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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

GUEST BLOG: Phillipa Ashley

If you had to do it all over again...what would you change?

I’d try to enjoy the journey more and not worry about what lay ahead.

Not that I haven’t had the most exciting time. I’ve had five novels published in many countries, won an award and had a movie made of one of my books. I’ve been very fortunate but you know what? Despite all the fun and excitement, I’ve still wondered whether I could have done things differently? Should I have written a particular scene differently? Could I have made it longer/better/ funnier/smarter?

Okay, I’m naturally a worrier, maybe all authors are. Maybe that anxiety is an important part of wanting to develop as a writer and make each book the best it can be.

I think part of that feeling is because I got into print very fast by publishing standards. My first book was completed in spring 2006 and published by a UK publisher in October that year! Everything was new to me, being edited, on the shelves, reviewed, read… it was a real rocket fuelled journey with no time to draw breath.

Now, with all my books being published in the US in the space of two years, I feel I’m on another high-powered journey.

But at least now I have previous experience to draw on, a great network of author friends and lovely readers to support me.

Wish You Were Here is also about looking back – in the heroine, Beth’s case, she’s been hurt badly by a man she thought loved her eight years before the book starts. Jack Thornfield even proposed to her, after a short but intense holiday romance. She thought he was The One; he swore she was The One.

Then they both got back to reality and - nothing.

Angry and confused, Beth moved on. She had to because the sudden death of her beloved mother left her having to help her father bring up a young family. She’s grown up and though she’ll never forget Jack (or forgive him) she’s had to be strong and look to the future for the sake of everyone she loves.

But when she meets Jack again, in very trying circumstances, those feelings and passions just can’t be denied…

I hope that readers will find Wish You Were Here a tender, romantic read, sometimes funny and occasionally sad.

It’s a novel about regrets, family and secrets and ultimately about growing up and whether you should hold out for the biggest prize of all: true love.

So thanks for having me at LASR. And here's a question for your readers: What’s the one thing you would change if you could go back in time? Or wouldn’t you change a thing?

I live in a Staffordshire village with my husband and daughter but I try to spend part of the year in the Lake District – walking, visiting literary locations and trying to track down the ultimate Lakeland pub and tea shop. I also love body boarding and have recently had my first surfing lesson.


Clodagh said...

Congratulations on all your success, Phillipa!

If I could do it all again, I'd start writing the kind of stuff I write now earlier, instead of fumbling around finding my niche. But maybe the fumbling is all part of the process!

Dawn said...

If I could do it all over again, I would have gone to college so my family wouldn't have had to struggle so much...lessons learned though and we appreciate what we have more now but I wish it would have been a smoother ride....

Phillipa said...

Thanks Clodagh and Dawn,

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn't it? But we just have to the best with what we know now!

I'd have started writing romance 20 years ago, if I'd know how much I was going to love it.

Rachel said...

If I could do it all again,I'd have listened to my dad when he told me a certain man in my life was no good!Dad was right of course, but he never got to see me dump the rat. Hindsight - marvellous isn't it?

Phillipa said...

Oh Rachel, sorry he didn;t get to see that. I'm glad we don't get to much foresight - not sure I want to see what's in store!

agenoria said...

I was listening to Tim Finn's album "Before & After" today and there is a song on it called "Always Never Now" which has a line:

'He said "I'd do it all again just to be where I am"'

And, from "North & South" there is:
"Try as we might, happy as we were, we can't go back"

I've had good things come after bad, so if I changed the bad I could lose the good too. Though I do sometimes wonder, along the lines of Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken", how my life could have been different.

J. Fishler said...

Ironic I should stumble across this tonight...I've been listening to Bertie Higgins sing Key Largo - you know, the song that goes, we had it all, just like Bogey and Bacall...and wishing we could go back and do it all over again.
As to what I would change, well, I would be more diligent about carving out time to write; I wouldn't be such a people-pleaser, I would try to please me more.
Hindsight: It can churn up a beautiful memory - and then it can give you a real mental headslap!
Meanwhile, am happy YOU carved out the time. Love your work!
Jen Fishler