The birth of a trilogy

1st October is a special date in my year. On this day in 2014 my debut novel, Starting Over, was published by Affinity eBooks (now Affinity Rainbow Publications). I received a lovely bouquet of flowers from my mother, and Champagne from my wife to celebrate the occasion.

flowers

When I began writing Starting Over I had no idea it would become the first part of a trilogy. It was just going to be a simple love story, a happy ever after lesbian romance. 

SO_front

Being a pantser when it comes to writing, the going got rough quite near the beginning. I was stuck on where the story was going and already had six characters introduced in the first chapter…you would think that would be enough to be going on with. But I decided to introduce yet another. And little did I know that she would prove to be the catalyst for writing Book 2. 

An archaeology professor, Dr Kathryn Moss, entered the story. During her brief affair with Ellie Winters, the potter who lives on a farm in the hills above Huddersfield, she had located what she thought might the remains of a Roman outpost. After obtaining permission to excavate the site to give her archaeology students some hands-on experience, a major discovery is made.

The archaeology theme continues throughout the three books, throwing up some surprising elements. Kathryn starts a new affair but is still somewhat obsessed with Ellie. Professionally, the professor’s career goes from strength to strength, but her love life is a mess.

digging

When I’d finished the first draft of Starting Over, I then took part in a two-week volunteer excavation session at Vindolanda. This is an amazing site near Hadrian’s Wall, which is still providing new discoveries each year on the Roman occupation of that part of Britain…uncovering how the soldiers lived and interacted with the locals. Taking part in the dig gave me some useful information to help flesh out the dig scenes in the book. I loved the experience so much…I have excavated there every year since and always there is something new and exciting to come out of the ground.

Much like writing…scrape away at the surface and something unique will eventually emerge. Being a pantser can be hard work but it has its rewards when you discover a hidden artefact that might have remained in the deep recesses of the mind if not teased out with a metaphorical trowel.

I wanted to continue Kathryn’s story in Book 2 of the trilogy. And I’m glad I did. Saleswise it wasn’t a success and Affinity thought a new cover would help. So when the trllogy was released in February 2016, Arc Over Time featured a younger model. I rather liked the original – as I could see her as Kathryn. Some readers have told me they thought she looked too forbidding. The trilogy cover woman on the right clearly isn’t Kathryn and reflects one of the other younger characters.

arc_time_covers

I would be interested to know which one readers prefer. Please leave a comment if you would like to let me know what you think.

Happy autumnal reading!


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Buying links:

The Starling Hill Trilogy:

Starting OverAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books /Smashwords Apple iTunes

Arc Over TimeAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella BooksSmashwords / Apple iTunes

Carved in StoneAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella BooksSmashwords / Apple iTunes

The Starling Hill Trilogy Omnibus edition: Affinity Rainbow Publications / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Bella Books / Barnes & Noble / Smashwords

 

Calling Home is available from Affinity Rainbow Publications, Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon CA, Barnes & Noble, Bella Books, Smashwords, and Apple iTunes.

Changing Perspectives: Affinity Rainbow Publications / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Bella Books / Barnes & Noble / Smashwords

Running From Love: Affinity Rainbow Publications / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books / Smashwords / Apple iTunes

The Circle Dance: Affinity eBooks /Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books/Smashwords / Apple iTunes

Christmas at WinterbourneAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK /Barnes & Noble /Bella Books / Smashwords /Apple iTunes


 

First blog of 2018

My first blog of 2018, almost three weeks into the new year…

What have I been doing with that time? Well, it’s a sort of semi-hibernation. Gone are the days of making resolutions I’m not going to keep…wasted gym memberships, home exercise regimes, diets, lists of household chores. However, I have been doing some reading, a bit of writing, planning some holidays for later in the year.

On the writing front, a new story is starting to take shape. But this is the gestation period. And I know I can’t rush it. The ideas are coming through…slowly but surely.

This week though it’s mainly been weather-watching. Every day we’ve been told it’s going to snow. Reports on the news of disaster on the roads, power cuts, trains and buses cancelled, airports closed.

weather_jan19

Two snowflakes indicate heavy snow showers. (Not so far today!)

The BBC Weather app shows snow for us today, as this screenshot from yesterday shows. Well, wherever the snow is falling, it’s avoiding this part of the region. Rain, a bit of sleet,  I can see a smattering of snow on the hills but here in the valley we have none.

Maybe I should be grateful we’re not suffering any ill effects from the weather  but I can’t help feeling  disappointed to look out the window and see that it’s only raining… again.

Apart from the no-show snow, life goes on. In a few months time I’ll be heading back up to Vindolanda for my fifth year of digging on the site. Last year, only a few weeks after my session ended, a lucky volunteer found a sword. Someone else came across more writing tablets. I hope they’ve left something for me to find.

kneepads

Can’t wait to get stuck in!

In June we have a golf holiday booked, a week in East Lothian playing on some of their very fine courses.

golf_northberwick

This was in August on a previous occasion – hope it’s a bit warmer in June this year.

The month of August is looking particularly busy. There’s the week long Happy Valley Pride Festival in Hebden Bridge from the 6th to the 12th. Lots of activity over the coming months as preparations gear up.

Then ELLCon. I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s worth talking about it again. The very first European Lesfic Literary Conference is being held in Bristol on 23/24 August. Take a look at the website to see how the programme is shaping up and book your place. The site also has useful information about accommodation options in the city.

Earlier this month, I was featured on the EllCon Author Spotlight page and gave away a signed copy of Changing Perspectives. The winner was Amy Barr from Pennsylvania. I’m guessing she won’t be attending the conference, so I was certainly happy to send her a book.

ellcon_spotlight

Book cover images used for ELLCon Author Spotlight promo

On the book front…June is the proposed date for the release of my next novel, Calling Home. This one is very different from any of the others. A bit of mystery involved, but not a detective novel. Still a fair bit of romance.

Also, if you haven’t yet read The Starling Hill Trilogy, now is your chance to pick up all three books for the price of one. My lovely publisher, Affinity Rainbow Publications, released the omnibus edition on not just Amazon, but also Bella Books, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble. It has been available on the Affinity website for some time. They’re very generous like that and it’s worth visiting their site to check out all their authors, and a good number of free books.

trilogy_omnibus

Happy reading for January and the rest of the year!


Book Links:

Changing Perspectives: Affinity Rainbow Publications / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Bella Books / Barnes & Noble / Smashwords

The Starling Hill Trilogy Omnibus edition: Affinity Rainbow Publications / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Bella Books / Barnes & Noble / Smashwords