This time last year I didn’t have a publishing contract. Scroll forward twelve months and not only have I launched one novel, I have just finished editing book two. Your Secret’s Safe With Me will be published by Crooked Cat on 18 February 2019.
So, what is the new book all about?
Like the Theatre of Dreams, Your Secret’s Safe With Me is set on the south coast of England, but this time, instead of an old-fashioned seaside resort, the action centres of the fictitious picturesque riverside village of Kerridge and a house called Rivermede.
The whole thought process for this new book is very different from the first. I’d tried out the characters who appear in The Theatre of Dreams in various disguises and in several other plots before stumbling onto the idea of a campaign to save an old seaside theatre. Your Secret’s Safe With Me was written over a much shorter time span with fresh characters, who hadn’t been hanging around in my head for ages waiting for the right outlet.
The novel focuses on the intricacies of family relationships and the consequences of keeping secrets – and it began life earlier this year as a competition entry for the first 300 words of a commercial women’s fiction novel.
Hampshire Writers Society meet at the University of Winchester once a month and hold regular competitions. I don’t always enter, but I felt I had to partake in this particular competition as commercial women’s fiction is my specialiality. My entry was entitled ‘Marrying Mother’ and featured Pearl, a romantic novelist about to return to the UK from an eight week cruise, delivering some life-changing news to her daughter, Becca. My entry was awarded highly commended and I felt spurred on by the family dynamic I’d created to continue Pearl and Becca’s story.
As with The Theatre of Dreams the setting is local – why look any further when inspiration sits on your doorstep? It’s just a 300 metre walk from my front door to the banks of the River Hamble, which is one of the south’s leading sailing centres. I regularly run/walk/jog along the river and being in such close proximity to some very sleek and extremely expensive looking yachts I began to speculate about the people who owned these vessels and what they got up to on the water. With an over-fertile imagination it’s very easy to envisage some dubious and illicit activities might be taking place, and it seems perfectly reasonable that a pair of unsuspecting newcomers to the area, such as Pearl and Becca, could become unwittingly caught up in these shenanigans. Throw into the mix a familiar but unwelcome face from Becca’s past – and a story started to emerge.
Becca’s organised world quickly transcends into chaos, and although primarily a romantic suspense, Your Secret’s Safe With Me, contains a fair dose of humour.
Career girl Becca Gates’ organised life is thrown into chaos when her mother, romantic novelist Pearl, announces her surprise engagement to Jack, a man she has only just met.
Worse news follows when Pearl tells Becca she intends to leave London, quit writing, and retire to her new fiancé’s idyllic waterside home on the south coast. Becca is determined to prevent Pearl from making a disastrous mistake, but when she at arrives at Rivermede, more shocks await when she stumbles upon a familiar yet unwelcome face from her past.
As Pearl embraces her new life amongst the local sailing fraternity, Becca receives a grim warning that all is not as calm as it seems at picturesque Rivermede, and if she wants to keep her family safe, she should keep them away.
But why should Becca trust the man who has betrayed her before, the man who broke her heart, the man who thinks he knows all her secrets?
The book is now available to pre-order on Amazon Kindle here
I’ve also set up a Pinterest board for the novel: