RONA Awards Celebration Drinks with… Lucy Morris

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My second guest in this special series of features celebrating the Romantic Novelists’ Association Romantic Novel Awards 2022 is a nominee in the Katie Fforde Debut Romantic Novel category for her book, The Viking Chief’s Marriage Alliance. It is author… Lucy Morris.

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Lucy, welcome back to the blog and congratulations on your nomination. First things first, what are you drinking?

I’m a massive Irn Bru fan, and I’ve recently discovered a delicious cocktail using my favorite pop. Cos-bru-politan. It’s made using Irn Bru, Cointreau, Chambord and gin. It’s very strong and sweet but sooo nice!

I’ve never heard of that before, I shall have to seek one out. 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?

I live in East London bordering on Essex, so I’ve plenty of options for a night out. As you’re a book lover, maybe the Dicken’s Inn at St Katherine’s Dock? It’s a huge 18th Century warehouse with views of Tower Bridge and the Shard. 

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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?

Ahhh this is tricky! I’m rubbish at picking people. Maybe, Peter Franzen who played Kind Harald Finehair in Vikings because he’s gorgeous and seems a lovely man with a sexy singing voice. Also, Trixie Mattel who is an hilarious drag queen and singer, so we could have them both serenading us, and we’d have lots of laughs!

So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?

I have published two books with Mills and Boon. One of which, The Viking Chief’s Marriage Alliance has been shortlisted for the Katie Fforde Debut Romantic Novel Award.

My next book is out in May 2022 and is called The Viking She Would Have Married. It is the first book in my Shieldmaiden trilogy that follows three Viking sisters. The first is about Valda ‘The Blade’ and I’d describe it as ‘Persuasion with Longships’. Valda fell in love with Halfdan in her youth but was persuaded to leave him after he betrayed her. Nine years later they are reunited on a journey to Constantinople, where passions are reignited and truths uncovered in close quarters!

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In close quarters…

With the Viking she’d loved and lost

With her family fallen on hard times, Valda’s forced to join the crew on Halfdan Ulfsson’s merchant ship as he sets sail on the treacherous silk route. But this handsome jarl’s son is the man she’d planned to wed until his bitter betrayal. Knowing she can never trust him, she must focus on saving her sisters…and not the intense connection that still burns between them!

That cover model is gorgeous! What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?

Being Nominated for the Debut RoNa has been very special, it’s so lovely to have your work recognized amongst your peers as new author. I guess my biggest challenge has been dealing with negative reviews and the self-doubt that inevitably comes after you’ve published your first book – I always worry that my next story won’t be as good as my last. 

One bad review out of nine good ones can really hammer your self-confidence! I’ve learnt to avoid reading anything negative if I can help it.

I can’t believe anyone has written anything negative about your debut, I loved it! (You can read my review of The Viking Chief’s Marriage Alliance here.) What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, its just us talking after all!

I’d love a best seller. I bet everyone says that, but I’d love a book that was featured in the Richard and Judy book club or something like that. Where it meant it was placed in the hot spots of all book shops and supermarkets. It’s such a struggle to stand out and reach readers even if you’re traditionally published. You almost have to already be a best seller or a celebrity to become one in this industry. I dream of being placed in those prime shelf and display table locations! One day though…maybe! 

What are have planned that you are really excited about?

My Shieldmaiden Sisters trilogy is my first series and I’m excited to show the lives and loves of these three sisters. They’re all so different from each other and I think that makes their stories so interesting.

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?

Lapland is hands down the greatest place on earth! We went with the kids just before Christmas and it was so magical. We had sleigh rides, reindeer and husky adventures, not to mention all the beautiful snow and Christmas villages. 

I’d also love to go to Iceland and Norway. Iceland to swim in the volcanic pools and see the glacier. Norway to see the ship museum (when it reopens) and the Fjords. I also want to visit my friend in Germany in the next couple of years, and I’d love to go to the Caribbean some time….for a bit of warmth after all that cold! 

Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself.

One of my favorite jobs before writing was being a bar maid. I used to be the bar manager of my local theatre, and although I don’t miss working evenings, I miss the banter and fun of working on the bar.

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’?

Just one? That’s impossible! However, I guess I’d recommend Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell it’s a beautifully written book with a fresh look at Shakespeare’s life. I loved it.

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On a summer’s day in 1596, a young girl in Stratford-upon-Avon takes to her bed with a sudden fever. Her twin brother, Hamnet, searches everywhere for help. Why is nobody at home?

Their mother, Agnes, is over a mile away, in the garden where she grows medicinal herbs. Their father is working in London.

Neither parent knows that Hamnet will not survive the week.

I also loved Hamnet, it was my top book of 2020. 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?

WATER, drink at least a pint before you go to bed and have more on the bedside table waiting for you.

After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

A long sleepy lie-in followed by a lush roast dinner and a trip to the cinema later that night.

That’s my idea of a great weekend. Lucy, thank you for joining me, it has been a fascinating chat and I wish you luck in the upcoming awards.

Lucy’s RONA-shortlisted book, The Viking Chief’s Marriage Alliance is published by Mills and Boon and you can buy a copy here.

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A challenging wife

For a warrior Viking

When Thorstein Bergson rescues a beautiful woman from a storm-tossed long-ship he little expects to broker a powerful marriage alliance with her. This high-status ice queen is not the comfortable wife this warrior chief is seeking. But maybe the bitter-sweet pain in Gyda’s eyes hides another woman beneath? The one he tasted that first night when she’d kissed him with such pent-up longing…?

Lucy Morris has always been obsessed with myths and legends. Her books blend sweeping romance with vivid worldbuilding to whisk you away to another time and place filled with adventure. Expect passion, drama, and vibrant characters.

Lucy lives in Essex, UK, with her husband, two children, and two cats. She has a massively sweet tooth and loves Terry’s chocolate oranges and Irn-Bru. In her spare time, she likes to explore castles with her family, or drink bubbly with her friends.

A member of the UK Romantic Novelists’ Association. In 2020 she was delighted to accept a two-book deal with Harlequin after submitting her story to the Warriors Wanted submission blitz for Viking, Medieval, and Highlander romances.

She hasn’t looked back since.

Writing for Harlequin Historical is a dream come true for her and she hopes you enjoy her books!

Connect with Lucy:

Website: www.lucyMorrisRomance.com

Facebook: Lucy Morris Author

Twitter: @LMorris_Author

Instagram: @lucymorris.author

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