Posted in Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Cornwall, Cornwall, Costal Romance, Writing, Writing Journey


How did we get to 30th November so fast? It’s a really strange phenomenon that during 2020 it’s been a quieter year for me and yet I seem to have more to do.  The arrival of this month saw the annual clock change in late October. For a while we had lighter mornings, but for a good part of last week waking up to fog and unable to see across the valley, has made it feel as if we’re getting up in the middle of the night.  I remember when I was working, that the last week in January was the time when I walked home from the bus stop in dusk rather than dark.  So I measure the beginning of a move back to lighter evenings by that time.

I guess the one big event during November was the arrival of my new computer.  My old one had given me just over ten years of good use, albeit with several changes of keyboard and monitors.  A bit like Trigger’s broom on Only Fools and Horses with 17 new heads and 14 new handles!  I looked at all in ones and was tempted, but eventually opted for another, smaller tower, new 24″ monitor and a good quality keyboard. As a touch typist I’ve got through a load of these in ten years. Usually the I went first, then the E, S and L.  It seems to me that keyboards aren’t meant to last. During my working life the letters on the office computer kreyboards I used were more robust and didn’t wear off after a few months use as they do today. Yes, I know, maybe I should have splashed out a bit more money, but even the more expensive keyboard I’m now using doesn’t feel as if it will be any more durable. I guess only time will tell.  Oh, and almost forgot, I also have a camera, where previously I had to use my husband’s laptop in order to use Skype to catch up with friends and relatives.  All in all, three weeks into the use of this new computer set up, and I’m really pleased with my purchase. 

On the 3rd of November we had our last Tuesday lunch out before Lockdown No 2.  We had been eating out since early July when we came out of the first lockdown, keeping out of the city and visiting pubs in the surrounding villages instead.  All the pubs we’ve been to have observed strict hygiene rules and we never once felt compromised.  Some of the those we used to visit still have yet to reopen, opting for a takeaway service instead. Coming out of lockdown No 2 this week, we will be in a Tier 2 area instead of 1, as we were previously.  This has seen us having to cancel a planned lunch out with friends. Christmas certainly is going to be different this year!

I hope having to  make these sacrifices will get us all safely to the time when the vaccine becomes available and life gets back to some form of normality.  It’s easy to tell yourself that you don’t know of anyone who has had Covid and to query whether it’s actually as bad as everyone says. Or whether, as some believe, it’s only people in towns and cities who get it. Hand on heart I’d only heard of cases through friends of friends. And then two weeks ago my best friend called me to say her son had a temperature and was self-isolating. His Covid test came back positive but thankfully he has come through the whole episode safely.  It certainly goes to bring home the fact that it is out there and you can become infected when you least expect it.

And finally where am I with my writing? Well everything is going well at the moment. Happy to say writing mojo has made a reappearance. At the moment I’m trying to balance working on book 10 with reading and reviewing, which I’ve been doing throughout the year. I have to say there have been some amazing new titles during 2020 and I’ve currently earned my ‘100’ badge from Netgalley.  However, despite having a huge appetite for other authors’ work, I haven’t lost sight of the fact that my own writing is as important.  I’m hoping for a late spring publication with this, the second part of the Cornish Estuary trilogy. Currently working hard and pushing forward with it. Wish me luck.

And so, that’s about it for the month. See you all at the end of December when I’ll be looking back at the year and my memories of 2020.

Best wishes

Jo xx




Posted in Contemporary Romance, Cornwall, Writing




Yes it’s here at last. The cover reveal for my latest book which is now available for pre-order.  It’s been a long journey since I typed the first words of this story and there were times when I doubted this book would ever be published.  I guess every writer has these moments of uncertainty but mine came off the back of a life changing diagnosis earlier this year. Everything had to be put on hold in the run up to surgery, and that included writing.  And what about afterwards?  How would I be then? What if I required further treatment? How would that impact on my writing life? Not wanting to overthink the situation, I decided to put my writing on the back burner, get the procedure out of the way and then review the whole situation.

