I am so happy to welcome Laura James on the blog today. Laura's new novel FOLLOW ME, FOLLOW YOU is published by Choc Lit and was released on September 7th. Laura is on tour and has kindly stopped by today. Laura will be giving away a copy of her book, so please leave a comment at the bottom of the post and click on the Rafflecopter code link!
Laura is married and has two children. She lives in Dorset, but spent her formative years in Watford, a brief train ride away from the bright lights of London. Here she indulged her love of live music, and, following a spectacular Stevie Nicks gig, decided to take up singing, a passion that scored her second place in a national competition.
Laura is a graduate of the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme, a member of her local writing group, Off The Cuff, and an editor of the popular Romaniacs blog.
Laura was runner-up twice in the Choc Lit Short Story competitions. Her story Bitter Sweet appears in the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Anthology. Truth or Dare?, Laura’s debut novel, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction Best Romantic eBook 2013 and the 2014 Joan Hessayon New Writers’ Award. Follow me, follow you is Laura’s first Choc Lit novel published in paperback.
Hello Laura and a very warm welcome. The release of FOLLOW ME, FOLLOW YOU must be an exciting time for you. What did you want to be when you were a child? Did you always know you wanted to write?
I wanted to be a child psychologist, but sadly my maths skills were lacking. In later years, I attended a counselling skills course and trained as a youth worker.
I’ve written ever since I can remember – comics, poems, daft limericks, song lyrics ‒ my A Level essays would be considered novellas these days …
I was the same when I was growing up, always writing short stories, poetry (bad poetry I hasten to say) and was - and still is - rubbish at maths! What is the one thing you absolutely need to write?
Thinking time, followed by the chance to talk it out.
It can be hard to find thinking space but, like you, I find it a necessity. Silence too, but I don't often get any. Can you describe your writing space?
I work in the kitchen. My desk is in the corner, facing a wall, adorned with a beautiful framed Rosina Wachtmeister print of a gondola, and I believe the Rialto Bridge, in Venice. A much better use of the space than, oh, I don’t know, say cooking …
Lovely! The print must be very inspiring - not to mention the proximity of the biscuit tin (I am speaking for myself here!)
In three words, can you tell us what kind of man Chris Frampton, your hero, is?
Adventurous, impulsive, dedicated.
That sounds like a great combination. What about your heroine -Victoria Noble?
Focused, conscientious, caring.
Victoria is such a lovely name... What is your favourite part / line / dialogue in your novel?
‘Not quite a kiss, but a collision of colossal proportion.’
That's a great line! What was the most difficult part to write in your novel?
I struggled with the opening page. I wanted to introduce the reader to a flawed heroine, who has a strained relationship with her young son. It took many re-workings and plenty of great advice from fellow writers before I was happy with Victoria.
Many thanks for inviting me here, Marie.
You are very welcome Laura. It was a pleasure to find out more about you and FOLLOW ME, FOLLOW YOU. I wish you the very best of luck with the release of the novel.
Here is the blurb
You save me and I'll save you...
Victoria Noble has pulled the plug on romance. As director of the number one social networking site, EweSpeak, and single mother to four-year-old Seth, she wrestles with the work-life balance.
Enter Chris Frampton, Hollywood action hero and Victoria's first love. His return from LA has sparked a powder keg of media attention, and with secrets threatening to fuel the fire, he's desperate to escape.
But finding a way forward is never simple. Although his connection with Victoria is as strong as when he was nineteen, has he been adrift too long to know how to move on?
With the risk of them breaking, will either follow their heart?
And now for an excerpt:
Victoria was attempting to create the impression she was engrossed in her work. From the moment Dan collected Seth, she’d buried her head in buff-coloured files, raising it once to study her monitor. At that moment, she realised Juliette was watching her.
‘I’m all right, Joo, honestly.’ That was a lie. She was preoccupied with thoughts of Chris Frampton returning home, considering ways to stop EweSpeak’s Board of Directors from travelling a destructive path, and despairing over her non-existent relationship with her son. She grimaced. ‘Apart from the blinding headache.’
She thrust herself away from the desk and rubbed the back of her neck. Her life was too cluttered for her to make informed decisions, and too many demands were being made of her, emotionally and physically. Something had to give. ‘I could do without this stupid business with the board.’
‘Do you think they’ll go ahead?’
Victoria huffed. ‘Of course they will. They’re motivated by money. They’ll do whatever it takes to keep their bank accounts full and their fat backsides comfortable.’
‘But they have a duty of loyalty, and their report states the move will secure the future of EweSpeak—’
‘It only secures their position, Juliette. Let’s face facts. We made bad choices, electing certain members to the board. We were blinded by their past successes. They’re cut-throat businessmen with reputations to uphold.’ Victoria swung her chair round and gaped at her sister. ‘I’ll bet a year’s salary there’ll be redundancies.’
‘But if charging clients to join will increase profits—’
Victoria cut her off again. ‘Did you miss the bit where they proposed paying celebrities for exclusive bleats? It’s ridiculous. It won’t work. People will opt out. Our followers enjoy the personal contact, the chance to hold a discussion with like-minded souls, maybe even exchange a bleat with their idol. If it’s sensationalism they want, they’ll buy a glossy magazine, or worse, they’ll flock to our competitors. They won’t subscribe to our network.’ She shook her head. ‘It has disaster written all over it.’
‘I don’t see it. The board’s acting in the company’s best interest. We have to make money. And it’s not just their pockets they’re lining, is it?’ Juliette waved a hand in the direction of the window. ‘I don’t hear you complaining about the flashy, two-seater sports car you’ve parked in our private garage.’
Victoria reached for the remote on her desk, and switched on the TV. ‘I need a break.’ She stood, gave her arms a stretch, and walked across to the sofa, collapsing into it, irascible and frustrated. Surely Juliette wasn’t voting with the board? Victoria cast her eyes to the large screen, scoured through the programme guide, and settled on a news channel.
It was a mistake.
Wherever her eyes fell – the TV, online, mobile applications – Chris’s then thirty-five-year-old haunted face appeared, vacant, pale and broken. There was no escape from the dated footage of him being jostled out of the way of bloodthirsty, aggressive photographers or being hustled into his ranch house by burly security men. Victoria had seen the images thirty, maybe forty times in the last couple of years. Every piece of technology in her office was broadcasting his grief all over again, and each time his name was typed, bleated, or beamed across the Internet, and for every second his tormented features were on public display, Victoria was on trial. Her technology, the company, the brand she had developed and grown was helping prolong his terror. To see this beautiful man reduced to a floorshow for the cheap seats made her sick to the stomach.
She jumped at a touch to her arm.
‘Are you okay?’ Juliette took the remote from Victoria, switched off the TV, and sat down. ‘I’m sorry I called him your obsession. This must be hard for you.’
Victoria shrugged. Although she understood Juliette’s concern, she didn’t appreciate intrusion, and sharing, as her sister called it, was not Victoria’s way. There’d been far too much of that already. A small shudder ran through her. ‘It’s complicated,’ she said, hoping a few words, regardless of content, would appease Juliette.
You can find Laura at:
The Giveaway on this tour will be a paperback copy of the book.