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Opening Lines: Sophia’s Secret by Julie Ryan

Posted by on Feb 14th, 2019 in Blog, crime, Fiction, Opening Lines Blog | 2 comments

It’s opening lines time again. This week, Julie Ryan is taking us on a Greek mystery… Sophia’s Secret is the second book in the Greek island mystery series but can be read as a standalone. I never intended to write a series but having created the setting in Jenna’s journey, I was reluctant to leave it alone. My books, whilst always having romance at their core, deal with the dark side of Greece that tourists rarely see so be prepared for murder and suspense too! Blurb for Sophia’s Secret Kat has never understood why she was sent at the age of seven from Greece to live in England with her Aunt Tigi. When she receives an email from her grandmother, the first contact in over twenty years, informing her of her mother’s death, she knows this could be her last chance to find out the truth. Little by little she finds out the shocking facts as her grandmother opens her heart. It seems everyone has a secret to tell, not only her grandmother, as Manoli, her school friend, also harbours a guilty secret. Then there’s a twenty-year-old mystery to solve as well as a murder and what happened to the missing Church treasure? FIRST 500 WORDS The boy knew he shouldn’t be out so late on his own but a dare was a dare! His best friend, Vasilli, had dared him to meet up at midnight in their den in the woods. He’d been so excited he could barely sleep. His mother had come to tuck him in—not that a boy of nearly eight needed tucking in he’d reminded her as they went through the usual nightly ritual. “Night night.” “Sleep tight, mind the bugs don’t bite.” Then when she’d gone, he forced himself to stay awake until he heard his parents come back up the stairs to their room.  He waited for the light to go out and gave it a few more minutes to be on the safe side. The luminous watch that he’d asked for on last birthday was showing nearly 11.30. There would be plenty of time to get there. He peered out of his bedroom window. It was dark out. There were no streetlights in his village. It was lucky that he’d remembered to pack a torch. He crept silently down the stairs, careful not to wake either his parents or the sleeping twins, put a jacket on over his pyjamas, slipped his trainers on and spying the fruit bowl on the table, put a couple of apples in his pocket in case he got hungry. The gang had built the den during the long summer holidays when they were allowed to play out until late provided that they told an adult where they were. This was different. The summer had given way to autumn and there was a chill in the night air. He wrapped his arms round himself for extra warmth or maybe just to give himself courage. He thought fleetingly of turning back but he knew he wouldn’t be able to stand Vasilli’s taunts of ‘chicken’ the next day. All he had to do, he reminded himself, was cut through the woods at the back of his house and meet his friend in the den. Just then, as if giving him a signal,...

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Cornish Romance for St Valentine’s Day?

Posted by on Feb 8th, 2019 in Blog, Contemporary fiction, Contemporary Romantic Fiction, Fiction, Jenny Kane, News, Romance | 0 comments

