The Male Voice of Choc Lit


I’m not the first Choc Lit author to have a novel brought to life as an audiobook, courtesy of W.F. Howes at Whole Story Audiobooks. And I certainly won’t be the last.

But am I the first Choc Lit author to have one read by a man?

The bloke in question is called Jonathan Keeble and he’s currently the voice of Gareth Taylor in BBC Radio 4’s The Archers.

More importantly, in The Importance of Being Emma he’s the perfect voice for Mark Knightley. I can only imagine it’s like being wrapped naked in warm ganache. (Wikipedia defines ganache as ‘normally made by heating cream, then pouring it over chopped dark semi-sweet chocolate … stirred or blended until smooth, with liqueurs or extracts added if desired’ – get the idea?)

The book alternates between the viewpoints of Mark and Emma, so there’s also a female voice. That’s provided by Melody Grove, who sounds as delightful as her name.

Of course, in my fantasy world, Jonathan’s voice would face strong competition – Richard Armitage, Colin Firth, Matthew Macfadyen and Benedict Cumberbatch for starters.

Whose voice would you like in the audio role of your favourite hero?

Of Choc Lit and Chocolate (by Juliet Archer)

Once upon a time, there was a Choc Lit author. That’s right – just the one. Me, Juliet Archer.choclit-logo2051

It was way back in December 2008 when Choc Lit published my debut novel – and for almost a year I was the only author. Then along came Sue Moorcroft, Christina Courtenay, Christine Stovell, Margaret James, Jane Lovering and Kate Johnson – and, as they say, the rest is history!

Now I’m delighted to announce that Choc Lit are bringing out my second book in September 2011! To continue the pregnancy/childbirth analogy that I used with The Importance of Being Emma, Persuade Me has taken over two years from gestation to delivery. That’s way beyond any comparison with humans and more in the league of elephants and whales. (Which is sort of how I feel now that I’m desk-bound in a London office every day, within far-too-easy reach of the sandwich trolley and vending machine.) Fortunately for Choc Lit, their other authors are nearer the rabbit end of the scale, procreating much more frequently.

This time round, it’s going to be a totally different publishing experience for me. First, Choc Lit itself has gone from strength to strength, with seven authors published so far and more in the pipeline. There’s now a larger team to support us, all professionals in different aspects of publishing. And we even have this fabulous blog (thank you, Christina!) for meeting readers and other writers online.

Next, bookselling. Back in 2009, I did around 30 events in bookshops – mainly Borders, who welcomed unknown authors with open arms. Will that be possible today, with book retailing in the grip of the supermarkets and ebook sales gathering pace? And because the libraries are under threat, other options are reducing – so we’re lucky to have a marketing-driven publisher, always on the lookout for new opportunities.

montezuma-chilli-trufflesFinally, when Choc Lit was promoting my first book, the chocolate choice was Thorntons. This was heavily influenced, I seem to remember, by the BBC’s dramatisation of North & South, where John Thornton was brought deliciously to life by a certain Richard Armitage. (In fact, product placement has come several years too late for Thorntons – they could have had a captive audience of drooling Armitage fans for their Dark Classics.)

Now we have Montezuma’s and I’m looking forward to tasting one of their Chilli Truffles. Like Dr Rick Wentworth, the hero of Persuade Me, I’m told it smoulders with fiery passion under a deceptively hard outer shell!

Which Montezuma chocolate is your favourite hero?

Christine Stovell – Doing the Writing Thing


Christine Stovell

My ideal writing day begins with invigorating half-hour run to rinse the brain cells and wake me up. Run like a gazelle and feel mighty and all-conquering.

Walk through the Valet-o-Meter and emerge ten minutes later, washed, clothed, bright of eye and dewy of complexion, glossy locks shining in the light.

Climb the winding stone steps to my fortified, sound-proofed study (for those days when the house is full of visitors). Ensure constant supply of lavish amounts of tea and essential nutrients i.e. interesting biscuits (i.e. no dog biscuits aka bourbons) and a few squares of dark chocolate to help the creative juices along.

Approach my desk with its state of the art, everlasting, indestructible, never-known-to-throw-a-hissy-fit, never-jamming computer and printer.

Deal with internet correspondence in a crisp and efficient 20 mins, never once wandering over to the dailymail to see what C list celebs up are to.

Write 1500 words of WIP then throw myself on deep, comfy sofa for a good long read. Ah! Lovely!

Oh, okay, it’s not quite like that. Sometimes writing can be fugitive and elusive, like trying to coax an untamed animal to eat from your hand, but there’s little to match the feeling when it’s going well. I may have to wait a while for someone to invent the Valet-o-Meter, but in the meantime there are other, more practical, techniques to make the writing flow. Freewriting’s one example; sometimes just giving myself permission to write for five minutes on whatever comes into my head helps to kick-start my writing.

What would  improve your working day? (Please note: there are no prizes for the answer Richard Armitage!)