New book The Hotel by D.C. Cummings
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THE COTTAGE - A pretty, stone-built cottage, sitting on the banks of a river, amidst a quaint English village.
Veronica; Madison and Felicity - three beautiful women. All try to live there. None of them stay.
Henry, lonely and alone, trying desperately to find his one true love; Isabella, hurt and betrayed by her husband, and longing for the love of her life; Thomas, angry and bewildered, nursing his sorrow until able to reap his revenge.
What is the connection and the secret of Enchantment Cottage and why does no-one ever stay?
THE COTTAGE tells a story of love, abandonment, sex and betrayal in this world, and possibly, the next.
This page is for interviews and press clippings for author Jane Murray. To keep a breast of latest interviews look here.
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What Inspired you to write The Cottage?
Last year I moved to a new house and I moved into the cottage which features in my book. I do actually have reason to believe it's haunted, so many strange and unexplained things happen here. I started to jot down all the things that were happening and one day I started to elaborate on them, and the book was born!
Without giving away spoilers, what it the book about?
The book focuses on three women who all buy the same cottage, and all experience echoes of the past which have a profound effect on their future - and their sex lives!
What do you enjoy most about writing erotica?
Believe it or not, it isn't the sex. I never want any of my erotica to be centred around the sex, and I know that sounds crazy but so much erotica I have read is based on weak storylines, and so I like to focus on creating a storyline that the sex will fall into in a believable way. Mostly, the erotica involves the paranormal and history too, so it's almost as if the sex is incidental to the plot.
What comes first, the story or the characters or the situation?
Definitely the situation for me. My latest work in progress, for instance, The Hotel, was inspired by a property search engine, when I was looking for the house I'm living in now - I got distracted by an old manor house on the West Coast of Scotland and the next minute, my mind is working on a rough plot outline!
You had a lot of changes with the cover. Its very eye catching, are you happy with it?
I love the cover! They say it is a woman's prerogative to change her mind, and I did - a lot! It just demonstrates how passionate I was to get the cover which I wanted - I know my publishers were great to work with me on this but I suspect they did a lot of head clutching over it!
Will you be writing more erotica?
I would like to think that my publishers would want to continue to publish this genre for me, but I am not sure whether I want to be pigeon holed into just being known for single genre work, I have several unfinished works of what I would call contemporary fiction, and I am working on something which is part auto-biographical, part sci - fi fantasy! I'm going to leave THAT one to my publishers to categorise!
What feedback have you had so far about The Cottage?
There has been a lot of interest in it, and I think the pre - orders have been good, so I think it has been received very positively for a debut novel. I will be interested in the feedback once people have read it, that's the important thing!
Do you like to tease your reader or give them what they want?
I suspect there is a bit of both involved in my erotica style. I find it very hard to be crude, I wouldn't say any of the sex scenes are hugely graphic.
It’s a very supernatural book and romantic book. Do you believe in ghosts and the supernatural?
It's funny you should say romantic, because that isn't my interpretation on it at all! Yes, I do believe in ghosts and the supernatural. I suppose that's hardly surprising, given that I think I live in a haunted cottage, but I have always been aware of 'another dimension', I suppose, perhaps not the typified 'ghost walking through a wall' thing (although one does in the book!) but more intuition, co-incidence and feelings.
What is the most romantic thing you've ever done or would like to have done to you?
I don't consider myself a romantic person at all. I don't believe in love, or roses around the door and that type of thing, so I probably haven't done a single romantic thing in my life. Perhaps the closest I have experienced is with my ex - partner - we were driving across Sweden into Norway and we were on this vast open road, surrounded by countryside when he suddenly stopped the car, killed all the lights and told me to get out. I was a bit apprehensive, thinking that there was something wrong with the car, when he said 'look up' and when I did, I gasped at the extraordinary sight of endless sky filled with stars. I have never seen such a crowded night sky before, it was truly amazing and awesome and it made me feel very small and insignificant, which of course, given the vastness of the universe, we are. Oh, and I have kissed someone I really, really wanted to kiss in the middle of Times Square, in New York at midnight on New Year's Eve, but that's all I'm going to say about it!
