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The Truth About… Kathleen McGurl

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kath

All this month, my second novel – THE TRUTH ABOUT THIS CHARMING MAN – is just 99p, as part of Amazon’s ongoing Summer Promo. Grab your copy here

…but not before I use the opportunity to shine a bright light into the eyes of an unsuspecting reader, and uncover the truth!

Today we’re grilling historical romance novelist, non-fiction author & writer of many many short-stories… Kathleen McGurl. 

Let’s get straight into it.

Kath, tell us one fact – one truth – that most people don’t know about you.

Ooh that’s actually a hard question – I’m an open book, me, and I don’t really keep secrets! I guess most of my writing friends don’t know that I’m a nerdy computer programmer at heart, and only my closest work colleagues know that I write novels in my spare time.

In the novel, all Will’s ever wanted in life is to be an actor. What is, or was, your greatest ambition?

And that’s an easy one. There is a place on Everest known as the Western Cwm. It is reached on the ‘tourist’ route up the mountain, after negotiating the notoriously dangerous Khumbu Icefall. I have always wanted to stand there (at over 6000m above sea level) and gaze up at the immensity of Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse. Unlikely ever to happen because I don’t fancy the climb through the icefall!

Reading this in an email? If there’s a gap below that’s where a video would normally appear. Jump over to youtube to watch it.

Will makes a living pretending to be people he isn’t – have you ever pretended to be someone or something you’re not? Why?

In my more vulnerable moments I think I am only pretending to be a novelist.

Will finds himself in a situation where he has to be two of his characters … at the same meeting! But most people have been in the situation where they’ve been expected to be in two different places at the same time, or to carry out two tasks simultaneously. Have you ever been in a similar situation? What?

I’m a woman, a mother, with a full time job and sideline as a novelist – I am always multi-tasking!

99p (WHILST STOCKS LAST)

Without giving too much away… did you have a favourite scene (in TTATCM)? Which one?

The whole thing was a fabulous read and I laughed out loud several times, but if I had to pick one scene it’d have to be the part when Rachel finally leaves that despicable husband of hers and tells him what she thinks of him. Oops, is that a spoiler? I was rooting for her throughout!

What is the one thing about yourself you would change if you could?

Can I give two answers? Firstly I’d be magically tidy and organised, which would make my life so much better. And secondly I’d have longer legs.

james

Who would you like to see in a movie of THE TRUTH ABOUT THIS CHARMING MAN?

tomColin Firth, although he’s perhaps a bit old for the lead role. So it’d have to be the gorgeous Tom Hiddleston as Will. I’d watch that. Or James Norton if the Hiddlehunk is not available.

Find out more about Kath on her website, on facebook, & on twitter… and find out more about her latest book (The Daughters Of Red Hill Hall) here

Have you read The Truth About This Charming Man? Fancy being interrogated? Drop me a line!


TTATCM sidebarHot news! 

The Truth About This Charming Man is part of Amazon’s Summer Promo – for the entire month of June you can download the book for your smart phone, tablet, or kindle, for a mere 99p.

Visit BUYTHEBOOK.TODAY to buy the book… today!

(The FREE kindle reading app is available for everything. Seriously; EVERYTHING.)

The Truth About… Rachel Gilbey

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Rachel

All this month, my second novel – THE TRUTH ABOUT THIS CHARMING MAN – is just 99p, as part of Amazon’s Summer Promo. Grab your copy here

…but not before I use the opportunity to shine a bright light into the eyes of an unsuspecting reader, and uncover the truth!

Today we’re grilling ‘random reader’ Rachel Gilbey; Reviewer. Blogger. Tweeter. Book fan. 

Let’s get straight into it.

Rachel, tell us one fact – one truth – that most people don’t know about you.

Most people probably don’t know that on my first cruise holiday that I took for my 30th Birthday, I won a Caribbean Cruise for two, from playing bingo! Best holiday ever!

In the novel, all Will’s ever wanted in life is to be an actor. What is, or was, your greatest ambition?

My greatest ambitions were when I was younger to work for a video game company, but that failed when I dropped out of uni, while on a Computer and Video games course. I then wanted to work as a kids rep in holiday destinations. That I did achieve for a few years until it went wrong. Now my greatest ambition has to be working in publishing and making my blog a success. At time of writing I’m working an internship, so I may be lucky and develop it into a job!

Reading this in an email? If there’s a gap below that’s where a video would normally appear. Jump over to youtube to watch it.

Will makes a living pretending to be people he isn’t – have you ever pretended to be someone or something you’re not? Why?

The whole time I was working as a kids rep, I felt like I was pretending to be a happy smiley person full of energy, when in fact I am generally the opposite. I also had as a “fun fact” about me one season that was that I had allegedly been on x-factor. Telling customers all about my “x-factor experience” was definitely me faking a lot given I’m tone deaf. Amazingly was only asked to reprise the so called audition song the once!

Will finds himself in a situation where he has to be two of his characters … at the same meeting! But most people have been in the situation where they’ve been expected to be in two different places at the same time, or to carry out two tasks simultaneously. Have you ever been in a similar situation? What?

Unfortunately I find I’m too organised to end up being in two places at once. The last time I recall a scheduling clash to any great extent, I clearly had to drop one activity. I accidentally managed to clash a holiday to Antigua with a ticket to the first Take That concert tour when they had just re-formed. I was gutted. Ended up somehow snagging a ticket to an additionally announced date a month later thankfully.

1 pair of glasses

 Without giving too much away… did you have a favourite scene (in TTATCM)? Which one?

I loved all of TTATCM, loads of fabulous scenes, but I think my favourite bits are in the last quarter or so, and I won’t touch on them as they are hilarious and sheer brilliant, but you really need to have read the rest of the book first for anything to make sense.

Find out more about Rachel and the books she reviews at her fabulous blog; Rachel’s Random Reads and catch her on twitter @gibster1000

Have you read The Truth About This Charming Man? Fancy being interrogated? Drop me a line!


TTATCM sidebarHot news! 

The Truth About This Charming Man is part of Amazon’s Summer Promo – for the entire month of June you can download the book for your smart phone, tablet, or kindle, for a mere 99p.

Visit BUYTHEBOOK.TODAY to buy the book… today!

(The FREE kindle reading app is available for everything. Seriously; EVERYTHING.)

The Truth About… Iain Pattison

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iain

All this month, my second novel – THE TRUTH ABOUT THIS CHARMING MAN – is just 99p, as part of Amazon’s Summer Promo. Grab your copy here

…but not before I use the opportunity to shine a bright light into the eyes of an unsuspecting reader, and uncover the truth!

Today we’re grilling humorist, and writer of all things quirky… Iain Pattison

Let’s get straight into it!

Iain – tell us one fact – one truth – that most people don’t know about you.

I’m terrified of clowns – I find masks of any kind creepy. However, I have absolutely no fear of heights. So if a clown came after me, I’d probably scramble up the nearest tree. Even if he didn’t suffer from acrophobia, I’d be counting on him finding it tough to climb in those oversized shoes…

All Will’s ever wanted in life is to be an actor. What is, or was, your greatest ambition?

 I’m a frustrated stand-up comedian. Sometimes when I’ve appeared at writers conferences kind souls have told me they thought I was very amusing and that I should give full time comedy a go. It’s an enticing thought but I know there’s a world of difference between injecting humour into a short story workshop and standing on a lonely Comedy Store stage at midnight facing a crowd of inebriated hecklers. For one thing drunks tend not to want to hear whether Noah’s flood ordeal counts as having a narrative arc …

Reading this in an email? If there’s a gap below that’s where a video would normally appear. Jump over to youtube to watch it.

Will makes a living pretending to be people he isn’t – have you ever pretended to be someone or something you’re not? Why?

Years ago when I was a cub reporter on my local newspaper there was a rumour going round that a national bakery chain was going to open a shop in our town, complete with cafe. Trouble was, they wouldn’t speak to any journalists to confirm the story. I rang up pretending to be from the local planning department and was put straight through to the Managing Director. Some people would call it lying – we hacks call it initiative.

Will finds himself in a situation where he has to be two of his characters … at the same meeting! But most people have been in the situation where they’ve been expected to be in two different places at the same time, or to carry out two tasks simultaneously. Have you ever been in a similar situation? What?

