For most of my adult life, I have been writing fiction – my first love. Since September 2007, after decades of completion avoidance, I put aside all my excuses and began to work seriously. Until I realized that “always wanted to be a writer” meant I had to finish the work I had started before I could say, “I am a writer”, I had thousands of words on reams of pages.
My second* completed novel is Wait a Lonely Lifetime and is my first published novel, contracted to Avalon Books, New York. This was a work in progress when I spoke to Lia Brown in July 2010. By the end of September, the book was in her hands. You can read about this book, my process in writing it and what happens next in my online writer’s journal, EverWriting. I was a guest at Four Foxes One Hound on the 28th of April 2011 and again this year, April 27, 2017, and was interviewed at USAToday by Joyce Lamb, whose two Paranormal Romances were recent finalists in the RWA RITA®.
My Facebook page, Leigh Verrill-Rhys, Novelist, has details of the publication date, what my editor says about this novel and other information. Wait a Lonely Lifetime is now available in Public Libraries and many online book retailers, including Amazon & Barnes & Noble. Read an Excerpt
My most recent novel, Pavane for Miss Marcher, is my second book set in Maine.
Pavane for Miss Marcher
First Impression, August 2017, 2nd Printing September 2018
Print Edition ISBN 978-153987-871-1
Digital Edition ISBN 978-1-63102-854-0
1871. The war has been over for six years but Rupe Smith still fights his demons. Ten years have passed since he left his Maine village. His Wyoming ranch is the one place he wants to be and the last place he can be. There is no escape from the guilt of his parents’ grief or his longing for the girl whose one letter kept him alive, without knowing she is beyond his reach, married and raising a family.
Cathryn Marcher is not the giddy, giggling girl with high ideals she was before the war. The woman who waited for Rupert Smith’s safe return has no doubt she isn’t the reason he has finally come home. The haunted expression on his handsome face reminds her of the outcome, the horror and suffering of war she saw close at hand, all those years ago, in the faces of soldiers she nursed in Boston.
Captain Smith and Miss Marcher share a love of music but Cathryn must hide her disappointment when Rupert chooses to sing in harmony with the widow, Mrs. Miller, whom the residents of Oslo Hill believe will be his bride.
Susan Miller’s disdain for her voice teacher, her rival for Rupert’s love, is matched by Colonel Jericho Colson’s loathing for his fellow Union Army officer, his rival for Cathryn’s heart.
My second contemporary novel, Salsa Dancing with Pterodactyls, was completed at the end of 2009 and revised in 2012 and 2014. This novel is a work of the heart, mind and soul – my magnum opus. Salsa Dancing with Pterodactyls is available on all major online book retailers, as well as through the ebook services of some libraries. About this novel:
He’s a lawyer. He’s her boss. He’s the pterodactyl man she wants.
She’s broken. She’s too good for him. She’s the answer to his prayers.
David Gitano’s family believes she is using him. Emily Burdis’s family believes he is using her.
Members of the Board force him to take the blame for a conspiracy that will destroy his career and he’s the kind of pterodactyl man who will do what it takes to protect his family.
The conspirators pressure her to abandon him to his fate but she’s just as much a raptor as her lover when it comes to the family they have created together. A custody battle for his two-year son is the ultimate weapon but even that fails when Emily employs her public relations training to stack the family court against David’s in-laws.
The third, This Can’t Be Love, is set in Edinburgh and is the second in my In Love, In Europe and is now available at online retailers: KoboBooks, on the iBookstore, Amazon, Smashwords and in print at Createspace as well as Amazon.
How it came about and how I wrote it: I write all my books in longhand with a fountain pen, on lined notepaper or in a notebook. This Can’t Be Love grew from experiences I was privilege to encounter while I worked with Community Arts organizations. The protagonist, Jakki Hunter, is an actress with bad luck with the men who find her, at least until she is picked up and dusted off at a construction site on Princes Street, by site manager, Mike Argent.
This Can’t Be Love is set in Edinburgh during the August Edinburgh Fringe Festival. In Love, in Europe #2: This Can’t Be Love is told from the point of view of the hero and I have had a wonderful time writing from the point of view of the male psyche.
2012 and 2013 Releases:
Nights Before: a serial novel told in six installments: A winter, spring, summer and fall tale of looking for the right one, set in Portland, Maine. The characters include Jocelyn Tavers, Officer Brad Foster, Barney Fitz aka Gordon Fieldcott, Dr. Verge and Jed Tavers. The six stories of Nights Before are all available on the iBookstore, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon.
Works in Progress:
My fifth contemporary novel is Dance by the Light of the Moon, set in Cardiff, Chicago and Phoenix, is the third in the In Love, in Europe series. And I have just completed the first typed draft of my AMerican historical novel Pavane for Miss Marcher, to be released this summer (2017).
I was fortunate to be the daughter of a woman who loved to tell stories with me as her willing listener.
While I was working on Parachutes and Petticoats (see below), I asked my mother to write her stories of her experiences during World War Two as she followed my father, Captain Thomas A. Verrill, Sr., U.S. Army, around the United States while he trained young men to go to war.
At the time, my mother had five children and took all of them with her, traveling by car and train. Following the Troops is her story.
For nearly ten years, I had been a Director and Editor for Honno: Welsh Women’s Press beginning as a founding member in 1987. During the same period, I had been an international book distributor and marketing consultant for writers, artists and businesses in Wales.
I began my writing career in San Francisco as a short story writer for several small magazines and the Public Broadcasting Service. Once I had moved to Wales, I concentrated on editing the autobiographical and non-fiction writing of women living in Wales with the publication of On My Life – a collection that won second prize in the Raymond Williams Award for Community Publishing in 1990.
I was given an Arts Council of Wales grant to join the masterclass of the poet, Leslie Norris, at the Hay Festival a short time later. I had been involved with the Writers on Tour scheme of the Arts Council as well as a member of the Undeb Awduron Cymru for several years. When the influential Welsh language writers’ union and the Writers’ Union of Wales were incorporated into the Academi Gymreig, I became a member of the Academi.
In 1992, I had the privilege of working with the historian, Deirdre Beddoe, on the collection, Parachutes & Petticoats, inspired by my mother’s experiences during World War II, a book that has enjoyed several reprints and is available again in a new format since January 2010.
And, in 2002, Iancs, Conshîs a Spam was published as the Welsh language companion volume to Parachutes – stories and experiences of Welsh-speaking women in Wales written in their first language, offers a different perspective on the experience of women in war.
These books have found their way into bibliographies in books such as Shelter Me by Alex McAulay, Older Widows And The Life Course: Multiple Narratives Of Hidden Lives (New Perspectives on Ageing and Later Life) by Pat Chambers, The World We Have Won: The Remaking of Erotic and Intimate Life by Jeffrey Weeks, Women’s History: Britain, 1850-1945: An Introduction (Women’s and Gender History) by June Purvis, Ail: Webster’s Timeline History, 450 BC – 2007 by Icon Group International among others – about which I am very proud and a little surprised.
Also in 1992, I had the opportunity to contribute to the collection, Discovering Welshness, edited by Oliver Davies and Fiona Bowie. As part of the preparation for the book, Bowie and I had a discussion in which I talked about my fiction. Sometimes, a question can trigger a revelation.
During the interview, I realized that all of my writing has a consistent theme: searching for home. As an emigrant to Wales, this made perfect sense, but I had been writing about that search long before I left San Francisco.
*My first completed novel is Traitor’s Daughter, a Welsh Medieval Romance, I wrote under the pen name, Lily Dewaruile (the original spelling of my family name). Lily has published a total of seven novels set in 9th and 10th Century Wales.