Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Author Special....Christine Stovell




I am delighted to welcome Christine to the Novel Café today. Christine has taken the time to write about what influences her as an author, her two fantastic novels published by Choc Lit and her new book due for release next summer. Thank you Christine!


Christine Stovell: Three by the Sea

Hi Nic, thank you so much for inviting me to join you at the Novel Café!

I’m Christine Stovell and I live and write on the coast of west Wales.  I’ve always loved the sea, but it really influenced my writing when I met a keen sailor and thought how romantic the thought of sleeping under starry skies in a quiet anchorage sounded.  We married and bought our vintage wooden boat that same month... and then I discovered how dreadfully prone to seasickness I am!  Nevertheless, we did manage to sail half way round Britain.  The sleepy backwaters, picturesque harbours and fascinating characters we met along the way all worked their way into my imagination and into my writing, but one day I suddenly ‘saw’ an image of a troubled young woman sitting by the water’s edge.  Her story became my first novel, Turning the Tide, which is published by Choc Lit.

Turning the Tide
Harry (Harriet) Watling has spent five years trying to keep her father’s boatyard afloat.  Now all she wants to do is enjoy the peace and quiet of her sleepy backwater.  Property developer, Matthew Corrigan, has other ideas; he wants to turn the boat yard into an upmarket housing complex for his exotic new restaurant. And the odds seem to be stacked in Matthew’s favour. He’s got the colourful locals on board, his hard-to-please girlfriend is warming to the idea and he has the means to force Harry’s hand. Meanwhile, Harry has to fight not just his plans but also her feelings for the man himself.  When a family secret from the past creates heartbreak for Harry, and neither of them is prepared for what happens next...

Move Over Darling, my second contemporary novel, also published by Choc Lit, is influenced by the Welsh coast where I live.  The population here is small, with comparatively few people spread out over a large area.  I started to wonder how couples ever found each other!  It’s an exquisitely beautiful part of Wales, attractive to tourists and second-homers, but some of the lowest wages too mean that employment prospects are often brighter elsewhere.  A trip to New York suggested the book’s premise:  She’s escaped to the country.  He’s escaped from the country.  Who’s going to admit that home is where the heart is?  From there, I met Coralie Casey and Gethin Lewis.  Coralie doesn’t like the hand fate has dealt her so she’s taken charge of her own destiny.  Gethin’s an artist living in New York who thinks he’s escaped his home village for good – until I came up with other plans for him.  I also had fun with a cast of supporting characters to reflect the book’s theme which is about separation and reunion.

For Follow a Star, which will be published by Choc Lit next summer, I couldn’t resist returning to the fictional seaside town of Little Spitmarsh, the location of Turning the Tide.  I also drew on some of the sailing adventures we had in our wooden boat.  I have to say I had an absolute ball writing this one; I loved meeting May Starling, my heroine, and discovering what her secret was, but I fell for Bill Blythe, my red-haired hero in a big way.  Choc Lit authors are very lucky to have a say in our fabulous covers, designed by the talented Berni Stevens, but I was especially thrilled with this one because the girl on the cover is exactly how I saw my girl, May.  Here’s a bit about Follow a Star

Sometimes your heart’s the only navigator you need…
May Starling’s had enough of her demanding career and even more demanding ex.  Responding to a ‘crew-wanted’ ad, she follows her dreams of escape only to find herself at sea with red-haired Bill Blythe.

Bill warns May that close-quartered living can create a boiling pot of emotions, but even May is surprised by the heat building up inside the vintage wooden boat.  And when May and Bill tie up at Watling’s Boatyard in Little Spitmarsh, May’s determined to test her new-found feelings on dry land.  
But May’s dream of escaping her former life is in danger of being swept away when several unwelcome blasts from the past follow her ashore, all seemingly hell-bent on reminding her that it’s never that easy to clear the decks.






I’m moving inland for the setting of a novella I’m currently writing, but it’s back to the coast for Book 4. Looking across Cardigan Bay from my study, the sea continues to draw and inspire me… and I’m looking forwards to seeing where it takes me next.




Christine's books are available on Amazon now.






34 comments:

  1. Great post. I so envy you living by the sea!

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    1. I do appreciate, Sue - I think the day I don't is the time to give myself a severe talking to! x

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    2. 'it' even... my fingers haven't warmed up yet!

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  2. I would absolutely love to live by the sea, and to have the view you have.

    I've really enjoyed your novels so far, Chris, and can't wait to read Follow a Star.

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    1. If there's a downside, Liz, it's that we're very far away from stations and big towns, but it's a price worth paying - and thank you.x

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  3. I've read both of these books and can thoroughly recommend them - well-written, great characters. I look forward to the next one.

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  4. You always make me smile, Chris. Thank you xx

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    1. It's my face, Laura, I can't help it! x

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  5. Kindred spirits of the sea are we! Having read your first two I can't wait to follow a star with you. Gawsh, I am so poetic this morning. Brill interview, Chris and Nic. :)

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    1. Ah, a woman of so many talents. Mandy! And yes, Nic's a star for having me here. x

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    2. Your a star for taking the time to write such a fab piece :-)

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  6. Follow a Star sounds fabulous. If it's anywhere near as good as your other two books (which I have a feeling it will be from the description and lovely cover) then I think we all have a treat in store. The only thing I can't get my head round is why anyone would want to get in a sailing boat. After capsizing four times in an hour on my first day of level 1 training, I decided the only yachts I wanted to be in were luxury ones with big engines!

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    1. Thanks for your very kind comments about Turning the Tide and Move Over Darling, Kate. As for getting in a small boat - it's funny what love can make you do! x

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  7. I'm really looking forward to reading Follow a Star - and I like sailing boats, too. I got my first (and last) RYA certificate when I was 18. Goodness knows how. I spent the whole week fooling around with other mad teenagers, trying to drown them and myself. When we did capsize drill, I nearly managed it.

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    1. I think that's a great achievement at any age, but brilliant to have done that at 18. Gives you the confidence to cope knowing that you've faced your fears! x

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  8. I loved Follow a Star, Chris. Your characters are just lovely.In fact your characters are always lovely :) *Big thumbs up from me* xx

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    1. Aw, thank you, Berni! I've been criticised for not writing 'baddies' but I naturally want to make things better for my characters so it's not easy. And thank you again for the superb covers - that's definitely My on Follow a Star! x

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    2. 'May' even - jeez, my fingers aren't keeping up today!!

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  9. What a great interview! Cannot wait for Follow a Star, Chris. As you know I loved Turning the Tide and Move over Darling. As for living by the sea, it's one of those things I drream of. X

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  10. Thank you, Sarah... and until you do any time you fancy an ice cream at Aberaeron, you know where I am! xx

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  11. I've seen the view from your house and it is fabulous, but I have to admit I've never wanted to live by the sea myself - maybe because I grew up near deep, dark forests and lakes? :-)

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  12. That's fascinating, Christina - I'd like to see more of the deep, dark forests and lakes.. and then come home to the sea! x

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  13. Gorgeous site, and lovely interview. I don't know if I'd like to live by the sea, because I might lose the excitement of 'going to the seaside'. (Does the child in us ever die?) Book sounds, and looks, fab, Chris.

    Liv

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  14. Thank you, Liv. Truly, it never loses its charm - and thank you for being so kind. x

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  15. Lovely interview, Chris. It makes me even keener to read Follow A Star, though first up is Turning the Tide which is on my TBR list. That premise really intrigues me.

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    1. Thanks, Beverley! I have a growing TBR list of Choc Lit titles too and what I love is that it's such a varied collection, something for every mood. Btw, I thought your Angus, from The Reluctant Bride, was a lovely hero, so steadfast and kind!

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  16. Ooh a novella! Pray tell Chris is it contemporary too? I'm eagerly awaiting July and the publishing of Follow a Star. That cover is just gorgeous!

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    1. It's a contemporary, Chanpreet, and it gave me a bit of stick at first, but I've got it now and am enjoying the characters very much and having fun. I'm delighted with the cover of Follow a Star - Berni got it just right! Thank you!

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  17. Having read the other two books, I'm really looking forward to reading Follow a Star!
    What a lovely site this is - books and cup cakes. Perfect.

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    1. Thanks Rhoda, you were very perceptive about Harry in Turning the Tide too, and what influenced some aspects of her character.

      It is lovely, isn't it? Well done, Nic!

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  18. There must be something in the water in Wales - After my first visit there - to the Gower Peninsula - I wrote a short story which was my first published fiction and started me on my crazy authorial journey. I hpe whatever it is never wears off...

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