With St Valentines Day but a few short sleeps away, it’s time to think about buying a little something for that reader in your life. So, how about a little Cornish romance? Not only will it make your loved one smile- it might also warm them up on these chilly winter days. My first Cornish novel, Abi’s House, was never meant to be a romance. I hadn’t noticed it was until after I’d written it. Yet, within this tale of friendship and self discovery there lies a good old fashioned love story.  Here’s the Abi’s House blurb!! Newly widowed at barely thirty, Abi Carter is desperate to escape the Stepford Wives-style life that Luke, her late husband, had been so keen for her to live. Abi decides to fulfil a lifelong dream. As a child on holiday in a Cornwall as a child she fell in love with a cottage – the prophetically named Abbey’s House. Now she is going to see if she can find the place again, relive the happy memories … maybe even buy a place of her own nearby? On impulse Abi sets off to Cornwall, where a chance meeting in a village pub brings new friends Beth and Max into her life. Beth, like Abi, has a life-changing decision to make. Max, Beth’s best mate, is new to the village. He soon helps Abi track down the house of her dreams … but things aren’t quite that simple. There’s the complicated life Abi left behind, including her late husband’s brother, Simon – a man with more than friendship on his mind … Will Abi’s house remain a dream, or will the bricks and mortar become a reality? Check this out this video about Abi’s House!!-  YouTube link https://youtu.be/VAumWAqsp58 So if your loved one enjoys the Cornish countryside, a touch of romance, a story with twists and turns- and a cute Labrador…then this is the book for you! You can buy Abi’s House from all good bookshops and via online retailers, including… Kindle http://www.amazon.co.uk/Abis-House-Jenny-Kane-ebook/dp/B00UVPPWO8/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1426711175&sr=1-1&keywords=Abi%27s+House+Jenny+Kane http://www.amazon.com/Abis-House-Jenny-Kane-ebook/dp/B00UVPPWO8/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1426711253&sr=1-2&keywords=Abi%27s+House+Jenny+Kane Paperback http://www.amazon.com/Abis-House-Jenny-Kane/dp/1783753285/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1426711253&sr=1-1&keywords=Abi%27s+House+Jenny+Kane http://www.amazon.co.uk/Abis-House-Jenny-Kane/dp/1783753285/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1426711343&sr=1-1&keywords=Abi%27s+House+Jenny+Kane The sequel to Abi’s House, Abi’s Neighbour, is also contains a love story- but this time it’s the older generation having all the fun! Here’s the blurb to Abi’s Neighbour-  Abi Carter has finally found happiness. Living in her perfect tin miner’s cottage, she has good friends and a gorgeous boyfriend, Max. Life is good. But all that’s about to change when a new neighbour moves in next door. Cassandra Henley-Pinkerton represents everything Abi thought she’d escaped when she left London. Obnoxious and stuck-up, Cassandra hates living in Cornwall. Worst of all, it looks like she has her sights set on Max. But Cassandra has problems of her own. Not only is her wealthy married lawyer putting off joining her in their Cornish love nest, but now someone seems intent on sabotaging her business. Will Cassandra mellow enough to turn to Abi for help – or are they destined never to get along? Complete with sun, sea and a gorgeous Cornwall setting, Abi’s Neighbour is the PERFECT summer escape. *** Happy reading everyone, Jenny xx   Share...

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Opening Lines: The Case of the Missing Bride

Posted by on Feb 7th, 2019 in Blog, crime, Fiction, Historical fiction, history, Opening Lines Blog | 0 comments

Today I’m delighted to welcome Carmen Radtke to my place, with the first 500 words from her novel,  Over to you Carmen… It started with a conversation in a museum, with an elderly immigrant talking about her voyage as an imported bride. In an idle moment, I typed a few words into Google, and found a few lines in an old article about a bride transport from Australia to Canada in 1862 that hadn’t gone according to plan.  A story full of possibilities slowly unfolded in my mind. What mattered most to me though was that these girls really existed and deserved to be remembered. They grew up in Victoria, in Australia, struggling with poverty in a country that was both incredibly modern and yet strictly clinging to the values of the British empire they simply called Home. The few well-to-do, like my heroine Alyssa’s family, had a lifestyle that could have come straight out of Jane Austen’s novels, with balls, country visits and parties. For the poor, and their numbers grew rapidly after the gold rush in 1851 had fizzled out, survival was a never-ending struggle. No wonder that my brides leaped at the chance of marrying well-off men, no matter how far away. How lucky they must have felt when they boarded the ship, their few possessions stowed carefully in their wooden boxes. They would spend months at sea and endure storms huddled under deck, or being thrown around like a sack, but they endured it together, and with visions of a good future ahead. Until they disappeared in San Francisco. A Canadian newspaper at the time blamed the Californians for having the brides seduced away with money. I wish I could believe that… The Case of the Missing Bride is my attempt to honour these women and write a cracking yarn about them. The novel was a finalist in the Malice Domestic competition in a year without a winner and nominated for a CWA Historical Dagger. Blurb: When a girl goes missing on board of an ocean liner, only one person is convinced that the disappearance is no accident. Alyssa has found herself with a group of impoverished girls who are embarking from Australia to Canada in the hope of marriage. As the daughter of a senior official, Alyssa doesn’t share this goal. She hopes to return to England via Canada. But the girls all share one problem. Their presence on the ship is not known to many of its passengers but their worlds collide when one of the gentlemen discovers them. Then Emma, one of the intended brides, goes missing. Alyssa is convinced the disappearance is no accident and will risk her own life to search for the killer. What happened to Emma? Is there a murderer on board the ship? Alyssa is about to discover that there is more to her voyage than she bargained for. FIRST 500 WORDS Alyssa Chalmers shifted her weight from one foot to the other. How long could it take to read out 22 names, match them each to a face and tick them off a list? She watched Matron McKenzie’s slow progress. If she kept on at this pace they might all be here by nightfall. Black sateen rustled as Matron came nearer. “Louisa Jane Sinclair?” A sparrow...

