Today it's my pleasure to welcome Bella Osborne back to the blog to find out a little about her new serial, Ottercombe Bay, part one Where There's a Will is published today.
Hi Sharon, Thanks for having me on your blog today.
I live in Warwickshire with my husband, daughter, and a cat who thinks she’s a dog. I’ve been jotting down stories as far back as I can remember but decided that 2013 would be the year that I finished a full length novel. I was lucky enough to meet my editor at the Romantic Novelists’ Association Conference that summer and I signed with HarperImpulse (part of HarperCollins) in 2014.
In 2016, my debut novel, 'It Started At Sunset Cottage', was shortlisted for the Contemporary Romantic Novel of the Year and RNA Joan Hessayon New Writers Award.
If you had to give an elevator pitch for your new serial Ottercombe Bay, what would it be?
Daisy is forced to return to Ottercombe Bay when a relative leaves her something unusual in their will. As the place where her mother died the town holds sad memories as well as a number of questions for Daisy so she must come to terms with her past before she can make something of her future. With a cast of quirky locals, a few gin cocktails and a black pug with lots of attitude, there’s more to the sleepy town than Daisy remembers.
Both your serials, Escape to Willow Cottage and Ottercombe Bay, have featured properties being restored, is this something that you enjoy doing, or would like to do, yourself?
It’s something I had to do with my last property and whilst it felt like a big achievement to turn the house from almost uninhabitable to somewhere modern and homely, it’s not something I would be keen to do again. It did, however, give me lots of material for stories!
Describe Daisy in three words
Restless. Independent. Determined.
How different is the writing process for writing a book to be published as a serial as opposed to writing a standalone?
For me it differs in that as well as the overall story arc and character journeys I also have to end each part on somewhat of a cliffhanger. So when I plan out the plot I need to ensure those cliffhangers land in the right places.
If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
Keep writing – It may sound daft but you need to have finished something before you can really start submitting to agents and publishers. So make time and do it. No excuses, if you really want to write then something else may have to give.
If you get a block during the initial writing phase, how do you work your way through it?
I’m lucky in that I’ve not suffered from writer’s block, as such, but I do come across some knotty bits in the plot sometimes. If I’m struggling to see a way out of something I try looking at it from the perspective of different characters and if that doesn’t work I stick it on a post-it note and leave it to percolate. Usually at some point, often the middle of the night, my subconscious will work it out for me.
What essentials do you need to have close to hand when you are in writing mode?
Lots of lovely stationery, post-it notes and custard creams. I also have a cat either on my feet or the keyboard, which is not essential (but don’t tell her that).
What writers inspire you?
I am a huge fan of Jill Mansell, Katie Fforde and Milly Johnson. I love stories that have you laughing one moment and sniffing into a tissue the next. I think it’s a great skill and one I try hard to emulate.
If you could go on a writing retreat anywhere in the world, where would you like to go and why?
If you’d asked me a year ago I would have said a modernised shepherd’s hut overlooking the sea, in summertime because I’d be isolated, in an inspirational spot and warm. However, I’ve discovered that I’m not really cut out for writing retreats. I went on one recently to a beautiful part of the country, was incredibly well looked after and had everything I needed to write but it just wasn’t the same as being holed up in my spare bedroom with my cat on my feet. It turns out I’m a home-bird who doesn’t respond well to writing in a different environment.
Do you treat yourself to something to celebrate the publication of your books?
I do. I was lucky enough to be given a beautiful Nomination bracelet when my first book was published so now I buy myself a charm to represent each book. I also love a glass of fizz so I make sure I pop a cork on publication day too!
And finally are you able to give us a small teaser as to what we can expect in part two of Ottercombe Bay?
Things are not going smoothly for Daisy in part two of the story as the shadows of the past are still hanging over her. Max is being helpful but is he hiding something from her? When an important item goes missing and a few small creatures cause havoc it looks like it spells the end for Daisy’s plans.
Many thanks for having me on the blog today. Happy New Year everyone!
For more about Bella and her books, visit her website at www.bellaosborne.com or follow her on Twitter @osborne_bella.
Daisy Wickens has returned to Ottercombe Bay, the picturesque Devon town where her mother died when she was a girl. She plans to leave as soon as her great uncle’s funeral is over, but Great Uncle Reg had other ideas. He’s left Daisy a significant inheritance – an old building in a state of disrepair, which could offer exciting possibilities, but to get it she must stay in Ottercombe Bay for twelve whole months.
With the help of a cast of quirky locals, a few gin cocktails and a black pug with plenty of attitude, Daisy might just turn this into something special. But can she ever hope to be happy among the ghosts of her past?
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