My guest today is Carol Warham whose debut novel, Resolutions, was released last week by Tigearr Publishing.
Welcome, Carol, and please tell everyone a little about yourself.
In recent years I have become a judge in the short story section for the HysteriaUK competition and also for the RNA’s romance novel of the year.
Earlier this year, I, also, represented my local book group on BBC Radio Leeds, talking about books and the work on my novel.
I’ve lived in Yorkshire for over thirty years. I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by some beautiful countryside, which is ideal for my other passion of walking, often with a dog called Sam. This lovely area is the ideal location for my first novel, Resolutions.
What do you think makes a good romance novel?
In my opinion, a good story is pivotal to the novel. This must then introduce characters the reader becomes involved with, either loving or hating them depending on who they are. Every romance novel needs to have a happy ending.
Are you a plotter or a pantser? Plus anything you want to say about how you create your plots e.g. from a basic idea or from the characters or ???)
I am very much a pantser. I let my writing flow without any planning at all, although this can mean I have a lot of work to do when I start the editing. The plot for Resolutions came from a location and the name of a town in Florida, U.S.A. The story and the characters followed on from there.
How do you know when to stop ‘tweaking’ your manuscript?
You don’t, or at least, I don’t. I had to finally decide to ‘let it go’, or I would have been tweaking and changing parts for ever. Even now I cringe at certain sentences or paragraphs and wish I could change them.
What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received/read?
The first piece of advice which really surprised me was to read the manuscript aloud. This really helps to hear where the story doesn’t flow. It definitely works and I would say that is one of the best pieces of advice I have ever had.
After that it is to edit, and edit properly, taking your time and check everything, especially grammar and spelling.
What’s your cure for ‘writer’s block’ or when you’re stuck at some point in your story?
I don’t have a cure. If I need to, I walk away and go and do something else, in the hope the ideas will form. It’s also helpful to have friends you can discuss the story with. They can really help you look at where the story is going and what you need to carry on with it.
What, for you, is the easiest part of writing? And what’s the hardest?
The easiest part is definitely the first draft, when the story is coming alive and I’m learning about my characters. I found editing hard, time consuming and at times very frustrating, but then I had a lot to learn.
Please give a short ‘blurb’ about your latest release plus publisher, release date, where it can be obtained – and any other details you want to include.
Resolutions was published by Tirgearr Publishing on 9th August 2017. It is available as an e-book through Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords and Nook.
Carly Mitchell returns to the small town of Yeardon in Yorkshire almost a year after running away on her wedding day. Now she wants to try to make amends with Steve, his family, and the townspeople who had prepared a huge party to celebrate her New Year’s Eve wedding.
She intends to stay only for a few days at the Resolution Hotel, owned by Steve’s parents. However, her plans change when Steve’s father is taken ill, and she feels obliged to step in and help with running the hotel. This also means having to deal with Steve’s antagonism since he has never forgiven her for humiliating him.
A further complication comes in the form of Ben Thornton, the local doctor, to whom Carly feels an immediate attraction. They enjoy getting to know each other and falling in love, until a famous model from Ben’s past arrives in the town, and stays at the hotel.
Steve attempts to get his revenge on Carly by driving a wedge between her and Ben, and by threatening to reveal what he knows about Ben’s troubled past unless Carly leaves town.
The resolution lies in Carly’s hands as she struggles between wanting to flee from the town again and wanting to stay with the man she has grown to love.
Here is a short extract from when Carly arrives back in her home town of Yeardon. I hope you enjoy it.
Would she ever be able to walk through this town and into the shops again and receive a warm welcome? What sort of greeting would anyone give her now? What sort of greeting did she deserve? Yeardon had been a wonderful place to grow up. It was one of those towns where you knew everyone and they knew you.
Her mind a maelstrom of anxiety, she tightened her grip on the steering wheel. Who would have believed anyone’s hands could shake so much?
On the far side of the town she turned into a drive, which led down a short, narrow lane to an hotel, a converted mill owner’s house. After finding a space in the car park, she switched off the engine, but remained in the car for a few minutes. Taking a deep breath, she closed her eyes.
The drumming of the rain on the roof was not reassuring. The weather seemed to be giving a further warning to leave now while she could. She peered through the rain- splattered screen at the sign above the front door. In copper plate script, it read ‘Resolution Hotel’. The building looked well-kept and fresh. Business must be going well for Jim and Abi.
“Well, here goes.”
Her words, spoken out loud, helped to break the tension as the knots tightened inside her. After all she couldn’t sit there all night, could she? Inhaling deeply, she grabbed her overnight bag and willed her legs to move. Her head down against the biting rain; she ran up the five steps and pushed open the heavy oak front door.
Jim Sinclair sat at the desk. A single lamp broke the shadows in the reception area. These competed with the twinkling lights of the large Christmas tree in the corner. She was glad she’d rung the day before to ask if it was possible to book a room. He didn’t say there weren’t any vacancies as she’d expected him to. She scrutinised him for a few seconds. Jim had put a little weight on but he looked well. He was his usual casual self in slacks and rolled up shirtsleeves.
Shaking off the rain as best she could, she waited by the door. Her heart pounded as she struggled to find something to say.
Jim saved her the necessity. “Well now, can’t say I ever expected to see you back here again, especially now.” He put down the book he had been reading. “Abi’s taken it hard that you’ve decided to come back, especially after not hearing a word from you for nearly twelve months. I had to persuade her to let you stay here.”
Thanks for having me on your blog Paula. It was a pleasure to answer your questions.