Category Archives: My novels

The Eleventh Interesting Fact about Shaun Deeley

A little later this month, after In Loving Memory is released, there will be a web feature called Ten Interesting Facts about Shaun Deeley, presented by Joanne Guidoccio .

I’ll share the feature widely, of course, because Mr. Deeley is one of the two main characters in my historical romance novels, and I’m a little in love with him. I hope that love is infectious. All of my books seem to have men as their heroes, and I’ve always been a little in love with all of them, but Mr. Deeley has turned out to be special. He burst out of me in a flash of inspiration, a character in what began as a screenplay about researching family trees and solving ancestral mysteries and, for some unfathomable reason, he was born into Regency England.

I wasn’t overly obsessed with Jane Austen. I was hopeless at History in school. If you were to have told me at the start of my writing career that my most successful stories would be about a gentleman who was born in 1791 who suddenly finds himself transported two centuries into the future, where he continues his time travelling adventures with a museum worker named Charlie, I’d have fallen over laughing. Time travel! Historical romance! Regency England? And now the Blitz!?

Of all the heroes I’ve written about, Mr. Deeley is definitely my favourite. He’s impetuous, and fearless, and his behaviour and philosophy come from a much more genteel and mannered time, which does lead to some humorous situations in the present – and in the past.

I’m not quite sure where in my imagination Mr. Deeley himself actually came from. Perhaps he was always there, lurking, my secret lover just waiting for the right time to reveal himself. Physically, he’s tall-ish, and he has dark, rather long hair (as was the fashion in 1825, when he first met Charlie). His occupation was groom at Monsieur Duran’s manor. He was afforded a classical education (inflicted upon him by the very aged and imaginatively diminished Reverend Hopwood Smailes) and, in fact, he speaks Latin – which you’ll discover, somewhat humorously, when you read In Loving Memory.

He constantly amuses Charlie, and frightens her at times, too – when he first came to live with her, he tried to boil water using the fireplace in the sitting room – with disastrous results, especially to the plastic tea kettle. Charlie is cautious by nature and a little bit hesitant when it comes to taking risks. Mr. Deeley is the perfect foil for her, because the biggest risk he ever took was leaping into the 21st century with her. He can be frightened – and is, several times, in the new novel. But he’s also practical and quite logical, so common sense usually prevails.

There’s one more thing about Mr. Deeley. He’s a hero who has suffered. I have a philosophy, which I share with Emma Braden, the wise old spywriter who created Jarrod Spencer’s character in The Cilla Rose Affair. “Closet sadists,” is how Emma refers to the female readers of her spy novels. “The essential difference between male readers and female is that men like their heroes to have near-misses. Life-threatening situations from which they narrowly escape, virtually unscathed. The ladies prefer a spot of torture—nothing too dangerous, mind you—just enough to impart a semblance of suffering, from which their hero ought to be delivered in one piece—if perhaps a trifle bruised. Heroes who have suffered require mothering. That’s the secret of writing for women.”

What do Richard Sharpe, Jamie Fraser, that guy from Starship Troopers and Shaun Deeley have in common? They’ve all been subjected to the lash.

Come on ladies, ‘fess up. You love them even more because they’ve been flogged, don’t you?

You won’t read about Mr. Deeley’s ordeal in Persistence of Memory, or In Loving Memory, or even in the little bonus short story that’s included at the end of In Loving Memory, Easy When You Know How.

A couple of years ago I contributed a short piece to an anthology put together by a group of writers who were then under contract to Fable Press. The idea was to give our characters an extra adventure, to help promote our novels. The theme of the anthology was “carnival” and for my story, I created a village fair at Stoneford, and sent Charlie and Mr. Deeley back in time with the help of a gypsy fortune teller and a tarot reading.

a gypsy fortune teller

tarot - the lovers

The Rider Waite tarot card that caused all the trouble!

