Setting for The Goodmans

Setting is important to me. If I’m to spend several months mentally in a place it has to be compelling and somewhere I want to immerse myself. I also need to be very familiar with an area and its people to get the nuances of a setting right – architecture, cultural mix, cuisine, the ebb and flow of the town and land over the day.

Like the setting of my last book, Poppy Jenkins, the story of The Goodmans takes place somewhere from my childhood.

I adore the old market towns of the Welsh borders – Shrewsbury, Ludlow, Ledbury – with their medieval twisted timber buildings and Georgian grandeur. None were quite perfect for the setting of The Goodmans, and I blended several together to make the fictional Ludbury of the family’s residence. It most closely resembles Ludlow, however, the main difference being the church and its grounds in the book in place of the castle next to the market square.

Here are a few locations in a characterful town for a characterful family:

One of the broad Georgian avenues leading up to the square (old Assembly Rooms at the top).

The castle and grounds replaced in the book by the church and courtyard

 

 

 

A medieval alley way and location for The Cheese Shop (actually The Mouse Trap in Ludlow).

 

Medieval open-sided arcade (Maggie and Juliette saunter beneath this).

 

St Lawrences

 

Medieval street

 

The square and market

 

Town walls and Georgian houses

 

Castle (church) walls near Maggie’s house.

 

Castle (replaced by the church in the book) from the river

 

 

Town house – Abby’s surgery

 

Old town wall gate and route to Abby’s house

 

Inspiration for Abby’s cottage

 

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New book – The Goodmans

My new romance, The Goodmans, is finally out and I can’t wait for people to meet every member of that family. It’s been a ball writing them.

The lovely doctor Abby Hart lives in her dream cottage in the quintessential English border town of Ludbury, home to the Goodmans.

Maggie Goodman, all fire and passion, is like another mother to her, amiable Richard a rock and 60s-child Celia is the grandmother she never had.

But Abby has a secret. Best friend Jude Goodman is the love of her life, and very, very straight. Even if Jude had ever given a woman a second glance, there’d also be the small problem of Maggie – she would definitely not approve.

But secrets have a habit of sneaking out, and Abby’s not the only one with something to hide. Life is just about to get very interesting for the Goodmans.

Things are not what they used to be, but could they be even better?

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Here are the links to the ebook (paperback to follow):

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Smashwords

The Goodmans – a sneak preview

After writing Poppy Jenkins, I realised that one of the aspects I enjoyed writing most was the characterful family. So in my new book, I’ve put a family centre stage, and it’s certainly an interesting one. I also adored living in the Mid-Wales setting, so I’ve not strayed too far and The Goodmans is set just over the border in the fictional town of Ludbury (not so different from the historic town of Ludlow).

It features my most complex character yet and one I adore despite her flaws and sometimes because of them. Too often the formidable older woman with a smart and sharp word for everyone is the feisty supporting character. But Maggie Goodman takes pride of place in this family drama.

There’s no shortage of romance. For a start, Jude Goodman’s best friend Abby Hart secretly holds a flame for her. And there are more secrets besides.

Here are the first two chapters and an introduction to the characters.

Continue reading

Diva Magazine Interview and Literary Festival

Diva Magazine is running a new literary festival this year and I’m thrilled to be appearing on two panels. It should be the biggest lesfic event in the UK since the days of YLAF with Val McDermid, VG Lee and Kiki Archer all headlining and authors from Bold Strokes, Ylva plus indies taking part. It takes place in Birmingham, weekend of November 3/4/5. More details here.

In the run up to the event, Diva Magazine also interviewed me about Poppy Jenkins, my writing and my thoughts on the festival (it’s bloody exciting!). You can read the interview here.

A Reading from Poppy Jenkins

Many thanks to The Lesbian Talk Show for hosting my reading from Poppy Jenkins. I introduce the book and read several short extracts.

There are lots of great book clips available from other authors here too. Hope you enjoy it.

Here’s the link.

Poppy Jenkins wins Rainbow Award!

rainbowawardwinnerI’m chuffed to bits that Poppy Jenkins has won a Rainbow Award for Best Lesbian Contemporary & Erotic Romance.

It was also placed second in the overall Best Lesbian Book award which was won by Ann McMann’s Backcast.

Judges commented:

“[Clare Ashton] evokes a magical small town and country setting and brings it to life. Rarely does a romance provide the reader with a more vivid sense of place. The plot provides a great combination of whimsy, intensity, heat, with a dash of serious. While not technically a “second chance romance,” Poppy Jenkins has the essence of one by giving us a story of close childhood friends, torn apart and then reunited as adults. It’s a lovely book.”

10-best-books-of-2016Poppy Jenkins has also being popping up on some great lists recently. It appears on both The Lesbian Review’s Must Read list and their Best Books of 2016.  And for more romance recommendations from 2016 have a peek at Les Reveur’s 12 Days of Lesfic which Poppy appears on too.

Reviews for Poppy Jenkins

Poppy Jenkins 05_9Poppy’s been out a couple of months now and has received some lovely reviews. A bucolic Mid-Wales has worked it’s magic as has the charming leading heroine.

As well an uplifting summer read, I wrote the book to celebrate the very best of Mid-Wales as well as how far gay rights have come while acknowledging that coming out is never easy and the experience varies enormously from person to person. And even in the most idyllic of places bigotry of all kinds still lingers.

As well as proving an enjoyable read it’s thrilling to see some of themes woven into the story finding appreciative readers.

Here’s a selection of reviews:

Curve Magazine

Poppy Jenkins is a joy to read and is not to be missed. You’ll smile, laugh, and occasionally clutch your chest in heartbreak, and the end of it you’ll be satisfied. Clare Ashton is a masterful author and Poppy Jenkins is her best book yet.” Continue reading