How have you found it's like to work with KGHH Publishing? And would you recommend other writers to work with them?
As a first-time novelist, working with a publisher direct (I don't have an agent) I have learnt such a lot, particularly about working to deadlines! KGHH have been excellent to work with and have given me a lot of help and support. Other writers should not be afraid of getting in touch with them, as I have had a great experience writing for KGHH.
Where do you want to see your writing take you?
I simply want to write. A best seller, breaking all records - I would like this for my 'The Fingers Of God' novel, which would be my most ambitious project to date - would be a dream come true. At the moment, I simply want to write. I would like to spend every day writing, to the exclusion of anything else. Every one of us has a story, I want to tell mine through the books I write.
The Hotel is an intriguing title. Without too many spoilers what can we expect when we buy the book and stay in The Hotel?
I’m not going to give away very much, because I want the reader to discover the secrets of The Hotel, but I will say that there are a lot of unexpected goings-on, and that several of the characters do have very healthy ‘sexual appetite’, shall we say?
Again, like your first book The Cottage, there is a supernatural theme and a story arc across time, what do you enjoy about the historical story telling?
I’ve always loved history. As a child, I wanted to be an archaeologist, but I couldn’t spell it, so I chose law instead! Everything we do eventually becomes history, and in my books, I like demonstrating the effects that the past has on the present.
There’s a lot of complex characters in The Hotel, what do you like most about creating such memorable characters?
I like creating larger – than – life characters, because let’s face it, reading is escapism and who wants to be bogged down with reality reading about a character that they could bump into on the street? I want my readers to imagine themselves living the lives of my characters. Reading should transport you somewhere else, or make you imagine you are someone else, that’s what I try to do.
What comes first for you as a writer? Is it the characters, the scenarios or the story?
Quite often, it’s something very mundane. I’ll give you an example, I was in a restaurant recently and on the next table, a woman had an identical handbag to mine. That gave me an idea – what would happen if they picked up each other’s bags when they left? I suppose it’s the story first, but only the beginning. I never know how any of my novels are going to end. I’m writing my third book at the moment, and I don’t know what is going to happen in the next chapter! Once I’ve got the basic idea for a story, then I create the characters and what happens next is anyone’s guess!
As with your first novel The Cottage, it seems you’ve done a lot of historical research for this book, who and how did you get help with this?
I was very, very privileged with The Hotel to work with some really revered and eminent historians and lecturers at the School of Divinity within Edinburgh University. I’ve included all of them in my acknowledgements in the book, and I cannot thank them enough for the reams of notes, emails and conversations we had during the course of my research. I also worked with Price Waterhouse Coopers, who provided lots of financial and accounting information and also an ex – Metropolitan Police forensic scientist who gave me the information I needed on forensic archaeology.
It’s a very atmospheric cover and promotional video, do you feel atmosphere is key in your books and how do you go about setting the tone?
I actually think that the covers and promotional videos help the book enormously, like dangling a carrot, if you like. Of course, there is always a hugely supernatural element within my erotica writing. It’s amazing how the two emotions – fear and sexual desire – work very well together. Getting the tone and the ‘spookiness’ into the words is easy – I just imagine myself as the character and write down how I would feel in that situation – what I would see, hear, imagine.
You’ve worked with a new, to you, editor, but a very experienced editor in Hache L. Jones, what have you learned and got out of the editing process?
Having an editor is like having a second pair of eyes, and another opinion playing devil’s advocate with your own. Hache and I hit it off immediately and developed a simple, but effective modus operandi, so the whole process was tremendously rewarding. I’ve learned that writers pay more attention to their story, than to grammar and punctuation and that’s one of the reasons you need an editor! I’ve also learned to accept critique from an editor – they are doing what they are good at and their input is invaluable in plot lines, story arcs and making you see your work objectively.
