Saturday, 29 September 2012

Anyone For Tennis

Don’t know about you but I was glued to the coverage of the US Open, just as I am to all the Grand Slams. I so admire the dedication of the players and the excitement of seeing new blood come up through the ranks. Andy Roddick bowing out was pretty damned emotional, don’t you think?

As an author I find it far easier to write about what I know. Saves on all that pesky research and lends authenticity to the author’s voice. I was involved in a local tennis club for years, so I feel qualified to write about the sport – in a fictional capacity, of course. Tennis clubs are hot beds of gossip and intrigue, a bit like any group of people from different walks of lives thrown together by a common interest. There are natural leaders, bullies, suckers-up and cynics by the dozen. Sound familiar?

In Topspin, published by Musa, we get to know the members of an up-market tennis club on the Isle of Wight in England. It could be anywhere in the world though since the above principles apply.

Jack Regent is a reformed gangster who’s retired to the Island to spend his time playing tennis, drinking too much and brooding. A bit of a hunk, he’s a magnet for all the single women, and some of the married ones too, but Jack isn’t interested in long-term relationships. Still married to Tania, the love his life, he’s smarting over her adultery and doesn’t want to go down that road again.

Then there’s Claire, the most attractive woman at the club, married to an older, successful Cardiologist. Outwardly the devoted spouse, she has voracious sexual appetites which she satisfies through a series of supposedly discreet affairs. Part of her knows it will all end in tears but she can’t seem to help herself, until it’s too late to stop the rot.

Angie is tight-lipped about the father of her fourteen-year-old twins, until he turns up unexpectedly, with devastating consequences for more than just Angie. And we mustn’t forget Ed, who bullies his wife and is determined to take control of the club for his own financial gain.

When the new coach turns out to be the man Tania cheated with, Jack is forced to confront the issue he’s worked his way through countless bottles of scotch trying to forget. Reunited with Tania under the most violent of circumstances, for the first time he has reason to doubt his position as the injured party. He’s spent years trying to hate Tania for what she put him through. That’s never going to happen, but is it too late to put the past behind them and start again…

Topspin by W. Soliman now available from Musa Publishing or
Leave a comment, let me know what you think of tennis. Do you love it or hate it? One person will win a copy of Topspin. Good luck!

Find out more about me and my books at my website: or on Facebook at Wendy Soliman – Author. Follow me on twitter @wendyswriter.


Wednesday, 19 September 2012

The Forsters

I'm super excited about my upcoming Regency series to be published by Carina Press. Well, who wouldn't be when the cover of the first one, due December 10tth, looks this gorgeous?

In this first book, Hal Forster, Marquess of Denby, gets involved with Leah Elliott, who makes her living as a kind of forerunner to today's paparazzi, writing scandal in order for her and her sister to survive. Except she takes on the wrong man when she tries to second-guess Hal and his marital ambitions.

Won't throw anything else about the book at you. I just wanted you to appreciate this sensual cover. Carina cover artists rock!


Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Never Waste an Experience

When my husband got tired of trying to kill himself in racing cars, light aircraft, helicopters and all the other stuff men turn to in their hour of mid-life crisis, he suggested that we try boating. We were at home in Andorra, up to our ears in snow and the heating was on the blink, so pretty pictures of sleek motor cruisers cutting through the calm, crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean seemed rather appealing. And safe. We fell for the hype and before we knew it, we were the owners of an ancient boat in need of a considerable amount of tlc.

For Andre, that was the start of an on-going love affair with the sea and all things nautical. For me it was more a hate-love-hate situation. When the sea is actually as calm as they make it out to be in those glossy ads then boating is a dream. But those days are few and far between. Most of the time you’re tossed about like a loose coin in a washing machine, feeling sick and wondering what the hell you think you’re doing.
Still, never waste an experience, that’s my motto, and one good thing to come out of hours of staring at endless expanses of sea was The Hunter Files, my series of marine crime mysteries. The first, Unfinished Business, was published by Carina Press last year, written under my other persona, W. Soliman.
Charlie Hunter is, like me, a Brit. He shares my husband’s passion for boating and, at forty, having taken early retirement from the police, plans to live aboard his trawler yacht in Brighton marina and spend his days restoring it to its former glory. Sound familiar? 

