Monday, October 16, 2017

Sophie Claire: Diary of a NaNoWriMo-er

Today we welcome Sophie Claire to the blog to talk about her experience with November writing challenge NaNaWriMo, where participants attempt to write a novel in a month.


Sophie writes emotional stories set in England and in sunny Provence, where she spent her summers as a child. She has a French mother and a Scottish father, but was born in Africa and grew up in Manchester, England where she still lives with her husband and two sons.
Previously, she worked in Marketing and proofreading academic papers, but writing is what she always considered her ‘real job’ and now she’s delighted to spend her days dreaming up heartwarming contemporary romance stories set in beautiful places.
You can find out more at www.sophieclaire.co.uk, on Twitter @sclairewriter and on Facebook @sophieclairewriter


Over to Sophie...

This time last year I decided to take part in NaNoWriMo. Why?
Well, for most of October I had been wrestling with the opening of a new novel, but I was frustrated at my lack of progress. I figured if I could complete the NaNo challenge and write 50,000 words in a month, I’d be well on the way to completing a first draft. However, I’d tried NaNoWriMo before with no success, and I’m a slow writer, so I was more than a little apprehensive.
Throughout the month I kept a diary of my progress. Here’s a quick peep to show you how I got on:

November 2016
Days 1-4:
I’m writing 2000 words per day (weekdays only – weekends are too busy with family life) and the first few days go according to plan, but my worry is can I sustain this pace for a whole month? I have a plot outline and three or four characters, but the rest is hazy, as it always is when starting a first draft. However, the doubts which were slowing my progress before I started NaNoWriMo (Does this story have legs? Is it going to work?) are laid to one side as I focus purely on output. NaNoWriMo is unashamedly about quantity, not quality.

Days 5-10:
NaNoWriMo is making me more disciplined about my writing, and I realise that in recent months I had let my standards slip. I would start writing, then check emails. Write a bit more, check Twitter, then Facebook, then do a little internet research – and before I knew it I’d lost hours. Now, however, I don’t allow myself to do anything else until my 2000 words are written. Surprisingly, this can take as little as two and a half hours. I resolve to keep up the strict discipline once NaNoWriMo is over. Then I wonder, is it easier to stay disciplined when you know it’s only for a month? And perhaps there’s comfort too in knowing that thousands of other writers (including friends) across the world are working hard too?

Days 11-15:
I’m prioritising my writing over other activities, and I hadn’t anticipated how satisfying this would feel. I’m totally focused on my novel, and when I’m writing I lose track of time. I’m really enjoying being immersed in my fictional world. It feels as if a love affair has been rekindled.
Also, if NaNoWriMo is anything like new year’s resolutions, then I’d expect the halfway point to be the time when a lot of people give up. I’m still going, however, and proud to have made it this far.

Days 16-20:
I unexpectedly hit a wall and for several days in a row writing is like pulling teeth. I manage to keep up with the word count, but it takes twice as long, and I’m worried: is this the point where my plot will run out of steam? I’ve written thousands of words but are they all rubbish? I tell myself it doesn’t matter; if it fails, I’ve only lost a month’s work. Head down, I persevere.
Then I turn a page and it all begins to flow again. There’s no time to analyse what caused the blip. I keep forging ahead, relieved and thankful that the momentum is back.

Days 21-25:
I’m suddenly reminded that I haven’t done any Christmas shopping and have no prospect of doing any until NaNoWriMo is over so I make the spontaneous decision that, having dedicated November to my novel, December will be a time of catching up with family life and non-urgent jobs, like research and proofreading a friend’s novel. This motivates me to work even harder at NaNoWriMo and I up my word count from 2000 words per day to 2500.

Days 26-28:
I’ve reached 44,000 words and a writer friend emails to say ‘Make sure you get the ending down’. She’s right. 50k words will be an achievement but it’s not a complete novel, so now my focus shifts from meeting daily word counts to racing through the final plot points before I run out of time. The characters are finally coming alive now, and new scenes and twists are coming to me while I’m doing other things like shopping; fortunately I carry a notebook with me everywhere and frantically scribble notes so as not to forget these unexpected ideas. I love this stage: the book is becoming a living breathing story in my head, and I can’t wait to get to my computer each morning.

