Writing

SUMMER? WHAT SUMMER?

Yes I know I’m in the middle of a blog tour but since the publication of Watercolours in the Rain I’ve had more time to actually  breathe.  And during those moments of my new and wonderful freedom from my writing routine, I thought it was about time I turned my attention to my Writer’s Journey blog.  So here I am, planning to jot down a few thoughts about this year’s warmer months.

The summer of 2016 has been one of the weirdest to say the least.  It spent most of its time between late May and early September trying to decide whether it wanted to join us. Unlike 1976 when the UK basked in temperatures of 33 degrees for months, standpipes were introduced, we were encouraged to take baths together (!) and I resorted to doing the ironing in my underwear, the summer 2016 has been a bit of a shy season.  It did eventually, albeit somewhat reluctantly, make an appearance, but rather too late to be of much benefit.

Our weather experiences began in February.  We’d taken ourselves off to Sidmouth for a few days to celebrate OH’s birthday with friends. February/March is never a time of year when you can predict the weather – although on a ‘way back when’ occasion in 2008 in Devon , we actually got to sit in the garden of our rented house and eat lunch.  This year, however, there were only three words to describe our experience – cold, damp and windy.  Looking back now this was obviously an omen of things to come, but at the time we shrugged it off. It’s early in the year, we said. It’s bound to get better.

We may have had the daffodils but the weather was generally yuk!

In March we took a trip up to London to visit Greenwich and the Maritime Museum. Once more cold wind and its best friend, rain, greeted us. However returning to the Capital in  April to see Kew (where we glimpsed David Attenborough filming) and Hampton Court Gardens (which were absolutely fabulous) we fared a little better with a few teasing glimpses of sunshine. That cold wind, however,  was still reluctant to leave.

Grey skies over Canary Wharf in March but more spring-like in Richmond in April

We always go away for my birthday in May and this year I wanted a return trip to Fowey in Cornwall. Anywhere with boats and water has always appealed as it’s so atmospheric and relaxing. We’d been there the year before and fallen in love with it all over again, remembering it had been a regular holiday destination in the late 1990s. The house we stayed in was gorgeous with a great view of the estuary. Unfortunately it became a case of breaking out the wet weather gear again – although we did have ONE WHOLE DAY of hot, sunny weather.  We were so pleased to see sunshine it actually fooled us into thinking we’d at last closed the door on the awful spring weather we’d been experiencing; that ahead there were warm, bright days to look forward to. But the next day the grey skies and sea mist were back once more.I guess the only saving grace during that week were the flowers, especially the rhododendrons – such a fabulous array of colours in contrast to those dull troubled skies.

A mix and match: Grey clouds, mist and sunshine but always the flowers

As June approached we felt by this time we really should be getting some sunshine…or maybe not.  We rented an apartment in Salcombe during the second week of June and I remember the morning of a planned trip to Dartmouth.  I drew the curtains to find sea mist  completely obscuring everything beyond the balcony outside.  It felt as if we were in an updated version of the 1980s film The Fog.  All that was missing was the ghostly pirate ship with its demonic crew waving cutlasses as it crept into Salcombe shrouded by the gloom of the estuary. However, like Fowey there was ONE whole day – Wednesday – when we walked down to South Beach. I remember glorious wall-to-wall sunshine and sitting outside the Salcombe Harbour hotel eating lunch and telling myself the weather really was on the change. Of course it was – back to grey and rainy the next day as you can see from the shot of Burgh Island below.

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The changing moods of South Hams, Devon

During July we went north to Liverpool for a few days. It’s an amazing place and if anyone reading this hasn’t already made it there, it should be a definite addition to their list of British cities to visit.  I absolutely loved the place…and the people. On our first evening we found a restaurant which pulled in Monday night diners by offering a bottle of wine EACH when you ordered two or more courses. Needless to say this was far too much alcohol for even us to manage. As the restaurant didn’t allow the bottles to leave the premises, we added it to the wine collection of a large table of people celebrating a birthday.

All in all we had a wonderful stay, but, oh dear, the weather. There was an afternoon of sunny spells on the open top bus tour but other than that…wind and rain – same old, same old…so disappointing.

Liverpool: In sunshine and in shadow

Finally, our last break – September and one week in Desenzano on Lake Garda.  I have an on-going love affair with Garda (or anywhere Italian for that matter) and we’ve stayed on the lake several times.  As we got off the plane at Verona Airport, on went the shades. I thought yes! Sunshine at last!  It was a fabulous week, especially the meet we had with friends for a drink in Garda on a scorching hot day. However, on the final afternoon coming back on the ferry from a trip to Sirmione just across the bay…you’ve guessed it…an absolute deluge which saw us sheltering in a coffee shop watching the locals running for cover.

Sunshine in Garda, rain in Desenzano

So, here we are, in the last few months of 2016 and I’m wondering what 2017 is going to bring.  What’s in store weather-wise for next year? Shall we wheel out the reliable old seaweed to find out? Or maybe cling to those old country adages, such as red sky at night or rainbows in morning? Perhaps not.  As usual it’s all in the lap of the gods. But I’m hopeful that maybe, just maybe, the jet stream will decided to get its act together and settle somewhere that will bring us the sunshine and the summer we deserve…here’s hoping!

Writing

TUESDAY TALK WELCOMES THE VERSATILE KATE FROST TALKING ABOUT HER DREAM HOLIDAY AND HER CURRENT WRITING PROJECTS…

katefrostheadshotGood morning Kate and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?

