Today I have the lovely Margaret James sitting round my pool, sipping bubbly and chatting about her fabulous new book, The Wedding Diary. Please join us, there’s plenty of sun loungers and chilled drinks so sit back, enjoy the sun and my fabby guest.
P: You have a new book out entitled The Wedding Diary. This sounds exciting, but I suspect it’s a new departure for you?
M: Yes, it’s very different because it’s a light-hearted contemporary romantic comedy, not a dramatic historical family saga. I wrote the first draft of The Wedding Diary back in 2011 when my personal life was quite challenging and I found I couldn’t face writing about trauma, death, disaster and wartime again, even if things did come right for my characters in the end.
The Wedding Diary is about a girl who wins a competition to have a luxury dream wedding at a country house hotel. The hotel in question is the former home of Rose and Alex Denham, the heroine and hero of my Choc Lit historical trilogy. So there is a link to my family sagas, and readers who wondered what happened to Alex Denham’s house can now find out.
In The Wedding Diary there’s a big problem – the heroine’s fiancé has gone missing, so will she own up and say she can’t accept the prize? Of course not, heroines don’t ever back down, they find ways to deal with their problems. But Cat, my heroine, finds she’s met her match and more in Fanny Gregory, the organiser of the wedding competition and first class wicked witch with a customised purple BMW for a broomstick. Or will Fanny turn out to be a fairy godmother in disguise?
P: I’m hooked already! I see you are published with Choc Lit, how did this come about?
M: I heard about Choc Lit when I read a first draft of what was to become a Choc Lit novel for the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme. I’d had a historical family saga published as a hardback trilogy by Robert Hale and I asked Choc Lit if they would be interested in producing paperback editions. Choc Lit were very interested, but wanted me to do a lot of rewriting for all three of the books. I did this and feel the paperback editions are big improvements on the hardbacks, which are much shorter books.
P: I see on the Strictly Sagas web site you are promoting the Charton Minster Trilogy?
M: Yes I am. Charton Minster Trilogy is a Kindle download of the three books in my historical trilogy – The Silver Locket, The Golden Chain and The Penny Bangle. I think it’s good to have all three books of a series published together. It means they’re read in the right order. They also tell the story of my heroine Rose Courtenay (later Denham) who lived through a very turbulent period in history – two world wars and an economic depression which changed the face of the
P: I’ve read these books and I have to say I loved them and putting them all together is a fantastic idea. When you are not writing, what do you love to do?
M: I try to bring order out of chaos in my rather wild garden. My excuse for its wildness is that it’s a nature reserve. It certainly looks pretty, especially in spring. I sit in pubs, cafes and restaurants and eat and gossip. I go on little holidays – most recently to
and . Bath
P: Sounds perfect, talking of pubs what is your favourite drink?
P: I’m with you on that! Which TV programmes do you never like to miss?
M: I hardly ever watch television – I have too many other things to do. But I like drama serials and I really enjoyed Last Tango in
P. Gosh we loved that too. Back to writing, have you started a new novel and can we learn a little about it?
M: I’m writing a story about Rose Courtenay/Denham’s great-grand-daughter Rosie. Rose is the heroine of The Silver Locket. Rosie has lots of problems and the story is about how she sorts out her life. But in the meantime she falls in love with a married man. So, in a way, history is repeating itself, because her great-grandmother Rose also fell in love with a married man. The man in Rosie’s life is an American who has enough emotional baggage to sink the Titanic. I’m half way through the first draft and things are getting interesting right now.
P: Will this new book be published with Choc Lit and when?
M: All Choc Lit novels by both published and yet-to-be-published novelists have to be read and passed by the Choc Lit Reading Panel, a group of ordinary readers from all age bands. So, until the Panel has read this new book, the answer is – I’m sorry, but I don’t know!
P: Margaret, thanks for coming along and talking about you and your great books. Help yourself to nibbles and more bubbly, after all we are chilling!