A post saying good riddance 2020 and welcome 2021 will be along shortly but I have happy news that can’t wait for to edit post and have in depth ponders of what to write. I am going to be published! People will be able to open a book and meet the characters I have created. Eek!
A short story, The Ghost Writer, has been accepted by Cardigan Press for an anthology. I began writing it during the Dystonia Around the World challenge last year and finished with the help of a short story course run by the lovely Myszka at the delightful Foxes Retreat. I’m so happy. I keep reading the acceptance email with a huge grin on my face and know this is how Jo March felt when she got published.
Later this year, I’ll have a physical book on my bookcase containing my story and my name; what better encouragement is there for getting me to continue pursuing this emotional rollercoaster career as a writer. And to think I very nearly did not submit it. The stars must have been aligned and my spell bottle must have been working its magic when I pressed send.
If I am this excited to get a short story accepted, imagine what will happen when I get an agent or publishing deal on a book.
Today I am excited to be chatting to Kate Ryder, the author of Secrets of the Mist, and her new release Beneath Cornish Skies and is on my TBR pile. So grab a coffee or tea and cake if needed and discover more about the person behind these books.
Hello Kate, thank you so much for popping by. Your books are based in Cornwall, what draws you to this setting for your novels?
Three of my four published novels are set in Cornwall, which is such an inspirational county for the writer/artist in me. As a Piscean I’m drawn to the sea, and Cornwall’s natural, ruggedly beautiful coastline always gets my creative juices flowing!
Did any of your inspiration for novels originate from your own real-life experiences?
Secrets of the Mist (interestingly, the only novel I’ve set in a different county) was inspired by renovations to our 200 year old cottage during which a time capsule was discovered, secreted away by a previous owner. Its contents were fascinating and it had me contemplating previous occupiers of our cottage and the dramas it may have witnessed. Readers took the novel to heart and it achieved #1 best seller in Time Travel Romance on Amazon UK, Canada and Australia.
I loved the cottage in Secrets of the Mist. Is this based on a real place?
The setting for the cottage is real – Walditch, in Dorset – but the actual property doesn’t exist. It’s purely from my imagination. However, the internal stained glass divide between the sitting and dining rooms and the ghostly presence were inspired by a conversation with someone who told me about an old Dartmoor cottage she once owned that she’d shared with a ghost.
I have a bookcase full of books I will keep forever and regularly reread them. Do you reread books or do you only read them once?
I have bookcases full of books (at least our old stone cottage is well insulated!). I do reread books but tend to put several months between subsequent readings.
What are you currently reading?
Several reviewers comment that my books remind them of Barbara Erskine’s writing. What a wonderful compliment! I’m currently enjoying the audible version of her novel, River of Destiny. It’s a terrific adventure, which the narrator has done justice to.
I would agree with their assessment, Secrets of the Mist did have the atmosphere of Barbara Erskine novels. River of Destiny is a great book and will now have to add it to my reread pile.Do you have any tips for would-be writers?
Remember that writing is a long-game. Smile and enjoy the journey!
Secrets of the Mist and your upcoming release are time slip novels with elements of the supernatural threaded through them. Is this a genre you always wanted to write?
In my late childhood/early teenage years, I was spellbound by Alison Uttley’s ATraveller in Time. The mix of history and timeslip seemed so believable. The story has remained with me through the intervening years, although I wasn’t aware this was a genre I would write. Summer in a Cornish Cove (and its standalone sequel, Cottage on a Cornish Cliff) is a contemporary romantic suspense novel that verges on psychological thriller, although (she laughs) there is a tiny smattering of the other side coming through!
What is your favourite book?
Who is your favourite author?
Daphne du Maurier. However, during lockdown I discovered several terrific authors that I’d not read before, including Christina Courtenay, Georgia Hill, Nicola Cornick and Susanna Kearsley. All historical dual-timeline/timeslip writers… funny that!
Is your writing influenced by the books you have read?
Definitely. When aspiring to being a good writer you should read a varied subject matter and as many books as possible.
Where is your favourite place to read or write?
During 2020 – the strangest of years – I did a lot of reading in bed; probably because it felt safe and warm. I write in my office, which is in the eaves of our three-storey Cornish cottage. Being on the top floor, it feels like an eyrie, tucked away from the distractions of the rest of the household.
When did you begin writing and how did being published come about?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can recall, and I’ve also worked in publishing. However, it took a certain milestone birthday to motivate me towards turning my dream of becoming a published author into reality. I joined the Romantic Novelist’s Association New Writers’ Scheme and submitted a manuscript for a professional critique. Taking on board my reader’s comments, I tweaked the manuscript and sent it to several publishing companies. There followed the inevitable rejections (par for the course) but Aria responded and offered me a four-book contract.
Beneath Cornish Skies
To an outsider, Cassandra Shaw‘s life looks perfect. She lives in a beautiful, luxurious house in the English countryside, with a handsome, wealthy boyfriend who insists she needn’t do a day’s work in her life. But Cassie knows that something is not right. Her boyfriend has grown colder, treating her more like a housekeeper than a future wife. And her time feels empty and purposeless.
Cassandra has always been riddled with insecurities and self-doubt, but, just for once, she decides to take a chance on a new beginning. She answers an advert for a live-in nanny, dog walker, cook and all-round ‘Superhuman’ for a family living in a rambling manor house on the rugged North Cornish coast. The work is hard and tiring, but Cassie has never felt so fulfilled.
