I’m thrilled to welcome Ylva author Andrea Bramhall. She has two new releases: Rock and a Hard Place and The Last First Time. One lucky winner will receive an e-copy of both books. More details are below.
Please welcome Andrea Bramhall.
Before we begin, thanks so much for stopping by today for a chat.
Thanks so much for having me. It’s great to be here.
You live in the Lake District. What’s your favorite aspect of the area?
I’ve always been a pretty outdoorsy person. I love hiking, climbing, cycling, swimming—the list goes on—so being here it’s the perfect place for me to indulge in some of my favourite past times.
Do your dogs and cats love the area?
Very much so. My wife and I have two collies and four cats. The dogs are very clear about their appreciation of their living conditions, but the cats are a little more circumspect. They do however bring frequent gifts, so I’m taking that as a good sign.
What’s it like running a campsite?
Well, the easy answer is busy. Lol. But only during the summer. It’s great though for the most part. I get to meet lots of new people every season, and it gives me all winter off to write the stories I plan during the summer season.
I read that you’re a recreational diver. Do you have a favourite dive spot and what’s the most awe-inspiring thing/creature you’ve seen?
I am indeed. I’m a certified rescue diver, and I’ve been lucky enough to dive in some truly amazing locations and with some truly awesome creatures. I think the most thought provoking dives I’ve done have been on shipwrecks. I dived at Scapa Flow in the Orkney Isle’s about five years ago now. The water was freezing cold, the visibility was crap, and I had a really scary near death experience while I was down there, but seeing those ships, knowing the history behind it all, and seeing the power of nature as it slowly but surely reclaimed what were man’s greatest and most powerful creations…it was humbling. It made me feel so tiny and insignificant. As did swimming alongside a whale shark in the Maldives. It’s a toss up as to which experience has affected me more.
Do you play any instruments? Around the campfire, perhaps?
Lol. I do actually. My degree is in music. I play the saxophone, guitar, and sing. Around the campfire, well, it’s been known on occasion. 😉
Recently, you released two novels. Can you tell us about them?
Sure. Rock and a Hard Place is a contemporary romance, set against a backdrop of a rock climbing adventure type show, a little in the vein of The Amazing Race. It’s set in Patagonia for the most part, and was a great deal of fun to write. I love rock climbing so this gave me the perfect excuse to brush up on my skills over this last summer, heading out on to the crags around the Lake District and practicing my rope skills.
The Last First Time is the third instalment in the Norfolk Coast Investigation Series. Detective Sergeant Kate Brannon and Gina Temple are back along with the Sammy, Merlin, and the rest of the gang at King’s Lynn CID to try and find the perpetrators in yet another dastardly crime on the North Norfolk Coast.
Are you a pantser or plotter?
Definitely a plotter. I usually have the book planned out completely before I start to write. That’s what I do during the summer while I don’t have the time to immerse myself in the actual writing. My wife, Louise, says that I’m a character writer—like a character actor—I submerse myself into the characters so completely that I can’t break away from the writing once I start. She says it’s like living with the characters for the few weeks it takes me to write the first draft, instead of living with me.
Apparently, that’s not so bad when I’m writing romances or fluffy fun stuff…but when I’m writing bad guys and terrorists…she gets a little nervous. 😉 But it is the best way I’ve found for me to write. I turn out the first draft in three weeks, and then I can return to being me while I work through the editing process.
People tell me I’m weird on this process but it works for me.
Does your love of the outdoors influence your stories?
Oh God, yes. It was a scuba diving holiday that inspired my first book and set me on this whole journey to begin with. I have a series in the works inspired again by my love of the mountains. The Norfolk Crime Series was born of a walk I was taking with my dogs. The opening scene—the murder scene—was literally an idea that came to me about a campsite owner who was murdered on the North Norfolk Coastal Path (that’s where I was walking at the time) and it led me to a crime series on the back of it. The things I see and do influence the way I write, the moods that I experience when I’m outside are things that I try to bring to the page when I describe them. Sometimes I’m more successful at this than at others, but I love reading books where I can see and feel what the author is trying to show me. I hope to try and capture the same thing.
Finally, what advice would you give to someone who wants to the plunge to write?
Write the story you want to see. Then leave it alone. For at least a week or so. Go read another book, watch some films, go for a walk, whatever. Just don’t open it again.
Then read it like you’ve never read those words before. Pull it apart like a critic. See what you’ve actually written, rather than what you expect to see. That really isn’t as easy as it sounds. By the time we’ve sweated and bled over those words, seeing them in black and white rather than all the colours we feel them in our heads is almost impossible. But if you want that story to be the best it can be before you submit it or publish it…you really need to, and the only way to even try and achieve that is by getting a little distance.
Thanks so much for chatting today.
Thanks very much for having me. It’s been a pleasure.
ROCK AND A HARD PLACE
Release date: November 29, 2017
Expert mountain climber Jayden Harris has the world at feet until an avalanche at Everest base camp sweeps it all out from under her. She wants nothing more to do with the mountains, and turns her back on it all.
Rhian Phillips is a successful London marketing executive who has the chance of a lifetime fall in her lap. She’s sent to produce a reality TV series on competitive climbers, while showcasing the stunning beauty of a Patagonian glacier and the Cerro Fitz Roy range.
An accident brings Jayden and Rhian together, and outside pressures keep them at each other’s sides. When you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place eventually something has to give. The one thing they never counted on was them both wanting to stay together.
A lesbian romance about pushing onwards and defying expectations.
THE LAST FIRST TIME
When Gina Temple decides to go Christmas shopping for her girlfriend, Detective Sergeant Kate Brannon, in the Norfolk town of King’s Lynn, it seems like an easy enough task.
If only life were that simple.
A split-second event, months in the planning, tips their safe world upside-down.
In this twisting lesbian thriller, Kate’s subsequent investigation leads her down the rabbit hole, where innocent people are targets, and has repercussions that will reverberate for a long, long time.
Meanwhile, as the two women grow closer, things get even more complicated. Life seems determined to throw obstacles in their path.
Will things ever feel normal again?
Available on Ylva.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Andrea Bramhall wrote her first novel at the age of six and three-quarters. It was seven pages long and held together with a pink ribbon. Her Gran still has it in the attic. Since then she has progressed a little bit and now has a number of published works held together with glue, not ribbons, an Alice B. Lavender certificate, and a Lambda Literary award cluttering up her book shelves.
She studied music and all things arty at Manchester Metropolitan University, graduating in 2002 with a BA in contemporary arts. She is certain it will prove useful someday… maybe.
When she isn’t busy running a campsite and hostel on the North Norfolk Coast, Bramhall can be found hunched over her laptop scribbling down the stories that won’t let her sleep. She can also be found reading, walking the dogs up mountains while taking a few thousand photos, scuba diving while taking a few thousand photos, swimming, kayaking, playing the saxophone, or cycling.
CONNECT WITH ANDREA BRAMHALL
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Thanks so much Andrea for stopping by today.
Best of luck to everyone who enters the giveaway.
Have a great weekend!