Some of you may remember that earlier this year I featured The Gingerbread Tea House on my blog? No? You missed it?
And then the world went into lockdown……..
Nicole, however, has been a busy lady and, since our first catch up, has published not one but two novels.
So, I’d like to welcome her back to my blog to talk about what she’s been up to creatively this year.
I first “interviewed” you back in March, so how has life treated you so far in this crazy world that is 2020?
Wow! I don’t think either of us predicted how this year was going to pan out. What incredibly strange times we’re living in. I’ve been incredibly fortunate in that none of my loved ones have been badly affected by the virus itself. My 20 year old daughter thought she had the virus back in April, she had heart surgery as a baby so I always worry about her health, but she was fine. I own a cafe, so of course I had to close the business. I was closed for a couple of weeks, but then customers started contacting me and asking for afternoon tea. I ended up delivering afternoon teas and homemade scones all over Widnes. It’s been difficult from the point of view of my business. Not knowing if the business will survive and trying to decide what to do in the longer term is tough. Since we reopened though my customers have been amazingly supportive. The good will i have received has been heart-warming. I live in the North West and case numbers are high again. I’m waiting to find out over the next few days if we are going to be told to close again, but it’s simply a case of waiting and hoping we can weather the storm. Whatever happens I have lots to be thankful for. Lockdown gave me a little time to stop and think. I had been writing Chasing Butterflies for years. Lockdown gave me the chance to pull it all together and edit it before self-publishing. I also managed to start The China Doll before I reopened the business. Your debut novel Chasing Butterflies was published in May this year.
Your debut novel Chasing Butterflies was published in May this year. How did it feel holding your “book baby” in your hands and seeing your name on the cover?
Holding my own book was a dream come true. I have always dreamed of being an author. I have written bits and bobs all my life but completing Chasing Butterflies gave me an enormous sense of satisfaction.
Has Chasing Butterflies been well received? I see it currently has 5 stars on Amazon. Well done!
I have had some really great feedback for Chasing Butterflies. As with most creative people, I really lack self-confidence and I’m my own worst critic. My heart thumped in my chest as I read every word of every review, but i was really pleased with the feedback I got. Readers seemed to really engage with Hope’s story and rooted for her throughout the book.
Without giving any spoilers, what made you want to tell Helen’s story in The China Doll?
After I finished Chasing Butterflies, Helen was still in my thoughts. As a mother myself I felt for her. I really felt that there was more of her story to tell. She was such a damaged character, it seemed a disservice to her not to tell her story and explain how she became so fragile.
Tell me a bit about your approach to your writing. Are you a meticulous planner or do you tend towards letting your characters go with the flow?
My approach to Chasing Butterflies was very different to my approach to The China Doll. I wrote Chasing Butterflies over the course of 5 years. I wrote, rewrote, changed and edited along the way. I wrote scenes as they came to me and didn’t have so much of a plan. With The China Doll, I had a much more linear approach. I set myself word counts for each week and tried to stick to my plan as much as possible. I did deviate in places, but the story was more evolved in my mind before I started to write.
Where’s your favourite place to write?
I own a cafe where we have a book exchange. Following the pandemic we put in bookcases to separate tables. During quiet times I can be found sat at a table in the corner, hiding behind a bookcase and typing away. At home I sit in the lounge on my sofa with a chaise lounge. I put my laptop on my knee and become immersed in the story I am creating. My husband Sean sits with me, often practicing his guitar playing while I’m working.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
I guess the best advice I have been given would be that you can’t edit a blank page. I was terrible when writing Chasing Butterflies for revisiting the same scene again and again to edit it. It really slowed my writing down.
What advice would you give to other aspiring authors out there?
Set yourself weekly word count targets. Keep your targets realistic. Don’t compromise on quality over the quantity of words.
So, what’s next creatively? Are you working on anything else just now?
I’ve started my next project. It’s a stand alone book and not part of the Secrets and Lies series, although I do plan to return to those characters in the future. My next book “My Friend Bill” is the story of Jack. His parents were killed in a car accident when he was a baby and he was brought up by his somewhat resentful grandmother. Feeling unloved and unwanted, Jack develops an unlikely friendship with Bill. But who is Bill and why is he drawn to Jack?
Thanks, Nicole. Can’t wait to meet Bill and Jack!
I was fortunate enough to be given an ARC copy of The China Doll by Nicole Thorne and I loved every word of it.
The prequel to Chasing Butterflies, The China Doll tells the back story of Hope’s mother, Helen. Without giving any spoilers away, if you’ve read Chasing Butterflies, it answers a lot of the unasked questions and makes sense of the past.
If you’ve not read Chasing Butterflies then you’ve time to read book one in this Secrets and Lies series before The China Doll is published on 14 November 2020.
Nicole’s writing is vivid as she paints the scenes in this second book in the series. You can hear the seagulls and smell the salt in the Cornish air. Like the sea itself, this story draws you in and leaves the reader captivated by its beauty. There’s a fragility to this tale but also a huge amount of inner strength to the characters. Both books are making we want to travel to Cornwall and remind myself of its rugged beauty.
Great read! Well done, Nicole.
And if you missed my review of Nicole’s debut novel Chasing Butterflies..
I was drawn into Hope’s story right from the start and my heart immediately went out to her as her world falls apart around her. Chasing Butterflies is well written and, in some respects, flits about like a butterfly as the reader is drawn into Hope’s present and gradually enlightened about her past. No spoilers but I loved how past and present eventually entwine.
You can find both books on Amazon-
You can also catch up with Nicole herself on Facebook-