Luckily no further treatment was required so post op I spent a lot of time reading and reviewing. At the time I didn’t feel like doing any more than that. Healing takes time and I’d had major surgery so it was only sensible to take things slowly. The ms was on a file in my computer but opening up and starting the writing process again was something for manaña – tomorrow.  The only trouble was, tomorrow soon became today and days gradually turned into weeks.  Then one morning I woke up and decided it was time to bite the bullet.  I needed to find out whether my writing mojo had completely abandoned me. Would I look at what I’d written and tell myself I didn’t want to do this any longer; that I’d just stick to reading and reviewing?  Happily as soon as I read the first few chapters, I knew I couldn’t leave this story. I had to publish…but first there were changes to be made.

Now here we are in July with publication due on the 26th.  Not only that, Shadows on the Water will now be followed by two other books in a new Cornish coastal romance series. Because during my rewrites it became clear that two supporting characters had their own stories to tell. So just as the tag line on the cover says ‘Sometimes the end is really just the beginning’.




After the tragic death of her fiancé, Ava Warren is slowly rebuilding her life.  She has a supportive family, great friends and a job she loves, managing holiday letting company Estuary Escapes in her home town of Kingswater. Another relationship is the last thing she wants or needs. Until one evening she meets Alex Penhaligon.

 Alex’s father Sam owns Heron’s Gate Vineyard and Alex has recently returned from California, where he has been working for the past five years.  A case of mistaken identity gets them off to a bad start. But discovering his error, Alex is anxious to make amends and soon persuades Ava that he’s not quite as arrogant as she thinks he is. As their friendship begins to turn into something much deeper, Ava wonders whether she can at last put the past behind her and make a new future with Alex.

But someone is watching.  A man who not only thinks Ava should be his but also holds a long term grudge against Alex.  And he’s determined to get his own way irrespective of the lengths he has to go to or who gets hurt in the process.

Set on the south coast of Cornwall Shadows on the Water is a story of family ties, lost love and tangled loyalties.


Available at a special pre-order price of 99p/99c on and 





Posted in Christmas Offer, Contemporary Romance, Devon

Countdown to Christmas…. A Special Festive Reading Offer 10th to 16th December

I’ve taken a break from writing to post a Christmas Offer for readers.  Back in 2015 I wrote Summer Moved On, followed a year later by Watercolours in the Rain. They are linked contemporary romantic sagas set in rural Devon.  From 10th to 16th December you can join the community of Lynbrook and follow the lives of those who live there for 99p/99c each ( download only)


South Devon Duo Book 1

After a long-buried secret tears her family apart, Jess Hayden moves to the South Devon village of Lynbrook to live with her uncle.   Rufus owns the village pub, The Black Bull, and having visited before, Jess knows the villagers well…especially one of them.

Talún Hansen has a reputation, making him the kind of man no decent girl should get involved with.  Jess, however, has been under his spell from the moment they first met.  Although they always seem to bring out the worst in each other, there is no denying the attraction that simmers between them – an attraction Jess knows she needs to keep under control after repeated warnings from her uncle.

As she settles into village life she begins to learn more about this wild, dark-haired gypsy with the compelling eyes, and realises their lives hold many similarities.  Despite her uncle’s warnings, she begins to spend time with him.  For Jess, the coming summer holds passion; for Talún the hope that he has at last found someone who truly cares for him.

But as autumn approaches, a dark shadow from Jess’s past returns, bringing far-reaching and unwanted changes for both of them.

On the surface, the heroine Jess has everything she could desire in her boyfriend Zac. Yet she is drawn to moody, brooding ‘Heathcliffe’-esque Talún. And who wouldn’t be, at that age? Is he just what Jess needs in the long summer before going up to university. Or is he the worst thing that could happen to her at this stage in her life? Jess has everything that money can provide but lacks a father’s love and relies on her lovely uncle Rufus to fill in the gaps. Small wonder then that she appears ‘ripe for the picking.’ The reader’s heart is in her mouth as Jess and Talùn’s relationship develops and we worry that it’s all going to end in tears. There’s plenty to keep the reader on side – a warm village community, complete with characters who wouldn’t be out of place in a Miss Read novel, or Cider with Rosie; a best friend, a scheming womaniser, a cold father and a mystery to be solved regarding Talùn’s parentage.  Lady Rochford, Amazon Reviewer




South Devon Duo Book 2

What happens to the future when past and present collide?

