Monday, May 11, 2015

Lorna Peel ~ an interview and her novel ~ Into the Unknown


Lorna Peel
Author Bio:
Lorna Peel is an author of contemporary and historical romantic fiction. She has had work published in three Irish magazines – historical articles on The Stone of Scone in ‘Ireland’s Own’, on The Irish Potato Famine in the ‘Leitrim Guardian’ – and Lucy’s Lesson, a contemporary short story in ‘Woman’s Way’.

Her first novel, Only You, a contemporary romance, was published in 2014. Into The Unknown, an historical novel set during WWII, will be published on 5 May 2015.

Lorna was born in England and lived in North Wales until her family moved to Ireland to become farmers, which is a book in itself! She lives in rural Ireland, where she writes, researches her family history, and grows fruit and vegetables. She also keeps chickens (and a Guinea Hen who now thinks she’s a chicken!).

Q: Are you a morning person, or a midnight candle burner?
A: I’m definitely a late afternoon/evening/late night person. I just seem to be more alert at those times of day and I tend to do most of my writing at those times.

Q: When you think of a garden, do you picture vegetables or flowers?
A: Vegetables, as I grow carrots, onions, garlic, oriental lettuce etc. I do have a flower garden but I prefer to grow fruit and vegetables.

Q: What kind of music do you listen to? Do you have an all time favorite song?
A: I listen to a bit of a mixture – anything apart from boy bands, country and western, and opera. I have a Pinterest Board where I pin songs I like. My all time favourite song is The Power of Love by Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

Q: Snack of choice – chips, pretzels, popcorn, or cookies, cake, candy? Or maybe you’re a healthy snacker - fruit, yogurt, nuts, raisins?
A: I don’t have a very sweet tooth, so I usually go for crisps (chips), especially a really strong salt and vinegar flavour that sizzles on the tongue!

Q: Dress up or dress down?
A: Down! I’m usually wearing jeans and a jumper or T-shirt!

Q: Coffee or Tea?
A: Definitely coffee! I do drink tea occasionally but I always reach for the coffee first!

Q: Do you write long hand first, or does it go straight into the computer?
A: I used to write in longhand in A4 sized spiral-bound notebooks but it was such a slog having to type it all up that now everything I write goes straight onto the laptop.

Q: Are you a sit down and play it by ear kind of writer, or do you need a structured guideline, or maybe a little of both?
A: Usually, yes, but with Into The Unknown, the novel was structured around the Second World War, so I had to know where I was going with the characters and plot.

Q: When crafting the story do you go from beginning to end, or do you jump around writing the scenes that are pushing themselves forward in your brain?
A: I write the first draft straight through to the end. If I wrote all the vital scenes first, I’d never get around to writing the rest!

Q: How long does it take you to create a novel?
A: It depends on the genre. The first draft of my contemporary romance, Only You, took about two months to write but the first draft of my historical romance Into The Unknown took about six months because of the amount of research I had to do.

Q: Do you like to read the genre that you write?
A: Yes, I love reading historical novels – both historical romance and historical crime. My favourite authors are Sharon Penman and C.J. Sansom.

Q: What are you working on now? Would you like to share anything about it?
A: At the moment, I’m self-editing a contemporary romantic mystery called The Image of Her.

Rachel Harris was abandoned as a baby on the steps of a church-run children’s home in England and later adopted. Who was her birth mother and what were the circumstances which led her to give up her baby? Searching for someone who doesn’t want to be found seems a hopeless task until Rachel meets Matthew, a Church of England clergyman. Then the anonymous and increasingly frightening attempts to end their relationship begin. Are these actions connected to the mysterious events surrounding Rachel’s birth?

Q: How can we find you? Do you have a web page, Facebook page or any buy links?
A: Yes, I do. All my social media and buy links are listed below.

Q: Are you currently participating in a blog tour? If you are let’s tell everyone where you’re going to be so they can catch up with you again.
A: Yes, I’m participating in a blog tour organised by Lucy Felthouse at Writer Marketing Services. These are the stops:

London on 3 September 1939 is in upheaval. War is inevitable. Into this turmoil steps Kate Sheridan, newly arrived from Ireland to live with her aunt and uncle, and look for work. When she meets Flight Lieutenant Charlie Butler sparks fly, but he is a notorious womaniser. Should she ignore all the warnings and get involved with a ladies man whose life will be in daily danger?

Charlie Butler has no intention of getting involved with a woman. But when he meets Kate his resolve is shattered. Should he allow his heart to rule his head and fall for a nineteen-year-old Irish girl while there is a war to fight?

Private conflicts and personal doubts are soon overshadowed. Will the horrors of war bring Kate and Charlie together or tear them apart?

Compared to the other three seated at the dining room table, Kate felt very drab in her “practical for travelling” grey dress. She hadn’t any make-up on because, according to her Irish grandmother, it was only worn by “fast girls”. She would have to see how much money her parents had given her, then go out and buy a London outfit and some make-up. She’d left home, was a grown-up now, so she should at least try and look the part.

“You look very pale, dear,” her aunt commented. “Are you all right? Do you feel ill at all?”

“No, no, I,” she stammered. “I’m just very hungry and tired. And the war, I did hope...”

“So did we all, Kate,” her uncle replied. “But Hitler, well,” he sighed. “Hitler had other ideas. So I’m back in the RAF.”

