uncle Simon’s misguided attempts at matchmaking.
Forced to live in close proximity, it’s hard to ignore what they had shared before Lucas’s
wedding proposal ended everything they had. But then an unexpected phone call from England allows Lucas a rare glimpse of the true Elle. Can he deal with Elle’s hidden past when it finally comes to light?
Welcome to Allthingsbookie, Sue
Can you tell us what prompted you to first start writing? What
was the first thing you wrote?
I was a little late learning to read and write owing to interrupted education but once I got the hang of
it, I was hooked on the fictional world. Story writing was my favourite lesson and I was staggered that I could get good marks for making things up.
never really stopped writing, once I’d learned how. I didn’t send anything out until the early 90s, though – a short story about a child called Nicholas (don’t remember any more of it) and then two novels. It was then that I took stock
and decided that I was probably doing something wrong.
After four years of being apart, Elle and Lucas find themselves sharing a boat in Malta for the summer, thanks to the meddling
of Lucas’s Uncle Simon.
What was the inspiration for this book?
I love Malta, having lived there as a child, and have set short stories, serials and a novel there. Writing about Malta, at least I’m there in my mind, if not in person. When I was a little girl, I
could see a yacht marina from our balconies so once I’d decided to put Elle and Lucas on the boat, that was the obvious mooring for the Shady Lady.
I like reading reunion books and decided that I’d like to write one. I found it incredibly difficult to plot, to create reasons for Elle and Lucas to have parted that wouldn’t keep them apart in the end.
Did you do any research for the book?
I love research. When I visited the island on holiday I took loads of photographs for reference – digital photography is a great research tool. Although I’m a qualified scuba diver I needed quite a bit more information and a lovely
scuba staff instructor helped me. I wanted to visit a boat exactly like the Shady Lady and was fortunate to be invited to the Southampton boat show by the boatbuilders. I also had to research working with children and a newly retired teacher
gave up her time. And, as seems to happen a lot in my books, I needed advice from a policeman – it seems to happen in all my books now, yet I don’t write crime or thrillers.
What does a typical writing day involve for you?
I begin early, at 7.30am, and finish fairly late at
6.00pm. I do take about two hours off in the middle of most days, though, when I go to the gym or take a piano lesson. In the mornings I often work with creative students, then the afternoons are for writing. It’s not quite as cut-and-dried as I’ve
made it sound because I have to find time to promote, to research and to do my social media.
How do you decide on the names for your characters?
Sometimes I hear a name and just like it and I keep it in the back of my mind. I also have a dictionary of first names and browse through that. I keep a cast
list so that I don’t end up with eight character names all beginning with the same letter. Or, as happened once, end up with two characters named Peter.
Which writers have influenced your own writing?
I don’t know, really. I’m a big reader and enjoy books
that have a sturdy story and are written in an accessible style, so I just try to write in the same way. I set out to entertain.
you working on next? Do you have a WIP?
I’m working on a serial and a novel, as well as my usual monthly columns. The novel is called
The Twelve Dates of Christmas and is about Ava and Sam. Ava’s a couture milliner, is having trouble with her ex, has no money and hates Christmas, and Sam is in a happy place until his mother develops cancer. He decides that he will host Christmas for
his mother and aunt, this year. How hard can it be?
What has been the best part of the writing process…and the worst?
I suppose if I’m honest, success is a really good part of writing. The emails that say, ‘This is just what we’re looking for’ or ‘I
love your book’.
But of the writing itself, I love editing, playing with the words and the story and making both better. I find first drafts
Tell us about your travels.
I love to travel but only in a safe way. You won’t catch me backpacking around a war torn country. I’m comfortable travelling alone but I need to feel secure. This year I have led a writing retreat in France, been to New Orleans for
a convention, run a course in Italy and been on holiday to Malta. I enjoyed every minute.
Tell us about your childhood.
I was part of an army family so was born in Germany and also lived in Cyprus and Malta.
By the time we came back to the UK when I was eight-and-a-half, I’d lived in Malta more than half of my life, so a great part of my heart will always be there. It gave me a love of hot weather, I think.
Being a ‘barracks brat’ means you change schools every 2 to 3 years and you tend to be quite self-sufficient and open minded to new experiences. In my case, it made me appreciate the
family unit because my parents and brothers were the consistent factors.
It was a big shock to move to Northamptonshire and into a civilian school
where I was most definitely the odd one out.
Most writers have some quirks – what are yours?
I like to work on my own and in silence.
Do you plot your novels
or allow them to develop as you write?
I’ve done it both ways. It seems to me that the more books I write, the more I plan. I think
I used to waste a lot of time going up blind alleys when I just wrote into the mists.
Have you taken any creative writing courses and would
you recommend them?
Yes, and yes. After my first two novels, when I realised I needed to know more, I enrolled on what was then called
a correspondence course. Now we refer to them as distance learning courses and I’ve written two (plus supplement) and I teach on three, all for the London School of Journalism. I’m not sure why some people believe that writers are born, not made.
We don’t think that about the other creative industries – actors, dancers and artists seem to train for years. Why should writers somehow be born possessing technique and skill?
By the time I’d finished the course I enrolled upon, I had sold several short stories to national newsstand magazines. Since then, I have continued to educate myself via books and magazines on writing, conferences and
workshops. I believe that it’s important to learn about publishing as well as writing.
I sort of fell into being a tutor. I don’t have
a qualification but I have a body of work and I’m a communicator.
What book(s) are you reading at the moment?
Accidentally Married on Purpose by Rachel Harris. It’s the second book I’ve read recently set around country music and I’m enjoying it.
If you were stranded on a desert island and could only take three books with you, what would they be and why?
A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute. It was one of the first ‘grown up’
books I read after watching the film with my dad. It began a lifelong love affair with NS’s books and I still read them.
Gone Too Far by Suzanne Brockmann. I really admire her for the way that she sets her books on a global stage with life-or-death conflicts. In the middle of all that she somehow includes a sizzling love affair.
Cry No More by Linda Howard. She writes such great romantic suspense. It’s
really gripping yet really hot. This is the first of hers I read and I was hooked.
Do you have any advice for new writers?
Educate yourself and persist. It worked for me.