Only You by Lorna Peel
Jane is divorced and the wrong side of thirty. It’s definitely all over for her…isn’t it?
Jane Hollinger is divorced and the wrong side of thirty – as she puts it. Her friends are pressuring her to dive back into London’s dating pool, but she’s content with her quiet life teaching family history evening classes.
Robert Armstrong is every woman’s fantasy: handsome, charming, rich and famous. When he asks her to meet him, she convinces herself it’s because he needs her help with a mystery in his family tree. Soon she realises he’s interested in more than her genealogy expertise. Now the paparazzi want a piece of Jane too.
Can Jane handle living – and loving – in the spotlight?
Q&A with Lorna Peel
Where did the inspiration come from for your new release?
Through Jane, I wanted to explore what it would be really like to be in a relationship with someone famous but you wish they weren’t famous because you are a very private person who prefers to live a quiet life. Could you love that person enough to be able to put up with all the intrusions the relationship would bring with it?
How does it feel to know your characters are out and about in reader’s imaginations?
It’s exciting! I hope I’ve challenged readers’ expectations by making the unexpected happen because real people rarely behave in one way so the characters in my novels need to be unpredictable, too.
Do you miss writing about them?
Yes, I do. I made both Jane and Robert as real as possible and I will miss them. I hate leaving characters behind so they may pop up again in a future book! Jane lives a quiet life as a family history tutor and debates whether she wants to be in a relationship with ‘the sexiest man in Britain’. We’d like to think we’d jump at the chance so it’s hard to understand why she’s hesitating but Jane’s self-esteem and ability to trust a man again are at rock bottom following her divorce and her ex-husband’s immediate re-marriage.
Jane is also embarrassed by her lack of dating experience as she and her ex-husband had been together since university, so she’s intimidated at the prospect of going on dates with men from the dating website she’s been subscribed to by her sister and best friend. Because she hasn’t dealt with any of these issues yet, she really puts herself through the wringer.
Robert isn’t used to having to chase and all but beg a woman to go out with him. He’s not vain, he’s just never had a woman actually run away from him before! Like Jane, he also has personal issues he hasn’t dealt with and he’s not very good at accepting advice. Trying to deal with his feelings for Jane brings out the worst in him, which he hates, and it doesn’t help that it all takes place inside and on the covers of Britain’s many celebrity gossip magazines.
What was your publishing journey highlight?
It was finding a great illustration for the cover. My least favourite part of the publishing journey is searching stock photo websites but when I saw the illustration, I knew immediately it was the one!
What was the last book that made you laugh out loud?
Hunting Unicorns by Bella Pollen. It’s about Maggie, an American journalist more used to reporting from war zones being sent to England to do a story on the aristocracy in today’s world. There are lots of laugh out loud moments but also moments of deep poignancy. If you’re looking for something a bit different, give it a go.
What was the last book that made you cry?
The Reckoning by Sharon Kay Penman (mentioned below). It’s the final book in the Welsh Princes trilogy. It’s tragic, there’s a high death count and Wales loses its independence. I was in bits…
If you were on an island for a year what two books would you bring?
I hope three books are allowed because I’d bring the Welsh Princes trilogy by Sharon Kay Penman – Here Be Dragons; Falls The Shadow and The Reckoning. I grew up in North Wales and I’ve either been to or know of all the Welsh locations in the novels. The amount of research which goes into her novels must be huge but they never suffer from info-dump-itis!
Lastly, what is your favourite book quote?
My favourite book quote is the last paragraph of The Dead by James Joyce (it’s part of the Dubliners collection of short stories).
“A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.”
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