I am honoured to be the first blog tour stop for Evonne Wareham’s debut novel, Never Coming Home. Evonne is sharing with Jera’s Jamboree readers a taster from the first chapter, her journey from being a finalist in an American competition to being published with Choc Lit, plus a giveaway. So without further ado, I’m handing you over to Evonne.
‘Wispa It…’ Snippet No. 1 … Shhhhh
‘You know, Dev, you don’t have to do this.’ Bobby Hoag
leaned on the doorjamb of his partner’s office. Devlin was
tossing files into drawers and packing his laptop into its
travel case. ‘Have you thought about it?’ Bobby persisted.
Behind him the reception area was deserted, the lights dim.
An open window wafted the smoke from Bobby’s cigarette
into the rainy Chicago night. ‘It’s been more than six months.
By now these people will have settled, put it behind them.
And you’re going to rake it all up again?’
That got Devlin’s attention. He looked up, scowling.
‘Would you ever put something like that behind you?’
‘Well – no,’ Bobby admitted. ‘But even so – if no one has
got in touch, in all this time –’
‘I’ve thought about this, Bobby.’ Devlin zipped the slim
travel case and propped himself against the desk, folding
his arms. ‘Christ, it’s not something I want to do. Maybe I
won’t, when it comes down to it. This trip is about work,
first and foremost. It just happens to be London, and the
woman is in London.’
That’s just a taster from the first chapter of Never Coming Home. There will be more as the ‘Wispa It …’ blog tour travels on.
Hello. It’s good to be here, kicking off the ‘Wispa it …’ Blog tour on Jera’s Jamboree. As well as being the ‘Wispa it …’ tour (Wispa – like the Chocolate bar), featuring snippets of Never Coming Home, I’m also taking a look at how I came to be here, starting with the journey that Never Coming Home made from the final of an American reality writing contest to publication by Choc-lit.
To begin at the beginning – American Title was a big reality contest that was run in the United States by Romantic Times magazine and Dorchester publishing — extracts from the books that made the final were printed in the magazine over a period of months, and finalists were gradually eliminated by public vote — and no, I didn’t win, but the contest did shape what came after.
I came across the magazine by accident, in a London bookshop, saw the competition and decided to try my luck. That contest was American Title IV and the requirement was for a book with a paranormal element. This is where serendipity came in, as I had large chunks of a paranormal book already written — not vampires or ghosts, but two troubled humans with the ability to read minds. Although I’d loved writing it, I’d put the manuscript aside, because people in the industry had told me that there was no market in the UK for that kind of book. I dusted it down, polished the first three chapters and synopsis and off it went — and three months later, it was in the final.
I’ll leave it to you to imagine the day when the letter arrived, asking for the whole manuscript.
That book was Out of Sight, Out of Mind, and I’m pleased to say that Choc-lit will be publishing that one in 2013. Getting into the contest really opened my eyes to the American romance scene. I began to read the American authors who were coming across the Atlantic — Nora Roberts, Karen Rose, Lisa Gardener — and I loved them. I started to think about writing in that style, but with a European setting. I’d already realised that whatever I wrote always had a crime as part of the plot. Even my regional family saga, set in World War II, had a serial killer in it. But I didn’t want to write police procedurals or spy stories, I wanted that mix of thrills, glamour and romance. The category that is known in the States as romantic suspense suited me perfectly. I began to write Never Coming Home to keep me sane while the roller coaster of American Title IV was going on. It was nearly finished when the fifth and last American Title contest was announced. Friends encouraged me to enter again, and I got into the final again. And again I didn’t win the prize of a publishing contract. So — it was a matter of sending both books out myself, to see if they could attract an agent or a publisher.
As a result of that exercise I got some amazing feedback, but the bottom line was always, ‘I loved this, BUT …’
When I analysed those ‘BUTS’ it became clear that the people I’d sent it to found it strange that the hero had equal weight to the heroine in both books and that there was some difficulty in categorising them because of the mix of thriller and romance. I’d reached the conclusion that, despite their success, these were two more manuscripts destined for the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet, when someone suggested Choc-lit. Now Choc-lit really like heroes, so I could tick that box, and they also have a powerful secret weapon – a readers’ tasting panel who play a significant role in choosing the books to be published. I knew that ‘ordinary readers’ who had sampled the books had enjoyed them, so I thought I’d be in with a chance. And I was. The Choc-lit panel are wonderful women and, of course, I think they have the best taste in the world.
Never Coming Home is Choc-lit’s first thriller, so it’s a bit different from other books in the line. I always emphasize that I am definitely in the dark end of the selection box — the book has gruesome scenes, ten dead bodies and a love story that doesn’t run smoothly. It may not be everyone’s taste – I’d hate to accidentally give anyone nightmares — but if you like reading American style romantic suspense and enjoy your romance slightly splashed with gore, then you might like to give it a try.
Thank you for sharing with us Evonne. I hope your journey to publication inspires other writers and I’m sure my readers will join in with wishing you success with Never Coming Home and Out of Sight, Out of Mind.
Evonne was born in South Wales and spent her childhood there. After university she migrated to London, where she worked in local government, scribbled novels in her spare time and went to the theatre a lot. Now she’s back in Wales, writing and studying history and living by the sea. Her membership of the Romantic Novelists’ Association lets her enjoy the company of other authors and gives her an excuse to sneak back to London from time to time for essential stuff, like attending parties. She still loves the theatre, likes staying in hotels and enjoys walking on the beach, where she daydreams about her characters. She hopes that all those things come through in her books – drama, glamorous locations, engaging heroines and dangerous heroes.
Evonne’s novel Never Coming Home will be published March 2012 shortly followed by her paranormal thriller Out of Sight Out of Mind.
To enter the giveaway of Never Coming Home and a Wispa chocolate bar, Evonne would like to know what would you choose as a chocolate filling to represent a romantic thriller? Leave your comment below and Evonne will pick a winner. Closing date is Friday 10th February 2012 at noon. This is an International giveaway.
Please feel welcome to visit every tour stop!
|WISPA IT… BLOG TOUR|
|EVONNE WAREHAM – NEVER COMING HOME|
|Friday 3rd February||Sharon Goodwin||Jera’s Jamboree|
|Tuesday 7th February||Kath Eastman||The Nutpress|
|Friday 10th February||Sue Fortin||Love Reading Love Books|
|Tuesday 14th February||Catherine Miller||Katy Little Lady|
|Friday 17th February||Debs Carr||Debs Daydreams|
|Tuesday 21st February||Sarah Broadhurst||Sarah’s Book Reviews|
|Thursday 23rd February||Debs Carr||Novelicious|
|Friday 24th February||Elle Symonds||Trashionista|
|Tuesday 28th February||Tara Chevrestt||Book Babe|
|Friday 2nd March||Lou Graham||Lou Graham’s Blog|
|Wednesday 7th March||Author’s Blog||Choc Lit website|