JESS:  Six years ago Jess’s relationship with Talún Hansen was torn apart by one night of deception. He disappeared from Lynbrook village and she headed for university vowing never to let anyone break her heart again. Currently teaching in Oxford, Jess returns from holiday to an unexpected phone call and life changing news which eventually sees her returning home.

Talún: Six years on Talún Hawkeswood, as he is now known, is heir to his grandfather’s Norfolk farming empire. When he hears of trouble in the village due to Lynbrook Hall being put up for sale, going back is the last thing on his mind. But staying away is not an option either, not when someone he owes so much to is about to lose their home and their livelihood.

LILY: Splitting with her husband after her son Josh’s birth, Lily now works as part of an estate agency sales team.  She has always held onto her dream of finding a wealthy husband and a life of self-indulgence. When the sale of an important property brings her face to face with Talún, she realises despite the risks involved, the night they spent together six years ago could be the key to making those dreams come true.

As Jess, Talún and Lily return to Lynbrook and the truth about what happened that summer is gradually revealed, Talún finds himself in an impossible situation. Still in love with Jess he is tied into a trade off with Lily: his name and the lifestyle she craves in exchange for his son. And when a child is involved there is only one choice he can make…

I very much enjoyed Summer Moved On, but Watercolours in the Rain is even better.
Finding out what happened to Jess, Talún and Lily – and all the other minor characters – was like hearing about friends and what happened to them.
I was fascinated to see how Jo Lambert managed to get the “right” ending – very cleverly written, I thought.  Tina J Amazon Reviewer








Posted in Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Ruby Fiction, Writing

Journey’s End…

It’s always a relief to finish a manuscript. By the time I begin working on edits my mind is already well into sorting out the next story. Friday morning saw ‘The End’ become a reality as I e-mailed the final version off to my publisher.

I seem to have been working on this latest book forever. It’s not that I hit writer’s block or lost enthusiasm. It’s all been down to unexpected health problems. I’m hardly ever ill. Borrowing a phrase from one of my friends I haven’t got time to be ill. Over the last eighteen months, however, I seem to have experienced more than my fair share of health issues.

It started in Minorca on holiday in late May 2018 where we were staying with friends for birthday celebrations (mine). The night before the big day I received a text from Choc Lit offering me a contract for A Cornish Affair. As you can imagine this was the best birthday present ever and also an omen (or so I thought). It meant the coming year was going to be a good one. That lasted all of 24 hours. The next evening, before we left for the restaurant – before the cork on the pre-dinner bubbly had even popped – I stepped awkwardly off the bottom step of the villa’s staircase, twisted my ankle and broke it in three places. I’d just started to write a second book for my Cornish Coastal series and, of course, that came to a very sudden halt. Surgery, four weeks in plaster, two in an orthopaedic boot, physio and getting back to walking again took a big chunk out of the summer.  And when I did get a chance to sit in front of the computer (with my leg propped up on a cushion), I found it difficult to concentrate on anything. It was September before I felt ready to sit down and resume work on the project. The new year came, the word count grew and then in March I was called in for elective surgery (which had been postponed due to the ankle break). This wasn’t as intrusive as the ankle but, again, it took a couple of weeks before I could fully concentrate on my writing once more.

Then were the usual breaks and holidays in 2019 – Stratford on Avon, Suffolk, North Wales – and in between the writing continued. In September we had a week in Dartmouth. I had a sore throat for seven days and on our return this developed into a full blown bronchial virus making me wheeze like a heavy smoker. It took me three weeks to shake it off. I thought that was it. A mid-week break in Cornwall in October ended with another sore throat which quickly turned into a cold and yes…not wanting to be left out of all the fun…the dreaded virus joined the party!

