It must have been Fate calling her to Nutt Hill…
Sarah is starting over. With her children now grown and an empty marriage bed, she picks herself up and moves to the village of Lower Nutton. But a wager turns her head and a kiss in a storm wakens feelings long ago forgotten and the game is on to find out who the man could be.
Nick has found control, hiding from life in a sleepy rural village, until Sarah arrives on the scene and his sterile cocoon begins to shatter.
She is the flotsam of a broken marriage; he is a man of the cloth and in a small rural village, nothing stays private for long…
A couple of weeks ago, I had the immense pleasure of being featured in author Wendy Lou Jones’ blog feature Follow The Star. You might remember I shared my secret passion for Bill Nighy and the younger Sean Connery… here’s a link if you missed it.
It seemed only fair to repay the favour by inviting Wendy to Being Anne – and with quite perfect timing, as her latest book, Finding Sarah, was published on 25th February.
Welcome to Being Anne, Wendy – would you like to introduce yourself?
Thank you, Anne. Hello, I’m Wendy Lou Jones and I write contemporary romantic fiction, mostly because I’m rubbish at history but love a good love story.
So, your latest release, Finding Sarah… we’ve all seen that lovely cover, we’ve read the cover description – tell me more about what inspired the story of Sarah and Nick…
Oh, it was a chance encounter really. I was walking around the ploughing match one year and I spotted a man who looked just a little bit different from the rest – biker boots instead of wellies – and I was curious. A few minutes later, who should walk around the corner of the field, but the vicar and his wife and I thought… Ooooo, what if…? It all grew from there really.
And you’re planning that this will be first in a series – Echoes of Nutt Hill?
Yes, I have 4 stories to tell. The second is the story of the person who takes over from Sarah on Nutt Hill, the 3rd is the brother of the man in the 2nd and the 4th is the sister of the girl in the second. Still with me? I have to think hard to remember who is in which one.
I get the feeling that location is important to you – tell me more about Nutt Hill…
The setting is much like my own village … where it was convenient. Where it wasn’t, I changed it. Well, it is fiction! But if you look around rural Herefordshire, you won’t go far wrong. It’s the world around me: farms, countryside, church bells ringing on a Thursday evening… Pretty.
I must mention that cover again – it’s really beautiful, and would definitely make me reach for it on a shelf. Where did it come from?
I spent DAYS trawling through images on Shutterstock, trying to find a set of four pictures to go together for a series. I tried 4 different doorways … oh, I can’t remember … several themes, but when I found this image, I loved it and decided to go for the English rose (I know, I think it’s a peony technically, but I won’t tell if you don’t!) Then I used an ancient piece of software on my computer to add the text and found a back cover by the same photographer. I looked at covers I admired and tried to copy those. I love it.
How would you describe your writing? I’ve seen it said that you like playing with people’s emotions…
Playing? I wouldn’t say that, but I like a good blub. If a film or book makes me cry, I consider it a winner. I think I do tend to the tragic, but I have to confess, this series, I tried to rein that in as I have heard people say they feel rung-out after reading one of my books and to be honest, I fancied a change. But they’re still very me, just less cause for tissues!
Do you have a typical reader, do you think? Female or male, old or young, a reader who already enjoys the books of another author or kind of story?
I’m not sure. I think they might tend to be older rather than younger. I guess people who have had experience of life and death tend to get them more. Having been a doctor, particularly in A&E, illness, tragedy and death were a big part of my life. I forget normal people don’t come across much.
I know you have three other books that anyone who loves Finding Sarah can catch up with while you’re writing number two in this series – and I know I have one of them on my kindle already. Tell us more…
The Songbird and the Soldier was my first; a love story between a girl back home and a soldier fighting in Afghanistan and the problems of a new love undergoing separation.
By My Side was next, probably my darkest and not for the recently bereaved. It’s a story told to a young girl home from university, about a nurse and a doctor falling in love. It’s a medical romance, Jim, but not as we know it!
And then The Summer We Loved followed that and told the tale of the others from By My Side and how their lives went after that.
Was writing fiction something you’d always wanted to do? And when the moment came, did you just sit at your keyboard and write?
NO! I was a doctor, then a mother, then – and I know this is incredibly corny – one night I had a dream and I was so captured my this that I thought about it for days, weeks afterward and in the end, I started writing it down. For 6 months I wrote every night until midnight until it as done. It started from there.
And how do you write? I know you used to be a doctor – are you now writing full time, or fitting it round a busy life?
No, I’m full time, but not very strict. I still go shopping with my mum and clean toilets and drop the forgotten homework up to school etc, so it doesn’t feel like a full time job. In fact a lot of my writing is done in the evenings and night time. What can I say, I have teenagers!
What writers do you admire? If someone said “your writing reminds me of…”, who would you like them to mention?
That’s tricky. My favourites are historical romances, I love Lisa Kleypas, I’ve read a lot of Elizabeth Elgin and have recently discovered Tessa Dare. Contemporary romance I tend to pick a new one each time. I do like a bit of Oscar Wilde though, and his short stories still make me cry after all these years. I would love to write as beautifully as him.
And what’s next? How long until the next book (not rushing you…)?
Well, technically they’re all written, at least in first draft, so it depends how long it takes me to lick them into shape. I don’t know, to be honest, maybe 3, 4 months between each. We’ll have to see. Watch this space.
Thank you for joining me Wendy – lovely to meet you properly!
About Wendy Lou Jones
Wendy was born in West Sussex, England, where she enjoyed a happy childhood filled with guinea pigs and fun. Later, she moved to Birmingham to study Medicine at University and was lucky enough to meet her husband. They now live in a little village in Herefordshire with their two grubby boys and some fish.
She discovered her love of writing not long after her youngest son started school. And if you were to ask her what it was that made her make the switch, she’d tell you quite simply that it started with a dream.
Follow Wendy on Twitter and Facebook – and do take a look at her excellent website.