This afternoon it's my pleasure to shine the debut spotlight on Lynda Stacey whose debut novel House of Secrets is published tomorrow.
Lynda, is a wife, step-mother and grandmother, she grew up in the mining village of Bentley, Doncaster, in South Yorkshire.
Her own life story, along with varied career choices helps Lynda to create stories of romantic suspense, with challenging and unpredictable plots, along with (as in all romances) very happy endings.
Lynda joined the Romantic Novelist Association in 2014 under the umbrella of the New Writers Scheme and in 2015, her debut novel House of Secrets won the Choc Lit & Whole Story Audiobooks Search for a Star competition.
She lives in a small rural hamlet near Doncaster, with her husband, Haydn, whom she’s been happily married to for over 20 years.
Can you tell us a little bit about your debut novel House of Secrets?
House of Secrets is just that, it’s all about a house with shocking secrets.
Madeleine Frost has to get away. Her partner Liam has become increasingly controlling to the point that Maddie fears for her safety, and that of her young daughter Poppy.
Desperation leads Maddie to the hotel owned by her estranged father – the extraordinarily beautiful Wrea Head Hall in Yorkshire. There, she meets Christopher ‘Bandit’ Lawless, an ex-marine and the gamekeeper of the hall, whose brusque manner conceals a painful past.
After discovering a diary belonging to a previous owner, Maddie and Bandit find themselves immersed in the history of the old house, uncovering its secrets, scandals, tragedies – and, all the while, becoming closer.
But Liam still won’t let go, he wants Maddie back, and when Liam wants something he gets it, no matter who he hurts …
Is Wrea Head Hall that is featured in your story based on/inspired by a real location?
Yes it is, Wrea Head Hall really does exist. It’s a country house hotel in Scarborough.
What inspired you to include the discovery of an old diary as part of the storyline?
I needed a way to bring Emily Ennis into the story and I felt that a diary would do that, as well as being a tool to bring Madeleine and Bandit together. They are both there when it’s found and Bandit has his own reasons for being interested in the history of the hall.
When you were planning House of Secrets which came first, the characters or the plot?
The house came first. I went there for a birthday treat with my husband. I fell totally head over heels in love with the house the moment I walked in through the front door. I knew it had a huge story to tell, I could feel it. I’m just so honored that I got to be the one to tell it’s story.
If you had to describe House of Secrets in one sentence, what would it be?
It’s Fatal Attraction meets Lady Chatterley’s Lover
What can we expect from you next?
Lots. The journey just can’t end here. I’m having far too much fun. I have two other romantic suspense books written. They both need some editing, but I’m hoping that both will be published by Choc Lit.
Your publishing deal with Choc Lit came about after winning their 2015 Search for a Star competition, how did it feel to get that call telling you that you'd won?
I was sat on my settee and my phone ‘bleeped’. I had a message from Lyn Vernham, asking for me to take a Skype call. I literally couldn’t speak, I held the phone up to my husband and made a noise that in my world said, “Look at this…” It took me around ten minutes to compose myself enough to answer the message.
How did your writing journey start?
It didn’t start. It’s always been there. I’ve always had a vivid imagination and I’ve always written stories and I don’t ever really remember a time when I didn’t write. Idea’s come to me from no-where and to be honest, being able to think up a fast story as a teenager got me out of a lot of trouble while growning up.
Have you treated yourself to something special to celebrate your publishing your debut novel?
My husband, Haydn, always said that he’d buy me a solitaire diamond ring for which ever came first, a publishing contract or my 50th birthday. So, the day my win with Choc Lit was announced, we went shopping..!!
Finally have you anything exciting planned for publication day itself?
I’m going out tonight for a meal with some close family and friends. There are around 40 of us, which will be amazing. But tomorrow on the actual publication date, I’m going to make a Caesar Salad, sit out on the patio with my husband and I’m going to open the bubbles.
You can follow Lynda's writing journey via her website http://www.lyndastacey.co.uk, Twitter @LyndaStacey or Facebook Lynda Stacey Author.