Two weeks later, having managed to successfully get my twice cancelled flu shot, I’m hoping this is it as far as winter illnesses are concerned. I feel I’ve certainly had my share…and someone else’s too! But winter has only just begun so it’s a case of crossed fingers and a whole lot of hope.

So what’s next? Well I’m planning to take the weekend off, catch up with all the things I had to set to one side in order to get my writing finished – including social media. And then I’ve that new book to start…

Posted in Choc Lit, Contemporary Romance, Paris, Publication Day, Romance, Writing

Today is publication day for Marie Laval’s latest novel A Paris Fairy Tale


A wonderful new book from the author of the best selling novel, Little Pink Taxi
Is Paris the city of happily ever afters?
Workaholic art historian Aurora Black doesn’t have time for fairy tales or Prince Charmings, even in the most romantic city in the world. She has recently been hired by a Parisian auction house for a job that could make or break her career. Unfortunately, daredevil journalist Cédric Castel seems intent on disrupting Aurora’s routine.
As Aurora and Cédric embark on a journey across France, they get more than they bargained for as they find themselves battling rogue antiques dealers and personal demons, not to mention a growing attraction to each other.
But with the help of a fairy godmother or two, could they both find their happily ever afters?

 A PARIS FAIRY TALE  is available as a ebook and audiobook on Amazon and various other platforms here.



AUTHOR PICOriginally from Lyon in France, Marie has lived in the Rossendale Valley in Lancashire for the past few years. She writes both contemporary and historical romance, as well as short stories, always with ‘a French twist’. A SPELL IN PROVENCE, her debut contemporary romantic suspense, and historical romances ANGEL HEART, THE LION’S EMBRACE and DANCING FOR THE DEVIL, are published by Accent Press. Her latest contemporary romance, LITTLE PINK TAXI, is published by Choc Lit, and watch out for A PARIS FAIRY TALE, soon to be released by Choc Lit!




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You can also find on Pinterest the many beautiful photos of Paris and illuminated manuscripts which inspired the writing of A Paris Fairy Tale. (




Posted in Contemporary Romance, Cornwall, Costal Romance, Muder, Mystery, Romance, Writing

An Italian Affair…

As a holiday destination Italy always been one of my favourite countries to visit.  The people, the history, the food,  the pace of life, the weather, and so many amazing places to explore.

I have a close affinity with water and boats – Dartmouth and Fowey being two of my favourite UK holiday destinations.  So it’s not surprising when I arrived in Garda in 2001 for a week’s holiday, I was totally smitten.  I’ve been back twice since then.  Another stay in Garda and then across the water to Desenzano, the biggest town on the lake with its rail link to Milan and main ferry terminal.

Hotel Villa Rosa, Desenzano

When I began to develop the plot for A Cornish Affair, I needed my heroine Cat’s father Ruan to have two long term friends who would become key players in this story. So I created Gareth Hunter who like Ruan had been born and raised in Carrenporth and Étienne Di Marco. Étienne and Ruan had met at university.  Both from hotel owning families, they became good friends and over the years kept in touch.  Half French-half Italian, Étienne now owned the Casa D’Oro hotel group and was based at their flagship hotel Fiore Del Lago on Lake Garda.  The creation of this character and his hotel was helped by the fact we had recently stayed in Desenzano at the Hotel Villa Rosa and I was so taken with this beautiful hotel, I  used it as inspiration for Fiore Del Lago.

But it wasn’t only the hotel. The lake is one of the most relaxing and atmospheric places I’ve visited so taking Cat there to work for Étienne was like going on holiday without leaving home!


