RONA Awards 2022 Interview with… Lynne Shelby

Awards

Today I am thrilled to have a guest on the blog to talk about her recent inclusion on the shortlist for this year’s Romantic Novel Awards. Her book, Love on Locationwas nominated in the Jane Wenham-Jones Award for Romantic Comedy category. Please welcome, Lynne Shelby.

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Lynne, welcome to the blog and thank you for agreeing to talk to me today. What does being nominated for a RONA mean to you and what do you think is special about this particular book which led to it making the shortlist?

Being nominated for a RONA is one of the highlights of my writing career. To have my book shortlisted was thrilling, and I feel very honoured to be a finalist alongside so many wonderful books and authors. I was particularly pleased to have been nominated for the Jane Wenham-Jones Award for Romantic Comedy as I was fortunate enough to have attended one of the writing courses that Jane taught at Chez Castillon, and I found her advice on writing invaluable.

As to what is special about Love On Location which led to it making the shortlist – that’s a very interesting but difficult question to answer as I tend to get very fond of my books and find it hard to view them objectively! Readers of the book have told me that they very much enjoyed  reading about what goes into the filming of a movie on location, and the way the screenwriter heroine sees certain scenes in her life as if they were a movie – which leads to some humorous moments in the story!

Did you set out deliberately to write romantic comedies or is that just how your voice appears on the page? Do you write what you like to read or do you pull to the dark side when it comes to your own choice of reading?

 I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing fiction, but it was roughly ten years’ ago that I ‘discovered’ romantic novels, and realised that with a romantic relationship at the core of all my stories, that was what I most wanted to write. From then on, I focused on romantic plots, and my voice as it appears on the page arose naturally out of the situations that my characters found themselves in. 

I do write what I like to read, and romantic fiction is my favourite genre, but I also read novels from other genres such as science fiction, fantasy, psychological thrillers, literary and mainstream. Having always been interested in Greek mythology – like my archaeologist hero in Love On Location – I’ve particularly enjoyed some of the feminist retellings of Greek myths that have been published recently.

How difficult has it been to write humorously during the last few difficult years?

For me, when I’m writing, I’m completely within the world I create for my books, so the outside world’s problems during the last few difficult years haven’t changed the way I write. I also believe that writing or reading fiction, especially romantic fiction, can be uplifting during difficult times.

What inspired this particular story and did you manage to visit the location to research it or did you have to entirely imagine the location?

I was inspired to write Love On Location the first time I visited Athens, Santorini and Kefalonia one summer, and knew that I simply had to write a story set in beautiful Greece. Before I wrote the book I re-visited both Athens and the islands to research the location. In Athens, I re-visited places like the Acropolis that my screenwriter heroine and archaeologist hero visit in the book to make sure I remembered them accurately. While the island of Kyros – where the movie in the book is filmed – is fictional, I ‘borrowed’ much of its landscape from real Greek islands.

What do you believe that you have gained personally from being a member of the RNA and what is your favourite things about the organisation?

When I first joined the RNA, before I was published, I was a member of the New Writers’ Scheme and I will always be grateful for the feedback my readers gave me on the manuscripts I submitted to the scheme, which definitely helped me along the road to publication. I have found RNA members to be very generous with their knowledge and expertise – if anyone has a question about writing or publishing, there’s bound to be someone in the RNA who knows the answer. My favourite thing about the organization is that it has enabled me to connect with other romance writers at RNA events such as the conference and chapter meetings, and have the opportunity to talk about all things books and writing. It’s great to meet other folk who don’t look at you askance if you happen to mention the people in your head!

Do you have any advice for anyone (ie, me!) who is currently trying to write an appealing novel in this genre?

I would pass on the advice that was given to me, which is to write your first draft without editing – just get those words down on the page and you can edit at a later stage. 

What is coming up from you next in your writing? Do you have a new book coming out soon?

My next book, Rome For The Summer, is out on 23 June. In the book, my heroine, Kate, seizes the chance of a summer job in Rome – one of my favourite cities – where she strikes up a friendship with artist Jamie. Exploring Rome, Kate and Jamie start to piece together the surprising secrets of another girl who ran off to Rome two hundred years before…

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Thank you so much for answering my nosey questions so brilliantly, and good luck with the new book.

Lynne’s RONA-shortlisted novel, Love on Location, is available in all formats here.

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When Laurel Martin is hired to rewrite the script for a new timeslip blockbuster, she expects the historical advisor hired by the studio to be an elderly academic who won’t interfere too much with her writing. But when she meets Professor Jason Harding, a young and unexpectedly handsome archaeologist who has some ideas of his own about the script, she realises the job isn’t going to be as simple as she first thought.

As their work takes them from arguing over historical details in a cramped London office to discovering the hidden beauties of a Greek island, Laurel and Jason’s relationship starts to echo the romance of their script.

But with Laurel’s actor ex-boyfriend making trouble at home, and constant issues with the volatile director, will Laurel and Jason ever be able to write the happy ending for their own story?

Lynne Shelby writes contemporary romance/romantic comedy. Her debut novel, ‘French Kissing’ now re-launched in ebook as ‘Meet Me In Paris,’ won the Accent Press and Woman magazine Writing Competition. She has done a variety of jobs from stable girl to child actor’s chaperone to legal administrator, but now writes full time. When not writing or reading, Lynne can usually be found at the theatre or exploring a foreign city, writer’s notebook, camera and sketchbook in hand. She lives in London with her husband, and has three adult children who live nearby.

Connect with Lynne:

Website: https://www.lynneshelby.com

Blog:  https://www.lynneshelby.com/blog-1

Facebook: LynneShelbyWriter

Twitter: @LynneShelby5

Instagram: lynneshelbywriter

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