“If you keep looking back, you might miss what’s standing right in front of you …
Six months after a painful break-up from Gordon, Beth’s finally getting her life back on track. She has faith in her own scientific theories and is willing to work hard to prove them. She’s even beginning to see Hibs, her dedicated lab partner, as more than just a lousy lothario in a lab-coat and goggles.
So when Gordon arrives back from America without warning and expects to be welcomed back into Beth’s arms, she’s totally thrown. She also quickly begins to see that Gordon isn’t the man she thought he was … Hibs has always held a candle for Beth, but he can only wait so long for her to realise there’s more to life than being patronised and bullied by the one who’s meant to love and protect…
Since it’s publication week for Doctor January, here’s an extract. Meet Hibs. He’s just getting dumped.
Beth removed her cycle helmet and fluffed up her hair before she punched in the security code to get into the labs. As soon as she entered the corridor, she heard the shouting. Since she hadn’t had a card or text from Gordon, she was hoping she’d at least get a couple of cards and ‘happy birthday’s’ from her colleagues, but it looked like she got to witness some sort of argument instead.
Vik, her fellow PhD student, was standing beside the door to the lab, apparently listening. A female voice wailed, ‘You care more about those bloody bacteria than you do about me!’
Beth shot Vik a questioning glance. He put a finger to his lips, so she stopped outside the door too.
Hibs said something, his voice too low for Beth to make out the words. ‘Well, I’ve changed my mind,’ the woman said. ‘You can keep your experiments. I’ve had enough. We’re finished.’
Footsteps stamped towards the door. Beth pulled back, flattening herself against the wall.
‘Wait,’ Hibs said, and the footsteps stopped. ‘You forgot your scarf.’
The girl made a strangled ugh noise and stormed out of the door. Beth tried to look like she hadn’t been listening outside as the girl gave another ugh, marched down the corridor and slammed the security door behind her.
Beth entered the lab to find Hibs concentrating on his computer screen. ‘Are you okay?’
Hibs tied back his long hair and shrugged. He was tall and slim and moved like something on the hunt. A Japanese ancestor a few generations back meant he had a faint, high-cheekboned exoticism about him. Beth was so comfortable hanging out with him as a friend, it sometimes surprised her that he was such a success with women. On the other hand, he was so phenomenally bad at keeping hold of the ones he bedded that being his friend was a far better long-term option.
‘That one lasted … what, two weeks?’ Beth asked as she hung up her coat.
‘Ten days,’ said Hibs as he returned his attention to the computer. Beth shook her head.
‘Anyone would think you don’t really want a girlfriend.’
‘Why would I want a girlfriend? They just get in the way and make you go to dinner parties,’ he said, without turning away from the screen.
Doctor January is available as an ebook now and will be out in paperback in August. *mad, happy grin*
I was tagged to do this ‘My writing process’ blog chain by Isabella Connor sometime last year and by Miki Thornberg a few weeks ago. I felt I should really get a move on and post it before someone ELSE tags me (and I let them down too!). So, here goes.
What are you working on?
I’ve just started writing book 3 in my Email and Ice Cream series. The three books are loosely related through some of the characters. The latest one (which has no name yet ) is about straight-talking Olivia. She doesn’t believe in happy ever afters, but is quite open to the idea of marriage if the right handsome, dashing millionaire comes along. Until then, she’ll work hard, play hard and see what happens.
Walter lives in the flat upstairs from Olivia. He’s just found out his ex wife is taking his daughter to America, things have gone wrong at work and there’s a huge spider on the shower curtain and he really, really doesn’t do spiders. Volcanoes, sharks, boiling liquids, yes. Spiders, no thanks.
That’s as far as I’ve got. I have a vague outline. I’m going to write on and see what happens.
How does your work differ from others of its genre?
I try to write about serious issues with a humorous slant. None of the issues I’ve tackled in my more ‘serious’ books have been funny, but the interaction between the characters can be. I like to write a light book in between the serious ones, so that I can recover from the trauma of writing about bullying (Dr January) or dealing with bereavement (Please Release Me). The shorter books have the hero’s point of view in emails, which makes them fast paced and dialogue heavy. I like that.