Also in my cub reporter days, I used to accompany the newspaper’s photographer around on a Saturday visiting various weddings in the neighbourhood. He’d take a snap, I’d get names and a few details so I could write a long caption.

One week Ken asked if I could do him a favour. He was double booked (he was a bit vague on details) and suggested that I go to one wedding on my own. He’d lend me a camera.

Reluctantly, I agreed. It was only when I turned up the church that I discovered to my horror that I wasn’t just taking a quick snap for the paper – I was actually booked as the couple’s OFFICIAL wedding photographer. Ken had been doing sneaky freelance jobs on the side and had got too greedy!

It was a fiasco of crash, bang, wallop proportions. I took pictures with people’s heads sliced off, missed the newly-weds kissing at the end of the service and mistook the best man for the groom. I don’t know who cried more – me or the bride. They demanded and got a full refund. I was so awful that I didn’t even get a bit of the cake that I failed to capture being ceremoniously cut.

99p for the next five customers

Without giving too much away… did you have a favourite scene (in TTATCM)? Which one?

I love the hilarious scenes where Will is desperately trying to teach his hopeless students to be actors – and failing at every turn. It reminds me of some of my more challenging night school classes teaching creative writing. “No, inner conflict isn’t your protagonist punching his own internal organs!”

Is it true that you once dated Helen Mirren?

No, but I’ll give a fiver to anyone willing to spread this scurrilous falsehood.

Who would you like to see in a movie of THE TRUTH ABOUT THIS CHARMING MAN?

johnApart from the fact that he’s American and now too old for the role, I’d love to see John Cusack cast as the lead.. He has that warmth, Kooky lost little boy charisma and sense of barely suppressed panic that makes Will such a likeable and scatty hero.

Helen-Mirren-1As for Zlata – his sexy/barmy/histrionic East European theatrical agent? A younger Helen Mirren springs to mind – but I’m afraid she often springs to mind. Hence the restraining order…

Find out more about Iain and his quirky goings on at IainPattison.com – and take a butchers at his latest short story collections at DoubleQBooks.com

Have you read The Truth About This Charming Man? Fancy being interrogated? Drop me a line!


TTATCM sidebarHot news! 

The Truth About This Charming Man is part of Amazon’s Summer Promo – for the entire month of June you can download the book for your smart phone, tablet, or kindle, for a mere 99p.

Visit BUYTHEBOOK.TODAY to buy the book… today!

(The FREE kindle reading app is available for everything. Seriously; EVERYTHING.)

The Truth About… Wendy Steele

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Wendy Steele
All this month, my second novel – THE TRUTH ABOUT THIS CHARMING MAN – is just 99p, as part of Amazon’s Summer Promo. Grab your copy here

…but not before I use the opportunity to shine a bright light into the eyes of an unsuspecting reader, and uncover the truth!

Today we’re grilling the ever wise, ever wonderful, author & novelist, Wendy Steele.

Let’s get straight into it!

Wendy – tell us one fact – one truth – that most people don’t know about you.

I begin my short stories and novels in long hand with my trusty red fountain pen.

All Will’s ever wanted in life is to be an actor. What is, or was, your greatest ambition?

I wanted to be a BBC researcher. I was blessed to be taught by an inspiring English teacher. Miss Bradshaw, taught me how to find information. Given questions to answer, the excesses of the non-fiction part of the library were ours to access and I loved every second of it. A puzzler by nature, finding answers by following clues in books, made me happy. Today, I spend one quarter of my life reading and gathering research for my stories.

Reading this in an email? If there’s a gap below that’s where a video would normally appear. Jump over to youtube to watch it.

Will makes a living pretending to be people he isn’t – have you ever pretended to be someone or something you’re not? Why?

I spent the first thirty four years of my life pretending to be the person others wanted me to be. I wanted to fit in. Since being ‘myself’, I’ve drawn other like minded people to me, friends I once dreamed of having. I won’t wear a mask again.

Will finds himself in a situation where he has to be two of his characters … at the same meeting! But most people have been in the situation where they’ve been expected to be in two different places at the same time, or to carry out two tasks simultaneously. Have you ever been in a similar situation? What?

