Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Welcoming new writers on board

Michael Joseph Proof Party

AFTER being welcomed aboard Hibernia with a glass of fizz, ghost writer and fiction reviewer Stephanie Cross got the party started by introducing authors Stephanie Wrobel and Hope Adams.

As both writers have debut novels out next year, Stephanie remarked it seemed fitting that the event was taking place on a boat — a maiden voyage in more than one sense. Hope’s book, Conviction, even opens on board a ship on the River Thames.

Stephanie then invited Hope and Stephanie to talk about their books and read short extracts from them.

Hope explained that, while visiting an exhibition of quilts at the Victoria & Albert Museum in 2009, she’d been intrigued to learn that one beautiful example was sewn by female convicts aboard a ship, the Rajah.

When she discovered that, by the end of the three-month voyage, one of the prisoners had become engaged to the captain, the idea for Conviction was born.

The novel opens with (in Hope’s words) a “dastardly deed” and the reader learns one of the women is not who she says she is.

In Stephanie’s novel The Recovery of Rose Gold, for the first 18 years of her life Rose Gold believes she is sick but it transpires that her mother, Patty, has made it all up and there was nothing wrong with Rose at all.

Stephanie described the book as being about “obsession, reconciliation, revenge and the unbreakable bond between mother and daughter”. Told from the alternating points of view of Rose Gold and her mother, Stephanie confessed she found getting inside the head of Patty a challenge, but one she relished.

Asked if they had any advice for aspiring novelists, both Hope and Stephanie were strong advocates of having a plan of the outline structure of a book before starting to write.

Hope joked that her daughter, who just happens to be bestselling author Sophie Hannah, positively insists she does this. Stephanie said she’d found the feedback from tutors and fellow students on her creative writing course invaluable.

Stephanie Cross described The Recovery of Rose Gold and Conviction as “twisty, stay up all night reads”. Those of us lucky enough to attend the event left with proof copies of both books. Other readers will have to wait until next year to get their hands on copies. On the evidence of today, it will be well worth the wait.

Cathy Johnson

Cathy Johnson blogs at www.

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