Posts Tagged ‘Liz Harris’

Travel Destinations – Liz Harris

Today we go a little bit further afield again with the favourite travel destinations as Liz Harris tells us hers and she definitely prefers a hotter climate:-

Looking towards Todi

Looking towards Todi

When writing Evie Undercover, I’d have been hard put to say which had come first – the sudden desire to write a romantic comedy or my fervent wish to set a story set in the place I’m drawn to every year – Umbria in Italy. Maybe the setting had a slight edge. Umbria is one of my favourite travel destinations. It has everything I could wish for in a place and I never tire of going there, whether to escape from real life and write, or merely to relax.

It has beauty. The countryside is stunning. My favourite time of day is in the evening, sitting outside on the loggia, drinking a bellini while watching the sun set over the hills.

The ancient washhouse seen from beneath a bridge leading into Bevagana

The ancient washhouse seen from beneath a bridge leading into Bevagana

It has history. Throughout Umbria, small towns sit atop hills, each with narrow cobbled streets that lead from a central piazza and open on to a lovely view. To sit outside a café, drinking coffee while watching the world go by – what could be more relaxing? Three of my favourite towns are the medieval walled town of Bevagna, Montefalco, famous for its wine, and the Roman town of Todi.

Yes, Umbria, unspoilt by tourism, was the inspiration for my rom com. I had the setting so all I then needed was a man and a woman – yes, I was really on the ball! First an engaging heroine for whom no hurdle was too great, and enterprising Evie Shaw was born. And then a hero. Enter handsome libel lawyer, Tom Hadleigh.

A cobbled alley opening on to a lovely view

A cobbled alley opening on to a lovely view

Tom had bought a 14th century Umbrian house on a whim. Nearing the end of the house’s restoration, Tom’s input is needed. But alas, he doesn’t speak a word of Italian and his Italian surveyor doesn’t speak a word of English. It just so happens, though, that Evie, whose father was Italian, is fluent in the language. What a happy coincidence!

Alas, the path of true love never runs smooth. And especially not when Evie is being forced to work undercover in order to keep her job on the gossip magazine, Pure Dirt – the only job in journalism she’d been able to get. And especially not when the beautiful sister of Tom’s Italian surveyor, Eduardo di Montefiori, sleek and gallant in a Mediterranean way, is staying with her brother. Trouble most definitely lay ahead.

Thank you, Liz!  Umbria sounds fantastic and Italy is definitely on my list of places I want to visit next!

Evie Undercover is out in paperback on 7th July. Available on Kindle and for pre-order.

Visit Liz at her website

Follow her on twitter: @lizharrisauthor

Please come back tomorrow for the final post in this series when we hear from K C Abbott!



Worcester Lit Fest 2014

Yesterday I had the huge pleasure of taking part in the Worcestershire Lit Fest, thanks to fellow author Alison May.  She had invited me, Sue Moorcroft and Liz Harris to form a Romantic Novelists’ Panel, being held at St Swithun’s Institute in Worcester in the afternoon.  It sounded like fun so we all said yes!

Alison, Sue, Liz and I

I had never been to Worcester before (only Worcester, Massachusetts, New England – which is an entirely different kettle of fish!) and loved driving into town over the magnificent bridge that spans the river Severn.  The venue wasn’t hard to find either, being right in the centre of town.

Despite the wonderfully sunny weather, a small but lovely audience came to hear us answer questions on everything to do with writing.  Alison proved to be the perfect compere, skillfully keeping the conversation flowing, and it was fun to hear how differently the three of us approach everything from research to the writing itself.  There really is no right way of going about it obviously – it’s whatever works for each individual author!

Before the talk began, the audience was asked to write down questions they would like the answers to, which I think was a brilliant way of doing things.  It ensured – hopefully – that they got to hear what they wanted to, rather than topics that didn’t interest them.

A huge thank you to Alison and the organisers, who very kindly provided some absolutely delicious cakes with tea afterwards – a wonderful end to a lovely afternoon!

The Lit Fest runs from 20th – 29th June, so for anyone wanting to attend other talks and events, there is still time.

Romantic Times Convention 2014 – New Orleans – Part I

Laissez les bon temps rouler! – let the good times roll – was a phrase I saw and heard over and over again in New Orleans during the past week, and we definitely did!  This year’s RT Convention was bigger than ever before and even more fun!  At least after we ironed out a few initial glitches (which all had to do with airlines and shipping rather than the convention itself, I have to stress) …

Having attended RT last year, I was really looking forward to going back and it was great to know what to expect this time.  I’d booked my spot in ‘promo alley’ and packed a lot of UK goodies for a gift basket to be raffled, plus I’d spent ages putting together some swag – in other words, I came prepared!  Unfortunately our flight from London was delayed and we missed our connection to New Orleans from Washington, and for some reason our bags were sent to Chicago and stayed there for two days.  Not ideal!  Just as we were beginning to despair, though, they all turned up in time with the swag intact – phew!

