Thursday, May 30, 2013

Travelling Again

A Cornish Affair
A Cornish Affair is well on its way in the UK so on Sunday night I fly back to Dubai to give the book a proper launch there. But before that I am off to visit friends who have limited connectivity...You can stand in the tower (serious) on one foot and lean 10 degrees to the east and get a phone signal. You won't be hearing from me much!

I think a quiet weekend with friends will be just what the doctor ordered as I have been going full tilt and confess to going to bed last night at eight. It's been mad but fun. My batteries were and are probably still are low.

And I think my husband might just be missing me...these are popup posters that have been made for my talks....The cats are not impressed!

Pop Up Poster of Liz Fenwick!

On Sunday night I fly over night to Dubai and I'll be on the radio at 1:30 on Monday on Dubai Eye. Then on Tuesday I'm doing a literary lunch.. this will consist of an excellent three course meal with house beverages at Trade Centre Club and me talking about books... Please join if you can.
Lunch is at Dubai World Trade Club call 04 309 7979 or email to book a place
Then on Wednesday it's the official Dubai launch of A Cornish Affair at Kinokuniya (aka Book World) in The Dubai Mall at 19:00. I'm still planning on having pasties, but it may not work and I may resort to a Cornish Cream tea again or maybe just Cornish cheeses...

I woke this morning to the wonderful news that A Cornish Affair is number one in Waterstones in Truro! Finally over on my Facebook Page I've posted photos from an early morning boat trip on the Helford River and a bluebell wood walk....

Friday, May 24, 2013

A Cornish Affair is Launched...

Wow, what a day. First thank you for the amazing amount of support on Facebook and Twitter. It has been overwhelming. Thank you...

So yesterday...first was a celebration lunch with my wonderful editor  (still gives me a thrill to say that!) and sitting in reception the only book on display was A Cornish Affair (to be fair it's under renovation and they probably had mine out because they knew I was coming in...but how to make an author feel special!)
A Cornish Affair in Orion's reception area!
Then back to flat to collect DS2 who was allowed to come out early to help and boy did he! So we walked down Kensington High Street and outside Waterstones we found this...

Then inside the fabulous Michael the Waterstones Kensington High Street's events manager and my wonderful friend Georgia were already at work transforming the space for the party...
DS2 pouring the all important bubbles...

Georgia and DS2 mucking around
Then back to proper 'work'....

So wonderful to have two books on display...A Cornish Affair  & The Cornish House

Some of the delicious scones made by Emma Walker
So many friends came and this year I actually had a chance to chat to them! Also I was so touched by the the young Mt. Holyoke alums who came to the launch. They had only met me last saturday (MHC is brilliant!) And there were some fab shoes and well, I want that handbag!
Total handbag lust...

Michael introducing me

And finally the part of the evening that scares me most...the talk and the reading...
Liz Fenwick
It was a fun evening and now off to book signings in Cornwall tomorrow and a talk at the St Ives Library on Tuesday evening...and of course working on book three, A Cornish Stranger.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

When Judy Astley Ran Away

Here's Judy's story...

I ran away the day the headmistress laughed and told me I was “Flying a bit high” when I asked if it would be OK to apply to Oxford university.  Humiliated, I stormed out of school at midday, raced home to change out and went up to the corner where the road heads for the M4 to start hitching a lift to visit my friend David at Magdalen college, Oxford for tea and sympathy.

We all hitch-hiked in the days before central locking meant no escape from the axe murderer.  Drivers were kind to a girl alone and I had a rule about lorries – not to get in. Today though, cars stopped but none were going more than a couple of miles.  So when the truck pulled up I thought, oh just this once - it’ll be fine. 

The driver was cheerful and friendly.  He gave me a telling off and said that he wouldn’t want a daughter of his risking her life by hitching so he’d take me all the way to Magdalen bridge, just to be sure I was safe.

