On the Monday morning blogspot, please welcome Jersey author, Georgina Troy, talking about her second novel – A Jersey Affair. Her first book, A Jersey Kiss, was published last year and I loved it – I’m looking forward to this one too and already have it lined up on my Kindle. Before Georgina shares the blurb and an excerpt with us, I’ve asked her a few questions about what inspires her to write. Grab a coffee, sit back and enjoy.
When did the book-writing bug hit?
I received a typewriter from Father Christmas/Santa when I was seven or eight. I look back now and think that it was probably an odd present to receive at that age, but maybe someone had noticed how I loved to make up stories and was always day-dreaming. It went from there, I suppose.
And your journey towards publication, was it a smooth or a rocky one?
I’ve been writing seriously for a few years now and I think that although most new writers – certainly me – initially believe that completing their first book is all that it takes to get published, it’s just the beginning. I’m not sure if this journey has been smooth or rocky, but it has been fun. Green Shutter Books is a small imprint that’s just starting out and although it’s not one of the bigger names, it has been fun working with the company and seeing my two books published.
Who or what inspires you to write?
My vivid imagination, snippets of conversation, spotting a handsome guy who I want to turn into a hero, and generally enjoying spending time in a fictional world.
Location is very important for me in a novel, I love writing about places I know and, in turn, if a book is set in a place I love, I’m sold. How important is location to you?
My books are based in Jersey, the island where I was born and enjoy living. There are so many glorious places to explore here even though it’s only 9 x 5 miles in size. I wake up in the morning and look out of my bedroom window and and see the coast of France, at night I can see the lights, and I want to share my love of this place with others. I think that the location is almost a character in its own right in my books.
Do you outline your plot meticulously before writing or do you fly by the seat of your pants, allowing your characters to be in the driving seat?
I always write a synopsis, rather than a detailed plan, and it helps keep me heading in the right direction for the book. However, my characters do surprise me and develop as I’m writing, so they inspire me to maybe take their story in directions I hadn’t previously considered.
Of all the characters you’ve created, who is your favourite and why?
I think I like Sebastian best, he’s the hero in A Jersey Affair. He’s strong, determined and very successful. His job is taking over failing businesses and restructuring them. Unfortunately, he also has to decide which employees, or in this case which concessions will be included in the newly constructed company and he has to decide whether or not to include Paige’s concession. He has a caring side, but has been hurt in the past and has learnt to keep it well hidden most of the time.
What’s a typical writing day like for you? Do you need coffee to survive?
A typical writing day is an hour in the morning before I have to go to work and then a few hours when I return home again. I love the weekends – don’t we all – when I can spend as much time as I like writing. I need lots of tea to keep me going, the occasional cappuccino and chocolate. I like to write at least 1000 words a day when I’m writing a first draft and hopefully up to 3,000.
Any advice for people aspiring to be published? What would have done differently?
I think the most important thing to remember is to enjoy the act of writing. I love it. However, writers also need a platform, so a website, blog, Facebook page, Twitter account and lots of social networking is needed. I think I could have planned my stories a little better in the beginning, so that I didn’t have to write so many drafts of the same book before I was happy with the final version.
Self-doubt is the curse of every writer – ours is a subjective trade – what do you do when a case of the hee bee gee bees attacks?
I’ve made so many fantastic friends online, some I’ve met and others I haven’t, but I have discovered that other writers are incredibly supportive either with advice, or helping to promote each other’s books and they’re also the best people to make you feel better when an attack of the hee bee gee bees strike. Even if you keep your panic to yourself, there’s always someone else having a bad day on Facebook and it helps to know you’re not alone.
Aside from writing (and reading!) what other hobbies do you have?
At the moment I’m working full time and writing a lot, so there isn’t much spare time for hobbies, but I love walking, travelling when I can, and meeting up with friends in town for a catch-up and a good laugh.
Your favourite book? It has to be Pride and Prejudice.
Your favourite song? I’m not sure it changes from week to week.
Your favourite film? I love The Notebook and the Matthew MacFadyen version of P&P
Your favourite colour? Pink
And last but not least, what’s coming next from Georgina Troy?
I’ve just begun planning the next book in the Jersey Romance Series, A Jersey Dream – the title keeps changing and hopefully it will be out next winter.
A Jersey Affair
Jilted by the man she was expecting to marry, Paige Bingham, a shoe designer from the tiny island of Jersey, decides to enjoy her honeymoon-for-one in Sorrento. What she doesn’t expect is to meet a mysterious entrepreneur, Sebastian Fielding, when she gets to Italy. Sebastian helps soothe her faith in men and gradually the pain recedes from her battered heart as he introduces her to the beautiful sites he knows and loves.
Unfortunately, not long after Paige returns to her small island home off the coast of France, she discovers that not only is this charismatic man’s company taking over the struggling store where her business is based, but that her concession is probably going to be surplus to his requirements.
How can Paige stop her fledgling shoe design business from falling apart? And what can she do to restore her reputation now that the paparazzi have published their untruths about her romance with Sebastian, as well as the unwanted publicity they’ve generated about A Jersey Affair?
Chapter One – A Dizzy Height
“I hope you’re phoning to tell me you’ve arrived safely?” Olly asked, his tone willing her to confirm that she had.
“Yes.” She blew her nose once again, wondering why she always felt the need to phone him every time she became too miserable. “Nothing awful has happened since you dropped me off at the airport this morning and I haven’t changed my mind about being here, if that’s what you’re worried about.”
