Last Thursday, along with my writing buddy, Helen, I attended a library event to celebrate the re-opening of Ystrad Mynach Library after recent refurbishment. It was presented by three Choc Lit authors, Chris Stovell, Evonne Wareham and Christina Courtenay who also writes her YA fiction as Pia Fenton. They introduced themselves and talked about their novels.
Chris writes contemporary fiction. She often sets her stories in sleepy villages, places on the edge of things. Her novels involve involve family secrets, exploring relationships and generally making sense of the world through fiction.
Evonne writes romantic thrillers and romance with a darker edge. She noticed early on in her writing career that her stories always contained a crime. Not wanting to write police procedural novels, she enjoys mixing crime and romance where things are going to be alright in the end for both the hero and the heroine.
Pia writes historical romance and time slip (dual time) fiction, writing under her pseudonym of Christina Courtenay. Her novels have a trace of the Far East. She has always loved reading romantic stories and fairy stories where there was always a happy ending. Sometimes she likes to break away from all the research that historical writing involves and writes some contemporary YA stories. The New England series is the result.
Interesting discussion was interspersed with questions and answers and covered various topics - irresistible Choc Lit heroes, what makes a good heroine and that vital ingredient in a Choc Lit novel, a satisfying and happy ending. We learned whether the writers were 'pantsters' or 'plotters'. As a lover of time-slip novels, I was particularly interested in the way Pia talked about colour-coding her characters' points of view. She was able to to check that she'd achieved the right balance and whether each story carried equal weight.
All three authors talked about their research. Chris showed us how she had to dress for the weather whilst sailing and feeling decidedly sea-sick - all good research for a novel.
Although Evonne couldn't bring props in the forms of weapons and guns to the talk (!!), she told us how she researches the crimes in her novels by visiting exhibitions, art galleries and museums to get her details right. She has also attended folk lore, forensic and crime courses.
Pia lived in Japan at one time and had brought along a selection of props for us to see. By knowing what it felt like to wear the beautiful red and gold silk wedding kimono and shoes, use the fan and parasol gave added credibility to the heroines in her Japanese trilogy. One of the librarians modelled the kimono and confirmed that it was very heavy.
|Note the chocolate flavoured pencils, too!|
A big thank you to Chris, Evonne and Pia for giving up your time to share your tips and advice...and your chocolates! It was a very enjoyable afternoon.
Thank you, too, to the library staff for making us all so welcome.
Does your local library put on literary events like this? Perhaps you've given a talk on your books. I'd love it if you left a comment.
Thank you for reading.
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