Interview with romantic suspense author Mollie Blake

Romantic suspense author Mollie
joins me today to chat about her newest book, The Secret at Arnford Hall.
Living in the heart
of the Cheshire countryside in the UK, Mollie is a regular mum of one son and
wife of one husband. As a former finance director, she was a bit of a latecomer
to writing, but now she has ventured from analyzing figures in her spreadsheets
to creating steamy scenes for her characters between the bed sheets.
Her stories are
filled with provocative romance and laced with suspense. She loves to wander
through Google Earth in search of locations to inspire—from castles in the
Channel Islands to high rise flats in London, from the streets of Melbourne to
hotels in Kenya. Directionally challenged, you can find her getting lost in
most places! However, the heart of her stories rests in Cheshire, England.
She is also guilty
of a love of reading, swimming, fast cars, Prosecco and chocolate. Not one for
cooking, she has been condemned in the kitchen on more than one occasion.
In November 2015
Mollie was delighted to sign a publishing contract with Black Opal Books. Her
first book has recently been published and there are four more contracted for
publication over the next few months. A sixth adventure is in progress. Since
gaining the publishing contract, Mollie has been accepted into the
International Thriller Writers’ group and as a member of the Romantic Novelists’
Association in the UK. She is one very excited lady.
Please tell us about
your current release.
The Secret at
Arnford Hall
is set in the county of Cheshire in the UK. In a story of shameful
secrets and cruel blackmail, the reader escapes to Gabriel Black’s world of
wealth and control. As he struggles to develop a relationship with his
seven-year-old son, the chance meeting with a schoolteacher, and the discovery
of her hidden past, provides him with the distraction he needs.
If Grace is ever going to get her life—and her sanity—back, she needs to
discover his secret.
At the age of forty Gabriel’s mission to be a loving father, inspires
him to reunite his family, confront his demons, and fight for the love of a
woman for the first time in his life.
But if Grace discovers his secret, will she ever be able
to return his love?
What inspired you to
write this book?
I loved reading Fifty Shades and Sylvia Day’s Crossfire books, followed
by a lot more lust-filled romances. It reminded me how much I enjoyed reading
them when I was younger.
Excerpt from The Secret at Arnford Hall:
Nine years earlier:

