Writer’s Digest – Wednesday 24 March 2021

Writing in The Coromandel, NZ, March 2019

The new Queenstown book has been sent off to my editor for its first read-through this week. While I still haven’t decided on a title, the following are the current front-runners:

  • Beach Road Café
  • The Café By The Lake
  • The Lake House
  • The House By The Lake

Having said that, I could end up going for something completely different, but if any of these ring bells with you, please let me know.

I wrote this book quickly – in less than three months. The first 50,000 words were completed in November and the first draft was done by the end of January. I set it aside for a few weeks before doing a bit of a tidy up and semi-format, fixing up those places where I’ve contradicted myself in the plot, changed character’s names midway through, and got the timeline completely wrong.

From here my editor will do a read-through and I’ll then do a rewrite before sending it through for structural editing. There’ll be another rewrite after that before it’s time for copy editing – which I have booked in for August.

In the meantime, I also need to get some concepts started for the cover – a tad difficult without a title, but hey ho.

In this novel, we’re visiting with Max and Richie – whose story was told in Wish You Were Here. We’re also checking in on Jess and Nathan from Happy Ever After. Mostly though, we’re back in Queenstown.

The blurb as it stands goes something like this:

Richie doesn’t think he’s ever been as happy as he is right now. He and Maxi are about to have a baby and move into their new home on the shores of Queenstown’s Lake Wakatipu. His garden design business is booming and everything he ever dreamed of is within his reach.

Richie’s sister Jess is also feeling on top of the world. She’s about to be an aunt for the first time, is running a campaign to be nominated as godmother, and her Queenstown café, Beach Road, is going from success to success. To put a cherry on top of her already beautifully iced cake, her boyfriend Nathan is showing no signs at all of going back to his job in Australia and for the first time in her life she’s in a relationship with someone who doesn’t seem to be in it just for the season.

As for Millie, she’s overjoyed at the thought of being a grandmother and can’t wait for the baby to arrive. With Richie and Max back in Queenstown to stay, and even Jess looking like she could be settling down at last with a man who’s perfect for her, she and her husband Cam can finally begin to ease into retirement and maybe even take a trip or two. 

But then a stranger arrives in town – and he brings with him secrets that Millie had thought were buried forever, secrets that threaten not only her happiness, but that of Richie and Jess too. 

Naturally, there will be baking – and cheese rolls. But more of that as we get closer to publication.

In the meantime, I’ve picked up It’s In The Stars and am aiming to have the first draft finished by the end of April.

Yes, you heard that right – I still haven’t finished the first draft.

While I started this novel during NaNoWriMo in 2019 – and ended up trashing all but the first 20,000 words – Alice Delaney has been waiting for a lot longer than that for her story to be told.

If her name sounds familiar it’s because we first met her in Bali on a pool lounge in Baby, It’s You. Since then, she’s also had a co-starring role in I Want You Back and Careful What You Wish For. Alice has, however, been in my head for a lot longer than that. She was the protagonist in the first book I ever wrote – way back in 2009 for NaNoWriMo. The rest of the novel will never be seen, but Alice survives (as does her dog Stella and her little semi-detached cottage in Prahran, Melbourne) and, if I stick to my milestone dates, you’ll get to read about her in time for Christmas.

To keep myself on target, I’ll update my word count here each Wednesday – and also tell you a bit more about her and the rest of the cast as we go along.

Until next week….