– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘Christmas At Penningtons’ blogtour, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but b
About the Author :
Rachel lives with her husband and their two daughters in a small town near Bath, England. Since 2007, she has had several novels published by small US presses, eight books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical.
In January 2018, she signed a four-book deal with Aria Fiction for a new Edwardian series set in Bath’s finest department store. The Mistress of Pennington’s released July 2018, A Rebel At Pennington’s February 2019 and Christmas At Pennington’s September 2019.
Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America and has thousands of social media followers all over the world. To sign up for her quarterly and new release newsletter, click here to go to her website.
Gripping drama as Pennington’s department store prepares for a glittering Christmas in 1911, but a killer stalks the women of Bath.
Christmas sees Pennington’s at its most glorious, thronged with shoppers, its grand staircase and balcony adorned with holly, mistletoe, tinsel and lights. It should be the happiest time, but dramas are seething beneath the surface.
For Cornelia Culford, in charge of jewellery, a divorce hearing looms, where she could lose custody of her young sons to her overbearing and unfaithful husband.
For Stephen Gower, being head of security at Pennington’s is the perfect refuge from a tragic past at Scotland Yard. But soon the past will call him back, as Joseph Carter and Elizabeth Pennington beg him to help solve the murder of Joseph’s first wife, now that it seems as if the killer has struck again.
For Joseph and Elizabeth, their marriage depends on exorcising the past. But can it ever be laid to rest?
First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂
Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
Of course! I live near the beautiful city of Bath with my husband of twenty-one years, our two daughters and mad chocolate Labrador, Tyler. When I’m not working (which isn’t often!), you will find me reading, knitting or watching far too much TV!
My first novel was published by The Wild Rose Press in 2007 and I have had at least one novel published each year ever since. Before novels, I had a little success with short stories online and in competitions before I took the leap to novels. I have been published by Harlequin, Kensington, The Wild Rose Press and currently write for Aria Fiction.
Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
As a teenager I devoured the Sweet Dreams novels and anything by Judy Blume – now, as a grown up, I love Nora Roberts, Philippa Gregory, Alison Weir and Jodi Picoult.
Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Nora Roberts! She writes such fabulous characterisation and character development – I would love to know if she has a process, or if her skill is instinctual now she has written hundreds of novels. Fingers crossed, she has a secret process that she’d be willing to share with me!
If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
I would love to sit down for a chat with Elizabeth Pennington from my Pennington’s series – she is the heroine of book 1 (The Mistress of Pennington’s) and the owner of the department store. She came to me so strongly, but I still feel there are layers I am yet to discover about her. So far, she has appeared in all three books (each can be read as a single title), but I know she still has more to tell me. She’s driven, strong and caring – a woman I would love to be friends with!
Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Not really – although I do like to get my social media and some promo work done before I dive into the writing. I am lucky enough to write full-time so this is my general daily routine.
Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Ideas are everywhere! However, most of my ideas are inspired by historical places I visit, news stories or TV. I have often love a show but know I would’ve done something differently – when that feeling continues to niggle me, I know there is a book (or three!) that I am meant to write. That certainly happened with the Pennington’s series after watching Mr Selfridge and The Paradise!
Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
Definitely a plotter! I start each book trawling the internet for pictures of my hero, heroine and villain (if I have one). I then plot out a chapter plan, write a 3-4 page synopsis and then dive straight into the first draft. I write this from beginning to end without looking back. The hard part comes in the following drafts.
Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
How about I give you the best and worse advice I was ever given that has stayed with me throughout my career?
Best: ‘Give yourself permission to write a crappy first draft.’ This has served me SO well. As soon as I adopted a ‘just write’ attitude with my first draft, my output quadrupled, and I enjoyed the writing so much more. This way of thinking has led to me writing two 90,000 words novels a year.
Worst: ‘I’d give up now, you are not good enough to be a published author.’ This was the feedback I received from a judge of a first chapter contest back in 2005. Anyone who has the desire, the dream, to be a published novelist should NEVER give up. How I’d love to meet that judge today!
What are your future plans as an author?
I have just signed a new three book contract with Aria Fiction for a series set in a Victorian brothel and I can’t wait to get started! However, I still have to finish book 4 of the Pennington’s series which should be coming in Spring 2020.
After that? Who knows, but I can’t wait to see what my imagination has in store for me next!
Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Sure! Here is an extract of Cornelia’s and Stephen’s first meeting – Cornelia is already working at Pennington’s and Stephen has just been employed as a security watchman…
Cornelia gasped and drew to an abrupt stop as a man walked backwards into her path, seemingly oblivious to her presence or anyone else’s.
Not wanting the broad and exceptionally tall gentleman to step on her toes, she shot out her hand and pressed it firmly against his back. ‘Excuse me, sir.’ The man turned, and Cornelia smiled. ‘Did you not see me?’
He immediately stepped back. ‘I beg your pardon, Ma’am. I was watching the door and didn’t see you there.’
‘And nor will you see anybody if you continue to walk backwards.’
He dipped his head. ‘Indeed. I apologise.’
‘Apology accepted.’ She ran her gaze over his uniform. ‘Oh, do you work here?’
‘I do.’ The man offered her his hand. ‘Stephen Gower. Nice to meet you.’
Cornelia slid her hand into his and the breadth of his fingers covered hers completely. ‘Cornelia Park… Culford. Miss.’
‘Park-Culford? That’s an unusual—’
‘A slip of the tongue. My surname is Culford.’
His deep, dark brown eyes travelled over her face before he nodded. ‘Culford.’
‘Yes.’ Cornelia looked to the main entrance. ‘I must go. I have an errand in the loading bay.’
‘Very well. It was nice meeting you.’
She stepped forward and then stopped again, her curiosity sparked by the quiet study in his eyes. She turned. ‘You’re new here, are you not?’
‘I am. I started as a security watchman just this morning. I hope you’ll forgive my nearly trampling you. I’m still familiarising myself with the store, its staff and customers, and breaking a lady’s toes is hardly the best way to go about it.’
Cornelia smiled, consoled that she wasn’t the only one overawed by Pennington’s size and reputation. ‘Well, good luck, because I’ve been here a little over two months, and some days I find myself as unfamiliar with the workings of the store as I was on my very first day.’
‘That’s good to know, although as security I need to make sure I get a handle on things quicker than most.’
Cornelia studied him as he surveyed the bustling area around them. His dark hair was almost the same shade of brown as his eyes, his jaw as finely shaped as his mouth.
Once again, he offered her his hand. ‘Well, I should get on. It was nice meeting you.’
She forced herself to hold his gaze. David always hated her conversing with other men and his long-reaching dominance continued to linger no matter how much she might hate it. It was rousing to fight back. ‘You have a natural authority about you, Mr Gower. I don’t doubt you will excel in your role here. Welcome to the Pennington’s team. I wish you every happiness in your work.’
He slowly drew his hand from hers as his gaze darkened with unease.
Cornelia frowned. ‘Did I say something wrong?’
He shook his head. ‘Not at all. Goodbye, Miss Culford.’
She opened her mouth to halt him, but, with four strides of his long legs, Stephen Gower was swallowed up in Pennington’s crowds.
‘Well,’ Cornelia murmured. ‘What a strange man.’
Shaking her head, she walked beneath a Christmas garland of holly, ivy and tiny, sparkling sequins arched over the store’s double doors and tried to embrace a little of the season’s joy, but even with a light snow falling outside, nothing helped.
Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Rachel Brimble.
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