Thursday, September 27, 2012

50th party blog guest - Henriette Gyland

I’ve known Henriette Gyland for years through the RNA (we have children of a similar age, and we tend to see each other at conferences), and I was SO pleased this year when she sold her first novel to Choc-Lit. I was even more pleased when I realised it was set in my part of the world, and I have a copy on pre-order :o) I wanted my 50ty party to be a celebration of my friends’ books as well as my own, and what nicer way than with a debut? (Especially one with a cover like this. It's gorgeous!)

Over to Henri:

When Kate asked me to help her celebrate her 50th book, I was delighted, and in total awe. “50 books? How's that even possible?” But Kate has shown us that it is possible, and it's a great pleasure for me to be here.

It made me realise that in order to write 50 books – or even just one – writers needs to have a steady source of inspiration. Obviously this can be as varied as there are people on the planet, and how, where, and when it strikes is unpredictable, to say the least.

I draw mine from my enviroment. Not that I'm surrounded by rolling hills, ancient woodlands, and neolithic remains (sometimes I wish I were...); instead I live in a multi-cultural, multi-faith, and multi-lingual suburb of London. It's cramped, noisy, polluted, with chewing-gum stained pavements, an ever-changing high street, and eagle-eyed traffic wardens on the prowl.

And I love it.

Daily, it's bustling like a beehive with a multitude of goods, foods, and services on offer, and you'll hear any number of languages when walking down the street. We have Indian, Greek, Middle-Eastern, Italian, and Caribbean restaurants, Polish delis, Lebanese greengrocers, Somali cafés, Chinese takeaways, Irish pubs, Turkish kebab shops, an Italian ice cream parlour, a Filipino barber, a Spanish tapas place, an Arabic learning centre, a Vietnamese nail artist, a Ukrainian tailor, and a good ol' English chippie.

On top of that, we have more estate agents, tattooists, hair dressers, off licences, florists, car dealers, dry cleaners, ironmongers, greasy spoons, pound shops, and parks than you can shake a stick at, as well as community groups for any kind of interest.

For believers, God, in all His forms, can be worshipped everywhere. Within a 1½ mile radius of my road there are 5 C of E churches, 1 Catholic, 2 Baptist, 1 7th Day Adventist, 1 Assyrian Christian, 1 mosque, 2 gurdwaras, 1 Hindu temple, and 1 synagogue. Festivals are a-plenty, some religious, some not, like the jazz and comedy festivals, and the London Mela.

There's a wealth of life around me, just up for grabs, for me to use in my work. My brain never stops working as I'm constantly thinking up plots, situations, and problems for my characters and their supporting cast.

Having said that, the inspiration for my first novel came from a completely different corner of the UK. It was spending a couple of days on the North Norfolk coast which inspired me to write my romantic suspense novel, Up Close. Here's a brief blurb:

Too close for comfort…

When Dr Lia Thompson’s grandmother dies unexpectedly, Lia is horrified to have to leave her life in America and return to a cold and creaky house in Norfolk. But as events unfold, she can’t help feeling that there is more to her grandmother’s death than meets the eye.

Aidan Morrell is surprised to see Lia, his teenage crush, back in town. But Aidan’s accident when serving in the navy has scarred him in more ways than one, and he has other secrets which must stay hidden at all costs, even from Lia.

As Lia comes closer to uncovering the truth, she is forced to question everything she thought she knew. In a world of increasing danger, is Aidan someone she can trust?

To win a signed copy, please leave a comment below.

You can connect with Henriette at -
Twitter: @henrigyland


jackie said...

Wow,I remember reading the first chapter of this - didn't you win the Festival of romance award with it? It certainly hooked me into wanting more. The cover is absolutely gorgeous. Choc Lit really excel in covers, don't they (and in signing fabulous writers of course!)
Can't wait to read it!

Henriette said...

Thanks, Jackie. It's music to my ears to hear you were intrigued by the extract you read and wanted more :-) And I just love the cover. Hx

marybelle said...

I imagine that a writer can be inspired by any & every environment.

Such a beautiful cover.

Catherine Miller said...

That description reminds me of when I lived in Stratford, although it's not quite the same now. I went a few weeks ago and the Olympic Park is where my student digs were! I'm really looking forward to reading Up Close!

Henriette said...

Marybelle - I agree, inspiration is everywhere. I'm still, sort of, hankering after those rolling hills and neolithic remains, but open myself up to what's around me, wherever I am. Thanks for your lovely comment about my cover.

Henriette said...

Catherine - I haven't been to the Olympic Park yet. Very remiss of me! And Stratford is an incredibly colourful part of London, although obviously a lot has changed. I read an article about eco-buildings in connection with the Olympic Village, which can be re-used somewhere else - that's certainly worth a visit, imho.

Carol Hedges said...

Lovely cover! So important, as it's the first thing to catch the eye. You are right - inspiration strikes us anywhere - we just have to have an open mind and open eyes!

PrincessFiona01 said...

Sounds Intriguing. I love reading books set in evocative English landscapes. Well done Henriette.

PS. Picked up Rico yesterday while shopping.

PrincessFiona01 said...

The PS was for Kate. It's after 1am here and brain is dysfunctional

suzy henderson said...

Oh wow! 50 novels. That's fantastic, Kate. Brilliant post; enjoyed it. Hearing from Henriette was great -her book cover is beautiful. Very inspiring and I am as ever in awe, as I sit here writing my 1st novel. Thank you & all the very best to you both.
Suzy Henderson

Caroline said...

Hi Henriette (love your name BTW). Massive congratulations on your debut. It sounds fascinating, and your cover is lovely. Caroline x

Henriette said...

Thanks for your kind words about my cover.
Carol - You're so right. Covers are important because they're what catches our eye, but it's also a very personal thing.
Princess Fiona - If you like books set in the English landscape, you might actually like this one. I've tried to make the setting almost a character in it's own right.
Suzy - Good luck with your 1st novel! I'm sure you'll get there.
Caroline - Cool, you like my name! I didn't always, but it's kind of grown on me :-)

bn100 said...

Nice inspiration for books.

Kate Hardy said...

First name drawn from the hat for ‘Up Close’ – Catherine Miller. Please contact me kate(dot)hardy(at)btinternet(dot)com with your details, and I'll get everything sorted :o) Thanks for taking part!