Sunday 11 June 2017

Annie's Lovely Choir by the Sea - Guest Post Liz Eeles

I've said before how delighted I am to invite writing friends onto my blog to celebrate their successes and today is no exception. Author Liz Eeles lives very close to me on the South Coast and and we met through the RNA New Writers' Scheme. Last month Liz's debut romantic comedy, Annie's Lovely Choir by the Sea, was published by Bookouture and I thought it would be nice to find out more about Liz, her writing and her road to publication.

We’re in a lift. Sell me your novel before we reach the ground floor.

Romantic comedy Annie’s Lovely Choir by the Sea is Long Lost Family meets Poldark with a touch of Gareth Malone thrown in. City girl Annie struggles to adapt to life in a Cornish village with the great-aunt she’s only just met. Salt Bay is wet, windy and practically Wi-Fi-free and Annie is determined to escape – but then she learns of a local tragedy and resurrects the village choir in a bid to bring the community together.

Annie’s Lovely Choir by the Sea is set in Cornwall. Why this county?

I love Cornwall and it was the ideal location for Londoner Annie who feels like a fish out of water but gradually falls for the place and its people. I’m particularly fond of the Penzance area so that’s where I set the fictional village of Salt Bay. This necessitated a week-long holiday in Cornwall – for research purposes, obviously.

Do you base any of your characters on real people?

No, they’re all made-up though, in my head, handsome Cornish teacher Josh looks like a cross between Aidan Turner and Richard Armitage. A couple of people have said that Annie sometimes reminds them of me, which I’m taking as a compliment even though she’s rather sweary and has commitment issues.

How long did it take you to write the novel?

Not as long as my first novel, thank goodness, which took AGES because I kept faffing about with it. That book is now shut away in a drawer where it belongs. I was far more focused when it came to writing Annie’s Lovely Choir by the Sea and, in all, it took about a year from starting the first draft to having a completed version of the book that was published last month. 

Are you a pantster or do you plot?

Plot, definitely. Without a fairly tight framework, I write myself into a corner and end up banging my head on the desk. Having said that, there’s enough flexibility in my plot for storylines to develop unexpectedly as I write and sometimes head off at tangents. So maybe there’s a tad of pantsing mixed up in there.

Do you have a special time for writing? How is your day structured?

I probably should have a special time for writing each day but I’m horribly unstructured. My plan is to write in the morning but life gets in the way and I sometimes find myself notching up my word count at midnight. The only time I’m properly focused is when I’m on a tight deadline – then, I write all day until my eyes go blurry.

What did you find most difficult when writing your novel?

The most difficult thing was letting the novel go at the end, when it was written, edited and ready to be published. I always think it can be improved so doing a final read-through, accepting it was finished, and stepping back was painful. Even though I’m proud of the book and how well it’s doing, I can’t bear to read it now it’s published.

I know that you are in a choir yourself.  Can you tell me a little about it?

I’ve loved singing since joining my school choir and singing in Gloucester Cathedral – I went to an all-girls school and we got to sing with a local boys’ school which might explain my initial enthusiasm. Now I belong to a choir in my home town near Brighton and we sing everything from Mozart to Les Miserables. Choirs can bring communities together, as well as being great fun, and I wanted to get that across in my novel.

You secured a publishing deal with Bookouture without having an agent -  do you think that the role of a literary agent is as important as it once was?

As a debut author, I don’t feel I can answer that with any authority. All I know is that I’m doing ok without an agent, though I wouldn’t rule out trying to nab one in the future.

What next for Liz Eeles?

I’m very happy with Bookouture and have signed with them to write three books in the Salt Bay series. Right now, I’m working on a Christmas sequel to Annie’s Lovely Choir by the Sea which is due for publication around October time, with book three out next Spring. After that, who knows? Lots more books, I hope.

You can buy Annie's Lovely Choir by the sea here

You can follow Liz on Facebook here

or on Twitter here: @lizeelesauthor

Liz began her writing career as a journalist for newspapers and magazines before moving into the health sector as a communications manager and press officer. The low point of her career was abandoning an interview with Cliff Richard after two questions because she was about to faint – her excuse is that she was newly pregnant at the time.

Liz is from Gloucestershire but now lives by the sea in West Sussex with her husband and grown-up daughter. She spends a lot of time meaning to meditate, avoiding exercise, and missing her son who lives in London.


  1. What a lovely interview. Thank you both xx

  2. I always enjoy reading about how fellow authors work and this definitely sounds a good book for a Cornish girl to read!

    1. ... and even if you're not a Cornish girl, it makes you want to visit!

  3. A really enjoyable interview and what a lovely-sounding book. Congratulations to Liz and thanks to Wendy. I'm sure this will be a very successful series of novels xxx

  4. This sounds like my kind of book! Will look forward to reading it.

  5. Thank you Liz and Wendy for a lovely interview. I really like the premise for this book & a Cornish setting has to be a winner :)

  6. Great interview, Wendy and Liz. I just read your email, Liz as I will be a first timer at the RNA conference in July. Look forward to meeting you and reading your book as well.

  7. I've just ordered this book. It sounds lovely.

  8. Eek, this is a really late reply (my computer wouldn't let me post a comment - my son has just sorted it out) but thanks so much for all your lovely comments - and thank you to Wendy for letting me guest on her fabulous blog. Liz x