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What if a child was caught up in the Crusades?

Posted by on Feb 6th, 2019 in Blog, Fiction, Historical fiction, history, Jennifer Ash, medieval, News | 2 comments

Today I’m delighted to welcome Wayne Turmel to my blog, with a fascinating insight to the development of his protagonist, Lucca le Pou. Over to you Wayne… As an author, I’m asked all the time: “Where do your characters come from?” My standard response is, “when a mommy and daddy character love each other very much…. “ but that’s not necessarily true. In the case of Lucca le Pou, the 10-year-old hero of two of my historical novels, his creation was an interesting look at how an authors—at least my—twisted mind works. Given that Lucca is a very optimistic and funny character, it started rather bleakly. This photograph was sent around the world at the height of the Syrian Civil War. (To be clear, it was at the height of anyone caring about it, the war continues, and people keep dying.) This photograph touched me deeply, as it should anyone with a pulse. It got me thinking about children in war time, which led me wonder about children in one of my favorite periods to read about, The Crusades. By doing what authors do, which is ask “what if?” an awful lot, a character came to mind. What if… a child was caught up in the Crusades? What if… that child was a half-French, half-Syrian orphan? What if… that kid witnessed the Battle of Hattin? (this would spare me writing two separate books, since Hattin is something of an obsession of mine) What if… I wrote a story aimed at adults but YA audiences, say anyone over 14, could enjoy as well? What if…  instead of a pathetic, dreary tale of unrelenting sadness, the kid was smart and funny and a survivor? (Think Kipling’s Kim, only during the Crusades) From those questions, I came up with Lucca the Louse. Lucca is raised in the Hospitaler orphanage (because Templars are so 2017) and takes refuge in the St Lazar leper hospital (because what’s cooler than a whole order of knights who have leprosy?) I should feel guilty, I suppose, that a young boy’s misery got me thinking about an epic and often funny adventure. But I love Lucca, and so do the readers of Acre’s Bastard, the first book in the series.  I mean, he survives attempted sexual assault, kidnapping and attempted murder and still has time for a good poop joke. The book even starts with his first attempts to see a naked lady. It isn’t all doom and gloom. With the second book, I had to continue the story because the war continues, and Lucca must flee a dying city. I paired him up with a young Lebanese Druze girl, also an innocent victim of the Holy War, and the two of them risk everything to flee to Tyre. I hope people will love Nahida as much as they do Lucca. Here’s the synopsis of Acre’s Orphans, out January 21 and available on Amazon worldwide and in good bookstores everywhere: Ten-Year-old Lucca the Louse narrowly escaped the worst disaster to befall the Kingdom of Jerusalem, but he’s not safe yet. His beloved but doomed city of Acre is about to fall into Saracen hands, and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop it. Days after his return, he uncovers a plot to rip apart what remains of the Crusader...