Morning Jo and thank you. I’m a busy mum of one who squeezes in writing and publishing novels around looking after my wonderfully cheeky and energetic two year-old. Along with my son, husband and our cute Cavalier King Charles Spaniel we live in a Victorian terraced house in Bristol. I grew up in Bristol but spent three years away studying drama at university in Aberystwyth before ending up back in my home town. In 2004-05 I did my MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, and then after years of getting close to snagging an agent and a publisher I took the decision in 2013 to self-publish The Butterfly Storm, the novel I wrote during my MA. I haven’t looked back.

When did you first decide you wanted to be a writer and how did you begin that journey?

I was seven years-old when I started writing and although I didn’t consciously know at that age that I wanted to be a writer, I did fall in love with writing and creating stories. I was lucky that following open-heart surgery for a hole-in-my-heart when I was seven (that bit wasn’t so lucky!), I had a fabulous home tutor during the subsequent months I spent off school recovering. The two things I vividly remember her teaching me about were dinosaurs and how to write stories, and I’ve been hooked on writing ever since.

Your first two books, The Butterfly Storm and Beneath the Apple Blossom were both successful adult novels. However, your latest book, Time Shifters into the Past is a children’s novel aimed at the-butterfly-storm-coverfinal300x4509 – 12 year olds. What made you decide on this change of direction?

To be honest it doesn’t really feel like a change of direction for me as I started writing Time Shifters: Into the Past way back in 2004, around the same time I started The Butterfly Storm. I was doing my MA in Creative Writing at the time and decided I’d get more out of the MA by writing a women’s fiction novel than one for children. It’s actually women’s fiction that I feel I’ve fallen into by mistake, and although I love it, I plan to write more action and adventure novels too.

Can you tell us something about your current WIP?

I have two on the go, both of which are sequels. I’m about two-thirds of the way through Time Shifters: A Long Way From Home which takes place just a few months after Into the Past ends. I’ve also started the second book of The Hopeful Years series which continues Connie’s story where it leaves off at the end of Beneath the Apple Blossom. It has the working title of The House of Stone and is set in Tanzania.

Are you a panster or a plotter? What works best for you?

I plot enough to know how the book will start, what the main theme is and who the main characters are and then pretty much take it from there. I often don’t know how a book is going to end and figure it out as the story evolves. Being mostly a panster mixed with a bit of a plotter seems to work fine for me.

If money was no object, where in the world would you choose for a special holiday?

Without a doubt I’d go to New Zealand and take at least four weeks to explore the North and South islands in a (luxury) camper van. It was one of the places we considered going to on our honeymoon but in the end we opted for a two-week beach and safari break in Tanzania and Zanzibar, which was amazing.

And lastly, if you were a castaway on a desert island, what four things couldn’t you live without?kf_tsitp_ebook_small

Oh, now that’s a difficult one! I guess a notebook and pen so I could keep myself entertained and sane writing stories to ward off the loneliness. Sun screen because otherwise I’d be as red as a lobster within an hour and I don’t imagine sun burn on a desert island would be much fun. Lastly I’d take a photo of my family as I’d miss them like crazy, although thinking about it I’d probably get more sleep on a desert island than I do at home with a toddler who wakes us up at 4.30 most mornings wanting to play…

 

 

 ABOUT KATE FROST: 

Kate Frost wrote her first novel, a time-travel adventure called London’s Burning, when she was seven years-old during the months she spent at home recovering from open-heart surgery for a hole-in-her-heart. She grew up in the 80s when imagination ruled – no mobiles or PlayStation, and playing out in the street was the norm.
Kate studied BA Drama at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, followed a few years later by a MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University where she also taught Lifewriting to Creative Writing undergraduates. She’s had various jobs over the years including being a bookseller at Waterstones, a team manager at NHS Direct and a Supporting Artist in the films Vanity Fair, King Arthur and The Duchess, but her favourite job is the one she does now – being a mum and a writer.

BENEATH THE APPLE BLOSSOM:  

btab_eb_cov_600-x-378Four women, linked by blood ties, friendship, betrayal, loss and hope, struggle with the choices they’ve made and the hand that life’s dealt them.

All Pippa’s ever wanted is marriage and kids, but at thirty-four and about to embark on IVF, her dream of having a family is far from certain. Her younger sister Georgie has the opposite problem, juggling her career, her lover, a young daughter and a husband who wants baby number two.

Pippa’s best friend Sienna has a successful career in the film world, and despite her boyfriend pressurising her to settle down, a baby is the last thing she wants. Happily married Connie shares the trauma of fertility treatment with Pippa, but underestimates the impact being unable to conceive will have on her and her marriage.

As their lives collide in a way they could never have predicted, will any of them get to see their hopes realised?

Purchase links:

Beneath the Apple Blossom: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beneath-Apple-Blossom-Hopeful-Years-ebook/dp/B01JGK93BQ/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1475584708&sr=1-1

The Butterfly Storm: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Butterfly-Storm-Kate-Frost-ebook/dp/B00D8NMGNA/ref=pd_sim_351_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=3PPZVYVCXWFP75D3YQF5

Time Shifters: Into the Past (preorder): https://www.amazon.co.uk/Time-Shifters-Into-Kate-Frost-ebook/dp/B01LXF9GAC/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1475612582&sr=1-2&keywords=kate+frost

CATCH UP WITH KATE ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Kactus77
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/katefrostauthor/
Website: http://kate-frost.co.uk/