“You’re flying aeroplanes?”

“No.” He gave a kind laugh. “I’m afraid aeroplanes have changed a bit since I was last in one. No, I’m in dispatch, so to speak.”

Kate looked down at the dish the maid placed on the table in front of her. Vegetable soup, and it smelled delicious. He was being deliberately vague. Whatever he was doing must be top secret.

“Your mother wrote and told me you started a course after you finished school. Did you enjoy it?” her grandmother asked.

“Yes, thank you. I went to a Commercial College and I passed all my exams.”

“Congratulations.” Her aunt smiled. “What sort of job are you looking for?”

Kate helped herself to a roll from a dish in the centre of the table. “That’s the thing, Aunt Helen, I don’t know. I do know shorthand and typing now, though.”

“Shorthand and typing?” Her aunt sounded impressed.

“I was better at book-keeping,” she added, feeling a blush creep across her cheeks. “I couldn’t type quite as fast as some of the other girls.”

“Even so. How is everyone?”

“They’re very well, thank you, but Daddy didn’t want me to come here.”

“Yes, we do know what your father is like,” her aunt declared and her husband gave her a frown.

Kate squirmed. She knew her aunt thought her sister had married beneath her—a small-time solicitor from Ireland—but her father couldn’t help being the way he was. One of her earliest memories of him was when he heard that his brother, wounded in the Irish Civil War of 1922-23, had died. She would never forget how her father had cried like a child.

“But I was determined to come here,” she went on. “I’ve a letter for you from Mummy. It’s in my suitcase; I’ll get it for you when I unpack.”

“Millie will be unpacking for you. I’m sure she’ll come across it.”

“Oh,” Kate replied, then fell silent. She wasn’t sure she liked the idea of a stranger going through her clothes, some were very old-fashioned. “Where’s Toby?” she asked, finding her voice. “I can’t wait to meet him again.”

“He’s across the road as usual.” Her aunt rolled her eyes. “He spends more time at number 25 than he does here. His best friend Clive lives there, and I saw Charlie.” She turned to her husband. “He was showing off his new uniform.”

Uncle Bob laughed. “Charlie’s very proud of his RAF uniform. They are very smart, but I suppose we’ll all get fed up of them in time.”

“Oh, don’t say that,” his wife exclaimed before turning back to Kate. “Toby’s going back to school tomorrow. He boards, so I’m afraid you won’t have very much time to get to know him. Still, there will be more holidays. I’m bringing him to the train in the morning. Why don’t you come and then I can show you all the best shops?”

Kate hesitated. Did she have enough money for all the best shops? It would be rude to refuse and she would be able to see the styles, then she could see if the cheaper shops stocked something similar.

“Thank you, Aunt. Mummy never stopped talking about the shops.”

“Good girl.”

“Kate?” She looked at her uncle. “You really don’t have to be so polite. You’re nearly nineteen, so call me Bob and your aunt Helen.”

“Are you sure?”

“Positive.” He smiled. “Now tuck in.”

Following the meal and feeling re-energised, Kate called her parents on their newly-installed telephone. As she was calling them a day late, she told a white lie, that she had been too tired to call them the previous evening, but assured them she was fine.

Afterwards, she was shown around the house and gardens. Number 26 was huge with five bedrooms. Her room was at the back and housed a single bed, wardrobe, and chest of drawers. Kate flushed when she saw her suitcase on top of the wardrobe. Her belongings had already been unpacked.

In the back garden, she was fascinated by the Anderson Shelter, named after Sir John Anderson who was in charge of Air Raid Precautions. The shelters were constructed from curved and straight galvanised corrugated steel panels, were half buried in the ground with earth heaped on top, and designed to accommodate up to six people.

Kate found it surprisingly big inside with two bunk beds, a bookcase, a table and a cupboard. A wireless stood on top of the bookcase and an oil lamp hung from the ceiling. She smiled at Bob as she emerged.

“It’s very cosy.”

“It has to be, I don’t know how long we might have to spend in it.”

“Oh.” That dampened her spirits, but he squeezed her arm.

“Ah, here’s Toby. Toby? Come and meet your cousin.”

The sixteen year old boy crossed the lawn with an outstretched hand. She shook it and smiled. Toby was growing into the very image of his father.

“Kate.” He grinned. “At last. Pleased to meet you again.”

“And you. Enjoying your last day of freedom?”

He rolled his eyes just like his mother. “I don’t know how we can be expected to go back to school with a war on. Clive’s raging. Charlie’s got leave, he’s home showing off his uniform. It’s ever so smart.”

“Charlie is Clive’s older brother, recently promoted to Flight Lieutenant,” Bob explained. “They’re quite a pair when they get together.”

By evening real exhaustion had set in. Kate excused herself and went to bed early, finding her clothes and underwear neatly hung in the wardrobe, and stacked in the chest of drawers. She reached for her purse and counted the contents. Twenty pounds, three shillings, and three pence halfpenny. She sighed; it wasn’t much to smarten herself with. She would have to find a job, soon.

Buy Links:

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I’m happy you could join me on Books and Banter.  I hope you had fun with the Q & A’s.

I did, and thanks for interviewing me, Loc
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  1. Lorna, It's great learning more about your writing process. Good luck with the book.

  2. Beautiful cover!I enjoyed the excerpt.


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