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If you’d like a trip to the Italian Lakes to join Cat in Desenzano,  A Cornish Affair is one of four books currently on offer as part of an Italian Summer Sale. You can buy on Kobo, Kindle and Apple.  And at just 99p for the e-book version it’s  una grande offerta.  The sale ends midnight on 17th July

Even in your hometown, you can feel like an outsider …

In the close-knit community of Carrenporth in Cornwall everyone knows everyone else’s business. Luke Carrack is only too aware of this. He’s been away for two years but nothing has changed – from the town gossips who can’t see past the scandal of his childhood, to the cold way he is treated by some of his so-called family.
The only person who seems to understand is local hotelier’s daughter Cat Trevelyan, although even Luke’s new friendship with her could set tongues wagging.
But Carrenporth is about to experience far bigger scandals than the return of Luke Carrack – and the secrets unearthed in the process will shake the sleepy seaside town to its core …


Posted in Author Promotion, Choc Lit, Contemporary Romance, Cornwall, Cornwall, Costal Romance, Murder, Mystery, Writing, Writing Journey

A Cornish Affair – Meet Emelia Trevelyan

Day three and it’s Great Aunt Em’s turn under the spotlight.

If ever there was a character I loved creating it was Emelia Trevelyan – ‘call me Em’.  On the surface she is a strong willed, cantankerous elderly woman. Rules simply do not apply to her.  As the story begins she is a member of a group of elderly women ‘The Gossip Girls’  from the village who create mayhem wherever they go.  But scratch the surface and you will find a completely different character.  She is incredibly lonely after losing her brother Gerren and his wife Jenna.  A year ago they handed the hotel over to their son, Em’s nephew Ruan, and left for retirement in France.  Em has never married. She spent her early years living at the Tarwin House Hotel and then when her parents died she inherited Caer Gwyn a circular white house set on a small promontory  a quarter of a mile away.  When Gerren told her about their plans to move to France, she hoped she might be a part of it.  Unfortunately she wasn’t.  Realising how much she missed their company, Ruan invited her back to live at the hotel; to be part of his family.  Unfortunately Em couldn’t help interfering in the day to day running of Tarwin House and Ruan was constantly having to speak to her.  Feeling more and more isolated, when Rosalind Myers, self styled leader of the Gossip Girls, offered her the opportunity to join their group, Em was delighted.  Her action in bringing them into the hotel and letting them snoop around the family’s private apartments saw Ruan sending her straight to back Caer Gwyn.

Gradually Em began to recognise how damaging Rosalind and her cronies’ actions were, but breaking away from them was difficult.  Being a part of the group appeared to be the lesser of the two evils. The alternative was a lonely life with her housekeeper and Hamish her West Highland terrier.  Things eventually came to a head one morning outside the town’s small supermarket where she was rescued by Nathan and Cat.  And it was Cat who came up with an idea which would channel Em’s energies in a different direction and give her a new purpose in life.

Em is, of course, pivotal to one of the most important parts of the book, as witness to a murder, but you will have to read A Cornish Affair to discover how she becomes involved…




Even in your hometown, you can feel like an outsider …

In the close-knit community of Carrenporth in Cornwall everyone knows everyone else’s business. Luke Carrack is only too aware of this. He’s been away for two years but nothing has changed – from the town gossips who can’t see past the scandal of his childhood, to the cold way he is treated by some of his so-called family.
The only person who seems to understand is local hotelier’s daughter Cat Trevelyan, although even Luke’s new friendship with her could set tongues wagging.
But Carrenporth is about to experience far bigger scandals than the return of Luke Carrack – and the secrets unearthed in the process will shake the sleepy seaside town to its core …

Amazon Buy Links


Also available on Amazon : Kobo : Nook: Google Play and Apple iBook Store

Posted in Author Promotion, Choc Lit, Contemporary Romance, Cornwall, Cornwall, Costal Romance, Murder, Mystery, Writing, Writing Journey

A Cornish Affair – Meet Luke Carrack

Day two and it’s Luke’s turn under the spotlight.

It’s hard to imagine that when I began writing this book Luke was set up to be the villain.  After all with his disadvantaged background he definitely has the makings of an anti-hero.  However, right from the start, casting Luke as the bad guy simply didn’t work. So I sat down and did some reworking of the plot and turned him into the book’s hero instead.

