Hello and welcome to Lucy Coleman. She joins me today with the blog tour for her latest novel, Summer on the Italian Lakes.
Bestselling Brianna Middleton has won the hearts of millions of readers with her sweeping and steamy love stories. But the girl behind the typewriter is struggling…. Not only does she have writer’s block, but she’s a world famous romance author with zero romance in her own life.
So the opportunity to spend the summer teaching at a writer’s retreat in an idyllic villa on the shores of Lake Garda owned by superstar author Arran Jamieson could this be just the thing to fire up Brie’s writing and romantic mojo?
Brie’s sun drenched Italian summer could be the beginning of this writer’s very own happy ever after…
Lucy and Aria have shared an extract today.
***** beginning of extract*****
Dringggg. Dringgg. Dringgg.
The shrill ring of the doorbell makes my heart almost leap out of my chest. It must be a parcel because ringing three times is unnecessarily insistent. Delivery drivers these days need to zip around and I always feel guilty if I can’t instantly fling open the front door, because every second counts. A glance at the bedside clock tells me it’s only just after eight. But I do have a dozen sentences on the page in front of me that I haven’t yet deleted, so I haven’t totally wasted the last two hours.
Reluctantly, I push back the duvet cover and rush downstairs, feeling guilty that I’m still in bed and so far away from the door. It doesn’t help that I seem to have developed this unstoppable urge to buy things online. I’m waiting for a tempered glass screen protector for my iPad at the moment. It’s shatterproof and resistant to fingerprints. And it was on sale at the bargain price of two pounds and ninety-nine pence! How could I resist?
I pop on the chain and open the door a full six inches, peeking out and with my hand ready to grab the parcel. Three familiar faces stare back at me with looks ranging from mildly uncomfortable to horror-struck. To my utter dismay, standing on the doorstep is not only my mother, Wendy, but my best friend, Mel, and the fearsome Carrie herself.
‘Darling, can we come in?’ Mum’s voice is soft and full of compassion. A fourth person suddenly appears.
‘Morning, lovely.’ It’s Dad and he’s trying to sound upbeat. It comes out staccato fashion and even his lop-sided smile smacks of discomfort.
‘Can you take the chain off, Brie? I’m gasping for a cup of tea.’ Mel, too, sounds decidedly awkward.
I snap the door shut and stand, half leaning against the wall for a few moments while I try to collect my thoughts. I’m in no fit state to receive company and neither is the cottage. I wonder what the hell they want at this time of the morning?
I leave the chain on and ease the door open to peer around the edge once more.
‘Um… it’s a bit early, guys, and I’m not up yet. Can you come back later?’
Carrie suddenly strides forward blocking out my view of the others.
‘Open the door, Brie, this is an intervention. We aren’t going anywhere, so you might as well let us in now.’
One look at her face and I quiver, my hand reluctantly sliding back the chain. As I step aside it feels like a crowd is filtering into the hallway of my sanctuary.
‘Right,’ Dad says, looking decidedly embarrassed as he tries not to stare at me. And I can’t blame him. Even I don’t recognise me sometimes when I catch sight of myself unexpectedly in the mirror. ‘I’ll, um, put the kettle on then.’
I watch as he heads off to the kitchen and when I turn back, everyone is staring at me.
‘What on earth have you done to your hair?’ Mel asks, looking appalled.
Glancing in the mirror on the wall behind her, I groan inwardly. With my hair pulled up into a scrunchy, it looks like a furry animal is sitting on top of my head. It’s debatable whether it’s dead or alive.
‘It needs washing,’ I offer, lamely.
‘Come on,’ she replies. ‘We should sit down and have a bit of a chat. We’re all very worried about you, Brie, and you can’t go on like this ignoring all contact. Don’t you ever answer your phone or your emails, these days?’
I hang my head, bringing up the rear like some wayward child as everyone files into the sitting room. It looks like there has been an explosion and most of it is snack related.
After indicating for everyone to follow my lead and clear a little space, I take the seat next to Mum on one of the sofas. She leans across to place a hand over mine, giving it an encouraging squeeze before drawing back.
Carrie sits opposite us and Mel draws back the curtains before lowering herself down, rather strategically, next to her. The eye contact is awkward; no one seems to know quite where to look. I’m conscious that the place isn’t looking quite as pristine as usual but then I have been spending a lot of time in bed waiting for inspiration to come. And every night I’m peering at the other sort of screen. To my shame, instead of clearing up my clutter I’ve been working my way from room to room. Having four TVs is actually quite handy, I’ve discovered.
‘It’s been weeks since any of us have heard from you, Brie. Shutting yourself away isn’t doing you any good at all. We all have problems at times and that’s what family and friends are for – to be here for you when you need us.’ Mel speaks softly as if I’m some sort of invalid.
*****end of extract*****
Lucy lives in the Forest of Dean in the UK with her lovely husband and Bengal cat, Ziggy.
Her novels have been shortlisted in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards. Lucy won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award.