A trip the the French Riviera for a wedding sounds appealing right now doesn’t it? Since that’s unlikely for most of us, why not travel instead through fiction with Evonne Wareham’s A Wedding on the Riviera. It’s publication day today and I’m sharing my review and an author spotlight.
A Wedding on the Riviera is about a group of friends who are determined to track down and entrap a man who has been defrauding women of lots of money and doing it in a most cruel way – by pretending they are going to be married, then ditching them at the altar. The scene is set for some drama as the friends set up a fake dating profile to try to reel the man in and stop this happening to any more women.
What I enjoyed most about this book was the romance element between two of the characters Ryan and Nadine. Originally their relationship had been purely professional as young widow Nadine hired actor Ryan as her plus one for events. Before too long there was simmering sexual tension and growing attraction between the two. The professional pretence was spilling over into real life. There were definitely some scenes to get you hot under the collar, particularly when the two decided they couldn’t act upon their desires for reasons which will become clear when you read the book.
The plotline about hunting down the runaway groom was entertaining and engaging with a hint of danger too. The author takes the reader on a virtual trip which includes Bath, Bristol and the beautiful French Riviera. And yes I would quite like to be there just now – maybe next year!
Thanks for joining me Evonne. First of all, would you tell my blog readers a little about yourself?
I will – and thank you so much for inviting me onto the blog.
I was born and brought up in Wales. After a career in London I have moved back and now live on the South Wales coast. I write romantic suspense, which means you get a bit of mayhem and murder along with the love story. I’m an academic as well as a writer – an historian. I’ve recently completed my doctorate, which is why there has been a gap since I last published a book. I have a weakness for writing books set in glamorous surroundings, and I like to write about place where the sun shines, but I also like to use locations in Wales – particularly the National Parks – whatever suits the mood of the book.
What inspired you to start writing?
I’ve concocted stories for as long as I can remember and I always wanted to be a writer, but it took me a very long time and a lot of failed attempts before I discovered the genre that I wanted to write in. Everything I produced had an element of crime in it, but I also wanted to write love stories. Eventually I stumbled on romantic suspense, which is a genre that is better known in America. Something clicked, and I knew that at last this was The One.
Tell me about your journey to publication
As I’ve said, it took a very long time and a lot of wrong turns, but during that time I was learning how to write. Once I’d settled on romantic suspense, I entered competitions for unpublished authors in America, and had some success, and that gave me confidence in what I was doing. I pitched to Choc-lit at a Romantic Novelists’ Association conference, and a few months after that they took me on. And now we are five books later – and more to come, I hope.
In a nutshell, what is your latest book about?
It opens with a wedding and a runaway groom, who turns out to be a con man who has absconded with a great deal of money. A group of friends get together to run a sting operation to catch him, which involves planning a lavish wedding in the South of France. Two of the group – my heroine and hero, Nadine and Ryan – are on the verge of a love affair, which gave me my romantic thread. It’s the second in what I hope is going to be a Riviera series, so there are characters from the first book, Summer in San Remo, who reappear, but it can be read as a stand-alone.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
Often my books go through a series of titles as they develop, but this one couldn’t be anything but A Wedding on the Riviera – that is totally the book. And Choc-lit’s brilliant designer gave me a lovely cover to match it.
How do you plan to celebrate publication day?
Publication day is usually pretty hectic with social media and waiting for those nail biting first reviews. Last time I had a book launched I celebrated with writer friends and a very gooey and delicious raspberry roulade. In the circumstance with this book, it might be Zoom – and they’ll have to bring their own cake! I celebrated my thesis with a friend and very large ice-cream sundae on the seafront. That works too.
Do you have a work in progress just now?
I do. I have a whole box full of manuscripts and ideas that I want to get back to, now that I have finished my academic commitments, some of which are at the grittier end of the romantic suspense scale. At the moment I have begun the next Riviera book. After taking a poll on Twitter for suggested locations the surprise winner was Portofino – a place I visited many years ago. So – Portofino it is – and the excuse for a research trip, once the world gets back on an even keel again. This one has an underlying story going back to the war and the 1970s, and slightly creepy gothic overtones – an abandoned villa and an overgrown garden, as well as the glamour of Portofino, which is one of the swankiest places on the Italian Riviera. I’m looking forward to finding out where the plot takes me.
What’s your favourite book you’ve read in the past few months? Or favourite three if you really can’t choose!
I’ve been re- reading old favourites. Comfort reading, I suppose. Mary Stewart, Trisha Ashley, a lot of golden age crime. I love the British Library re-issued classics – Michael Gilbert, ECR Lorac, Miles Burton, John Bude, Raymond Postgate – books that were once popular but have faded from view. The cover art is fabulous and the stories are traditional crime, usually with a policeman hero.
What are you reading just now?
Travel guides to the Italian Riviera! I’m also doing some research for books that I hope are to come, so Egyptology and some spooky stuff about witches and magic. I’m signed on for a virtual evening class on Welsh folklore next month, so I’m expecting that to surface in future books.
If you were on Desert Island Discs, what one book would you take with you?
I’m assuming you get the traditional Bible and Shakespeare, which would keep me in reading matter, so I think I would chose Roget’s Thesaurus. I find the lists of words fascinating, and the work put into compiling them is impressive. A writer can always work on their vocabulary, even on a desert island.
Is there a book you’d love to see made into a film?
I’ve had this discussion with other writers on Facebook recently, as Mary Stewart’s first published book, Madam Will You Talk, was dramatised on BBC Radio 4. We agreed that films of Mary Stewart’s books would be fabulous, done in the right period – many favourites were written in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s – so scope for some pre-mobile phone nostalgia in clothes, cars and settings. They are classic romantic suspense too, love, mystery and capable heroines. The Moonspinners was filmed, with a starring role for Hayley Mills, but as far as we knew, that is the only one.
How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?
I’m on Twitter https://twitter.com/evonnewareham
And Facebook https://www.facebook.com/evonnewarehamauthor/
My Website is www.evonnewareham.com
My weekly blog is www.evonneonwednesday.blogspot.com
And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?
I think I’d probably choose a female lead in a classic historical swashbuckler – something like The Three Musketeers, for the wonderful clothes and the dashing heroes. Maybe the villainess, Milady De Winter, to acknowledge my dark side? She’s a femme fatale, but she does come to a sticky end, as villains tend to do. At least, mine do. I’m not too sure either about the absence of central heating and modern plumbing, but the velvet and silks and jewels – that’s glamour.
From the back of the book
A return to the Riviera on the trail of a runaway groom …
When out-of-work actor Ryan Calder attends a wedding as the plus-one of successful businesswoman, Nadine Wells, he doesn’t expect to get in a scuffle with the groom.
But Ryan has a good reason. He recognises the groom from another wedding where the same man made a quick getaway, taking the wedding money and leaving a heartbroken bride in his wake. It seems he’s struck again, and Nadine’s poor friend is the target.
Ryan and Nadine decide they can’t let it happen to another woman, so with a group of friends they hatch a plan that will take them to the French Riviera, hot on the heels of the crooked groom. But could their scheme to bring him to justice also succeed in bringing them closer together?