I have a real treat instore for you today with a guest post by the fantastic Christine Stovell, author of Turning the Tide, Move Over Darling, Follow A Star and Only True in Fairytales (which is released in on 29th June; keep an eye out for the review…) Christine is just one of the many, many talented authors published by Choc-Lit and it’s a delight to have her featured on Bookaholic Confessions telling us about her fabulous novel, Follow A Star (released in paperback on the 7th July 2014 click here to treat yourself to a copy…go on, you deserve it!)
Christine, over to you…
Thank you so much for having me as your guest on Bookaholic Confessions, Holly. Follow a Star was a complete joy to write so it’s great to have the opportunity to talk about it!
As soon as I saw my cover I thought, that’s my girl, May Starling (the heroine), standing there with a proper curvy bum! Her bottom’s one of the first things Bill, the hero, admires when he meets her – although he’s pretty disgusted with himself for even noticing. It was lovely to see that wistful pose too; May’s got an awful lot on her mind. She’s pressed the self-destruct button on her career, her love life and has no idea about what she’s going to do in the long-term. All she knows is that she needs to get away where no one can find her, somewhere she can clear her head in peace – and where better than a small boat far away at sea?
As someone who went from novice sailor to sailing half way round the British coast in a little wooden boat, there’s one scene where I was able to draw on my own experience of almost getting us sunk by a French Navy vessel to ramp up the tension between May and Bill. Like me, May was ordered to retrieve the grab bag – the survival kit filled with emergency supplies. Here she is preparing for the worst:
“‘Is it going to hit us?’ she asked, hoping that Bill would laugh and tell her not to be such a silly girl; couldn’t she see it was miles away? But Bill remained silent, keeping his eye on the huge great monster slicing almost malevolently through the water towards them.
‘I heard you,’ Bill snapped tersely. ‘Just get ready.’
Ready for what? Ready to fall cleanly over the side only to be shredded by the prop shaft of the container vessel? Ready to be horribly mangled, caught between steel and wood like a clove of garlic on a chopping board? Ready to drift for days in her life jacket and finally be washed up on some distant shore where they’d shake their heads and say ‘Poor girl, if only she’d been able to get at her Mars Bar.’ How could she get ready to die when she hadn’t had sex for weeks? She was practically a virgin again. She hadn’t even had time to be kissed by Bill!
‘Bill! Kiss me, Bill!’
He shot her a look of sheer exasperation. ‘May, this is no time to do your Nelson impression. If you think I’m letting go of anything until this thing’s gone past you’ve got to be joking.’
You did say “gone past”, didn’t you?’
Bill grinned. ‘Just look, will you? But make sure you’re braced until we’re clear of the wash.’
Sure enough the massive stern was gliding slowly by, close enough to make out a few tiny faces aboard, but far enough away for Lucille to be out of danger. Only when it finally dwindled to bath tub size in the distance did May’s nerves feel convinced. Sinking back into the cockpit she thanked her lucky stars, and anyone else who might have an interest, for her deliverance. She could breathe! Flex her toes and fingers! Feel the sun on her face! Hear Bill saying—
‘I said, about that kiss …’”
In case you’re wondering, the French Navy vessel squeezed past us too. And as for my skipper? I married him! But, back to Follow a Star. You can’t see May’s face on the cover, but I guess she’s looking up at that bright star with relief, full of hope for the future … what she probably doesn’t know is that she’s got to navigate her way through some very choppy waters – both physical and emotional – but will she find safe harbour?
Sometimes your heart’s the only navigator you need
May Starling’s had enough of her demanding career and even more demanding ex. Responding to a ‘crew-wanted’ ad, she follows her dreams of escape only to find herself at sea with red-haired Bill Blythe.
Bill warns May that close-quartered living can create a boiling pot of emotions, but even May is surprised by the heat building up inside the vintage wooden boat. And when May and Bill tie up at Watling’s Boatyard in Little Spitmarsh, May’s determined to test her new-found feelings on dry land.
But May’s dream of escaping her former life is in danger of being swept away when several unwelcome blasts from the past follow her ashore, all seemingly hell-bent on reminding her it’s never that easy to clear the decks.
About the author:
Winning a tin of chocolate in a national essay competition at primary school inspired Christine Stovell to become a writer! After graduating from the University of East Anglia, she took various jobs in the public sector writing research papers and policy notes by day and filling up her spare drawers with embryonic novels by night. Losing her dad to cancer made her realise that if she was ever going to get a novel published she had to put her writing first. Setting off, with her husband, from a sleepy seaside resort on the east coast in a vintage wooden boat to sail halfway round Britain provided the inspiration for her debut novel Turning the Tide and Follow a Star. Turning the Tide was a top 100 Bestseller with Amazon Kindle and spent months in the Top 10 Chart for Adult Contemporary Romance. Christine has also published numerous short stories and articles. Christine lives in Wales. Her novels include: Turning the Tide, Move Over Darling and Follow a Star. She also has a novella published with Choc Lit Lite called Only True in Fairy Tales.