Writing a book – where do I start by Sue Moorcroft

One Summer in Italy

When Sofia Bianchi’s father Aldo dies, it makes her stop and look at things afresh. Having been his carer for so many years, she knows it’s time for her to live her own life – and to fulfil some promises she made to Aldo in his final days.

So there’s nothing for it but to escape to Italy’s Umbrian mountains where, tucked away in a sleepy Italian village, lie plenty of family secrets waiting to be discovered. There, Sofia also finds Amy who is desperately trying to find her way in life after discovering her dad isn’t her biological father.

Sofia sets about helping Amy through this difficult time, but it’s the handsome Levi who proves to be the biggest distraction for Sofia, as her new life starts to take off…

I would like to welcome Sue Moorcroft again to chellsandbooks it is an absolute pleasure. Sue kindly agreed to write a feature to celebrate her wonderful new novel One Summer  in Italy. 

About Sue Moorcroft:

Sue Moorcroft is a Sunday Times and international bestselling author and has reached the coveted #1 spot on Amazon Kindle. She’s won the Readers’ Best Romantic Novel award and the Katie Fforde Bursary, and has been nominated for several other awards, including Romantic Novel of the Year (contemporary).

Her short stories, serials, columns, writing ‘how to’ and courses have appeared around the world.

So I will hand over to Sue: 

“I’ve written quite a few posts about why I chose the Umbrian setting for One Summer in Italy so this time I’d like to talk about the rest of the book, and how I put it together.

I had a few ideas for different characters. Sofia, the heroine, was pretty clear to me from the start. She had to be a seasonal worker. I knew she was going to have one Italian parent so she could definitely work in Italy – I was a bit worried about Brexit derailing it, otherwise. But I wanted her to be seeing her dad’s home town of Montelibertà for the first time. What had kept her away until then? Why didn’t she know more about it? Where was her English mother? It’s common for me to think of a situation and then create a backstory to fit it so I decided Sofia’s had lost her mother when she was a child. Her father, Aldo, had been unwell for many years, so Sofia had become his carer. Why didn’t she know her Italian family at all? There had been a feud. How could I ensure that Sofia would do everything Aldo wanted to? I made each point a dying promise. I was about ready to begin Sofia’s thread.

Levi was easier in some ways but harder in others. I knew why I wanted him to be in Montelibertà – no, I can’t tell you! – so it was a question of getting him there. At the time I was planning the book I heard someone talking about travelling around Europe on a motorbike. He did it several times a year, he said. He was so full of enthusiasm that I decided to give Levi a motorbike too. His family’s as important to him as Sofia’s family is to her, but whilst hers are either gone or mysteriously hidden from her, his are very much present and at least he knows who’s who (doesn’t he?).

What I needed desperately to bring together Levi’s backstory with what happens in the book, was a ‘unifying factor’. I remembered someone from my teen years. He managed a garage on a corner and if teenagers tried to cut the corner via his forecourt he used to rush out to shout at them. (You can imagine that on a hot afternoon, this can be quite an amusing things for teenagers to do.) I made that man into Levi’s dad, Bryan ‘Bullet’ Gunn, known around the town for shooting out and ordering people off the forecourt.

The above formed the starting point for One Summer in Italy. There is more to the plot, of course, but without me knowing these things I don’t think the book could have worked.

I’m beginning to think about my summer 2019 book so any time now I’ll be searching out my pad and beginning work on the answers to a few questions …”

Sue Moorcroft can be found on: 

Website [www.suemoorcroft.com]

Blog [http://suemoorcroft.wordpress.com]

Facebook profile [Sue.Moorcroft.3]

Facebook author page [https://www.facebook.com/SueMoorcroftAuthor

Twitter  [@suemoorcroft]

Instagram [https://www.instagram.com/suemoorcroftauthor/] @SueMoorcroftAuthor

Google+ [google.com/+SueMoorcroftAuthor] +SueMoorcroftAuthor

LinkedIn [https://www.linkedin.com/in/suemoorcroft]



One Summer in Italy by Sue Moorcroft (Blog Tour)

The Summer Theatre by the Sea by T (2)

When Sofia Bianchi’s father Aldo dies, it makes her stop and look at things afresh. Having been his carer for so many years, she knows it’s time for her to live her own life – and to fulfil some promises she made to Aldo in his final days.

So there’s nothing for it but to escape to Italy’s Umbrian mountains where, tucked away in a sleepy Italian village, lie plenty of family secrets waiting to be discovered. There, Sofia also finds Amy who is desperately trying to find her way in life after discovering her dad isn’t her biological father.

Sofia sets about helping Amy through this difficult time, but it’s the handsome Levi who proves to be the biggest distraction for Sofia, as her new life starts to take off…

Review: First I would like to thank Sue Moorcroft and Avon for letting me be apart of the blog tour for One Summer in Italy and what a perfect escape it was. On closing the last page of this book it was like returning from a holiday. I could feel the warm rays of the sun and taste the Italian food.