Charlie’s dream life doesn’t get off to a good start when a woman involved in one of his first cases as a detective accosts him, trying to persuade him to look for her missing sister. Charlie, a soft touch when a pretty woman turns on the tears, reluctantly agrees. Mind you, if he’d known his investigation would lead to a gang of ruthless Russians, leaving him and Kara fighting for their lives, he probably would have stuck to boating!

But I’m getting ahead of myself here. Writing this book was a departure for me, since it’s in the first person, obviously from a male perspective. Andre came in useful here, both with technical boating issues and likely male reactions in given situations. Can’t say more than that!

Anyway, get a feel for Charlie by seeing how he reacts to his first sight of Kara.

“Excuse me, I’m looking for Charlie Hunter.”
The spanner flew out of my hand and clattered into the bilge. “Shit!”
“Hello there, is Mr. Hunter on board? I was told to ask on this pontoon.”
I swore again. The female voice responsible for breaking my concentration clearly wasn’t going anywhere. Bare-chested and bloody-minded, I hoisted myself out of the engine room of my motor cruiser and slowly wiped the oil from my hands on the rag protruding from the pocket of my jeans. I took a moment to shake the hair out of my eyes and rotate my shoulders to smooth out the kinks before turning to the woman, ready to let rip. One look in her direction and the words stalled on my tongue.
The policeman in me took stock of the evidence. Midtwenties was my guess. Tall, slim, curly red hair tumbling down her back, big green eyes, a dusting of freckles across her nose, curves in all the right places, no wedding ring. The man in me couldn’t help approving. She was just my type, or would be if I hadn’t sworn off all women as being more trouble than they were worth. Still, there was nothing to say I couldn’t indulge in a spot of window-shopping.
“I’m Hunter,” I said tersely. “Something I can do for you?”
If the woman was discouraged by my churlishness, she gave no sign. “My name’s Kara Webb, Mr. Hunter.” She introduced herself as though it ought to mean something to me.
“You don’t remember me?”
“Can’t say that I do.” The name rang a vague bell but I was willing to swear I’d never had the pleasure. Kara Webb wasn’t the sort of woman a man was likely to forget.
“Is there somewhere we could go to talk? I could buy you a coffee, or something.” She nodded towards the cafĂ© on the landside of the approach to the marina.
“Can’t see that we have anything to talk about.”
“Please, I—oh!”
She broke off as Gil bounded out of the boat’s salon, a growl rumbling in his throat, long tail wagging like crazy. Talk about mixed messages. I made a mental note to have a chat with my dog a bit later on about his duties. It would be useful if he could get into the habit of warning me of imminent intruders before they caused me to drop spanners in bilges.
“Gil!” Too late. He’d already leapt onto the pontoon and was jumping all over my lovely visitor. He’s a huge beast in an interesting variety of colours, and although I wasn’t about to admit that he’s a big softie, a lot of people were intimidated by his size. “Careful, he’s a bit edgy ’round strangers.”
“So I see.”
And then she smiled. I found myself silently repeating the words I’d said aloud when I’d dropped that spanner. Miss Webb, when she smiled, could put the sun itself to shame. It changed the whole tenor of her face and dispelled the air of despondency I’d sensed when first checking her out. Uh-uh, Charlie boy, I told myself severely. This looks like trouble. Don’t let that bloody smile influence you into buying whatever it is she’s come to sell.
Kara reached out a hand to tickle the dog’s ears. Gil, sensing a soft touch, had already rolled onto his back, ready to lap up any attention on offer.
“Gil,” she said, “that’s a strange name for such a handsome beast. Something to do with fishing?” She nodded towards the fishing rods attached to the roof of the cockpit.
“It’s short for Guilty.”

