The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

A Spell in Provence

A Spell in Provence

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Travel through the landscapes of A SPELL IN PROVENCE

A SPELL IN PROVENCE is set in the Lubéron region, near Bonnieux. I am not alone in finding that part of France incredibly beautiful and inspiring. Here are a few photos of the area for you to enjoy.
 
Fountains have a very special importance in the novel, but they are, and always were, very important in Provence. According to an old Provençal saying 'Eici, l'aigo es d'or', which translates by 'Here, water is gold' - and no wonder when you think how hot it can get in the summer and how parched the earth can be. Anyone who read the wonderful 'Jean de Florette' and 'Manon des Sources' by Marcel Pagnol, or who saw the films, can remember the struggles and hardship the characters faced and their anguish of the characters when the water supply ran dry.

There are so many beautiful villages dotting the countryside. Bonnieux, Saignon, Gordes, and Buoux, to name but a few. Several of them feature in the story.
My heroine buys Bellefontaine, a 'bastide' (an old farmhouse) she has renovated and she plans to open as a guesthouse....and where eerie things happen. But I don't want to give too much of the story away! I had a very precise image of the place in my mind. The photo below is almost exactly how I imagined Bellefontaine to be. I can almost smell the pink laurels and the herbs in the garden...
My hero is heir to an old aristocratic family and has turned his ancestral manor house into a luxury hotel. Once again, the location is based on a real place - the castle in Lourmarin - but I have of course changed a few details.
Lastly, there is the ancient village of 'Bories', these stone huts dating back from the Iron Age for some, and which were until a few decades ago, still used as shelter by shepherds. In A SPELL IN PROVENCE I used the bories as setting for a couple of dramatic scenes!
Some bories are scattered in the landscape, like this one.
 
I hope you enjoyed my photo tour of the locations of A SPELL IN PROVENCE.
Have you ever been in Provence? Which village or landscape did you find the most memorable?
I would love to hear from you!
 
A SPELL IN PROVENCE is published by Accent Press and is available from




Sunday, 15 February 2015

The Importance of Listening to Your Heart, by Rosemary Louise Gallagher

I am delighted to welcome Rosemary Louise Gallagher today. Rosemary is here to talk about I LISTENED TO MY HEART, her debut novel. You have a chance of winning a signed copy of the novel by entering the giveaway competition at the bottom of this post.

Hello Rosemary and welcome. Can you tell us a little about you?

I was born in Melbourne, Australia and aside from my many wonderful travels, I spent most of my life there until moving to London in 2000, so I took advantage of my Irish passport and packed up my happy life down under to see what the other side of the world was offering.  That was nearly 15 years ago and I haven't looked back!


My creative development started late in my life - I wrote my first novel at the age of 50. I have my own business; I am a tarot/angel intuitive,  and have been reading the  tarot  since giving up the corporate world to concentrate on my creative and spiritual development.  I am also a lyricist and  I’m hoping one day to write a #1 hit and maybe even win a Grammy!  Oh yes, I'm a dreamer all right, but a girl has got to have dreams. I mean, if you don't....how can they come true!

There is nothing wrong with being a dreamer and having creative ambitions! By the way, I am absolutely fascinated by your occupation as a tarot reader, but what did you want to be when you were a child? 
When I was a child I wanted to be an actress or a singer. I loved Barbara Streisand and would imagine me being her, up there on stage belting out a number.  I never imagined me becoming a writer, just goes to show… never say never.

You are right, Barbara Streisand does have a wonderful voice. I used to love her films, especially A STAR IS BORN and THE WAY WE WERE. We all get our inspiration from different sources. Where do you get your ideas for your stories?
The idea for my novel was inspired by a real life event. It started out as a journal and from there it took on a life of its own. Before I knew it I had written my book. It’s amazing what you can do when you listen to your heart.   

Very true. Can you tell us a little about the novel?

It follows the life of Rose O’Carroll who is about to turn the big 40 and is still single, so she packs up her life in Melbourne to move to London to see what the other side of the world was offering. Rose, has friends in high places – her angles who she communicates with regularly and they guide her to find the right job, home, and to make wonderful friendships and ensure she has loads of fun along the way.  Finally they lead her to Joe DeMarco, the tall, handsome American, who turns her life upside down and changes it forever.

Everything happens for a reason and Rose discovers why she had to meet Joe DeMarco at what seems like the wrong time.  She had someone else met first…and it wasn’t only the dishy doctor St Claire. 
                                               
In three words - What kind of man is Joe DeMarco?
Strong, humble and generous of spirit, and funny! oops that’s four but….:)

That sounds like a great combination. What are you working on at the moment?
I have just finished writing the sequel which is called Maktub: It is written.  Unlike my first book this is complete fiction and it was fun letting my imagination run wild.