They ended up in 1848, where they met Charlie’s direct ancestor, a young trouble-maker who was about to be quite deservedly flogged in the village square for bad behaviour.

whipping post

A typical village stock and whipping post in an English village.

Charlie was aghast. She knew this ancestor was a hemophiliac – she carried the gene herself – and this punishment would undoubtedly kill the poor fellow. And if Augustus Duran (the son of Sarah and Louis Augustus Duran the Greater) died in 1848, Charlie herself would never be born.

You’ll have to read the short story yourself to find out just how gallant Mr. Deeley can be. Due to contractual agreements I can’t post it publicly…however if you email me I might be able to help 🙂 (winona at winonakent dot com) (replace the usual words with the usual symbols).

And that will give you just one more reason to love Mr. Deeley and enjoy his next big adventure with Charlie.

In Loving Memory is released on July 26 by Diversion Books. You can buy it online at all the usual outlets, and you can order it from your favourite brick-and-mortar bookstore.

 

Please join me at the online launch party (on Facebook) on July 26, 12 noon Pacific, 3pm Eastern, 8pm UK. 1940s music, Ration Book delectables, and free party favours!

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In Loving Memory…Betty’s house

When I started writing In Loving Memory I knew I wanted to center the story around the little terraced house in Balham where Charlie’s grandmother, Betty Singleton (later Lewis), lived, and where Charlie’s mother, Jackie Lewis (later Duran), grew up.

I have very vivid memories of my own grandmother’s house, which isn’t in Balham at all – but it is in south London, nearest tube station Tooting Broadway, two stations south of Balham on the Northern Line. So when you’re reading about Betty’s house, you are in fact, reading about my Nana’s house.

Two things about my Nana’s house: it was likely built before 1930, and it was very small. It had the standard (and very common) layout of many terraced houses from that era: two downstairs reception rooms, a tiny galley kitchen, a front hallway with a steep staircase leading upstairs, two reasonably sized bedrooms on the second floor, a third miniscule “box bedroom” over the stairs, and a loo that had an original cistern up high near the ceiling, with a chain that you yanked on to make it flush (I still remember my mother’s reference to flushing the toilet – it was always “pull the chain.”).

The house still exists – I’ve seen it on Google and on property websites – although it’s been renovated inside and out, and its little overgrown front garden has been paved over to make a parking spot for its owner’s car. I have no idea what the back garden looks like: my memories are of an overgrown jungle with fishponds that ceased to have fish when I was about 3. There was no Anderson shelter at the bottom of the garden – at least not when my grandparents lived there. (They moved into the house after the war). The previous owners might well have had one. So I made that part up.

Here’s a picture of the house before the changes, enhanced a little with some quick photoshoppery to make the front door and the outside trim the same colour of green that I remember.

Betty house-11

And here are the floor plans for the inside. You’ll have to imagine the furniture as you read the novel, but you can at least see how the rooms were arranged.

betty downstairs 3.jpg

 

betty upstairs5

 

As for the air raid shelter at the bottom of the garden, if you have no idea what an Anderson shelter was, here’s a drawing of what one of them would have looked like.

andersonpicture

The source for this diagram is http://www.bigginhill-history.co.uk/andersonwhatis.htm
If you go to that website you can read more about each section of the shelter by clicking on their picture.

Here are a couple of pictures of people posing outside their shelters, taken during World War Two:

shelter3

anderson exterior 2

The sources for these two photos are http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/primaryhistory/world_war2/air_raids/ and http://www.andersonshelters.org.uk/index.html

And finally, here’s a photo of what it was probably like inside – this is a mockup from a museum display here http://forums.airshows.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=67519

interior shelter

The house my mum and her family lived in during the war did, of course, have an air raid shelter at the bottom of the garden. My mum tells me it was far less comfortable than this, and usually quite damp and cold. My grandfather was an ARP warden and worked overnight during the Blitz. My grandmother had three children – she occupied one bed against the wall with her youngest daughter, while my mum and her brother shared the other bed on the opposite side. My mum has added that there was rarely any sleep on those nights when the bombs were dropping.