I write books I want to read. I sometimes catch myself grinning to myself at jokes that come out in the writing (I don’t put jokes in, they arise from the characters themselves, if that makes any sense). If it makes me laugh, chances are it’ll make a reader laugh too. That doesn’t really answer the question of how my works differ from others of the same genre… er… can I say they’re different because of my scintillating writing style? No? Put it this way, if you like Buffy, Terry Pratchett and Big Bang Theory, you’ll probably find them funny. If you’re heavily into literary fiction and don’t like genre fiction, you probably won’t. If you like both, then “Frabjous Day, Calooh Cally!” as Lewis Carroll would say.
Why do you write what you do?
Why does anyone write? I enjoy it. I write funny books when I need cheering up. I write serious books when I need to work something out. If there is an issue that I’ve been thinking about, writing a book where characters need to deal with that issue is a great way to analyse and rationalise it. When I wrote Dr January, I was thinking about bullying in relationships (especially in Twlight). When I’d finished the first draft, I realised that I’d made the two main male characters very much like the two sides of Edward Cullen – one who was kind and loving and one who was controlling and scary.
How does your writing process work?
It starts with a mild panic and lots of mind maps. (I rarely look at these again once I’ve done them, but I like to keep them lying around in case I need them. It drives my husband mad). Once I’ve got an idea of how things are likely to work out, I write a list of scenes and move them around a bit until it all flows. Then I gather up a load of chocolate and start to write.
I have a day job and two small kids, so I write at night. I try and do one hour each night during the week (sometimes in the weekends too, if I can manage it). I also try and fit in about half an hour of writing in my lunch hour. Bit by bit, it all adds to the word count.
Once the first draft is done and edited, I send it to beta readers, who spot flaws and weak spots. I eat a lot of chocolate, reluctantly admit they have a point and get back to editing. When it finally feels right, I submit it. Then I have more chocolate to celebrate and think about joining a gym (I never ACTUALLY join a gym, but it’s the thought that counts, right?). After a week or so, it starts to get lonely in my head with just me in it, so I start work on the next book and the whole thing begins again.
I’m supposed to tag three other people now. Everyone I know in the UK seems to have been tagged, so I’m going to break the chain. I don’t know what happens when you break the chain. Something terrible, probably. So, if you don’t hear from me in a while, you’ll know why…
The Truth About the Other Guy is my contribution to the new short story anthology from the Romantic Novelists Association – Truly, Madly, Deeply. To celebrate launch day, we’re having a party on Facebook, you’re more than welcome to join! A few contributors are blogging about the inspiration behind their stories.
The hero, Vik is a secondary character in my novel Doctor January. He’s sweet, shy and is the type of guy who would find a practical joke funny, up to a point. When I needed a hero for a short story, he was right there, waiting. But what kind of woman would be his perfect match?
Vik’s Sri Lankan background is barely mentioned in Doctor January, but it’s an important part of who he is, so I thought I’d embrace that side of him. As there’s only room for one point of view in a short story, I thought I’d write it from the heroine’s point of view. Aasha is young, heart broken and rebellious. She’s the sort of girl who would wear Doc Martens with a sari. Her mother thinks she knows exactly the sort of man she needs. Of course, she doesn’t know the real Aasha at all.
The Truth About the Other Guy is in the print and digital editions of Truly, Madly, Deeply. I’m thrilled, I mean truly, madly, thrilled, to be in an anthology alongside the greats like Katie Fforde, Adele Parks and Carole Matthews. Five years ago, when the first anthology came out, I read it and discovered a number of great new writers. I’m looking forward to reading my copy of the new anthology to find new writers (or new to me, anyway) again.
Truly, Madly, Deeply is released today. You can win a copy by entering the Rafflecopter draw (which runs until tomorrow morning). If you don’t win, you can always buy a copy from all the usual outlets.
I hope you enjoy it.
I’m having an exciting day. Not because it’s valentine’s day. We don’t really ‘do’ valentine’s day in our house. The first (and last) valentine’s day meal DH and I went to was a disaster, now recounted with much hilarity. It was so awful, we decided never to bother again. Every 13th of February, he does a little panicky check “we’re still not doing valentine’s day, right?” and that’s about it. Just as well, really, because I’d forget. I have a terrible memory for dates.
So, if it’s not that, what’s so exciting? The LEGO movie, that’s what! I love Lego. Sadly, my children don’t. I’ve tried my best to get them into it so that I have an excuse to buy more Lego, but no. They are stubbornly ambivalent. However, my six year old loves playing with the camera on my smart phone. So we combined the two interests and made a Lego trailer for my 2014 book Doctor January. In fact, we made two. Here they are:
On September 10th Rowan is publishing her novella Woman Walks into a Bar as an ebook for the first time. And 100% of her proceeds will be donated to Refuge.
