Guest Author Rosemary Goodacre on ‘A Fortnight is Not Enough’ and Provence.

Today we welcome author Rosemary Goodacre, who tells us about her debut novella, A Fortnight is not Enough, set in beautiful Provence, and her connection with the area.

Portrait Rosemary GoodacreWelcome to the Write Minds blog, Rosemary. This must have been an exciting time for you with the publication of your first novella. Did you do anything to celebrate?

I’m really thrilled with the news but haven’t done anything special yet to celebrate. I’m busy with social media publicity and current writing projects.

You describe the Provençal town of Pont-César in some detail, its narrow streets, market, cafes, Roman arena and so on. Is it based on any particular town or towns?

When we visited the south of France in 2016 we stayed in Arles, on the Rhône, the main inspiration for Pont-César. In the arena there you can take part in ‘gladiator training!’

Did you visit anywhere else in Provence?

We visited the Carmargue, a marshy coastal area where flamingos live wild, and Avignon, where you can see the famous bridge (no longer quite complete) and the palace, occupied in the Middle Ages by certain Popes.


‘Gladiator training’ in Arles

Imogen’s French in the book is described as being good. Are we right in thinking you also speak French

My father’s family came from the continent and my grandparents spoke French at home. I’m not fluent but I can keep up a conversation. My cousin comes from Liège in Belgium, where they speak French. She now lives in France, in the Gers, not far from the Pyrenees, and we went on to visit her in 2016.

The two main characters, Imogen and Jules, are both artists. Have you ever dabbled with painting yourself?

I’m afraid it was only dabbling. I knew what I wanted to paint but didn’t have the skill to execute it well. I have friends and relatives who paint and it’s a lovely career or pastime.

Several Impressionists are mentioned in your story as being on display in the gallery. Do you have a favourite Impressionist artist?

I haven’t got a favourite but I love their images of sunshine and sparkling rivers. Their lives were probably more challenging than the idyllic pictures suggest.

Jules’ maman cooks some tasty dishes for Imogen. What French food do you particularly enjoy?

There’s a very wide variety of French food, including, thriftily, creatures and parts of creatures we don’t normally eat. In Toulouse I resisted trying the popular dish of Gizzards. Most French food is delicious, though. I love the healthy Mediterranean diet of fruit, vegetables and fish.

What are you working on next?

I’ve recently completed a romance entitled The Day of the Dolly Bird, set in London in the Swinging Sixties. It has been critiqued by a professional novelist through the New Writers’ scheme of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and received a largely favourable report. At present I’m writing a historical novel set in World War I.

Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions, Rosemary. All the best with A Fortnight is not Enough.

Many thanks for inviting me to your blog, Francesca and Elaine.

Find Rosemary on Facebook and Twitter

A Fortnight is not Enough

A Fortnight is not Enough-cover-miniHave you ever enjoyed a holiday so much you could not bear to go home?

When 18 year old Imogen from London meets Jules in the south of France she is painting a view of the river and finds he is an artist too. As a student he earns a little by restoring paintings at the nearby gallery. She extends her three day stay to a fortnight. She loves the warm sunshine and the old town with its Roman remains.

As she becomes increasingly attracted to Jules she is unwilling to return home, where her older boyfriend Luke employs her in his photography gallery, obsessed with furthering his own ambitions. She travels to the airport but then impulsively misses her flight.

Will she need to return to London or can she and Jules find a way to allow her to stay? When the gallery is threatened, fate takes a hand…

Published by US publisher, Books to Go Now and available from Kobo Amazon UK and Amazon US




Never Work with… Children?

Francesca wonders whether the WC Fields quote applies in writing also. Is creating young characters troublesome?

The original ‘Cosmo’.

A couple of years ago, I received a critique for a novel that featured three-year-old twins, Elin and Rhys. The feedback was greatly encouraging, though it did call into question whether my toddlers would speak and act the way they did. The critiques are done anonymously, so I didn’t have an opportunity to say yes, they would, because they’re based heavily on my eldest grandson, Luca, himself three at the time. For that reason I felt confident I’d got them more or less right.

It wasn’t the first, or last, piece of writing where the child characters were inspired by my own progeny. Around the same time I wrote a long short story (if you get what I mean) about a cute three-year-old called Cosmo, who loved ‘woowoos’, ie, emergency vehicles. He was also based on Luca. The story was sadly commissioned for an anthology that never saw the light of day – but I’m not bitter!

It’s not only Luca who gets to hog the limelight. The third short story I had published,  A New Beginning, in The Weekly News back in 2009, featured teenager Peter. It’s no coincidence that Peter is the name of my oldest son. Since then each of my four children have appeared in at least one story, though not always under their own names. Using them as models for characters has been useful though.

To date I’ve written eleven short stories and five novels that feature children or teens. My first two novels were, in fact, Young Adult. The second of those (shortlisted for the Wells Festival of Literature Children’s Competition in 2016) featured several sixteen-year-olds. While none of them were based on my children, I did use them as source material on various aspects of young adult life. There’s nothing funnier than hearing your teenage son on the phone go, ‘Yeah man, sweet, sweet. Sick!’

Peter in his ‘Bluestone’ days.

Peter and my younger son Jack have both been involved in the music scene, one as a musician, the other as a club DJ. This has been useful for research. Peter even made me a CD compilation of club music, to play and refer to while writing a party scene. I can tell you it’s weird hearing a sample of Thomas the Tank Engine in the middle of a drum and bass piece!

With or without your own progeny, there are plenty of other ways to research children and teens. Observe them in cafes and on trains. Children’s and youth magazines are useful. What’s in with the little kids these days? What are teens wearing, listening to, watching? Get a TV guide and see what programmes are popular. Watch a bit of BBC 3.

Dear Diary…

It also helps if you have a good memory – and a diary. I’ve long been in possession of a journal written in the summer 1971, by half-a-dozen of us who worked at my dad’s cafe. We were thirteen/fourteen at the time. Yes, it was common for that age group to do seasonal cafe work back then. We were fascinated and frightened by boys in equal measure. The diary reveals us to be crazy, bitchy, moody and inclined to stomp off and cry (the others, not me of course!). I’ve recently used the diary, along with my own memories, for a short story set in 1971 about Sandi and Steve. It was a hoot revisiting those mad days of funfairs and discos. Diaries from one’s youth are handy for recalling what it was like to be young.

As the WC Fields quote goes, Don’t work with animals and children. Animals in writing is a whole other subject I might cover another time, but I’d contest the children part. I’ve enjoyed creating children older and younger, playing out their stories on paper. They’re complex, wonderful, exasperating, worrying and hilarious. What more could you ask of a character? And I’ll let you into a secret. Despite coining that quote, WC Fields secretly admired children greatly. So there you go. Do work with children, on the page in a writer’s case. It’s fun!