Days 29-30:
I hit 50,000 words on day 29 – a day early – but the ending isn’t complete so I carry on writing. On day 30 I cross the finishing line with 52,000 words under my belt. It’s rough, it’s going to need a couple more drafts at least, but I have the beginnings of a book. The first draft is always the hardest part of the writing process for me and that’s done, so now I can look forward to reshaping and editing it in the new year. The sense of achievement is huge! My goal was to kick-start a slow-moving project and, thanks to NaNoWriMo, I’ve certainly achieved that.

Sophie x


Thank you for that insight into your NaNo month Sophie. It's fascinating to see how the writing process changes with a new structure or incentive.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

October Releases

Thank you to Sheila Riley for compiling this month’s bumper crop of new releases.

TRADITIONALLY PUBLISHED

ANNIE GROVES
Winter on the Mersey
Saga Romance
Paperback and ebook
Harper Collins
19 October 2017

The dramatic fourth story in the Empire Street Series. 
Full of heartache and triumph from the bestselling author of Christmas on the Mersey.
Kitty has seen her fair share of tragedy and instead of thinking about romance, she is determined to do her bit for King and country. Her life as a WREN means she is kept busy much of the time, but when Kitty finds herself stationed back home on Merseyside, she meets up again with Frank Feeny, the brave young officer who has always held a place in her heart. Britain is on the verge of victory, but will Kitty embrace the future and learn to love again?




HEIDI SWAIN 
Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells at The Christmas Fair 
Commercial fiction 
Paperback and ebook 
Simon and Schuster 
5th October 2017

When Anna takes on the role of companion to the owner of Wynthorpe Hall, on the outskirts of Wynbridge, she has no idea that her life is set to change beyond all recognition.
A confirmed ‘bah humbug’ when it comes to Christmas, Anna is amazed to find herself quickly immersed in the eccentric household, and when youngest son Jamie unexpectedly arrives home it soon becomes obvious that her personal feelings are going all out to compromise her professional persona. Jamie, struggling to come to terms with life back in the Fens, makes a pact with Anna – she has to teach him to fall back in love with Wynthorpe Hall, while he helps her fall back in love with Christmas. But will it all prove too much for Anna, or can the family of Wynthorpe Hall warm her heart once and for all...? Join Anna for a festive journey that is festooned with sleigh rides and silver bells and help her discover her happy ever after.


VIVIEN BROWN
Lily Alone
Women's fiction / domestic drama
Paperback
Harper Impulse
5 October 2017


What sort of mother would leave her daughter alone? 
Would you leave a very young child at home on their own – knowing that terrible things can happen in the blink of an eye? Lily, who is not yet three years old, wakes up alone with only her cuddly toy for company. She is hungry, afraid of the dark, can’t use the phone, and has been told never to open the door to strangers. In the flat downstairs, a lonely and elderly woman keeps herself to herself but wonders at the cries coming from upstairs. Lily’s grandmother frets that she can no longer see her granddaughter since the child’s parents separated.  Lily’s father hasn’t seen her for a while. He’s been abroad, absorbed in his new job and his new girlfriend. A young woman lies in a coma in hospital – no one knows her name or who she is, but in her silent dreams, a little girl is crying for her mummy… And for Lily, time is running out.


LESLEY COOKMAN
Murder By The Barrel
Crime/Mystery
Paperback and ebook
Accent Press
5th October 2017

The 18th in the Libby Sarjeant series. 
Steeple Martin is hosting its first Beer Festival, which, naturally, leads to murder.










JULES WAKE
Covent Garden in the Snow
Harper Impulse
Romantic Comedy
Paperback and ebook
20th October 2017

Tilly Hunter has fabulous friends, her dream job as a make-up artist with a prestigious opera company and Felix, her kind and caring husband to be. It looks set to be the most perfect Christmas yet!
But when a monumental blunder forces her to work closely with new IT director Marcus Walker, it's not only the roast chestnut stalls on the cobbles of her beloved Covent Garden that cause sparks to fly







NORA FOUNTAIN
Pictures in Provence
Contemporary romance
Endeavour Press
8th September 2017


Joanna's first love is art, although, to please her mother, she has come to Paris to study music at the Conservatoire. Lured into an art gallery by an exquisite landscape painting in the window, she is astonished to find a portrait of herself among the exhibits. 
The gallery owner, Gilles Ledoux, invites her to the opera but soon leaves for his home in Provence. 
Joanna has an accident and can't play her instrument for a while. She takes a job at Gilles' home where he runs a summer school. He is cagey about the neighbour whose exhibition she visited in Paris. 
Could he be jealous? What's going on?