As Cassie learns to connect with the natural beauty unfolding around her, Cornwall starts to offer up its secrets. Soon, Cassie starts wondering if she was drawn to this isolated part of the coast for a reason. Why was she guided to Foxcombe Manor? What are the flashes of light she sees in the valley? Is it her imagination or does someone brush past her? And who is the mysterious man living deep in the woods?
A beautiful romance with a hint of ghostliness, Beneath Cornish Skies is for anyone who has ever longed to start their lives again.
Kate Ryder is an award-winning, Amazon Kindle international best seller who writes timeslip and romantic suspense in a true-to-life narrative. On leaving school she studied drama but soon discovered her preference for writing plays rather than performing them! Since then, she has worked in the publishing, tour operating and property industries, and has travelled widely.
Kate is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Society of Authors. In 2017, she signed a 4-book contract with Aria (digital imprint of award-winning independent publisher, Head of Zeus).
Summer in a Cornish Cove, a contemporary romantic suspense set on the Lizard Peninsula, gained her a nomination for the RNA’s 2018 Joan Hessayon award, while its standalone sequel, Cottage on a Cornish Cliff, reached the heady heights of #2 in Kindle Literary Sagas.
‘Secrets of the Mist’, a mysterious timeslip romance, not only achieved #1 Kindle best seller flags in the UK, Canada and Australia, but also reached #49 in Amazon UK Paid Kindle. In the original, self-published version (The Forgotten Promise) it was awarded the first Chill with a Book “Book of the Month”.
Originally hailing from the South East of England, today Kate lives on the Cornish side of the beautiful Tamar Valley with her husband and a collection of animals.
This book stands out as one of the best Christmas novels I have on my shelf for its chemistry between characters, musicality, portrayal of disability and vibrant location. I can’t wait to see what Leonie Mack writes next.
I am excited to finally share my review for My Christmas Number One by Leonie Mack. I had planned to post my review late last month but when I was given an audio copy to listen to, I jumped at the chance. Scroll down to see if Amazon’s claim this book is ‘The perfect uplifting festive romance for 2020’ is true.
Book Review: My Christmas Number One by Leonie Mack
Title: My Christmas Number One
Author: Leonie Mack
Narrator: Gloria Sanders
Publisher: Boldwood Books and Boldwood Books Audio UK
Release date: 10th September 2020
Genre: festive women’s fiction, romance
There’s nothing quite like a Christmas love story, to get you in the mood for celebrating…Cara doesn’t do sexy and she only does ‘Happy Christmas’ under duress. She is, after all, a serious musician, and her stubborn streak is born from her…
It is International Day of People With a Disability and #PitMad on Twitter. This could make a powerful combination at getting authors with disabilities and chronic health conditions seen and our stories told. There are 14.1 million adults* in the UK with a disability, yet they are rarely seen in fiction and romance. When they are they are often in what can be described as ‘inspiration porn.’ There is a drive to change this as well as make writing and publishing more inclusive to the disabled community and underrepresented groups. Hopefully this will provide an influx of novels showing relatable characters representing all.
Last month, the Romantic Novelist’s Association took an important step in inclusivity by the introduction of the RNA Disco Chapter. This is an online chapter for RNA members with disabilities, chronic health conditions and neurodiversity to offer support, a safe place to chat about the obstacles we face and friendship. I was excited and nervous to take part in the #UKRomChat last week on Twitter to discuss the chapter and its importance. The chat can be began here.
I have been lucky to receive a bursary for the New Writer’s Scheme, which has given me more opportunities and friendships that I could dream of. Without it I would not have a full manuscript of A Blend of Magic on my PC and out for submission, and I would not have found my tribe. Hopefully, this chapter will spread awareness of the scheme and offer others the chance.
Two founding members Jeanna Louise Skinner and Denise also discuss the chapter, underrepresented writers and how NWS has affected their lives here.
This is a belated update on the Dystonia Around the World challenge. With a final push we did it! As a team we managed to walk around the world for dystonia by clocking up 25,994 miles and raising £ 14,257 for Dystonia UK. As a small charity every little counts and I am so pleased to have been involved.
I did not manage to write 1000 miles as planned but limped in at 630. This would have got me to my ultimate destination, The Witchcraft Museum at Boscastle, via Bridlington, Haworth, and the atmospheric Mother Shipton’s cave but I would have had to hitchhike back.
Things I have learned during this challenge
2020 is consistent in derailing any plans it knows about including this one hence why my personal challenge was not completed in the time frame.
I am slow at writing and even slower at editing. Rather than an extensive range of flash fiction posted here, my phone and notebook is dotted with unedited and half finished short stories. They will be edited one day so you can read them despite the strong urge to hide them away.
Zoom is my friend and allows me to meet other people. The last couple of months it has allowed me to connect with other writers and those with dystonia including those at Dystonia UK’s first digital conference. I would always shy away from video calls but now I have embraced them.
I never remember how much the impact the colder seasons have on my dystonia ; I need to include and adjust goals accordingly.
Dopamine plays an important role in achieving goals, and what I could achieve last year is not the same as it is now I am on reduced medication. But then, as my headmistress always used to quote “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”* 630 exceeded my initial expectations as did my final total raised.
I have more people believing in me and writing than I imagined.
Thank you everyone who supported me.
Happy writing and stay safe
I am unsure who said that originally. Google has answers from Oscar Wilde, Norman Vincent Peale, author of The Power of Positive Thinking to many others. If you know let me know.