Interview with Megan Johns, Author of A Shore of Secrets (Giveaway)
Megan lives in a pretty village in the Essex countryside, UK, having ‘escaped’ from London several years ago. She and her husband are now empty-nesters apart from an adorable, but incurably mischievous Cavalier King Charles spaniel.
Megan’s first publication was a children’s book, but her focus now is to write contemporary romance ‘with teeth’. The Path of Innocence was written for women who understand that life is not clear cut, that love exists in different forms, sometimes contradictory. In her latest release, A Shore of Secrets, Megan explores various themes, including the power of the family in a small Italian society, deception, secrecy and distrust. Can Abi, the heroine, overcome her hang-ups and put her trust in the hero?
Megan has also had short stories published in the anthologies Writers on the Wrong Side of the Road and The Speed of Dark.
Writers who have influenced her? Joanna Trollope because of the pithy way she deals with contemporary issues. She also admires the way the late Maeve Binchy and Rosamunde Pilcher weave their stories so skillfully.
When did you begin writing? I always enjoyed writing, but juggling a family and career left little time for anything else. It was only when life slowed down that I truly discovered my creative streak. Actually, it was during a period of illness. I found it so therapeutic to be able to ‘escape’ inside my head and it was then that I got really hooked. Suddenly I discovered how much was stored inside, waiting to be unleashed. We are such complex characters, moulded by our unique life experiences, and once you start to delve inside your head, things from way back that you think are forgotten creep back into your conscious mind. There is no telling what you might find! Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?
When I am writing, I try to stick to a schedule of working in the mornings. I love the idea of waiting for the Muse to strike and writing into the early hours, but disciplining myself to write each day works better for me. Inevitably, some writing days are more productive than others, but even if I know something isn’t quite right, I can go back when I am feeling fresher and reappraise it. The point is to keep writing something. I firmly believe that no effort is wasted.
What is this book about? Holiday representative Abi works in a resort along Venice’s lido and she loves the lifestyle. However, crossed in love, she is in no hurry to fall for an Italian man again, especially not with tall, dark and devilishly handsome.hotelier Giovanni Renaldi. He is just so infuriating. Surely the discomforting feelings he evokes can only be guilt at covering for his naive sister’s secret lover?
When passion finally wins through, the thrill of their lovemaking is quickly wrecked. Giovanni, proud and fierce defender of his family since inheriting the role of patriarch, is enraged to learn Abi has colluded with his sister.
Then Abi discovers her secrecy is nothing compared to Giovanni’s. The family’s closely guarded secrets begin to unfold, and she is sucked into their internal wrangling.
Is nothing what it seems in this clandestine community?
And can love triumph over the turmoil of scarred lives?
What inspired you to write it?
Italy! I love everything about the place – it’s so inherently romantic – the culture, the scenery, the architecture, the people, the food, the lifestyle; a perfect setting for a romance novel. I tend to write about places that I know and with which I feel a strong emotional attachment. If I can visualise a place, feel it around me, absorb its ambiance, then put my characters there, it seems to kick start my imagination and the plot follows.
In A Shore of Secrets, the setting defined the context and created a mood that influenced what the characters did and, to a certain extent, determined the plot.
Who is your favorite character from the book?
My favourite character is the heroine. She’s a mix of characteristics, gutsy and strong minded, true to herself, yet fallible enough to be accessible.
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere? Believe in yourself and keep writing. Don’t let rejections knock you down. Learn from them and take on board constructive criticism.
What is up next for you?
My current project is a romance featuring an aristocrat who inherits the family’s crumbling manor in the UK and the twists and turns of events as she attempts to save it from the hands of a property developer.
The author has graciously agreed to give away one PDF version of A Shore of Secrets to a lucky person who leaves a comment. Winners must be 18 years of age or older. Please be sure to leave your email address in the body of your comment so that we can contact you if you win. Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM EST on Sunday, June 16, 2013. Good luck!