I’ve ‘known’ lovely Darcie Boleyn electronically ever since I first started blogging two and a half years ago and I’m thrilled to be part of the launch celebrations for her latest book Christmas at Conwenna Cove.
Published by Canelo on 9th October 2017, Christmas at Conwenna Cove is available for purchase here.
Christmas At Conwenna Cove
A heartwarming, romantic and Christmassy novel set in the gorgeous Cornish village of Conwenna Cove.
When Grace Phillips travels to Conwenna Cove to help her parents move there 30 years after their honeymoon in the village, she sees why they fell in love with the place. The festive decorations, carols in the air and constant supply of delicious mince pies certainly make it hard to leave. Grace soon meets local vet Oli Davenport and initially finds him rude, but learning about his passion for animals and how much he cares for his two kids helps Grace to see a softer side to Oli.
It’s been two years since Oli lost his wife to cancer. Though he loves eleven-year-old Amy and five-year-old Tom more than anything it’s hard to be mum and dad. He has no interest in romance until he crosses paths with beautiful and kind-hearted Grace. The sparks fly but both Oli and Grace are holding onto fear about letting someone into their heart.
As the snow falls and Christmas wishes come true can Conwenna Cove work its magic and help Grace and Oli find the happiness they both deserve?
An Interview with Darcie Boleyn
Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag, Darcie. Thank you so much for agreeing to answer some questions on my blog about your writing and Christmas at Conwenna Cove in particular.
Firstly, I’d like to ask, why do you write?
I can’t imagine not writing. Writing is my creative outlet; it is a way of getting the characters and stories out of my head and into the world. If I didn’t write, I think my head might combust!
When did you realise you were going to be a writer?
I’ve always written, and as a child I used to enter short story and poetry competitions. This continued when I went to university but then, as life became busier, writing took a back seat. I nursed the dream to write for years when my children were young, and I tried to write a novel but spent far too much time procrastinating, which meant that it didn’t get finished. A few years ago, my husband encouraged me to really try again, and following a few false starts, I finally had that amazing acceptance email. Since then, I haven’t stopped!
Which aspects of your writing do you find easiest and most difficult?
Creating new characters, and watching as their lives unfold is a very enjoyable process. The way I’d describe my character development is that it’s like entering a dark corridor where the lights come on automatically, one at a time, as I move forwards. I don’t always know exactly what’s at the end, or even the next step, but as one light comes on, I can see more of the way ahead and this keeps going until I reach the end. In terms of difficulties, having an idea for a new story when I’m halfway through my WIP can be hard. I have to stop and make notes then carry on, because it’s important to finish the book I’m writing or I’d have half-written books piling up and never get them published.
Your books are frequently described as heartwarming. How far is this a deliberate aim of your writing and how far is it a natural outcome?
I am a very soft and warm-hearted person and I believe that love is extremely important to us in all its forms. Relationships with partners, children, relatives and friends are central to our lives. The people we surround ourselves with might not be immediate family members, but they will be the ones that matter most, the ones we are there for and who are there for us. I do set out to create relationships and situations that will convey the importance of human relationships but some of it inevitably develops – and shines through – with the story and characters. I also believe that our relationships with animals and the world around us matter too. That’s why greyhounds have a starring role in this series.
It’s only relatively recently that you’ve been writing full time. What advice would you give to those contemplating taking the leap from their current role into that of full time writer?
For me, circumstances meant that I was able to make this leap. I was teaching for twenty years then became unwell and decided that it was time to make some life changes. I was writing anyway, and knowing that leaving teaching would enable me to write full time gave me extra motivation. If you want to write full time and are in a situation where you can go for it, then do so. It was the best thing I could have done for my family and me. However, individual circumstances differ and not everyone will be able to follow their heart. If you can’t give up the day job, try to write as much as you can, as often as you can, and keep trying to get published or to get more books out there. Most importantly, write because you love it and because you can’t imagine not writing.
