Even though I am currently watching what I eat I decided to go along to the Choc Lit -Readers Evening at The Word, South Shields, last night. However instead of feasting on chocolatey treats, I instead feasted on literary delights and had my interest piqued in a genre that has always previously eluded me!
A Delicious Selection of Fiction!
Choc Lit are an independent British publisher of women’s fiction and romance and although “chic lit” has never been my first choice of reading material I was intrigued by the idea of a women’s publisher and I was also hoping to attend a few of the events that were being held as part of the WRITE Festival so I thought I would tag along. I am glad I did, it was a sweet and satisfying way to spend an evening!
Juliet Archer – Author
First we heard from author, Juliet Archer and how she has always been of the opinion that good literature should be just like chocolate, irresistible! Any character, she mused, can be compared to a type of chocolate, there may be a nutty one, or soft centered, perhaps even a bitter one.
Juliet has always had a fondness for the works of Jane Austen, which being a fan of the classics I can totally relate to. I was very interested to hear how some of her published works with Choc-Lit are retellings of Jane Austen’s classics with a modern view point.
One of the books I came home from the event with was The Importance of Being Emma winner of the 2011 Big Red Reads Fiction Award. This was Juliet’s first in her series Darcy and Friends and is described as staying “true to the original” although giving the reader “fresh insights into the mind of its thoroughly updated and irresistible hero.”
Kirsty Ferry – Author
Next up on the panel was Kirsty Ferry who started off writing for competitions and also OU courses (lovely to see a fellow OU alumni by the way!)
After winning her first competition having only spent two hours writing her submission Kirsty, quite rightly, thought maybe this was something she was good at and decided to keep at it. She then had a go at self publishing before finding Choc Lit who published her mysterious sounding title Some Veil Did Fall which went on to become the first in her The Rossetti Mysteries series.
Well a book with a cover like that is just begging to be bought isn’t it? So I obliged. Knowing that Kirsty is a fan of Wuthering Heights assures me that this will be a book that is full of atmosphere and I can’t wait to get stuck into it!
Jane Lovering – Author
The final speaker was the very entertaining Jane Lovering who writes “quirky” romantic comedies. Having heard her speak I can bet they are laugh out loud worthy stories because she had the whole room chuckling with her anecdotes.
Jane, who began writing by taking her beloved childhood stories about ponies and rewriting them by placing herself in the story, took a long break while raising her family. As soon as she could she picked her pen back up, this time creating stories from her own imagination. She studied a part time Creative Writing degree and evidently became very good at it!
Please Don’t Stop the Music won the 2012 Romantic Novel of the Year, although it almost didn’t get published! Choc Lit received the book however it didn’t meet their USP of having a “male point of view” in the story. Jane accepted this and decided there was no way she could re-write her story with a male view point as she said it was one of the fundamental aspects of the book that it was not known exactly what the male protagonist was thinking. However sometime after while out walking her dogs it came to her mind that maybe she could include diary entries from the male character, how clever! She incorporated this idea into the book and sent it back to Choc Lit and this time they accepted and published the novel.
And so a third book was added to my pile to take home! I am lucky that indulging in this kind of Choc Lit will not expand my waistline.
After such an enjoyable evening I will definitely be on the lookout for similar events in the future and have to extend a special thanks to Choc Lit for expanding my bookshelf horizons to include a bit more variety. I have also signed up for their newsletter as I am sure it will be full of more interesting reads!
Thank you for taking the time to read through my post! I have a couple more events to attend as part of the WRITE Festival and if I find them as enjoyable as I found this one I will be sure to post about them too. Please follow my blog if you would like to hear more about the festival or about the books above once I have finished reading them (as well as all the other books on my growing tbr pile). Please feel free to leave comments and suggestions!