As I said above, Luke came from a disadvantaged background.  His mother Selina, the daughter of a wealthy local family, was a wild child of the 80s who got herself pregnant by one of her father’s employees.  He left the area before he knew her situation and never returned.  Eighteen year old Selina, always the rebel, left home and secretly married Ross Carrick, one of Carrenporth’s fishermen. Ross was ten years older than Selina, but he’d always loved her, even though he felt she was out of reach and all they had was friendship.  When Luke was born he took Ross’s surname.  For a few years his childhood was a happy one, despite being ostracised by his mother’s family and most of Carrenporth.  Then when he was fourteen tragedy struck. Ross’s trawler sank with all hands on board off the Scilly Isles.  Selina, never a strong character could not cope and took refuge in drink.  Within in year she too was dead.  Much to everyone’s surprise Selina’s brother Gareth who now owned the family business, stepped in to give Luke a home and educate him. This angered his social climbing wife Evie who felt Selina’s son had no place in their home, living alongside her own son Jordan.  While Jordan exhibited all the traits of an overindulged layabout, Luke achieved good school grades and worked for Gareth for a while before going on to university.  After successfully completing his degree he left to travel for a couple of years with a promise to come back and work for his uncle.  Now he’s returned to a place that has changed very little since his departure. A large portion of this small minded community still view him as Selina Hunter’s illegitimate son and his aunt still detests him. But Gareth, impressed by his nephew’s work ethic,  is about to reward him. And the job he has in mind is set to stir up even more hate and resentment from Evie and Jordan…




Even in your hometown, you can feel like an outsider …

In the close-knit community of Carrenporth in Cornwall everyone knows everyone else’s business. Luke Carrack is only too aware of this. He’s been away for two years but nothing has changed – from the town gossips who can’t see past the scandal of his childhood, to the cold way he is treated by some of his so-called family.
The only person who seems to understand is local hotelier’s daughter Cat Trevelyan, although even Luke’s new friendship with her could set tongues wagging.
But Carrenporth is about to experience far bigger scandals than the return of Luke Carrack – and the secrets unearthed in the process will shake the sleepy seaside town to its core …

Amazon Buy Links


Also available on Amazon : Kobo : Nook: Google Play and Apple iBook Store

Posted in Author Promotion, Choc Lit, Contemporary Romance, Cornwall, Cornwall, Costal Romance, Murder, Mystery, Writing, Writing Journey

A Cornish Affair – Meet Cat Trevelyan

As I’m away for a few days, I thought I’d introduce three of the main characters from my current novel.

Today it’s Cat Trevelyan’s turn.  She is the central female character and the story is mainly narrated from her viewpoint.  Together with her twin brother Nathan she is the fourth generation of the Trevelyan family to make a career in the hotel business.

The Tarwin House Hotel sits on the cliffs overlooking the fishing port of Carrenporth on the North Coast of Cornwall just to the south of Newquay.  It was originally built by Cat’s ancestor Jago Menhenick in the 1800s as a monument to his successful businesses in copper and tin.  It remained the family’s home until her great grandfather Edgar decided to open it as a hotel.  Over the years it has been gradually extended and is now run by Cat and Nathan’s father Ruan Trevelyan.

Nathan works as the hotel’s deputy manager and also runs the basement nightclub Ship2Shore while Cat is an events planner in charge of the hotel’s functions suite.  She’s hard working, a bit of a perfectionist and maybe even a little too work focussed at times. Rarely having time for dating, she enjoys her single life, mostly girls’ evenings out with her best friend Jodie Penwarne.  She’s close to her father and has a soft spot for her difficult Great Aunt Emelia.  She can also be a bit prickly at times and doesn’t suffer fools gladly. As Luke tells her during one of their spats ‘…you need to cut yourself some slack when you’re off duty, Cat. Who knows, there might be a real nice girl lurking under all that spit and fur.’