A poignant one springs to mind…With the rapid onset of dementia, my mum fell often at her nursing home. About to leave for my daughter, Jasmine’s first solo in Billericay Operatic Society’s Fiddler on the roof, I received a call from the home saying mum had fallen, didn’t seem hurt but was being taken to hospital. Tough call. Knowing the wait in A&E was always three hours but feeling terribly guilty that mum would be alone for that time, I attended Jasmine’s show and spent the rest of the day and most of the night at the hospital.

EVERYTHING in the pound shop

If you could swap your life with someone else, who would you truly like to be?

I wouldn’t swap. When I see photos on social media of friends jetting off to sunny climes, I’m a little envious when the rain is pounding on my little Welsh farmhouse but I’m blessed to be living the life I love.

Jack Whitehall

Who would you like to see in a movie of THE TRUTH ABOUT THIS CHARMING MAN?

The first time I read TTATCM, I saw Jack Whitehall as Will. Can you imagine the facial expressions he would pull, dealing with Zlata?

Find out more about Wendy, her books, and everything else at WendySteele.com

Have you read The Truth About This Charming Man? Fancy being interrogated? Drop me a line!


TTATCM sidebarHot news! 

The Truth About This Charming Man is part of Amazon’s Summer Promo – for the entire month of June you can download the book for your smart phone, tablet, or kindle, for a mere 99p.

Visit BUYTHEBOOK.TODAY to buy the book… today!

(The FREE kindle reading app is available for everything. Seriously; EVERYTHING.)

The Truth About… Shelley Wilson

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this book 99p

It’s started! All this month, THE TRUTH ABOUT THIS CHARMING MAN – is just 99p, as part of Amazon’s Summer Promo.

Grab your copy here

Meanwhile, let’s use the opportunity to shine a bright light into the eyes of an unsuspecting reader, and uncover the truth!

SONY DSC

Today we’re grilling fellow self-help Author, YA fantasy novelist, blogger supremo (is that a word? Is now.) …and busy Mum of three, Shelley Wilson.

Let’s get straight into it.

Shelley, tell us one fact – one truth – that most people don’t know about you.

Ooh, I could tell you some stories but as my mum is one of your biggest fans (and will no doubt read this post) I better stick with a tame answer. I love tattoos and have two – one on my back and another on my wrist. I really want a third one but can’t decide what to have.

In the novel, all Will’s ever wanted in life is to be an actor. What is, or was, your greatest ambition?

From as far back as I can remember, I wanted to be a writer. It’s the one constant thing in my life. When I was about fifteen my mum bought me a tape cassette (yep, I’m that old) on ‘How To Write for Mills & Boon’ – I don’t think she would have encouraged me at such a young age if she’d realised how raunchy some of their books were!

Reading this in an email? If there’s a gap below that’s where a video would normally appear. Jump over to youtube to watch it.

Will makes a living pretending to be people he isn’t – have you ever pretended to be someone or something you’re not? Why?

I’ve never pretended to be someone else, although I did enjoy reading the scenes in your book when Will had to act out his scenario as ‘loving boyfriend’ and ‘flirting tutor’. It could be so much fun to pretend to be someone else – I was told I looked like Davina Mccall once so maybe I could pretend to live her glamorous lifestyle!

I do, however, pretend to be something I’m not on a regular basis – I pretend to be confident when I’m actually screaming inside. This tactic has got me through so many situations as I trick myself into believing that I’m this strong, confident woman. I believe that if you can act a certain way then you believe it to be true – maybe this is how Will prepares for his acting jobs?

Will finds himself in a situation where he has to be two of his characters … at the same meeting! But most people have been in the situation where they’ve been expected to be in two different places at the same time, or to carry out two tasks simultaneously. Have you ever been in a similar situation? What?

My life is a constant battle of having to be in two different places at the same time – that’s the everyday life of a single parent! Most of these situations involved getting my three children to various social/sporting events on opposite sides of town within minutes of each other. Most of the time I manage it, but occasionally I’ll admit defeat.

As a Gemini (on the cusp) I also have a knack for being able to carry out multiple tasks simultaneously – although I have realised that reading my kindle while stirring the Bolognese will always end in disaster!

Who would you like to see in a movie of THE TRUTH ABOUT THIS CHARMING MAN?

jakeI loved Will’s character as he was sweet, funny, and slightly desperate (in a nice way) and so I immediately thought about New Girl actor, Jake Johnson.