Tall, dark and handsome, thirty-one-year-old Gabriel Black, probably the
richest, most eligible bachelor in the north-west of England, was waiting in a
boardroom for a meeting with his financial advisor. As he lounged in one of the
high-backed leather swivel chairs at the oak boardroom table, Eliza Redfern
walked in and poured some coffee for their client. Gabriel immediately took in
her shapely five feet four inches, shoulder-length copper-colored hair—no doubt
out of a bottle—and air of apparent innocence. He liked the challenge that demeanor
often gave.
As he was leaving, he stopped at the
reception desk and leaned in toward Eliza, placing his hand palm up in front of
“Write your phone number on here.”
Eliza stared at him, shock and embarrassment
on her face. “I beg your pardon?”
He spoke with authority and his hand remained
in front of her. “I want to take you to dinner. Give me your number.”
Hardly in control of her own actions, she
picked up her pen and wrote her mobile number on his palm. He flashed a smile
to die for and left the building.
Eliza Redfern was twenty-six. She had had
three romantic relationships so far in her life, but was currently not seeing
anyone, so what could be the harm in going out for dinner with one of the most handsome,
richest men around? Okay, he had a reputation for being a ladies’ man, with a
different woman for each day of the week. There’d also been press reports about
prostitutes, and a fierce protection of the privacy of his family. And by all
accounts it was a weird family. Didn’t he have a twin brother that no one ever
saw, a sister, and a mother who looked young enough to be his sister? Well, she
was game for most things so when he said he would pick her up at eight, she
spent the preceding two hours getting ready.
He came for her in his jet-black Lotus Exige
sports car, and wined and dined her with champagne and lobster. Then he enticed
her to invite him back to her place for coffee, which ended in her bedroom with
one of the best nights of sex she had ever experienced.
To her amazement he called her again and she
had three more dates with him over the next two weeks.
One month later she texted him. ~ I’m
She was amazed to find him knocking at her
door within an hour.
“You said you were on the pill.”
“I am!”
“Are you going to get rid of it?”
“Do you want a relationship with me?”
“Not really. We don’t know each other at all
and definitely have nothing in common.”
“Do you want any money?”
“It would be appreciated, or I’ll have to go
back to work.”
“Can I have a relationship with my child?”
“Well, you are the father!”
As the weeks turned into months, Eliza found
herself spending a bit more time with the father of her unborn child. He took
her out to dinner at least once a week, and they went to his family’s villa in
Monaco for a week, which was out of her world, almost to the extent of making
her reconsider her answer to his question: did she want to have a relationship
with him?
Then, quite by accident, she discovered his
Her reaction was straightforward. “I don’t
want your money. You cannot have a relationship with my child. I never
want to see you again.”
Soon letters from his solicitor started
arriving through her letterbox.
My client will be
seeking paternity rights…
He will approach the court for full access to
his child and will attempt to gain custody…
Eliza was worried sick she could lose her
baby. Her sister couldn’t understand why she had suddenly refused to see Black
anymore. She thought their relationship had been progressing.
“Eliza, you’ll need the money. Think what a
future your child will have with that inheritance to look forward to!”
“You don’t understand, Carol. It’s better
that my baby has nothing to do with any of them.”
Eliza Redfern never told anyone Black’s secret.
However, she needed a compromise, and also
needed to know what would happen if anything should prevent her from raising
her child in the future, God forbid.
One night she sat at her computer screen and
began to type.
This agreement will be in place until the
child of Eliza Redfern and Gabriel Black reaches the age of eighteen. It will
come into effect on the death or incapacity (total physical and mental) of the
mother, Eliza Redfern. It will cease on the death of Gabriel Black.
Gabriel Black will have no contact whatsoever
with the child unless and until this agreement comes into effect.
On the signing of this agreement by Gabriel
Black, Eliza Redfern vows to acknowledge the father of said child to be Gabriel
That father is to adhere fully to the
following conditions:
The child is not to attend any private
schools up to the age of eighteen. He/she is to be educated in the state system.
The child is never to sleep at Arnford Hall
when Mrs. Black is in residence.
He/she is to be allowed to choose his/her own
religion, if any.
He/she is to be given the choice to join the
family business, but under no compulsion.
He/she is to be free to leave Arnford Hall
once he/she reaches age eighteen, with no restrictions to be put on where the
child lives.
The child is not to be spoiled.
The child is to be allowed to play with
children of his/her own age.
The child is to be allowed to join in his/her
school’s activities.
The child is to be allowed to go to football
matches, tennis tournaments, and other events of his/her choosing.
The child is to be shown love.
It was simple and heartfelt. In exchange for
his agreement, Gabriel’s name would appear on the birth certificate, and the
child would bear its father’s surname.
Gabriel realized this was as much as he was
going to get without a threat of really bad publicity. All his lawyers put
together would have great difficulty in keeping the press quiet, and he could
never take that risk.
He also realized he would have no
relationship with his own child until he or she reached the age of eighteen.
Then he or she would probably want nothing to do with him anyway.
He visited Abacus and Cornworthy Solicitors
and signed the agreement.
Eliza relaxed, tried to enjoy her pregnancy,
and looked forward to the birth of her first child.
Gabriel Black no longer gave a damn about the
What exciting story
are you working on next?
It’s a story about a man who is haunted by an incident that happened in
his youth. The son of a former major in the British Army, he finds his own journey
to a battlefield with only memories of love, and conflicts about who needs
When did you first
consider yourself a writer?
When I was offered a contract by a publisher.
Do you write
full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than
write and how do you find time to write?
I am a full-time author although I try to put the needs of my son and
husband first. This isn’t always easy if I’m in the middle of a juicy bit that
I just have to complete. That said, there is a lot more these days to being an
author than just writing a good story. I do my own social media and marketing
and it can be very time-consuming. I’m an early bird and like to start work
about 7 o’clock in the morning. I begin with social media postings. Then I try
to focus on my current story during school hours when the house is at its
quietest. I target eight to ten thousand words a week. But if edits have come
back from the publisher they take priority. I actually love going through the
edits as it really takes you into the depths of your book. Sometimes when
you’re writing you lose sight of the wood for the trees. Even after doing your
own re-reads, you can still miss things. So the editing process is crucial. Likewise
if I have a guest post scheduled, that needs to come first. After mealtime I
will put in another hour or so but try to end the day by 8 o’clock. One of the
reasons I wanted to write after retiring from finance, was because of the
flexibility it gave me. But I have to be disciplined to make it all work.
What would you say
is your interesting writing quirk?
I have a different notebook for each story and the cover has to relate
to the main character or story line in some way. It’s easier said than done and
I’ll browse through good stationers for a cover that feels right. This has no
bearing at all on the book cover I decide on; it merely touches on some
characteristic of the story. As an example, for “The Secret At Arnford Hall”
the notebook is an antique red color, embossed with an elegant border in gold.
It expresses expense and elegance and I imagine something like this on a coffee
table at Arnford Hall.
As a child, what did
you want to be when you grew up?
A missionary teaching English in Africa
Anything additional
you want to share with the readers?
One of my ambitions is to connect with a charity that deals with victims
of abuse. I touch on such subjects in most of my stories and I would like to
give something back to the community. My stories have happy endings but I know
life isn’t always like that.

Thanks, Mollie!

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