Annie Campbell, Author Annie Campbell, Author
11th March 2016,
Well doesn't time fly when you are enduring a dreich drear Scottish winter! I have just finished writing and editing my latest book A Second Chance. I can't remember where the idea first came to me to write this, but once it crept into my brain I had to go with it. It was not an easy book to write because of the content. I am writing about a guy who assaults his girlfriend and how each of them deal with the repercussions of that event. I was careful not to come across as sympathetic of abusers, because the action of violence toward another in a relationship is inexcusable. That said, I have to believe in the potential for change within a person, and with change and obvious regret, I believe there can be forgiveness. I daily attend a website for addicts and those whose lives are affected by addicts in the family, and someone once started a thread with the question "Would you ever date an addict even in recovery?" I was perturbed to see how many would not give a second chance to someone who could, for the sake of argument, made monumental changes in their life.
I think this then was the germ of the idea behind this book. I knew that there was a personal line I couldn't cross in writing this, because I know that for some readers domestic violence is or has been a fact in their lives and I would never want to belittle their suffering or suggest that all should be forgiven. Therefore in this book Clayton goes off the rails when he drinks spirits for the first time when in an emotionally fraught state. In this condition he assaults his Girlfriend Shannon. Again, here, although he lays hands on her, bruises her, terrifies her, and verbally lashes out, he doesn't punch or sexually assault her. I had to believe in my hero's inherent goodness to write this, I had to believe him incapable of going against his nature even drunk and emotionally suffering.
With a deep need to show the realism of abuse though, it is seen in the background of all the main characters. Gosh that all sounds as if this is going to be a really heavy book. It isn't.
For starters, we meet the Doolan clan; Shannon and her brothers Colm, Aiden, Patrick and Danny, her mom Violet and Shannon's sweet natured but evil smelling British bulldog George. The interplay between the family, the nature of siblings is on show here, both the closeness of a shared upbringing and the annoyance of same.
Zander, Josie and Jonnie of Lying Straight make cameo appearances ( Well, Zander rather more,) so If you haven't read Lying Straight first, there are spoilers, though it shouldn't ruin the enjoyment if you do read them out of order.
I am currently mocking up the front cover, and as always my mother is wading through swearwords and orgasms to correct my grammatical errors, I have long since given up feeling embarrassed by the thought of her reading a graphic sex scene written by her 'baby girl'!
Well time certainly does fly doesn't it! I have now written and released 'Layers Beneath' The second in the Doolan family series. Whilst it follows chronologically from 'A Second Chance' and is best enjoyed by reading in sequence, it is a stand alone novel as are all my books. I am sure there are many readers who are happy to buy cliffhangers, but I am not one of them. I don't read them, so I won't write them. that isn't to say I won't give a little taster of what is to come, or leave you with a tease in the epilogue!
This book, much like 'Dreams of a Tomorrow' practically wrote itself. I could very clearly hear Aiden and Cass as they argued and fought their way into this book, and I stood watching as they grew closer.
It is difficult when one writes a 'boy hates girl' 'girl hates boy' book, to find a happy ending for the characters that doesn't draw them too far from their original characters. Lets face it if they hated each other for being who they were, how can they fall in love without changing? Here, we do see Aiden learn to loosen up a bit and let go his stranglehold on his self control. We also see him questioning his preconceived ideas of Cass and his judgemental nature.
Cass doesn't get let off the hook, as she begins to accept that her free living free loving nature, that gives all relationships a 'F*** by' date, is covering a long time hurt, and unresolved daddy issues.
Their own issues apart, the course of love never runs smooth, and for Aiden and Cass to give in to their feelings for each other would mean breaking the unwritten rule of brothers never dating their sisters friends. and if that isn't enough, Cass's father has very specific ideas of who he wants her to marry.
I am not itching to begin writing Pats story. He has given me a few weeks of peace, but I am not sure how much longer he will stay quiet enough for me to ignore him.
I cannot believe another year has gone by! It has been a busy year in the real world, and because of that poor Patrick has had to take a back seat. First we took a buying trip to Spain and after exhaustive research and viewings across the south of the country, we eventually found the house for us. It is in a small town near Almeria, still very typically Spanish, though with enough British ex-pats that the locals know a little of the language. I have been trying off an don to learn Spanish but keep getting mixed up with my French! I think if I were to be immersed in the language I would be alright but as yet haven't had the opportunity. We have visited several times since completing the purchase in October, as we had quite a lot of work to do to make it habitable.
Also I have now given up my part time work and am focussing on readying our current home and garden for sale as we will downsize in Scotland now that we intend spending more time in Spain.
Focusing on that, and travelling around, I haven't had a lot of time to work on Pat's story. Also, because I jokingly promised my husband that I would put a murder in my next book. Be relieved its only a murder - he wanted a vengeful ventriloquists dummy, but I managed to convince him that had been done elsewhere! Problem is, I am a dialogue focussed author, all about my characters. Plots are not my strong suit, an a murder was really going to stretch my imagination. Of course initially, I tried too hard, looking at convoluted twists and turns. then I thought, 'this isn't me, this isn't my characters' and went back to the drawing board.
I started with what Pat had told me about himself. He was loving and loyal to his family, but held secrets deep inside from his time serving in Afghanistan. He had crushed on Sara Gordon, his new boss, when she was Aiden's study partner in high school. He rarely drank, didn't do relationships and at the end of Aiden and Cass's story, was suddenly accused of murder.
I knew that keeping things simple would be better for me, so I thought, 'what if he accidently kills someone? And what if Sara saves him and they fall in love and live happily ever after?'
As always, the best laid plans 'aft gang agley' and so it was with Patrick. Yes, Sara comes to his rescue, but is he grateful? does he sweep her into his arms and carry her off? No! he develops an unexpected attraction to his arresting officer. And underlying everything is the deep guilt that Patrick has tried to control, but which threatens his happiness.
All going well, you, Dear Reader, will get a chance to become better aquainted with Patrick Doolan September 2017, a specific release date will be announced. You will also catch up with familiar figures, get to know Sara and her unusual little boy Nicu a little better and meet some new characters that I hope you will enjoy reading as much as I enjoyed writing.
Adios for now Mi Amigos!