Feedback I received from two of the judges regarding Heart of Stone made my trip to London and the Pure Passion Awards Ceremony infinitely worthwhile, despite the sore throat, cough, and Dalek voice resulting from a bug I picked up on the train. On their advice I’m changing genres for my new book, from historical romance where the relationship takes centre stage, to historical fiction where romance is only one thread in a larger and more complex tapestry. This means I’ve had to discard several months’ work already done. But I really liked the characters and plotline I’ve taken out. So they are saved in separate file and I'll definitely return to them.
Starting a new book always fills me with excitement, and ambition to make it better than the one before. But this time the mix includes a hefty dose of nerves as I’m taking a giant step outside my comfort zone.
I love walking. And here in Cornwall where I live there is so much beautiful and inspiring scenery within a short distance of my home. There are woods, rocky coves with secret caves, and winding paths that people have been using for hundreds of years. So on Sunday morning after a hectic week we drove out to Trebah and did our favourite coastal walk. It was early and we had the place to ourselves as most people come out for fresh air after lunch. As we made our way along the narrow path above a shingle beach lapped by clear turquoise water, ideas and possibilities for my new book were bubbling up. This what if stage is great fun as potential plotlines and character attributes and emotional baggage are considered, discarded, or expanded. Today I’m splitting my time between research and developing those ideas and characters. To achieve a powerful and emotionally-gripping story will take months of hard work. This will include moments of teeth-grinding frustration; flashes of inspiration, shock when characters start saying and doing things I hadn't planned for, and the occasional revelation that suddenly lifts the story to a new level. I'm off to get started.