A week ago today, it was the launch of my third full-length novel, Dreaming About Daran. I went on holiday to the Yorkshire Dales the following day so I didn’t really get a chance to sit back and enjoy the launch because I had packing to do. Lots of packing. Because not only did I need to get three of us and a dog ready for a week away, but we’re dropping the munchkin off at my mum’s for 4 days on the way home and I’m going away for work for the weekend.
I’m still away at the moment and it’s been a lovely treat logging on to wifi at our holiday cottage on an evening and see new reviews that have come through.
Searching for Steven – the first book in the Whitsborough Bay trilogy – will always have a special place in my heart because it’s the book that started it all. It was the idea that turned me into a writer. However, Dreaming About Daran is the story I’ve enjoyed the most and is more indicative of the type of writer I want to be.
Steven is a real slice of chick lit and so is book two, Getting Over Gary, although Gary deals with a few deeper issues. As we move onto Daran and Clare’s story unfolds, it’s darker and deeper still. My reviewers agree. Sharon Booth writes in her 5-star review: I always felt … that there was something buried deep within Clare that, one day, would make an explosive story. I was right. Dreaming About Daran is much deeper than its predecessors. I think each book in this series has grown progressively darker, tackling more serious issues, but in this final instalment, Jessica Redland has created a really gripping and quite gut-wrenching story.
I’ve had an incredible review from Jo Bartlett who said she’d have given it 6 stars if she could: Dreaming About Daran is the best so far and I think elevates Jessica Redland above some of the best-selling writers she’s been compared to in the past. Given that I’ve been compared to Lisa Jewell, Jill Mansell, Lindsey Kelk and a few others like them, this is incredible feedback.
I’m so thrilled that readers are enjoying the experience of the growth that I feel I’ve had as a writer across the trilogy. That’s not to say that I would write Steven differently if I were to rewrite him now; it’s just that I think the trilogy has developed as I’ve developed as a writer.
What’s next? I started working on a follow-up to my novella, Raving About Rhys, intending it to be a Christmas release. However, the idea for my fourth full-length novel has kept nudging me so I’ve put Rhys II down for now and started working on novel four: Bear With Me. This is still set in Whitsborough Bay but features a new cast of characters. I’m only 13,500 words into it (and have already decided I want to change direction with the work I’ve done so far) but it’s already become a series. Well, it’s become the first of two books if that counts as a series. I have a clear idea for my fifth full-length novel. It was actually meant to be my fourth but Bear With Me was calling to be written first. The protagonist of Bear, Ellie, has a best friend called Karen and, as I started to develop scenes with her, I had a light bulb moment: she would be the perfect protagonist for book five. I had to change her job and her circumstances in what I’d written so far in Bear, but it absolutely works.
This is exactly what happened with Steven. The idea was just for one book but the two best friends of the protagonist, Sarah, soon developed as individuals with their own stories to tell. Almost as soon as Karen appeared on paper, I knew she had a story to tell too; the story I planned for book five.
I don’t know when I’ll get them both finished, but it’s exciting to be writing about new characters. The problem is that I miss Sarah, Elise and Clare. They’ve been part of my life for over thirteen years!
I hope you enjoy reading the final part of the original trilogy. If you do, please tell your friends and leave a review!