Cat’s first meeting with Luke Carrack does not go well. She sees him as an arrogant know all and tries to avoid him as much as possible.  However he seems to regularly turn up in the most unexpected places, always making her feel irritable and angry. But when things go wrong at a wedding reception where he’s a guest, through his actions she begin to see him in a completely different light.  Of course it would be too easy to let the course of true love run smoothly.  Once they get together are a tremendous amount of obstacles these two have ahead of them….but you’ll have to read the book to discover what happens and whether they get their happy ending.




Even in your hometown, you can feel like an outsider …

In the close-knit community of Carrenporth in Cornwall everyone knows everyone else’s business. Luke Carrack is only too aware of this. He’s been away for two years but nothing has changed – from the town gossips who can’t see past the scandal of his childhood, to the cold way he is treated by some of his so-called family.
The only person who seems to understand is local hotelier’s daughter Cat Trevelyan, although even Luke’s new friendship with her could set tongues wagging.
But Carrenporth is about to experience far bigger scandals than the return of Luke Carrack – and the secrets unearthed in the process will shake the sleepy seaside town to its core …

Amazon Buy Links


Also available on Amazon : Kobo : Nook: Google Play and Apple iBook Store

Posted in Contemporary Romance, RNA, Writing

Tuesday Talk welcomes author Richard Gould, chatting about the inspiration behind his books and his choice of some interesting dinner guests…

R J Gould

This week’s Tuesday Talk  sees me  joined by author Richard Gould. Good morning Richard and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?

Thanks for inviting me, Jo. This is a great blog site and I’m delighted to be able to contribute. I write contemporary romantic fiction. Writing in this genre is unusual for a male. My readers are predominantly female and the feedback I receive suggests that the male take on relationships offers an interesting insight.

I’m published by Accent Press and was taken on following membership of the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme. I live in Cambridge and am a member of Cambridge Writers where I lead the Commercial Editing Group. Writing can be a lonely activity, but being a member of these two groups brings valuable opportunities to share ideas and receive feedback.

My most recent novel, Jack and Jill Went Downhill, an adult take on the nursery rhyme, is my third publication with a fourth soon to follow.

How did your writing journey begin?

I’ve written many factual articles about education, quite serious stuff addressing underachievement and social mobility. My fiction is a lighter-hearted antidote. The journey into fiction began because of two strong interests. The first, quite simply, is people. I’m fascinated by diversity, resilience, mood swings, irrationality and unexpected pathways. I found myself sitting on a train or at a restaurant, aware that next to me was a wealth of story potential. About ten or so years ago I started jotting down ideas and the imagined characters I created were soon emerging as the protagonists in my novels. A second interest (or maybe fixation is more appropriate!) is humour. I tend to see the funny side of things, even adversity. I use irony and humour to describe my protagonists’ searches for a fulfilling relationship, with considerable mock pathos as they overcome juggernaut-loads of baggage on their journeys to romance.

You’re a writer of romantic fiction. Is there any other genre that you might be tempted to write?

I’m male. I shouldn’t be writing Romance if my experience of being a member of the UK Romantic Novelists’ Association is anything to go by. At their conferences with 200+ delegates, there will be no more than ten or so male authors attending. I didn’t set out to write Romance, I just got put there by my publisher (Accent Press), this no doubt because I write about relationships. In my novels, a mix of highly eccentric and plain ordinary men and women are trying to make the most of their lives. I suppose one distinction between Romance and more typical male writer genres – Espionage and Crime, for instance – is the focus on character rather than plot. That’s not to say that plot isn’t important, but it’s the people who drive the plot in my writing.

So – and it’s taken quite some time to reach an answer to your question – it’s probably ‘no’. With over seven billion people in the world, there’s enough raw material to keep me writing about relationships for quite some time. As an aside, using ‘R J’ instead of ‘Richard’ in my author name is my cowardly compromise after agents suggested that as a Romance writer, I should use a pseudonym.

Where do you get your inspiration for your characters from?

In both A Street Café Named Desire and The Engagement Party, a real life event and people triggered the story – a school reunion and a party. From that starting point imagination takes over as the experience is twisted and distorted beyond all recognition. There might be a similarity between a protagonist and a real life person, maybe someone I know or a person I’ve spoken to at the event and they sound interesting. At speed that person is transformed. I’d never tell someone that they were a character in my novel though I think one friend has guessed but never confronted me about it.

