The wait is finally over for today's debut spotlight guest Rachael Lucas as her debut novel Sealed with a Kiss is published as a paperback today.
Kate is dumped on her best friend's wedding day by the world's most boring boyfriend, Ian. She's mostly cross because he got in first - until she remembers she's now homeless as well as jobless. Rather than move back home to her ultra-bossy mother, Kate takes a job on the remote Scottish island of Auchenmor as an all-round Girl Friday. Her first day is pretty much a disaster: she falls over, smack bang at the feet of her grouchy new boss, Roddy, Laird of the Island. Unimpressed with her townie ways, he makes it clear she's got a lot to prove.
Island life has no room for secrets, but prickly Roddy's keeping something to himself. When his demanding ex girlfriend appears back on the island, Kate's budding friendship with her new boss comes to an abrupt end. What is Fiona planning - and can she be stopped before it's too late?
Can you tell us a little bit about your debut book Sealed With a Kiss?
It’s a story about being brave and trying something new. Kate surprises her friends and family when having played it safe all her life she takes a leap into the unknown and goes to work as Girl Friday on a Scottish island. She’s surprised when she gets there to discover that island life means she’s got no chance of disappearing into the background, and she finds herself caught up in a bit of intrigue and some romance, too.
Where did the inspiration come from to set this on a remote Scottish island?
I lived on the Isle of Bute in my twenties, and loved it there. I knew that it was a beautiful setting for a story and also I felt there was lots to be explored about island life, and about the close community you get when you live there. Although the island in Sealed with a Kiss is fictional, it is very much based on Bute.
You had amazing success with Sealed With a Kiss when it was published as an eBook, are you excited to be able to finally hold a print copy in your hands?
It’s an AMAZING feeling. I’ve been sniffing them (that new book smell!) and looking at them and stroking them fondly. I can’t imagine how it’ll feel to see them in the shops – I suspect I might be found lurking around the shelves saying “I wrote that!” and offering to sign copies. Look out, unsuspecting book buyers…
Are you currently working on a new book?
Yes! I’ve finished a Christmas sequel to Sealed with a Kiss, which will be out later this year, and I’m writing my next novel which will be in the shops next spring. It’s set in an English village in summertime, and the heroine, Daisy, is a gardener so I’m having great fun writing all about sunshine and village fetes and bunting and cake.
Did you always know that you wanted to be a writer?
Yes. I was inspired by Anne of Green Gables and Jo from Little Women and I wrote my first novel (which was a mishmash of every pony story I’d ever read) at the age of 11, and submitted it to a publisher. They wrote a very kind note back saying “keep writing” – and it’s lucky I did. Years later, the same publisher, Pan, signed me up. I wish I could go back in time and tell little me that all this was going to happen!
Are you a plot planner or a start writing and see where it takes you writer?
I start with an idea, and some characters, and a basic premise. Then I sketch it out, and then slowly plot it out more until I have a synopsis and a series of basic chapter ideas. Then I start writing and my characters take over and I have to re-plot it – I’ve just had to do that this week, after my characters started doing things I didn’t expect.
What does a typical writing day look like for you?
I get home from the school run at 8.30 and try and get down to the writing part of my day first. I’ve learned that if I get the words done first, then do the social media chatting bit and various other bits of writing, I feel a lot better. Otherwise the book-writing bit hangs over me making me feel guilty. I never write in the evening because my brain goes on strike.
Have you any exciting plans for publication day?
I’m going to be all over the internet doing a virtual launch party! And there’ll be a lovely luxurious bath, and some writing of the next book. Then the next night my mum is coming to babysit so we can have a night away somewhere lovely with NO children!
Are you going to treat yourself to something nice?
I’m planning some serious book shopping when I go away for the weekend. And probably a few nice notebooks, because I’m a stationery addict.
If you could go on a writing retreat anywhere in the world, where would you choose?
I’d go to a cottage by the sea on a Scottish island, with a log fire, a freezer full of delicious food (or a chef!), and all my favourite writing friends. We’d all write during the day and curl up and talk books all night. Heaven.
For more about Rachael, visit her blog at www.rachaellucas.com, chat to her at facebook.com/rachaellucaswriter or say hello to her on Twitter @karamina