My debut novel, Starting Over, was published on 1 October 2014. So it seemed auspicious that my 12th novel was released on 1 October 2022. It’s also fitting that Changing Times begins in October…the start of the “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” (as observed by John Keats in his poem, To Autumn).
Changing Times is set in London 2023 and has a cast of characters ranging in age from 20s to 70s. It is something of a family saga, with the older folks from Changing Perspectives interacting with the younger generation. The focus is mainly on the lives and loves of Holly and Luc Barker.
Back in 1993, Holly and Luc were very young, aged four and six. And several of the other young people who come into the story weren’t yet born. That’s why I think of the book as a family saga. The older generation are dealing with the changes taking place in their bodies and minds as they age. And the younger ones are now in the front line of a rapidly changing world.
But the one thing that doesn’t change, regardless of age, is the quest for romance and the recognition that long-term loving relationships are possible. I hope readers will enjoy this story as the family dramas play out with dysfunctional families and families of choice.
During lock-down months of inactivity over the last few years, you would think I had loads of time to write. Instead, I felt a kind of inertia. Trying to write new books took longer than usual. I could have spent the time planning, if writing wasn’t happening. But that didn’t manifest itself in any way.
Book number twelve finally started to take shape in my mind, albeit slowly. It has its roots in the one I started writing over thirty years ago. Changing Perspectives was eventually finished and published in 2017. I was happy with the end of the story. It seemed a good place to leave my characters. A sequel wasn’t even a consideration back then. With all my books, though, I’ve never actually written ‘The End.’ My thinking on this is that unless they do a Hamlet where everyone dies, the characters carry on with their lives.
Towards the end of last year, it occurred to me that a lot will have happened to those characters whose story was set in 1993. There were children, some not yet born, who would now be adults. What kind of lives did they lead? What would they be doing now? As for the older generation…now in their late sixties, early seventies…how did they fare?
So, from these seeds, a story idea began to grow. The result is Changing Times.
Thirty years on from when we first met Dani Barker and Camila Callaghan in Changing Perspectives, they’re enjoying marriage and semi-retirement in a luxury flat near London.
Dani’s niece, Holly, runs their mixed media business, now gaining a foothold in the highly competitive online games market. Holly’s older sibling, Luc, influences people to take action on climate issues with their website, Gaia One: One Earth, One Chance.
Romance has been in short supply for both Holly and Luc. Immersed in her work, Holly’s dating life is non-existent. For Luc, family prejudices stand in the way of a relationship with the love of their life.
Can Holly and Luc succeed in making the changes necessary to achieve their own happy ever afters?
I certainly enjoyed revisiting the older characters who are, after all, closer to my age. It was also fascinating to discover how the younger generation developed through the intervening years. Although Changing Times is a sequel, I think readers will be able to appreciate the story without having read Changing Perspectives.
I only started listening to audiobooks about four years ago. Up until then I hadn’t seriously considered having any of my books narrated. However, listening to books that I’d already read gave me an insight into how the different medium could enhance the story. With the right narrator, the words gained new life.
I was lucky to find the ideal narrator living almost on my doorstep, only a few miles along the road. We met for an initial discussion about how she worked and I didn’t need much more convincing to take the plunge. I gave her my two latest books to look at. Not long after that she sent me a sample of a scene from Changing Perspectives.
That was the game changer. I was sold on making the commitment to have the book recorded. Nicola Victoria Vincent is a wonderful voice actor. Hearing her treatment of different character voices gave the story a whole new depth. (It also showed up some of my writing glitches.)
Anyway, that was the start of my journey into audio. Nicki’s now produced two more of my novels – Starting Over and Darcy Comes Home. I’ve funded the productions myself and I’m not likely to break even on the costs. But it’s worth it to me to have my stories out in this format.
Only recently, Bella Books has taken the steps to have all of Katherine V Forrest’s books recorded. Daughters of a Coral Dawn is one of my favourites which I’ve read many times over the years (first published in 1984 by Naiad Press). The audio version is sensational though and it’s almost like experiencing the story for the first time.
So, every month is now Audiobook Appreciation Month for me. I know this is true for many other audio book converts. Long may it continue.
For this year’s Audiobook Appreciation Month, Jae has set up a fantastic giveaway with 23 authors taking part. I’m offering three US/UK Audible codes for Darcy Comes Home. To enter, just fill in the form on Jae’s blog:
I was going to do an end of year blog. But, here it is – the fifth of January already. What was there to say about 2021? It was very similar to 2020. The main difference was getting vaccinated: three jabs for Covid 19 and a flu jab. Although this did have the effect of making us feel a bit safer about going out, we stuck to travel within England and didn’t go anywhere without masks and hand sanitiser.
