Christmas at Conwenna Cove by Darcie Boleyn **Blog Tour Review and Author Interview**
Christmas at Conwenna Cove: a heartwarming, romantic and Christmassy novel set in the gorgeous Cornish village of Conwenna Cove.
When Grace Phillips travels to Conwenna Cove to help her parents move there 30 years after their honeymoon in the village, she sees why they fell in love with the place. The festive decorations, carols in the air and constant supply of delicious mince pies certainly make it hard to leave. Grace soon meets local vet Oli Davenport and initially finds him rude, but learning about his passion for animals and how much he cares for his two kids helps Grace to see a softer side to Oli.
It’s been two years since Oli lost his wife to cancer. Though he loves eleven-year-old Amy and five-year-old Tom more than anything it’s hard to be mum and dad. He has no interest in romance until he crosses paths with beautiful and kind-hearted Grace. The sparks fly but both Oli and Grace are holding onto fear about letting someone into their heart.
As the snow falls and Christmas wishes come true can Conwenna Cove work its magic and help Grace and Oli find the happiness they both deserve?
Welcome to Books, Life and Everything. Thank you so much for agreeing to answer some questions on my blog about your writing.
Would you like to start by telling us a little about yourself and how you started as a writer?
I always harboured a dream of being a writer and entered short story and poetry competitions when I was younger, but never thought I’d be able to write a full novel. I became a teacher, had children and read voraciously. Then a few years ago, my husband encouraged me to try writing a book, and following a few false starts, I finally had the all important acceptance email. Since then, I haven’t stopped writing!
What is it about the romance genre which attracts you?
When I want something to make me smile, something that I can rely on to lift my mood, I turn to romance novels. A romance novel takes readers on a familiar journey. That’s why I always smile when a story is described as being ‘predictable’, because yes, romance readers do want a happy ever after. Or at least, a happy for now.
And as much as I enjoy reading romance novels, I enjoy writing them. I love creating the complex main characters with their emotional baggage – such as their lost hopes and dreams – and bringing them gently, gradually and cautiously together. I relish the dance that the two characters perform… the will-they, won’t-they build up as their relationship develops. I love to build the physical and emotional tension between them, to convey how they feel just by being close or thinking about each other. I enjoy describing the moment when it dawns on them that they are in love, even if at that point it still seems like they can’t possibly be together. Because when they do eventually admit their feelings, it will be all the sweeter. We become invested in the stories and in the characters’ lives and want them to be happy.
The point of a romance isn’t just that everyone has someone, but that everyone is fulfilled. When I write romances, I want the characters to evolve to a state where they don’t need someone else, but are finally ready to be with someone. They have to be strong enough, confident enough and to have developed enough, to be in a fulfilling relationship.
My aim is that readers will feel satisfied when they finish reading one of my novels, that they will believe that the two main characters have overcome the obstacles I put in their way, and that they deserve to be together. And most importantly, I want readers to feel happy and hopeful, because life can be so difficult for all of us. A happy ending in a romance novel can be something for them to hold close when real life is not quite so perfect.
And that is why I love writing romance.
What are your writing routines and where do you do most of your writing?
This year, I was lucky enough to become a full-time author. Up until that point, I fitted writing in wherever and whenever I could, whereas now I have a daily routine. I get up with my family, see them all off to work and school, then have my breakfast. I settle down by nine and complete admin tasks such as answering emails and so on, then I read through my notes about the scene/s I intend to write that day. Some days I write around 2500 words but on a good day, I can write 5000 or more. Occasionally, I write sitting on the sofa but most of the time I write at my desk with my three dogs snoring around me.
Your latest book, Christmas at Conwenna Cove returns to Cornwall. Can you tell us a little about it (without spoiling the plot of course!)
Christmas at Conwenna Cove is the second book in the Conwenna Cove series. (The books can be read as standalones or enjoyed together.) This story gives readers the opportunity to revisit the beautiful Cornish village at Christmas, to catch up with characters from Summer at Conwenna Cove and to meet new ones, including new greyhounds. Christmas at Conwenna Cove is about love, loss and new beginnings, as well as moving on from grief without forgetting the ones you loved and lost. I want readers to be able to feel that there is always hope, however difficult and painful life can be at times.
Of all the books you have written, do you have a favourite or one which really stands out to you?
Each book I’ve written has something special about it for me. It could be a character, a plotline or the setting. However, to date, Summer at Conwenna Cove has been the most emotional one to write. I was suffering from anxiety myself when I wrote it, so some of Eve’s emotions reflect the ones I was experiencing at the time. I’m delighted by the reception the book has had and find it moving that the story has resonated with so many readers. And, of course, I love greyhounds and wanted to write a story showing how they rescue us just as we rescue them.
You have set several novels at Christmas. How will you be spending the festive season this year and will there be any books on your present list?
I’ll be at home with my family and dogs watching Christmas movies and eating lots of delicious food. I have two shelves of books to read and a whole load on my Kindle already, so I won’t ask for any, but hopefully Santa will surprise me with a few under the tree! ;-)
Finally do you have 3 words which sum up Christmas at Conwenna Cove?
Festive. Heartwarming. Hopeful.
Thank you so much, Darcie. You can really tell how much your writing means to you.
This has turned out to be my favourite festive read so far but I know there are plenty of reading days left until Christmas! It has it all- a beautiful setting, a warm and friendly community and some interesting characters. I particularly liked Grace Phillips, who is in the village to help her parents who seem to have the kindest hearts. Grace may be a successful writer, but she has her insecurities and the whole family are coming to terms with a tragedy in their past. They aren't the only family in the village to be coping with loss and trying to move on. At this time of year, grief is all the more poignant.
Just right for a cosy, winter festive read, there is a lot going on in the background. There are animals who are in need of new homes and Oli's children who are trying to carry on despite their loss. You find yourself willing them all on, hoping that the festive season will weave its spell over them. Ultimately it is a hopeful romance, with the promise of new beginnings.
In short: Darcie said it all- festive, heartwarming and hopeful!
About the Author
Darcie Boleyn has a huge heart and is a real softy. She never fails to cry at books and movies, whether ending is happy or not. Darcie is in possession of an overactive imagination that often keeps her awake at night. Darcie fell in love in New York, got married in the snow, rescues uncoordinated greyhounds and can usually be found reading or typing away on her laptop.
Previous books: A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas, Summer at Conwenna Cove and Love at the Italian Lakes.
Thanks to Darcie Boleyn, Ellie Pilcher and Canelo for a copy of the book and a place on the Blog Tour.
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