Without spoiling the plot, please could you tell us a bit about Christmas at Conwenna Cove?
Christmas at Conwenna Cove is the second book in the Conwenna Cove series. The books can be read as standalones or enjoyed together. This story gives readers the opportunity to revisit the beautiful Cornish village at Christmas, to catch up with characters from Summer at Conwenna Cove and to meet new ones, including new greyhounds. Christmas at Conwenna Cove is about love, loss and new beginnings, as well as moving on from grief without forgetting the ones you loved and lost. I want readers to be able to feel that there is always hope, however difficult and painful life can be at times.
Christmas at Conwenna Cove has a beautifully festive cover. How did that image come about and what were you hoping to convey (without spoiling the plot please!)?
After my editor read the novel, we discussed what I’d like on the cover and we were in agreement about what features were important. It had to be festive, it should have the main character Grace on it and it definitely had to have a greyhound!
You’re from Wales. Why have you chosen Cornwall as your setting for the Conwenna books?
I chose Cornwall as the setting for the Conwenna Cove series for several reasons. Cornwall is an absolutely beautiful location. It has a dramatic coastline, stunning beaches, pretty fishing harbours, spectacular scenery and a rich and intriguing history. As a teenager, I enjoyed some amazing family holidays in Porthleven; they were magical times and I treasure the memories. Life can be so stressful and hectic, and taking time out to be with loved ones is incredibly important. Holidays can be restorative and allow your body and mind to recuperate from the ups and downs of everyday life. Cornwall is the perfect place to do this and that’s why being in Conwenna Cove has such a positive effect on the characters in Summer at Conwenna Cove and Christmas at Conwenna Cove.
What would you say to those readers who believe Christmas books shouldn’t be read until December?
This is obviously down to personal preference, but for me, the build up to Christmas is part of the fun. I believe that Christmas stories can be enjoyed at any time of the year, but they’re even better in the months, weeks and days leading up to the festivities, as they creative that delicious Christmas mood and build anticipation.
How do you celebrate Christmas?
I spend Christmas with my family: my husband, children, dogs and bearded dragons. We have something nice to eat on Christmas Eve, along with mulled wine for the adults, then snuggle up with the dogs to watch a Christmas movie – usually my favourite National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. On Christmas morning, I’m usually the first one awake and I rush around waking my family up then get them all downstairs with the dogs. We’ll make big mugs of tea and bucks fizz then head into the lounge to put on festive music and to open gifts before enjoying a breakfast of smoked salmon and poached egg bagels with maple syrup. Lunch is around one-thirty followed by a lazy afternoon when we’ll watch TV, read new books and eat far too much chocolate.
When you’re not writing, what do you like to read?
So many authors inspire me and I enjoy reading a wide variety of genres. This is always a difficult question, as I’m worried I’ll miss someone out if I start naming authors, but I do love reading contemporary romance – especially rom-coms –domestic noir and thrillers. I enjoy the build up in a romance novel and how the characters can be pulled together then pushed apart until they realise they can’t live without each other. With domestic noir and thrillers, I enjoy the twists and turns in the story and how the writers keep me guessing until the end.
If you had 15 words to persuade a reader that Christmas at Conwenna Cove should be their next read, what would you say?
If you want a heart-warming festive romance with greyhounds, then read Christmas at Conwenna Cove.
Thank you so much Darcie for your time in answering my questions.
About Darcie Boleyn
Darcie Boleyn has a huge heart and is a real softy. She never fails to cry at books and movies, whether the ending is happy or not. Darcie is in possession of an overactive imagination that often keeps her awake at night. Her childhood dream was to become a Jedi but she hasn’t yet found suitable transport to take her to a galaxy far, far away. She also has reservations about how she’d look in a gold bikini, as she rather enjoys red wine, cheese and loves anything with ginger or cherries in it – especially chocolate. Darcie fell in love in New York, got married in the snow, rescues uncoordinated greyhounds and can usually be found reading or typing away on her laptop.
You’ll find all Darcie’s books here.