I’m very pleased to welcome a lady with many names – and, it seems, many hats! I have known her as Raven McAllan before but she has recently written a book under a new name in a very different genre called New Beginnings for Bryony Bennett. I hope to be reading and reviewing it in the next few weeks, but today, I have a guest post for you by Katy Lilley and also a sneak peek from the book. If you fancy the sound of it, you can order a copy online here.
New Hat, New Genre?
No I haven’t lost my mind, honestly. It’s my way of making sure I’m in the right mind set for whatever I’m writing. I say I’m putting my Regency hat on, or whatever, and am ready to write there.
Well it works for me.
Last year I really swapped hats with a vengeance, and decided to write a Rom Com.
It was something that I’d been thinking about for a while, but shelved to the back of my mind, whilst I concentrated on other things with my Raven hat on (Raven McAllan, my hotter side.) I’ve never been one for sticking to one specific genre. I dot between Regency, contemporary, paranormal, kink or young adult, depending where my muse takes me, and who shouts loudest. And I love it all.
However I wanted to challenge myself, stretch myself and try something else. I knew Sci Fi or horror weren’t just out of my comfort zone, it was way out. I can’t read them (I’m a wuss) so I wasn’t going to write them.
Rom Com is something I love to read, and not something I’d tried to write before. I had no idea if I could write in that genre or to be honest, where to start. But I got that missed heartbeat, oh my, I have an idea, will it work, I must try sensation.
Like all writers, I have my own voice, and I had wondered if it would be suited to rom com. However, I knew I had to try or forever kick myself.
Half way through a holiday in gorgeous south Devon, I was sitting in the courtyard of our holiday home, looking out over the river, and knew I’d found the perfect place to set a rom com. And as I realised that, the story came to me.
Of course it wasn’t that simple, it never is.
I started, stopped. Reworked the beginning. Thought about it, and wrote. To my delight the words then flowed and my story took shape.
70k later, I sent it off to my beta, and then with much trepidation to the lovely people at Manatee Books.
Who to my everlasting joy, loved it.
So now my first ever Rom Com is out, and I’m half way through the second.
From the back of the book
When Bryony Bennett’s godmother dies and leaves her a huge inheritance, Bryony jumps at the chance to get away from it all and start again.
She packs up her life and moves into the (almost) idyllic Cliff Cottage…only to find that starting over is never quite as simple as you imagine. Faced with grumpy neighbours, hostile locals and more than her fair share of disasters, Bryony embarks on a mission to make sure her new life is everything she wants it to be…but will she ever win over the locals and truly be happy in her new life?
Now read on for an extract
The damned green transit swayed down the lane past her entrance—still semi closed with the three barrels but not with the chain between them—that had fallen into a heap of rusty bits after the post van nudged it a few days earlier—to the field gate a bit further down the lane, where the ruts were even deeper. Someone got out, opened the gate and did the ‘get back in, drive through, get out, shut the gate and drive off’ thing. Something Bryony had seen at least twice a day, each way since she’d arrived, plus a couple of noisy times in the wee small hours. As on every other occasion, she’d been inside and by the time she got to the window to be nosy, the van was driving away. She’d never yet managed to suss out who the driver was.
This time the damned sun was in her eyes. So, was it a farmer checking his wheat or sheep were okay, or was it smugglers or booze makers? The possibilities were endless. They made for a humorous mind set as she turned in the opposite direction to the van and headed up the lane on foot. She might just start a green van sighting log book.
3 am… overloaded. That was if she ever woke up and the van was driving past and not just invading her dreams.
7.37…stuck in mud. Those ruts would be horrendous when it rained.
7.59… tractor pulled it out. Bobble hats galore.
12 noon…playing Bob Marley… Bloody hell her mind was full of rubbish. Not Bab Marley, she loved his music, but the rest.
A pheasant squawked and whirred up out of the long grass on the verge. Bryony squeaked in surprise, a bit like the pheasant, and dropped her bag.
