Tackling Serious Issues In Romantic Fiction

I was recently invited to write an article for Val Penny’s Blog. Val writes the Hunter Series of mystery crime novels based in Edinburgh.

I thoroughly enjoy all her Hunter crime series and I marvel at her ability to think up criminal plot-lines. I know I couldn’t do it. Even though we share the same publisher, Crooked Cat, our genres are very different.

My novels, like hers, always have a strong sense of place and amidst the banter and fun, I like to think my characters discover their true selves.

But I began wondering if there were any more similarities between our novels and I thought that I too tackle some serious themes, albeit with a much lighter touch and much less bloodshed..

Although I write romantic comedies, there are also heart-wrenching issues which must be confronted. My heroines are always set adrift in new locations where they have to rely on their own resources. They may begin as innocents abroad but soon realise that all is not as idyllic as it seems.

21366824_1652990931407375_2015034935783565468_oMy first book, Love in La La Land has an underlying awareness of the Hollywood ‘casting couch’. Long before the #Metoo movement was born, I realised how compromised many females were in the toxic masculine world of powerful movie tycoons. My English writer, Jane, is initially thrilled to visit the glamorous film world of Hollywood and enjoys sparring with screenwriter, Jack. But, as she uncovers more about this sleazy world of glittering parties, hovering paparazzi, and media manipulation, she has to decide who can be trusted and who can’t. And is losing her integrity a price worth paying for fame and success?

 

 

 

In my second novel, Love, Lies and Café au Lait, there is subterfuge aplenty and anMain cover pic exploration of identity and belonging. Annie from Accrington wants to escape, not only from the rain, but her ordinary life as well. She longs to become someone else so when she goes to the sophisticated city of Nice, she invents a more interesting persona and tries to live the life of her dreams.  But real life intrudes and she is met by intrigue and deception. Is she just too nice for Nice? She has to learn resilience and fortitude. And her friendship with the fabulous Reen helps her learn the true meaning of parental love and the importance of roots.

 

 

 

 

Cover picture_JPEGIn The Girl Who Used To Be Me my heroine, Kate, feels abandoned which affects her self-belief and leaves her wondering if she is worthy of love. When she moves from the Midlands to Marbella on the sunny Costa del Sol, she meets Reen, the funny, flamboyant, flamingo-loving character from my last book, who helps her heal her childhood wounds and believe in herself again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author Bio

 An abiding fascination with books and people led Lynn to study English and Psychology at University. After a rewarding but all-consuming career as a College Lecturer, she escaped to fulfil her lifelong ambition to write novels, using many of her accumulated insights into what makes people tick.

She now writes uplifting romantic comedies full of sparky dialogue and strong characters.

She is fond of setting her heroines adrift in new sunny, locations where they have to rely on their own resources. The novels always have a strong sense of place and some serious themes are tackled with the lightest of touches. Amidst the banter and fun, her characters discover their true selves…and love.

She set her debut novel, Love in La La Land, in Hollywood which combined her love of films, humour and sunny places. Her second novel Love Lies and Cafe au Lait is set in Nice, a city she loves. And her third novel The Girl Who Used To Be Me follows one of her characters, the fabulous Reen, to her home territory of the Costa Del Sol.

An avid reader, Lynn runs two book clubs and, as a bit of a movie buff, she loves participating in the discussions at a local Film Club. Although not a big exercise fan, she enjoys the fun and music at her Zumba sessions, singing along enthusiastically to all the tunes. A great lover of colour, she tries to encourage a riotous array of flowers in her garden.

Lynn lives in Worcestershire, England with her family and writes in a room with a view of big skies, wooded hills and a distant lake.

She can be contacted at

 

Website: lynnforthauthor.wordpress.com.

Twitter: @lynnforth

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/lynn.forth.560

Author Page: Lynn Forth Author

My books are available as both eBooks and paperbacks from Amazon

 

Love in La La land myBook.to/LoveinLaLaLand1

Love Lies and Café au Lait : mybook.to/LoveLiesandCafeauLait

The Girl Who Used To Be Me : mybook.to/TheGirlWhoUsedToBeMe

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Beaming author with her book on French Riviera. 

This gallery contains 2 photos.

Originally posted on Lynn Forth :
Beaming author with her book on French Riviera. While in Villefranche I took the opportunity to take an embarrassing number of photos of me holding my book in front of the very picturesque water-front table…

Gallery | Leave a comment

Lockdown Labour of Love

IMG_20200129_110546834Having emptied my book shelves for the big bedroom decorating enterprise, I have only just got round to sorting my books prior to restoring them on to the bookcase…and this time in some sort of order.

 

 

 

They say that work expands to fill the time available and, thanks to lockdown, I have oodles of time to spare. So I have loved sifting and sorting, remembering and fondling,  dipping into and out of….and thinking of how to categorise them.IMG_20200318_111826191

 

The poetry shelves were easy…classic and serious at the back then modern and frivolous at the front.IMG_20200319_161326288

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The classic literature and French books next.

IMG_20200418_154853133

But what about all the modern ones?  …in order of when read? …of when published? Nope, …too much memory required to be able to find them again.

And find them again I must in order to avoid duplication. To my shame I have found I have bought many books twice because it was easier than trying to find them in my  haphazard and overcrowded shelves.

Then a breakthrough. What about shelves of male authors and shelves of female authors. Sorted.

IMG_20200418_152128689

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

A Lockdown Book Giveaway.

A Lockdown Book Giveaway.

Thank you to Nell Dixon and Janice Preston for the idea of putting out my unwanted books so passers-by can help themselves and keep reading during the Lockdown

 

IMG_20200414_143144090
  .
I’ve got loads more if these go.
IMG_20200129_155200510
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

More Sunshine Blogger Probings

As part of my Sunshine Blogger nomination, I’ve been asked further tough questions, this time by Jane Baynham.

Jan’s Questions

  • What is your favourite room in the house and why?

Ooo difficult. Is it my lounge, my relaxing book-reading TV-watching place overlooking  my garden, or is it my cluttered study with its fabulous view over hills and meadows and a distant lake? Yes, it has to be where I write my books at my untidy desk with all the characters and dialogue swirling about my head.WP_20170805_13_58_24_Pro

  • What is your proudest moment?WP_20150726_004

When I won a national award at a rather grand ceremony  in London for being a super-duper lecturer.

 

 

 

 

 

  • What is your biggest fear?

It has to be anything horrible happening to any member of the family.

  • What would be the biggest compliment a reader could give you about your writing?

Another difficult question because, all modesty aside, I have had some super comments about loving the characters, laughing at the dialogue and staying up all night to finish the story. Any of those will do…and as often as possible, please.

  • What question would you ask your main character at the end of your novel?

All my heroines in all three of my books have grown in confidence by having to cope with new situations in new countries. Along the way they have suffered heartache and had to re-evaluate their lives. So I think I would ask them if all the suffering was worth it and if they were happier as a result of what they had experienced. I really hope that the answer would be yes.

  • Where would you take a guest visiting your home town for the first time?

If you mean my home town of Accrington, then obviously the famous Stanley football ground …where Annie in Love, Lies and Café au Lait often went. Or in my present home town, it would be the Clent Hills I can see from my window, where Kate in The Girl Who Used To Be Me had a very ardent first encounter with Rob …say no more.

  • What song has a special meaning for you?

I actually don’t have one special song because it keeps changing …but I do love My Baby Just Cares For Me by Nina Simone.

  • If you could choose to be a famous person in history, who would it be and why?

These are really tough questions, Jan. There are so many people to choose from but I suppose I would have to choose a writer. The trouble is all my favourites lived tough lives, Jane Austen dying in agony, Emily Bronte all cold and windswept in the parsonage, so perhaps it would be Daphne du Maurier because she wrote such an amazing range of books and lived in a lovely house. Sorry for such a trivial answer

  • Name a treasured possession.

My Mum’s diaries and letters she wrote as she travelled the world with my Dad. She died far too young so these are very precious.

  • What is your best quality and what is your worst?

I think I’ve been blessed with an optimistic outlook on life but it can make me too naïve and a bit gullible. I’ve often been hurt when people aren’t as nice as they appear.

  • Are you a lark or a night owl?

At last, a nice easy question. Definitely a night owl. I have written long into the night on many occasions, but don’t ask me to get up the following day.

Thank you, Jan, for these searching questions…they certainly made me think.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Sunshine Blogger Award

Highly flattered and thrilled to find I have been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by both Morton Gray and Jan Baynham.

Both have set me some very interesting question to answer so this week I will answer Morton’s and next week, Jan’s.

 

 

What are the best and worst gifts you’ve ever received?

 Because of my rather outrageous character, Reen, in The Girl Who Used To Be Me  recently I have received rather a lot of flamingos …and I love them all, especially Felicity and Jasmine.

Difficult to think of any really bad presents but I do remember a horrible pair of really large, old-fashioned, brown slippers an Aunt gave me for my 18th birthday. I had to smile and say how lovely they were through gritted teeth.

Who is the celebrity you’d most like to share a 100 mile taxi ride with and why?

Hugh Jackman…nuff said

If you could interview any author past or present, who would it be and why?

 Torn between Georgette Heyer (and just hope she was as witty as her books), or Daphne du Maurier who led a rather flamboyant life . It would be great to see her in her home near Fowey.

What’s the most nerve-racking thing you’ve ever done in your life?

 On my very first trip to a swimming pool when I was about five, someone pushed me in the deep end and I had to be rescued by the life guard. It put me off swimming quite a bit, as you can imagine. So I felt very brave learning to swim as an adult in an outdoor pool attached to a school with all the kids watching me flounder.

What’s your idea of the perfect holiday?Main cover pic

 It has to be Nice in the sunshine strolling up the Promenade des Anglais thinking of further adventures for my  characters in Love, Lies and Café au Lait.

 

 

 

 

What do you find best helps you to relax, de-stress and re-focus? 

 Reading. I can totally immerse myself in a book and it blots out all worries. I even read during labour with my second son which blotted out the pain for quite a while.

Which song triggers happy memories for you and why?