JANICE PRESTON
Scandal and Miss Markham
Paperback and ebook
Mills & Boon
Historical romance
1st October 2017


Glassmaker’s daughter Thea Markham is devastated when her brother Daniel goes missing. Then a mysterious lord turns up asking questions about Daniel and offers to find him. Unsure she can trust the handsome peer, Thea dresses up as a boy and follows him!
Lord Vernon Beauchamp feels his life lacks direction.  Meeting Thea gives him a renewed purpose and when they are thrown together on their scandalous adventure, friendship soon gives way to desire…






VICTORIA CORNWALL
The Thief's Daughter
Historical Romance
Paperback
Choc Lit
3rd October 2017


Hide from the thief-taker, for if he finds you, he will take you away …
Eighteenth-century Cornwall is crippled by debt and poverty, while the gibbet casts a shadow of fear over the land. Yet, when night falls, free traders swarm onto the beaches and smuggling prospers.
Terrified by a thief-taker’s warning as a child, Jenna has resolved to be good. 
When her brother, Silas, asks for her help to pay his creditors, Jenna feels unable to refuse and finds herself entering the dangerous world of the smuggling trade.
Jack Penhale hunts down the smuggling gangs in revenge for his father’s death. 
Drawn to Jenna at a hiring fayre, they discover their lives are entangled. But as Jenna struggles to decide where her allegiances lie, the worlds of justice and crime collide, leading to danger and heartache for all concerned …


MARGARET MOUNSDON
Love Will Find A Way
Linford Romance Library
Romantic Adventure
1st October 2017


When Bethany Burnett discovers her godfather Wendel Nelson holding a garden party in the snow she isn't in the least surprised. What does take her breath away is the sight of film director Sam Richards. His unexplained disappearance fuelled media speculation for weeks. 
Now it seemed he was back and filming a costume drama at Waterbridge Manor, Wendel's country house. When Wendel volunteers Bethany's services as Sam's assistant she fears troubled times ahead.







LIZ EELES
Annie's Christmas By The Sea
Romantic comedy
Ebook and paperback 
Bookouture
6th October 2017


On the beautiful coast of Cornwall lies the idyllic Salt Bay, where Christmas is the perfect time for bringing family and friends together…
Annie Trebarwith is happily settled in Salt Bay with her beloved great-aunt Alice and gorgeous boyfriend Josh Pasco. Snow is in the air, and Christmas is just around the corner. But when the father she’s never met, ageing rock god Barry, turns up with the half-sister Annie didn’t know existed, life suddenly gets complicated. Barry and Storm are soon clashing with the entire village, and their antics are even driving a wedge between Annie and Josh. Can Annie prevent her new family ruining the festivities and repair things with Josh in time for a cosy Christmas? Or will their relationship end up as frosty as the Salt Bay air? Annie’s Christmas by the Sea is a hilarious and heart-warming story about family, friends and the magic of Christmas, perfect for fans of Lily Graham, Holly Martin and Phillipa Ashley.


LISA HOBMAN
A Seaside Escape
Contemporary romance
Ebook and paperback
Aria Fiction
1st October 2017


All work and no love can make for a dull life. But cupid's arrow has a habit of striking when you least expect it... 
A heartwarming, feel-good romance to curl up with this winter. Perfect for the fans of Marian Keyes and Veronica Henry. Mallory Westerman is the successful proprietor of Le Petit Cadeau, a gift shop extraordinaire in thriving Leeds. Concentrating solely on her business, she has almost given up on finding someone to love.That is until she literally falls into the arms of a handsome, intriguing stranger who becomes her Knight in shining armour.The whirlwind romance that ensues changes her life-path irrevocably. However, the road to true love is never smooth and things don't always turn out how you expect...
Shortlisted for the RNA Contemporary Romantic Novel of the Year 2014. This book was previously published as A Bridge Over the Atlantic.