In Loving Memory will be released on July 26 by Diversion Books (paperback and ebook).

InLovingMemory_cover-small

 

 

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“In Loving Memory”…new novel!

I haven’t been blogging very much recently, alas – real life has taken a big bite out of my time, and I’ve been trying to get a new novel started – the third in my historical romance / time travel series featuring Charlie and Mr. Deeley. I’m happy to say I’ve got the outline done and I’m working on Chapter Four as we speak.

In the meantime…novel #2 in the series is nearly ready to be released. It’s called In Loving Memory and it’s set in London in 1940, at the height of The Blitz. Publication day is July 26, and you can pre-order it from Amazon (the link is to the US Amazon but you can pre-order from Amazon in any country) or from Diversion Books.

Here’s the wonderful new cover, which I absolutely love:

InLovingMemory_cover-small

 

There’s a fantastic mention on the cover from Publishers Weekly, which gave it a starred review:

“Kent combines time travel, mystery, and romance in a delightful sequel to Persistence of Memory that’s easily accessible for new readers.”

If you’d like to read the entire review, it’s here on the Publishers Weekly website (when the review was written the book was still sporting its old cover). (“A starred review indicates a book of outstanding quality.” – Publishers Weekly)

And an insider’s tip – there’s a bonus short story included at the end – Easy When You Know How – which takes Charlie and Mr. Deeley to 1964 and the premiere of the Beatles’ film  A Hard Day’s Night. This story sets up the new novel I’m writing now, which takes place in Swinging London in the 1960s.

Here’s the official “blurb” for In Loving Memory:
In this mesmerizing romance, a woman out of time falls in love with a man for whom time is running out.

In Winona Kent’s novel Persistence of Memory, Charlie Lowe, a young widow in Stoneford, England, was accidentally transported back to 1825, where she fell in love with Shaun Deeley, a groom employed at Stoneford Manor. They are only back in the present for seemingly a breath before a piece of wartime shrapnel sends them tumbling back through time to 1940, the height of the Blitz. There, they discover pieces of Charlie’s past that counter everything she thought she knew about herself.

Charlie and Shaun have decisions to make—do they interfere in time’s progress to save a man? Do they put their own future at risk by doing nothing? And how much time do these two lovers have left?

 

I’ll have more to say about In Loving Memory next time – and I promise it will be soon! Hint: one of the main storylines involves the bombing of Balham Underground Station on the night of October 14, 1940, which killed more than 60 shelterers and injured many more.

Here are a couple of real photos from the aftermath of that tragedy. Imagine what could happen if Charlie and Mr. Deeley found themselves there…at 8.02pm…on that fateful night….

balham 2

 

balham 1

 

 

 

 

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Books. And me.

One of the things we writers will be doing on April 30, during Authors for Indies Day, is chatting with customers at our favourite bookstores. One of the things we’ll be chatting about is our favourite books.

I must admit I have some trepidation about this. I’m probably the least likely person a bookstore will want on the selling floor talking about other writers’ books. I’m woefully out of touch when it comes to contemporary writing.

Don’t get me wrong. I love reading. I love books. All books. It’s just that between working full-time, and researching my own novels (I’m a stickler for facts so every historical detail in my stories will be excruciatingly correct), and writing my stories, and commuting, eating and sleeping, I honestly don’t have much time left over to catch up with the books that other people are reading and talking about.

Most of my reading these days tends to be books written in the past, because I love reading contemporary accounts of the eras that I’m writing about. For  instance, for Persistence of Memory, I sourced out a wonderful relic whose title page, inside the cover, reads: A Complete System of Cookery, on a Plan Entirely New, Consisting of Everything That is Requisite for Cooks to Know in the Kitchen Business; Containing Bills of Fare for Every Day in the Year and Directions to Dress Each Dish; Being One Year’s Work, at the Marquis of Buckingham’s, From the 1st of January, to the 31st of December, 1805. By John Simpson, Present Cook to the most Noble, The Marquis of Buckingham. London: Printed for W. Stewart, Opposite Albany, Piccadilly, 1806.

