A Virtual Welcome to Author Jean Fullerton

Today we welcome award-winning author Jean Fullerton, whose latest novel Fetch Nurse Connie was published yesterday.

Jean Fullerton medHi, Thanks Elaine and Francesca for inviting me to be a guest on the WriteMindsWritePlace Blog.

For those of you who don’t know me I was born within the sound of Bow Bells in Whitechapel – Jack the Ripper country – and I absolutely adore my birth place of East London. My family has lived in the area since the 1820s. I use real East London locations and have my characters walking past actual shops and houses that once existed. I have also drawn on my family for many of my stories, such as the charity school, public houses and market.

I’m a qualified District Nurse and now teach nursing studies at a London University. I live with my hero of thirty-eight years just outside London in Epping Forest and have three grown-up daughters.

When did you know you wanted to write?

Unlike many of my fellow authors I am a relative latecomer to writing. In fact, I didn’t know I could write until I was sent on an NHS stress management course – yes, fact can be stranger than fiction.

I thought it was just a hobby until I got my first Romantic Novelist Association New Writers’ Scheme report back. It said I had what it took to be a published novelist because I wrote pacey stories with believable characters and sharp dialogue. Of course my reader also said I didn’t know the first thing about story structure, punctuation or presentation.

It was then I knew I had to write but it took 5 years of learning my craft before I finally got my big break.

I’ll continue to write until they prise the keyboard out from under my cold dead hand.

Jean's Banner

How long does it take you to complete a manuscript?

My novels are somewhere around the 135,000 word mark so the first draft takes me 5 months to pull together then a month re-working it before it goes off to my agent. She has been in publishing for a long time. Firstly, she was an editor with HarperCollins, Heinemann and Penguin before moving into being an agent so she always gives me insightful comments. Having incorporated those, in another month or so I’m happy to send the manuscript off to my publisher. So all in all from typing ‘Chapter one’ until hitting the send button to Orion is about 9-10 months, after which I collapse in a heap on my desk.

Can you tell us something about your ‘road’ to publication?

I’m dyslexic and when I went to school (at about the time when the Beatles were tripping off to India) the condition wasn’t recognised so English was always tortuous.

As a teenager I consumed Historical fiction of all kinds and I’d thought over the years that one day I’d write a historical novel. To my utter amazement a story tumbled out and after three months I had a 90,000 word manuscript and another story screaming to be told.

No Cure for Love

The book Jean won the Harry Bowling prize with

After writing over a 1,000,000 words my eleventh book, No Cure for Love, won the Harry Bowling Prize in 2006. I signed with my lovely agent, Laura and was offered my first two-book contract with Orion Publishing.

My first four novels were set during the Victorian era but my latest series featuring Nurse Millie Sullivan and her friend Nurse Connie Byrne are set in post-war East London. They are nurses in the pre-NHS St Dustan and St George’s Nursing Association.

Although the Nurse Millie and Connie books are stand-alone novels they have some of the same characters. How do you ensure your story lines don’t contradict each other?

It’s not easy and sometimes I end up flipping through my own book to find an answer. I have a plot grid of all my books with a timeline and notes as you can see below and I have that to hand.

Scene Events date
1 VE day Millie delivers a baby as street prepares for a Victory party. blancmange pilchards 8/5/45
2 Gets back & has to take over as the superintendent is drunk.
3 Argues with one of the nurses. Phone rings to say her father’s ill
4 At her father’s bedside with her mother as the peace is announced. Churchill spoke at 3pm
5 Calls her Aunt Ruby. King at 9pm?
6 Ch2 Goes back to work and meets her friend Connie


If you could give one piece of advice to budding authors what would it be?

Firstly, if it took me three years to become a nurse, another two to qualify as a district nurse and a further three to become a lecturer so why on earth would I think I could learn the craft of writing overnight? Very few first books are of a publishable standard. Mine wasn’t. Learn your craft!

Secondly, Write what you love. If you’re chasing a bandwagon by the time you’ve jumped on its left town.

And lastly persevere. Getting published is a long, hard road but you’ll never succeed unless you stick with it.

Thank you, Jean, it’s been lovely talking to you, as always.


