For the longest time the only person in my life that knew I had published my first novella ‘His Elle’ was my husband. In fact, it took me a whole year to pluck up the courage to even tell him that I’d written it. Was it because I was embarrassed or ashamed? Not at all. It was because deep down, I was worried that it simply wouldn’t be good enough. He encouraged me to self-publish and I joined a blog tour and twitter to help promote it.
Then something amazing happened - the very first review I received (from someone I didn’t know) had a five star rating. Before I knew it, I had a littering of three, four and five star reviews on Amazon and GoodReads, and I even received a few emails from readers telling me how much they enjoyed my work. For a few months I was incredibly happy with the progress of His Elle and knew that I had to write another book soon, just to continue to feel the high.
Then, a few months ago, something else happened. Something that I wasn’t expecting. I received a one star review on Amazon, coupled with a comment from the reader that they actually hated it. Yes, they wrote the words ‘I hate it’ on the internet, on Amazon of all places - for the whole world to see. My worst fear as a writer had been realised. Or so I thought.
In actual fact I think it’s the best thing that could have happened because the review was not actually critical of my writing style, but more the fact that the reader strongly disliked the story content. Actually, this is totally fine with me and it now brings a smile to my face. I’ve read books like that before, where there is nothing wrong at all with the authors style, just that the story didn’t agree with me. But those books at least make me feel something and invoke a strong emotion. After that day, all the reviews I receive I look upon in a truly positive light, whether or not they are negative, and this is because I have truly sparked a reaction from the reader, and that means that as an author, I have done my job.
So, I did indeed carry on writing, and I am so pleased to have recently published my latest release The House on Hundred Hill, the first in The Nephilim series, now available for Amazon Kindle. It’s very different from my last book, but I do hope the readers who enjoyed His Elle will also enjoy this.
Last but not least, I’d just like to thank Nomar for inviting me to his awesome blog to promote my latest release, it’s a pleasure to be here.
Excerpt -Jessica slowly opened the door of her car and placed her red heels on the gravelled driveway. She had arrived after a short drive from her one bedroomed flat in the City, yet was now deep in the heart of Cotswold’s countryside. She instinctively knew where to turn off the road.
Everything looked familiar; the rolling farm land, the few miles of hedgerows, the country inn that she had passed just a few moments ago but now wasn’t even visible. Even the one-lane track that opened up before her very eyes as an introduction to the sprawling and immaculate gravel driveway that framed the front of the house was familiar to her. She had that unmistakable sense of déjà vu, like she had been there before, even though she knew it to be impossible. Jessica was a city girl and had not so much as stepped foot outside of central Gloucester since she had moved there ten years ago, escaping from her former life, like a prisoner on the run.
As she glanced at her surroundings it was as if she were peering through a fine mist. There was something not quite right about this place and her inner voice told her to get back in the car and drive, drive as far and as fast as could until the House on Hundred Hill was a mere spec on the distant horizon and only ever appeared to her again in her dreams.
Fighting her own will, Jessica stepped out of the car, left the keys in the ignition and firmly closed the door, leaving behind the rogue thoughts that cantered around in her head.
The significant mansion looked overly formal and obscurely severe in the soft orange rays of the evening sun. The shadows from the substantial English Oaks that adorned the driveway spread an eerie silence over the perfectly cut lawns and exquisitely manicured roses in full bloom that climbed the stone walls of the house.
Magnificent topiary lions bared their moss-green teeth from either side of the porch, stretching out their long bodies as they studied her approach. Jessica shuddered as the eyes of the female seemed to follow her as she walked up the white marble steps and under the porch, towards the front door. She spun around when she reached the top, eyeing the lioness as she attempted to shake the unearthly feeling of being watched.
Taking great care to smooth out the black summer dress embellished with large red Japanese flowers that she had chosen for the evening, Jessica nervously lifted the heavy iron deer-shaped knocker and rapped once on the door. She had left her keys in the car as instructed, yet there seemed to be nobody around to greet her or to park her car. In fact, with the exception of her own ragged breathing, there was not a sound to be heard. She began to wonder if she had written down the address correctly, but this surely had to be the place. She felt it.
Footsteps approached the front door from inside the house and Jessica heard her heart thumping in her ears. She fiddled with her hair; an old nervous habit. What am I doing here? She thought. Her nerves suddenly overwhelmed her and she turned on her red heels and started to quickly walk away, back down the marble steps of the porch, as quickly as she could. She had the sudden desperate urge to run back to her car before it was too late.
She was already too late. It had gone.