Stop by my website if you get a moment. It’s at You can read the entire first chapter of Unfinished Business and its follow up Risky Business, also published by Carina Press


Monday, 3 September 2012

What Makes a Writer Tick?

I was asked the questions a while ago and thought they were worth reproducing here. Every author has a favourite book, don't they? Well, mine is A Class Apart. Find out why.

How long have you been writing?

I wrote my first novel when I was fifteen, so I guess I’ve always been drawn to words. I certainly live in a fantasy world most of the time! I wrote a second book when I was in my twenties and, no, I’m not telling you how long ago that was. It was just a long time, okay! Anyway, I took it up seriously about eight years ago when the circumstances in my life changed and I had the time for it. Incidentally, my third published book was based around the plot for the one I wrote in my twenties. Moral of the story: never throw anything away.

Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants?

Both. When I’m writing historicals or even contemporary romance I tend to start with a premise – a what if – and let the characters run with it. It’s amazing what they get up to and where they take me. For my series of marine crime novels that I’m writing for Carina Press I do need to do an outline and a lot more research but I never stick to it. My tendency to let the characters sort out their own messes is too deeply entrenched, I guess.

Tell me one thing about yourself which few other people know.

Well, I’m told I come across as confident but, let me tell you, my self-esteem is just about zero. Getting published was one of the few achievements that made me feel good about myself. It continues to do so every time another book gets accepted.

Describe your favourite book

My first five books were all Regencies. I guess coming from the Isle of Wight, with all those historical buildings littering the landscape, a sense of history seeped into me like osmosis. As I gained in confidence I decided to try something different and a ‘modern’ historical seemed like the logical step. England is still full of aristocrats but not all of them are as wealthy as they once were. What if a titled lady discovered that her ancestral home had to be sold and that a self-made upstart from the East End of London wanted to buy it to prove to the world that he’d made it? That’s the basis of A Class Apart, published by SirenBookStrand and available from Amazon. com

What drew you to the subject of your novel, A Class Apart?

The class society in England fascinates me, especially the way the aristocracy it being forced by circumstances and society to adapt to the modern world. Even the Queen pays income tax nowadays – shock, horror! Unlike the Regency period that I first wrote about, modern Britain doesn’t turn its nose up at business men, especially successful ones, but it’s a concept  that my heroine Octavia in A Class Apart finds hard to accept. Game on!

Did you encounter any obstacles in researching it?

Not really. I learned a hard lesson when my first book was published. Part of it was set in Alexandria, Egypt two hundred years ago. I diligently researched the period to death and proudly put a lot of my findings into the novel, just to prove I knew what I was talking about. My editor put a red pen through the lot of it, telling me to cut most if not all. This is a novel, Wendy, not a history lesson. You’ll bore your readers. It was a bitter pill to swallow but I took the advice on board, mainly because I could see it was right, and now only do enough research for authenticity.

Where do you write?

We’re fortunate enough to divide our time between Andorra, a small principality high up in the Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain and west Florida. In Andorra, where I am at the moment, I have a tiny desk in my own room where I beaver away. In Florida we’re in the process of creating a study with fitted floor to ceiling bookshelves for my tomes. My dream come true!

What’s the name of the first novel you wrote? Did you try to publish it?

Can’t remember the names of the books I wrote when I was a kid, (which is probably a good thing!). The first one I wrote when I took it up seriously eight years back was Lady Hartley’s Inheritance – yes, the one that had the setting in Alexandria! – and it was published by Robert Hale in England, as were the next four.

If you could ask readers one question what would it be?

What attracts you to a particular book? Do you indeed judge it by its cover? Is your interest piqued through blogs, review sites, promotion of any sort? Do you always favour a particular genre or take pot luck?