Fetch Nurse Connie - Cover Feb  2015..doc-2Fetch Nurse Connie

Connie Byrne, a nurse in London’s East End working alongside Millie Sullivan from Call Nurse Millie, is planning her wedding to Charlie Ross, set to take place as soon as he returns from the war. But when she meets him off the train at London Bridge, she finds that his homecoming isn’t going to go according to plan.

Connie’s busy professional life, and the larger-than-life patients in the district, offer a welcome distraction, but for how long?

Available from Orion Fiction on Kindle, paperback and hardback on 4th June 2015.

Amazon link to buy Fetch Nurse Connie


Praise for Call Nurse Millie:

‘A delightful, well researched story that depicts nursing and the living conditions in the East End at the end of the war’ (Lesley Pearse)

‘…The writing shines off the page and begs for a sequel’ (Historical Novel Society)

‘…you will ride emotional highs and lows with each new birth and death. Beautifully written with some sharp dialogue.’ (THE LADY)

Jean’s website

Jean on Twitter


In the midst of life…

Francesca Burgess considers eternal tweaking and how life interferes with deadlines.

Seven years ago I started submitting short stories to magazines. Deadlines didn’t feature unless I was writing a seasonal story and needed to get it subbed within a certain time frame. Not having a deadline can be a problem where I’m concerned as I tend to tweak and hold on to a story far longer than I should. With competition entries the deadline is a definite cut off point which can be advantage if you’re like me.

When I started writing novels in 2009 I had no deadlines for them, no publishers, editors or agents to get them off to byNaNoWriMo 2009 a certain date. For someone who edits and tweaks ad infinitum, this can be an even bigger disadvantage than it is with a short story. My first good idea was to join in with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which takes place every November. I’ve done this successfully every year since. However, it doesn’t mean that I don’t go on to tweak and edit endlessly later.

My second good idea was to join the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme in 2011. This was extremely effective at giving me a kick up the proverbial. Apart from having to get a manuscript in each year, there is the opportunity to meet publishers, editors and agents. If one of them shows an interest in a novel and asks to see the whole thing, this gives a deadline and a reason to stop ‘fine tuning’.

The cut off date for the NWS is 31st August. Every year it’s been my aim to get the manuscript off by the time I go to the Caerleon/Fishguard Writers’ Week, at the end of July. For the first three years I succeeded.

For the first time this year, my fourth year in the NWS, I took it to the wire. And I mean the wire. It was one of those times when, deadline or no deadline, life itself got in the way, quite literally in the birth of my granddaughter, Seren. But death also played a part as my much-too-young brother-in-law passed away with cancer. Hence visits and funerals to Wales and to the north of the country. In between all this we were preparing for my eldest daughter’s wedding in the West Country, brought forward in the hope her uncle would make it.

So writing and editing this summer – the new novel plus the last one which I’ve been editing twice over for different interested publishers – has been fitted in between the hatch, match and dispatch of human existence. Sometimes life is like that. In the midst of it we have to face all sorts of complications, both wonderful and terrible. Maybe, at some point in the future, all of what I’ve experienced this summer will itself go into a book.

The EndIn the meantime, my NWS entry at least did get finished and sent and both book edits have gone to the publishers concerned.

Now I have NaNoWriMo looming once again in nine days time. Life continues to be complicated but I am hoping to get my 1,667 words written each day.

Wish me luck!



National Novel Writing Month  http://nanowrimo.org/

Romantic Novelists’ Association: http://www.rna-uk.org

RNA New Writers’ Scheme:   http://www.romanticnovelistsassociation.org/join/new_writers_scheme





Deadlines… or just dead lines?

Viv Hampshire talks about the effects on her writing of being put under pressure

There are times when we all have to write to order. If we want our work to be accepted for publication, it’s vital that we remain open not only to suggestions from editors and publishers, but to directions too! And one of the most important of these is the dreaded deadline. Whether it’s a magazine article, a seasonal short story that could miss its slot, or the submission of a completed novel manuscript, there will always be a date by which it HAS to be done… or we are in big trouble, quite likely missing our chance to see our work in print, and probably getting a bad reputation as a non-professional time waster along the way.

