Book Tour: Follow Me, Follow You.
Author: Laura E. James
PB: Choc Lit Paperback and Digital
Release Date: 7th September 2014
You save me and I'll save you...
Victoria Noble has pulled the plug on romance. As director of the number one social networking site, EweSpeak, and single mother to four-year-old Seth, she wrestles with the work-life balance.
Enter Chris Frampton, Hollywood action hero and Victoria's first love. His return from LA has sparked a powder keg of media attention, and with secrets threatening to fuel the fire, he's desperate to escape.
But finding a way forward is never simple. Although his connection with Victoria is as strong as when he was nineteen, has he been adrift too long to know how to move on?
With the risk of them breaking, will either #follow their heart?
Victoria was attempting to create the impression she was engrossed in her work. From the moment Dan collected Seth, she’d buried her head in buff-coloured files, raising it once to study her monitor. At that moment, she realised Juliette was watching her.
‘I’m all right, Joo, honestly.’ That was a lie. She was preoccupied with thoughts of Chris Frampton returning home, considering ways to stop EweSpeak’s Board of Directors from travelling a destructive path, and despairing over her non-existent relationship with her son. She grimaced. ‘Apart from the blinding headache.’
She thrust herself away from the desk and rubbed the back of her neck. Her life was too cluttered for her to make informed decisions, and too many demands were being made of her, emotionally and physically. Something had to give. ‘I could do without this stupid business with the board.’
‘Do you think they’ll go ahead?’
Victoria huffed. ‘Of course they will. They’re motivated by money. They’ll do whatever it takes to keep their bank accounts full and their fat backsides comfortable.’
‘But they have a duty of loyalty, and their report states the move will secure the future of EweSpeak—’
‘It only secures their position, Juliette. Let’s face facts. We made bad choices, electing certain members to the board. We were blinded by their past successes. They’re cut-throat businessmen with reputations to uphold.’ Victoria swung her chair round and gaped at her sister. ‘I’ll bet a year’s salary there’ll be redundancies.’
‘But if charging clients to join will increase profits—’
Victoria cut her off again. ‘Did you miss the bit where they proposed paying celebrities for exclusive bleats? It’s ridiculous. It won’t work. People will opt out. Our followers enjoy the personal contact, the chance to hold a discussion with like-minded souls, maybe even exchange a bleat with their idol. If it’s sensationalism they want, they’ll buy a glossy magazine, or worse, they’ll flock to our competitors. They won’t subscribe to our network.’ She shook her head. ‘It has disaster written all over it.’
‘I don’t see it. The board’s acting in the company’s best interest. We have to make money. And it’s not just their pockets they’re lining, is it?’ Juliette waved a hand in the direction of the window. ‘I don’t hear you complaining about the flashy, two-seater sports car you’ve parked in our private garage.’
Victoria reached for the remote on her desk, and switched on the TV. ‘I need a break.’ She stood, gave her arms a stretch, and walked across to the sofa, collapsing into it, irascible and frustrated. Surely Juliette wasn’t voting with the board? Victoria cast her eyes to the large screen, scoured through the programme guide, and settled on a news channel.
It was a mistake.
Wherever her eyes fell – the TV, online, mobile applications – Chris’s then thirty-five-year-old haunted face appeared, vacant, pale and broken. There was no escape from the dated footage of him being jostled out of the way of bloodthirsty, aggressive photographers or being hustled into his ranch house by burly security men. Victoria had seen the images thirty, maybe forty times in the last couple of years. Every piece of technology in her office was broadcasting his grief all over again, and each time his name was typed, bleated, or beamed across the Internet, and for every second his tormented features were on public display, Victoria was on trial. Her technology, the company, the brand she had developed and grown was helping prolong his terror. To see this beautiful man reduced to a floorshow for the cheap seats made her sick to the stomach.
She jumped at a touch to her arm.
‘Are you okay?’ Juliette took the remote from Victoria, switched off the TV, and sat down. ‘I’m sorry I called him your obsession. This must be hard for you.’
Victoria shrugged. Although she understood Juliette’s concern, she didn’t appreciate intrusion, and sharing, as her sister called it, was not Victoria’s way. There’d been far too much of that already. A small shudder ran through her. ‘It’s complicated,’ she said, hoping a few words, regardless of content, would appease Juliette.
Laura is married and has two children. She lives in Dorset, but spent her formative years in Watford, a brief train ride away from the bright lights of London. Here she indulged her love of live music, and, following a spectacular Stevie Nicks gig, decided to take up singing, a passion that scored her second place in a national competition.
Laura is a graduate of the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme, a member of her local writing group, Off The Cuff, and an editor of the popular Romaniacs blog.
Laura was runner-up twice in the Choc Lit Short Story competitions. Her story Bitter Sweet appears in the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Anthology. Truth or Dare?, Laura’s debut novel, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction Best Romantic eBook 2013 and the 2014 Joan Hessayon New Writers’ Award. Follow me, follow you is Laura’s first Choc Lit novel published in paperback.
The Giveaway on this tour will be a paperback copy of the book.
1Can you tell us what prompted you to first start writing? What was the first thing you wrote?
I’m not sure I can pinpoint one specific prompt ‒ it stems from a love of reading, an intense relationship with music, and an obsession for stationery. I used to create my own comics, write limericks and poems, which then extended to song lyrics and ultimately my first novel.
