A big hello to author, blogger and Facebook aficionado – Anna Shenton. Anna and I met via her writers’ page on Facebook and I wanted to get to know her better. So, here we go.
Anna, tell us a bit about yourself.
Born in a village in Staffordshire, England I experienced an interesting upbringing via my English father, and German mother -together with two elder siblings Ilona and Steven, and later, Ingo, a surprise brother from Germany.
Interesting names: I would like to know more about them sometime.
I live in Staffordshire with my lovely retired policeman hubby. We love to travel with our touring caravan. We share a fantastic family of six sons and daughter-in-law’s, and millions of adorable grandchildren, no shortage of inspiration.
Did you say caravan? Small wonder we clicked on Facebook. Not that OUR caravans are anything like this one – LOL.
Share with us how the writing process works for you
I write purely as a hobby, no set rules to how I work. I rely on what, where and when. I’ve never experienced (what shall I write feeling, or I must do this). Having said that, I hold much optimism for the future and revel in the freedom of writing. A home study course with the Writing School of London helped with publication of Star Letters, Fillers, and Articles in various magazines including Writers Forum.
Indie-publishing is my ideal. I’m free, no deadlines, no criteria, no rules. Thus far I’ve created – Seduced by Mind Tricks being my debut romance novel, followed by Lust for Survival a collection of short stories, Writing Spelled Out a guide on how to start writing, and my recent release 76 Silver Street a historical romance novella.
Freelancing is always lurking at the back of my mind, too. Scanning through magazines often tempts me to submit feature articles. If they’re accepted, great, if not, I’ve enjoyed writing it.
I love social media and through it I’ve made many new friends – writers and readers alike. But it can be ‘time suckage. What do you think, Anna?
My heart has warmness to the social network. Without it I wouldn’t have learnt so much, neither would I have met so many wonderful people. Controlling usage is the key; I don’t allow it to takeover! Many opportunities are there for the taking and I do believe building a social network reputation is essential for all authors! I’ve enjoyed building a Facebook page, and creating the writers authors & readers closed group, almost 1,000 fabulous supportive members.
Tell us who or what inspired you to become a writer –
My flair to create comes from my family. My late uncle, a famous artist, and my late father, a pencil/cartoonist who contributed to the Daily Mirror. My late brother wrote his Debut Novel (Notes in the Margin) which unfortunately, wasn’t published. I hope to get this published one day donating proceeds to cancer. My Sister writes a very popular frugal blog too (Mean Queen) she is amazing. The freedom of writing, expressing your inner self and creating is something I would hate to lose. I breathe inspiration from everyday life.
If not a writer, then what
Thank you Lizzie, for the opportunity to answer this question. It holds so many diverse answers. Naturally life itself is foremost, family, sharing and savouring precious moments. Thereafter, I’m lucky enough to have time to travel with my touring caravan, to tranquil places taking my pencil drawing subjects with me. I mainly draw portraits, self-taught, from photographs and find it rewarding. Outdoor life suits me too, so lots to do beyond writing.
A sequel to 76 Silver Street is at its infancy, title coming later.
Blurb – Although she had a roof over her head, Rosa Brown couldn’t abide Dan’s drunken coercive behaviour as his housekeeper anymore. Aunt Mildred’s call from her hospital-bed sends Rosa sneaking out of town, to take over her aunt’s rundown boarding house. Met by Jack Howard on arrival, in Pemberton 1905, Rosa’s heart plummets when her eyes meet with the dingy filthy place and Jack’s dark devilish impudent manner, who thinks she’s mad and has no intention of helping to get the place up and running before it goes bust.
Rosa is shocked when faced with all the ruffians and commoners knocking on the door and struggles to keep Jack’s hands off her. Sprucing the place up and filling it with respectful paying guests, proves harder than expected.
Now, filled with fear for her aunt and her own wellbeing, will Rosa ever find true love and be free from trouble?
Jenny Lakin – 5.0 out of 5 stars Fast paced romantic novella of lives in the early 20th century suburbs of working Manchester . The story is fast paced and keeps you reading, I read it in one go.
S. M. Wragg – 4.0 out of 5 starsLively, believable characters. Sets the scene well at the turn of the 20th century. Running away from an abusive relationship, young and feisty Rose Brown has been left in charge of a run-down boarding house by her aunt, who is ill, a happening that brings her into contact with a variety of lively, believable characters. I enjoyed this book and I’m looking forward to reading the sequel.
Lady Rochford – 5.0 out of 5 stars
This is a time when life is cheap . . . Manchester at the turn of the last century is no place for a girl like Rose. Just when she thinks she’s found safety and love she needs to draw on all her reserves of strength in order to survive. She needs a way out of the slums; and a call from her aunt provides her with just that.
Thank you Lizzie, for the kind invitation to write a guest post for your blog. It’s a delight to be here. I hope to make this post as fulfilling, interesting and joyful as I can!
