Meet Mia: an unforgettable heroine learning the meaning of life and love on a beautiful Italian island. Perfect for fans of Mhairi McFarlane, Lindsey Kelk and Lucy Vine.
Mia’s dad has always been her idol. Now, she faces losing him and he is insisting that she leave England to visit her mother’s family on the Italian island of Ischia.
Arriving on the island, Mia is embraced by the warm, crazy relatives she hardly knows. Despite her doubts about the trip, it is in Italy that Mia discovers connections to a part of her life that’s been missing, and during the sun-soaked days and steamy nights Mia falls for handsome local Salvatore. But as the day of her departure draws nearer can she risk having her heart broken twice in one summer?
It’s the first rule, right? To write what you know? To go slow and think and evoke memories and consider ever so carefully that time when you were six and you fell and scuffed the skin from your knees. Use pain, use fear. Use every bad relationship and hilarious joke and every time your heart felt like it would fall through your stomach to be stepped on by someone wearing size 10 Doc Martins.
Devil is in the detail. That’s another one. Detail matters. Being factually accurate matters. Someone will find it. Somewhere, an anonymous reviewer will point out that actually that painting is on the other side of the museum in Paris, and if you’re not going to be dedicated enough to be accurate, why even bother?
You still bother.
Novels have to be over 65,000. Except crime procedurals, and historical sagas and goodness knows what else. This one, I know, is about sales and pages and people wanting to sink their teeth into a good story, not be left licking their lips and still hungry. But goodness it’s hard! Sometimes when a story is streamlined and you don’t want to slow it down with character descriptions or anything else, adding words feels like wasting everyone’s time.
Write every day. You’re not a writer if you don’t write every day. You don’t love it enough if you don’t write every day. Don’t you know how lucky you are to write? Why aren’t you writing? Why are you sleeping, or reading, or watching TV? You can’t be real, if you’re not really writing. Ignore that. Some days you’ll sleep. Some days you’ll sit in front of a blank page and wonder how you ever thought you had a voice or something to say and you’ll shout or cry or clench your fists and think you’ve lost it. Whatever it was, this illustrious it you once had has now gone and how the hell did you let it get away? You weren’t writing of course. You weren’t breathing fiction from fingertips and now it’s gone.
Breathe. It’s not gone. Sometimes you have to be a human who goes outside and does things.
No one gets to tell you if you’re a writer. That is reserved for you.
Adverbs. Stephen King’s gift to the writing world, beyond that clown with the red balloon that I’m too scared to read about. Adverbs are not to be used heavily, or continually or even majestically. Stick to said, that’s what he said. Make them invisible and that’s the sign of good writing. I’m here to tell you that if you want to tell the world your character pontificated extravagantly, then you go ahead and do that because why the hell not make a character come alive in the way that they say something? Why the hell not?
Kill your darlings. This one, to be fair, I’m with you. Kill those words that don’t do anything, don’t move and enliven and breathe. But what about that word count? If I take away those words that don’t matter I’m left with three words: I am alive. Keep the darling ones, keep the pretty ones that don’t tell you what the light looked like but are so gorgeous to read that you say the sentence out loud just to hear how pretty it sounds. Keep the lines that make you laugh to yourself, that hide a secret in between consonants and vowels and do not speak to GCSE students about what the real meaning of the purple curtains was, but tells you of a moment you sat with a perfect cup of coffee, remembering you could do this.
Who makes these rules anyway?
My full review of Prosecco and Promises will be up on my Blog very soon – keep your eyes peeled!