Jessica Chambers, author of a heart-warming novel of love and self-discovery is here today to tell us about her new release, Voices on the Waves. Let's give her a warm welcome!
***Jessica's running a contest for the duration of her October blog tour. Anyone who comments on any of the posts throughout the tour will be entered into the draw to win a $15 gift voucher for their choice of Amazon or . The five winners will be announced over at Jessica's blog: http://www.jessicachambers.co.uk/blog
Tell us a little about yourself:
I’m a UK born author currently living with my family and crazy Staffordshire bull terrier in the English town of Windsor, most famous for its castle and nearby Eton College. At the age of five, I was diagnosed with Retinitis Pitmentosa, a degenerative eye condition that has left me almost totally blind. Not that I’ve ever allowed this to get in the way of my ambition to be a published author.
Clichéd as it sounds, I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. As a shy person, I love being able to escape into another world, and the sense of power that comes with controlling everything that goes on in that world. I especially love writing women’s fiction centered around memorable characters that leap off the page. I’m also an avid reader of pretty much any genre. So long as it has a page-turning plot and vivid, believable characters, I’m there!
Tell us about your new release, Voices on the Waves.
It’s a sweet women’s fiction novel set against the stunning backdrop of rural Cornwall. Faye Wakefield, my generous but rather lonely heroine, runs a competition offering nine lucky winners a two-week stay at her beautiful farmhouse retreat. She hopes the contest will help her find a solution to her troubles, but it ends up achieving more than she ever imagined. This is far more than a holiday romance. It’s a novel of self-discovery and of coming to terms with the past. With newfound love, illicit affairs and the sharing of long-buried secrets, Voices on the Waves really does have it all.
What inspired you to write the story?
I suppose it all started with my fascination with people and the ways in which they interact. What would happen, I asked myself, if you forced a group of strangers together in one place for a set length of time, and then left them to their own devices? Rather like a chilled out version of Big Brother without the cameras, if you will. Then, having assembled my cast of diverse personalities, all I had to do was let my imagination flow and the sparks fly.
I noticed you were also the book cover artist. Do you design book covers, too?
I didn’t design the cover for Voices on the Waves as such, but I did have a lot of input. I knew I wanted a softer, painting-style image rather than a photograph, and then I stumbled across this particular painting while searching the internet for pictures of the Cornish coast. I wrote to the artist, Gillian Jansen, and she very kindly said I could use it for my cover. After that, with a lot of help from my dad who’s a whiz with Photoshop, we turned the painting into the cover you see now.
What do you find most rewarding about writing?
It’s wonderful when a reader tells you how much she enjoyed your book. It’s what makes all the hard work worth while. Also, though, I love the satisfaction of getting that first draft down on paper, the relief of seeing that initial idea through to its conclusion.
What are your current projects and works in progress?
I’ve just started work on a novella, which will be written as part of a series with a group of my fellow authors at Red Rose. The idea is that we each write a book based on a reality TV show, and I’m taking the inspiration for mine from talent shows such as American Idol and The X Factor. It’s shaping up to be really great fun!
I’m also in the throes of editing a novel called painting The Summer. More of a mystery than Voices On The Waves, it centers around a wealthy English family whose lives are torn apart when they invite a handsome young artist into their home to paint their portraits. All going well, I’m hoping both novels will be published some time in 2011.
Tell the readers where they can find you:
They can visit my website at:
http://www.jessicachambers.co.uk where they’ll be able to read an excerpt from Voices on the Waves, follow my blog and keep up to date with my latest news and contests.
When Faye Wakefield runs a competition offering nine lucky winners a two-week holiday at her beautiful farmhouse retreat in Cornwall, she promises an experience they will never forget. However, even Faye could not have imagined how bringing these people together would change their lives forever.
Just as she hoped, the competition yields a diverse mixture of characters. Among them are Leah Shaw, a shy young woman with troubled eyes, the womanizing business tycoon Marcus Armitage, Karenza Jackson, ruled by her deep-rooted need for independence, retired nurse Bronwyn Davis, and Patrick O’Leary, an Irishman with an affiliation for the whisky bottle.
So begins a gently unfolding story of love and illicit affairs, heartbreak and self-discovery. Yet, as sparks fly and the guests share their long-suppressed secrets, only Faye knows of her ulterior motive for inviting them all under her roof.
Reaching the pool, Faye paused to watch Marcus’s graceful progress through the water. God, he’s magnificent, she reflected, marveling at the tanned leanness of his body. As handsome as the legendary Matthew Trewhella, who had ensnared the Mermaid Morveren with his singing. There was no doubt that Marcus had ensnared her, and Tiffany, too.
