This month’s meet up with fellow romance author Christine Penhall, was as much of an adventure as last time. We are investigating ways to make book marketing fun and decided to take our books on tour to local film locations. The day started with a very serious meeting that involved bacon sandwiches and coffee, on soaking wet chairs, as once again it had been raining! We discussed movies, beautiful settings and how much we’d both love to have our books adapted into dazzling films, a wild ambition which does happen to some lucky writers. We glossed over the amount of work it must take to make this happen and dreamily chatted about locations and who might portray or characters.
Chris and I both adore watching romantic comedies like Love Actually, The Wedding Singer and You’ve Got Mail, so we decided to pick up some paperback copies of our books and visit Hylands House in Chelmsford, Essex, which was the location for the 2004 film, Chasing Liberty. That was filmed on location in Prague, Venice, Berlin, London, Washington D.C. and Chelmsford! It also doubled up as the White House in an episode of The Crown which Chris binged watched in the early months of 2021.
One of my books, Finding Gina, is set beside a country manor house, where the heir to the manor is trying to save the building by setting up a wedding business in the grounds. Gina arrives in her little camper van, after taking a wrong turn in the road and they set about making the new venture a success. Tucking her van amongst the bluebells at Bluebell Manor, Gina hides from her past and tries to step out of the shadow of her family.
Although my meetings with Chris often seem a comedy of errors, with the weather being awful and us pretty much winging what we are going to do or say, it’s so much fun to have creative meetings in different places to spark ideas and inspirations.
Next, we headed to Maldon which is where some scenes for the film adaptation of Sarah Perry’s book, The Essex Serpent were recently filmed. We didn’t manage to catch a glimpse of the film’s stars Clare Danes and Tom Hiddleston, so we took some photos and audio from outside the iconic Blue Boar hotel and then discovered a stunning local bookstore where we spent a while chatting to the staff about books and writing, which was a lovely way to network and introduce ourselves as local authors. We also found some interesting side streets, one of which had little beach hut ice cream pods, which worked beautifully with my new book, The little ice cream shop by the sea.
The day ended with a stroll along the waterside, lunch and some book sniffing from Chris (don’t ask! Lol). We also picked up some copies of the events leaflet for The Essex Book Festival, as Chris is hosting a chat about her writing on the 11th Aug, at Clacton Library and I have been invited back to Essex Author’s Day, on the 25th Sept, at Chelmsford Library, where I will be running a seminar called ‘How to market your book.’ Places are limited to between 15-28 spaces depending on seating restrictions at that time, for this face to face event, so early booking is essential. Tickets for my event are £7/£5.
If anyone reading this decides they absolutely must turn our books into films, please get in contact! Lol:)
Check out Christine Penhall’s post about our meeting and find out more about her work here: http://www.chrispenhall.co.uk/
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