Lynette Sofras, Author of Shopping for Love, Talks Writing & #Giveaway

My guest today is Lynette Sofras. Until two years ago, Lynette spent many years working as a teacher and running the English Department of a busy London secondary school. Prior to that she spent several years living and teaching in Greece. She gave up teaching to focus on her writing and to date has published three contemporary romances: The Apple Tree, Wishful Thinking and Shopping for Love. In Loving Hate, her first romantic suspense is due for release in October 2012.

Lynette lives with her family in an early Victorian cottage in a historic village on the Surrey/London borders. When she’s not writing, she loves catching up with friends and films, reading, gardening and trying to understand the family’s rather eccentric cat.

Anne – Welcome to Piedmont Island, Lynette. It’s a glorious summer day and just about picture perfect so let’s head outside to the deck to talk writing. Do you have a fear, phobia, or habit you’d rather no one knew about?

Lynette - I’m afraid my fear of spiders is known the world over as I make so much noise and fuss about the wretched things.

Anne - Tell us about your book.

Lynette - Shopping for Love is my latest release (June 2012). Here’s the blurb:

“Love can find you in the strangest places - but it's never for sale!

They meet - of all places - buying tomatoes in the supermarket and there’s no denying the attraction is mutual. But Greg, a software developer, is still raw from his painful divorce and Emma, his children’s teacher, is recovering from her own heartache. Then the reappearance of Emma's career-obsessed ex-boyfriend and Greg's spiteful ex-wife threatens to kill their new love before it has even begun.

Is Emma’s love strong enough to survive Greg’s demanding past and the threats to both their careers? What will be the cost of falling in love in a world where everything comes with a high price tag?”

Anne - Of the characters you’ve created, does one hold a special place in your heart? Why?

Lynette - Nicholas, the hero of ‘The Apple Tree’. I always feel I gave him short shrift by not including his POV and he is my most gorgeous hero. Mind you I’m especially fond of Greg in Shopping for Love as he’s slightly older, more cynical and life-worn, with a rather wicked sense of humour.

Anne - Any words of advice for struggling, unpublished writers?

Lynette - This might sound clich├ęd, but if you are struggling to get your work accepted, you need to be prepared to take a cold, hard look at it and be prepared to weed out its weaknesses. Poor editing is often the biggest let down. No writer can properly edit his or her own work and there is no shame in admitting it. If you know your ideas are good, then you owe it to them to present them in the best possible light.

Anne - Outside of writing, what accomplishment are you most proud?

Lynette - My son. From the moment he was born, I knew he was my very best creation and not a day has passed since without my feeling proud of that achievement.

Anne - Have you experienced writer's block? If so, how did you work through it?

Lynette - Yes! Before I wrote ‘Wishful Thinking’ my brain was a complete blank. I therefore took an incident from real life (the near fatal accident at the start of the story actually happened to me – but only up until the arrival of the rescue service). I decided to use that to begin my story without a plan or a single further idea in my head; so I stopped thinking, worrying and pulling my hair out and started writing. I literally just let my fingers loose on the keyboard. I wouldn’t let myself re-read anything until I’d finished. It was an amazing experience writing every day without any idea where the story would take me next, but it worked. In less than a month the story was finished – and it’s been my best-seller to date.

Anne - Would you share an excerpt of Shopping for Love with us? 

Lynette – Yes!

“So Bailey’s back then,” Jenny said, cutting herself another slice of cake with a little moan of greed. “When are you going to give me the recipe for this mud cake?”

“After I’ve killed you; I promised my aunt I’d never betray her secret. And yes, he’s back.”

Jenny raised a forkful of gooey chocolate mixture to her mouth and swallowed greedily with a further moan of pleasure. “I don’t know why you don’t give up teaching and just make these delights full time. You’d make far more money than teaching pays. So what did he say? Is he back-back?”

“No. Not with me anyway,” Emma said, taking another sip of her coffee. “I couldn’t go through that again. I can’t trust him anymore. He’d do it all again, I know he would and I just can’t go through that again.”

Jenny licked the back of her fork clean before placing it down on her plate. “Quite right. So you’ve told him it’s all over and you won’t be seeing him again?”

“Well, not exactly not seeing him again…I’ve agreed to have lunch with him tomorrow. But it’s definitely all over. I think I’ve made that very clear.” And she meant it, but seeing Bailey again had shaken her quite badly, reviving, as it did, all the pain of his desertion. After he’d left on Friday night she’d lain on the sofa shedding copious tears of self-pity while Bessie chased little black caviar beads across the table. The next day she saw that the fish roe had stained the rug so badly that she’d simply rolled it up and dumped it by the dustbin.

“Well just remember that and don’t let him weaken you. Now what about the guy you met in the supermarket, shopping for lurve. Have you seen him again? Tomato guy?”

Emma took another sip of coffee and smiled at her friend. She’d told her how Greg had said he shopped for love, which Jenny thought was deeply romantic. “You’ll never guess who he is!”

Jenny, sensing intrigue, stopped staring lustfully at the remaining cake and focused her attention on Emma. “Who? Tell me!”

“Sophie and Toby Harper’s father.”

Jenny digested that information for a moment and seemed to consider her words very carefully before speaking. She glanced around Emma’s sitting room seemingly looking for inspiration. “I taught Toby last year and I met his parents a couple of times. They seemed very…together. Emma, darling, you’re not contemplating an affair with a married man – and the father of one of your students to boot, surely?”

“Of course not. He said she was about to re-marry and in fact the kids are off in Bournemouth this holiday meeting their new step-grandparents. That must mean that he’s divorced.”

Anne - Where can readers find you online?

Lynette – On my blog.  I’m also on Facebook and Twitter. 

Anne - You’re offering a giveaway copy of Shopping for Love to one lucky reader. (Kindle or PDF format to any destination.) What question would you like them to address in a comment to be eligible for the draw?

Lynette - What unusual setting would you like to see for a romantic encounter?

Anne – Thanks so much for dropping by to chat, Lynette. I look forward to what readers have to say about setting. The giveaway winner will be announced July 16. Good luck!

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