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Storm’s Heart Blog Tour

Welcome to The Nut Press, Rachel Lyndhurst! Thanks very much for stopping by on your blog tour for Storm’s Heart, which the squirrels and I really enjoyed. It’s a fab modern romance with lots of heat and passion, appealing characters and a lush setting.

Storm’s Heart is your debut novel and it’s described as a “sexy, sophisticated romance”. Have you always written romance or did you try other genres before finding this one suited you?

It’s always been romance, unless you count the ‘Maggot Club’ stories I used to crank out at infant school or the rude poems at college. As a reader, the escapist element of romance really appeals to me, and I don’t enjoy sad endings or gore, so I like it (and there’s the sex of course!).

I love that place is just as much a character in your book as the people and that it plays such an important role. You had the inspiration for Storm’s Heart from a champagne reception on the London Eye (which provides the location for a key scene in Chapter One) and a holiday on Lindos (which you use as your hero’s home). You’ve captured the feel of a Greek island incredibly well in the book. How did you go about creating the place for your book? Especially in the case of Lindos, did you write some of the book there, take lots of notes and photos while on holiday, do you have a photographic memory or did you use images on the web and guidebooks or a combination of all those?

For Storm’s Heart, I did the lot. I went to Lindos, took loads of photos (where it was allowed) and had an internet fest later on for even greater detail on things like local amenities, property and, er, Rhodes town itself (our package holiday only took in the airport!). It’s handy to visit a place to pick up little touches that you wouldn’t find elsewhere, especially when it comes to language and customs. For example the word parakalo is used in a completely different way in Lindos from some other parts of Greece – it’s quite intriguing. However, you can do the job just as well via the internet these days, in my opinion. I’m off to Portofino in my current WIP and I’ve never been there. Fingers crossed though!

Andreas Lazarides is such a terrific romantic hero and to whet everyone’s appetite for him, you cleverly posted pics on your blog of Andres Velencoso Segura. Was he your inspiration for Andreas from the beginning or did Andreas develop as a character and you then looked for pictures of someone who looked how you imagined him? Do you do this for all your characters?

Andres Velencoso Segura wasn’t the beginning of Andreas, the hero of Storm’s Heart. I knew I wanted a tall, dark, brooding Greek and had started writing the story already, but his physical embodiment eventually came to me in a copy of Hello magazine at the hairdressers. The yummy Spaniard was draped all over his girlfriend Kylie Minogue. I turned to my hairdresser and said, ‘He’s nice …’ She agreed, as did the rest of the salon, so the job was his!

I do find it helpful to have a real life base for my heroes, it helps with the physical descriptions, and has turned out to be quite good fun promotion wise after the book’s been published. But I do jig things around a bit; Andreas, my fictional Greek, is a lot more muscular than Andres and he had a few eye colour changes along the way. I’ve had such a lot of fun with him on my blog though!

I’m guessing you came up with the hero, Andreas Lazarides, first because you decided to use a Greek island for one of your locations? If you did, how did you go about finding the right heroine (Kizzy Dean) for him?

Kizzy, my heroine, was born more out of issues and circumstance than by her looks. I wanted her to be at rock bottom, with a dark past and as much the opposite of Andreas as I could get for the initial conflict. Kizzy had been growing in my head for some time and the name cropped up quite often in my ideas box until I put the two of them together. She was almost a trainee banker who gets into a luscious pickle with a Spanish landlord!

Okay, it has to be done. I’ve told the squirrels to go off and hunt for some nuts while we talk about SEX. Writing good sex scenes isn’t easy and your sex scenes are incredibly hot. Any tips on how to write them?

That is such a hard question! Firstly it helps to be alone – I can’t do it with children in the house or the broadband engineer in the next room. I also read a lot of sexy books (sorry mother!) and thoroughly enjoy them – if you can’t do that, then the chances are you’re going to struggle to write them. I’ve been known to write sex scenes when the mood takes me and file them away for the right moment in the future as well. Having a wild imagination helps, as does getting older – I don’t blush quite so much these days, not after two C- sections anyway. And never underestimate the advantages of having a brilliant editor! Or the odd glass of wine …

I enjoyed the fact that you decided to touch on important issues, like domestic violence and minority rights, in your book but were you worried that this might put off some readers or that you might not do the subjects justice in the book?

It’s a tricky one since it’s a short romance that by its very nature has to focus on the developing relationship between the two main characters. I wasn’t worried about putting readers off, as the ‘issues’ don’t take over the plot, but do add back-story and dimension to the characters’ personalities. I was concerned about not doing the subjects justice, but thoroughly researched them all, and I’m prepared for any questions that may head my way as a result. I’m grateful that Embrace even allowed me to touch upon issues such as domestic violence and minority rights – there are publishing houses and editors out there who never would.

