This week’s guest post is slightly earlier than usual. Most weeks I host them on Thursdays, but today is an exception, as my guest is Jessica Redland, and it’s publication day for Making Wishes at Bay View. So congratulations, Jessica! Here she is with a rather lovely post about her new book, and the importance of friendship in her novels, and in real life. Welcome, Jessica.
Making Wishes at Bay View
Today is the publication day for Making Wishes at Bay View and, even though it’s my eleventh publication day and I will spend it at my desk marking assignments (my day job as a home-based HR Tutor), it will still feel special.
And Making Wishes at Bay View is a special book for me because it is where my journey as a published author started. Sort of.
When I secured my first publishing deal with So Vain Books (who have since ceased trading), it was for a trilogy encompassing Searching for Steven, Getting Over Gary and Dreaming About Daran. The trilogy focuses on three women – Sarah, Elise and Clare – with each book focusing on one of them as the main character. There is a romance in each book but a key theme is friendship and how this can change over time and with circumstance. For example, Elise has been Sarah’s best friend since primary school and Clare has been her best friend since university. Clare and Elise can’t stand each other but the dynamics of friendship change as the series progresses, which I think very much reflects real life.
A few months before Searching for Steven was due for release, So Vain Books asked if I could write a short story connected with the series that we could give away as an example of my writing. Hmm. I’m not good at ‘short’ so this was going to be a challenge. Plus, what would I write? I couldn’t think of a way to use Sarah, Elise or Clare without giving spoilers for the series or without giving them a happy ending then destroying it when the series started so it took some thinking. Steven is partially set in a florists’ and it struck me that there’s a scene near the start where one of the main male characters, Nick, collects the flowers for his sister’s wedding. His sister, Callie, reappears in the book as a minor character but with a strong personality so I already had a good sense of who she was and suddenly I had a whole story for her. But not one that we could label ‘short’. I had a 23k-word novella on my hands. Oops!
Callie’s story was called Raving About Rhys. Although it’s a romance, exploring how she meets the person she’s marrying at the start of Searching for Steven, the theme of friendship is there just as strongly as in the other books. Except this time the friendship is between 25-year-old Callie, a carer, and Ruby, an 84-year-old resident at Bay View Care Home. Ruby thinks that her grandson, Rhys, would be perfect for Callie but Callie’s only interested in older men like her partner, Tony, twenty years her senior. Plus, she’s not convinced Rhys even exists.
Of all the characters I’ve created across all my books, Ruby is my favourite. She was an author’s dream, arriving on the page fully-formed with a feisty personality, a quick-wit, and a fascinating past. When I finished the novella, Ruby lingered with me. Over the next couple of years, she kept popping back into my head and I couldn’t shake this feeling that she had a much bigger story to tell. In 2018, I decided to write a sequel, exploring Ruby’s past in more detail. It was only meant to be a novella again but it became a short novel instead called Callie’s Christmas Wish.
When I secured an amazing publishing deal with Boldwood Books last year, they wanted me to write several new books but they also wanted to refresh and re-release my trilogy, but make it into a four-book series where Raving About Rhys would be combined with Callie’s Christmas Wish to make one full-length book – Making Wishes at Bay View.
As well as the friendship Ruby has with Callie, Making Wishes at Bay View explores another ‘friendship’ Ruby has with fellow-resident, Iris. I had so much fun with that pairing. I say ‘friendship’ in inverted commas because, as far as Ruby is concerned, Iris Davies cheats at dominoes and is a nuisance. But is that really how she feels? I love the banter between them and one of the edits in creating the new version of the book was to add a bit more of that in. No problem!
Friendship is a theme that runs through all my books and I like to explore it in different ways – friendship between family members as well as those not related by blood, across generations, love into hate and hate into love, friends as rocks and friends who are flaky, friends who are short-term and those who are long-term. There’s so much scope in this subject.
It’s therefore appropriate that I’m talking about friendship on Sharon’s blog because Sharon is someone whose friendship I value extremely highly. She’s a new-ish friend, coming into my life 5-6 years ago, but I couldn’t imagine life without her. If she was in one of my books, she’d be one of those friends who’s a rock who you can always rely on to be there with a listening ear and a comforting hug when times are tough. So thank you, Sharon. I really, really, appreciate you being my friend.
Wishing you all a friendship-filled 2020 and don’t forget all those fabulous book-friends waiting to welcome you into their world.
Thank you, Jessica, and right back at ya! Wishing you a happy publication day and lots of success with Making Wishes at Bay View xx
Here’s the blurb for Making Wishes at Bay View:
Never give up on a wish for a happy ever after…
Callie Derbyshire has it all: her dream job as a carer at Bay View, finally she has found the love of her life. Everything is perfect.
Ex-partners are insistent on stirring up trouble, and Callie’s favourite resident, Ruby, hasn’t been her usual self.
But after discovering the truth about Ruby’s lost love, Callie is determined to give Ruby’s romantic story the happy ending it deserves. After all, it’s never too late to let love in again. Or is it?
A heartwarming and uplifting novel of finding love and friendship in the least expected places from top 10 bestselling author, Jessica Redland.
On 20th February 2020, Searching for Steven and Getting Over Gary will be re-edited and re-issued as New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms and Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove respectively. On 17th March, the final part in the series, Coming Home to Seashell Cottage (a re-vamp of Dreaming About Daran) will be launched. So that’s the full series in the space of two months. Binge-reading time!
You can buy Making Wishes at Bay View here.
You can find out more about Jessica on her website
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