I’m really happy to welcome local author Mollie Blake to My Chestnut Reading Tree. I met Mollie at a local gathering of authors, bloggers and readers and have been following her writing journey with excitement as she counted down to her publication with Black Opal books. Here Mollie gives us her thoughts on that journey.
Firstly I would like to thank you, Jo, for inviting me to write a guest post for your wonderful My Chestnut Reading Tree blog. I feel very honoured to be included among some amazing authors who have written such wonderful, clever and intriguing books. I hope I am somewhere near worthy to sit alongside them.
So how did I get here? I guess it sort of started nearly eight years ago when I made the leap from boardroom to playground at the fulfilling age of forty-six. There were times when it felt more like a plunge than a leap. Suddenly the fulfilments of cycling a hundred miles, learning to ride a motorbike, sitting on a board as finance director, and having a baby, seemed less than a memory. It was as if they had become figments of my imagination.
Except the baby, of course.
As I crept towards my fifties the rewards of motherhood and the privilege of being an almost fulltime mum, became blemished with feelings of loss of self-worth and lack of achievement. I needed another challenge in my life. One which would fit in with my role as mother.
They say there’s a book in all of us. Well, I decided to give it a go. I am quite an eclectic reader of fiction and love reading thrillers, romance and comedy. Reading Fifty Shades also reminded me I used to enjoy a steamy love story.
So I set about writing a story of “provocative romance and alluring suspense.”
After self-publishing with limited success, I forwarded one of my manuscripts to an American publisher, Black Opal Books. I was delighted to be offered a contract at the end of 2015 for my story “The Secret At Arnford Hall.”
I have five books with the publisher now and am writing a sixth. I always have a notebook to hand and my dictionary and thesaurus are never far away. I write romantic thrillers spiced with steamy sex scenes. My aim is to ensure that readers are eager to meet realistic characters, unravel dangerous plots and discover intriguing secrets.
As my journey continues, I feel privileged to be part of the writing and reading community. I am a member of the International Thriller Writers group and the Romantic Novelists Association in the UK. I have learned so much from other authors, editors and bloggers, and I have met some amazing people, whose enthusiasm for reading and writing is contagious.
The relationship with the publisher has taught me patience; everything takes such a long time. But I think the rewards are worth it. I have enjoyed the editing experience and my book has been given a fabulous cover. I can reach a wider audience of readers through bloggers and reviewers and I am forever grateful for any feedback.
As the first book was released on 4th February, I am looking forward to the process for my next two books to be published, Keeping You and Guiltless, which are due out in the summer. But my favourite pastime is to write more stories. Finding myself writing about various forms of abuse has also inspired me to seek ways to help raise funds for victims of abuse in the future. It all keeps me busy.
Thanks so much Mollie for sharing your very personal journey to publication with us today. I wish you continued success in 2017 and beyond! If you want to find out more about Mollie then you can visit her website HERE and find out more about her book HERE
About this book…
He lived in a nightmare. His son brought him daylight. Can this woman be his breaking dawn?
Gabriel Black didn’t give a damn about the world. Until, that is, his seven-year-old son enters his life for the first time. The young boy brings daylight into the darkness of Gabriel’s world. But a single parent needs a distraction. And this single parent has no limits when it comes to getting what he wants…
She’s built a new life for herself on the ruins of the old, but this man can destroy everything she’s worked so hard to gain…
Grace McGuire lives with a dark secret—one that, if revealed, will destroy her new life. Then her world collides with that of forceful Gabriel Black, a multi-millionaire with a secret of his own, a secret Grace is determined to uncover for her sanity and all she holds dear.
Although I mainly review crime and psychological thrillers nowadays, I do have a huge affection for romance which I have had since my obsessive reading of Mills and Boon as a teenager. And I love that nowadays it’s far more acceptable for romance books not to stop at the bedroom door!
The Secret at Arnford Hall works well due to Mollie Blake really getting inside the heads of both her main characters and you can tell that, even when Gabriel is at his worst, she has a huge affection for him. Both Gabriel and Grace have secrets which have made them emotionally damaged individuals who have hidden their true selves away from the world but the author slowly builds their connection with her descriptive writing style that pulls you deeper into this untraditional affair. I have to say that this is a long book at just under 600 pages but it never dragged and kept my interest right up until the final page.
Although the relationship between Gabriel and Grace takes centre stage, there is also the chance to watch the relationship develop between father and son which kickstarts Gabriel’s journey of self discovery as he faces up to the secret that haunts him, the one that challenges his emotions, making him the cold and aloof autocrat we first meet. And then Mollie Blake gradually works her magic, peeling away his layers until we find out what the family has tried to bury deep within its history. The author isn’t afraid to tackle some harrowing topics but does so with understanding and sensitivity.
It’s like Fifty Shades of Grey meets The Real Housewives of Cheshire, a sexy Beauty and the Beast fairy tale for grown-ups, with characters you will come to love or hate, all set within the playground of the wealthy Cheshire set. If you like your romance on the deeply sensual side, dripping with designer products, beautiful people and dark intrigue then this is the book for you!
Many thanks to the author for my review copy of The Secret at Arnford Hall: A Cheshire Love Story which was published in February 4th by Black Opal books.