Storm’s Heart launched on the same day as your publisher Embrace Books (an imprint of Salt Publishing) launched. You were innovative (and tireless!) in your excellent promotion of both leading up to the launch and on the day itself. Do you enjoy that aspect of being an author?

I love it! The internet has truly opened up the world – how on earth did people promote their books before blogs, websites, Facebook and Twitter? It must have taken forever!

It’s incredible connecting with potential readers and other authors – I’ve learned so much and made so many friends as well. It does eat into your writing time though, so I need to develop a more disciplined approach to the promotional side of things. This includes staring at David Gandy for long periods on YouTube naturally.

Describe your ideal writing day and place.

An empty house or garden, a computer (with functioning broadband!) and no builders next door. Or barking dogs. Or door to door salespersons/cultists.

Now tell us what a ‘real’ or ‘typical’ writing day is like for you.

Pretty dull I’m afraid! I get back from the school run at about nine in the morning and then life rotates around the computer/laptop until just before three in the afternoon. I write/network in this time and try to keep off my bum for a bit by racing around with baskets of washing and other assorted domestic awfulness. Cups of tea, lunch if I remember, and we won’t mention the odd bags of crisps in passing …

Can you read other fiction while you’re working on your own novel or not?

Oh yes, there’s never a day I’m not working on the next novel, so if I didn’t I’d never read another book again! Him Indoors also reads me snippets of books he’s reading – stuff I’d never touch, but some of the prose is beautiful and inspiring.

What books are on your bedside table at the moment OR what book have you enjoyed reading recently that you’d recommend?

Golly, there are so many! My next must read is Getting Away With It by Julie Cohen. I preordered and got my hands on this massive hardback ages ago, but since then I’ve been so busy that I’ve had to stick to shorter books so I don’t get frustrated by my lack of reading time (a lightweight, I know, but I savour every word of a good book). The last book I read was Savage Sun by B L Bonita, which was very hot! Possibly not one you’d give to your great aunty Mable, but ask her, you never know!

And finally, can you tell us a bit about your next novel? I understand there’s a Welsh-Italian hero in it. (Perfect combo, not that I’m biased or anything!)

My current WIP does have a Welsh-Italian in it. Tall and dark, with arctic blue eyes, he’s been thoroughly researched and inspected by moi for any potential flaws (ho ho, tough job etc). There’s a lot of history involving Italian immigrants to the deep, green valleys of South Wales, a lot of passion, a lot of – hang on! My editor’s not even inspected him yet!

Thanks so much for having me, Kath and squirrels, you can come back in now!

Thanks for visiting the Nut Press and answering our questions!

Storm’s Heart is Rachel Lyndhurst’s debut novel and is published by

or Salt Publishing. To find out more about the author, visit Rachel’s blog or Follow Rachel on Twitter.

You can win your very own signed copy of Storm’s Heart by leaving a comment below by Sunday 20th March.



Comments

Phillipa Ashley
Reply

What an insightful interview – I enjoy hearing about the workings of an author’s mind, particuarly when it comes to the sex scenes. Joking apart, I loved Storm’s Heart and the revelation about Andreas was both moving and a genuine surprise.

Brigita
Reply

Great interview, I really enjoyed it. Every good author has to read as much as possible, but I’m very familiar with the dilemma between reading other people’s works and creating your own. There’s never enough time.

Rachel Lyndhurst
Reply

Thanks, Phillipa, you’re so kind and pretty good at writing the odd steamy scene yourself! Can’t WAIT to get my hands on Fever Cure!

Brigita, you’re so right, and a part of me still feels guilty about sitting down to read a book when I should be working. It IS work really though, isn’t it?

kath
Reply

Thanks for dropping by, Phillipa and Brigita!

“You can’t be a writer without also reading” is my standard defence every time I get caught reading a book, Rach!

Lanae T.
Reply

I haven’t read “Storm’s Heart” yet, but it sounds really good.

It’s so interesting to hear how an author goes about bringing a story to life. It would be wonderful to be able to travel to all of the places you use as inspiration.

Thanks so much for sharing here, Rachel! And thanks, Kath and squirrels, for having her here!

kath
Reply

Pleasure, Lanae. Thanks for dropping by! Good luck with the giveaway. Rachel writes about Lindos so well that you feel as if you’re there – which is almost as good as going there yourself!

