New start, new love. That’s what Honor Sontag needs after her life falls apart, leaving her reputation in tatters and her head all over the place. So she flees her native America and heads for Brighton, England.
Honor’s hoping for a much-deserved break and the chance to find the mother who abandoned her as a baby. What she gets is an entanglement with a mysterious male whose family seems to have a finger in every pot in town.
Martyn Mayfair has sworn off women with strings attached, but is irresistibly drawn to Honor, the American who keeps popping up in his life. All he wants is an uncomplicated relationship built on honesty, but Honor’s past threatens to undermine everything. Then secrets about her mother start to spill out …
Honor has to make an agonising choice. Will she live up to her dutiful name and please others? Or will she choose freedom?
When I began writing Love & Freedom I decided that American Honor Sontag had come to Brighton, England, searching for her English mother who had left when Honor was a baby.
I didn’t immediately realise that it would represent a new start – like her, I believed she was just taking time out, a four-month odyssey that would allow her a break from a bad situation in her Connecticut home town of Hamilton Drives. Although, I suppose, having taken such a radical step as to take off without even telling her family where she was going, it was logical that she was ripe for change.
And beginning a story at a point of change gives the writer the ideal springboard for forward impetus. Novels that keep sending the action backwards rather than forwards can become static and slow – and they’re not the stories that I like to write. But, with Starting Over already published, I suppose that readers might be forgiven to think that I have a thing about fresh starts! That’s not really true but characters do need to change and learn and one of the things all of us might learn in our lifetime is that certain situations are best left behind.
I don’t write novels that are backward-looking (I think!) but the history of a character is vitally important. History shapes a person’s attitudes and beliefs, as well as giving them something they can react to. Honor really has troubles – I didn’t hold back – centring on Stef, who has done something so stupid that Honor has lost her job and a lot of respect. I don’t like to write predictable books, either, so I gave her more than one option when it came to moving forward in her life. A penitent and persistent Stef, a family who is worried about her, and a whole cast of characters in Eastingdean, near Brighton, to involve her with their lives: 14-year-old Rufus, whose happy hippy mum, Robina, is a liability; mysterious Martyn Mayfair whose eldest sister is really his mum and whose family seems to have a finger in every Eastingdean pie; Frog, the local bully. And, to keep things interesting, I made Robina Martyn’s stalker.
It made choosing the correct ‘new start’ kind of interesting … But – eventually – I think I chose for her the best kind, the kind to make every day a day of excitement and joy.
Love & Freedom will be published by Choc Lit on 1 June 2011. You can pre-order it now. Tell us where you’d make a new start & why (in the comments below) to be in with the chance of winning a copy. Deadline for entries is midnight on Sunday 8th May 2011.
Sue Moorcroft writes romantic novels of dauntless heroines and irresistible heroes for Choc Lit. Combining that success with her experience as a creative writing tutor, she’s written a ‘how to’ book, Love Writing – How to Make Money From Writing Romantic and Erotic Fiction (Accent Press). Sue also writes short stories, serials, articles and courses and is the head judge for Writers’ Forum. She’s a Katie Fforde Bursary Award winner.