Jera’s Jamboree : Characters and Settings ~ Follow a Star by Christine Stovell plus Giveaway

JJ is delighted to be welcoming Christine today.

Find out what surprised Christine about her hero … and carry on reading for a giveaway.

Christine Stovell

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.

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Hello! It’s lovely to be here, thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to talk about a book that was a joy to write.

You’re very welcome Christine. 

Follow a Star is set in the present and begins with my heroine, May Starling, running away to sea in a vintage wooden boat bound for Little Spitmarsh, the location for my novel, Turning the Tide.  Little Spitmarsh is a fictitious seaside town, an amalgam of the faded coastal resorts and harbours I visited with my husband when we sailed halfway round Britain, but its inhabitants are very real to me. I missed the place and the people when I left it behind so I couldn’t resist returning to see how some of the familiar characters were doing. That said, you don’t have to have read Turning the Tide to read Follow a Star as both May and the book’s hero, Bill, are completely new characters

My first mental image of May was of her hoofing it down a lonely road with a rucksack slung over her shoulder, but I had no idea what she was running away from until I was a third of the way through the first draft.  I liked May from the start, she’s funny and self-deprecating, but she’s certainly got some baggage and felt that I wanted to give her a hug before the emotional journey ahead.  The biggest surprise to me though was when my hero, Bill, stepped out in front of May and I saw his flame-coloured hair! I never expected to be writing about a red-haired hero, let alone fall for him in such a big way. Sure he can be bit quick to pass judgement at times, but he’s got a lot on his plate worrying about his uncle, who’s very ill, and trying to keep his building business afloat so I think that’s understandable. He works hard, he’s kind, very loyal and has, erm, some attractive hidden assets.

My first-hand experience of the tensions that can arise in the confined space of a small boat, made it the perfect place to put two people who don’t need any further complications in their lives.  By the time May and Bill tie up at Watling’s, the old boatyard in Little Spitmarsh (which gave me another good reason to revisit some favourite characters from Turning the Tide) the heat between them is almost boiling over.  But unfortunately for them, reaching dry land means their troubles have only just begun and they’ve both got some choppy waters to negotiate before they can find safe harbour.  As for me? My second trip to Little Spitmarsh wasn’t the end of the journey either – somehow I just know I’ll be back!

Love the sound of the heat between May and Bill 🙂

Wishing you success with all your writing projects Christine.

FAS AppleSometimes 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.

|  Amazon Paperback  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Goodreads  |

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All’s fair in love and war? Depends on who’s making the rules. Harry Watling has spent the past five years keeping her father s boat yard afloat, despite its dying clientele. Now all she wants to do is enjoy the peace and quiet of her sleepy backwater. So when property developer Matthew Corrigan wants to turn the boat yard into an upmarket housing complex for his exotic new restaurant, it s like declaring war. And the odds seem to be stacked in Matthew’s favour. He s got the colourful locals on board, his hard-to-please girlfriend is warming to the idea and he has the means to force Harry s hand. Meanwhile, Harry has to fight not just his plans but also her feelings for the man himself. Then a family secret from the past creates heartbreak for Harry, and neither of them is prepared for what happens next …

|  Amazon Paperback  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Goodreads  |

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Publishers Choc Lit are generously sponsoring a giveway.

One lucky blog reader in the UK could be reading a paperback copy of Follow a Star.

Easy entry via the Rafflecopter link below.

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Good luck!

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Jera’s Jamboree review: Move Over Darling by Christine Stovell

Move Over Darling by Christine Stovell

Paperback: 320 pages

Publisher: Choc Lit (7 Oct 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1906931658

ISBN-13: 978-1906931650

When is it time to stop running?

Coralie Casey is haunted by her past. Deciding it’s time for a fresh start, she sets up ‘Sweet Cleans’, a range of natural beauty and cleaning products, and escapes to Penmorfa, a quiet coastal village in west Wales.

Gethin Lewis thinks he’s about to put his home village Penmorfa behind him for good. Now an internationally-acclaimed artist living in New York, he just has to return one last time to wind up his father’s estate.

But the village soon disrupts their carefully laid plans. As truths are uncovered which threaten to split the community apart, Gethin is forced to question his real reasons for abandoning Penmorfa, and Coralie is made to face the fact that some stains just won’t go away.

 

We’re first introduced to Coralie as she’s in her cottage, revelling in the decision she made to leave her suburban and executive 9-5 life in exchange for her own business and country lanes.  Coralie goes outside to find Rock (an abandoned cat that she’s nurtured back to health).  This is our introduction to Gethin Lewis.  He’s renting the cottage adjoining Coralie’s and woken up with Rock curled around his head.  This is a very comedic scene and had me chuckling.  The reader gets to know a little bit about Gethin’s history and why he’s in the holiday cottage next to Coralie.

What follows is time spent in Penmorfa, getting to know not just Coralie and Gethin but also some of the inhabitants of the village as they try to raise funds for the village hall.  We also spend time in New York where Coralie goes to pose for a portrait which is painted by Gethin.  As well as the romance between Coralie and Gethin there are sub-plots with Alys and her husband Huw, their daughter Kitty, and some truths that come out of the past history of Penmorfa.

As with all Choc Lit’s novels, we have our male perspective. Move Over Darling is written in the third person, allowing the reader to spend time with all the characters.  The characters are so real that I almost felt as if I could touch them.

Gethin was quite infuriating at first!  Dismissive of Coralie’s business … snide comments and an arrogant nature didn’t endear him to me.  However, as we get to know more about his childhood and the reasons why he acts that way, with understanding comes a different perspective.  Nearing the end of the story, he had me championing his side.

Coralie is intriguing.  We know she hasn’t always been such a colourful character and that something happened which led to her decision to move away.  When she comes back from New York she puts on the persona of the life she lived before, including her sober business clothing.  Her past is hinted at and when the past comes into her present, causes misunderstandings. This intrigue was a page turner for me as I just couldn’t work out what it could be.

There is more intrigue with Gethin’s painting.  After his exhibition in New York we know it is something different from his usual style but we don’t know what it is until the big reveal at the auction.  This is another page turner!  Still on the subject of Gethin and his art, I loved the reveal of who the person was in the painting that made him famous, Last Samba Before Sunset!

There are some Welsh words and their meanings that I’ve learnt in Move Over Darling.  If you read my blog regularly, you will know I love learning something new!

Move Over Darling is a romantic read.  It’s also a story about the two leads facing the ghosts of their pasts and for Gethin, looking at his childhood from an adult perspective and accepting who he is.  The romantic sub-plots are also really enjoyable.  Penmorfa and it’s people, New York and Gethin’s life there are portrayed really well.  This is one of those stories that has the feel-good factor : )

Buy it and spread the word

I would like to thank the publishers for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Move Over Darling is available to purchase on AmazonThe Book Depository, and all good book stores.

I have it on good authority that Christine Stovell has also written a short story about how Coralie found Rock which is due to be published in the December issue of Your Cat.

You can find out more about Christine Stovell on her website.  Christine tweets and you can also find her on Facebook.

Thought I would share a photo of my cat Barney snuggling up while I was reading Move Over Darling (Barney could almost have jumped off the cover!)