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Guest blogger: Esther Campion

17 March 2019

Thanks, ARRA for inviting me back! I have had a very busy few weeks promoting The House of Second Chances and am currently crossing everything that all the hard work will pay off and people will buy my book. The publishing industry is such a rollercoaster ride, but I am grateful to Hachette Australia for the opportunity to be on it. This has in fact been the first week where I have not been doing what felt like wall-to-wall interviews and blog posts, so I kicked back somewhat and watched television. That might sound like a very ordinary thing to do but, believe me, it was luxurious. Well it would have been if I’d chosen something less scary and gripping than The Cry. Yes, I watched all four episodes and was left thinking what might happen next, but do you know what, despite the fantastic acting, the interesting settings, the twists and turns of the plot, I felt something was missing. It took me a while, but it eventually came to me. Romance. I’m a sucker for it and although my novels are shaping up to be works of life-lit jam-packed with communities of relatable characters, in amongst it there has to be at least one love story.

When did romance become important to me? I think I’ve been aware of romance from a very young age. My parents weren’t a perfect couple or anything, but they were definitely in love. Sure they’d argue and my mother was an awful one for the silent treatment, but I always loved the tender moments when they’d hold hands while watching a film or kiss when my father came home from work. I was a child in a time before on-screen French kissing and remember a widowed aunt talking loudly whenever the hero and heroine would get together in those tame kisses she described as ‘sloppy’. God knows what she made of the full-on tongue carry-on that came later, but that wasn’t a conversation you had in your teens, especially in the holy Catholic Ireland where I grew up.

I remember the time myself and my sister went to see An Officer and a Gentleman and came home raving about it, both of us madly in love with Richard Gere. On our recommendation, my parents went to see it. Well, we’ve never forgotten the lambasting we got from my mother the night they walked out of the movie and came home to lay into us as to how we could have imagined she’d enjoy such pornography. Happy days! I now have a fifteen-year-old son at home who is mortified at some of the programmes I watch on Netflix. The joys of generation gaps.

From Out of Africa to The Bridges of Madison County and anything by Nicholas Sparks, I’ve always had a soft spot for the bittersweet romances where escapism and true-to-life combine in a story to give, not always a neatly tied-up ending, but always a sense of wonder at what might happen next and, most importantly, a sense of hope.

Like all the other committed writers who I love to read about on this blog and elsewhere, I am currently working on my next novel. Some writing days feel like hard work while others are an absolute joy. As I do not plot or plan, I am once again giving myself over to the belief that the only way to write a book is to write a book.

Thanks again, ARRA.

Esther C.

The House of Second Chances

Can a house heal heartache? From coastal Australia to the rugged beauty of Ireland, an enchanting novel of starting over, in the tradition of Maeve Binchy and Monica McInerney.

Their grandmother’s stone cottage was always a welcome retreat in the childhood summers of Ellen and Aidan O’Shea. After a trip home from Australia, Ellen is keen to bring the neglected home back to its former glory and enlists the help of her dear friend and one of Ireland’s top interior designers, Colette Barry.

Aidan is already begrudging the work on the house he has avoided for nearly twenty years. The last thing the builder needs is an interior designer who seems to do nothing but complicate his life. With their own personal heartaches to overcome, will Aidan and Colette find the courage to give the house and themselves a second chance?

One Comment
  1. 18 March 2019 7:10 am

    Hello Esther,

    Thank you for your blog post – you made so many wonderful points that certainly resonated with me (I was also impressed with Richard Gere!). And a agree – even a hint of romance is something I appreciate in my reading.

    Best wishes with writing the next book – I will very much look forward to reading that one too!


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