In the beautiful setting of the Italian mountains we meet Sofia and Amy who are looking for a fresh start. Sofia has been caring for her father for some time and Amy had some upsetting news about her father, they discover each of in Italy and hope a fresh start is what they need, but amongst the mountains there are family secrets and a certain handsome man.

Perfect read for the summer. Written so well the pages keep on turning, I am a big fan of Sue Moorcroft’s storytelling. I cannot wait until her next book.



The Gorgotten Guide to Happiness by Sophie Jenkins (Blog Tour)

Faded Fall

You can lose your memory, but you never forget how to love…

Lana Green has a talent for pushing people away. As a writer, she’s perfectly happy to be left alone with her books. But when she meets Jack Buchanan and Nancy Ellis Hall, Lana’s solitary life will change for ever.

Nancy has dementia, and social services believe this makes her vulnerable. But Lana can see the funny, brilliant woman underneath the illness.

As Lana and Jack struggle to keep Nancy out of a care home, Lana starts to question everything she ever thought mattered.

Because what’s the point in stories, if there is no one to share them with?

Review: I would like to thank Avon for letting me review this book and for sending me a book in the post. This book first off looks amazing the cover is great and secondly sounds amazing from reading the blurb. It sounded very different to many books I have read recently and intrigued me.

Lana Green is a writer who has lost the man she loves but is reluctant to let go and move on. When she ends up in a situation where she has no choice but to move on she finds herself meeting a new man and taking on new challenges.

I really enjoyed this book and following the development of Lana’s life and her book. I particularly enjoyed reading about the writing elements of the story, a great touch to the story. Sophie Jenkins writes about a topic that can be quite worrying but in the story it is not seen as something to worry about. She makes you think of life in a different way as Lana finds out.

A brilliant read. One not to miss.



Interview with Rosanna Ley (Blog Tour)


Today as part of the blog tour for Her Mother’s Secret we have Rosanna Ley feature in my blog. I got the chance to ask her a few questions so I hope you enjoy. 

Hi Rosanna, thank you very much for taking the time to appear on my blog

My pleasure!     

Please tell us a little about Her Mother’s Secret and where the idea for the book came from?

The idea for the book originated from the themes of loss and making amends. I also wanted to write about islands – it’s interesting to me that an island can be a place to escape to (artists, writers and actors have ‘escaped’ to Belle-ile-en-mer…) but also a place to escape from when that island is perceived as insular and lacking in fun and opportunity.

From these themes I started looking around at islands I might like to explore and I came upon a travel article about little known French islands. One of these was Belle-Ile and the rest of the story grew from there.

Colette left the island when she was only eighteen but when she is pulled back there by her mother’s illness, she finds herself drawn again into the landscape of the past. Her mother Thea left Cornwall to escape from a love affair that went wrong, and other characters too have ambivalent feelings about the undeniable magic of Belle-Ile.

How do you develop your plot and characters?

Massive question! There are so many ways… My starting point is often different (from the above answer). I might already have the story idea in my head and then develop the branching points and drama by asking myself ‘What if..?’ and ‘Why..?’ A plot can take me a long time to create and develop, but I try to include an exploration of a relationship, at least one journey and some mystery and intrigue…

As for characters, they are the right ones for whatever story I want to tell. So, if I want to explore a mother/daughter relationship then I think about both characters, what they are like, what has happened to them in their lives, how they dealt with that and what went wrong. I try to make them complex and three-dimensional because people are and I am drawn to writing about creative people. I write from their viewpoint and explore their dreams and their secrets. Eventually I will hear their ‘voice’ and then I’m ready to begin!

Location plays a big part in this story, how do you choose your locations?

Sometimes the location chooses me… I am drawn to places that have interesting cultures and histories and which I want to visit and explore. Sometimes there is a ‘right’ location for a story – for example in ‘Return to Mandalay’ in which I was writing a fictional version of a real-life story from my husband’s family past. Or in ‘Bay of Secrets’ where certain atrocities committed during the Spanish Civil War fitted with my story of adoption. (I love that kind of synchronicity!) Other times, settings come into my life through a film, an article, a book, a talk with a friend and I realise that I want to write a story in that place. The setting could also follow a theme from the story, or be led by a character or even a dream!

Did you learn anything from this book while writing it?

I certainly learned a lot about the island of Belle-Ile and also about Porthleven in Cornwall and its history. When I visited Porthleven I was lucky enough to come upon an exhibition of photographs from the 1950s and ‘60s which was invaluable, and also a helpful book about past Porthleven businesses written by a local resident. I learned about flowers, about running a flower shop and about the healing uses of flowers as Colette takes over her mother’s flower shop and about oyster farming in Locmariaquer, Morbihan. I found out how to make animals out of driftwood and I went to visit some! Every novel is a learning experience in other less tangible ways.

Her Mother’s Secret is going to be made into a film, who would you like to cast?