Rachel is your typical beautiful heroine, girl next door type who could be played by any of my favourite actresses – Anne Hathaway stands out for me.

missi-pyleZlata is a tricky one because she is so unique, funny, caring and eccentric, however, I think Missi Pyle would be perfect!

Without giving too much away… did you have a favourite scene (in TTATCM)? Which one?

Ooh, there are so many scenes that I love – most of them contained Zlata (everyone’s favourite agent). One scene that sticks in my mind is the flirting workshop that Will and Zlata run. I found this highly amusing as Will, in his acting role of ‘Gary’, tries to teach a group of men how to create romance out of nothing.

Talking of ‘flirting workshops’ & ‘romance’… what is the most awkward moment you’ve ever had on a date?

I briefly joined a dating site (many years ago) and went on a couple of disastrous nights out – on one such occasion my seemingly normal date proceeded to smell my hair in the pub, leap from his stool and exclaim that we were ‘Tresemme Twins’! I cancelled my account shortly after and have enjoyed – and embraced – the single life ever since.

Find out more about Shelley Wilson at shelleywilsonauthor.com

Have you read The Truth About This Charming Man? Fancy being interrogated? Drop me a line!


TTATCM sidebarHot news! 

The Truth About This Charming Man is part of Amazon’s Summer Promo – for the entire month of June you can download the book for your smart phone, tablet, or kindle, for a mere 99p.

Visit BUYTHEBOOK.TODAY to buy the book… today!

(The FREE kindle reading app is available for everything. Seriously; EVERYTHING.)

The Truth About… Issy Brooke

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guaranteed summer giggles for one month ONLY

In a couple days time, my second novel – THE TRUTH ABOUT THIS CHARMING MAN – will be part of Amazon’s Summer Book Promo. For the whole of June you’ll be able to download the book for your smart phone, tablet, computer or kindle for a mere 99 pence. Now that’s a bargain!

If you’d like me to remind you, subscribe to this blog by pressing the FOLLOW button over on the right hand side (or click here if you’re reading this in an email). It’s free and I won’t sell your email address to bandits.

Before the promo starts though, let’s use the opportunity to shine a bright light into the eyes of an unsuspecting reader, and uncover the truth!

issy brookeToday I’m grilling Lincolnshire lass, cozy mystery novelist and occasional contemporary light romance author… Issy Brooke.

Let’s get straight into it.

Issy – tell us one fact – one truth – that most people don’t know about you.

That’s hard when, like me, you use social media for promotion and try to be as “authentic” as possible even behind layers of pen names. That said, I think the thing that surprises people the most is the fact that I live with chronic illness. Yeah, I post up all these pictures of epic 100-mile bike rides or 5km runs but I also have Crohn’s Disease and its associated issues (it’s like a buy-one-get-one-free condition). Anyone with a hidden disability is quite used to hearing “But you don’t LOOK ill!”

In my novel, all Will’s ever wanted in life is to be an actor. What is, or was, your greatest ambition?

Ha, like Will I’ve always wanted to do the things that most people will say are “unrealistic.” I studied Art and people would sigh and say, “Well, at least you could be a teacher” – though I never ended up teaching private classes in a pub! My greatest ambition, though, has always been to work for myself. It almost hasn’t mattered HOW. Just that I DO.

Will makes a living pretending to be people he isn’t – have you ever pretended to be someone or something you’re not? Why?

Oh yes. When I began writing, I used various TOP SECRET pen names because I was writing erotica at the time. And depending on the genre I would construct a persona to go with it. And I think, in day to day situations, I feel as if I “faked” my way through all my attempts to have a real job. I believe this is relatively common. When I was a teacher, I had a pair of boots that “made” me into a teacher. I put them on and I wasn’t me, I was A Real Teacher and I just acted as I thought A Real Teacher would. Probably not a healthy or sustainable way to pursue a career.

Will finds himself in a situation where he has to be two of his characters … at the same meeting! But most people have been in the situation where they’ve been expected to be in two different places at the same time, or to carry out two tasks simultaneously. Have you ever been in a similar situation? What?

I am ALWAYS in that situation, or it feels like it. Even as I type this, I am supposed to be doing a copyedit for someone, writing my next book, creating illustrations for a local museum, designing some advertising images and taking the dog to the vets.