The Choc Lit author team this year consisted of myself, Sue Moorcroft, Janet Gover, Liz Harris, Beverley Eikli and Kate Johnson.  We had a very British table as our base and took turns to sell books there and chat to attendees, which was lovely!  I don’t suppose anyone can have missed the fact that we were from the UK, with all those flags 🙂 (and some lovely mini koalas and kangaroos to show that we had two Aussie authors as part of the group of course).

Me, Liz, Kate and Beverley

We did a panel talk about heroes & heroines and how to create a spark between them, held a ‘tea party’ for booksellers and librarians plying them with proper English tea and shortbread, and we attended lots of talks, workshops and parties between us.  It was all huge fun!  I particularly enjoyed the ‘Call my Historical Bluff’ session devised by Susanna Kearsley and her friends, which featured some fiendishly difficult words.

In between, we explored the French Quarter of the city, which was just outside the hotel, and it was so beautiful and fascinating, I’ll have to do another post with pics of that tomorrow!

I’ll just leave you with some photos from the Convention and of the view from our room – the mighty Mississippi river in daylight, at night and close up (very muddy!).  I was reminded not to go swimming in it in case I came across an alligator.  The only way I wanted to meet one of those was in a restaurant – deep fried and delicious!

Mississippi - early morning

Mississippi - at night

Muddy water of the Mississippi

Me with the lovely winner of my raffle gift basket

Preparing for the Choc Lit tea party

Saints & Sinners party

Saints & Sinners goodies

Even dogs were allowed to dress up!

Me with a dragon friend!

Gator bites!

Voodoo queen?

‘My Writing Process’ Blog Hop

Many thanks to Liz Harris for inviting me to take part in this ‘blog hop’ – you can find her post from last week here.  All the participants have to answer four questions (see below) and then pass the baton to others.  I asked Henriette Gyland and Celia J Anderson to take part and their blogs will appear on 10th Feb so please don’t forget to check them out!  You’ll find their links and a short bio for them at the end of this post.  Thank you for stopping by!

Q & A:-

1)     What am I working on? – At the moment I’m working on the third book in my Japanese themed trilogy, which began with The Scarlet Kimono and The Gilded Fan. The final instalment is provisionally called The Snow Ghost and follows Temperance Marston on her adventures when she travels to Japan with her cousin Midori.  She’s always dreamed of travelling and thinks it’s going to be wonderful, but the reality isn’t quite the way she had envisaged it.  And when she is kidnapped by some Japanese ronin (outlaws), she embarks on the biggest adventure of her life …

2)     How does my work differ from others of its genre? – I think mostly it’s the settings I choose that are different, as I often feature Japan (or other places in the Far East) and/or Sweden.  They say you should write about what you know and as I’ve lived in these countries myself, I try to follow that advice and hope it will interest readers.

3)     Why do I write what I do? – I have absolutely no idea – the stories just come into my head, triggered by all kinds of weird and wonderful things.  You could say I write romantic fiction because that’s what I love to read myself, and mostly I write historicals, as I’ve always been fascinated by history.

4)     How does your writing process work? – I think I may have mentioned this before, but I work in a very haphazard way.  My stories usually start with a scene that pops into my head unexpectedly, and then grow from that.  The scene can be anywhere in the book, so I might find myself working backwards or forwards from that point on.  Somehow it all comes together in the end – just don’t ask me how!

These are the authors who will be joining the blog hop next week (10th February):-

Henriette Gyland grew up in Denmark but moved to England after graduating from university. Before she became a writer and a freelance translator, she worked in the Danish civil service, for a travel agent, a consultancy company, in banking, hospital administration, and a county court. In 2011 Henriette won the New Talent Award from the Festival of Romance. Her website and blog can be found at

Celia J Anderson – when she’s not teaching ten year olds or writing stories involving pants, this author spends far too much time on Facebook and does a lot of walking to counteract the cooking, eating and drinking which form most of her hobbies. She blogs as part of the Romaniacs online writers’ group, her website was recently launched thanks to Lucy Felthouse – and she tweets spasmodically as @CeliaAnderson, She now has an author page on Facebook to celebrate the August 2013 release of her first novel Sweet Proposal with Piatkus Entice after winning a writing competition for a contract. Her ultimate dream is to have children’s books published. Usually sea-starved in the depths of the Midlands, she can often be found wandering around Brighton visiting her two daughters and pretending to collect ideas for her next book.

Enjoy their posts and thank you again for reading this!