I’m delighted to be welcoming Mandy today for a chat about her new release Summer in Tintagel which published on 14th July in digital and paperback formats. Publishers Urbane Publications are also generously offering a digital copy in a giveaway so don’t forget to enter!
Mandy has written since she was a child, but never imagined that her words would be published. Then in 2010, after many twists and turns, the dream of becoming a writer came true.
She has written many short stories and has four novels currently published. A Stitch in Time was published in April of 2013 by http://www.choclitpublishing.co.uk and has met with great success.
Also with Choc Lit are Somewhere Beyond the Sea and Dancing in the Rain (March 2014) and Cross Stitch (December 2014)
Connect with Mandy
Welcome to Jera’s Jamboree.
Please summarise Summer in Tintagel in 20 words or less.
It’s a story of secrets, mystery, love, loss and hope.
What was the idea/inspiration for your novel?
The inspiration for Summer in Tintagel came from a walk along the cliff tops at the ancient Tintagel Castle. As I stood on the edge looking onto the rocks I thought how easy it would be to step off and end it all … if a person was so inclined. I’m not, in case you were wondering! Then the ideas kind of came to me from there. I visited Tintagel Castle again later and the sketchy parts became easier to see, bold and exciting. I thought that whole area was the perfect setting for a novel – full of history and mystery. I liked the rugged landscape and the history and mystery of the area.
If you could choose to be a character in any of your novels, which would you be?
I love them all and miss the ones I won’t see again. But I must admit, I do have a soft spot for Sarah Needler and Veronica Ratchet form Cross Stitch. I adore Morganna the white witch in Summer in Tintagel too!
If I really had to choose I would be Sarah Needler because she is a time traveller. I’d love to pop back in time on a regular basis and have a chat with historical characters. (oh yes I loved Sarah too. Veronica really came into her own didn’t she!)
Could you tell us about the characters in Summer in Tintagel?
I’ll tell you about Rosa and Jocelyn, though there are more, including Morganna the white witch and Talan the castle guide who bears an uncanny resemblance to Jocelyn’s old flame Jory. Jocelyn is coming to the end of her life and has kept a secret about her past that she is desperate to share with her granddaughter Rosa. Rosa isn’t the best at coping with deathbed confessionals, as she’s had a fairly cosseted life and avoids unpleasant situations when she can. This ostrich type behaviour can be accredited to the influence of her overbearing father. Still, Rosa adores her gran and promises to do anything she can to help. In doing so the two women come into conflict, but the reader will understand both points of view, hopefully!
What scene did you enjoy writing the most Mandy?
I loved the scenes with Rosa and Morganna because of the way their relationship develops and because I have had a real-life experience with a psychic. I was able to use my experience to shape Morganna’s responses. Morganna sees spirits; she also can see the living and name them, even though they are strangers to her. The psychic I saw told me the names of my husband and family, she also told me that I had some lovely vegetables growing in my garden, told me which ones. She said, ‘you like to feel the earth under your bare feet while tending them too.’ I often did walk around the garden without shoes, still do. As you can imagine, I was a little gobsmacked to say the least. I asked her how she knew – she said, ‘I can see you there in the garden.’ That really freaked me out I can tell you! (but a fab experience to use in your writing :))
… and the scene that was the hardest?
I have one but can’t tell you because it would give the game away…
Panster or plotter?
I am definitely not a planner! I have the basis of a story and then sketch out the characters, jot down a vague idea of where they are going, and then I let them lead me. They often take me down roads I had never dreamt of travelling!
What are you currently working on Mandy?
I am having a little break at the moment but I finished one in May called The Calico Cat.
At its heart it’s a story about the celebration of difference and the quest of one woman, Lottie Morgan, to stay true to herself when it’s easier to fall in line with others. Most people like to fit in to society – to belong, don’t they? Lottie actively tries to do the opposite, mostly due to something that happened to her when she was thirteen.
As a result, she is a headstrong and sometimes angry young woman, though she doesn’t see that’s a problem really until she shares events of her past with Caleb, a work colleague/friend. They embark on a walking holiday along the South West Coast Path around Cornwall and eventually become lovers. They meet interesting people on the walk too that help Lottie to think more clearly about her future and to make a peace of sorts with her past.
Finally, are there any tips you could share with new writers?
I think the main thing I would say to new writers is to learn from rejection, take on board what is said and come back stronger. Get a writing buddy that’s honest and perhaps join a writing group. Having said that, getting published and then moving on to the next step in your career has a hell of a lot to do with luck. Don’t give up if your luck is out sometimes. Just keep believing in yourself, try your hardest and never ever give up.
Thanks for an interesting chat Mandy.
Wishing you success with all your writing projects.
We all have secrets……
Ambitious journalist Rosa Fernley has been asked to fulfil her grandmother Jocelyn’s dying wish. Jocelyn has also passed on a secret – in the summer of 1968, fleeing from the terror of a bullying husband, she visited the mysterious Tintagel Castle. Jocelyn wasn’t seeking love, but she found it on the rugged clifftops in the shape of Jory, a local man as enigmatic and alluring as the region itself. But she was already married, and knew her husband would never let her find happiness and peace in Jory’s arms.
Now as her days are nearing their end, she begs Rosa to go back to Tintagel, but is unwilling, or unable, to tell her why. Rosa is reluctant – she has a job in London, a deadline that won’t wait and flights of fancy are just not in her nature. Nevertheless, she realises it might be the last thing she will do for her beloved grandmother and agrees to go.
Once in Tintagel, Rosa is challenged to confront secrets of her own, as shocking events threaten to change everything she has ever believed about herself and her family. She also meets a guide to the castle, Talan, a man who bears a striking resemblance to Jory.
Will the past remain cloaked in tragedy, sadness and the pain of unrequited love? Or can Rosa find the courage and strength to embrace the secrets of the past, and give hope to the future?