Again like your first book, I can see it being a great movie or Tv series, which actors could you see in your lead roles and why them?
Oh, gosh! That’s a tough one because I have got my characters looks in my head, so I know what they look like and I suppose I would be disappointed if the actor picked didn’t resemble the character in my head. Chris Hemsworth, with dark hair, would make a great Tom Gunning, and perhaps Hugh Jackman could be Bill Gunning. Mila Kunis is my Portia, and I’d create a character especially for Dame Helen Mirren!
Do you feel your second book is a big leap forward in your writing?
Yes, definitely! The Hotel was a far more ambitious novel in terms of research and story arc – there were several side plots going on with various characters and having to keep the link between past and present was pretty challenging.
You’ve travelled the world, what are the best hotels you’ve stayed in and what do you expect from a perfect hotel stay?
Hotels for me are all about character, so I tend to stay away from ‘chains’ and ‘corporates’ and I opt for cosy, eclectic places – and if they have a reputation for being haunted, so much the better! Loews, in Miami Beach isn’t haunted, but it is fabulous. The Pigalle in Gothenburg has individually styled rooms and is right in the heart of the city. The Jalta, in Wenceslas Square, Prague, is simply irreproachable for service and comfort. Although to make all these hotels absolutely perfect, they need a ghost!
There is sexual content in The Hotel as it is erotica but it’s a very strong story, how do you work on getting the balance right?
Sex is part of everyday life, and that’s how I look at it in the context of my books. I don’t want to write anything where the sex is unbelievable in the sense that it is outlandish or doesn’t fit the plot. The sex has to be secondary to what is going on in the lives of the characters.
As readers we’ve lived in The Cottage, stayed in The Hotel, I feel a theme here, what about the next book?
For the next book, which I’m in the process of writing as we speak, I’m taking you to a Welsh castle. This again, is quite an ambitious storyline, in that the main historical character is based on a real-life Welsh knight who lived in the early fourteenth century and almost NO-ONE has heard of him – although he fought alongside Owain Glyndŵr in the Last Revolt. This book has a slightly different supernatural theme, but that’s all I’m telling you!
And what does the future hold writing wise?
After I’ve finished The Castle, the final erotica for the time being, I’m looking at finishing some of the Work In Progress I have stored on various laptops – possibly a totally supernatural, or a psychological thriller, and of course, my God trilogy – which is an ambitious take on real-life, autobiographical and fantasy rolled into one, or rather, three books – The Fingers of God, The Next God and The Last God.
Finally, when you leave most hotels these days the guests leave surveys and reviews, all writers want good and constructive reviews, with this in mind what feedback are you expecting and would like from guests/readers?
Ah, that’s easy – good, honest reviews from verified purchasers. You can’t expect everyone to like your work, your genre, or your writing style, that just doesn’t happen. I’ve been
trying to get into a book written by one of my favourite authors. I’ve started it three times, and never got past chapter four. I think it’s because I don’t have any empathy with her characters, so if I ever reviewed the book, at least it would be an honest review from someone who has bought the book. That’s all, as an author, you can hope for.
Thank you so much for your time D.C. The hotel is a fabulous novel and it is available on pre-order now and published on the 9th April this year, I bet people are dying to check it out:
A beautiful, abandoned manor house; set high above sweeping rugged cliffs which tumble down into the Sound of Arisaig, in the glorious Scottish Highlands.
Lisa and Tom Gunning, owners of a well-established, much feted chain of luxury adult resorts are hungry for their next venture, their next success. With money, time and contacts, they can bring this desolate property back to life and make it work for them.
Or can they?
Like all beautiful, abandoned houses, Glencruig holds many secrets; secrets untold throughout the passage of time and which, once revealed, will ultimately bind Lisa and Tom’s ambitions with hidden passion, torment, revelation and loss.
What will happen when Glencruig starts to reveal its secrets and will Lisa and Tom survive the torrent of troubles, spanning the centuries? Will Glencruig’s revelations bring peace, at last, to a turbulent past?