‘Sheesh, no need to startle the natives. I’m not about to put you in the pot, as much as I am a carnivore.’ Bloody hell, as if Mop and the cats aren’t enough, now I’m talking to a bird.
‘Glad to hear it.’
‘Argh… shit…’ Now the birds were answering back.
Get a grip.
It wasn’t a bird but a bloke. The ‘drop dread, play your cards right and you can have me,’ arsy Mr Grumpy bloke of the other day. This time, his longish curly hair was tucked behind his ears and helped to anchor the sunglasses pushed up onto his crown. In one earlobe a tiny silver stud winked in the sunlight.
A stud for a stud? Oh shoot, next I’ll be drooling. Where the hell had he come from? Did that van belong to Mr Grumpy then? If so, he deserved his nuts cracked for being so bloody dangerous.
‘You’re a liability,’ she snapped. Best to get in first with the accusations, just in case he was the driver.
‘Who says?’ He snarled back.
‘Me, if you drive recklessly like that.’
‘Like what? What planet are you on, woman? I’m on my bloody feet, no driving involved.’ He spread his arms out as if to show that. Sadly, or happily, it showed off his more than okay physique. ‘Where have I hidden a steering wheel? No, don’t bloody answer that.’
Bryony bit back the smart and non-pc answer she’d been going to give. No point in riling him further. Not without good reason, anyway. Dressed in what she decided was hot as hell denim cut offs, a black t-shirt, and deck shoes almost as disreputable as the ones she had discarded, he could have been the sort of man hot dreams were made of. If he wasn’t such a class one irritant.
‘I do. You need your licence torn up into little bits. Is it normal to scare the pants off newcomers?’ Bryony demanded, annoyed she must seem a complete wussy female. ‘You know hello, welcome, and now drop dead?’ She bit back ‘and scare them shitless and give them sleepless nights with your sodding van’. She’d said enough along those lines already.
He shrugged. ‘I’ve never scared anyone.’.’
‘Who are you anyway?’ She’d get his name out of him whatever else she didn’t manage. ‘Apart from the non-friendly-neighbourhood whatever, who is allergic to people.’
He shrugged. ‘Only some. Get over your paranoia.’ His face was a blank canvas. Bryony itched to do something—anything—to change that.
Grief did he never smile? Had he had fillers or whatever and ended up with a frozen face? Didn’t things like that happen sometimes if you over did the stuff? With her hatred of needles, Bryony would rather go for a week without wine and chocolate, than contemplate voluntarily being injected with anything, thus her knowledge of such procedures was a bit sketchy to say the least.
‘Very thank you.’
‘Oh for…’ If there had been anything to stamp her foot on and make a noise she would have done. Bryony clenched her hands into fists and was rewarded by the tiniest hint of his mouth twitching. Not a proper smile but maybe a softening of his bottom lip? However, he still didn’t offer his name.
‘Fine. Keep who you are to yourself. I’ll just think of you as Mr Grumpy, that’s apt.’ Bryony picked her bag up again and ignored him. He stepped in front of her. She sidestepped. He matched it. And grinned. The sort of grin that would make hundreds of women drop their knickers given half a chance. Not her though, she was made of sterner stuff. She hoped.
But, oh my goodness, that makes him so bloody different. Does he have two personas? Am I in a split dimension? Oh grief, damp knicker alert as Maisie would say.
Then, she remembered, she didn’t actually have knickers on, as she hadn’t been able to find a clean pair and the cheese grater thong her mum had given her for Christmas—‘to bring you up to date, love’—which she discovered in with the corkscrew and three dishtowels, was as useful as an ice cream in hell. That had gone on and off in record time and now resided beneath her period pants in her underwear drawer. She wouldn’t throw it out and maybe hurt her mum’s feelings, but she doubted she’d wear it, not even when she was desperate. Like now. Not desperate. She was as they said, commando, and if she were honest, rather liked it.