She continued to gaze at him, assailed by long-suppressed memories of a time before love and pain had become forever entangled in her mind, until he paused to catch his breath and saw her.
He awarded her a lazy smile, stopping Faye’s heart mid-beat. “Is this a vision I behold, or could this be my gorgeous hostess come to join me?”
She blushed. “If you’re sure you don’t mind.”
“Not at all. As you see, I’m all on my lonesome here just waiting for a charming lady companion.”
“I just saw Tiffany on the terrace. I would have thought she’d be happy to do you the honor.”
“Alas, it seems a tumble in the pool with me was not sufficient reward for her to dampen her lustrous locks.”
She laughed, feeling awkward. Marcus’s gray eyes roving over her made Faye acutely aware of her body on display, and of her face flushed from cleaning the kitchen. To hide her embarrassment, she discarded her sarong and lowered herself into the pool. Cool water enveloped her, welcome against her skin. She swam a couple of self-conscious lengths before coming to rest by the wall a short distance from where Marcus was floating on his back.
“You look very relaxed,” she said.
“Hmmm, I could get used to this, that’s for sure. You’ve got a really nice set up here, Faye. I’m considering following you into the business.”
“What? You’d exchange your position as owner of a successful company for frying bacon and making beds?”
“Well, obviously I’d employ people to do the more menial tasks.” Marcus rolled onto his front and came to rest his arms on the wall beside her. “Seriously, though, I just don’t seem to be getting the same satisfaction out of my work as I used to. In fact, my whole life feels stale at the moment: my job, my marriage, my kids, everything. I love my kids, don’t get me wrong, but they’re always making demands on me to watch their hockey matches or help them with their algebra, and I never seem to have any time to myself.”
“So is that why you entered the competition? You needed to get away for a while?
“Exactly. Ever since I turned forty earlier this year, I’ve had this urge to forget all my responsibilities and do what I want for a change.”
He certainly hadn’t wasted any time there, Faye mused. Barely had he set foot over the threshold before he was indulging in a little flirtation. Faye couldn’t blame him. Few men could remain immune to such vivacious beauty, and in Tiffany’s place, she knew she would have received this man with open arms.
She drank him in out of the corner of her eye. His shoulders glistened with water and his fair hair lay flat against his head, accentuating its arrogant tilt. A yearning such as she had not encountered for longer than she cared to recall welled up inside her, catching her off guard.
Briefly Faye imagined how it would feel to have his arms around her, pressing her against that streamlined body. She almost laughed out loud at herself. It was hopeless even to think such things. She was only eight years Marcus’s senior, and there was a time when she could have held her own against many women half her age, but not anymore. Her recent strain and the loss of a considerable amount of weight had left her looking haggard and older than her years. No, Marcus might tease her but he would never view her as an object of desire.
Pushing the thought aside, Faye adopted a bright tone. “Does your wife know you’re here?”
“Lord no,” Marcus said, clearly horrified. “If I’d mentioned I’d won this competition, Alison would have expected to come with me. As far as my family is concerned, I’m attending a conference on the future of the property market, among other things.”
“But aren’t you worried she’ll find out?”
“Oh, no, Alison trusts me too much to doubt my word. I called her last night to let her know I’d arrived safely in Leeds, and she never suspected a thing.” He gave a self-congratulatory shrug. “And in the unlikely event of her questioning me too deeply about the conference, I’ve sent my most trusted associate to check it out on my behalf so he can fill me in on the details.”
“You,” Faye said, splashing him playfully, “are an extremely naughty boy.”
Marcus grinned. “And don’t you just love it?”
Laughing, Faye turned onto her back to hide her blush. The sun’s earlier intensity had lessened, and it felt pleasantly warm on her outstretched limbs. The breeze carried the hum of male voices to her ears, and in the distance she made out the figures of Will and Anjum playing tennis.
Suddenly the beauty of the scene overwhelmed her: the clouds sketching patterns against the sky, the walls of the old farmhouse glazed a soft apricot in the afternoon light, the shrubs and trees in every shade of green. It was all so picturesque, the colors so vivid and full of life, Faye found it painful to look at.
“Faye, what is it?” Marcus’s voice broke into her thoughts, full of concern. “You’re crying.”
“Don’t be daft.” She wiped a hand across her cheeks. “I got water in my eye, that’s all.”
Buy Voices On The Waves from Red Rose Publishing