 Without giving too much away… did you have a favourite scene (in TTATCM)? Which one?

Oh, that’s hard. I think the parts that have stuck in my head were where Will was getting his acting students to do exercises. I have never been on stage, but I used to work backstage in set design and stage management, and I used to sit up at the back of the auditorium with the other techies and be immensely grateful I wasn’t down there on stage in rehearsals trying to portray “A Toaster’s Internal Torment” or whatever.

Who would you like to see in a movie of THE TRUTH ABOUT THIS CHARMING MAN?

Can I just say “Johnny Depp” for everything, please?

Find out more about Issy at facebook.com/issy.brooke and issybrooke.com/

Have you read The Truth About This Charming Man? Fancy being interrogated? Drop me a line!


TTATCM sidebarHot news! 

The Truth About This Charming Man is part of Amazon’s Summer Promo – for the entire month of June you can download the book for your smart phone, tablet, or kindle, for a mere 99p.

Visit BUYTHEBOOK.TODAY to buy the book… today!

(The FREE kindle reading app is available for everything. Seriously; EVERYTHING.)

The Truth About Great Cover Design…

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TTATCM publicity

Book covers.

I hate ’em.

No really, that’s the truth, because that age old piece of advice – never judge a book by its cover – is universally IGNORED!

Everyone judges pretty much everything by its cover, ESPECIALLY books. So it really doesn’t matter how many months I spent slaving over the words on the inside, if the cover isn’t absolutely perfect (or as close as), I’ll have pretty much wasted my time. After all, I went through goodness knows how many covers for my first novel and to this day I’m still not entirely sure we got it absolutely right (read about that here).

So it was with considerable trepidation that I approached the cover design for my latest fiction offering; The Truth About This Charming Man. And just for “fun” (yours, not mine) my agent thought you might enjoy seeing the personal torment we went through to arrive at the FABULOUS jacket above / to the right. That’s nice of her, isn’t it.

Anyway, let’s start with these three doodles…

The Truth - proof4 The Truth - proof The Truth - proof2

If you’re shaking your head in bewilderment I can’t say I blame you. Let me give you some context:

My latest novel was never intended to be a novel at all. Back at the beginning of 2015, in a desperate attempt to plug the hole in my bank account, I’d written a five part story entitled The Truth. The plan was to submit it to a well-known weekly women’s publication in the hopes that they might serialise it. This is a bit like trying to solve a financial crisis by purchasing a single lottery ticket, but still, I was determined.

The basic plot was (and still is… to some degree) about a thirty something actor who, despite never having secured a ‘proper’ role on stage or screen, has, somehow, landed three unusuallet’s call them ‘positions’… pretending to be whoever his clients need him to be. And although it still isn’t proper theatre, by and large, life is pretty good for our hero… until the day he needs to play two of those people. At the same meeting.

It’s an idea that Kate and I originally came up with many years ago – although typically, when I actually came to write it, it morphed into something very different, and in my humble opinion, far better, than what we’d originally envisaged.

In fact, so pleased was I with my second piece of full length fiction that I resolved to self-publish it as a novella should the magazine in question decide not to take the story. Hence the doodles above. These are *some* of my attempts at what I thought might be the cover… and I hated them. I still do. In my head I had this idea about our hero falling between sinister versions of the two famous actor masks. I realised too that the design had to be at least sympathetic to my first novel, but I just couldn’t get it to work; close friends I shared these doodles with said it made the book look like a murder mystery. Arrrgghhh!

FORTUNATELY, around March of last year, destiny stepped in.

I’d just landed myself a new agent, who in turn had secured a publicity deal with amazon, which led to my first novel being re-vamped and re-published. But before I’d even signed my contract, my agent was understandably keen to know what else could be in the pipeline. So I showed her The Truth, and… she loved it.

Though she didn’t love the title.

Or the fact it was a novella.

“Go away,” she said, “and turn this into a proper, full-length novel… with a better title.”

Nine months later and I had finished The Truth About This Charming Man.