Except – suddenly he was turning off the M4 at Slough This was NOT the way to Oxford.
He drove into a bleak industrial estate, parked outside the massive Mars confectionary warehouse and climbed out. I considered making a run for it but I found he’d locked the doors. I was going to be found naked and strangled in a ditch.  My poor mum.

Then he was back telling me to hop out and get in the car parked alongside. He’d finished his shift, was heading for home and he handed me a big box, saying, ‘Here, a souvenir.’ It was full of Mars bars, Milky Ways and Galaxy bars. I thanked him and the journey continued but I’d be lying if I said I relaxed.

 David and I munched our way through the box’s contents and he offered me his bed for the night.  I thought about it but… back then he risked being sent down for having a girl in his room. And it was freezing and the loo was down two flights of stairs and across a dark, wind-blown quadrangle. I started thinking a more modern university would have comfort-advantages…  So I said thanks but no.  And for once, I went home by train.

My 18th novel,‘In The Summertime’ will to be published in hardback by Bantam in early July.  The paperback will follow in June 2014.  It’s a return to the characters from my first book, Just For the Summer and has Miranda, twenty years on from when she was a teenager at her family’s holiday home in Chapel Creek in Cornwall, revisiting the village with her mother Clare and children Silva and Bo, to scatter the ashes of her step-father Jack on the estuary he’d loved.  She doesn’t expect to find there are still so many connections from the past in the place and is particularly surprised to find one in particular – someone she’s thought about many times over the years.

Coming July 4th Judy's nest book....and it's set in Cornwall!

It's twenty years since Miranda, then sixteen, holidayed in Cornwall and her life changed forever. Now she's back again - with her mother Clare and the ashes of her stepfather Jack, whose wish was to be scattered on the sea overlooked by their one-time holiday home.

The picturesque cove seems just the same as ever, but the people are different - more smart incomers,fewer locals, more luxury yachts in the harbour. But Miranda and Clare both find some strangely familiar faces, and revisit the emotions they both thought had disappeared.

You can find more about Judy and her books here.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

When Lesley Lokko Ran Away...

Here's Lesley's story...

Running away, when you live in West Africa, is a tricky business. If, like me, you read a lot of Enid Blyton as a child, it was made even trickier. The Famous Five only had to pack a sandwich or two and hop in a boat and they were invariably back by teatime, anyway. For us, it was an awful lot harder. To begin with, the heat made it impossible to run, so you had to walk away. Not very dramatic or effective. ‘I’ve had enough! I’m walking away!’ Then there were the snakes. Back in the day, when Accra was a lot less crowded than it is now, there were huge swathes of ‘bush’ everywhere. Our house backed onto one such swathe and it was crawling with snakes. Dangerous ones, too. There are no grass snakes in West Africa, only mambas. Fifteen minutes is all you’ve got between bite and death which makes it pretty much instant. And if that weren’t enough, there were the grown-ups. In West Africa, all adults are in loco parentis – even complete strangers – and as such, are fully authorised to step in at any point and deliver a slap or a sermon if they feel you’re up to no good. The sight of three children determinedly marching away from the house with sticks (with which to beat a snake) and a bottle of water (to pour over your head in case of sunstroke) is a clear indication of ‘no good’. And so it came to pass . . .

At the age of nine, after an argument with my father (not that you could actually argue with him. Ghanaian children do not, I repeat, do not talk back. You just listen.), I stomped (slunk) off to my room, determined to run away. I had no idea where I’d run to, just that I’d run away. George was always running away: why not me? I packed a bag: pair of knickers, a clean T-shirt, a book (Enid’s, of course) and, incongruously, a box of aspirin – I’ve no idea why. I begged the cook for a fried egg sandwich (at 5pm? Why?) and I left. But before I reached the gate, my two younger sisters begged to be allowed to come along too. I had to wait for half an hour for them to pack the same: three pairs of knickers, three T-shirts, three books and three boxes of aspirin. We’d run out of eggs so they had jam sarnies instead.