Her goal is to raise £10,000 and you can help. All you have to do is buy a book, or two, and get your friends to buy one too. You’ll get a funny, romantic and touching summer read and you’ll be helping women you’ve never even met at the same time and all for the price of £1.59!
The story behind the story
Every book Rowan have ever written has meant a lot to her, but with her latest book ‘Dearest Rose,’ something really special happened when the real world and the fiction she loves to write collided. It changed her as a person and a writer, forever.
She was getting ready to research her tenth novel, which with the help of her Facebook readers she decided should pivot around the theme of domestic abuse. It was a subject she’d touched on briefly once before, when she wrote a short novella as one of the first Quick Reads called Woman Walks into a Bar, which to this day remains one of the pieces of work of which she is most proud.
So she posted on her Facebook page asking if anyone had any personal experiences of domestic abuse, and any stories they might share with her in confidence.
She was shocked and amazed by the response; there were more than 200 emails waiting in her inbox the next day. Each story she read was horrific and frightening in its own way, giving her an insight into the secret lives of many women; lives that all too often remain hidden. Domestic abuse can happen to anyone – well educated wealthy women are just as likely to suffer as women from a working class background – but the one thing all those women had in common was that they were survivors. After years of being mentally and physically beaten down, they had managed to find the emotional strength, somehow, to break free and start again.
Now Rowan wants to do something that will help other women find that inner courage, and change their lives.
‘Woman Walks into a Bar’ is the story of 28-year-old single mother Sam spends her days working in the local supermarket and her Friday nights out with her friends letting her hair down at the White Horse. Life hasn’t been easy for Sam and her daughter, Beth (who always looks on the bright side) but she’s always hoped that one day she’ll break free from her past and meet The One.
But after a series of terrible dates with men she’s met through an internet dating site, that have all been as awful as her daughter’s terrible jokes, she’s starting to lose heart – until her friends tell her they’ve set her up on a blind date. Sam’s horrified but finally she agrees to go. After all you never know when you might meet the man of your dreams; maybe Sam’s happy ending is just about to begin….
So, come on and join Rowan, and help to #supportafriend on September 10th. Every time you buy or pre-order ‘Woman Walks into a Bar’ you’ll be entered into a prize draw for fabulous prizes every week, while the #supportafriend #womanwalks campaign is running. On 10th September, tweet Rowan photos of you and your friends, tell her your ideas to support a friend, and why your friends mean so much to you.
You can be a best friend to someone you have never even met. You can help someone out there find the support they need to change their lives.
If you are a blogger or tweeter, spread the word using #supportafriend #womawalks. If you are a company who could offer a prize to drive book sales and thereby money for Refuge, please get in touch. If you are a woman in an abusive relationship, or if you have a friend about whom you are worried, please get in touch with Refuge and ask for help today.
Rowan Coleman grew up in Hertfordshire secretly longing to be a writer despite battling with dyslexia. After graduating from university she worked in bookselling and publishing for seven years before winning Company Magazine Young Writer of the Year in 2001. Her first novel ‘Growing Up Twice’ was published in 2002.
Rowan has gone on to write eight novels for women including the bestseller ‘The Accidental Mother, The Baby Group’ and ‘The Accidental Wife‘ and eight novels for children and teens including the paranormal adventure novels Nearly Departed and Immortal Remains under the name Rook Hasting. Her books are published around the world. She now lives in Hertfordshire with her family.
Rhoda Baxter writes intelligent, contemporary romantic comedy with unusual settings; her latest book, Having a Ball, features a determined young heroine set on arranging a charity ball on a shoestring. Naturally, we asked charity ball habituée and RNA mole Ticky Dogge-Hare to invite her along for a little chat.
So, darling, this romantic comedy lark: how on earth did you get into it?
Hello Ticky. Thanks for inviting me for this chat. Pardon? Oh, that’s very kind, but it’s a bit too early for white wine for me. I’m a bit of a lightweight, but please don’t let me stop you… A cup of tea would be lovely, thanks.
Where was I? Oh yes, the romantic comedy. I started off wanting to write serious romance. With Angst and Issues and stuff in it. I spent three years crafting my beautiful first novel and sent it off to be…