This month's Hidden Diamond is a fellow Soulie with an intriguing gothic romantic suspense that is calling to my black-velvet wearing inner teen. It's a perfect read for anyone looking for some spooky romance for the Hallowe'en season and so is her blog post about using fear as inspiration.
When two murders strike the sleepy Victorian town of Clun, England, an unlikely partnership forms. But can the killer be found before there is a third?
Quirky spinster Lucy Wycliffe prefers to ignore gossip and embrace her position as the town’s layer out of the dead, despite how her parents’ deaths thrust her into such unlikely work. Lovely Digits, as she’s known to the local townspeople, no longer dreams of marriage, but takes pride in providing dignity to the dead. Desperate to hold on to her family’s cottage and support her widowed sister and young niece, an unexpected offer of employment as assistant to the constable arrives at the perfect time.
But former sailor, now constable John Brodie is far from a stranger to Clun or the events of its past. Accepting the position as constable in the small town is a double edged sword meant to heal his past and redeem his future, but falling for the beautiful and intelligent Lucy Wycliffe was never part of his plan. As the killer closes in, will John reveal his secret and risk losing everything to save Lucy’s life?
Fear As Inspiration
Thank you for having me on your blog today, Jennifer! I’m so excited to be here, especially on Halloween, since my debut novel, Lovely Digits, is a Victorian gothic romantic suspense with some rather spooky undertones.
I’ll admit that I went back and forth between five different possible blog topics for you today, but I landed on inspiration. And as strange as this sounds, fear has been an inspiration in my writing and in my life. It has propelled me into action and pushing through my fears has brought me to some of the most amazing and unexpected moments of my life.
My favorite quote about fear is by George Addair: “Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.”
This quote is on a faded yellow sticky post-it note above my desk as a reminder that fear can serve us (as well as the characters I create) in unexpected ways. It can help us grow and achieve more than we ever expected. Lovely Digits was written as a way for me to work through my fears at the time (some emotional, some physical, and some writing based). I didn’t know it then, and I honestly thought no one would ever like or read this book. The heroine, Lucy Wycliffe, is a layer out of the dead, the Victorian equivalent to today’s mortician. She is a spinster of lower class, and she falls for a disowned Constable. It wasn’t exactly an everyday historical romance with a duke falling for a bookish beauty. But, the story called to be written, and so I wrote it, not once, but twice.
Soon after I got an offer of publication through Soul Mate Publishing, and I was so used to rejection that when I got a “yes,” I panicked even more. I had no idea what to do next. After I collected myself, I forged through my fear and embraced the learning curve of publication and have been learning through a sequence of successes and foibles.
So, if you haven’t been doing something because of fear: rock wall climbing, changing careers, writing a novel with some unexpected characters or events, or meeting a new person, I urge you to face and push through your fear. You might be pleasantly surprised by how strong you are in the face of uncertainty and how many opportunities are waiting for you on the other side of it, many of them you never even knew existed.
- Jeanine Englert
Hidden Diamond Author Questionnaire
What is the wildest thing you've done to research a book?
Perhaps this isn’t really wild, but my husband and I took a “Catacombs by Candlelight” tour in Saint Patrick’s Old Cathedral this past summer in New York. It was amazing, and it gave me so many ideas for a new book. Now, I just need to make time to write it!
What is your writing process?
I am a total pantser. I have tried and tried to be more of a plotter, but my characters just won’t allow it. But, I do have a sketch book where I create character pages before I write my first draft. I pick out pictures of them as well as my location and print them out. I also create song playlists for my hero/heroine, which I often write to. Music and visuals are a huge part of my process. I am also a solitary writer although I adore being with other writers, especially my Georgia Romance Writers chapter. Being with other writers fills my tank and helps me so much.
What is your favourite thing to do to relax?
I tend to turn into a sloth to relax and don’t do much of anything. If I’m alone, I love to read or watch television under a pile of blankets with my pups. Otherwise, I love going out with my husband to see movies, or we might get takeout and hang out at home to watch some of our favorite shows on Netflix.
Who is your favourite fictional crush?
Yikes. I’m panicking. . . just one??? I have a *mild* obsession with period television shows and movies, so I would say my top two fictional crushes are John Thornton in “North & South” (I adore Richard Armitage more than I should) and Ross Poldark in “Poldark” (Aidan Turner with a scythe? Need I say more?)
And in the spirit of the long-running Joss Whedon debate, who would win: astronauts or cavemen?
I vote cavemen, every time. If you can fend off a dinosaur, find your own dinner, and survive the elements, I think you could outdo an astronaut.
Thank you, Jeanine, for being one of my Hidden Diamonds! And if you'd like to pick up a copy of Lovely Digits for yourself, you can do that here:
Join me next month for a new Hidden Diamond! Or check out last month's Hidden Diamond: Claire Gem's shocking ghost romance.