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End of the Month: Happy New-ish Year

Posted by on Jan 31st, 2019 in Blog, End of Month, Fiction, history, Jenny Kane | 6 comments

I’m absolutely delighted to welcome Nell Peters back to my place today, for an end of the month blog. This popular blog series has been having a holiday while Nell and I got on with the serious business of not drowning in work and family life. As you’ll see, Nell has been far from idle in her absence… Over to you Nell… Good morning/whenever, on this fine, final day of January 2019. You may or may not have noticed I’ve been awol from this hallowed spot since Halloween last year. Jenny took pity on me as I had rather a lot on – as did she – and we agreed upon a two month break. I was about to ask her for January off too, as I didn’t see that I could possibly get through everything I needed to, plus write the blog, when I was struck down with a ghastly and inconvenient virus. So, an enforced few days confined to Norfolk barracks while Samurai warriors sliced at my throat with razor blades, I coughed a graveyard cough etc, instead of being in Twickenham to oversee the final days of clearing my parents’ house for completion of the sale on 18th January. I am writing this on 15th January and the big Brexit showdown is due this evening. Because of all the house stuff, I have largely missed all the latest proposals/amendments/about-facing/backstabbing/general shenanigans and wheeling and dirty dealing by our elected leaders, and others. I normally refrain from political comment, but will ask, have there ever been so many treacherous weasels gathered in one place, most of whose sole aim seems to be to secure a self-serving solution and sell everyone else down the river? And as for Short Man Syndrome personified, Bercow – how exactly does he still have a job? I am not a huge fan of Teresa May, but I do have a wee bit of sympathy for someone who landed in No. 10 because she was basically the last man standing, and immediately had a poisoned chalice shoved into her hand. No win-no win. However, this is also the person who snatched defeat from the hands of victory at the last General Election, and thereafter entered into an insanely costly alliance with the DUP, in order to pretend she had a majority. Enough, the soap box is being returned to the shed – except, has anyone thought of putting Larry the Downing Street cat in charge? Could hardly do a worse job… What has happened since we last had a chinwag? Well, Christmas and New Year for a start. The OH and I went to do our mega shop on Sunday, 23rd December, which was our zillionth anniversary. As it was tipping down and freezing cold, Sir Galahad dropped me at the supermarket entrance to source a trolley, and toodled off to park. Shelves stripped of goodies and considerably poorer, we returned to the very large car park to off load our spoils – but where was the car? As we’d taken the small but perfectly-formed, bright red work vehicle, it surely shouldn’t be that hard to find? As OH trawled up and down the rows of parked cars in the rain, shoulders hunched and looking extremely grim, my heart sank further and further toward...

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Opening Lines: Unbroken

Posted by on Jan 31st, 2019 in Blog, Opening Lines Blog | 1 comment

Today, I’m delighted to welcome Madeleine Black to my site, with the ‘Opening Lines’ from her stunningly powerful memoir, Unbroken. Over to you, Madeleine…   Unbroken is my memoir and tells my story of being gang raped at aged thirteen by two American teenagers and it follows my journey of survival, healing, forgiveness, transformation and hope. Blurb For many years after that night, my memories of what happened after he held the blade to my throat and threatened my life were fragmented… difficult to piece together. It was too extreme, too violent for me to understand. Violently gang-raped when she was thirteen years old, and raped three more times before the age of eighteen, Madeleine has experienced more trauma in her life than most ever will. Living in a state of shock and self-loathing, it took her years of struggle to confront the buried memories of that first attack and begin to undo the damage it wrought, as men continued to take advantage of her fragility in the worst possible way. Yet, after growing up with a burden no teenager should ever have to shoulder, she found the heart to carry out the best revenge plan of all: leading a fulfilling and happy life. But the road to piecing her life back together was long and painful. For Madeleine, forgiveness was the key. True forgiveness takes genuine effort. It takes a real desire to understand those who have done us so much harm. It is the ultimate act of courage. In Unbroken, Madeleine tells her deeply moving and empowering story, as she discovers that life is about how a person chooses to recover from adversity. We are not defined by what knocks us down – we are defined by how we get back up. The first 500 words  Chapter One – One Night Author’s note: The names used in this account have been changed for personal and legal reasons. It happened in May, 1979, in north London, where I grew up. The exact date was something I had never tried to establish. Some of what happened to me was very clear in my mind, but most details were hazy, disjointed, or gone all together. It took many years and a lot of hard work to unravel and examine all the details from that night. For decades, I shut the memories out, burying them in my mind beneath a mountain of guilt, fear, and self-preservation. And yet even though I didn’t consciously think about or remember most of the violence done to me, all of my consequent actions were shaped and influenced by it. I was 13 years old. Like many girls I knew, the priorities of my life were pretty straightforward: friends, fun, school, and boys.  My parents were loving and supportive and most of the time I got on well with my older brother and three younger sisters. I tried to help out at home as much as possible and I kept quiet. I was a shy girl, never one to bring a lot of attention to myself. My grades were average and by all means, I was pretty “normal”. But my friend Kelly was something different all together. Almost everyone has that one person in their class that they look up to and want to be like. For...

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Dealing with the Rollercoaster: A Writer’s Guide to Handling Disappointment

Posted by on Jan 28th, 2019 in Blog, Interview, Jenny Kane, writing tips | 6 comments

There is simply no avoiding it- writing and disappointment goes hand in hand. This could be shortest blog ever, because the best advice I can give any writer or aspiring writer is to believe nothing you are promised until you see it in black and white, on a piece of real paper, with signatures on it. I am aware this sounds cynical, but in fact it is just the reality of the publishing business. Incredible offers are frequently made, and frequently taken away again. I’ve had people offer me the moon in one moment and then taken it away the next. It’s how it is. These points might help you prepare for those ‘disappointment lows’ – -Never forget an editor/agent/ publisher is in the business to make money first, and make you (and all the other authors on their books) successful second. -A genuine promise made in the heat of a friendly conversation will probably never be upheld because circumstances change in publishing on an almost daily basis. -Getting a contract is 100% incredible, but the come down after your book comes out and doesn’t instantly sell thousands can be hard to take- don’t worry about it- it’s a normal reaction. Market your own work. Use every PR opportunity given- I refer you to my post on books being invisible.   The golden rule is to be patient- work hard- and accept there will be massive highs and massive lows. When the lows come, have a strategy to deal with them- pick a place to walk where you can get lost in the scenery- go out with friends- do a top up your wardrobe by holding a cheap and cheerful raid of your nearest charity shop. Whatever makes you happy- do just that. Remember the next high won’t be far away if you keep working at it. I think my favourite low was when a major publisher (who I will not name), told me I would never be successful because I wrote too intelligently; that I was too broadsheet and wasn’t tabloid enough. I don’t know who that is more insulting to- me or my readers. I was gutted at the time, but I laugh about it now.   So the moral of this blog is this- if you want to be a writer you will be disappointed often- but the highs, when they come, are so worth it. Good luck out there every one. Don’t give up!! Jenny x www.imaginecreativewriting.co.uk        Share...

