Friday, 25 February 2011

On Books and Writing, Films and Filming

A big thank you to Rachel for coming in and livening the blog up this week, and to everyone who dropped by to visit, especially if it was for the first time. It’s been really nice to have so many people here making me feel more popular congratulating Rachel on the release of a really fabulous debut, available here now and coming soon in paperback, just incase you'd forgotten!

Here, while I've been shut away in my office, half-term has passed a little in the style of the First World War, with long periods of boredom followed by short, intense bursts of activity. Thankfully the fighting has been confined mainly to verbal skirmishes over Nutella allowance (a holiday treat) and who has 'borrowed' ipod headphones from whom, but even so by yesterday we were all ready to get out of the house for a little while. Prompted by a phonecall from my brother who is also juggling bored children with being self-employed from the other side of the Pennines, and the fact that daughter #3 is doing Jane Eyre for GCSE, we headed up to Haworth for the day.

I suffered pangs of angst at leaving my book, and daughter #1 felt the same about being prised away from revision (she’s come to the idea pretty late in the day, but like many converts is pretty evangelical about it now) but turned out to be a Very Good Idea. Apart from the pleasure of an impromptu meet up with the Yorkshire cousins, it was an absolute gem of a day – blue-skied and gentle, with enough sun to warm even Haworth’s old grey stones. The cousins brought their puppy, and after we’d loitered in the pub (in homage to Branwell Bronte) we headed out to walk across the moors in the manner of Charlotte, Ann and Emily. Or, more pertinently to daughter #3 who, at the age of 4 sobbed for hours after watching The Railway Children, in the manner of Bobbie, Peter and Phyllis. We walked past the house that was their home in the film, and through the field seen here.

(Are you sobbing yet? I've watched this 3 times in the course of loading this post and welled up every one of them!)

It was while we were there that I got a phonecall from the TV company about a piece I did with them on Lady Chatterley’s Lover a month or so ago. It was part of a series the very charming Gyles Brandreth has been doing on BBC’s The One Show this week on the subject of taste and decency, and I went down to Bristol to meet him in an old courtroom where the temperature was probably several degrees below freezing, to talk about the book and the trial. It had originally been scheduled to go out tonight (Friday) but they’d brought it forward to Thursday, meaning I was spared the dread of waiting for it to come on at 7pm as we were stuck in a traffic jam on the M60 then. There’s something far less intimidating about watching after the event, although I still couldn’t think about attempting it until after the second glass of wine. (You can see it here for the next few days. The piece is about 14 minutes in.) My poor children. On the one hand there’s the excitement of having your mum on TV. On the other, there’s the fact that the first sentence she says involves the words ‘visceral’ and ‘sex.’

Anyway, today I'm back at they keyboard and trying to remember all the huge insights I had into my ms when we were striding across the moors yesterday, and recapture the enthusiasm I felt for it. I'm sure another cup of tea will help. And toast. (Wonder if there's any Nutella left?)

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Handing over to Rachel Lyndhurst...

... because it's half-term, and I have 3 children and a 3ooo words a day habit to feed. And, unlike some lucky people, no gorgeous new book to celebrate. Hope everyone's having a nice half-term (especially if you don't have kids - that would be ideal, really) - here's Rachel!

Friendship and Inspiration - How a Book was Born

Please allow me to introduce myself. The name’s Lyndhurst, Rachel Lyndhurst, debut author of Storm’s Heart, an Embrace Books launch title.

I owe India Grey so many favours I’ve lost count, but I just never seem to get round to cleaning her oven and fridge like I say I’m going to. So, as a down payment on my debts of gratitude, I’ve given India the day off and leant her Rufus Sewell to rub her feet all day and feed her a box of Hotel Chocolat. I‘m still working on Jeremy Clarkson for the school run ...

So what’s the deal with India, I hear you say? Well, the eternally youthful goddess of romance has had a great influence on me as a writer. It all began in 2007 with her debut novel, The Italian’s Defiant Mistress.

I was starting to learn, scribbling my first ever effort at a category romance, and took a pile of new Mills & Boon Moderns on holiday with me to ‘study’ (hard work, honest!). I couldn’t put The Italian’s Defiant Mistress down, it simply sparkled and India’s ‘voice’ rang so true. Inspired, I nervously emailed her on my return and that, as they say, was the start of a beautiful friendship.

And now down to specifics, the inspiration. Here’s a picture of Spanish Aristocrat, Forced Bride luxuriating in thehot sand of Lindos, Rhodes, the main location of Storm’s Heart.

With double inspiration of this calibre, how could a romance novel not be born? Sun, sea, romance, it was perfect.

Then India introduced me to the music of Dashboard Confessional when she put Vindicated on her playlist for Mistress: Hired for the Billionaire's Pleasure. The song struck a chord (bad pun, toyed with changing it – didn’t), and I bought a few of their albums. Their song Rooftops and Invitations blew me away and formed the next layer of inspiration – there’s a lot of rooftop living in Lindos and the book opens with an explosive invitation … You can listen to it and read the lyrics here

And then do you know what India Grey did next? The gorgeous creature read Storm’s Heart and endorsed it!

“As refreshing and sharp as a G&T on a summer’s day, Rachel Lyndhurst is a sparkling new voice in romantic fiction.”


So, in a way, I feel that Storm’s Heart is almost as much India’s as it is mine, and I will love her forever for her support and encouragement.

India Grey also makes a cracking pot of tea.

Thanks for having me, India! And, er, you’d better add ‘tidy cupboard under the stairs’ to the list.

Storm’s Heart is available as an eBook or paperback from:



You can also find out more about Rachel and Storm’s Heart here:

(Thanks for babysitting the poor, neglected blog, Rach! Any chance you could take the children off my hands for a couple of days too? xx)

Friday, 11 February 2011

Time for a mini-celebration

The RNA shortlists have been announced. Lots of fabulous books, by lots of fabulous authors (and thanks to my lovely kindle I now have three new titles at my fingertips for weekend reading) including a certain Modern/Presents writer called Abby Green with her lush book Bride in a Gilded Cage. Now, if we were blokes, this is how we'd react to this news...

...As we're polite lady romance writers and readers, I think something like this is much more appropriate...

Cheers Abby darling!! So well deserved!

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Delusions of Celebrity

Oooh look - I'm going to be on lovely Heather Stott's show on Radio Manchester this morning, and I've got a name check on the website alongside Neil Morrissey! I know it's radio, but I'm going to wear lipstick and perfume. Please bear that in mind if you're listening at 11.10 am.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Chinese Year of the Rabbit


Muffin is going to be insufferable.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

It's *that* day again...

Uh-oh. Wednesday. However, after last week's mini-meltdown, am determined to break the cycle and forge ahead in huge, sweeping strides today. Am wearing my lucky bra and have lit some of my current favourite scented candles (though in looking for a link I've just seen this one and feel a purchase coming on. Library! Our local library smells a bit like wet tweed and schoolboys, but I definitely like the sound of wood and amber. Most conducive to serious work.)

Anyway, having discovered you can fit a croissant (if you squash it slightly first) into the new toaster we bought at the weekend, I have also taken the precaution of carb-loading in anticipation of today's huge output of creative energy. Committed, that's me. Wish me luck.