But having to finish writing by a certain date means added pressure. When it comes to a novel, it’s bad enough juggling plot, sub-plots, research, setting, characters and everything else that goes towards a great story. Now we have to finish it on time too! For me, this year, that meant getting my unfinished novel ready to send off for its critique under the RNA’s New Writers Scheme before the end of August deadline. Yes, they will take a partial, but having paid for a reader to look at a whole book, it’s a terrible waste to only send a few chapters. The last couple of months as the deadline approached saw me scribbling away at such a furious pace that I went way over the word count I had intended and actually wrote the last half of the book in about triple the time it had taken to write the first! 

It's not a hobby any more

It’s not a hobby any more

But what can happen when writing becomes a race against the clock instead of the pleasurable and leisurely pastime it used to be when it was just a hobby and not a way of life? The most obvious problem for me is a potential drop in quality. When I don’t have the time to carefully consider every word, rewrite every clanky paragraph, and rip up my synopsis umpteen times and start again, there is a real danger that what I write won’t be as good as it could have been, or as good as I would like it to be.

What if the dreaded deadlines do nothing more than push me into producing just that – dead lines, that don’t spring to life on the page and that nobody will want to read? But, how will I know if I don’t plough on and get to the end? When weighed up against not finishing at all, perhaps that’s a risk we should all be willing to take. Novels that are not quite perfect have the chance to be seen and edited and ultimately accepted. Novels languishing in drawers because they are never quite ready have no chance at all.  

Trying to achieve perfection comes at a price, and for me that price is definitely time. Therefore, I have made the decision to just do my best, get the words written, and stop worrying about every little comma or trying to become the next literary sensation. There are many less than perfect books out there – all accepted and published – so why shouldn’t mine be one of them? I can no longer afford to take three or four years playing around with a novel to tweak it into submission. Submission… there’s a pun there somewhere! So, until I acquire an agent who will no doubt be only too keen to push me on at a pace, it’s going to be self-imposed deadlines for me. A novel a year from now on, and I’m already three chapters into the next one!



Graduating the New Writers’ Scheme – Celia J Anderson

In the last interview in our series, author Celia J Anderson is interviewed by Francesca Capaldi Burgess

Celia AndersonCelia lives in South Derbyshire with her husband and deranged cats. Over the years she’s had a variety of occupations. She believes she’s found her perfect job in teaching, which she now does part time to accommodate her writing. Her first novel, Sweet Proposal, is published by Piatkus.

When did you first start writing and what made you decide to take it further?

I’ve always loved writing but it was in 1995 when I took an Access for Learning course prior to going to university to train as a teacher that I really got the bug. The creative writing module was a shot in the arm – we had to write the first part of a novel for one of the assessments and I carried on with it for the next few years, just as a hobby. The finished article, Moondancing, is definitely not publishable as it stands, but maybe one day … after a heavy slash and burn session …

You graduated from the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme this year with Sweet Proposal. How did you find your publisher?

I read online about a competition with Piatkus Entice for a one-book contract – they wanted the full MS and by that time I had a better one ready. The book was called The Chocolate Project initially but the name was changed during the editing process. The prize was awarded at The Festival of Romance in Bedford, 2012. It was an amazing night, what I can remember of it!

As someone who teaches, has a family and runs a children’s drama group, how do you fit writing into your busy day?

It’s getting harder and harder, as I’ve just been appointed assistant headteacher, but still working Monday to Thursday. I hope to keep Fridays free although sometimes pressing school problems have to come first but I often write in the early mornings – I wake about 5am and that’s when the words flow best.

Tell us about the Romaniacs. How did you get together?

Most of us met at the very first Festival of Romance in November 2011. We started a private Facebook page so that we could get to know each other better and gradually the plans for a group blog were formed. We are sounding boards for each other, shoulders to cry on, extra family, and most of all writing gurus. I would be completely lost without them.

What have you got planned next in the romance genre, and do you have any other writing goals?

I have my next book, Little Boxes, out with publishers on submission right now, and the following one is partly written – waiting for the school holidays to make some decent headway though. I’ve just finished writing our Year Six play with the children and am also editing my first children’s book which I would love to get published. There’s no time to be bored these days!

 Thank you for finding time in your hectic schedule to talk to us, Celia. The best of luck with Sweet Proposal and all your future projects.