JAN JONES
Only Dancing
Linford Romance Library
Large Print
1st September 2017


"Why was I hesitating? What was the worst that could happen? That the magic clinging to that crazy, wonderful time would be lost?"
... When Caroline visits the David Bowie Is... exhibition at the V&A museum, she doesn’t expect to be pitchforked into a forty-year-old mystery surrounding her older cousin Jilly, who died in a hit-and-run accident on holiday in Italy. She certainly doesn't expect the bittersweet piecing together of old memories to bring new insights... and startling revelations. Coloured by music, vibrant with Bowie, alive with the 1970s, ONLY DANCING is set in the present day, but journeys through Caro’s flashbacks, gradually revealing a chilling mystery - and its resolution




LYNN FORTH
Love in La La Land 
Romantic Comedy
Paperback and ebook
Crooked Cat
10 October 2017


This contemporary romantic comedy is set in the glittering world of Hollywood where English author, Jane Jones, is thrilled by the prospect of seeing a scene from her novel being filmed. And not just any scene. It’s a bedroom one, starring screen heartthrob, Scott Flynn. Too bad, she is accompanied by the cynical Jack Clancy, the screenwriter who has ruined her story, and seems totally unrepentant. Dazzled by Scott’s film-star presence, Jane is overcome and soon finds herself in a tug of war between a movie star and screenwriter. But do they both have ulterior motives? Is Jane a mere pawn in a game between two fierce rivals?

In the bubble of La La Land’s glittering parties, hovering paparazzi, and powerful movie tycoons, Jane begins to feel adrift. She must quickly learn who can be trusted…and who can’t.


PETER JONES
My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend
Romantic Comedy
Kindle & paperback
Soundhaven Books
8th October 2017


‘My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend’ follows the efforts of disillusioned school teacher Adrian Turner to win back the affections of feisty public relations executive Paige Steiglitz who – despite being Adrian’s girlfriend of eighteen months – seems to have one foot out of the door, and may harbour feelings for her amazing-in-every-way-but-still-hugely-annoying ex-boyfriend, Sebastian Tunbridge.

Both aided and hindered by Gary (Adrian’s incredibly bright but naïve fifteen-year-old student), and Nikita (a slightly bonkers Polish Private Detective), Adrian eventually finds himself at a wedding in Slovenia, with Sebastian in the room down the hall, and the serious possibility that he’s in danger of losing his job, his mind, and the woman he loves…



CHARLIE COCHRANE
Count the Shells
Riptide Publishing
Historical Gay Romance
Print and ebook
October 2017 

Michael Gray returned from World War One injured, but at least he returned. 
Others were not so fortunate, including his first and greatest love, Thomas Carter-Clemence, with whom Michael had parted bitterly before the conflict began.
Broch, the Carter-Clemence home in Porthkennack, was an integral part of pre-war holidays for the Grays, the two families drawn together in the wake of their sons’ friendship. Returning to the once-beloved Cornish coast for a break with his sister and her family, Michael has to find the courage to face old memories . . . and dare new relationships.
When Thomas’s brother Harry makes an unexpected appearance, Michael is surprised to find himself deeply attracted to Harry for his own sake. But as their relationship heats up, it unearths startling revelations and bitter truths. Michael must decide whether Harry is the answer to his prayers or the last straw to break an old soldier’s back.


E-BOOKS

ELAINE EVEREST
Carols at Woolworths
Ebook
Saga
Pan Macmillan
5th October 2017


Carols at Woolworths is a heartwarming novella, and is the prequel to Christmas at Woolworths, by bestselling author Elaine Everest
Betty, Freda and Sarah are determined to make the Woolworths Christmas party as jolly as ever. After weeks of careful planning, the girls are confident that it will be an evening for everyone to forget about the troubles of the war outside. But the war is never far away and when an air raid looms, the girls must usher their guests to safety and find a way to take their Christmas cheer underground . . .
Will it be a merry Christmas after all for the girls of Woolworths?





