Liz Fielding, our fabulous author of over 60 True Love romances and winner of the Outstanding Achievement Award by the Romantic Novelists’ Association, talks to us about her newest book A Secret, a Safari, a Second Chance and much more!
Your next book A Secret, a Safari, a Second Chance is out tomorrow! Could you tell us a little more about the book?
This is the fourth book in the Destination Brides mini series. Four young women, at a cross roads in their life, attend a charity auction at the luzurious Merchant Resort on Nantucket Island. They each find themselves bidding on an fabulous holiday, to Vancouver Island, Venice, the South of France and my heroine, Eve Bliss, bids on a holiday at her childhood home in Africa – a chance to deal with memories of her late mother and find closure.
What was the inspiration for A Secret, a Safari, a Second Chance?
I lived in Africa – Zambia, Kenya, Botswana – for five years and once it’s in your heart, it never lets go. I created my own country, Kabila, but it was a joy to revisit memories, the never-to-be-forgotten scent of hot earth, the moment an elephant steps onto the road in front of you – right by a road sign warning of elephants crossing – and waiting while a family of these magnificent beasts crosses in front of you.
Eve loved her childhood home, where her zoologist parents were working. She left for school expecting to be return, but her parents marriage collapsed and she never went back.
There is also an element of running away from a situation that she cannot control.
What have you enjoyed about being part of the Destination Brides series?
It’s always enormous privilege to work with authors you know and admire. Getting together at the Romance Writers of American conference in Denver and online, building the background for our stories and imagined the Merchant Resort, chose our heroines’ destinations, was the best fun.
A huge congratulations on winning the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Romantic Novelists’ Association, we couldn’t be more proud to be publishing such a fantastic author! What do you enjoy the most about writing romance and what’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your journey as a writer so far?
Thank you so much. I confess that I shed quite a few tears when I was told about the award. An unbelievable honour.
Writing romance is the best job in the world. You create two wonderful characters, give them heart breaking backstories, and then put them together and watch the fireworks! I think my biggest challenge was when a minor character, a young woman in a wheelchair, demanded her own story. I put it off for as long as I could, but she wouldn’t let up. Does that sound slightly mad? Undoubtedly, but Maddy was that real to me and her story, The Marriage Miracle, won a RITA.
What advice would you give to aspiring true love romance writers?
True Love is character led, but their actions don’t come out of the blue. Think about what has happened to them in the past to make them act the way they do. Even in my funniest books, there is an emotional journey. Letting go, acceptance, learning to trust. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it has to be real.
How would you describe a signature Liz Fielding romance?
Tricky! I have written some that are romcom in tone, some our deeply emotional. They are all different, but comedy or tragedy, what remains the same, always, is my voice.
What do you do in your spare time when you’re not writing?
I read – I’m member of a Book Group. Our brilliant local indie bookshop has a lot of author events so I’ve bought a lot of books this year! I spend time with my family – the end of the summer term has involved a lot of sports day and show events with the grandchildren. I garden – I’m building a new one, which has been a challenge, but a real pleasure. I also go to talks with my local romance writers’ chapter, belong to the WI and pop up to London for exhibitions and meetings with friends. Life is very full.
Can you tell us a bit about how you became an author?
Well, I always wanted to write, but I took my time about getting to the point of submitting anything. My first sales were stories for children. Writing for Twinkle and Listen With Mother taught me a lot of about the need to keep things simple and never use an unnecessary word. I was thinking that it was time to move onto longer fiction when I read an article in a Sunday newspaper about Charlotte Lamb and Anne Hampson. Charlotte lived in tax exile, Anne had juste bought a house in the Caribbean.
I really, really wanted to be Anne Hampson so I studied the genre and started writing. It took me four attempts before Mills and Boon accepted An Image of You.
What’s on your current TBR list?
This is Going to Hurt, Adam Kay – this month’s book group choice.
The Love Detective, Angela Dyson
One Night in Provence, Barbara Wallace
Duke by Default, Alyssa Cole
The Lost Letters of William Woolf, Helen Cullin (a bookshop event)
The October Man by Ben Aaronovitch (his Rivers of London series is a must buy!)
The Summer of Impossible Things, Rowan Coleman
Hired by the Mysterious Millionaire, Ally Blake
What is your all-time favourite romance novel and film?
That is so hard!
We’re talking about an awful lot of books and films here. I recently re-read Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Cruise which I loved just as much the second time of reading. I have read This Heart of Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips at least half a dozen times. Emma was my first Jane Austen and will always have a special place in my heart.
Films – Ghost, Sleepless in Seattle, Beauty and the Beast, Brief Encounter