You can connect with Anna Maria at –
76 Silver Street – Kindle edition https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07JGQGYRQ
paperback coming soon
The highlight of the year was publishing my fifth novel – Take Me, I’m Yours. For this one I abandoned Scotland and headed for Wisconsin where I spent a glorious five weeks a few summers ago. However, fear not, there is a Scottish connection as the hero – Logan MacFarlane and the heroine India-Jane Buchanan are of Scots descent – natch. You can read about it here. Within a few weeks it reached #1 in its genre –
If you’d like to read the first three chapters – follow this link – And if any readers think I’ve abandoned Scotland, read to the end of the blog for details of my next novel . . .
July was a busy month. Adrienne Vaughan and I arranged a Literary Lunch at the Belmont Hotel, Leicester which raised £300 for MIND. It was also a great chance to showcase our books and to thank people for supporting our writing. We are lucky to have such generous friends and readers.
It’s funny how good things happen when you least expect them. I was overwhelmed when Simon Whaley of Writers Magazine contacted me and asked if I’d like to contribute to a piece he was writing on BLOG TOURS. Having taken part in two blog tours in as many months I felt qualified to comment.
June saw Bongo Man and me heading for Scotland with our caravan for a month – writing, touring, kicking back. I don’t know what it is about Scotland but it feeds my soul and my imagination. We’ll be returning there this summer, too. This time, we’ll be staying on a site overlooking Castle Stalker which was the inspiration behind Girl in the Castle.
For me, writing is all about making friends and sharing my work with others. Through Facebook and Twitter I’ve made many friends who have gone on to become readers and reviewers of my novels. I never take their support for granted. On our way up to Scotland, by an amazing coincidence, one of my proofreaders was staying on the same campsite in Kendal so I was able to thank her in person for all her help. Later in the summer, on the way to Cornwall in July we were able to meet up again at Exeter Service Station where I gave her a signed copy of Take Me, I’m Yours. Who says writing isn’t romantic? LOL.
In March I attended the RONAs with La Diva, Isabella Tartaruga, who is always first to read the rough draft of my novels and give me honest feedback. I also met fabulous JILLY COOPER – cue fan girl moment. And, in case you’re wondering, Jilly is even lovelier than you could ever imagine.
If I was to choose an author whose books put me on the path to writing, it would have to be Jilly and books such as EMILY, IMOGEN etc. And who could fail to fall for her hero Rupert Campbell-Black in her bonkbuster(s) Polo, Ride and Jump?
We’re getting close to the beginning of the year and Burns Night, which we celebrated at our Danish neighbours’ house. Go figure. As for my obsession with Men in Kilts, I encourage my husband Dave to wear his as often as possible. Purely for inspiration you understand. Here he is on his way to the Burns Night supper, looking quite the part. For those who are wondering, we belong to clan LAMONT (pron: Lam’NT, not La Mont). It’s motto is: Ne Parcas Nec Spernas (Neither spare nor dispose). Not quite sure what that means . . . but I do know that I wouldn’t have achieved half of my success without Bongo Man by my side.
I was lucky enough to be featured on other writers’/bloggers’ posts this year. Here’s a selection (including two blog tours ) if you want to take a look:
- A Night in with Linda Hill
- Books in my Handbag – A Wee Dram with Lizzie Lamb
- Rosie Travers – Comfort Reads
- Being Anne – review of Take Me, I’m Yours (blog post)
As for 2019, the events are stacking up
Carole Matthews Book Launch (February), States of Independence (March), Self publishing Conference (April), Deepings Lit Fest (May) RNA Conference (July), RNA York Tea (September), Narberth Book Fair (Wales), return to DMU to give talk on self-publishing. In addition, there’s monthly Belmont Belles meetings which I organise with mu oppo and great mate, June Kearns.
All that remains now is for me to wish you a healthy and happy 2019. I’m about to pick up the threads of the next novel which I started just before Christmas and to get stuck in. What is it about? I’ll let this tweet and the video do the talking –
It’s five years since New Romantics Press published their first novels. Earlier this week we mentioned how we’d worked hard to publish twelve novels in five years. Four of those novels are mine and I’m proud to look back over what I’ve achieved. I’m currently working on #5 and am eager to get to the editing/proofreading/cover reveal stage and publish by Easter 2018.
I have achieved #1 bestseller (historical Scottish) and #3 bestseller (Scotland’s/Highlands and Islands) and have rubbed shoulders on the same Amazon page as Diane Gabaldon and Jenny Colgan. I look at my four novels and ask myself: did I really write those? I’m now working hard on a romance set in Wisconsin USA, then its back to Scotland and the Black Isle for #6. My heart really is in the highlands.
My books are currently available to download onto your reading device via Amazon and will cost you just 99p/99c this week. Then the price returns to £2.50 – so don’t delay, download today. As you can see from the photo, my novels are also available as paperbacks and make an ideal present. If you want to know a little bit more about me and my books check out my author page.