This excellent book provided me with everything I needed to know about the sorts of meals Louis Augustus Duran (The Lesser) could expect to be eating at Stoneford Manor in 1825.

For my next novel, In Loving Memory (due to be released this July by Diversion Books), my reading wasn’t so much published books as published accounts, first-hand stories from men, women and children who lived through the Blitz in London in the 1940s. And stories told to me by my mum, who was a WAAF, and my dad’s brother, a child refugee from Europe who had relocated to England with his parents. And reports. So many reports, and helpful maps and diagrams, the most brilliant of which is a detailed drawing of Balham Underground Station showing the exact layout of the northbound platform and the exact location where the bomb dropped on the night of October 14, 1940, and the exact extent of the damage to the platform where so many people were sheltering that night. That diagram, more than anything, allowed me to write, with total accuracy, the scenes where Charlie and Mr. Deeley are caught in the devastation.

For Marianne’s Memory, the third novel in my Charlie and Mr. Deeley series, which I’m just beginning to write, I’m going back to London in the 1960s. I’m old enough to remember that time – I was 10 for a good part of 1965, and turned 11 in September of that year. The year before, 1964, I had simultaneously discovered the Beatles and become aware of a world beyond the little prairie city where I was growing up. I knew that London existed, of course, because I was born there. We moved to Canada in 1957. But by 1965 I’d already been back twice, and the last visit, Christmas 1961, had made a huge and lasting impression on me.

It’s one of my regrets that I actually managed to miss London in the Swinging Sixties. I was a little too early in 1961, and although we stayed until the new year, 1962, rang in, there were no real hints about what was on the verge of happening. Other than my cousin, Angela, who was somewhat older than me, who apparently mentioned to my mum in a letter written later that year, that she quite liked a new pop group called The Beatles.

The next time we went back to London was 1968. I was 13, about to turn 14, and I had done my research. I’d seen To Sir With Love and Smashing Time. I could sing their theme songs and knew their lyrics off by heart. I was Judy Geeson’s Pamela Dare and I was Rita Tushingham’s Brenda. (Well, not really. They were far more adventurous and worldly-wise than I was. And much older.) But the important thing was, I was on a mission. I was going to experience Swinging London first hand.

Except that, by 1968, it was all over. Swinging London was reduced to vinyl Union Jack carrybags touting the slogan I’m Backing Britain, sold in stalls alongside British flag buttons and black and white postcards that looked like street signs, the most popular being Carnaby Street and Kings Road.

Ah, Carnaby Street. The centre of the Swinging London universe. Except that it all looked a bit tatty and tawdry, and tired, like an over-the-hill party girl who’s been out too late and has fallen asleep on the Underground with her eye makeup smudged and her hair a bit of a mess and her clothes dishevelled.

I was disappointed. I wanted it to be like the Carnaby Street in the films, the one I’d dreamed of.

I suppose that’s why I’ve decided to send Charlie and Mr. Deeley back to 1965. They’re living the dream I had imagined. And perhaps they might, along the way, discover that it wasn’t quite the idyllic time my 11-year-old brain had conjured up. But they’ll have quite a romp in the process.

But back, now, to my original thoughts about books. I’ve just done a count, and in my 820 square foot flat, I have 16 bookcases. It’s fair to say that bookcases comprise probably 75% of the furniture in the flat. There are 2 in the main bedroom, 4 in the second bedroom (which is actually an office), one in the hallway, and 9 in the living room, and they’re all crammed with books. The biggest one in the living room is ceiling-to-floor and takes up an entire end wall.

