Firstly, thanks so much to the New Romantics Press for featuring my new book here – it is an honour indeed!
It’s a pleasure to support a fellow author, Terry, and we have learned so much about the publishing world through following yours and Rosie Amber’s blogs (to name but two). So, fire away and tell us all about your new novel – The House of York.
The House of York is a contemporary family drama, spanning the years 1993 – 2014. A bit darker than my previous novels, it features some dastardly secrets and a smattering of murderous intent, not to mention a couple of inappropriate relationships. The story centres around Lisa Grey, a widowed single mother from a fairly working class family who meets wealthy businessman Elias York. Enter stage left: the rest of his dysfunctional family 🙂
The story was inspired by the events of the Wars of the Roses, though it’s not an actual retelling of history, like Kings and Queens and Last Child (about the Lanchester family, modern day Tudors). I hasten to add that you don’t need any knowledge of history to enjoy this book, though anyone who knows a bit about the Plantagenet era will recognise the York brothers, and others.
I hadn’t intended to write a sequel, but my test readers all say that the massive twist at the end made them want to carry on reading, so I shall be starting that very soon; it’s already begun in my head, usually when I’m doing things like cooking (cue overcooked vegetables).
I’m thrilled that the book has already gained some very positive reviews, and even more delighted that several people started reading it the minute it was published – the biggest compliment a writer can have. THANK YOU!
If you live outside the UK, you can take a look at The House of York here:
New Romantics Press is really looking forward to reading and reviewing THE HOUSE OF YORK, Terry. You may not know this, but we live in Leicester and recently, Lizzie visited the Richard III exhibition. Here are a few photos to get you writing that sequel. A turbulent time in history, indeed. Good luck with this and all future projects.
This is a true story, verified by Lizzie’s sisters –
Ellen Humber and Phyllis Fell.
KNOCK, KNOCK, WHO’S THERE?
– Leicester circa 1964
In 1962, my family –including Granny and the dog all moved from Scotland to live in Leicester in a rambling palisaded villa. Apart from my Granny, all the adults went out to work – Mother in one of the many shoe factories dotted around Leicester and Dad on a building site as a scaffolder. I was thirteen years old and my siblings ranged below me at eight, six and four years of age respectively. We were rarely alone in the house as Granny was there to welcome us home from school and to give us our evening meal before the adults arrived in from work.
There was something spooky about that house in College Avenue, it had a long dark corridor which led from the front door to the breakfast room, scullery and kitchen at the rear. Other doors opened off the corridor giving onto a sitting room and a gloomy dining room in turn. Once, the house must have been splendid, in a Gothic sort of way; high ceilings, marble fireplaces, deep cornices and even bells to ring for the servants in each room. But to us kids it was a scary place and we didn’t like to be left on our own. In fact, there were certain rooms which the dog wouldn’t enter – without its hackles rising.
One day Granny decided to visit her brother in London which meant leaving us alone for several hours until Mother returned from the factory. Granny was very unhappy with this arrangement, but eventually agreed to visit her brother – albeit with the proviso that all four children, plus dog locked ourselves in our parents’ bedroom and stayed there until Mother came home.
Granny left, and I locked us in our temporary prison with food, drink, comics, toys, radio, the dog and a chamber pot in case of emergencies! We watched Granny walk to the end of the street and then settled down for a boring couple of hours until Mother arrived home. Time passed slowly and we tried to guess where Granny was on her journey – Luton, Bedford, St Pancras, the underground . . .
Then, the strangest thing happened.
We heard Granny’s footsteps climbing the stairs and coming along the landing towards the bedroom. The door knob turned once and then sprang back to its original position. Being kids we thought nothing of it. Ours was an old house and things were always sticking and jamming. Then, stranger still, we heard Granny calling out my name: ‘Betty. Betty,’ in her unmistakable Scottish accent. I looked at my sister Ellen for confirmation of what I’d heard and then walked over to the bedroom door and tried the handle. The door was still locked and the key was on our side, just as I’d left it. I went to unlock the door, but remembering the promise I’d made to Granny to stay put until Mother came home, I changed my mind.
My sister and I sat down on the bed and looked at each other, more puzzled than frightened. When Mother came home, we were simply glad to be allowed to run outside and play and didn’t tell her about Granny’s voice, the footsteps or the door knob turning.
Years later I brought up the subject with my sister.
‘We did hear Granny’s footsteps and her voice, didn’t we?’ I asked.
‘We did,’ my sister Ellen replied, emphatically. ‘She called out your name, twice and the door handle turned.’
We exchanged a look and shuddered, knowing that, as adults, we were only just beginning to comprehend we’d seen and heard that day. Had Granny been so worried about us being in the house alone, that she’d projecting her anxiety across the miles from London to Leicester? Or was it something ‘else’; something which wanted us to leave the safety of the bedroom and venture out on to the landing where it was waiting?
The same nameless terror which made us run down the long dark corridor to the safety of the kitchen every time – and the dog refuse to enter the large cupboard under the stairs where we played? Or, was it the old lady my father (the least fanciful of men) purported to have seen on several occasions standing at the foot of his bed looking distracted and mournful?
My sister considers herself a ‘wee bit psychic’, while I consider myself a complete pragmatist. My other sister, Phyllis, told me recently that she’d seen the door handle turn on a couple of other occasions and had been too scared to leave her bedroom. I know there must be a logical explanation for what happened and I’d feel a whole lot better if someone experienced in this field could explain it to me.
Then I could finally lay this story to rest – where it belongs.
Just for fun – work out what your witch name would be.
Adrienne’s first historical novel, A Most Deadly Affair, set in the 1950’s, was longlisted for the coveted Elizabeth Goudge Trophy at the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) conference held at the Queen Mary University in London, recently.
The annual competition, which is judged on the first chapter of a so far unpublished novel, received a record number of entries this year and Adrienne was bowled over when it was announced A Most Deadly Affair had made it into the top six.
Award-winning author and current RNA Chairman, Eileen Ramsay, commented that the standard this year was extremely high, and A Most Deadly Affair’s premise of a heroine with exactly the same birthday as the Queen was fascinating; especially as she inherits the family business – a funeral parlour – at the same time as the Queen ascends the throne.
Adrienne is adding this achievement to a growing list of accolades. Debut novel, The Hollow Heart and follow-up, A Change of Heart were both shortlisted for awards at the Festival of Romantic Fiction 2013 and 2014 respectively whilst the conclusion of the trilogy, Secrets of the Heart will be submitted later this year.
Currently working on her new novel, Scandal of the Seahorse Hotel, Adrienne is taking a break to attend the Romance Writers of America’s (RWA) conference in New York next week.
“I am thrilled to have my work recognised, especially as many of the writers who entered are long-established, best sellers who I have always admired. It goes some way to demonstrate my writing career is moving in the right direction, keeping everything crossed – even my eyes – when I say that, of course.” She commented.
The Elizabeth Goudge trophy was donated by the English author and distinguished former Vice President of the Association, Elizabeth Goudge. Since 2000 it has been associated with—and presented at—the RNA‘s Annual Conference. The award is open to all RNA members attending the conference, published or unpublished. The theme of the competition is set by the chairman and varies from year to year; this year’s theme was Family Values.
Adrienne Vaughan was interviewed recently by Rosie Amber, blogger and book reviewer, read what she had to say.