If you’re wondering why I’m standing under this sign on the north coast of Scotland, I’ll tell you. My maiden name was Betty Hill. Cool to have a village named after you, no? I’ll be revealing more about that in the second stage of my Coast Road 500 trip in a blog in the New Year.
Can Fliss tame the Monarch of the Glen?
Fliss Bagshawe longs for a passport out of Pimlico where she works as a holistic therapist. After attending a party in Notting Hill she loses her job and with it her dream of becoming her own boss. When she’s offered the chance to take over a failing therapy centre, she grabs it with both hands. But there’s a catch – the centre lies five hundred miles away – in Wester Ross, Scotland. Fliss’s romantic view of the highlands populated by hunky Men in Kilts is shattered when she has an up close and very personal encounter with the Laird of Kinloch Mara, Ruairi Urquhart. He’s determined to pull the plug on the business, bring his eccentric family to heel and eject undesirables from his estate – starting with Fliss. Faced with the dole queue once more, Fliss resolves to make sexy, infuriating Ruairi revise his unflattering opinion of her, turn the therapy centre around and sort out the dysfunctional Urquharts.
and find the happiness she deserves?
Next, I wrote Boot Camp Bride
Take an up-for-anything reporter. Add a world-weary photo-journalist. Put them together . . . light the blue touchpaper and stand well back! Posing as a bride-to-be, Charlee Montague goes undercover at a boot camp for brides in order to photograph supermodel Anastasia Markova. At Charlee’s side and posing as her fiancé, is Rafael Ffinch award winning photographer and survivor of a kidnap attempt in Columbia. He’s in no mood to cut inexperienced Charlee any slack and has made it plain that once the investigation is over, their partnership – and fake engagement – will be terminated, too. Soon Charlee has more questions than answers. What’s the real reason behind Ffinch’s interest in the boot camp? How is it connected to his kidnap in Columbia? In setting out to uncover the truth, Charlee puts herself in danger … As the investigation draws to a close, she wonders if she’ll be able to hand back the engagement ring and walk away from Rafa without a backward glance.
I decided to return to Scotland for Scotch on the Rocks and it became a#1 best seller within two weeks of publication.
ISHABEL STUART is at the crossroads of her life.
Her wealthy industrialist father has died unexpectedly, leaving her a half-share in a ruined whisky distillery and the task of scattering his ashes on a Munro. After discovering her fiancé playing away from home, she cancels their lavish Christmas wedding at St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh and heads for the only place she feels safe – Eilean na Sgairbh, a windswept island on Scotland’s west coast – where the cormorants outnumber the inhabitants, ten to one. When she arrives at her family home – now a bed and breakfast managed by her left-wing, firebrand Aunt Esme, she finds a guest in situ – BRODIE. Issy longs for peace and the chance to lick her wounds, but gorgeous, sexy American, Brodie, turns her world upside down. In spite of her vow to steer clear of men, she grows to rely on Brodie. However, she suspects him of having an ulterior motive for staying on remote Cormorant Island. Having been let down by the men in her life, will it be third time lucky for Issy? Is she wise to trust a man she knows nothing about – a man who presents her with more questions than answers? As for Aunt Esme, she has secrets of her own . . .
This summer I published my latest – Girl in the Castle – but, this time, I’ll let the video trailer do the talking.
Thank you for reading my latest blog. Do get in touch if you’d like to talk about any of my books, I love feedback from readers.
Have a great weekend and happy reading – Lizzie
It doesn’t seem possible that almost five years have passed since we launched New Romantics Press. At the time, we each said: “We’ll be happy just to see our novel in print.”
Since then, we’ve been bitten by the writing bug and gone on to write further novels, win accolades, reach the finals of a prestigious book award and achieve bestseller status (historical romance>Scottish) on Amazon. Not to forget, hosting a wonderful book launch at Waterstones in Kensington. Between us, we’ve written ten fabulous novels and gained a host of readers who are hungry for more! With four new novels in the pipeline, we thought it time to thank our wonderful readers/supporters and to celebrate our achievements by uploading a Kindle book, containing the first two chapters of each of our novels to share with you.
The Kindle is almost a novel in its own right – almost forty thousand words in all!
So . . . if you have never read any of our novels, now’s the time to
TAKE A CHANCE ON US
Within the pages of the Kindle you will find: romantic heroes and heroines aplenty; men in kilts, cowboys, Victorian Misses, Twenties Girls, Wild Irish actors who bear more than a passing resemblance to Pierce Brosnan, feisty heroines who live on remote islands in the Atlantic, academics, priests, enigmatic heroes – and women ‘who love not wisely, but too well.’ In short, ten ideal summer reads to take to the beach with you – a book for every mood. Click here to read an extract/buy/share
Since publishing Take a Chance on us, Adrienne and Lizzie have written Fur Coat and No Knickers – a collection of poems and short stories and Girl in the Castle – fall in love with a Highlander
click here to download a copy of Take a chance on us
and, from all of us – thank you very much – have a great summer!
Lizzie, Adrienne, June and Mags