Looking at the books occupying the shelves is like looking at snapshots of my life. At some point I tried to organize them by theme or author, but abandoned the idea as I kept running out of room. So now they’re a higgledy piggledy of collections. All of my textbooks from my BA in English, serious volumes about literary criticism and the discovery of deeper meaning in Milton, Chaucer, Mark Twain, Shakespeare… and most of their published works. All of the novels written by John Galsworthy and Monica Dickens and Ian Fleming and John le Carre. Spy stories and trash stories, popular fiction and unpopular fiction, old medical encyclopedias, how to make macrame plant hangers, how to play the guitar, the history of London’s Underground, assorted A to Z map books, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

All of these predate e-books, of course. I have a growing collection of digital books too though. Like many people I love the smell and the tactile feel of a real book, and I freely admit to dog-earing pages, because I believe if you turn down the corner of a page, it’s a love-sign, not a defacement.

But I also love the versatility of e-books, and the instant-ness of being able to buy and download them. And their biggest advantages for me – I can read them while I’m lying in bed in the dark without turning on a light, and I can read them while I’m waiting in doctor and dentist offices, just by taking out my phone.

I began this blog worrying about chatting to customers about favourite reads on Authors for Indies Day on April 30. I’m still a bit nervous…but you never know…perhaps I’ll find a few people who share my love of books from the past. It won’t be very helpful for all the new books on the shelves, waiting to be bought. But I can, at least, point them in that direction while I’m waxing lyrical about the joys of John Galsworthy’s Forsytes, or Monica Dickens’ The Listeners, probably the favourite of all my books.

Oh…and in case you were curious, the header photo on this Blog is a picture of one of my bookshelves (the one in the hallway). The same photo is the header on my Facebook Writer page .

And another one of my bookshelves (the ceiling-to-floor one in the living room) is the cover image on my personal Facebook page.

 

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Never Stop Trying

Source: Never Stop Trying

Posted on December 4, 2015 by Joanne Guidoccio

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have Canadian author Winona Kent sharing triumphs and challenges during her multi-act life.

Here’s Winona!

Thank you, Joanne, for inviting me to contribute to your blog! I’m very honoured to share my story with so many accomplished people.

I had an interesting conversation with my ophthalmologist the other day. He’s elderly, and I wondered when he was going to retire. He told me that he was thinking about it, but he couldn’t quite bring himself to actually do it. I revealed I could hardly wait to retire from my full-time job in 2019, so I could become a full-time writer instead. But my doctor confessed he was afraid to give up his practice, because he wasn’t sure he would know what to do with himself. He had defined himself in terms of his career, and he was afraid that if he gave up his career, he would lose his entire sense of identity.

Read the rest of the original blog posting here…

http://joanneguidoccio.com/2015/12/04/never-stop-trying/

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The Delicate Art of Book Promotion…A new audio interview!

Just a quick little blog today… mentioning an interview I did yesterday with Jim Goddard from The Goddard Report. This is a podcast that’s distributed online at talkdigitalnetwork.com and also on youtube.

Our chat on September 2 was combined with an interview Jim did with Mary Cummings, from my publisher, Diversion Books.

Please give it a listen. Mary talks about what makes Diversion different from the traditional publishers. And I talk about… well… my books. And me. 🙂

The interview on youtube…Click here

The interview on talkdigitalnetwork.com…Click here

Thank you!

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How Cold Play came to be…

The last time you heard from me, I was getting ready for a book release. A rather big book release, involving all four of my novels, which were being re-published by Diversion Books in New York.

So on July 7, the e-books were released. And this weekend, the paperback editions appeared.

Before I follow up The Delicate Art of Book Promotion with a blog about how successful my efforts have been, I thought you might like to read a little story about the genesis of one of the novels, Cold Play.

Cold Play is a novel with a very long history. Some books are written in no time at all. Some take a while to simmer and stew…and Cold Play is one of those.

As a child and a teenager, in the 1960s and 70s, I traveled to and from England by sea. It was the very end of the golden era of ocean liners, and the beginning of the jet age. My dad was a travel agent and he was able to get wonderful discounts for us on various ships, including the original Queen Mary – the one which is now a landlocked tourist attraction in Long Beach, California. I sailed on five different liners, but my favorite of them all was the Empress of Canada.

