Today, I have on my blog, Lorna Cook. Lorna is the author of the Kindle Number 1 Bestseller ‘The Forgotten Village’, which was her debut novel, staying in the Kindle Top 100 for four months. It has sold over 150,000 copies, has ten overseas/foreign language editions, won the Romantic Novelists’ Association Joan Hessayon Award for New Writers and was shortlisted for the RNA Katie Fforde Debut Romantic Novel of the Year Award.
Hi Lorna, please tell me about your latest book.
Can one promise change the fate of two women decades apart?
War rages across Europe, but Invermoray House is at peace – until the night of Constance’s 21st birthday, when she’s the only person to see a Spitfire crash into the loch. Rescuing the pilot and vowing to keep him hidden, Constance finds herself torn between duty to her family and keeping a promise that could cost her everything.
Kate arrives in the Highlands to turn Invermoray into a luxury B&B, only to find that the estate is more troubled than she’d imagined. But when Kate discovers the house has a dark history, with Constance’s name struck from its records, she knows she can’t leave until the mystery is solved . . .
A sweeping tale of love and secrets, perfect for fans of Kate Morton and Lucinda Riley.
Sounds interesting. What was the idea behind it?
Most of my ideas come from either falling into an internet rabbit hole where one click leads to another and another; or because I’m struggling to fall asleep and drift off into a make-believe world that forms into the beginnings of a novel. The internet rabbit hole was very much the basis for my first novel The Forgotten Village but for The Forbidden Promise I simply drifted off into another make-believe world where the overarching question was ‘What if I lived during WW2 and found a man running away from the war — would I hand him in or would I house him and keep him safe even if I didn’t understand the reasons he was running?’ An odd question to try to fall asleep to, I’ll admit! From that came the basis of The Forbidden Promise.
Can you tell me one positive trait of your main character or characters?
My main character Constance in the WW2 section wants desperately to do something to help with the war effort but isn’t allowed. Her parents forbid it and conscription hasn’t yet started for women. She makes a promise she probably shouldn’t in order to do what she considers to be her bit for humanity.
In the present day section Kate is tenacious and a bit fiery, doesn’t take no for an answer and will see everything through to the end.
Can you tell me one negative trait of your main character or characters?
Both know their own minds, which is a positive trait, but can often lead to negative consequences.
Why did you choose this genre to write in?
I adore WW2 and I can’t stop reading dual timeline novels so it was bound to happen eventually!
What is your favourite book?
Great question. I keep changing my mind over the years and I think my current favourite is Persuasion by Jane Austen. It used to be Pride and Prejudice but good old Anne Elliot in Persuasion is a bit overlooked so I’m going to start flying the flag for her.
What is the book you are reading now?
I’m reading two. I always have an audiobook and a paperback or ebook on the go. The audiobook I’m listening to at the moment is Lara Dearman’s Deep Dark Water, a psychological thriller set in Guernsey. And I’m reading the paperback of fellow Avon author Mandy Robotham’s A Woman of War, which essentially asks the question ‘what if Eva Braun had Hitler’s baby?’ I’m engrossed.
What is your favourite romantic film?
This is a bit out of left field but my favourite film, which happens to be quite romantic in the end, is The Thomas Crown Affair. There’s something about Pierce Brosnan’s smouldering super rich playboy who indulges in art theft just for kicks that thrills. If you’ve not watched it yet, do. It’s slick and clever.
How do you organise your writing day?
Badly. It’s very hit and miss what gets done on each day. By the time I’ve done the school run, unloaded the dishwasher, sorted what’s for dinner and walked my dog I usually get to my desk by half past ten. Then I open the laptop and type like a crazy person until it’s time for the next school run or until I need to break for lunch. There is obviously a lot of procrastinating with online shopping or pretend shopping (my Amazon wish list is out of control) and social media. And woe betide a courier who comes to the door as I’m always like ‘Hey actual human, let’s chat!’ while they back away gently.
What is your first draft process?
My first draft process differs with every book. I’m writing the catchily titled Book 3 at the moment and it differs wildly to how I wrote The Forgotten Village and The Forbidden Promise. The Forgotten Village was very carefully and intricately plotted in advance with timeline sheets showing each day and each movement from the past section and how it would filter into the present. The Forbidden Promise was written under a fairly tight deadline and I just gunned my way through it with the entire plot and timeline shifts in my head. Editing was…intricate and took forever. My untitled Book 3 is a shambles of post-it notes everywhere and huge swathes of research notes on the wall that I look up at and panic over. I’ve already warned my lovely editor. I may have to send her a chocolate hamper when I send the manuscript over so she can drown her sorrows in sugar.
And the final question:
What’s your poison – high heels or flats?
I have a new favourite pair of shoes. They are from Coast! They are high! They are black! They have cut out detail and most importantly…I can actually walk in them. Check out these gorgeous babies…
Thanks, Laura – and stay safe! You can find out more about Lorna’s book here.