11 April, 2014 | By Goldie Alexander
This being my first foray into writing adult romance here is something about this novel.
“When Lisa Harbinger takes a job as nanny to a prestigious Australian family, she gets more than she bargained for: two spoilt children, vengeful ghosts, a long-unsolved mystery and a blazing passion she and her enigmatic boss are unable to deny.”
Though a virgin I might be in this genre, I actually began my career writing YA romance for Dolly Fiction. I learnt a lot from that publisher’s guidelines: stick to the exact word count, make sure the young women you write about are feisty, give the story an interesting issue, and use the present as your setting. Four Dolly Fictions later set me off as a predominantly children’s author… though since then I have written adult crime: “The Grevillea Murder Mystery Trilogy” (like “Penelope’s Romance” also set on the Mornington Peninsula) and two how-to-writes: “The Business of Writing for Young People” plus the more recent “Mentoring Your Memoir”. In the 80 books, short stories and articles I have penned since then, I have tackled almost every genre apart from high fantasy, TV & Film scripts and graphic novels. Can’t draw for nuts.
What attracted me to adult romance was having a close look at the present market. Children’s books were jostling themselves off the shelves as every ‘would be’ author seemed to believe that writing for kids, being much shorter, must be easier. I have news for them. The younger the audience, the harder it is. Story Picture Books? Think haiku for kids.
As for the literary market! It seemed that creating a decent literary novel would take me at least five years, every sentence needing to be exquisitely penned and the book’s length reaching doorstep height. No plot or narrative drive really needed. In fact the more you can confuse your readers the more intellectual your novel will seem. Unless you win a major prize your novel might appear in the few bookshops that haven’t gone broke for approximately the length of a jar of yoghurt.
Does all this sound too cynical? Hope not. Rather, I had been well aware some romance writers were wonderfully successful, even if this small fact is never mentioned in the weekend literary sections of our daily newspapers. It took me nine months to write ‘Penelope’s Ghost’ and exactly two weeks to find a publisher. Unless one is famous or brilliant, and I certainly am neither, to sell any ms this quickly is almost unheard of.
My publishers have promised that sooner or later this novel will also appear in hard copy, providing of course that I sell enough ebooks. My fingers and toes are permanently crossed.
Enough of this rant. Here is something more about ‘Penelope’s Ghost’.
Fleeing a humiliating end to a passionless marriage, Lisa Harbinger seeks refuge in a posh summer retreat on Australia’s lush South Coast. There she finds work as a nanny for two wilful children on one prestigious estate. But behind Rangoon’s ivy and red brick walls lies a mystery: What really happened to the family’s beloved Penelope?
Even more mysterious is Richard Prescott. Cold and aloof by day, Lisa’s boss heats up her nights and awakens her soul. But to have a future they both must escape their pasts. Vengeful ghosts and a generations-old curse seek to bring ruin on Richard and his family. But if Lisa can find the answers, she—and her growing love—could be the one to set him free.
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