VICTORIA CORNWALL
The Captain's Daughter
Historical Romance
Ebook
Choc Lit
3rd October 2017


Beware the strength of a quiet woman ...
After a family tragedy, Janey Carhart was forced from her comfortable middle-class life as a captain’s daughter into domestic servitude. Determined to make something of herself, Janey eventually finds work as a lady’s maid at the imposing Bosvenna Manor on the edge of Bodmin Moor but is soon caught between the two worlds of upstairs and downstairs, and accepted by neither, as she cares for her blind mistress. Desperately lonely, Janey catches the attention of two men – James Brockenshaw and Daniel Kellow. James is heir to the Bosvenna estate, a man whose eloquent letters to his mother warm Janey’s heart and whose attention to her when he returns home set her pulse racing. Daniel Kellow is a neighbouring farmer with a dark past and a brooding nature, yet with a magnetism that disturbs Janey. Two men. Who should she choose? Or will fate decide.


SARAH BENNETT
Christmas at Butterfly Cove (Butterfly Cove, Book 3)
Ebook
HQ Digital 
6th October 2017

All she wants for Christmas…
When talented artist Nee Sutherland returns to Butterfly Cove for her sister’s wedding, it’s only a matter of time before she has to face her own bridegroom – Luke Spenser – the man she impulsively married, then left in the middle of the night. Nee hasn’t picked up her paintbrushes in months, a part of her is broken. She knows Luke might never forgive her, leaving him was the biggest mistake of her life – but could coming home for Christmas be the best decision she’s ever made? Maybe all she needs is a little Christmas miracle… A delightfully feel-good festive romance, perfect for fans of Trisha Ashley, Rachael Lucas and Hilary Boyd.



SOPHIE WESTON
The Prince’s Bride
Romance
Ebook
Tule Publishing
13th October 2017

"We needed a Prince Charming. You were the best we could get."
As one of three royal brothers in the Adriatic Principality of San Michele, His Serene Highness Prince Jonas works hard and does his duty. But after a protocol-ridden evening where he's just a prop in a photo shoot, he reckons he's due some private time in his beloved forest. Hope Kennard was the daughter of the Manor in a picture-perfect English village. But she's guarded her heart and honed her survival instincts ever since her childhood ended in financial scandal and the death of her beloved father. 
Now she's just passing through San Michele -- dog-sitting for a month before she moves on to another country, another job. But then a charming Forest Ranger rescues her when she doesn't need rescuing.
And this time her instincts don't help…


LIZ FIELDING
The Bridesmaid's Royal Bodyguard
Contemporary Romance
Ebook
Tule
18th October 2017


After being sacked from her job on the gossip magazine Celebrity, Ally Parker is forced to return home with her tail between her legs. She is given a fresh start when her childhood friend, Hope, asks her to work PR for Hope’s marriage to Prince Jonas of San Michele but when Count Fredrik Jensson, head of security for the royal family arrives to check out the village, he makes it clear that her past employment makes her unfit for the role. The fact that there’s a sizzle between them  from the moment they meet only makes everything worse.





JESSICA HART
The Baronet's Wedding Engagement
Contemporary Romance
Ebook
Tule
16th October 2017


Sir Max Kennard has too much Mr Rochester about him for Flora Dear's tastes but what harm can a pretence relationship do if all it involves is a glamorous trip to San Michele and smiling together at his sister's wedding? Apparently a lot... Soon, it's hard to remember what's real and what's not.









ELLIE GRAY
Warwick's Mermaid
Contemporary romance
Ebook
Tirgearr Publishing
11th October 2017


Having escaped an abusive relationship, Chloe MacGregor is determined to put the past behind her. The little cottage high up on the cliffs overlooking the beautiful North Yorkshire town of Whitby is her safe haven, somewhere she is free to be herself. When the arrival of her new neighbour and boss, Luke Warwick, threatens her peaceful, sheltered life, Chloe is forced to confront her past and to re-evaluate who she really is. 
Falling in love with Luke is not part of her plan but, to her surprise, Luke is falling for her too. The only thing preventing their happy ever after is Chloe herself. 
Will she ever truly learn to leave the past where it belongs?




