British Author Finds Her Voice in America

Debut novelist Angela Stevens‘ debut novel Lemon Drops and Love is a love story for hockey fans. The story takes place in the author’s home town where she discovered her passion for ice hockey. Stevens is now a rabid Washington Capitals fan and can often be found ‘rocking the red’ at the Verizon center supporting her beloved team. She shares with us how jumping over oceans led to finding her writing voice.

Author Angela Stevens

Author Angela Stevens

I grew up and lived in the UK until I was nearly forty. In all that time, I never put pen to paper. In fact, the only things I ever wrote, were report cards. The concept that I might ever write a story was a very distant dream. I always hoped I would but at the time, I didn’t even have the courage to play around privately with story ideas.

When I left the UK and went first to live in Singapore and then — a year later — to the USA, I gave up work and took up reading with a vengeance. This turned into an obsession that eventually led to me writing my first book.

Living in the States, is the reason I started writing in the first place. It’s where I found the courage to try my hand at it. The ethos in America is very different to that in Britain. Here people are more likely to chase a dream and I think some of that rubbed off on me.

Back in the UK, I was a full time teacher with two small children. I didn’t have five minutes to rub together. But here I found myself unable to teach and the kids grew up. This left me with rather a lot of time on my hands. Time that I soon filled with writing.

When I wrote my first book, I knew I had to make a conscious decision about what language I was going to write in. America and the UK might theoretically speak the same one but there is a lot of difference in the grammar rules, spelling, vocabulary, and phrasing. I decided to stick to the American conventions initially. I’m ashamed to say, because my word processor was already set up to check American grammar and spelling and I didn’t know how to change it.

In my naivety, I actually thought it was just that simple, I’d spell color without the u and no one would notice I wasn’t really American. But it turned out to be far more complicated than I ever imagined. It wasn’t until I began to share my work on a writing site called wattpad, that it became obvious I was not fooling anybody. It seemed although my characters and settings were based in the USA, I wrote with a strong British accent.

I have managed to control the rampant Britishisms to a large degree, but I still depend a lot on the advice of my mentor, editor, and American online friends that I share my stories with. They are great at pointing out when my Union Jack is showing. It is something I have to be very conscious of and I find I have to make use of the search, find and replace features of my word processor for some of my more ingrained bad habits. Writing Grey instead of gray, calling people mate, and having my characters ‘fancy’ each other are some things that persistently sneak in when I am not looking.

In Lemon Drops And Love the story is one that could have been told anywhere. Domestic abuse is prevalent the world over. But when I started it I was determined to thread some of the hockey world through the story. This becomes a more important theme in the other books in the series. In the UK, we don’t really have ice hockey. My passion for this sport started when I moved here. My son played and I became very involved at our local rink and as a family we enjoy watching the Washington Capitals play as often as we can.

The ice rink and town setting in the book, are based on the town where I now live and the ice rink my son used to play at. I found it so much easier to visualize the real places and could pull snippets from things I observed at the rink.

My YA Urban Fantasy book The Wolf You Feed, also draws from my travels around the states. Most of the settings within the book I have been to. This proved useful when I came to make my promotion video, as I found my holiday snaps came in very handy!

The Wolf You Feed is book 1 of The Vargr Trilogy and will be released in late Autumn, you can view the video on my website.

Although I have set all my stories in America and adhered to the American version of English, I wouldn’t say that I specifically write with an American audience in mind. Like myself, my stories are hybrids. I try to make the settings accurate and the accents realistic but that said, the themes are not geared to one side of the Atlantic or the other.

About Lemon Drops and Love: 

Lemon Drops and Love Book CoverFor years, Jude loved Maya from afar. When she falls into his arms at his sister’s wedding, Jude decides he’s waited long enough. But it’s complicated. Maya’s no longer the carefree, self-assured woman he once knew. Frightened, vulnerable, her confidence crushed, Maya is unable to see a way out of an abusive relationship. But Jude Holland is not going to stand back and watch this happen. After rescuing her from Carl’s clutches, he plans to stay and pick up the pieces.

But getting rid of Carl is harder than anyone imagined. Carl’s sociopathic tendencies know no boundaries. Determined to take back what is his, hatred consumes him. With all rationality gone, Carl is prepared to go to monstrous lengths to destroy what he once loved. Driven by envy and hate, he sets out to destroy Maya. If he can’t have her, then he is damn sure no one else will have her either.

Listen to the audio of the first chapter here.

Learn more about Lemon Drops and Love at Amazon.com

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