Title: Finding Secrets
Author: Lauren Westwood
Release Date: March 1st, 2017
Genre: contemporary romance
A country house, a precious jeweled locket, and a puzzle dating back to the London Blitz and Imperial Russia. Utterly captivating, a fantastic romance from beginning to end. Perfect for the fans of Carole Matthews and Milly Johnson.
Alex Hart loves her dream job as manager of Mallow Court, a historic Elizabethan house, even if her friends think she needs to get out more. But a discovery in the pocket of an old coat – a jewelled mechanical locket shaped like a bird – changes everything, and Alex discovers that things are not as they seem.
From an old diary, to a handsome barrister, a mysterious clockmaker, and the darkest hours of the London Blitz, Alex must follow the trail of the jewelled bird to uncover the truth about the things she holds dearest – and someone is determined not to let sleeping dogs lie!
Only by finding the secrets of the past can Alex find the keys to her future – and her heart.
Say Hello to author Lauren Westwood!
Originally from California, Lauren relocated to England in 2000. She works as a lawyer for a renewable energy company. Laure’s first novel, ‘Finding Home’ was inspired by her family’s 3-year search for a house that made them the bane of home county estate agents. She currently resides in a pernickety 400-year old house in Surrey with her partner and their three daughters. She enjoys travel, visiting old houses, baking with her daughters, dance, playing piano, and hates tennis.
Dear Aimee, thank you for having me on your blog.
What made you want to become a writer?
I’ve always loved to read, but it wasn’t until I was in my 30s that I entertained the idea of writing. Like many people, I thought that I ‘had a novel in me’, and eventually when I was between jobs, I decided to start writing it down. I quickly discovered that there was a lot more to writing a novel than just having an idea. I took some evening courses at Birkbeck in London, and started learning the ‘craft’ of writing. The most important thing to come out of those courses was meeting other writers to form a critique/commiseration/inspiration group, and we are still meeting up ten years later. It took me three years to finish my first novel, which, I fear, will never see the light of day. I went on to write others, and my third novel, Finding Home, was eventually published.
What is your favorite part of the writing process?
When I give talks at schools and festivals to aspiring writers, I always remind them that there are easier ways to earn a living than being a writer, so it’s important to enjoy part of the process and cling to that through the rejections, revisions, and the days when it would be easier to do anything but write. For me, I like writing first drafts – getting the initial ideas down on paper without worrying if it’s rubbish, and just letting my imagination run wild. I normally have more than one editing project on the go, so when I get fed up with that, I go back to free writing, which helps me remember why I’m doing it.
What is your least favorite part of the writing process?
I love free writing first drafts, and I don’t like editing so much. Unfortunately, editing is a much more important part! That’s when it helps to look at writing as a job, and getting the less pleasant parts done in a professional and efficient manner. I do like the results of editing, however – the end result is always a much better book!
What kind of writer are you when beginning a new story – pantster, planner or something entirely different?
I used to be a pantser, meandering wherever the draft took me, and then trying to work my way back to civilization. Nowadays, I have deadlines, so I do a lot more planning. I usually try to work my ideas into a rough outline, so that I know that I’ll have a beginning, middle, and and end, even if it doesn’t end up being the beginning, middle and end. I find it’s actually more fun to write with a plan, because you don’t end up getting stuck so easily. On the days when things aren’t flowing, I can write towards the next milestone, and get something down on paper even when it’s challenging.
What is your favorite social media platform?
I don’t spend a lot of time on social media, because as well as being a writer, I’m also a lawyer, and a mum of 3 girls. However, from time to time, I get addicted to twitter. Since I learned photoshop, I like making fun little banners for my books – it’s a good artistic outlet, even if it doesn’t necessarily translate into sales.
Do you read reviews of my books?
Oh yes! – and I’d be very surprised if there are authors out there who don’t. At first, I found it very difficult to handle the negative reviews (luckily there haven’t been that many). But now, I try to learn from the things people say for the next book. Occasionally, I will respond to reviews as well. Sometimes people really ‘get’ the book, and that’s lovely to note. Occasionally, people will give a sort of personal attack, and I might respond to those too. It’s fine to say what you think, and if you think a book is pants and have reasons for it, then by all means, say it. But do keep in mind that we authors are human beings too and a book can take anywhere from eighteen months to, in my case, six years to write. It does hurt when people rip apart your book just because they’re having a bad day.
What is your favorite line from a review?
‘I think this book should be her first and last.’
‘So much more than just another romance book.’
What are you working on now?
I’m working on what I see as the third book in my ‘old house’ book series – books with old English country houses as ‘characters’. The other two are Finding Home and Finding Secrets. When I finish that, I have another idea involving international art crime that I am anxious to get started on. I don’t lack for ideas, but I do lack for time!
I also write children’s books under another name, and I’ve got my second one coming out in August this year. I’ve always got multiple projects on the go, and while it is sometimes stressful, it’s never boring!
Don’t miss a single previous stop on this fabulous tour!
Thank you, Lauren & Yasemin @ Head of Zeus, for allowing me to be a part of this tour and letting me feature the fabulous Finding Secrets on For the Love of Chick Lit. The cover is just gorgeous. I just loved reading about your writing likes & dislikes, Lauren!