Beach or city? Which location attracts you the most and have you any favourite destination?

I’m OK with beaches, though more for the scenery than hanging around in a lounger frying all day long. But it’s city for me, for the cultural opportunities – the art galleries, cinema, theatre, music, historical buildings – and for all those people to observe as potential future protagonists. As far as favourite destination goes, it would be anywhere in Italy.

Are you currently working on a new book? If so, can you tell us something about it?

I’m working on two novels, one at the final editing stage and one about two-thirds through the first write.

Nothing Man is the story of a mid-fifties man contemplating suicide. Recent difficulties have led to this decision, most significantly, his wife walking out on him and being made redundant. He feels he has nothing to look back on with pride and nothing to look forward to with hope. Bearing in mind the first section of the novel is sub-titled ‘Life Before Suicide Day’ and the second part ‘Life After Suicide Day’, it’s hardly a spoiler to state that he doesn’t go through with it. It turns out that he’s anything but a nothing man as he finds friendship then romance together with career success at a national environmental charity. I hope to have this released late Autumn 2017. (Do email me via my website if you’d like notification of release).

I have a working title for the second novel, but am as yet undecided. This is the tale of a middle-aged couple who seem to be competing for who can have (according to their children) the most embarrassing mid-life crisis.

And lastly, you are holding a dinner party and are planning to invite four famous guests (either living or dead). Who would you choose and why?

What a difficult question, there are so many options, ranging from 20th Century dictators (why on earth did you do what you did?), to Impressionist artists (did being despised by mainstream artists upset you?), to leading scientists (could you please explain in layman’s terms what on earth you’re going on about?).

Here are my four:

  • Charlie Chaplin (for his film work and politics),
  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman (for an understanding of her motive for writing The Yellow Wallpaper),
  • Steven Spielberg (for how to write and direct great movies – did you know that he was in special needs at school),
  • and Nicole Kidman (it’s a romance thing!)

R J Gould Website and social media links








coverA Street Café Named Desire: A heartwarming romantic comedy

A man’s quest for two dreams – a relationship with the gorgeous Bridget and opening an arts café.
David meets Bridget at a twenty-five year school reunion and instantly develops a teenagesque passion for her.

There is a juggernaut-load of baggage to overcome ahead of having any chance of a relationship – a demanding soon to be ex-wife, a tyrannical new boss, an accountancy job he detests, stroppy teenage children, and encounters with the police.

There’s a further distraction, his plan to quit his job and set up an arts café is proving to be more challenging than he anticipated.

Amazon link:


The Engagement Party_coverThe Engagement Party: A laugh out loud romantic comedy about family relationships

Two young lovers; two families; one celebration destined to be a disaster.

Wayne and Clarissa are a young London couple whose immediate families are about to meet for the first time. Trying to create harmony amongst mums and dads from very diverse backgrounds and social classes is hard enough but in this case, there are eight parents, step-parents and partners to deal with.

The couple are deeply in love, but tensions arising from the forthcoming lunch party have created such a rift that it’s touch and go whether their relationship is strong enough to survive the event.

If you think your family has its “issues” this book will make you appreciate that things could be a lot worse!

Amazon link:


Jack&Jillcover.inddJack and Jill Went Downhill: An adult take on the nursery rhyme

The story of two young lovers who happen to be called Jack and Jill.

Jack and Jill meet on Freshers Big Party Night at an English university and for both of them it’s love at first sight. Despite their backgrounds, personalities and interests being poles apart, the relationship flourishes during their student years.

It’s not quite as comfortable when their studies are over and they move to London to start work.

Way back when they’d first met, they shared the joke that their names were those of the nursery rhyme. Down the line, they fail to recognise that their lives are matching the plot. Jack falls down, Jill comes tumbling after, and their relationship is on the rocks. Can it survive?

Amazon link: