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Beyond The Page & Giveaway: “Follow A Star” by Christine Stovell

Jul 7
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Today it’s my pleasure to welcome Choc Lit UK author, Christine Stovell to CABR

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Find out more about her novel, FOLLOW A STAR, then enter the giveaway 🙂

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CABRBTP

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Follow A Star cover

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Blurb:

Sometimes your heart’s the only navigator you need.

May Starling’s had enough of her demanding career and even more demanding ex. Responding to a ‘crew-wanted’ ad, she follows her dreams of escape only to find herself at sea with red-haired Bill Blythe.

Bill warns May that close-quartered living can create a boiling pot of emotions, but even May is surprised by the heat building up inside the vintage wooden boat. And when May and Bill tie up at Watling’s Boatyard in Little Spitmarsh, May’s determined to test her new-found feelings on dry land.

But May’s dream of escaping her former life is in danger of being swept away when several unwelcome blasts from the past follow her ashore, all seemingly hell-bent on reminding her it’s never that easy to clear the decks.

Little Spitmarsh #2. Turning the Tide is book #1.

BUY Links:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | B&N |

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Guest post by Christine Stovell:

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Christine Stovell picture

Follow a Star is set in the present and begins with my heroine, May Starling, running away to sea in a vintage wooden boat bound for Little Spitmarsh, the location for my novel, Turning the Tide.

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Little Spitmarsh is a fictitious seaside town, an amalgam of the faded coastal resorts and harbours I visited with my husband when we sailed halfway round Britain, but its inhabitants are very real to me. I missed the place and the people when I left it behind so I couldn’t resist returning to see how some of the familiar characters were doing. That said, you don’t have to have read Turning the Tide to read Follow a Star as both May and the book’s hero, Bill, are completely new characters.

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Bill’s a strapping red-haired builder trying to do his best for his ailing uncle and all May wants is to escape the smouldering wreckage of her burnt-out career and one very demanding ex. Neither of them needed any complications – which is why I trapped them together on a very small boat! I knew exactly how each of them would set the other off, and had a lot of fun creating sparks and misunderstandings between them. But when the pair of them arrive at the old boatyard in Little Spitmarsh, they quickly discover their troubles have only just begun.

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On one level, Follow a Star could be described as a jaunty romance, but beneath the apparent playfulness there’s a darker undercurrent as May struggles to confront her manipulative and persuasive ex-boyfriend with little support from her self-obsessed mum who’s fighting her own battles with ageing. I really enjoyed writing May’s two voyages of discovery, both external and internal, and to see her step out from the shadows of the past to become her own woman. Here she is at the very beginning.

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EXCERPT from “Follow A Star”:

“May Starling stood outside the deserted railway station on what should have been a pleasant July evening, wondering what had happened to the man who was supposed to be meeting her. There wasn’t a car in sight. Certainly no sign of the new silver Jaguar that Cecil Blythe claimed she wouldn’t miss. Nor was there, she thought looking round for a crumb of comfort, a cheery line of cabbies jostling for her custom.

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There were three texts on her mobile, all from Aiden, which she ignored, and when she tried the number for Cecil Blythe it was unavailable. Perhaps he’d gone straight to the marina and was now so engrossed in his new toy he’d forgotten all about her? May squinted up at the blue and peach summer sky then down at the empty street curving over the crest of a hill. From the brow she’d probably be able to see the sea. If she was really lucky she might even spot a cluster of masts or the gleam of white hulls glowing apricot under the evening sun. Or she could stand there, checking her watch and phone every few minutes, until Cecil Blythe remembered he was supposed to be collecting her.

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Hefting her bag over her shoulder, she set off, telling herself some vigorous exercise would settle that fluttering feeling of anxiety batting at her fragile hopes with insistent wings. Her sense of disquiet had grown on the journey. Squeezed on to the cramped train from outer London to the south coast with dozens of office workers at the dog-end of the week, her nerve endings prickled every time a blank stare slid over her, only relaxing when whoever it was turned their attention elsewhere.

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But it was ridiculous to imagine that anyone would even notice her, let alone recognise her. They all had their own lives to get on with and weekends to plan. Who’d be looking for her here? Not Aiden, anyway; the great outdoors was the last place he’d expect to find her. So she could loosen up, use the brisk walk to regain her perspective and enjoy her adventure. If Cecil Blythe’s new boat had been berthed in one of the marinas closer to the mouth of Portsmouth’s historic harbour, she wouldn’t even have needed a lift, but Jollimarine, some four miles up one of the sleepier creeks meandering off from the main body of water, was a lot less accessible by land and public transport.

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It couldn’t be that hard to find, could it? Logically, all she had to do was to follow the road downhill to the sea until she got her bearings. Striking out, though, it seemed to be a very long road. And now that the few houses grouped around the station were behind her and fields widened out either side, it was lonely too. Lonelier than she would have wished … Careful what you wish for, wasn’t that the saying? And oh, how she’d wished for her dream to come true. If only she’d realised that shooting for the moon would send her spinning back down to earth. If only someone had warned her about … May gradually became aware that she wasn’t alone any more. So far as an old Land Rover Defender could creep along, this one was. And right beside her. May took a quick sideways glance at a male face turned towards her then stared fixedly ahead …”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Winning a tin of chocolate in a national essay competition at primary school inspired Christine Stovell to become a writer! After graduating from University of East Anglia, she took various jobs in the public sector writing research papers and policy notes by day and filling up her spare drawers with embryonic novels by night.

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Losing her dad to cancer made her realise that if she was ever going to get a novel published she had to put her writing first. Setting off, with her husband, from a sleepy seaside resort on the east coast in a vintage wooden boat to sail halfway round Britain provided the inspiration for her debut novel Turning the Tide and her most recent novel, Follow a Star.

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Turning the Tide was a top 100 Bestseller with Amazon Kindle and spent months in the Top 10 Chart for Adult Contemporary Romance. Christine’s second novel with Choc Lit was Move over Darling and she also has a novella published on the Choc Lit Lite imprint called Only True in Fairy Tales.

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Christine lives in Wales.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR:

Blog | Twitter @chrisstovell | Facebook |

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