Happy Publication Day Roma 🙂
Today I am very pleased to welcome author, Roma Brooks to my blog.
Roma has very kindly sent me an e-book review copy of her novel, Wicked Summer (book 2 in the Cape Harriet series), which I will be reading as soon as possible (what this space for my review!). In the meantime, I have a Q&A with the author herself for you to enjoy…..
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
I have always wanted to write. I put it off as something to do later but that day never came. Last year, I started writing something for NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month, a project that encourages budding authors to write 50K words in November. It is highly motivating being part of a global platform of like minded people. I didn’t end up with a complete novel but it got me putting words down on paper. I got a feel for what sort of genre I was really interested in, and that paved the way for the Cape Harriet series.
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
From life itself! There is no one to one correlation or nothing very concrete. A multitude of things you see around you, read about or experience come together to form some sort of impression on you. Some things linger on in the mind for a long time, and they morph into the concept of a story.
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
I like to think my characters are regular people, the kind you have come across in life. A character is like a quilt made out of scores of different pieces of cloth. They are real, but they have been built bit by bit. There is a sense of people I have met and interacted with over the course of life. So far, I haven’t used a person I know well as an inspiration though.
How do you pick your characters names?
I spend a lot of time on this. I believe the name is important – it gives a sense of the person. I look for names that are going to match the personality portrayed. I also consider the age and ethnic background of the person. I generally shortlist a few names for every character. Intuition or gut instinct also plays a big part in making the final choice. I have a mental image in my mind for the character, and the name should match it. For example, in Wicked Summer, the mother’s name is Mary. She is a wise older woman who keeps her opinion to herself most of the time, but intervenes when absolutely necessary. She lives her life with elegance and grace. I wanted the character to be larger than the name. Ultimately, I settled on Mary because it is a simple name and the first thing I think of when you hear it is ‘mother’.
In Clipper Beach, the main character is called Sandhya which means dusk or evening. Sandhya is a troubled young woman who is facing a serious decision in life. She’s young but past the first blush of youth, past first love. Her vibrant personality is a bit dampened now due to circumstances. The name had to be South Asian considering the character’s ethnicity, easy to pronounce and short enough to remember. Sandhya was my final choice because it seemed to click.
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
The writing process is continuous. I’m more of a ‘pantser’, or spontaneous writer, but I still do an outline. I decide the general concept, then think of the characters. I know at a high level what is going to happen next. But once I start writing, it is all imagination. For example, Wicked Summer begins with the flight journey of Iris, a 40 year old mother with four kids. I close my eyes and imagine the whole process of taking a long flight. Waking up early, packing, leaving for the airport, security lines, the long flight with no food, cramped spaces, anxiety of arriving in a new place, and four whining kids – all of it gives me a sense of what these people will say and do when the flight lands, what state of mind they will be in. The words flow from there.
Do you have a favourite author?
I have many favorite authors so it is hard to name any one. As a child, I was very fond of Enid Blyton. Then I discovered Stevenson and Austen. Then I discovered Jeffery Archer. Then I discovered John Grisham and Clive Cussler. And so on. Nowadays, I have a favorite author every week.
Were you a big reader as a child?
Oh yes. I have always been glued to a book. My day starts and ends with a book. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
When did you start to write?
I have been writing in my head forever. I didn’t really start writing fiction until last year. Now I wonder why.
What are you working on right now?
I am working on the next book in the Cape Harriet series. It will be set around Christmas. I want it to be a story of hope and love, one where your most farfetched dreams come true. Holiday spirit will be very much in evidence, and as always, there will be lots of yummy food.
When can we look forward to a new release?
Book 3 is coming at Christmas time.
How can readers keep in touch with you?
I like using Twitter to stay in touch with fans. You can connect with me there @romabrooksauth. I love getting emails from readers, so you can also write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many thanks to Roma for agreeing to answer my questions 🙂
Publication Day – 15th August 2016
Buy your copy here – Wicked Summer by Roma Brooks
Wicked Summer Blurb
A fun family summer holiday on the beach takes an unexpected turn.
Wicked Summer follows the Bloom family as they spend a once in a lifetime vacation at Cape Harriet, a charming seaside town on Virginia’s scenic Eastern Shore.
All Mary Bloom ever wanted was to celebrate her 60th birthday at the beach. The extended Bloom family converges at the Rising Tides Inn, where their slightest whim is catered to.
Forty something Iris is the perfect suburban mom, holding her four kids and husband on a tight leash. 36 year old Hyacinth is single, successful and the self-proclaimed brains of the family. At 26, Poppy is a top travel blogger, wandering across countries most people only dream of visiting.
The rivalry among the sisters is as strong as ever, and each sister is dealing with it in her own way. So while Iris taunts and needles, Hyacinth takes the high road and shows disdain. Poppy suffers silently, lost in her own inner turmoil. None of them has an inkling of the storm that is about to break loose in their lives.
Soft shell crabs and salt marshes will be forgotten as shocking secrets are revealed. Everyone seems to be guilty of hiding something.
Set in idyllic Cape Harriet, Wicked Summer takes the reader on a thrilling roller coaster ride with plenty of laughs, tears and intrigue with heartwarming emotions, scrumptious food and never a dull moment.
Roma Brooks writes stories featuring real life characters, the kind you would come across in your own family. Her books will make you laugh, cry, love, hate and bite your nails. She dreams of retiring to a seaside town like Cape Harriet where the gentle waves of the ocean lull you into sweet dreams.
Zadie flushed with pleasure. “Fresh ingredients make a big difference. The cheeses are made right here in Cape Harriet at Fern’s Dairy Farm. And the bread is also baked fresh in our local bakery. The peppers are from my garden, roasted this morning.”
“Go ahead, cut the cake,” Zadie urged Kevin who had decided to stop attacking the grilled cheese and seemed ready for something else.
Kevin immediately cut out a huge slice, then cut it in half. Four layers of yellow cake with buttery snow white frosting, sprinkled with generous amounts of coconut brought on another chorus of approval.
“Shouldn’t Hyacinth be here by now?” Mary thought out loud. “What time is it?”
“4:30,” Maddie informed her. “She was near Annapolis an hour ago.”
“Oh, she should be here by 6:30 then. Summer time is busy around here. And the single lane roads are slow going,” Zadie explained.
“I still don’t understand why she wouldn’t let me come in the car with her,” Amber wailed. “I’m an adult now, aren’t I?”
“You can ask her when she gets here,” Mary said soothingly, wondering the same thing. She couldn’t always explain her daughters’ behavior.
“You bet I will, Grandma!” Amber said resolutely.
“When is Poppy getting here?” Iris wanted to know. “I thought she planned this whole thing.”
“Oh, Poppy’s been here for a while,” Zadie said with adoring eyes. “She’s such a darling.”
Kevin raised his hand to high five her, and Zadie met his hand with full force, gaining his instant approval.
“Aunt Poppy’s something, isn’t she?” His hero worship was clear in his eyes and voice.
Iris cleared her throat. She didn’t like her kids idolizing her youngest sister.
“Poppy’s gone into Delaware for a meeting. She’ll be back tonight.” Mary answered Iris’s question.
“What kind of meeting? It’s not like she’s got a job!” Iris said, not even trying to hide the derision in her voice.
Zadie and Mary looked at each other and beamed.
“We’ll let her tell you about it. That sister of yours is a gem, that’s for sure. We are so honored to have her here.”
“Is this about her next trip?” Maddie burst out excitedly.
Haven’t read book 1 yet? Download here – Clipper Beach by Roma Brooks
Thanks for reading 🙂