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