Monday, 8 June 2020

What a Difference 5 Years Makes!

Remember this?

I didn’t realise it had been so long, but Facebook recently reminded me that this was published 5 years ago! Which is timely – because today the paperback is out of A FORGET-ME-NOT SUMMER!

Small-town florist Natasha is determined to leave the past far behind her. But when she learns her ex-husband never told his family about their divorce — and that he needs her to accompany him on a trip to the French countryside — could love bloom again between them?

It’s a re-release with my new publisher, Hodder. The same book, but not the same.

Let me explain.

You might recall that I signed a 3-book deal with Hodder last year (read about it here) including this book. However, it was 55,000 words long and the norm in women’s fiction is 80-90,000, so they asked me to make it longer.

At first I found it a daunting prospect. I wanted the story to carry the reader along and keep the ‘will they/won’t they’ romantic tension, so I definitely didn’t want to pad it out with unnecessary scenes or description. Also, my editor and I agreed that we didn’t want the story to change too dramatically because it had previously sold well with good reviews.

But as I read the book again, I realised there was so much in my head which hadn’t made it to the page the first time round. Backstory about Natasha and Luc, and memories of their brief relationship in the past. Scenes with Luc’s family which revealed more about him, his qualities and flaws. I added all this, and it was great to give the secondary characters more room on the page too. One of the young children rather stole the show with his desire to teach Natasha how to speak French, and Luc’s father showed himself to be a mischievous devil!

Several Provencal dishes were mentioned in the story too, so I included my own family recipes, some of which were passed down to me from my French Grandmère.

I also added more twists in the plot: complications and obstacles for the characters to overcome.

But the essence of the story is the same.

Natasha and Luc have a shared history and so much pain to work through. However, they’re older now and Natasha’s success as a florist has given her a confidence she never had before. Luc is surprised by this, but he respects her all the more for it. And spending time together in France brings flashes of tension – but also of understanding. Of connection and chemistry that never really went away. Neither of them wants to risk their heart again, but what if they can’t help it?

Extending the book turned out to be a really satisfying experience. It was like revisiting old friends in that dreamy chateau in Provence surrounded by vineyards and fields of sunflowers in the shimmering heat of summer.

If you read it the first time round, I’d love to know what you think of this new longer version. And if you haven’t read my books before, this is the perfect place to start. My books can all be read standalone, but they’re linked by the heroines who are friends and chronologically Natasha’s story in A FORGET-ME-NOT SUMMER happens first.

In a year when most of us are unlikely to travel overseas, I hope my readers will enjoy being transported to the heat and sunshine of summer in Provence.

Happy reading!


Sophie’s latest book, A FORGET-ME-NOT SUMMER, is available from your local bookshop, Amazon & Tesco stores.