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Opening Lines: Cast a Horoscope by Suzi Stembridge

Posted by on Jan 24th, 2019 in Blog, Fiction, Jenny Kane, Opening Lines Blog | 10 comments

Thursday is here once more, which means more ‘Opening Lines, This week I’m pleased to welcome Suzi Stembridge to my site. Let’s ‘Cast a Horoscope’… Although this book is inspired by my four years as an air hostess in the early 1960s it is not autobiographical. CAST A HOROSCOPE has been awarded a Chill With A Book Readers’ Award in August 2018. It is volume One in the Quartet “Coming of Age” and the fifth volume for readers reading the whole JIGSAW series in chronological order. All books can be read independently of the others in the series but do combine as one long family saga. CAST A HOROSCOPE begins when Rosalind (Roz), the great-great-grand-daughter of the main protagonist in the first two volumes of “Greek Letters Quartet, starts her career as an air hostess full of excitement and hope. It continues into her life as a young woman in the seventies when the old Victorian mores of marriage and starting a family were still strong. This is an era when memories of WW2 are still fresh, when the pilots had either been World War 2 pilots or trained in the tradition of the RAF. There was a very different and much more casual attitude to training based on common-sense rather than formal examinations. Aircrew and passengers alike were living in a time before mass travel and enjoying a new sense of freedom. Shorthaul flights at this time were typically in Vickers Viking or Dakota aircraft with two pilots and a stewardess. It was unusual for an aircraft to travel say as far as Athens without a touch down to refuel at Lyons or Rome. Most holidaymakers travelled not just to lie on the beaches, but to see ancient sites and museums or absorb the culture of a country. People were happy to enjoy the new sense of peace but with traditional attitudes still prevailing life was not perhaps as liberating or as easy in the sixties and seventies as young people assumed. Blurb: Rosalind Peters, known as Roz, is an air-stewardess in the early 1960’s; in the days when they were called air-hostesses. With a one hour induction, a training flight to Paris and an afternoon swotting from her manual, she is embarking on her first flight at night and she is solely responsible for thirty-six passengers on a Viking aircraft. The chief pilot of the small Yorkshire-based charter airline is her captain and in these days of fledgling package holidays her passengers are businessmen going to Hamburg to play hockey. It doesn’t take long for the sardonic captain, ex RAF and Berlin airlift, and seeming to the youthful Roz as middle-aged and corpulent, to size up the rooky learner. But rather than suffering the agonies of initiation Roz is won over by the Captain’s winning smile and the joy of flying. The whole glamorous Mediterranean world is opened up to Roz. Greece: Athens when one could walk inside the Parthenon on the Acropolis, Lindos on Rhodes with pristine beaches, Crete when airplanes landed on grass airstrips, Cyprus: Kyrenia before its annexation to Turkey, Cairo: when you could touch the Sphinx and Jerusalem: when the airport was in the Jordanian quarter, not to mention Tangier: city of blackmail and torture, and all before the days of mass tourism....

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Interview with Rachel Brimble

Posted by on Jan 18th, 2019 in Blog, Fiction, Historical fiction, Interview, Romance | 3 comments

I’m delighted to welcome a great writer, and my good friend, Rachel Brimble to my blog today. Why not grab a cuppa and a slice of cake, and join us for a chat? What inspired you to write your book? It feels like forever since I’ve wanted to write a book against the backdrop of women’s suffrage, but the character I needed to drive the story continued to elude me. Then, during the writing of THE MISTRESS OF PENNINGTON’S (book 1 in the series), a secondary character pushed herself forward. Very soon I knew Esther Stanbury was the woman I’d been waiting for and she quickly became the heroine for book 2, A REBEL AT PENNINGTON’S. What type of research did you have to do for your book? I read a LOT of books on women’s suffrage, social and expectation of women in the early 20th century and also looked anywhere and everywhere for real-life women who made profound changes at the time. It wasn’t long before I discovered some amazing stories and, after attending several talks on the fight for the Vote, I was pumped up and ready to create a heroine I hoped readers would find as inspiring as they will entertaining. Which Point of View do you prefer to write in and why? My preferred POV is third person and allowing the hero and heroine alternating scenes. As a reader, I like to be able to read characters as though I’m watching them – third person POV gives the freedom to consider so much more than first person when you are completely embedded in one character’s mind. With third person, the author can give a wider view of what is going on around the character as well as within. Do you prefer to plot your story or just go with the flow? I am most definitely a plotter. I usually start each book with a setting and an issue I want to explore. Then I use character sketches to create my hero, heroine and villain (if I have one) and uncover their goals, motivations and conflicts. I then write a short paragraph for each chapter which leads me to write a rough 3-4 page synopsis. Then comes the first draft, which I write from beginning to end without looking back – the hard part comes in the following drafts! What excites you the most about your book? The series theme is ‘female empowerment’ which is something that endlessly excites me! I love seeing women grow and push themselves forward; making a difference in their own lives and others’ lives. In A REBEL AT PENNINGTON’S, I have created a cast of women fighting to make a difference that will impact women for generations. It must have been an exciting, empowering time, but also a challenge with consequences that could prove dangerous, if not fatal. If putting yourself on the line in the name of change isn’t empowerment, I don’t know what is… Blurb  A REBEL AT PENNINGTON’S – out Feb 5th. Preorder today! One woman’s journey to find herself and help secure the vote. Perfect for the fans of the TV series Mr Selfridge and The Paradise. 1911 Bath. Banished from her ancestral home, passionate suffrage campaigner, Esther Stanbury works as a window dresser in Pennington’s Department Store. She...