Rachel Lyndhurst
Reply

Thanks for the lovely comment, Lanae! You never know, you might be the lucky winner of the signed copy and you can let me know what you think!
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Nas
Reply

Amazing interview! I enjoyed reading your journey Rachel and about some Storm’s Heart.

nas_dean@ymail.com

Rachel Lyndhurst
Reply

Thanks, Nas, brilliant to see you here and I’m glad you enjoyed the interview. Thanks for commenting!

Jane Lovering
Reply

Mmmm, sexy Greek… I’d love to read this! And thank you for pointing out, Rachel, that we women writers still have to fit all the housework in around our writing! I wonder how many times Terry Pratchett has to break off work because tea has to be cooked, or the laundry needs to be done?

kath
Reply

It’s guilt about the housework, not the actual housework, that’s your problem, Jane. I find a quarterly blitz of the house usually suffices… and I’m okay with that, even if no one else is. 😉

Kate Allan
Reply

I find a glass of wine helps with the hotter scenes too. But you should try and get to Portofino. I might have a French hero in my next book because I really do want a holiday in France…

kath
Reply

Research trips have to be tax deductible, surely? Good luck getting to France, Kate. I’m hoping for Italy or Greece… and I hope you get to Portofino, Rach. It is gorgeous and crawling with men who wouldn’t dream of having their ladies clean the loo.

Rachel Lyndhurst
Reply

You’re spot on, Jane! That’s why there are so many sexy Greeks being written who wouldn’t dream of letting their heroines clean the loo. You’ve got me thinking now – John Grisham – does anyone reckon he puts out the bins?

The plan is this, Kate, (and you musn’t guffaw so loudly that I can hear):I make oodles of cash from royalties – enough to pay tax (shh now!), and then claim all this foreign travel back as ‘research’ (stop tittering). So, Portofino is almost in the bag, as soon as someone volunteers to look after my unruly children for a week. Why’s it all gone so very quiet … ?

kath
Reply

We could pack the squirrels and the kids off to a camp somewhere for the week…?

Rachel Lyndhurst
Reply

I’m not sure even your squirrels could cope with my little animals, Kath, but it’s worth a try!!! Research trips *are* tax deductible, like lots of other useful stuff such as pens and rubber bands etc. HOWEVER one has to earn enough to pay tax in the first place before it all works. Now what’s the golden figure? £7475 for 2011/12. I’d better get scribbling!!!

kath
Reply

How much?! I don’t think I’ve earned that in the last 3/4 years put together. *scribbles faster*

Oh, and the squirrels have stealth jets and a rocket launcher – or Squizz does anyway, so I’m sure they’ll be fine with your little animals. Child care for the times we live in. 😀

Rachel Lyndhurst
Reply

Brill! The children will be down in the next FedEx van!

kath
Reply

Squizz, boys, where are you all going? … What do you mean ‘Just Out’? … We’re going to have some lovely little guests for a while. Guys…?

Ranae Rose
Reply

Nice interview! I liked the ideal vs. real writing day part…myself, I don’t even know what it’s like to write in an empty house, but hey, I can dream!

Rachel Lyndhurst
Reply

Thanks, Ranae, great to see you here! Things are looking good for you, hun. If you can write all that hot romance in the chaos, just *imagine* what you’ll come up with when silence falls. Woohoo!
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Lynne Roberts
Reply

Hi Rachel!

Great interview! You’re day sounds similiar to mine. : ) Thank you so much for voting for Creative License in the cover contest. It made me smile to see someone I didn’t have to email or call. ; )
Your book sounds awesome!

Thanks again,

Lynne

Rachel Lyndhurst
Reply

Great to see you here, Lynne!
I just *had* to vote for your cover – it’s caught my eye so many times. Hot or what?! And thanks for the Storm’s Heart compliment!
XXX

Talli Roland
Reply

How have I missed this? Great interview, ladies! I loved hearing how Rachel writes sex scenes. I can’t even write about people unbuttoning things without blushing.

kath
Reply

Thanks Talli! As far as writing sex scenes goes, it seems wine is the answer. 😀

kath
Reply

Congratulations to Kate Allan who wins the signed copy of Storm’s Heart and thanks to everyone who dropped by!

Best of luck with Storm’s Heart, Rachel, and hope to see you back here when the next book’s out… or maybe we can do that interview in Portofino?

Rachel Lyndhurst
Reply

Consider it a date, Kath, I’m googling the best harbour side restaurant as we speak! It was brilliant visiting you and the furry ones and I can ‘t wait to come back again, so thank you very much for having me. Thank you also to all the gorgeous visitors, and Kate, I hope you enjoy Storm’s Heart!
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