Which brings us onto this…

THE TRUTH kindle proof

 

I was still basking in the glory of somehow completing an entire novel in the tenth of the time it had taken me to write the first one, when this cover was designed. Maybe I wasn’t being objective but at the time I loved the masks. I loved the way they’re all angry or sad with the exception of the one he’s wearing. I loved the spot light. I loved everything about it. I was in love!

So pleased was I – and so confident that both amazon and my agent would love it too – I grabbed my wallet and went right ahead and had the finished artwork made up.

Oops.

My agent did like it, sort of, but there were some problems.

Firstly, apparently books that are obviously about actors or acting are unpopular with publishers (as are books to do with writers, or writing). So anything with actor masks on it was a strict no-no.

Secondly, my market, apparently, is women’s contemporary romantic fiction. Regardless of whether my books are heavy on the romance or not 90% of my readers fit that demographic, and therefore it’s those ladies that have to look at the cover and go “Ooooo…”

I was sent back to the drawing board, with strict instructions to come back with ‘at least three’ ideas that we could pick from.

Several days later – with the dread that this entire process might take as long as it did last time hanging over my head – this design popped out:

TTATCM man in heart sketch

I liked it!

I felt we’d finally cracked the font. I liked the colour. The strap-line felt right.

I wasn’t sure whether we’d get away with the mask on the man…  more than that though, I was even more worried it still wouldn’t appeal to the women’s contemporary romantic fiction market.

A fear that was addressed by the following…

TTATCM bench sketch copy

Bear in mind this is a sketch, so it’s a bit rough round the edges. Those lines on the bench wouldn’t be there in a finished version.

I hate it.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all bad. It’s more or less a scene from the book, and I like the London skyline, but it’s so… chick-lit. There’s nothing wrong with chick-lit of course, but slap a cover like this on my book and I could envisage two things happening:

  1. I’d lose every single one of my male readers (even though there are probably about 6, and I know them all by name).
  2. There would be more than a few female readers who were hoping for a plot that’s a good deal more romantic than the one I’ve actually come up with.

Put simply, I wasn’t convinced it was a  good fit, even if I knew, in my heart of hearts, that this was probably the cover amazon and my agent would go for.

There hardly seemed any point in having a third idea – so I suggested a simple typographical solution, using the font and background colour from the first idea, maybe the border from the second idea. Just something we could throw into the mix so we could say, hand on heart, that we’d delivered three covers. The book equivalent of a guy in a red jersey beaming down to an unexplored planet with Captain Kirk.

What I got was this…

TTATCM typographical solution sketch

This is another sketch. Those glasses, I was assured, wouldn’t have the words shutterstock across them. But I wasn’t listening. What I was thinking was…

Woah!

I knew pretty much instantly that this was it. There was a kind of stirring. In my loins. Despite the fact that this design was turned out in the time it took me to send an email, go downstairs, make a cup of tea, and cup back up again – I just knew.

And I wasn’t alone. I sent all three covers to several friends, and most chose the design above over the other two. Especially those friends who hadn’t seen any other design, or had no idea what the book was about.

My favourite bit of feedback was this:

“I like the glasses. It makes me think of ‘deception’ – but also about those comedy glasses you could buy with a big nose and bushy eyebrows attached.”

Perfect!

Interestingly, those that didn’t choose this design, chose the couple on the bench. But no one liked the guy in the mask.

So, naughty though it may be, I casually forgot about the guy in the mask. I know, I know – I was tasked with submitting three ideas, but I wanted my favourite to have at least a 50/50 chance of winning even though I was 100% certain that the chick-lit cover would beat it to a pulp!

And I’m delighted to say I was wrong.

My agent circulated the two covers (the ones on offer) round her agency and my fave won hands down! The only objection being that it might not be *quite* romantic enough… and was it possible to ‘fix’ that? Which is why we came up with the finished version below by adding a little bit of a glow and a few love hearts (including the dot on the i in the word ‘charming’).

Personally I prefer the un-romanticised version, but hey – it’s not that much of a compromise. I’m still proud to be associated with this design.

TTATCM kindle

But… maybe we’ve got it wrong?

Share your thoughts and feelings in the comments below.


TTATCM sidebar

Hot news; my second novel The Truth About This Charming Man is available right now, in paperback and for your phone, tablet, computer or kindle device!

Read the opening chapter, right now, right here.

The film will be along some time in the next decade.