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Opening Lines: Light From Other Windows by Chris Chalmers

Posted by on Jan 17th, 2019 in Blog, Contemporary fiction, Fiction, Opening Lines Blog | Comments Off on Opening Lines: Light From Other Windows by Chris Chalmers

Opening Lines time is here! This week Chris Chalmers is with me to share the first 500 words of his novel, Light From Other Windows. Light From Other Windows — Blurb How many secrets can a family hide? 19-year-old Josh Maitland is at the end of a gap-year trip round the world when the tsunami hits the Canary Islands. His family are devastated at the loss of someone they thought would outlive them all: mother Diana, advertising executive and shatterer of glass ceilings; older siblings Rachel and Jem, each contemplating a serious relationship after years of sidestepped commitment; and stepfather Colin, no stranger to loss, who finds himself frozen out by his wife’s grief. Only with the discovery of the private blog Josh was writing for his friends does the significance of his travels become clear. It reveals secrets he knew about everyone in his family — and one about himself that will change the way they think of him forever. “Can bring tears to your eyes on one page and make you laugh the next.” SUZI FEAY, literary journalist “Once again Chris Chalmers combines sensitivity and wit in his observation of human behaviour with a cracking storyline. Unputdownable.” PENNY HANCOCK, bestselling author of Tideline You can choose your friends but… How I was inspired to write Light From Other Windows — by Chris Chalmers In every novel I’ve written, there’s been someone or something I can point to and say ‘Yep — that’s me!’ In the case Light From Other Windows, it’s not a character so much as a position within the family. Nineteen-year-old Josh Maitland is the youngest child of three by a good decade. His older brother and sister feel more like secondary parents than siblings — and that was certainly the case when I was growing up. I was always “the little one”, which was nice in a way when I was very young; when I was eight or nine, my big sister was earning a living and kind enough to give me pocket money. And since she and my brother had long since left home I was ostensibly an only child, with all the advantages of full parental attention that can bring. The trouble is, roles within the family have a habit of sticking. In my case until I was in my thirties, with a successful career and home of my own, when I realised my siblings still saw me just as they always had. It wasn’t malicious. Far from it, they’re both lovely people. But it took a flashpoint to end it; an argument in which the worm turned and told them he’d had enough of being treated like a man-child. My brother and sister were very contrite. In their defence, I don’t think either of them knew they had been doing it. So that’s the dynamic I was working with in this book. The events are fiction. Unlike Josh, I didn’t go on a gap-year trip round the world, and mercifully I’ve never been caught in a tsunami. But the subtle way the members of the Maitland family perceive each other is very much based on personal experience. Accidents of birth have a lot to answer for — and so do accidents of promotion (excuse the clunky segue). Light From Other Windows has been...

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