Snow Leopard Sunday: Sarah Royce Weldon

Please welcome Sarah Royce Weldon to the Snow Leopard family! We're very excited to be her publisher and can't wait to release House of Death in early January!

Tell us about yourself!

Hi there, My name is Sarah Royce Weldon, I am a 59 years old with 3 children, the eldest two are married with children of their own, and my youngest, Sophie, is just 13 years old. Her father passed away when she was just 5 years old and soon after we moved from Normandy to Brittany.

Why did you choose to move to France? What are your favorite parts about it? Do you think that it's influenced your writing at all?

We came to France in October 2003 with the intention of converting our recently acquired 18th century Normandy farmhouse and outbuildings into holiday homes; unfortunately my husband was taken ill and the work never completed. When we arrived in France I spoke only ‘schoolgirl French’ and instead of joining the local English community I chose to spend my spare time with my French neighbours. ‘Total immersion’ is the only way to learn a language quickly, and even then it was a good 2 years before I could hold my own in a conversation. I am of course now fluent, but I have been ‘immersed’ for 12 years and sometimes when I am writing I have difficulty thinking of the right word in English!

One of the other reasons was to give Sophie a better education. Private schools here are affordable, even for a single mum,

What I love about our life here in France is the pace of life, and being able to live in the countryside as opposed to town life. I have visited Paris once, before we moved here…it was more than enough for me though I have promised to take Sophie but with the terrorist attacks in Paris it won’t be in the immediate future.

Yes, living in France has influenced my writing. My first novel, Cally’s Secret, a romantic comedy began in Derbyshire, England and moved swiftly into Brittany, and then on to Normandy for the final part of the book. It is always best to write about places you know well enough to allow your characters to move easily from place to place.

When did you begin writing?

I began writing seriously in 1998, entering several writing competitions with limited success but being born of the sign of the zodiac known for its stubbornness, Aries, I persevered until finally in 2010 I wrote Cally’s Secret.

I approached an English Publisher, Pegasus, in May sending them the first 10,000 words and a rough synopsis. They liked what they read and asked to read the full manuscript, leaving me with a bit of a dilemma, as I was only half way through! I finished in late September, and with the help of my good friend, Sharon Atkinson proceeded to read through and edit were necessary.

I submitted the manuscript to Pegasus in October and received their letter informing me of their wish to publish in early December. For a first time author it was a major ego boost, and I settled down to wait patiently for the contract, which in my eyes meant an end to just getting by! Alas, when the contract arrived and I read the small print they were expecting a contribution of al