I’m really pleased to be joined by Anne Stormont today as part of the blogtour for her latest novel, Settlement. The book is a sequel to Displacement but can be read as a standalone. For a variety of reasons, I haven’t finished the book though am currently reading it. The book opens with arresting opening scenes where ex-policeman Jack is in a perilous situation, it is unclear whether he will survive or not and his last thoughts are for Rachel. The story moves back four months where we meet Rachel on the morning of her daughter’s wedding.
I haven’t read the first book, Displacement, but enough is explained in the first few chapters to give the gist of the main things which happened and explain why the characters are where they are emotionally.
Although I’ve only managed to read about a quarter of the book so far, I am very much enjoying the exploration of the complex relationship between Jack and Rachel. Anne Stormont is very perceptive in her understanding of the challenges faced in relationships where people bring their past experiences, thoughts and expectations. And it’s great to read about a relationship between slighter older characters than are often encountered in fiction, something Anne Stormont discusses in her guest post below. I love the Skye setting which is where the story is mostly set so far though there will be another very interesting setting in the book as Rachel is planning a trip to Jerusalem to work on what sounds like a fascinating peacemaking project.
Read on for the guest post where Anne is sharing her thoughts on writing romantic fiction and is keen to point out that romance is not only for the young but also for the young at heart!
Romantic Fiction: It’s Not Only About, For and By the Young
First of all I’d like to thank Joanne for having me as a guest on her brilliant book blog as part of the blog tour for my new book Settlement. You can find out more about the book in the second half of this post. But first I’d like to share my thoughts on contemporary romantic fiction in general…
When I first sought publication for my debut novel – Change of Life – in 2009, I got lots of nice, but encouraging, rejections. I was told there was no doubt I could write, I could tell a good story, the characters were well drawn.
BUT the fact that my two main characters were in their forties, and married to each other for twenty years meant it wouldn’t work as romantic fiction.
Romantic fiction was apparently about characters in their twenties and at a pinch in their early thirties.
And, I was told, this was the main age-group of its readers too and it was therefore perhaps best written by younger authors.
I was also advised that the genre required the story to be about a couple in a new relationship leading to a happy-ever-after ending. And, it seemed, there was no place for difficult issues such as serious illness or bereavement in romantic fiction.
I was advised to rewrite my novel in order to address these rules. I chose not to.
Yes, I knew about the success of chick-lit written about, for and by younger people than me. I’d read and enjoyed some of it (despite not liking the term ‘chick’).
At the time, I was in my fifties. I didn’t believe that romantic love and sexual relationships were the exclusive preserve of the young. I wanted to read some romantic stories about people nearer my own age, stories where the main characters were dealing with the realities of middle-age, with the effects of troubled pasts and with challenges in the present. And these were the sorts of stories I wanted to write too.
I persevered and in 2010 Change of Life was published. It was well-received. Since then I’ve published two more novels in, what I think of as this second-chance-romance-plus genre. Displacement came out in 2014 and its sequel Settlement was published in September this year.
My readers span the age range from twenties to eighties. And the feedback I get is about how they enjoyed the books – nobody mentions the age of the characters as an issue. And isn’t that as it should be? It should be about the reader having an enjoyable experience and not about the writer following some formula.
I continue to enjoy reading romantic fiction myself. I love young authors such as Milly Johnson, Kathryn Freeman, Miranda Dickinson and Kate Field. I thoroughly enjoy their stories about characters in their twenties and thirties. But I also enjoy books by older authors such as Maggie Christensen, Christine Webber, Hilary Boyd and Jan Ruth where the main characters fall in love in their forties, fifties and beyond.
You’re never too old to experience challenges and stress in your life. But you’re never too old to fall in love and find happiness either. So I embrace books that celebrate that. If you do too, then you might want to read on to find out more about my new one.
Can the past ever be put peacefully to rest? Can love truly heal old wounds?
Settlement is the sequel to literary romance novel, Displacement, but it can be read as a stand-alone.
Falling in love is the easy bit. Happy ever after requires work, commitment and honesty.
She wants him to be her friend and lover. He wants her as his wife. Can a compromise be reached? Or are things truly over between them?
When former Edinburgh policeman Jack Baxter met crofter and author Rachel Campbell at her home on the Scottish island of Skye, they fell in love. It was a second chance at happiness for them both.
But after Jack proposes marriage, it becomes clear they want different things.
Then, as Rachel prepares to return to the Middle East to work on a peacemaking project that’s close to her heart, and as Jack’s past catches up with him, it seems their relationship is doomed.
Can Rachel compromise on her need to maintain her hard-won independence?
Can Jack survive the life-threatening situation in which he finds himself?
Will they get the chance to put things right between them?
If you like a complex, contemporary, grown-up romance with lots of raw emotion, dramatic and exotic settings, all mixed in with some international politics and laced with elements of a crime thriller, then this is the book for you.
Settlement is available as a paperback and as an ebook. You can buy it here.
Anne Stormont writes contemporary, women’s fiction that is probably best described as literary romance. Her writing is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. Her stories are for readers who enjoy a good romantic story, but who also like romance that is laced with realism and real world issues – and where the main characters may be older but not necessarily wiser.
Anne was born and grew up in Scotland where she still lives. She has travelled extensively having visited every continent except Antarctica – where she really must go considering her fondness for penguins. She has friends and family all over the world including in Europe, USA, Canada, Australia and the Middle East.
Anne was a primary school teacher for over thirty years before taking early retirement in order to concentrate on her writing.
She describes herself as a subversive old bat – but she also tries to maintain a kind heart. She hopes that both aspects come through in her writing.
Anne loves to hear from and keep in touch with her readers.
She can be found on Facebook and Twitter and you can also find out more about her, her writing, and her latest book news on her blog and on her website.
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