Today’s guest has been on the blog before and is always a delightful person with whom to chat, so I am thrilled to be sharing Friday Night Drinks this week with author… Arabella Sheen.
Thank you for joining me for drinks this evening, Arabella. First things first, what are you drinking?
I’ll have a cool glass of sparkling elderflower, straight from the fridge – no ice, please.
If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?
It’s a hot summer’s evening and there’s not a cloud in the sky. To reach our watering hole, we would stroll down the steep hills of Clifton, while walking past and admiring the many classical Georgian and Regency houses, until we reached the modern, newly re-developed Harbourside of Hotwells.
I live in the fabulous seafaring City of Bristol in the UK, and my home overlooks the water and offers views of tall mast-ships and an ever changing assortment of yachts and canal barges. On a warm, sultry night, as we sit on the quayside watching the world go by, it’s one of the nicest places to be. There are plenty of outdoor cafes, not to mention an indecent number of trendy bars and bistros we can visit.
If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?
Danzel Washington – such a gentleman, and he usually has a twinkle of humour shining in his eyes. And if her engagement book isn’t too full, Anne, Princess Royal – she’s someone with a great work ethic and an ingrained sense of public service, which I respect and admire.
So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. How and why did you start writing and where do you want it to go?
I’ve always been a scribbler with dreams of producing a book, and I’ve recently signed several “stand-alone” contracts with two publishers – Evernight Publishing and Beachwalk Press. I like writing stories and submitting them to my publishers for consideration. Some authors work to a set agreed synopsis and a set deadline – I’d panic if I had to do this. When writing, I generally have an idea and the book has a start, middle, and an end, but the story can go in any direction. It can also take a month or even six months to reach “The End”.
What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?
A moment that has been important on my writing journey, and will be forever ingrained in my memory, was an occasion when I attended the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s – Joan Hessayson Award ceremony. I attended the ceremony with my father. My debut novel Castell’s Passion was published by Beachwalk Press and that was the moment I became a “proper” published author and graduated from the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme.
My biggest challenge has been accepting readers’ comments and reviews. You can’t please all of the people all of the time. My novels have been professionally edited and proofread, yet some readers have a problem with the way I spell certain words. Color = colour / realize = realise, etc.
What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, it is just us talking after all!
At some point in my career, I would like to think I’ve done or said something that has helped a “want-to-be” author on their journey to publication.
What have you planned that you’re really excited about?
Away from writing and the “proper” day job…
I’m one of seven children and as a family comprising of: brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, cousins, etc., we are extremely close. When the time is right, and Covid-19 restrictions allow, I’d like to think we will have a huge family gathering. It’s in the grand scheme of things…
I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?
For nearly twenty years, I worked and lived in De Nederlands as a theatre nurse. Amsterdam is such a beautiful city with an amazing cultural diversity.
One of the things I’d like to do, and there never seems to be the right time in which to do it, is to see some Dutch friends and chat about the good old days. A zoom chat is fine, but I miss the giggles and the hugs.
Tell me one secret fact about yourself.
Guilty secret… I like salt and vinegar crisps. Need I say any more…?
Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?
My next door neighbour had gone away for a week and I was baby-sitting the cat. On the coffee table was The Salt Path by Raynor Winn. (No spoilers please – I’m about halfway through). While sat on the sofa, cuddling the cat and giving him his daily grooming, I picked up the book and started to read. The first couple of chapters pulled on my emotional strings and I became so immersed in Raynor’s “true” story, that I instantly bought a copy. I’ve also pre-ordered the sequel, The Wild Silence.
Just days after Raynor learns that Moth, her husband of 32 years, is terminally ill, their home is taken away and they lose their livelihood. With nothing left and little time, they make the brave and impulsive decision to walk the 630 miles of the sea-swept South West Coast Path, from Somerset to Dorset, via Devon and Cornwall.
Carrying only the essentials for survival on their backs, they live wild in the ancient, weathered landscape of cliffs, sea and sky. Yet through every step, every encounter and every test along the way, their walk becomes a remarkable journey.
The Salt Path is an honest and life-affirming true story of coming to terms with grief and the healing power of the natural world. Ultimately, it is a portrayal of home, and how it can be lost, rebuilt and rediscovered in the most unexpected ways.
So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?
Drinking elderflower or orange juice – no hangovers are involved. ☺ Plus the bonus is, the evening isn’t a blur and I come away with happy memories of our time together.
After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?
I’d head for the coast. I love the sea and anything to do with water. And after a day on the beach, I would return to Bristol, but before reaching home, as it’s been a perfect hot summer’s day, I’d stop off at the allotment and water the thirsty veggies.
Thank you for inviting me out for drinks this evening, Julie. And I hope we have a chance to meet up again in the not too distant future. CHEERS…
Thank you, Arabella, it has been a delight chatting to you.
Arabella’s latest release is Reluctant Love, part of the Reluctant Bride Anthology from Evernight Publishing. You can buy a copy of the anthology here.
He’s older, wiser, and always gets what he wants. This wedding is happening … whether the bride likes it or not.
Our twelve hand-picked stories feature young reluctant brides and the older men determined to claim them. These forced marriages may start out frigid, but our authors will prove that love can conquer all.
Evernight’s Reluctant Bride anthology stories are sure to deliver passion that is off the charts, scorching hot sex, and sigh-worthy happy ever afters.
Gambit by Elyzabeth M. VaLey
His Love Contract by Helen Walton
Ambivalence by Jessica Jayne
Loving Obsession by Allyson Young
Marrying the Devil by Jade Marshall
Arrogant CEO by Laura M Baird
Highland Fling by Lily Harlem
Crushed Violet by Sam Crescent and Stacey Espino
Heartless by Beth D. Carter
Reluctant Love by Arabella Sheen
Roman’s Prize by Winter Sloane
Between a Rock and Mr. Big by Kait Gamble
Reluctant Love by Arabella Sheen is included in the anthology
Can Amal commit to an unwanted marriage?
Amal Khan doesn’t want a new man in her life and she certainly doesn’t need a sexy, silver-haired Frenchman nearly twice her age as a lover. But when design engineer, Lucas Martinez, arrives to troubleshoot during the pandemic, he invades not only her world, but also her bed and her heart.
Lucas falls ill with the deadly virus and in an attempt to solve a family problem, he forces the unwilling Amal into a hasty marriage.
Amal’s faced with a dilemma. It’s one thing to have a fling with an older man, but another to marry, knowing Lucas might die.
Dare she take a chance, or would she be out of her depth and facing heartache?
(Reluctant Love is included in the Reluctant Bride – Anthology)
Arabella Sheen is a British author of sensual, romantic love stories.
Published with Evernight Publishing and Beachwalk Press, she is also a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and believes the world of romantic fiction is an integral part of her imagination.
She likes nothing more than the challenge of a blank page, starting a new novel and seeing where the story takes her.
One of the many things Arabella loves to do is to read, and when she’s not reading or writing romance, she is either on her allotment sowing and planting with the seasons, or she is sat on the sofa pandering to the demands of her attention-seeking cat.
Having worked and lived in the city of Amsterdam in the Netherlands for nearly twenty years as a theatre nurse, she now lives in the South West of England with her family.