Posted in Writing

Location, Location, Location…

As a country girl who grew up in rural Wiltshire, when I first began to write commercially, the old saying ‘write what you know about’ was very much central to my stories.  I knew all about village life; its structure, occupations, the characters, the gossip.  It proved to be a fitting backdrop for my first novels. Set in West Somerset in a village called Meridan Cross (based on the village I grew up in), I created a group of friends (Ella, Issy, Rachel and Jenny). I followed their lives for five books in all, beginning during their teens (in the 1960s) and ending in their forties.  By book four the ‘girls’ were now in their mid thirties with teenage children. Although the village was still very much a central hub, one of the major scenes was set in southern Spain as Ella fought to save her marriage to record producer Matt Benedict.  At the time of writing, the Costa Del Sol was well known to us, having spent several holidays with friends in their apartment just outside Marbella.

Book five saw the children (now young adults) carry the story forward.  There were scenes set in Dartmouth, the Caribbean and Italy and Spain as rock star Christian Rosetti (managed by Matt) recorded his new album in the Caymans and went on a European tour which ended in tragedy.  The two final books showed I had expanded my horizons from rural England to Europe and beyond. Some of the places I wrote about I had visited, but part of the research for those I had not, took the form of Google Maps where I could not only describe places but also take a ‘virtual’ walk around.

With the Somerset series coming to an end, for the next location, inspiration came from our regular holidays in Dartmouth, South Hams.  My South Devon Duo was set in the fictitious village of Lynbrook – a return to rural life, this one with a pub at the centre of the community. 

By this time I’d switched from being a saga author to writing contemporary romantic suspense.  And that is where I have stayed. My latest trilogy – two books down one to go – is set on the south coast of Cornwall.  I’ve cheated a bit with the location, however.  East and West Kingswater on either side of the Kings River estuary, has been a blend of Dartmouth/Kingswear and Fowey/Polruan. 

If I’ve learned anything in the time I have been writing, it is that for me personally, it is far easier to set my cast of characters in a real place rather than somewhere conjoured up by my imagination.  However, at the end of the day, there is no golden rule for this. It’s down to the individual writer and what suits them best.

A Kingswater Summer, the second book set in the Cornish estuary town of Kingswater is currently on offer as an e-book download on Amazon for 99p/$1.37

Love, Deception and Family Secrets

UK Kindle: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09C8Y9BC8/

US Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09C8Y9BC8/

Posted in Writing

Tea and Talk at Sally Lunn’s

Welcome to this, my very first writers blog interview.   I decided, well, you’ve probably heard enough about me, so it was about time I started to shine the spotlight on some of my writing colleagues.  And what better place to chat than Sally Lunn’s, one of the oldest houses in Bath and a favourite place of mine for tea and cake or maybe even one of their famous Bath buns. To launch this new feature I’d like to welcome fellow author Lynda Renham.

JL: Lovely to meet you  Lynda and now we’re settled with our tea and a delicious selection of cakes, tell me a bit about yourself.

LR: I was born and bred in Essex. So I’m an Essex girl and proud of it although everyone I know tells me I don’t sound in the least like one. My days of living in Oxford and being married to a Surrey chap have knocked it out of me I think. I was previously a teacher.

JL: When did you first start writing?

LR: I have been writing since the age of 13 so I’ve been knocking out stories for many years. I gave up for about fifteen years during the time my first marriage broke down. After re-marrying I found my second husband to be very supportive of my writing and I continued
again. I’ve written several serious novels not yet published bar one titled ‘The Diary of Rector Byrnes’ which is available on Amazon.

JL: How did the idea for your first book come about?

LR: The idea for my first comedy novel ‘Wedding Cake to Turin’ actually came from a visit to Turin that my husband and I made. We also went there for a wedding and my
mother-in-law did escort a wedding cake. The whole novel came out of that. I decided I wanted to write humour as I’ve always lived my life using humour to get me through everything.

JL: Your publishing process, how did you make the decision on which route to take?

LR: I’m a strong advocate of self-publishing although I am now published by a small independent publisher ‘Raucous publishing’ I however, did self-publish ‘Wedding Cake to Turin’ I also learnt a lot from doing that and made many mistakes. I think self-publishing is great but it is hard to get noticed even then but it certainly helps. You also need to be very critical of your own work, more so than normal. It’s nice to have a publisher who does all the work for you. It’s nice to know the books are now available from Waterstones and WH Smith. But I would recommend self-publishing as a way forward. Many authors are looking at that as an alternative.

JS: So what kept the ball rolling and made you want to continue writing?

LR: I think I continue writing because I can’t not write. Ideas are always rushing through my head. It isn’t hard to keep the ball rolling in that respect.

jl: Did you find it easy to get that second book underway?

LR: Yes the second book ‘Croissants and Jam’ was very easy to get underway. I think it is my most popular too. Although I am hoping the new one will be better. It is similar to ‘Croissants and Jam’ and currently has a working title of ‘Pink Wellies and Flat Caps’ but that could, of course, change.

JS:What about new projects?  Are there any in the pipeline?

LR: Currently though I am having an extension on my home which is almost half a house. It also means the other half is an absolute mess. I am very much struggling with all this. We are practically living in our summer house at the bottom of the garden. I am working there also so things are awkward. I have become very stressed. My next project is the new book ‘Pink Wellies and Flat Caps’ I am pleased to say that I have so far written 58,000 words so I am doing it.

JL: I know you love photography.  Do you see writing and photography as creative kindred spirits?

LR: Photography is my second love and yes I do see it as a form of expression. In fact for me it is a more personal form of expression than writing. I try to express a lot of emotion in many of my photographs. I love capturing the moment. The moment is something special.

JL: What do you love doing when you aren’t writing?

LR When I’m not writing I spend a lot of time on the internet. I have a passion for Cambodia and sponsor a child there. I visit the country whenever possible and also the Orphanage where my little girl is. I have friends there and contacts. It is my second favourite place in the world. When not writing I also like to watch DVDs. I don’t own a TV so DVDs are my entertainment. I am also an avid reader. I love everything. I’m currently reading PG Wodehouse coupled with Salman Rushdie’s book ‘Joseph Anton’

JL:Thank you so much Lynda for coming along today, it was great to meet you.  To learn more about  Lynda, her books and her photography contact:

Web page link: http://www.renham.co.uk/

Blog: http://lyndarenhamauthor.blogspot.co.uk/

If you would like to join me for Tea and Talk at Sally Lunns just drop me an e-mail at http://www:taurusgirl185@gmail.com

Joining me for Tea and Talk  next time will be a Canadian writer with Scottish roots – Melanie Robertson King, who has just released her debut novel A Shadow in the Past

And if you are interested in reading more about Sally Lunn’s historic eating house and museum check out  http://www.sallylunns.co.uk