So far I have published two women’s literary fiction novels.
ON TURTLE BEACH is my debut novel, an ideal holiday read being what I hope is one of its attractions. You can find it here
And here is a link to a comprehensive review of it on Goodreads
The novel explores the relationship between two estranged sisters after the death of their father, while removed from their home turf to the seductive setting of Dalyan in Turkey. With a family secret locked in the past, reconciliation and moving forward into the future proves challenging.
Struggling artist, Lucy, and her successful sister, Rhea, go on holiday together to Dalyan in Turkey to try to heal their relationship, and so fulfil their father’s dying wish. But they soon realise that Lucy’s passionate nature and Rhea’s restraint means it’s difficult to find common ground. Lucy wants to bond, but Rhea would rather read her novel. When Lucy tries to get Rhea to talk about their childhood and why their relationship suddenly deteriorated, Rhea refuses to discuss it and Lucy becomes suspicious she is hiding something. Tensions soon escalate, and against the backdrop of the turtle beach, Lucy is forced to come up with a plan to get her sister to open up. Can Lucy discover what family secrets her sister is hiding, the revealing of which threatens to destroy them both?
And I had great fun putting together a slideshow of the places visited by the sisters in the novel, derived from my own visits to the beautiful location of Dalyan.
AFTER BLACK is my second novel, just recently published and with a new cover, and you can find it here.
Recently widowed Janet is a dark and embittered woman with a troubled past. Determined to throw off memories of her life with deceased husband, Frank, in the new year of 1990, she returns to her beloved job within the soft furnishing department of Masons retail store, to forge a new life for herself safe behind the mask of customer service.
But Janet’s newfound happiness is soon threatened by a feisty young co-worker in the form of Marian whom she loathes. Sparks fly between the two women and they are forced to go head to head for a management position to gain the upper hand. When a triumphant Janet wins, their tempestuous relationship intensifies, which ultimately forces Janet to confront her own past and the death of her husband. She soon needs to recruit family and friends to help resolve a painful decision she made in her youth which shadowed the whole of her married life, as well as keep herself out of prison!
As she fears losing control, her antagonistic relationship with Marian escalates and proves to be more challenging than Janet could ever imagine. Will Janet be able to face her own demons? And what will her future hold?
The plot of After Black developed from the conceived hard and embittered character of Janet, the main protagonist, where the idea of her revenge for her deep past hurts came to the fore in the writing. After the death of her husband, Janet gains power, rising from a weaker position through her entrenched attitudes and closed off shadows of her past, to what she thinks of as success, with her latent ambitions of a lifetime and need for meaning through status unleashed.
But with increasing strains upon her, and the emotional complications that bereavement can bring, it all proves too difficult to handle and, more tellingly, difficult for her to maintain her ‘mask’ – her concept of who she thinks she is. There ensues a moral cost to her gaining power, and with her ‘fall’ she must come to terms with her past and move towards finding her true self again and make amends. The theme became very much about midlife transformation and Jung’s quote just had to be adapted for the subtitle for the novel – turning the shadow into light.
Here is a review which captures, for me, the essence of the story.
And I’m grateful for an author interview with Bookgoodies which you can read here if you are interested…
So what now?
I’m writing my third novel concerning midlife struggles for my lead character, Jim, as well as a personal memoir and collection of short stories. My themes are always focused upon human nature and the evolving self, which is a strong passion and fascination of mine.
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I can’t talk about writing without mentioning reading.
Writers I enjoy are very varied, and I read now more than ever before. And somehow, like some kind of unconscious osmosis, it all feeds back into the practice of writing.
Favourite writers include:
- Stephen King for suspense, characterisation, blend of realism with fantasy and the supernatural and his obvious love of writing
- Margaret Atwood for her female characters and unique writing voice
- Ian McEwan for psychological intensity
- Zoe Heller’s Notes on a Scandal is a true favourite for its structure, and tone of the first person narrator