Sweet Proposal by Celia J Anderson

SWEET PROPOSAL (1)Books, chocolate and a Jacuzzi: could there be a better combination? Gorgeous Geordie Leo arrives in Clayton-on-the-Bream with a mission to make his mark. When he reveals his ideas for a bespoke bookshop and chocolate-themed cafe, struggling writer Mab can’t resist his plea for help.

However, Leo’s timing is disastrous. Engaged to flighty, super-thin Sophie and knowing that Mab is up to her neck in a mysterious scheme of her own, Leo fights hard to ignore the warm, sensual friendship that is growing between them. When their eclectic mix of family and friends weigh in to help, the dream seems almost possible, but can Leo ignore Mab’s shady past? As they battle with sabotage, jealousy, vindictive neighbours and unpredictable relationships, Mab and Leo find that even chocolate can’t always make miracles happen . . .


Find out more about Celia:




Facebook author page



Graduating the New Writers’ Scheme – Jo Thomas

Elaine Roberts is proud to welcome this years winner of the Joan Hessayon Award, Jo Thomas, to WMWP.

Jo started her broadcasting career as a reporter and co-presenter with Rob Brydon on BBC Radio 5, reported for Jo ThomasBBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and went on to produce at BBC Radio 2 working on The Steve Wright Show. She now lives in the Vale of Glamorgan with her writer and producer husband, three children, three cats and a black lab, Murray. She writes lighthearted romances about food, family, friendships and love; and believes every story should have a happy ending. 

Why/when did you know you wanted to write?

I remember getting the bug when I read my first Christina Jones followed very quickly by my first Katie Fforde. In fact, a friend at work had read it on her holiday and passed it over the desk, saying ‘here we go Jo, I think you’ll like this’. Like it? I loved it! And it was then I thought I wish I could write those kind of stories. I wish I could be part of that world.  Nothing bad ever happens in those stories and I always knew there would happy ending.

How long did it take you to complete your manuscript?

Well, an oyster takes about three years to grow and that’s probably how long The Oyster Catcher took from first getting the idea to actually being published.

How did you find your publisher?

At an RNA party of course! I was introduced to Hazel from Accent Press and some time later she offered to publish my book as an ebook. It was time to get my story out there.

Can you tell us something about your ‘road’ to publication?

I was published in November 2013 by Accent Press as an e-book. In January 2014 it started rising up the Amazon Kindle charts. By February it rose to number 2, inbetween ’12 Years a Slave’ and ‘The Book Thief’. Whilst it was there I was approach by one of the big publishers and a number of other publishers showed an interest in me. I ended up going to auction and I was really lucky to finally sign a 4 book deal with Headline.

Now you have that first book ‘under your belt’ what’s next in your writing life?

Busy! The first book, The Oyster Catcher is coming out in paperback in November so I’ve been doing edits on that. My second book, The Olive Branch, is due out in February 2015 and I’m just about to do the next draft on that and, in October I have a novella coming out as an ebook, called The Chestnut Tree, which I put the final full stop on this morning! Oyster Catcher

Thank you, Jo, for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to us today.

The Oyster Catcher by Jo Thomas

According to a champion shell shucker, in order to open an oyster, you first have to understand what’s keeping it closed. When runaway bride Fiona Clutterbuck crashes the honeymoon camper van, she doesn’t know what to do or where to go. Embarrassed and humiliated, Fiona knows one thing for sure, she can’t go home. Being thrown a lifeline, a job on an oyster farm seems to be the answer to her prayers. But nothing could prepare her for the choppy ride ahead or her new boss the wild and unpredictable, Sean Thornton. Will Fiona ever be able to come out of her shell? As the oyster season approaches, will there be love amongst the oyster beds of Galway Bay? Or will the circling sharks finally close in?


Amazon uk: The Oyster Catcher

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JoThomasAuthor

Twitter: @jo_thomas01

Graduating the New Writers’ Scheme – Jules Wake

In the third interview in our series, Vivien Hampshire talks to author Jules Wake about her path to publication

Jules Wake book cover

Author Jules Wake

Jules Wake writes fun contemporary romance. She lives in Tring with two teenagers and a husband, along with a fine collection of dust bunnies. Writing is her displacement activity when she needs to resist the urge to do housework.  She is an avid reader and would really rather read a book than anything else – except perhaps watch Strictly Come Dancing, come Saturday nights in September. Unfortunately she also has a day job as a School Business Manager, which she is quite passionate about, but luckily the holidays leave her plenty of time to read (ahem … write).

