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.

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‘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

 

 

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They came, they queued, they pitched.

With pitches and first pages of novels in hand, Elaine and Francesca travelled up to London last weekend for this year’s Discovery Day at Foyles bookshop, to speak with agents from Curtis Brown and Conville and Walsh.

IMG_0166 cropped ERElaine: Saturday the 27th February 2016 had arrived. The nerves had suddenly come to the fore. Hundreds of unpublished writers travelled to the Curtis Brown Discovery Day at Foyles Bookshop in London. Everyone of us excited to have the first page of our novels critiqued by one of their agents.

I sat, with paperwork in hand, and spoke to the lovely Sophie Lambert who is an agent with Conville and Walsh Literary Agency. I give my thanks to her because my nerves disappeared and I was able to talk about my Victorian Saga with ease. Sophie showed a great deal of interest in my novel and pointed me in the direction of another agent, Rebecca Ritchie of Curtis Brown, whom she thought would be interested in my genre.

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Queueing!

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A glimpse into the pitching room.

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Were they trying to tell us something?

IMG_0780Francesca: I must admit, I wasn’t as nervous this year, maybe because I knew the agents weren’t there to snap people up but to give sound advice. I was lucky to land Clare Conville of Conville and Walsh. Although not representing my genre, she had some good suggestions about what to add to the opening. She also said it was ‘sharp and funny’, which was encouraging. She gave me the name of two agents from Curtis Brown, so I’m storing those up for when I’ve finished the novel.

After the one-to-one, we were sent in groups for the surgery session. Here we had an opportunity to ask any questions about writing, submitting and publishing. 

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Claire, on the stairs ahead of us.

Rosemary, pitch in hand.

Rosemary, pitch in hand.

Elaine: At the end of the pitching and surgery sessions, Francesca and I, along with our writing friends, Rosemary Goodacre and Claire Verillo, stayed for the panel talk. This was chaired by Anna Davis.  Also on the panel were Emma Healey, author of Elizabeth is Missing, Karolina Sutton, Emma’s Curtis Brown agent, and Venetia Butterfield, from Emma’s publishing company, Viking. Anna informed us that the agents had spoken to over seven hundred writers, which is a staggering figure.

The panel discussion was mainly about how everyone has to pitch to sell the novel, from the author, agent and the buyer of the publishing company, who then has to try and sell it to the Sales Team and the Marketing Department. They also talked about what attracts them to a novel. The answer can probably be broken down into three words; Emotion, Characters, and Plot, but not necessarily in that order.

All relieved now it's all over. Surgery session in the background.

Relieved it’s all over. Surgery session in the background.

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Giovanna, asking which queue she should join for YA.

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Anna Davis, MD of Curtis Brown Creative, introducing the speakers.

Francesca: I think the location within the store and the queueing system worked a lot better this year (Foyles has been refurbished since we were there last). We didn’t have to wait around for so long and there was a cafe to hang out in until your time slot arrived.

I understand the experience of those pitching Young Adult novels wasn’t quite as smooth. My daughter, Giovanna Burgess, was there to pitch a YA fantasy and her queue did move a lot slower. To speed it up, some of the writers ended up seeing non YA agents and even an agency reader. Despite this, Giovanna was more than happy with the advice she received.

 

It’s pretty safe to say we all had a good day and it is definitely something we would recommend. The opportunity to meet with agents and get feedback on your first page is priceless.

Were you there? What was your experience?

Twitter: @RobertsElaine11            @FCapaldiBurgess