What an intriguing title. Tell me, what is your favourite hero from a film or a novel ever?
Rhett Butler, from Gone With The Wind.  He was tall, dark and handsome and so charismatic, but more importantly I loved his strength, his wit and humour; he was generous, kind and loved passionately.   

Yes, Rhett Butler was indeed a hero who stayed with me a long time after I read the novel. Writing can be a wonderful, but at times an incredibly frustrating occupation, at least it seems that way to me! What was your best ever moment as a writer?
When the Fedex guy delivered my book - I was so excited, yet nervous and when I opened the package and held my published book in my hands, I was overwhelmed. In in my hands was a book that I’d written, with my name on the cover. What a fabulous moment and feeling.

I know exactly what you mean, Rosemary. I had that lovely feeling a few weeks ago too, when I held a copy of my contemporary romance  A SPELL IN PROVENCE in my hands for the first time.

Thank you so much for answering my questions today. I wish you lots of success with I LISTENED TO MY HEART!

About the author

Rosemary Gallagher is an author, tarot reader/angel intuitive and lyricist. She was born in Melbourne, Australia and spent most of her life there until moving to London in 2000. For most of her professional career she worked as a Receptionist in various high profile companies.  She recently left her day job to concentrate on her writing and spiritual endeavours.  Rosemary has always held a strong interest in the metaphysical, especially the tarot cards and the angelic realm. After settling into her new life in London she began formal tarot studies at the Psychic College of London and has been reading the tarot professionally ever since. Rosemary discovered her creative voice a few years ago after an emotional encounter turned her life upside down. I Listened to My Heart is Rosemary's debut novel and although fictional, is inspired by a real life experience.  It is an uplifting and light-hearted story of faith, love and friendship. Rosemary is passionate about life and all things spiritual, with a strong interest in twin soul connections.


You can find Rosemary at
www.facebook.com/pages/I-Listened-To-My-Heart/274725042650703
http://www.rosemarygallagher.com/index.html
https://twitter.com/rosemarysangels

BUY LINKS
http://www.amazon.com/dp/1481245309

Competition Link
 
 

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

My Top Ten List of Lovely Things from Provence...

I have always loved Provence and was very lucky to holiday there with my parents and sisters every summer when I was growing up. It was during another holiday, with my own children this time, that I got the idea for the plot of A SPELL IN PROVENCE, my contemporary romantic suspense recently released by Áccent Press. I could easily have chosen some of the many stunning landscapes and villages the region is famous for my Top Ten list, but I picked a selection of the tasty and foods and local produce I enjoy the most instead, and I hope you'll enjoy them too.

So here it is! My Top Ten list of treats from Provence.

10. Tapenade. Made from finely chopped olives, anchovies and olive oil, this spread is delicious with bread for the 'apéritif'.

 9. Calissons  are lovely lozenge-shaped sweet made of candied fruit (usually melon and orange), ground almonds and covered with a layer of icing. 

 
8. Figs. I know you can find them in England, but they never taste as good as in Provence.

 
 
 
 
 
7. Savon de Marseille. The best for all skin types, especially sensitive ones. My all time favourites are Eglantine Rose and Lemon Verbena.  
 
 
 6. The candied fruits of Apt. Beautiful to look at, delicious to eat!

 5. The many colours and patterns of Provençal fabrics. I prefer the yellow ones. They remind me of the sunshine.

 
4. Goat cheese. Hard or creamy, with a piece of freshly baked baguette. Heaven.

 3. Rosé wine. The Lubéron region has beautiful wines, but rosé is my favourite. It reminds me of sitting out in the garden to watch the sunset and listening to the cicadas.

2.  La Tarte Tropézienne. Not exactly from the Lubéron region, but its light brioche scented with orange flower and fluffy cream are a delight. Did you know that the original recipe for the cream - a mix of butter cream and crème patissière - is kept secret?

 

1. I had to place lavender at the top of my list. Not only is it beautiful to look at smells divine, but it has many medicinal properties for the treatment of insomnia, colds and  migraine.


I hope you enjoyed my Top Ten list. Did you ever visit Provence, and if so, what food or drink did you particularly enjoy there?

 

 

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Poem for Valentine's Day

 
 
One of my all time favourite poems,
 
Le Jardin by Jacques Prévert
 
Des milliers et des milliers d'années 
Ne sauraient suffire 
Pour dire 
La petite seconde d'éternité 
Où tu m'as embrassé 
Où je t'ai embrassée 
Un matin dans la lumière de l'hiver 
Au parc Montsouris à Paris 
A Paris 
Sur la terre 
La terre qui est un astre.