Like a number of traditionally published authors, Eileen has now begun making some of her backlist available on kindle, which means it’s even easier to read her books. Never Call it Loving is the latest on Amazon. It's a story that takes the reader on an emotional journey into the world of opera.
Never Call it Loving
Journalist Fern Graham believes she’s a typical modern woman, as she attempts to balance work, home and family. If she sometimes feels something is missing, she assumes she’s being foolish. Fern relaxes by listening to music, especially the voice of Pietro Petrungero, an Italian tenor.
She is stunned when her agent rings to say that Petrungero is looking for someone to write his biography and wants to interview Fern as he and his wife appreciate her work. Weeks after the worst interview ever, Fern gets the assignment and arrives at the palatial Petrungero villa. The relationship between Pietro and his wife, the famous soprano, Maria-Josefa Conti, makes Fern compare her own marriage to theirs. There is, however, a malevolent undercurrent in the villa and, while doing her research, Fern uncovers secrets which will stun the opera world.
The assignment takes her to some of the world’s greatest cities and, as she spends more time with the singer, she finds herself physically drawn to him. Soon they are falling in love. Deeply moral, but unable to fight, Fern is torn between two men and two worlds.
Can there be a happy ending, or does her future hold only heartache?
You’ll have to read it to find out! Never Call it Loving is available on Amazon (UK) and Amazon (US).
Thanks for answering the following questions, Eileen.
Have you always written in the romance genre?
Labelling genres is a mine-field, Ros. I’ve been told that some of my titles – The Stuff of Dreams, as an example - should be sold as crime novels. Apart from my children’s stories, however, there is always a ‘love interest’ in my stories. All I think about when writing is creating a good story; I leave the labelling to others. (Quite right!)
Any particular reason why several of your novels are set in the operatic world?
I’ve always been interested in the Arts. Ballet first and then when I was about fourteen, I was given an ancient 78 – at least I think it was a 78, something very old. It was, believe it or not, Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, played by the twelve year old Yehudi Menuhin. Sublime. I listened to everything I could get and was lucky as the Convent school I attended had loads of fabulous instrumental and orchestral recordings. At college I discovered the human voice in the spoken word and in opera. And that was it. Opera, the ultimate art form. When I started writing seriously I had the idea of rewriting all the opera plots.
For instance what if Othello were to become jealous and Desdemona were to say ‘Get over yourself’, as a modern woman might say. Result – no story. As you know, I do thorough research and have been lucky enough to meet wonderfully talented musicians who have helped me.
How did it feel to be nominated for the Romantic Novel of the Year Award?
Do you prefer print or eBooks?
Print, but I have to say I have fallen in love with my Kindle; it’s the ability to enlarge the print. Unfortunately it’s also too easy to buy books!
What is the most difficult part about starting a new book?
Knowing where to start, and which book to start. We all have so many ideas and unless a book has been commissioned, the ideas parade themselves shamelessly crying, me, me. Like an Italian ice cream shop, each one looks fabulous and it takes ages to decide if a particular idea has legs and will run.
What kind of books do you prefer to read?
Almost anything well-written! For pleasure I read well-written crime. Strangely enough, most of my favourite authors are women: Kate Atkinson, Louise Penny, Donna Leon, Aline Templeton, but I’m enjoying the Lewis books by Peter May. I also read a lot of what might be called Light Lit – Anita Shreve and Anne Tyler as examples. And I constantly reread favourite classics.
Do you have a favourite writing place?
Not really. All I need is a table and a chair that supports my spine. I have an office but it’s too cold in the winter. At this time of the year, I’m writing in an upstairs bedroom because a flowering cherry fills one of the windows – so beautiful.
Do you find time for hobbies?
What’s a hobby?!! I read and I listen to music – and I have catholic tastes. We have three absolutely adorable grand-children and I always have free time when there’s a chance of seeing any one of them. The whole family got together to take the babies to see the pandas at Edinburgh zoo. Definitely a walnut-shell day!
Are you working on another novel (if you want to answer that!)
Rosemary, you know writers are always working on another novel!! I’m writing two books at the moment and when I have any spare time I’m finishing the book that won the Elizabeth Gouge award several years ago. I intend to put that one out on Kindle. Alan Lennon Design in Edinburgh will do a cover for me. He did the Never Call it Loving cover and I think he’s superb.
Any tips for new writers?
Read a wide variety of books. Reading is like eating – you can’t say you don’t like something new until you’ve tried it. Don’t wait for the right time or the right place to write – they might never come. Just write. Listen to advice with an open mind, take it in and think about it. Eventually you’ll be able to see what’s right for you.
Once when I was doing a school visit a boy asked me quite seriously if writers ever said, ‘that’s it, I’m away for my tea?’ That’s actually a very deep question and since I was a school teacher for thirty years, I’ve heard it in many forms. What he meant was, did we sometimes give up and go off too early. I think the answer is a resounding yes. We leave the work before it’s properly edited. A first draft is not enough – unless you are quite amazingly brilliant. Put the story down, by all means, and have your tea! But pick it up again and read it – aloud preferably. Weaknesses jump out at you. Put it aside for as long as you can and then reread. It’s amazing what you’ll see and honestly, even if you’re off mowing the lawn or doing a pile of ironing, maybe even watching television, the mind continues to work away on that book.
Fabulous answers, Eileen, thank you for that wisdom.
You can find out more about Eileen and her long list of published novels on her website.
Eileen is an honorary member of the Angus Writers Circle, and was vice president of the Scottish Association of Writers. She has been a member of the Society of Authors for many years and was on the committee of the Scottish branch for about six years, and Secretary for four. She is also a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.