“Good. Now stop snivelling and go and search for an Italian bloke to take your mind off Jeremy.”
“Surely you don’t seriously expect me to be interested in anyone after everything that’s happened?” She slumped down on the balcony chair conveniently placed under the ivy covered pergola, grateful for its shade from the midday Italian heat.
“Don’t be such a drip,” he said. “Anyone would think your ex-fiancé was worth keeping. Now get off your bum, put on a pair of your more colourful sandals then go and explore Sorrento.
“Fine, but if I can’t find something to wear that doesn’t make my bottom look the size of a small Shetland pony, I’m not going.” Paige glanced at the yellow shift dress she’d just dropped onto the bed and wished she hadn’t bothered packing it.
“You’ll be back in Jersey soon enough, moaning about wasting your trip. If nothing else, you can get inspiration for your next set of designs.”
“You’ve been talking to my sister, haven’t you?”
“How can you tell?”
“You don’t know anything about women’s shoes and I’ve never heard you say the word sandal before,” she laughed.
“Clem’s worried about you. I had to stop her from racing round to Jeremy’s house and giving him hell for jilting you.”
Paige chewed her lip guiltily. She should turn to Clem before Olly, but worried about upsetting her sister further. Her one-person honeymoon had been the only good thing to come out of this mess. She still couldn’t believe she’d had the nerve to come alone to Sorrento. “I need time to think.”
“A break up is always hard and it’s only been a week since everything happened. You’ll be fine though, I just know it. Once you’ve had time to recover from the shock I bet you’ll come back here and be ready to focus on your shop again.”
He was probably right, but it was still a little difficult accepting that Jeremy had changed his mind about their marriage and she hadn’t seen it coming. Then again, at least now she understood why he’d been acting so strangely recently, so much for pre-wedding nerves.
“Paige, are you still there?”
Had Jeremy turned to Gretchen because she’d spent all her time thinking about future designs for her shoes like he’d said?
“Stop dwelling on that jerk,” Olly shouted, interrupting her thoughts.
“Ol, you’re the perfect best friend and always ready to listen to me.” She couldn’t help smiling, he knew her so well and she hated the thought that her situation was causing upset with those closest to her.
“Probably because you don’t often moan about things,” he laughed, his voice sounding tinny down her antiquated phone. “When you get back we can spend time working on the new website designs. I’ve had a few new ideas that should perk it up a bit.”
“Good, I know the one I have now isn’t nearly stylish enough for the image I want to project.” She brushed a fly off her ankle.
“Never mind that now. You go and make the most of that incredible place and I’ll speak to you soon.”
“I thought I’d have a look at the shoe shops here and see how their designs compare with mine.”
“You see?” Olly laughed. “You must be feeling a little better because you’re thinking about your shoes. Right, I’ll put some ideas together while you go and mooch around Sorrento.”
“Thanks Ol,” she said glancing towards the window and staring at the rays of white gold light filtering through the metal shutters.
“Good, now get out and I don’t want you back in that room of yours until it’s time for you to go to bed.”
“Okay, I’m going, but I won’t enjoy myself,” she teased before replacing the receiver onto the eighties-style phone.
Paige picked up her red clutch bag, slipped on the matching shoes she had designed to complement it, and set off toward the confines of the old town. Treading carefully along one of the narrow roads, she breathed in the scent of oregano from the spice-filled air. This was more like it. She walked down the steps from the back garden of the hotel, at times holding on to the handrail especially where they tilted away from the cliff face. She stopped and concentrating on not looking down, gazed across at the spectacular view across the sea to the other side of the Bay of Naples.
She gripped on tightly watching every step and breathed a sigh of relief as she reached the small supermarket at the beginning of the main thoroughfare. She was a little surprised to see so many designer shops dotted along on both sides of the road. Forgetting her nerve-wracking walk down there, she paid particular interest in the shoe shops and thought about the rumours her father had shared with her before her fateful meal with Jeremy.
What if her dad was right about De Greys? If the store goes bankrupt then she would have to start up her business elsewhere. It had cost most of her business loan just setting up her concession in De Greys, she didn’t think she would be able to afford to set up in another shop so soon after moving to King Street.
She stepped into the road, tripping over the pavement in her panic to avoid an oncoming car that almost hit her. Hands seemed to come from nowhere, catching her under her arms before her bottom smacked down onto the tarmac. She didn’t understand what her rescuer was saying to her in the confusion, but managed to regain her footing with his help.
“Grazie,” she said smoothing down her skirt and taking her bag when he picked it up and handed it to her.
She went to say something else, but the immaculate hero smiled briefly, said something and pointed to indicate that he had somewhere to go. Then he was gone among the crowd of pedestrians passing her by. Paige didn’t want to know if anyone else had seen her reckless attempt to cross the road, so stopped to gaze at the closest window display while she gathered her senses. It dawned on her that none of the shoes in this particular shop had designs as quirky as her own. She could see the prices were similar to those that she charged and the shoes were beautifully made. Paige walked in.
Georgina Troy lives in Jersey near the sea – well, most people do in an island only 9 miles x 5 miles in size. She’s always wanted to write and being an impossible romantic is always falling in love with heroes both real (hopefully), in fiction (definitely) and those of her own creation (absolutely). A Jersey Affair is the second in a series of stand-alone romances based in Jersey, which Georgina hopes you’ll read, enjoy and maybe tell your friends about. The first book, A Jersey Kiss is out now.