Jules had put five different novels through the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme process before she found success. Her first published novel, Talk to Me, is described by The Bookseller as ‘a warm-hearted debut’ and is receiving plenty of enthusiastic 5-star reviews on Amazon.

Jules, when did you first realise that you wanted to write?

I always enjoyed writing as a child and studied English at university. I went to UEA, one of the first homes of creative writing degree courses, and I think the concept of writing was so important on the campus that the idea that I might one day try it became embedded in my sub-conscious. I then went into PR which involved a lot of copy writing, newsletters, press releases and features, so writing itself was second nature, although writing a book is very different. Before the days of the kindle, I used to get frustrated that I couldn’t find anything new to read, so I decided to write the sort of things I like reading.

What is your New Writers’ Scheme story? 

I strapped on my walking boots when I joined the NWS! Talk to Me was the first manuscript I submitted, way back in 2008, and I was thrilled to get good feedback. In fact, that was in the days of the second read, so I received two really fabulous reports. I thought I was made. Little did I know! I started submitting to agents immediately, and the rejections flooded in.

Having had such a positive response for the first book, I re-joined the NWS and duly sent off my second book. That too got a good report and I submitted to agents and got another ton of rejections, so I wrote a third. More rejections, so I wrote a fourth. The fourth one got great feedback from the NWS and this time, when I submitted it to agents, two actually asked for the full manuscript. That was so exciting. Unfortunately, in the end, both said it wasn’t for them.

I then got on and wrote book five, but at around the same time I had decided to submit the first book, Talk to Me, to Choc Lit. I was invited to meet with the publisher in January 2013 – just after I’d signed up for the NWS for the sixth year.

So, how did you find your publisher?

As an RNA NWS member, I made the most of going to events and networking. I was a bit shy about it at first but Twitter really helped. I met lots of RNA people online before I met them in the flesh, but that made it much easier to go to events. As a result, I met Sue Moorcroft a couple of times and read her books, which I loved. She was published by Choc Lit, who were quite new then. I heard that they were accepting un-agented submissions but was disappointed to find that they only accepted work which included the male point of view. At that time I wrote in the first person and didn’t think I could write from the male POV. However, I decided to give it a try and rewrote the first three chapters specifically for Choc Lit, and they came back and asked to see the whole manuscript! 

Jules Wake’s books line up ready for action at the launch of Talk to Me

I quickly had to rewrite the whole 87000 words, but I managed to encompass everything I had learned and probably submitted a better book than the original. Talk to Me was accepted and subsequently published by Choc Lit as an ebook in May 2014, and in paperback a month later. The first draft had taken me a year to write and I remember the sense of achievement when I typed The End, but actually that was only about a quarter of the work involved. It took me nearly six years from starting the first draft to holding the paperback in my hand.

Do you have an agent? 

Although I now had a contract with Choc Lit, my NWS reader suggested I try to get an agent for book five, so I sent it out to three agents in August 2013. One came back and asked to read the full ms but then declined it, and the other two I didn’t hear from at all. I was about to give up on it when a fellow writing buddy from the NWS insisted I give agents one more crack, so I picked five more and sent the ms off to them on a Thursday. On the Monday I received a call from an agent at a big London literary agency asking if I’d received her email on Friday? Would you believe it, one of the most important emails of my writing career had gone into my spam folder! She loved the first three chapters and wanted to read the full ms on an exclusive basis. No sooner had I agreed to that, one of the three original agents came back and asked for the full too. That left me in a dilemma as I didn’t want to tell her it was already with someone else on an exclusive basis. Being a coward, I decided that as Agent B had taken so long to get back to me, it would be all right to conveniently overlook her email for a few days, while I waited for Agent A’s response.

Fortuitously, it was the RNA summer party that week and both agents were there. I introduced myself to Agent A and we had a great chat. Then I spotted Agent B and felt I really ought to go over and talk to her and explain the situation. She was really cool with it and to my surprise was happy to wait. We got on famously and I knew then that I could work with her.

Agent A came back and asked for lots of changes before she would make a decision. I agreed with the changes, but still sent off the ms to Agent B. I’ll never forget I got a call the following Friday lunchtime from Agent B. She was only halfway through the book but loving it, and offered me representation. We’d got on so well at the party, and I really felt she ‘got’ me, so I accepted.

Now you have the first book ‘under your belt’, what’s next in your writing life?

There are still no guarantees. I had to forego future contracts with my current publisher because they prefer to option all future romantic novels, in favour of taking on the agent. She may not be able to sell this novel, but it was a risk I was prepared to take. I’m now writing book number six.

If you could give just one tip to aspiring romantic novelists, what would it be?

When finishing the first draft of a book, too many writers make the mistake of thinking ‘there you go, that’s the work done’, and start submitting. My favourite analogy to reflect the route to publication is to ask: Would you enter the Olympics having run just one marathon? So, my best advice to anyone who is serious about getting published is to just keep writing, keep learning and keep improving your craft.

Jules Wake signing books at the launch party


Thank you, Jules, for talking to us on the blog today, and we wish you every success in the future.  

About the book:

Olivia has been in love with Daniel forever but, despite her best efforts, they’ve never been able to get it together. Their relationship has always been a series of mixed messages and misunderstandings and the final straw comes when Daniel mysteriously starts dating her flatmate, Emily. Hurt and confused, Olivia resolves to forget her heartache with a spot of speed dating. After all, what could possibly go wrong? One crazy stalker later and Olivia’s life is becoming increasingly strange and scary. Can she rely on Daniel to step in when events take a terrifying turn or will their communication breakdown ultimately result in tragedy?Jules Wake front cover

Talk to Me is available in book shops, and on Amazon where it is currently priced at £6.19 paperback / £2.48 kindle ebook edition

To find out more about Jules and her books, you can visit her website and blog:







Graduating the New Writers’ Scheme – Natalie Kleinman

I’m delighted to be interviewing fellow WMWP blogger, Natalie Kleinman about her rise from the New Writers’ Scheme and what comes next.

All my fellow bloggers are talented writers. I can see there being a flurry of novels hitting the bookshelves in the next year.

Natalie lives with her husband, Louis, in Blackheath, southeast London. She discovered a love of writing when searching for something less time-consuming than an Open University degree course. It was one of the biggest mistakes she ever made – not the writing but her assessment of how much time it would take.IMG_1234-Version3

We often hear how difficult it can be to get onto the Romantic Novelist Associations’ New Writers’ Scheme due to the number of applicants. Did you find it hard and how long were you a member?

I was incredibly lucky on both counts. With finger poised late one night/early morning in January 2013, I punched the key – rather hard actually due to an excess of enthusiasm – and was accepted first time of applying. Then panic set it. Would I be able to get my book finished in time? I did and had a most encouraging review from my reader to whom I will be forever grateful. After working on her suggestions I submitted the edited manuscript and was accepted for publication in early November of the same year.

How and when did you graduate?

In November 2013, though my book, Voyage of Desire (Safkhet) wasn’t published until June 2014. I’m one of contenders for the Joan Hessayon Award in 2015 due to my book not being published until after the 2014 event.

How did it feel to become a full member of the RNA and did it affect the way you work as a novelist?

Very grown up and more than a little daunting. The New Writers’ Scheme is not only a wonderful opportunity for aspiring writers but also a cushion against the outside world. I’ve always been self-motivated but graduation brought with it an added responsibility. To those who had helped me on my way and to prove to myself I wasn’t a one hit wonder.

Tell us something about your writing day.

I write full time and have a huge admiration for those who hold down other jobs and still manage to produce a massive word count. I’m unfortunate in that I need at least eight hours sleep so I need to be disciplined during the time I have available. My laptop lid opens with my breakfast and closes when I go to bed. I don’t give myself a designated number of hours to write and I have no particular routine. Impossible though not to feel guilty if I move away from the table and look back to see my empty chair and my open laptop.

Do you write anything other than novels?

Indeed I do. I began by writing short stories and the love of that form has never left me. I’ve sold over twenty short stories to the international womens’ magazine market. To have an idea, to work on it and produce, in a couple of hours, something that didn’t exist before – magic!