2020 was such a strange year that I found writing difficult, so I wasn’t expecting to be able to release a new novel in 2021. However, an idea did start to percolate in my benumbed brain after Christmas last year and the result was Darcy Comes Home. (Check out this lovely book review)
My publisher also released Three Mile Cache, a novella I’ve had sitting in a drawer for almost thirty years. They also decided to release each of the stories from the limited edition Affinity 10th Anniversary Christmas Anthology separately. My contribution was Winterbourne Revisited.
So, with very little to say at the moment, here are a few photos from our travels last year.
My publisher also gave their website a facelift. Please check it out – all their books are competitively priced – and there are some freebies on offer too.
Here’s hoping for a less restrictive year (going into our third year in the time of Covid). Whatever happens, take the time to enjoy some good reading along the way.
My eleventh novel…published today by Affinity Rainbow Publications!
I’m calling this a second chance romance and I think the blurb gives that away.
After twenty-five years Darcy and Angie meet again and from the faintly flickering embers of their forbidden teenage love, a flame erupts. Family complications arise including a reluctant engagement, secret surrogacy, and a persistent ex-wife.
Villagers in Professor Darcy Belsfield’s childhood home of Sycamore Haven remember her being sent away to a Christian conversion camp in Canada when her father discovered her making love to her school friend, Angie. Angie has never married but she does have a past and some unenthusiastic plans for the future.
Will the differences in their lives doom the chance of Darcy and Angie discovering if they can build a future together?
Sycamore Haven is a fictional village in North Yorkshire. I imagine it to be somewhere between Skipton and Ilkley.
I have a lot of photos of trees and roots. As a child, when I was told to go outside and play on a bright summer’s day, I would find a tree to sit in to read a book. Not quite what my well-meaning parent envisioned. I do know that one summer I read my way through the children’s section of the local library. Then a school friend introduced me to Narnia, so I quickly devoured those seven books.
My parents were avid readers. Our house was always full of books. Whenever we moved, which was fairly often, floor to ceiling bookcases had to be added in several rooms to accommodate all the books. As a teenager I read my way through the Russian authors (mainly only interested in the Peace parts of War and Peace), Dickens, Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters, and many more.
My own house is full of books too. Being surrounded by books is comforting, even when I know that there are many on the shelves that I probably won’t read again. But they are there, reminders of many happy hours spent between the covers.
So many trees have died to give me a lifetime of reading pleasure. Maybe that’s why I feel the need to appreciate and record their living, breathing beauty.
My next novel, due out in November, features a willow tree. Part of the story revolves around what happens when two teenage lovers are discovered under it. The image of the overhanging, shielding branches of the tree provided a touchstone for the tale I wanted to write.
A cover reveal and blurb will be forthcoming soon.
The easing of government-imposed pandemic restrictions on the so-called ‘Freedom Day’ in the UK (19 July) coincided with a week of continuously high temperatures. Most of us here don’t cope well with anything over 24C and our homes aren’t generally equipped with air-conditioning, as it’s only really needed maybe once or twice a year.
The rush to seaside resorts was therefore inevitable but I didn’t envy anyone who made the journey to sit on a crowded beach.
We’re still taking precautions to avoid catching the virus and although we’ve had both jabs, it seems to make sense to continue wearing a mask in enclosed spaces.
We’ve enjoyed a few cautious outings in June and July with a trip to the Lake District and then last week to the opposite side of the country where I even dipped my toes in the North Sea.
There are many beautiful places to explore on this island so we’re planning on having some more adventures in the next few months.
How about trying out my novella (which came out on 1st July) – romance, action, adventure – set in New South Wales, Australia.
Three Mile Cache is due for release on 1st July from Affinity Rainbow Publications.
I wrote this story some time ago and refer to it as my Flying Doctor fanfic. The Flying Doctors TV series from the 1980s always had me glued to the screen, hoping against hope that two of the female leads – a doctor and a nurse – would get together. It was never going to happen. But watching the programme sparked my imagination and gave rise to this romantic vision – although my two main protagonists are not employees of the Royal Flying Doctor Service. (This is a work of fiction so the usual disclaimer applies.)
