Now for a real treat – a guest blog by author Kathryn Ledson, talking about Rough Diamond, her debut release with Penguin Books. Kath and I have been mates for years, so I’ve been privy to the development of this marvellous new series, starring reluctant heroine, Erica Jewell. Now it’s over to Kath.
“Thanks Jen. Rough Diamond came to me in a flood of romantic scenes starring Erica Jewell and Jack Jones. By the seat of my pants and on the edge of my seat I poured love onto the page. And that, I thought, was all I had to do. I finished my manuscript – almost 120,000 words – and submitted it. Only then did I discover that something called a PLOT wouldn’t go astray.
I’d already done a writing course; a pretty good one, in fact. But when I enrolled it hadn’t occurred to me that I might one day write a novel. I was a corporate gal. Surely I’d return to that world and carry on in a different career, one that involved writing?
At the end of 2008, when Erica Jewell announced herself and demanded my full attention, I felt I had no choice but to give her space to exist. That seems crazy – I understand that – but it’s true. Her desire to be was so powerful, so all-consuming, I rejected other writing opportunities in favour of getting this novel out of my head. The problem was that I hadn’t taken “How to Write a Novel” as part of that writing course. In other words, I had no idea what I was doing!
Rough Diamond was already a seed that had been planted back in the early ‘80s by a television show called Scarecrow and Mrs King starring Kate Jackson, fresh from Charlie’s Angels. Is anyone out there old enough to remember it? I recently bought Series One and started watching it again. It was really very corny as so many shows were in the ‘70s and ‘80s and I only watched one episode. But back then I’d loved it! It was my weekly escape. I’d imagine being (the widowed or divorced – can’t remember) Mrs King and having a dreamy looking (well, I thought so) tough guy whisk me into an exotic, sexy world of spies and espionage. Poor Mrs King was so daggy, turning up at black tie events in her cardy and sensible shoes, but the spy fell in love anyway and rescued Mrs King from the shelf by marrying her (which is what all women wanted). Of course, the wedding – the happily-ever-after – meant the death of the series, as it usually does.
Erica Jewell is a bit more fashionable than Mrs King, but no more competent in her efforts to assist Jack Jones and his team of vigilantes save Melbourne from terrorists. She does quite fancy Jack – he’s gorgeous of course – but she was put off men when her lying-cheating-bastard husband took off with some bimbo in a sports car (that’s Erica saying that, not me). And Jack himself is commitment phobic since he lost his wife and parents in New York on that fateful day in 2001. He is drawn to Erica – probably confused as to why – and there’s an ongoing dance of attraction between the two that I plan on drawing out for many books to come!
So far, so good. Emerald Island (no. 2) is well under way with Erica finding herself on dangerous turf in a war-ravaged land trying to find the missing-in-action Jones. He doesn’t want to be rescued by a woman, but she reckons she’s not leaving there without him. I’m not sure how it’ll all end up – surely there’ll be tears, spiders, some romance and … book 3?
NB: I’ve since had so many teachers – official and unofficial including great talents like Jen Scoullar – I finally kind of worked it out and managed to score a two-book deal with Penguin. I’m still learning today, though. I don’t think we should ever stop.”
“What I want in life makes a very short list: no debt, no surprises and definitely NO men. Except the ones at work and the mechanic and the ones who get the spiders out of your car.” Erica Jewell, Rough Diamond.
The shock ending to Erica Jewell’s marriage has left a huge hole in her bank balance and a bigger one in her heart. So now her life goals include no more men! That is, until she finds one bleeding to death in her Melbourne garden one stormy Friday night.
Jack Jones is a man whose emotional wounds are more life-threatening than the bullet in his shoulder. Under orders, he recruits Erica to his secret team of vigilantes, and Erica suspects her safe, predictable world is about to be turned upside down. And she’s absolutely right.
Funny, romantic, and action-packed, Rough Diamond introduces Australia’s own Stephanie Plum – the unforgettable Erica Jewell.
Well thank you Kath, for telling us about the process that led you to write Rough Diamond. I’m always fascinated to hear these stories. Thanks also for the shout-out, but you didn’t need help from me. You’re a natural at this romantic comedy stuff! Looking forward to the rest of the series. If you’re after an entertaining summer read, I highly recommend Kathryn’s books. e-Rough Diamond was released by Penguin on 20 December. The physical book will be in store on 30 January 2013. Feel free to contact Kathryn via her new website: www.kathrynledson.com.
Finally, I wish you all a very happy and peaceful Christmas, and thanks so much for the support you’ve shown me. See you in the New Year!