VoD Cover

You have that magical second book about to be published. How does it differ from your first novel?

There was less external pressure because I didn’t have the deadline of the NWS submission date but the genre of After All These Years (DC Thomson) is the same. I am comfortable with contemporary romance which also forms the foundation for many of my short stories, though I have written sci-fi and mild horror, if there is such a thing as mild horror.


Do you have a secret yearning to write something different to your first two books?

A good thriller is my reading of choice but I know it’s something I could never write because I am a ‘panster’ and I suspect writing a thriller would need a lot more plotting than my natural tendency is capable of. I consider myself very lucky in that I can ‘escape’ to other genres in my short stories.

What’s next for author, Natalie Kleinman?

I have returned to my ‘bottom drawer’ novel, the first I wrote, but I like the theme and the setting. Not much has changed; not much that is except the point of view and the hero, not the original guy but another character who demanded the role. Sometimes they don’t give us a choice, do they? Certainly it’s a complete rewrite. I’m 16,000 words in at the time of writing. It’s still a contemporary romance though.SecretLoveCover

Thank you, Natalie. I look forward to reading After All These Years when it’s published next week.


Amazon UK

WriteMindsWritePlace blog







Viv Hampshire wonders where all that spare time went!

Back in those long ago snowy days of January, with a whole year stretched enticingly out in front of me (the first year ever of not having to go out to work to earn a crust), I thought I had all the time in the world. Fitting the writing of a novel into my new life was going to be so easy, what with all that extra spare time I was going to have on my hands. I even, perhaps a bit foolishly, made myself a promise – and published it very publicly here on the blog – I will, without any more procrastination, get on and finish my novel in progress and get it ‘out there’ to be critiqued and maybe even accepted for publication – in 2014. Without fail. Without doubt. No more excuses. 

Six months later, and I’m starting to panic! It’s getting there, but it’s nowhere near finished, and the Romantic Novelists Association’s New Writers Scheme (NWS) August submission deadline is looming ever nearer. Where did all those extra hours disappear to? Well, the trouble is… I don’t have to be anywhere important any more, so I get up later. I go for a wander around the shops or to watch the other half play bowls, because the sun’s shining, and because I want to spend time with him, and because I can. I fiddle about on facebook and read every page of the newspaper online, making sure I complete the crossword, obviously! I pop round to my daughter’s during the afternoon (earlier than I might have done before, so I can miss the school traffic) and help her with her uni essays, and then I make a start on dinner. Add into the mix a bit of a health scare (thankfully now resolved) and the fact that I have, rather unexpectedly, recently got engaged and now have all the finer details of an imminent wedding to plan, and it’s hardly surprising that the novel has started to slip onto the back burner. Oh dear! Oh no!!

In fact, by the time the quiz shows and the soaps are over (I can’t possibly miss out on them. I love them too much, soap plot lines are great for inspiration and ideas, and a girl’s got to have some fun!) it’s 9 o’clock and I’m finally just about ready to write. But, hang on… that’s exactly when I have always written. Somehow my clockbody clock just can’t adjust itself to any kind of new routine. It’s got far too set in its ways. My head, my heart, my feet, all lead me up those stairs to my desk at 9 o’clock and there I sit, quite happily, in my new study (featured, by the way, in the July issue of Writers’ Forum magazine), far away from the football that is dominating the TV at the moment, and write until bedtime – just like I always have.

And, even then, I still have to find time to write my articles – commissioned ones that bring in an income – and I still love to write short stories whenever an idea strikes… but a promise is a promise. As I write this, almost at the end of June, my novel’s word count stands at around 75,000. It’s going to take another 25,000 words or so to get to the end. And so I keep working out how many weeks I have left and how many words I will have to write in each of those weeks, and the more I put it off the bigger that weekly target has to grow! At this rate I will be scribbling out the last 10,000 in the last week (or even on the last day!), and I won’t get to sleep at all!

But I did say no more excuses, so I won’t make any. As this post goes live I will just be back from a little holiday at the Chocolate Hotel in Bournemouth. Well, I couldn’t miss out on that one, could I? And then I will get down to the novel again. I really will. Honest!