It was 1971, and we didn’t know it at the time, but that summer was to be her last on the transatlantic run from Montreal to Liverpool. Perhaps I picked up a feeling, seeing the dwindling numbers of passengers sharing her public rooms and decks. Perhaps it was because I was nearly 17, and I was already writing stories and making up adventures for characters who lived with me nonstop, day and night. My imagination was primed. I fell in love with the Empress of Canada. And the summer of 1971 is where the story of Cold Play really began.

Years later I briefly became a travel agent myself, and when Carnival Cruise Lines began to market their first ship, the Mardi Gras, I looked at the pictures in the brochure and thought, this lady seems very familiar! And she was… my Empress of Canada had taken on a new life and was proudly cruising the Caribbean. She was the first of many ships for tiny Carnival, which eventually grew into a massive corporation which now also owns Princess, Costa and Cunard, among others!

My lovely Empress stayed in service for decades, but changing laws about safety at sea and the demand for newer and larger ships meant her days were numbered. Her last incarnation was as Direct Cruise’s Apollon, but in 2003 she was finally retired, and sold for breaking up as scrap. It was a very sad end for my lady, beached in Alang, India, her entire hull exposed and her beautiful white and blue livery rusting in the blazing sun. I saw photos of her as she was demolished, section by section. It made me cry.

I knew I wanted to write about an aging ocean liner the minute I stepped off the Empress of Canada in Liverpool in 1971. But I didn’t have a story, and at age 16, I didn’t yet have the skills to be able to pull it off. I devoured movies like The Poseidon Adventure, parts of which were filmed aboard the Queen Mary; and The Last Voyage, from 1960, filmed aboard the old luxury liner, Ile de France.

Fast forward now to the late 1990s. My career as a travel agent was long in the past, but my sister had taken up the banner, and was working as a Captain’s Secretary for a popular cruise line that sailed weekly from Vancouver to Alaska. She served on a number of different ships, but one of them happened to be a former ocean liner, a tiny jewel that had once been owned by Cunard. She was dwarfed by her newer and larger colleagues when she was docked at her ports of call, and she wasn’t quite as beautiful as my Empress, but she was gracious and proud, and when I was given the opportunity to sail on her, as a guest of my sister, I leaped at the chance.

There are always perks associated with being related to a uniformed officer aboard a cruise ship, and this was definitely one of them. I stayed in my sister’s cabin, which was located in the crew area. I ate in the Officers’ Mess, and I consorted with the Pursers after hours when they held parties in their cabins, spilling out into the main connecting companionway. I stood up on the Bridge in pitch blackness while the ship was navigating the waters near Ketchikan. I was taught how to open and close watertight doors below the waterline. I stayed on board after all the passengers had disembarked, and I saw first-hand what turnaround day involved, before the next lot of passengers were allowed up the gangway. I observed how a cruise ship functioned from a crew point of view, and I knew then that I had my story.

But who was going to be my main character? And what, exactly, was the story going to be about – besides an aging cruise ship that was once a grand ocean liner?

In Cold Play’s first draft, Jason Davey was a Purser. I had a notebook filled with anecdotes from my sister’s colleagues, and from my sister herself, who had worked at the Purser’s Desk before being promoted upstairs to the Bridge. Jason, an out-of-work actor, had run away to sea after the death of his wife in a fire that he believed he was responsible for: he’d accidentally dropped a smoldering cigarette end into a sofa. The novel was called Found at Sea, and the story involved an aging actress with designs on Jason who comes aboard and wreaks havoc for him and the crew; and a travel agent named Katey who is searching for meaning in her life after a messy divorce and facing burnout from her job.

