The genre of romantic fiction was thrust firmly into the spotlight last year when ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ became a global phenomenon and now a Swinton woman is ready to dip her feet into the pool with the release of her first ever book.
But the more prudish among you needn’t be worried, Lisa Hobman’s novel isn’t along the same lines as the well read E.L James creation, instead she’s looked to locations and themes which are important to her in the hope that women of all ages and shapes and sizes will be able to relate to her words.
‘Bridge over the Atlantic’, set in the Scottish Highlands, is released in a fortnight’s time and while to any experienced writer a publication date becomes almost routine, for first time author Lisa it promises to be a life-changing moment.
“I only started writing the book in May last year shortly after moving up here,” she explained while taking a break from her trusty laptop.
“I’d had the story idea for a while but before we moved up to the Borders I was working as a learning mentor at a school in West Yorkshire so I rarely had any time to get cracking on putting pen to paper.
“One of the first things I did once we were settled into our new home was to buy a Kindle and before long I’d read all of these different romance novels.
“They were a massive inspiration and I thought to myself ‘I’m going to have a go myself and if nobody’s interested I’ll just self-publish.”
Well any worries Lisa had about people not being impressed by her writing skills were well and truly put to bed at the end of last year when she signed a contract with American publishers 5 Prince.
“I nearly fell of my chair when the email pinged through!” she recalled.
“I absolutely couldn’t believe it. “Being a complete novice to the world of writing once I’d written the book I didn’t have a clue how to get it published.
“I did a lot of Googling and sent away drafts to quite a few different companies. Getting the first couple of rejection emails was quite hard- they came a bit too quick for my liking!
“I got chatting to an American writer on Twitter and it was her that suggested getting in touch with a publisher over there.
“I’d never even considered that option but I sent away my manuscript at the end of October and quickly received a response from them asking for a full version.
“That was around Thanksgiving time and having not heard anything I started to lose hope so the contract offer absolutely blew me away.
“I was just about to shut my laptop down to go round my friend’s house for a glass of wine when I received the email- needless to say we had a few celebratory drinks that night!”
Without wanting to give too much away about ‘Bridge Over The Atlantic’, Lisa let slip that the plot focuses on curvy central character Mallory Westerman, a woman who’s unlucky in love until one day she gets her high heel caught in a pavement crack and falls into the arms of a passing stranger.
“It’s not gratuitous at all,” Lisa continued. “It’s a story that I’m hoping normal women like myself will relate to.
“I’ve poured a lot of myself into the book and I wanted it to be a bit of romantic escapism.
“We’re still in rubbish times economically and everybody, if they’re completely honest with themselves, loves a happy ending.”
Although her own biggest critic, Lisa wasn’t content to leave judgement on her debut novel to her own eye and printed off manuscripts to a trusted circle of friends.
And now both they and her family back home are just as excited as Lisa that they will soon be able to hold a copy of ‘Bridge Over The Atlantic’ in their hands.
“When I told my parents I was writing a book they were like ‘oh that’s nice’ so when I told them I’d finished it and got a publishing contract I think they were in shock!
“It’s bizarre to think that in a few weeks time I’ll be sitting with a box of my books. I’m actually looking forward to reading it cover to cover myself.
“I’m onto my third book now; writing is becoming a bit of an obsession. People can’t get a decent conversation out of me at the moment as I’m always typing away!”
‘Bridge Over The Atlantic’ will be released as an ebook from April 4 from the likes of Amazon and iTunes and in paperback form from April 18. It will also be available to buy from Melrose Books.