The story is set in Australia circa 1988. When archaeologist Carolyn Wells returns home to Sydney after several months away at a dig in Tunisia, she expects to be reunited with her lover, Detective Inspector Alex Graham. But she soon learns that Alex has been wounded in a hostage incident and is recuperating at a Royal Flying Doctor Service hospital at a place in the outback of New South Wales called Three Mile Cache. Carolyn decides to fly out there and surprise Alex with her arrival.
Surprises abound when she gets there. One of the doctors treating Alex has a rather intimate interpretation of a bedside manner. There are mysterious goings-on at a local homestead and Alex’s injuries haven’t stopped her from probing into the lives of the locals, much to their annoyance.
When Carolyn and Alex meet again, things don’t quite work out as either of them would like. Can their relationship recover from the series of events in Three Mile Cache that threaten to keep them apart?
In the dedication I have acknowledged the superb medical service provided by the RFDS covering the rural and remote areas of Australia.
A selection of photos from a visit to the Salterhebble canal basin a few days ago.
I’ve passed it many times on the drive between where I live and Huddersfield, but never visited. Turns out to be a pleasant place for a fairly secluded walk around by the lock and the mooring place for boats.
I was fascinated by the guillotine-style lock – something else I’d not seen before.
This basin is an offshoot of the Rochdale Canal, which has a total 91 locks between nearby Sowerby Bridge and the Bridgewater Canal at Castlefield Basin in Manchester, a distance of 32 miles. The canal system is an amazing feat of engineering with work starting in 1798. One section, passing through Hebden Bridge, is built over the river (a hanging viaduct).
Walking through this tunnel, I felt we might emerge into another place and time.
Altogether, a lovely haven for a quiet walk. Of course, quiet walks are what I aim for these days.
Then it’s back home for more quiet time, mainly reading or listening to audio books while piecing together jigsaw puzzles.
If you’re looking for some reading or listening material for your own quiet times, please check out my books.
Nine days on from release day, and I’m in thrall to the beauty of the paperbacks that arrived last week.
So, I’m taking a break from stroking the cover to write a few words about my latest book. It’s a romance, but with a few twisty bits that I think will surprise readers. The blurb gives something of this away…mentioning temptation, betrayal, and intrigue. However, it’s a romance, so everything will turn out all right in the end, won’t it?
But here’s a taster from Chapter Five of Country Living – certainly not a spoiler if you’ve read the blurb and sampled the first chapter.
Peri refilled their glasses and sat back, feeling replete. She gave her friend a quizzical glance. “Okay. I’m intrigued as to why you’ve driven all this way to treat me to lunch. Something that couldn’t be discussed by phone or email. Are you and Sharon okay?”
“Oh yes. More than okay. I know you thought I was crazy to move in with her after meeting online and going on three dates, but it just felt so right.”
“That’s great. So why do I get the feeling something’s wrong?”
Dana sighed. She bent down and retrieved her iPad from her bag.
“Don’t tell me. You’re having trouble with a plot line and want my magic editorial advice?”
“If only.” Dana opened her photos app and clicked on an image. “These are screenshots from Karla’s timeline. I’m not Facebook friends with her, but Rachel is and saved the pictures for me.”
Peri took the tablet and studied the images on the screen. Her brain seized.
Karla was wearing a minimal bikini she’d never seen before, arm around a stunning looking blonde who had the sleek look of a supermodel, also clad in very little material. Both were sporting identical smiles, and Peri recognised Karla’s post-sex satisfied expression.
“There are others, if you swipe across to the right.”
“I can’t…” Peri dropped the tablet on the table and rushed over to the nearest flowerbed. The contents of her stomach covered the nascent marigolds with a projectile of vomit. She stayed bent over, shoulders heaving.
“I’m so sorry. I couldn’t not tell you. It’s been eating me up ever since Rachel sent me the first screenshot yesterday.”
Peri sat back on heels. “Water,” she croaked.
“Oh, yeah. Be right back.”
It was a perfect day, the kind Peri had imagined enjoying, sitting outside revelling in the beauty of the countryside, savouring the clear, country air. Now, all she could taste and smell were the sour remnants of her lunch. She gulped back the large glass of water Dana handed her and spat out the last mouthful.
Life in the country…never a dull moment! I hope you’ll enjoy discovering how things work out for Peri and Karla.
Affinity’s two releases for March featured on the Bella Books for the month. I’m delighted to share the spotlight with Annette Mori’s The Panty Thief, which is a thoroughly entertaining read.