I had an agent pitching Found at Sea to publishers in the UK in early 2002. But nobody seemed to be interested. We tried for about a year, and then my agent decided to pursue other occupations, and I took a buyout from my place of employment, and decided to go to film school to learn how to write scripts. Found at Sea became my major project and my first screenplay. After graduation I entered it in a contest, where it caught the attention of a local producer, who optioned it. We worked on it for a year or two, changing the name to Life Boat, and changing the location to Alaska.

Nothing ever came of the script, which is typical of 95% of screenplays – they sit in development, and then end up abandoned when the option expires.

Fast forward again, to 2009, and Twitter. I was part of a community of first-adopters of Twitter. It was fabulous fun, and the potential for plotting was enormous. There were constructed personalities operating under pseudo-names, claiming to get up to all sorts of adventures, in bursts of postings that were 140 characters long. You never knew who you were really talking to. And whether or not they were telling the truth, or were very convincing liars.

In 2009, I went on another cruise, again to Alaska, but this time I was a passenger. It was on a very large and modern ship, a different line from the one my sister had worked for, and I spent a good part of every evening in the ship’s library, where the computers were, trying to connect with my Twitterfriends. Right next door to the library, separated by a glass wall, was the ship’s biggest lounge, and every night there was a one-man band playing in that lounge, surrounded by electronic gadgets, playing his guitar and singing. Sometimes he had a full house. Sometimes he was singing to just himself and the bartender. But he captured my imagination…and I knew that I’d found Jason.

He wasn’t an actor at all and he didn’t work at the Purser’s Desk. He was a ship’s entertainer. And he was still being pursued by an aging and eccentric actress. And his love interest was still Katey, the recently-divorced-and-burned-out-travel-agent. But Jason now spent much of his spare time on Twitter, using the handle @Cold_Fingers to amuse his followers with tales of a life at sea. And because of that, he’d picked up a stalker named @SaylerGurl… who may or may not have been aboard his ship that week. And there was the added intrigue of an alcoholic musician from Jason’s past who might know a very big secret. And there was still the question of Jason’s wife’s death in that fire…and who was really responsible for it.

And then there was the story of Jason’s ship. I called her the Sapphire in the novel, but she was always the Empress of Canada in my imagination. And she was an important character, just like Jason and Katey, Rick Redding and SaylerGurl and Diana Wyndham and Jilly, Jason’s “guardian angel”. I wondered what it would be like for the Sapphire to be facing her last useful days at sea…to suddenly discover that she was going to be sold for scrap at the end of the season. And how she might react, as a result…

I was going to change the name of the novel from Found at Sea to Cold_Fingers, but I consulted a friend who suggested Cold Play would be a much better title. I thought it was brilliant. I spent much of 2011 pitching the story to agents and publishers, who couldn’t see a best-seller in it and therefore declined my offer. So in 2012 I decided to self-publish instead. I used one of my own photos from Glacier Bay for the cover. And my Empress of Canada story, born forty years earlier, was released at last.

I’ve recently signed with Diversion Books in New York, and as part of my contract with them, they’ve re-released all four of my previous novels. Cold Play has been given a new cover, and now has the potential to reach an entirely new audience. I’m so pleased my lovely Empress of Canada lives on, even if it’s only in my readers’ imaginations.

One final note… last October I went on a short overnight cruise from Seattle to Vancouver with my sister, who is no longer employed in the cruise industry. We traveled as passengers, on a ship sailing her former employer’s flag. We were sitting in the atrium, enjoying coffee and pastries, when a musician sat down and started to tune up. He had a guitar, and some elaborate gadgetry. He looked extremely familiar, and when I checked his name in the daily bulletin, I saw that it was the same fellow I’d watched five years earlier, playing in the lounge next to the ship’s library. My Jason.

Did I introduce myself, and tell him about Cold Play, and the inspiration he’d provided?

I’ll let you guess.

Cold Play is available from Amazon as an ebook and a paperback, along with my three other novels, Persistence of Memory, The Cilla Rose Affair, and Skywatcher.

www.winonakent.com

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