Name Lorna Peel
Where are you from: I was born in England but I was brought up in North Wales.
A little about yourself i.e. your education Family life etc: I live in rural Ireland where I grow fruit and veg and keep chickens. I also love history and genealogy.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My contemporary romance Only You was published on 17 October 2014 from Tirgearr Publishing.
Jane Hollinger is the wrong side of thirty, divorced and struggling to pay the mortgage her cheating ex left her with. As a qualified genealogist, teaching family history evening classes is a way for her to make ends meet. But she begins to wonder if it’s such a good idea when a late enroller for the class is a little… odd. “Badly-blond Bloke” both scares and intrigues Jane, and when she discovers he is her all-time favourite actor and huge crush, Robert Armstrong, she’s stunned. Even more stunning to Jane is the fact that Robert is interested in her romantically. He’s everything she ever dreamed of, and more, but can she overcome her fear of living in the public eye to be with the man she loves?
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I was nineteen and hadn’t been encouraged to do any creative writing at school, so once I was free of school, I wanted to see if I could put my imagination to good use and actually write a full length novel from start to finish.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I began writing my second manuscript and realised that the first wasn’t just a one off!
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book was a historical which will never see the light of day, but I had read a lot of historicals growing up and I wanted to see if I could write and research at the same time and produce something coherent!
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Not really. It depends on what I’m writing. If it is contemporary romance, then it is pretty casual and I love writing dialogue, but with historical romance I tend to be a little more formal.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I wanted something short and to the point. Only You is short and to the point!
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Don’t trust everything you read and see in the press!
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
I like to think that a lot of it is. I’ve tried to make both Jane and Robert as realistic as possible. Neither of them are perfect and they both make some pretty bad decisions, but don’t we all?
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
No, not at all, it was based mainly on a lot of what ifs!
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
Mostly historicals and mysteries. I’d love to write something which combines both.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Probably Enid Blyton, even though she’s not very politically correct these days. When I was little I read everything she wrote and it fuelled my imagination and eventually led me to start writing.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Demelza. It’s the second novel in the Poldark series by Winston Graham.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
C.J. Sansom who writes the Matthew Shardlake historical mysteries set in Tudor England. I love them.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
My World War Two historical romance Into The Unknown, which I hope to submit to Tirgearr Publishing soon.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
There are two, actually, and are completely separate groups of writers – The Armitage Authors Network and The Disenchantments. There are no writers groups where I live so to have online support is great.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, definitely, and I would love to be able to make a living from writing one day.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, I love it just the way it is.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
A hugely active imagination and the need to do something with it!
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Yes, I’ll post an excerpt at the end!
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Finding the time in Summer to write. Winter isn’t so bad, with long, dark evenings, but Summer is harder with chickens and a garden to look after but I always make up for the lack of Summer writing in Winter.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Historical novelist Sharon Kay Penman. The amount of research which goes into her books must be phenomenal but it never shows.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not yet, but I’d like to!
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My fabulous cover was designed by the very talented cover designers at Tirgearr Publishing. I absolutely love it!
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Finishing it! I always have trouble finishing a book and leaving the characters behind.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
That I can write really fast when I put my mind to it. The first draft of Only You took only two months to write.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Never give up. Be stubborn. Believe in your writing and don’t allow anyone to put you or your work down.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I hope you enjoy reading Only You as much as I enjoyed writing it!
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
At school, it was probably one of the Peter and Jane learn how to read books. The first book I read outside school was The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Warped senses of humour make me laugh. Death makes me cry.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would like to meet and why?
My paternal grandfather. He died when I was only seven. He had a great love of history so I’d love to be able to sit down and chat with him.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
I’d actually prefer to be cremated but I’ve been researching my ancestry for a long time and I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the completely pointless on headstones. So, if I were to have a headstone, it would be something short and helpful like my name and my year of birth and year of death. I’m not really into poetry or epitaphs on headstones, although, “I told you I was I’ll” is a pretty good one!
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Yes, I love genealogy and I’m really lucky that I have a pretty varied ancestry.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Game of Thrones. I love the fact that none of the characters are safe from death! I also love Robin of Sherwood and Six Feet Under.
I have two favourite films – Lawrence of Arabia and Rebecca
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
I love Italian food – pastas and pizzas of all descriptions!
My favourite colour is purple.
My favourite album is O by Damien Rice.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
A journalist, but I’m not outgoing enough.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Thank you for interviewing me, Fiona!
An excerpt from Only You:
Mags called round to Jane’s house the next evening with a bottle of wine and a DVD. She spotted the roses in a vase on a table in a corner of the living room. “And where did these come from?” she demanded. “Ten roses don’t come cheap.”
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” Jane passed her sister a glass of white wine and they curled up at opposite ends of the black leather sofa.
“They’re from Mitch,” Jane replied, putting her glass on the coffee table and reaching for the DVD Mags had brought with her. It was yet another slapstick comedy. The previous two comedies Mags had brought with her had been about as funny as the flu. This one, complete with actors she had never heard of, would probably be just as bad.
“Do I know him?” Mags frowned.
“Only as Badly-blond Bloke.” Jane put the DVD on the coffee table face down, hoping Mags would forget about it.
Mags’ face contorted. “Oh God no, that’s creepy! He must have nicked them, Jane!”
She shook her head. “Paid for in cash. I went to the florist first thing this morning to check.”
“He must be a drug dealer. Did you ask him to leave the class?”
“No.” Jane waited for Mags’ reaction.
Mags set her wine glass down on the coffee table with a crash. “Oh Jane. Don’t be a muppet.” She pointed at the roses. “Those were paid for with drugs!”
“We don’t know that. And he did apologise for last week.”
“But he still gives you the creeps?”
Jane thought about it for a moment. “No, not anymore. There is something not right about him, though, and I don’t know what it is. He had green contact lenses this week. They’re weird; not at all natural.”
“Yeah, I’ve seen models wearing them, they are a bit weird all right. Does he ever show you his family tree?”
Jane smiled, reached for her glass of wine and took a sip. “I don’t even know what his surname is. The card with the bouquet didn’t say his name.”
“Oh, bloody hell, Jane. Get rid!”
“But he hasn’t actually done anything wrong.”
“You find out just who the hell he is, girl,” Mags ordered. “And I’m not leaving until you do.”