SUE MOORCROFT
The Little Village Christmas
Ebook 
Avon Books UK (HarperCollins)
9th October 2017 (paperback 2nd November 2017)


As soon as Alexia's finished managing the conversion of the old Angel pub into the Angel Community Café she's out of Middledip. Until someone runs away with all the money ...











INDIE PUBLISHED

R. F. LONG
Soul Fire
Paranormal 
Romance ebook (paperback to follow)
31st October 2017


Rowan thought she was in trouble, with her art gallery struggling and all her finances tied up in it. But when her path crosses with a Sídhe prince, she suddenly finds herself in real danger. And unexpected, unstoppable passion. While searching for his brother, Daire finds himself trapped in the human world and in the arms of a woman who makes him rethink all he has ever known. Every kiss brings pleasure beyond reckoning, sending him closer to the edge of his inherent dark desires. Desires that act as a beacon for the Dark Sídhe, who would seduce him to their cause. The more time he spends with Rowan, the greater the risk that he will be trapped forever, or lost completely. And with him the realm of the Seelie Sídhe. Because there's more to Rowan than meets the eye.

                                     
RHODA BAXTER
Girl In Trouble
Contemporary Romance
Ebook
9th October 2017


Grown-up tomboy Olivia doesn't need a man to complete her. Judging by her absent father, men aren't that reliable anyway. She's got a successful career, good friends and can evict spiders from the bath herself, so she doesn't need to settle down, thanks.
Walter's ex is moving his daughter to America and Walter feels like he's losing his family. When his friend-with-benefits, Olivia, discovers she's pregnant by her douchebag ex, Walter sees the perfect chance to be part of a family with a woman he loves. But how can Walter persuade the most independent woman he's ever met to accept
his help, let alone his heart?
                                 


LOUISE ALLEN
The Swordmaster’s Mistress (Book 2 of Dangerous Deceptions)
Historical romantic mystery
Ebook
October 2017


Hired to investigate mysterious attacks on Guinevere, the wife, soon to be widow, of the elderly Earl of Northam, Jared finds himself protecting a young lady not from a haphazard stalker but from scandal – and possibly the noose. The instant attraction crackling between them does not help his attempts at a dispassionate enquiry, nor does finding himself embroiled with his own family and a past of betrayal and dishonour he had left behind him to become the swordmaster, Jared Hunt. Solving a murderous mystery leaves him with a dilemma – what can the man he was, and the man he should become, offer a countess with the scars of her own past to heal? 
(Linked to Loving the Lost Duke, Book One of Dangerous Deceptions, The Swordmaster’s Mistress can be read as a stand-alone novel.)


The new releases list is compiled by Sheila Riley. Sheila joined the RNA in 2004 as a new writer. Since then she has written best-selling sagas as Annie Groves. She's a member of the North West Chapter of the RNA and loves to catch up with writer friends at the regular Southport lunches. Her latest release, Winter on the Mersey, is listed above.

The new email address for monthly publications is releases@romanticnovelistsassociation.org

Thank you Sheila for another great list - To Be Read piles across the country will be getting bigger today!


Friday, October 13, 2017

Bethan James – Account Manager at PR Agency EDPR

Thank you to Ellie Holmes for this interesting interview with Bethan James. What an interesting career!

I am delighted to welcome Bethan James to the RNA Blog’s monthly series where we speak to book bloggers and reviewers and get an insight into their world. This month we are taking a slight departure by speaking to Bethan who is an account manager at PR Agency EDPR.

Welcome Bethan, tell us a little bit about yourself and your work at EDPR
My name is Bethan James and I am an Account Manager at publishing, lifestyle and entertainment
PR agency EDPR. I have previously worked in publicity and marketing for Accent Press and Oxford Playhouse, amongst others. I am an Earl Grey addict, writer and identical twin who can be found Tweeting (mostly about books) here: @thebethanjames
How long have you worked at ED PR?
I moved to London in February to start my new Account Manager role at EDPR, so it’s been nine months already. Time flies!

