I am delighted to be a part of the blog tour for; Shoot The Moon by Bella Cassidy. I love the look of this book and very excited to be sharing it and an exclusive guest post; Life, like novel writing, needs some careful plotting with you all.
About the Book
Shoot the Moon
Tassie Morris is everyone’s favourite wedding photographer, famous for her photos of offbeat ceremonies and alternative brides. Yet commitment is proving impossible for Tassie herself, who cannot forget her first love.
When she’s sent to photograph a ceremony on Schiehallion – the Fairy Hill of the Scottish Caledonians – she meets Dan, who might be the one to make her forget her past. That is, until a family crisis begins a chain of events that threaten to destroy not only Tassie’s love life, but her entire career.
Set in a colourful world of extraordinary weddings, Shoot the Moon explores the complexities of different kinds of love: romantic love, mother love, friendship. And, ultimately, the importance of loving yourself.
Life, like novel writing, needs some careful plotting!
People often ask whether I plot my books before I write them, or the story just evolves. Personally, I like a bit of plotting. For writing a book without an outline would feel like setting off to Newcastle without a map. However, I do know there are plenty of writers who do the exact opposite.
Last year I attended a fascinating talk by best-selling writer, Minette Walters who revealed that she never plots. She works out exactly who her characters are – right down to writing conversations they might have with each other. Then, once they’re fully alive in her mind, she starts writing and sees where her characters take her. Impressive, I thought. But something I could never do.
Of course, just because I’ve done some plotting doesn’t mean that sometimes the characters don’t take over the wheel. In one of my novels, The Fire Tree, a little boy called Somesh appeared early on. I realised, after writing for a while, that he wasn’t meant to be there. But it was too late. He was too adorable, too happy, too positive a character to lose. So he stayed, and became an intrinsic part of the story.
For years I wanted to write a novel. My route into finally achieving my dream came through doing an MA in Professional Writing in 2012. I’d always written as part of my job in PR and Marketing, but hadn’t had the nerve to write creatively. I still remember the excitement of receiving my first creative exercises. The joy of stretching my imagination. The childhood delight in being able to write ‘anything’. Which, in the first instance, involved answering a complicated quote about ‘The Lion Versus the Philosopher Communication Challenge’ with the single word ROOOOOAAAAAAAR!
I wrote the outline for Shoot The Moon while on the course – and never deviated much from the original premise. It’s a very personal book; at its heart the story of a mother and daughter. One of the things I’m happiest about is that I was able to read it to my mum, who spent the last six months of her life mostly in hospital. This, for a woman who the previous year had been climbing mountains in India, was the hardest way to go. And I’m so glad that we shared such lovely moments as she saw the novel unfold.
It’s fundamentally about attachment hunger. Meaning that what happens as a child under the age of three can affect you for the rest of your life. It turns out that I was deeply affected when my parents took the (entirely logical) decision to go on holiday for three and a half weeks when I was two; taking my older sister, but leaving me with my grandparents as they thought I was too young to enjoy it. It wasn’t until my forties that I worked out how significant this had been to me. But after I’d done so, a closeness was finally forged between my mother and me that I will always treasure.
Twenty years ago I co-founded a baby swimming company in Ilkley, Yorkshire. The company rapidly grew, and soon we were training swimming instructors from all over the country: most of whom had been on the course as new mothers. I used to watch them fretting, during the ten days of training, over having left their babies behind, and wonder why it bothered them so much. Surely their babies were fine with their partners or parents? After I discovered what had happened in my own life, I understood that, instinctively, these mums knew how important attachment is early on.
Not that I’m advocating that new mothers shouldn’t be able leave their child – absolutely not. Everyone should have the freedom to do what they need or want to. But it’s interesting how these mothers’ stress was grounded in something quite primal. Although, happily, manageable too. A psychotherapist friend suggests that today’s technology really helps – with Facetime allowing babies to still see and hear their parent, along with leaving items of clothing that smell of them, and making sure their baby is left with someone they know really well. “Separation of more than a few hours from a new-born is not easy and does go against primitive mental and physical drives. But while the relationship may well feel difficult or strange, when mum and baby are back together it should find an equilibrium again soon.” Clearly life, like novel writing, needs some careful plotting. But with that comes freedom too.
About the Author
Bella Cassidy grew up in the West Country – reading contemporary romances, romances, historical novels, literary fiction… just about anything she could lay her hands on. After a few years in London, working as a waitress and in PR and advertising, she went to Sussex to read English – despite admitting in her pre-interview that this rather sociable period in her life had seen her read only one book in six months: a Jilly Cooper.
She’s had an eclectic range of jobs: including in the world of finance; social housing fundraising; a stint at the Body Shop – working as Anita Roddick’s assistant; as a secondary school teacher, then teaching babies to swim: all over the world.
She’s done a lot of research for writing a wedding romance, having had two herself. For her first she was eight months pregnant – a whale in bright orange – and was married in a barn with wood fires burning. The second saw her in elegant Edwardian silk, crystals and lace, teamed with yellow wellies and a cardigan. Both were great fun; but it was lovely having her daughter alongside, rather than inside her at the second one.
Giveaway to Win a paperback copy of Shoot the Moon and Moon and Stars bath salts (Open to UK only)
Giveaway here – http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494482/
*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Follow the Tour
Thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invite to this tour and a huge thank you for understanding why this post is late.