However, the sun sets in the tropics at 6pm on the dot and by 5:45pm it was already getting dark. Suddenly running (or even walking) away didn’t seem like such a good idea. We made it as far as the first corner. A rustle in the undergrowth sent us shrieking back to the gate. We decided to eat our sandwiches in the garage (don’t ask me why). It was usually cool and dark in there and quite Famous Five-ish, in a petrol-smelling, secretive kind of way. We dragged open the doors, determined to make the most of our adventure and Make A Point . . . and then we froze. Curled up in the middle of the floor, seeking a warm spot of concrete where the heat of the tires had seeped, was a snake. I don’t actually remember what sort of snake – green, black, blue, orange? –  we fled, screaming, dropping the aspirins, knickers, T-shirts and sandwiches en route (but not the books). Jabbering like idiots, we burst into the living room where my father was having a nap.
‘What’s the matter?’ he roared, annoyed at having been woken from his precious pre-dinner snooze.
‘A snake! A snake!’ My two sisters shouted, pointing to the garage.
‘What were you doing in the garage?’
‘Running away!’ they shouted in chorus.
‘Hmph.’ My father looked at me, frowning exasperatedly. ‘Is this another one of your silly ideas?’
‘No. Yes. Sort of.’
He sucked his teeth in that way that only Jamaican mothers and African fathers can do. A sort of ‘tshchew’ sound that combines exasperation, irritation, disappointment and forbearance in equal measure. It’s the ultimate, gentle-but-effective put down. ‘Next time, tell the driver to drop you.’
I never ran away again.

Here's Lesley's latest book...

In a gorgeous beachfront mansion in Martha’s Vineyard, Annick and Rebecca have left their young children in the care of their life-long friend Tash. Tash has made millions from her fashion business and treating her friends to a luxury holiday makes all the hard work worthwhile. But by the end of the afternoon, one of the children will have vanished . . .
As the daughter of an iconic actress and an assassinated president, Annick has spent a lifetime running from the truth of her family’s wealth. For her, Rebecca and Tash have always felt more like family than friends. But can she truly trust them with the secret of her past?

You can find out more about Lesley and her books here.

Monday, May 20, 2013

When Carole Matthews Ran Away...

Here's Carole's story...

This is a story of achieving a dream and decorating aversion. Next week Lovely Kev is painting our hall and, at Matthews’ Towers, our hall takes in three floors. It’s a job not to be undertaken lightly. I’m not a big decorating fan, or any kind of DIY, come to that matter. I can wield a paintbrush well enough, but tend to leave mayhem and chaos in my wake. I have been known to drop, from the top of a ladder, the occasional five-litre tin of emulsion onto the dining room floor. I also have a weird reaction to fresh paint in that it gives me the most vivid nightmares. Really bad, being chased by an axe man nightmares. And gloss nightmares are much worse than emulsion ones.
       So, in lieu of all this impending terror in my home, I’m running away. I’m leaving Lovely Kev with a list of instructions and several large cans of Dulux Almond White and am hightailing it out of the Costa del Keynes as fast as I can. As my decorating avoidance technique, I’ve booked on a canal boat for a week and that’s where the dream part comes in. For many more years than I care to recall, I’ve commuted up and down the line from the Keynes to London Euston. In fact, I went so far as to set a book on the line - Let’s Meet on Platform 8. As you travel into London, the Grand Union canal meanders gently from one side of the railway track to the other, offering tantalising glimpses of its many delights. I always wondered what it would be like to travel the entire stretch from London back to my home. And now I’m about to find out.
       I’ve taken the precaution of going on a hotel boat where I’ll have two gentlemen to cook, drive and do complicated things with locks. On my part, I’m armed with lots of books, my walking boots, some knitting and a bottle of gin. That sounds like my kind of running away.

Here's Carole's latest book...
Grace has been best friends with Ella and Flick forever. The late-night chats, shared heartaches and good times have created a bond that has stood the test of time.
When Ella invites them to stay for a week in her cottage in South Wales, Grace jumps at the chance to see her old friends. She also hopes that the change of scenery will help her reconnect with her distant husband.
Then Flick arrives; loveable, bubbly, incorrigible Flick, accompanied by the handsome and charming Noah.
This is going to be one week which will change all their lives forever... 

You can find out more about Carole and her books here.

Friday, May 17, 2013

When CL Taylor Ran Away...

Here's CL's story...

CL Taylor, slightly scared, at the top of the Eiffel Tower (aged 25)

I was twenty-five when I ran away to Paris. I was living in Brighton and going out with a colleague - an alcoholic with a mean side. By dating him I’d ostracised myself not only from my other work colleagues who didn’t trust him but also from the friends who knew he was bad for me but couldn’t convince me to leave him (I foolishly believed that, if I spent enough time with him, I could help him overcome his demons).
Confused and desperate to get away to clear my head I scraped together what little money I had and booked myself a cheap flight to Paris and a room in a flea pit of a hotel. The plan was to spend a couple of days there alone but when a friend (who was also an ex-boyfriend) said he’d fly from Holland (where he lived) to Paris so we could hang out together I thought, ‘why not?’ I hadn’t seen him for several years, our relationship had ended amicably and he was good fun to be around.
The trip got off to an exciting start. I wanted to visit the graves of Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Oscar Wilde so we went to Père Lachaise cemetery in the afternoon of our first day. It’s an astonishing cemetery and I found myself utterly mesmerised. We found the first two graves relatively easily but, as the sky grew dark and night approached, we slowly realised we’d been walking round and round in circles trying to find Wilde’s.
published under Creative Commons Licensing, Oliver Regelmann Flickr    

Finally we found it. I took a photograph and laid a flower on the tomb and then said to my friend that we should probably leave as we hadn’t seen anyone else wandering about for some time.
We headed for the exit.
It was locked shut.
We headed for the other exit, a good twenty minute walk around the circumference of the cemetery.
We tried more exits.
Shut. Shut. Shut.
It was now so dark we could barely see three feet in front of us.
We were locked in Père Lachaise for the night.
Panic rose in my chest. It was February and bitterly cold. Even if we could find somewhere to curl up and go to asleep we’d be frozen by the morning. There was nothing for it but to go back to the main entrance and knock on the door of one of the houses we’d seen there.
We knocked. And knocked. And knocked.
No answer.
With no mobile phone to call for help (they didn’t work abroad back then) we had no choice but to sit on the pavement, light cigarettes and stare desperately at the closed gates in front of us as we tried to decide what to do next. The perimeter fence was high and, even if my friend gave me a foot up, I knew I didn’t have enough upper body strength to make it over the top. I was just about to go back to the house to knock some more when the enormous double gates in front of us swung open and a car, headlights on full, drove towards. One of us might have said “Run!” or maybe we didn’t need words. Either way, thirty seconds later we were on the other side of the cemetery, grabbing each other and laughing with relief.
Later that evening my friend told me he was still in love with me.
But that’s another story.

By CL Taylor

“Keeping this secret is killing me”

To the outside world Susan Jackson has it all – a loving family, a successful politician husband and a beautiful home – but when Charlotte, her fifteen year old daughter,  deliberately steps in front of a bus and ends up in a coma Sue questions whether any of it was real.
Desperate to find out what caused Charlotte’s suicide attempt, she is horrified by an entry in her diary – ‘Keeping this secret is killing me’.  As Sue spins in desperate circles, she risks everything to discover the truth and finds herself immersed in a shady world she didn’t know existed. The deeper she delves the darker the world becomes and the more danger she puts herself in.
Can Sue wake up from the nightmares that haunt her and save her daughter, or will ‘the secret’ destroy them both?
(to be published in the UK by HarperCollins/Avon, June 2014 and in the USA by Sourcebooks, June 2014)