Oh, that’s kind of you!! Just what I always wanted… Marion Cotillard would be great for Colette, as she has the right looks but is not quite the right age(!) Léa Seydoux has the perfect look for the dreamy driftwood artist Élodie and Catherine Deneuve could be Mathilde. Helena Bonham-Carter would make a fabulous Thea. I was a bit spoilt for choice when I looked for French male actors around 30 as so many of them were attractive enough to be Étienne… But I’ve chosen Gaspard Ulliel – he definitely has that certain je ne sais quoi…

What are your future projects?

I’m currently working on my next novel which is set in the glamorous Italian Riviera and is called ‘The Lemon Tree Hotel’. It is about a family of strong women who run it and who all want the hotel to be something different. And then everything changes when two unexpected guests check in…

Thank you again for appear on my blog and taking the time to answer these questions?

It was a complete pleasure, Michelle and thank you for your great questions.

Rosanna x


The Bakery at Seashell Cove by Karen Clarke (Blog Tour)

Faded Fall (2).png

Meg Larson thought she had everything she wanted: she works in the local bakery, she’s months away from marrying her high-school sweetheart, and home is beautiful, sunny Seashell Cove, where the sky is blue, the sea is turquoise and the sand is golden.

Except that the bakery is up for sale and her fiancé Sam’s more interested in bikes than their relationship. When Meg receives shocking news about her family, he’s on a cycling tour and ignoring her calls – and posting selfies on Facebook with a female cyclist he looks far too cosy with…

Luckily the bakery’s estate agent, Nathan, is understanding and funny, and as the summer goes on an unexpected friendship blossoms. When the bakery is given a second lease of life under a mysterious new owner, Meg realises a change might be exactly what she needs too.

Will Meg find the happy-ever-after she dreams of in Seashell Cove? 

Review: I would like to thank Bookouture for letting me review this book and be apart of the blog tour. I loved the first book in this series see review below and could not wait to read the next visit to Seashell Cove.

The Cafe at Seashell Cove by Karen Clarke

In The Bakery at Seashell cove we follow Meg who we think has it all, that is how it seemed when reading The Cafe at Seashell Cove. However, the bakery is up for sale and with no money to buy it she has to hope that whoever does buy the bakery will take her on to, that is if they keep it as a bakery. Meg is also marrying her childhood sweetheart but something is not right there either. When some shocking news enters Meg’s world will she find her happy ever after ending in Seashell Cove with her friends?

This is a book that must be read if you like a very good feel good summer read full of love and hope with the bonus of tasty treats.

Karen Clarke has very quickly became one of my favourite authors.

Sunshine and Sweet Peas in Nightingale Square by Heidi Swain


The Memories of Us by (3)

Kate is on the run from her almost-divorced husband who is determined to have her back, and she has found the perfect place to hide… a little cottage on Nightingale Square in Norwich, far away from her old life in London. But the residents of Nightingale Square don’t take no for an answer, and Kate soon finds herself pulled into a friendship with Lisa, her bossy but lovely new neighbour.

Within a matter of days Kate is landed with the job of campaigning the council to turn the green into a community garden, meanwhile all the residents of Nightingale Square are horrified to discover that the Victorian mansion house on the other side of the square has been bought by developers. But when all hope is lost, the arrival of a handsome stranger is sure to turn things around! 

Review: A story that is full of friendship, history and hope.

Heidi Swain is a fairly new author for me and on reading this I will defiantly be delving into more of her books.

In this story which is written with pure magic we meet Kate. Kate is leaving her husband and is looking for a new start somewhere quiet. Where she ends up is far from quiet but is a totally unique place and a good place to start fresh. Nightingale Square is lovely and scenic with the added historical element to it.

I got totally absorbed into the community’s live and really liked the friendship groups that formed. There are some really fantastic character’s in this book and a very handsome one too.

Pure joy to read.


Mulberry Lane Babies by Rosie Clarke (Blog Tour)

A Last Goodbye by Dee Yates (4).png

Times are hard for all on Mulberry Lane as the war rages into yet another year. 
Desperate times push people into dangerous situations, and the residents of Mulberry Lane are not exempt. 
Menacing shadows lurk on dark street corners, threatening the safety of those who are alone and vulnerable.

When Peggy’s twins are born early Maureen and Nellie are there to lend a helping hand. 
The mothers of Mulberry Lane stick together despite the grim conditions of war torn London and a shadowy fear that stalks their lives. 
Neighbours and friends look out for each other and new life brings hope and joy to the Lane.

Review: I would like to thank Aria for letting me review this book and be apart of the blog tour. I have read all the books in this series and loved them.

In this book we are back with the residents of Mulberry Lane and finding out where they are in there lives now. The war leads the girls into some dangerous situations but new life brings hope despite the conditions. I really enjoy Rosie Clarke’s story telling of times gone by during the war. She touches on some really hard-hitting topics but in a touching way that engages the reader.

Such an enjoyable read I am looking forward to returning to Mulberry Lane.