 Any happy song such as You are the Sunshine of my Life or Happy by Will Pharrell. And I love all the Zumba songs. When I hear one, I have to stop myself automatically going into the dance routine.

Who is the fictional hero you’d most like to spring to life before your eyes?

It would have to be Jamie from Outlander as long as he looked like Sam Heughan

21366824_1652990931407375_2015034935783565468_oWhich city in the world would you most like to visit?

 Probably Hollywood. I researched it like crazy for my book Love in La La Land and most readers thought I’d actually been there …but confession time …I hadn’t,  so perhaps I ought to now.

 

 

 

 

 

What’s your favourite food treat/indulgence (however big or small) ?

 Nuts …love nuts …if they are covered in milk chocolate then that’s ok too.

Which three words best describe you?

 Positive, sunny, outgoing

Thank you, Morton, I really enjoyed answering these questions.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Dust, Sweat and Nostalgia

Dust, Sweat and Nostalgia

At last I have emptied the big bookcase, prior to decorating the back bedroom.

IMG_20200129_110546834

This took two days, far longer than expected, because, of course, I kept remembering where and when I’d read certain books. When I was working full-time at college, my only real escape into reading was on holiday so I recorded the date and location inside the book.

And further nostalgia came in the form of the odds and sods I had used as ‘bookmarks’, a Nice city map, tickets to Alcatraz, unsent postcards, museum passes, menus, hotel cards, meal bills, a Chinese New Year money bag, and a French shopping receipt from so long ago it was in francs.

IMG_20200129_153136264

Then of course there was the decision on which books to keep and which to pile up ready for the charity shop. So difficult. I think I’ve been quite ruthless … but I may very well rescue some of them as I have already regretted some I have previously given away.

IMG_20200129_155200510

But here are the ‘saved’ ones, bagged up in our bedroom. An additional bookcase had to be brought down from the attic and both suitcases are full.

 

IMG_20200129_110252367

 

IMG_20200129_110320705

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But what a wonderful record of all the words I have read, all the worlds I have explored, both in reality and in my imagination.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Lanzarote Flamingo Fun

We escaped to lovely hot Lanzarote for some winter sun, but we couldn’t escape flamingos.

Everywhere we turned we saw their elegant pink shapes peering at us…. on handbags, on  towels, from street corners and shop windows.

 

And then, joy of joy, we saw a whole shop full of them. I had to go in because I knew it would have thrilled my character Reen. They were all a bit  garish and plastic which she would have loved…and so did I.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Flamingos agogo Or when Felicity met Jasmin.

Flamingos agogo Or when Felicity Flamingo met Jasmin.

IMG_20191213_123904600_HDR (2)

Little did I know, when I wrote my character, Reen, that she would take over my life quite so much. I introduced her first in Love, Lies and Café au Lait when she was over-wintering in Nice while her Villa in Marbella was being ‘done up’.

Then she, and her family, made an appearance on her home ground of the Costa del Sol in The Girl who Used To Be Me.

As did her garden full of pink plastic flamingos.

Since then Flamingos seemed to have taken over, not only my life, but that of my friends too. Hardly a day goes by without some notification of flamingo-spotting as people try to go about their normal life.

And so many lovely presents.

And why not…don’t we all need a bit of fabulous frivolity in these dark and gloomy days.

Thank you, Reen, and long may you light up my life with your joy and colourful gaiety.

IMG_20191213_124335066 (2)

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Jeanette Winterson, Accrington Stanley and Me

To celebrate the first anniversary of the publication of my novel Love Lies and Café au Lait, I not only went back to Nice but also retraced the footsteps of my main character Annie back to Accrington.   I took her with me so she could also see what had happened to the place since we had both left.

Accrington has two main claims to fame. It’s the home of Accrington Stanley Football Club and was the childhood home of the writer, Jeanette Winterson. So on this return visit I was curious to revisit both.

First, the school both Jeanette and I attended, the old Accrington High School, is still there …just. The imposing portico that inspired a frisson of fear as I entered all those years ago is now closed off with two sets of forbidding fences and lots of weeds. I think Jeanette’s experiences there were similar to mine.  I received a very good education, but it had a very prim, rigid and repressive regime. Lots of Latin but not much joy.

My character Annie felt similarly trapped before she escaped to Nice.

The town centre was much changed, now pedestrianised and missing two wonderful trees outside the Town Hall.

But one place looked the same. From reading her books, it’s clear that Jeanette, like me, was a voracious reader and spent many a happy hour in IMG_20190917_112009239 Accrington Library …as did I. And that looked unchanged.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whenever I say I’m from Accrington most people will respond with the one word ‘Stanley’. This football team has achieved national fame, more from its name than from its exploits. So I took my book there.IMG_20190917_105612423 (2)

 

And we were greeted with sunshine and great warmth by the staff at The Stanley ground. I apologised for depicting all the rain in the book and they acknowledged with a grimace that that seemed a fair description.

 

 

So many memories crowded in going back. I had a very happy childhood in a big, noisy, loving family but the return provoked lots of thoughts about how much we are shaped by our environment, which, each in our own way, Jeanette and I write about.

We both escaped to pastures new.

IMG_20191022_142829293 (2)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment