Would you take the second chance you’ve always dreamed of?
It’s been ten years since Emma Stevens last laid eyes on Jake Murray. When he left the small seaside village of South Quay to chase the limelight, Emma’s dreams left with him.
Now Emma is content living a quiet and uneventful life in South Quay. It’s far from the life she imagined, but at least her job at the local hotel has helped heal her broken heart.
But when Jake returns home for the summer to escape the spotlight, Emma’s feelings quickly come flooding back. There’s clearly a connection between them, but Jake has damaged her heart once already – will she ever be able to give him a second chance?
– When and where do you prefer to write?
I prefer to write in the morning, sitting down at my desk by about 9.30 (I admit that I usually check my emails and social media before I start writing) and then writing up to lunchtime, although I have been known to forget to stop for lunch if the writing is flowing particularly well. I write for a couple more hours in the afternoon, unless I have a deadline to meet, in which case I’ll keep at it into the evening. I can write anywhere – in a café, on a train or a plane, or on the beach when on holiday – but my favourite place to write is my writing room, (also known by my family as the spare bedroom!). I have a desk I made myself from a flatpack, which I’ve placed under a window over-looking my garden, so even although I live in a town, I have a view of trees and flowers, and the walls are lined with bookshelves.
– Do you have a certain ritual?
I don’t have any rituals as such, although, having discovered that having certain music playing seems to get me into the writing ‘zone,’ I tend to play the same CDs again and again while I’m writing. Fortunately, my writing room is fairly soundproof so I don’t irritate the rest of the household if I play the same music over and over for days at a time!
– Is there a drink of some food that keeps you company while you write?
I don’t eat while I’m writing, but I always have a mug on my desk that is frequently re-filled with tea or coffee.
– What is your favourite book?
I’ve so many favourites, but if I have to choose only one it has to be The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald. The story of the enigmatic Jay Gatsby and his obsessive love for Daisy Buchanan is an exquisite novel. I remember reading it when I was seventeen and thinking that if I wanted to be a writer, this was what I had to aim for.
– Do you consider writing a different genre in the future?
I write contemporary romance, but if I was going to venture into another genre, it would be a historical novel. I’ve always liked history and studied it at uni, and I know I’d enjoy doing the research for a story set in the past.
– Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
I don’t base my characters on people I know, but a number of friends have asked me if I’ve based particular characters on them – and have been disappointed when I’ve told them that my characters are entirely fictional! I do borrow snatches of overheard conversation for my characters’ dialogue, though. For example, I once lived next door to a family from Paris, and some of the things they said made their way into my debut novel, which has a French hero.
– Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
I always have a notebook in my bag, because you never know when you’re going to see or hear something that is going to inspire a story.
– Which genre do you not like at all?
I read books from almost every genre – romance, science fiction, fantasy, psychological thrillers, historical, crime – and mainstream, but I don’t read horror. I know it’s a very popular genre, but it simply isn’t for me.
– If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
If I had the chance to co-write with anyone, I’d choose Jane Austen. I adore her books, especially Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion, and she more or less invented the romantic novel as we know it today – I’d learn so much about writing from her. The problem is that if I met Miss Austen, I’d be far too awestruck to write a word!
– If you should travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you chose and why?
I love travelling, and whenever possible, I like to visit the location where my stories are set. My current WIP was inspired by a visit to Athens and the Greek islands, and I went back there when I was researching the story, so that I could remind myself of the scents and sounds of Greece. I’ve an idea for a story set in Rome, which I visited a few years ago, and I’d love to go back there again and absorb the atmosphere by visiting the places I want to write about.
Thank you, Lynne Shelby and Rachel’s Random Resources
About the uthor
Lynne Shelby writes contemporary women’s fiction/romance. Her debut novel, French Kissing, was published when it won a national writing competition. She has worked at a variety of jobs from stable girl to child actors’ chaperone to legal administrator, but now writes full time. When not writing or reading, Lynne can usually be found at the theatre watching a musical, or exploring a foreign city – Paris, New York, Rome, Copenhagen, Seattle, Athens – writer’s notebook, camera and sketchbook in hand. She lives in London with her husband, and has three adult children who live nearby.