Can you summarise your latest work in just a few words?
‘Follow Me, Follow You’ is a love story about acceptance, forgiveness, reconnection, recovery and healing. Learning to live and love again.
What was the inspiration for this book?
Meeting fabulous author, Carole Matthews in person and assuring her I was not a stalker. As I later cringed over the way I’d introduced myself, a spark of an idea flickered and ‘Follow Me, Follow You’ is the result. The finished novel isn’t based on that moment, but it was the inspiration.
Did you do any research for the book?
Lots of research, but I’m very lucky to have fabulous, well-informed, expert friends who were able to take me through some of the issues faced by the characters in the book. I’m a clarifier. I will not commit until I know for certain I’m heading in the right direction, so to have such patient and understanding advisors means the world to me.
What does a typical writing day involve for you?
No day is typical for me. I have rheumatoid arthritis, which makes every day interesting, and a family to enjoy. I’m more of a night owl than a lark. My daughter adds, ‘Mum’s typical writing day involves not eating, but drinking lots of coffee.’ Sometimes, that is the case. But it is decaff …
How do you decide on the names for your characters?
Kate in my debut novel, ‘Truth or Dare?’ is my nod to one of my major inspirations, Kate Bush, although it is just the name I borrowed. My character is not based on Kate Bush. Sometimes I look at the character, and search out names reflecting their traits, on other occasions I go with what feels right for the book, but I will always check to ensure the name was around at my character’s birth. In ‘Follow Me, Follow You’, I researched local surnames and went with those. Chris Frampton had many names before I finally christened him.
Which writers have influenced your own writing?
Jodi Picoult is my biggest influence. I love her fearlessness in subject matter. I had the pleasure of joining her on stage in 2012 and howling like a wolf. Jill Mansell and Erica James books can make me smile and cry within a turn of the page. I admire and respect both for the way they write with such emotion.
What are you working on next? Do you have a WIP?
I’m 20,000 words into book three, ‘What Doesn’t Kill You’. I’m examining the sandwich generation and the pressures everyone experiences within that set-up, and the choices those pressures sometimes lead us to make. The central romance is between Griff and Evie. It’s a first marriage for the hero, but it’s Evie’s second. Griff has brought his elderly, disabled father to the new family, and Evie has Tess, her fifteen-year-old, troubled teen. And then there’s baby Dilon …
What has been the best part of the writing process…and the worst?
I love creating a body of work out of a small idea, and I particularly enjoy the editing phase, when I can get rid of all those annoying words that have crept in unnoticed.
The worst part is knowing these annoying words are lurking, ready to pounce.
Tell us about your travels.
I didn’t go abroad until I was thirteen, and went twice that year. We took a motoring trip through Europe, in an old, burgundy Jag. It had electric windows and pale, leather seats. We stayed in Berwang, Austria for the best part of the holiday. In Belgium, I discovered the excellent combo of fries and mayo.
My parents worked in the Middle East for a number of years, so I’ve visited Bahrain, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Incredible places. My husband proposed to me on the coast of the Arabian Gulf. We honeymooned in Rome and Venice.
Last year I took my husband and children to Disneyworld. It was a holiday of a lifetime. We would all go back without hesitation. It was a healing time for us, having lost my mother the year before. Up until that point, my last holiday had been my honeymoon in 1996.
Tell us about your childhood.
I was very close to my mother. She was a strong woman and an excellent role model. We moved house often, and lived in many different places. I found making friends easy as a consequence. I have an older brother who taught me Subbuteo, bought me my first Kate Bush album, and was always there with a giant gobstopper in times of upset and tears. He still sends me the gobstoppers.
Most writers have some quirks – what are yours?
I write in silence. If I resort to writing with a pen and pad, the mood of the piece dictates which colour I write in. Currently I’m favouring black and blue, having gone through a purple phase.
Do you plot your novels or allow them to develop as you write?
I start with good intentions of sticking to a plot, but mostly I have a beginning and I have the end ‒ often the exact words ‒ and I work things out as I go along. It’s exciting. It’s like reading a book for the first time.
Have you taken any creative writing courses and would you recommend them?
I’m incredibly lucky to have graduated through the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme, which provided me with access to wonderful writers. Not only were my manuscripts critiqued each year, I attended courses and workshops run by writers, who I met through the RNA, for whom I have a huge amount of respect.
Based on my experience, I whole-heartedly recommend attending courses, but they have to be right for that person.
1What book(s) are you reading at the moment?
I have the lovely Rowan Coleman’s ‘The Memory Book’ lined up and ready to go, in hardback, and on my Kindle, I’ve started ‘The Isle of Larus’, written by Kathy Sharp, a fellow Dorset writer.
1If you were stranded on a desert island and could only take three books with you, what would they be and why?
The Folk of the Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton ‒ a children’s classic that has stayed with me since the day I first picked it up.
Dracula, Bram Stoker ‒ I was so taken with the rhythm of a particular passage about a patient, I took to writing poems.
A notebook – so I can empty my head onto a clean page.
Do you have any advice for new writers?
I do, but it’s not original. It’s the advice I received at the start of my writing journey and I still abide by it: Read, read, read and write, write, write. And never give up. Ever.
Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog.