Wednesday, 19 December 2012

A Plot to Play With by Valerie-Anne Baglietto

My own fairytale background

I've been tagged by fellow writer and Novelista, Louise Marley, to participate in The Next Big Thing. 

So deep breath, here goes ...

What is the title of your book?

Once Upon A Winter. You can read all about the launch in the previous post, but this is more about the nitty-gritty details of why I wrote it.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
It was a Christmas present last year from Santa. No, seriously - it was. Sort of. I'd been dabbling with children's books, which had magical elements to them, but I'd been hankering to return to adult romances again, which I used to write years ago for Hodder. Could I marry the two together somehow? I wasn't sure, but faffing around on Christmas Eve because one of my children decided to wake up at midnight (which meant Santa couldn't visit till said child was asleep again), an idea floated into my head which then proceeded to keep me awake till the wee hours. Long after Santa had been and gone.

What genre does your book fall under?
I have no idea. It's NOT a Christmas book, in case anyone was wondering. Is chicklit-fantasy-reality-fairytale a genre? One minute my heroine is doing the school-run and sewing cushions for the PTA, the next she's discovering that the husband who deserted her and her children might belong more to a fictional world than the real one. The majority of the action takes place in a picturesque Welsh village 'hidden among the hills', which hopefully lends it a slightly fairytale-like quality.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Ah *rubs hands here* everyone has their own images in their heads when they read a book, don't they? But if I had the chance to cast the movie, I would willingly audition Richard Armitage for the character of Silas. (Not with all the Hobbit make-up on, though. Remember, John Thornton, North and South *sighs dreamily*.) 
Dan Stevens (Matthew, of Downton Abbey fame) could be Daniel. 
And if Zooey Deschanel (Elf and New Girl) could pull off a convincing British accent without sounding too posh or acting too goofy and zany, she could play Nell.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Well, I started in earnest in January and finished it literally the day my three children broke up for the school summer holidays in July (phew). I wanted to put it to one side so that I could edit it with fresh eyes in the autumn.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

I suppose if you like your characters firmly grounded in reality, then this book isn't for you; which I know is more 'putting off' than 'piquing', but I'm simply trying to be honest. It's not a dark paranormal novel, either, and if anyone likes vampires, then there aren't any to be found here. Sorry! 
As I said in an earlier post, if you like Once Upon A Time, Enchanted and Stardust, then you have similar tastes to me, and might enjoy this book. I also love Tangled, such a great romance, even if it is an animated movie; I don't care. My daughter and I watch it over and over again. And have you ever seen the film Penelope? If you have, I suppose that's the kind of world I'm trying to create. Reality - but not quite. Contemporary - but slightly timeless. 

Oh, I do go on, don't I? Apologies. I'll sign off by saying, if you do decide to read Once Upon A Winter (the direct link is under the cover image above), then thank you very much, and I hope you enjoy it. Comments and reviews are always welcome, too. I'd love to hear from you.

Very best wishes,

Valerie-Anne x

The next author I’ve tagged to tell you about her new book is another fellow Novelista - the bestselling and deservedly popular Anne Bennett.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Lunch and A Launch! by Valerie-Anne Baglietto

The Teapot Cafe
The Novelistas had their Christmas lunch in early December, always a festive and fun event, with a little silliness thrown in, as if we've all been hitting the vino rather than the tap water.

It was a huge shame that due to illness/Dog's illness Juliet Greenwood and Trisha Ashley were unable to attend. It was also a shame that our usual lovely venue had been hit by the terrible flooding in St Asaph, so we had to find somewhere new at short notice. (Thank-you, Erika, for sorting this out so quickly and efficiently, especially at this time of year, and thanks also to all the staff who took care of us.)

I have sparkly-jumper envy, but I was too cold to dress up!!

Ten of us met at the Teapot Cafe, and as well as our usual Christmas fun and games it was the launch of my latest book on Kindle - Once Upon A Winter. I really wanted to share my gratitude, and some chocolates, with my ever-supportive fellow Novelistas, because without them I'm not sure I would have ever got to this point. I also wanted to thank the Amazon Kindle bestselling author, and good friend, Louise Marley (shown on the right here with me) for all her invaluable help and advice.

Warming up with coffee

It was a bitterly cold day, which I suppose fitted in perfectly with the book title, so I shouldn't complain. There was a scramble to bagsy the chairs next to the radiator, but we soon felt brave enough to start peeling off the layers (coats, scarfs, gloves, hats etc. - before you get any strange ideas). Out came the Christmas crackers and some portable decorations kindly provided by Cheryl.
Our own festive palm tree . .. . um . . .
teeny weeny wine
We soon got all chatty and loud and before long we were snapping crackers and tucking into our meals. I wasn't driving, so had a little bottle of wine to celebrate the launch, bearing in mind I had to look lively and alert for the school run later.

Anne Bennett & Ruth France
photo op - catch Erika looking my way!
We discussed the progress of our Advent story, which you can read here on this blog under 'Christmas Countdown'. It's a joint venture by a few of us to see if we could write a coherent tale without any structured plot and with lots of little cliffhangers along the way. Soooo not as easy as I'd thought! But it's proving fun, and it's honing my editorial skills as I try to make it flow with each daily post. (I was given permission to chop or add, as and when required.)

goodies galore *rubs hands with glee*

It's become a tradition for the Novelistas to have a Christmas raffle, too, where we each bring a gift. So no one goes home empty-handed. I was lucky enough to nab a gorgeous scarf and some chocs (thank you, Ruth).

All in all I went home a happy girl. And I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have already bought Once Upon A Winter. I hope you enjoy it. It's not a Christmas book, and it's not about vampires. Or werewolves. Or angels. Or ghosts. But if, like me, you enjoy TV programmes like Once Upon A Time and films like Stardust and Enchanted, then it might be right up your street.

Quick link, direct to the book:

teeny weeny tree to go with the teeny weeny wine

Next week I'll finally be blogging on The Next Big Thing, after being tagged by Louise (see post below). I'm reading 'Breathless' at the moment, and finding it hard to put down, so I'll blame Louise if my kids go hungry and gift-less this year ;-)

Until next time - best wishes and lots of love,

Valerie-Anne x