Congratulations to Kas and Amy Herman-Pall! They are our winners for this fabulous giveaway!
Check it out! Author Jen Silver dropped in to share her thoughts on the ups and downs of writing and publishing. I was lucky enough to meet Jen this past summer in Alexandria at the GCLS convention. She is absolutely delightful and I hope you all have the opportunity to meet her in the future.
In the past two years, she’s published five books. Yes, FIVE! She’s so excited about it that she’s doing a giveaway. Here’s the deets:
For the second anniversary of the publication of my debut novel, Starting Over, I’m offering a giveaway of a book for two winners…a signed copy of one of my 4 books in print. Or, if a winner already has these books, they can have an ebook version of my 5th novel, due for release on 1st November, Christmas at Winterbourne.
To enter the drawing, simply drop a comment into the space below. Good luck!
Five and Counting by Jen Silver
It is two weeks before the release of my fifth novel and I’m just as nervous as with the first. I am pleased, though, to have this opportunity of a guest blog here on Women and Words to talk about my books and give readers a glimpse of how my writing mind works.
Trials of a trilogy
I find it hard to believe that it’s only two years since my debut novel, Starting Over, was published. It was written as a one off but since then has expanded into a trilogy. As I was an unknown, unpublished writer when the first book was released, Affinity wasn’t keen on accepting a sequel, let alone a third book. But they did take a chance, for which I am very grateful.
Books two and three in the trilogy haven’t done as well as the first, sales-wise. (Note: my publisher was right to be concerned.)
I’ve been told that readers didn’t like the professor of archaeology, Kathryn Moss, as portrayed in Starting Over. And with the second book featuring her as more of a main character, this was apparently a big turn-off.
I agree that in the first book Kathryn wasn’t meant to be likeable, but there were reasons for that. The title of the second book holds a clue…Arc Over Time. She’s given a chance to redeem herself, which actually takes until about the middle of book three—but, hey, some of us are slow learners. The same goes for Jasmine Pepper who came across as a super bitch in the first book. Her character arc through books two and three reveals some startling (to me, anyway), developments in her journey of sexual discovery.
The third book, Carved in Stone, I’m sure the Affinity team thought was an indulgence on my part. However, I was motivated mainly by the reburial ceremony held for the bones of Richard III. Carol Anne Duffy, the UK’s current poet laureate, wrote a poem for the occasion and one of the lines was particularly pertinent to my story…”grant me the carving of my name.” At the service, the poem was read by Benedict Cumberbatch (of recent Sherlock Holmes fame) – his DNA proved him to be a cousin, numerous times removed, of the deceased king. The idea of DNA testing to find present day relatives of a historical character was also explored in the final book in the Starling Hill trilogy.
So the third book was mainly a journey of closure for the bones found at Starling Hill farm in Starting Over. And it gave me the chance to continue the romances amongst the group of living characters from books one and two.
Absolutely no circle dancing
In a guest blog earlier this year I wrote about the difficulty of writing another book with different characters. This was The Circle Dance that came out in March. I was pleased with its reception as it quickly reached number 9 on an Amazon ranking.
Breaking out of the trilogy mold, it’s a stand-alone romance, set in Hebden Bridge near where I live. Getting to grips with a new set of characters was hard at times, but during the final stages, my wife and I were living in a rented apartment in Hebden Bridge while our bathroom was being remodeled into what is known as a ‘wet room’ in the UK. The work was only meant to take a week, but the plumber kept finding problems, which meant the kitchen had to be dismantled as well. So our stay in the apartment extended to three and a half weeks.
I rescued my computer from the dust and destruction in the house to continue working on the book. At the apartment I managed to fashion the approximation of a desk using a low coffee table with two cereal boxes, a couple of hardback books and a breadboard to raise the keyboard and a breakfast bar chair for the mouse. It wasn’t a comfortable workspace, but that and the proximity to the local library helped me put the finishing touches to the story.
Earlier this year, after the paperback came out, I was in a café in the town and gave a copy to the owner to put on their ‘books for sale’ shelf. She was delighted and showed the book to the next person who walked into the café. This woman took one look at the cover and said, “Oh, circle dancing. That’s what I do.” I told her there was no actual circle dancing in the book. She looked at me like I was certifiable, proceeded to tell me where her circle dancing classes were held, and then went and sat at a table as far away from me as possible. I didn’t get the chance to tell her why the book is called The Circle Dance. But I guess she probably wasn’t interested in hearing about the ups and downs of lesbian relationships.
The 5th book
Christmas at Winterbourne is something completely different from the previous four books. For one thing, it is set in southern England and all the others have been located in the north.
This is the back of the book blurb:
The Christmas festivities for the guests booked into Winterbourne House have all the goings-on of a traditional holiday. The only difference is that this guesthouse is run by lesbians, for lesbians.
When the guests arrive, tensions are already simmering between the house’s owner Wilma (Wil) and very pregnant partner, Gabriella. Wil has a lot on her plate… ensuring the smooth running of the events, looking after all the guests, including her in-laws and business partners. What she hasn’t planned for is a ghost from Christmas past.
Wil inherited Winterbourne from her adopted mother, Kim Russell, author of a series of successful lesbian novels. Most of the guests who stay, do so because they are fans of the author.
One guest, Sally Hunter, is on a mission to write Kim’s official biography. She meets with resistance from the people at the house she tries to interview, stirring up memories from those who knew the reclusive writer well.
For a bit of extra spice to the festivities, add in an unexpected snowstorm, a disappearing guest, and an imminent birth. Join the guests and staff at Winterbourne for a Christmas you’ll not soon forget.
As you can see, there is a large cast of characters which I know doesn’t generally sit well with readers. But I hope I have managed to tell the story without causing anyone to lose track of who’s who.
The first scene from Chapter One of Christmas at Winterbourne is available to read on the Affinity eBooks website.
If you are interested in winning a copy of one of my books, or even if you’re not, please leave a comment.
Jen lives in West Yorkshire with her long-term partner whom she married in December 2014. Reading, writing, golf, archery, and taking part in archaeological digs all form part of Jen’s everyday life. Her novels, published by Affinity eBook Press, include the Starling Hill Trilogy: Starting Over, Arc Over Time, and Carved in Stone. The Circle Dance, published in March 2016, is a standalone story. Jen describes her books as romance for the older generation who believe in growing old disgracefully.
The Starling Hill Trilogy: