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6 October 2010

Voices On The Waves - New Release by Jessica Chambers

It's my great pleasure to welcome fellow Brit, Jessica Chambers to my blog today.  OK, Jess, first of all, tell us about your debut release and what people will enjoy about it.

JC: Voices On The Waves is a sweet women’s fiction novel set against the stunning backdrop of rural Cornwall. The idea for the book came from my fascination with people and the ways in which they interact. What would happen, I asked myself, if you forced a group of strangers together in one place for a set length of time, and then left them to their own devices? Well, this is precisely what happens in Voices On The Waves, where nine individuals win a two-week holiday in a beautiful farmhouse retreat in Cornwall.

The thing I loved most about writing this novel was the interaction between the characters, so I’m hoping readers will enjoy that too. The prizewinners comprise a diverse jumble of personalities from all walks of life, and all I had to do was let my imagination flow and the sparks fly! With newfound love, illicit affairs and the sharing of long-buried secrets, Voices on the Waves really does have it all.

HL: That sounds like a fantastic premise for a story.  So what is your writing process? Has it changed since writing your first book?

JC: Very much so. When I first began Voices On The Waves, I felt I had to have every little detail planned out beforehand. Since then, though, I’ve discovered that too much planning dampens my creativity. Now, I tend to have the main plotline worked out, but let the characters and subplots find their own way. 

HL:  I have to agree with that!  What comes first, the plot or the characters?

JC: Normally, my novels start with an idea. Take my latest project, Painting The Summer. That all started when I had the urge to write a novel about a young man coming to terms with his sexuality. By the end of the first draft, however, this was simply one subplot in a novel centred around a wealthy family whose lives are almost destroyed when they invite an artist into their home to paint their portraits.

HL:What do you do for fun when you’re not writing?

JC: Oh, I’m a total book addict. If I’m not writing them, I’m reading them. I’ll read anything from Maeve Binchy and James Patterson, to Philippa Gregory and Charlaine Harris. So long as it has a page-turning plot and memorable characters, I’m there! 

HL: I find most writers are avid readers too, so no surprise there! Do you have a support system? Do you have a writing community? What valuable lessons have you learned from them?

JC: I joined The Next Big Writer online writing community in 2007 and it’s honestly one of the best things I ever did. It’s great having access to a whole network of like-minded people who share your hopes and dreams, and who you can bounce ideas off when you’re struggling to make a plot work. The most valuable lesson I’ve learned, though, is to accept criticism graciously. If you let others read your work and take onboard what they have to say, chances are you’ll be a much better writer for it. 

HL: Absolutely! What have you learnt about writing since you were published that surprised you the most?

JC: Well, I’ve technically only been a published author for five days, so it’s too soon to say. However, while organising the Voices On The Waves Blog Tour, I was amazed by the generosity of my fellow authors. Even those I’ve never spoken to until a month ago, are letting me gatecrash their blogs to talk about my debut release. I’ve been quite overwhelmed.

HL: You know, Jess, that's one of the things that struck me when I was first published.  The writing community on the whole, is amazingly supportive and friendly, even with new authors, or perhaps, especially with new authors, and I've made so many friend I'd never have known if I hadn't been a writer. 

JC: Thank you so much, Lyn, for inviting me on your blog today, and to all of you for stopping by. Anyone kind enough to leave a comment here, or at any point during my blog tour, will automatically be entered into the draw to win a $15 gift voucher for either Amazon or Barnes & Noble, so don’t forget to provide an email address in case I need to contact you. I’ll be announcing the five winners at the end of my tour on October 31st over at my blog


Tomorrow, the Voices On The Waves Blog Tour continues at The Book Boost, where I’ll be talking about the advantages to writing women’s fiction over straightforward romance.  Hope to see you there!

HL: Thank you so much for giving us a little insight into your writing world.  Now lets find out some more about your book with the 'blurb' and an excerpt. 

When Faye Wakefield runs a competition offering nine lucky winners a two-week holiday at her beautiful farmhouse retreat in Cornwall, she promises an experience they will never forget. However, even Faye could not have imagined how bringing these people together would change their lives forever.

Just as she hoped, the competition yields a diverse mixture of characters: a shy young woman with troubled eyes, a womanizing business tycoon, an interior designer ruled by her need for independence, a retired nurse, and an Irishman with an affiliation for the whisky bottle. Yet, as sparks begin to fly and the guests share their long-suppressed secrets, only Faye knows of her ulterior motive for inviting them all under her roof.

Leah had just managed to escape Rex Fowler and his never-ending crossword to go for a walk when someone called her name. Turning, she saw Will Everett leap down the terrace steps and start towards her.

“Anjum and I are about to have a game of tennis,” he said. “Want to play?”

Leah’s heart sank. Would she ever get away? “Thanks, but I’m not much good.”

“That’s okay.” Will grinned. “We’ll go easy on you, I promise. Or you can just watch, as long as Anjum doesn’t mind having an audience to witness his humiliation.”

“In your dreams,” Anjum said, joining them.

Will laughed and turned back to Leah. “How about it? Want to umpire for us?”

“Really, I’d rather not.” Leah spoke more curtly than she had intended. Why were her fellow guests so intent on denying her some much-needed solitude?

“No problem.” Will shrugged and he and Anjum made for the tennis court.

Leah watched them go with a pang of guilt. She shouldn’t have been so short with Will. Then her more pressing concerns reasserted themselves and she set off in the opposite direction, grateful for the trees lining the path as they sheltered her from the worst of the heat.

Now alone, she had to decide what on earth she was going to do. The first item on the agenda, she knew, was to find another job. Quite apart from the fact that she would never again be able to look her employer in the eye, she did not want to risk a chance encounter with his son, which at best would be unpleasant and at worst, utterly humiliating.

Leah still wondered how Dr. Edward Phillips, so jolly and kind-hearted, had produced such a callous monster as Alan. Moreover, how could the podgy, balding doctor be the father of anyone so divinely attractive? Even as she battled against it, Alan’s boyish face with its mocking eyes and artfully tousled hair swam to the surface of her mind. Angry with herself, she pushed it away. Thinking about him achieved nothing, other than to set her alight with fury and shame.

Leah lost all sense of how long she walked, admiring the water features and abundant flowerbeds, as the thoughts swirled endlessly round her head. Finally, weary and frustrated at her failure to reach a solution, she returned to the house.
Buy Voices On The Waves now from Red Rose Publishing


Jessica was born in the UK in 1982, and currently lives with her family and crazy Staffordshire bull terrier in the English town of Windsor, most famous for its castle and nearby Eton College. At the age of five, she was diagnosed with Retinitis Pitmentosa, a degenerative eye condition that has left her almost totally blind.
Jessica has wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember. As a shy person, she loves being able to escape into another world, and the sense of power that comes with controlling everything that goes on in that world. She especially loves writing women’s fiction centred around memorable characters that leap off the page, and her debut novel, a sweet holiday read called Voices On The Waves, is now available from Red Rose Publishing.