ED PR are described as a boutique PR Agency, what sort of authors do you work with?
One of the benefits of a boutique agency is you get to work closely with authors who write in an incredible variety of genres. I’ve enjoyed running publicity campaigns on literature in translations for independent publisher Belgravia Books, as well as titles from the ‘Big 6’ London publishers. A typical month could involve doing PR for authors who’ve penned nail-biting crime; gripping historical novels; gorgeous hardback non-fiction; trailblazing sci-fi; the latest celebrity releases (like Matt Lucas’ autobiography); and fabulous romantic fiction, of course! At the moment I’m working on lovely RNA member Elaine Everest’s heart-warming saga Christmas at Woolworths which is out on 2nd Nov – perfect timing for a festive read.

Tell us a little bit about a day in the life of a Book Publicist
The great thing about being a book publicist is it’s never boring because no two days are ever quite the same! But in general, I’ll start my morning with a cup of Earl Grey at 9.30am  as I sift through my emails. Then I might have a PR meeting with my Director Emma Draude and the team to catch up on media coverage for titles I’m promoting. I’ll also spend some time on the phone following up with journalists about book reviews. Crafting email pitches to secure features and interviews for my authors is also a key part of the day. Other tasks can include meeting journalists, writing press releases, putting together mailing lists for book proofs, setting up blog tours, compiling PR updates for publishers, and delegating social media activity to our assistant. If one of my authors has a book launch I’ll look forward to heading along for wine, nibbles, and mingling that evening!

What sort of contact do you have with your authors before, during and after a campaign?
Ahead of a book campaign fully kicking off, a publisher will usually put me in touch with the author so I can get to know them. For example, it’s good to get a sense of how comfortable they are with broadcast interviews, what their availability is for press/ event activity, and any personal media contacts they’d like me to reach out to. It’s also really important for me to know if they have an interesting personal story they can talk about linked to the book. Is there a real-life experience that inspired your story? During the campaign, I’ll keep in regular contact with the author to set up interviews and keep them updated on coverage plus press cuttings. Afterwards, I’ll send a full round-up of all press and reviews secured. It’s nice to keep in touch and see how sales are going and hear how readers are responding to the book as well.  Communication with the author and publisher is key!

What’s the best part of your job?
The authors! Working with creative and passionate people who’ve poured their heart into a story, then helping readers to discover and enjoy it is incredibly rewarding. The buzz when you land them a big piece of national press coverage is fantastic.  (That, and all the books I get to read before they’re even out in bookshops…)

If you could give one piece of advice to authors what would it be?
Learn what goes on behind-the-scenes to bring your book-baby into the world, and gain an understanding of the wider publishing process. It all helps to avoid confusion and makes things smoother if you know the roles of different departments at a publisher and the key timelines for a book.
I’m cheating a bit here, but my second piece of advice is to communicate. This of course works both ways, but once an author forgot to tell me they were away abroad with almost no email or phone access for a month before publication! That was a bit of a nightmare publicity-wise…

What are your interests away from work? Do you ever read just to relax?
I’m a London newbie as I used to live in Wales, so I’m still enjoying everything the capital has to offer, from theatre, to art galleries, eating out, and exploring hidden gems. I’m also writing my debut novel, which is historical fiction with a dash of fantasy and romance – watch this space! That’s keeping me pretty busy, but I try and read widely as well. Sometimes it’s nice to wade through a novel without having to stop and get my notebook out to jot down a potential PR angle.

We often ask agents and publishers what they consider to be the next 'big thing' - what do you hope to see next?
I’m sure agents and publishers will roll their eyes when I say this, as in some areas it’s
already happening, but I’d love to see more cross-genre fiction making it mainstream and hitting the Sunday Times bestseller charts.  There can be a tendency sometimes for the industry to say that a manuscript that bridges genres is too confusing: What shelf in a bookshop would it go on? How could you market it and would it sell? What section of the book pages would a newspaper review it on?  I think readers deserve some credit – if it’s a good story they’ll champion and discover it. I’m sure many RNA members are already breaking the mould. Bring on that next big historical crime romance thriller…

Thank you Bethan for a very interesting insight into the world of publicity and well done for including a plug for Elaine Everest of this parish.

About Ellie:
Ellie Holmes writes commercial women’s fiction with her heart in the town and her soul in the country. Ellie’s debut release was The Flower Seller. A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Alliance of Independent Authors, Ellie’s latest book, White Lies is out now.