Life at the Crossroads is a wonderful new series from Lisa Worrall and Sue Brown. They have kindly joined me today to talk about the series as part of Lisa’s tour for launch of the first book, Un-Expected.
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I love the whole idea around this series – small village, wonderful sounding characters, second chances at love, mystery and intrigue – it’s ticking all the boxes for me. I also love the covers. 🙂
I’m really keen to understand more about the process of writing this series. How did the two of you work together to develop the concept and setting for this series?
Lisa – I was working on a midwife story set in the English countryside and Sue said she wanted us to write a series set in the UK. I rapidly agreed and we decided to write three each in a six book series, and that somewhere in the preceding book, the characters for the next writer’s turn would be set up… well the names at least lol.
What makes Little Mowbury so special?
Lisa – I think there’s a little part of us that wants that chocolate box life that comes with living in a small village in the country. Maybe not the nosy neighbours so much. But there’s something comforting about everyone knowing everyone else. Plus, of course, it’s full of dotty old women who aren’t afraid to give you a clip round the ear 🙂
Lisa, you’ve written the first story, Un-Expected. What was the inspiration for this story?
Lisa: I was already working on Un-Expected when Sue approached me and it made sense to make it book 1. I’d wanted to do a quaint country village story for a while and everything fell into place.
In-Decision is the second book in the series. Sue, can you share a little about the characters.
Sue: My boys are Tom, Micah’s ex and fellow midwife, and Jason, the new chef at the pub. Their first meeting is not the stuff dreams are made off. Jason nearly knocks him over while he’s looking for the pub.
Do the characters cross-over into each book?
Sue: All my characters from the village are in In-Decision. Jason is the outsider. I’m hoping some of the new characters I mentioned will appear in later books. There’s also Doris’s dog, who steals balls and the show constantly. I like dogs with attitude.
What more can readers expect from the series?
Sue: Village life in all its glory. Lisa created such a wonderful world in Un-Expected we could be producing a television series next. I’m joking, Lisa! Still it’s an idea… Or a movie…
I’d love to see a movie made out of the series so will keep my fingers crossed, ladies. 🙂
Series: Left at the Crossroads #1
Author: Lisa Worrall
Length: 43,654 words/182 Pages
Published Date: February 25, 2014
Little Mowbury is a sleepy English village deep in the Cotswolds. The kind of village where you’re only a local if your lineage can be traced back to the dinosaurs. Where you can find everything in the single shop from morning newspapers to dry-cleaning, and getting your shoes mended. And, of course, where everybody knows everybody else’s business. It’s easy to find… you can’t miss it… just ask anyone and they’ll tell you… “It’s left at the crossroads.”
After being dumped on graduation day by the love of his life, Harry Boyd, Micah Lewis returned to the sleepy village he grew up in. Living next door to his mother wasn’t his best idea, granted, but when your heart was broken, there really was no place like home.
Six years later, secure and content in his job as midwife for a local birthing centre, the last person he expected to move into Lilac Cottage across the street from him was Harry Boyd. Seeing Harry again sends Micah into a tailspin and opens wounds he thought had long since healed. Although, Harry himself isn’t the only issue Micah has to face. That would be Harry’s very beautiful and very pregnant partner, Selena. But is everything as it seems?
Micah’s pulse raced. This was it. A million thoughts flew through his mind, too fast for him to latch onto a single one. He swallowed hard as a fresh spurt of blood covered his fingertips. Glancing up at the pale face, etched in a mask of agony, frightened blue eyes staring back at him, he summoned up what he hoped was a reassuring smile. “It’s okay,” he said softly, reaching up to squeeze limp fingers. “Stay with me. We’re gonna do this together. You and me.”
“You said… it would be… walk in the park.”
“Well… more like a brisk jog,” Micah grinned.
“That’s it, get pissed off,” he encouraged, not batting an eye as he lifted his best friend’s bare foot onto his shoulder. If he had time to think about it, he might have considered it quite bizarre that he was seeing quite so much of said best friend, but he was far too busy trying to deliver her baby to think about anything else. Micah swept two fingers around the perineum as another contraction hit and the baby’s head crowned for the third time. “Another push, Sarah and we’ll have the head. Bear down and we can meet this beautiful boy.”
“I can’t do it.”
“Are you kidding me?” Micah scoffed as Sarah’s body ignored her protestations and concentrated on the job it was made to do. “You are doing it. Bear down, that’s it… keep it coming…” The contraction slowly receded and he gave her thigh an encouraging squeeze. “Fantastic job, darlin’. One more and we’ll be singing happy birthday, won’t we, Dad?”
“The only thing he’ll be singing is soprano,” Sarah panted as she flopped back onto the pillow. “You touch me again and I’ll cut your dick off!”
Micah bit back his snort of laughter at the understanding nod from Gary, Sarah’s adoring husband, as he smoothed her hair off her sweat-dampened forehead. It wasn’t the first time he’d heard something along those lines and he was more than certain it wouldn’t be the last. He was also fairly sure that in a couple of years Sarah would be saying the same thing again. Sarah’s belly hardened beneath his hand and he looked at the monitor as the contraction began to build strength. The baby’s heartbeat started to climb, which was perfectly normal. This was it. He felt that familiar frisson of excitement flow through him and he moistened his lips. “Okay, Sarah,” he said briskly. “I know you’re tired, but we’re nearly there. Deep breath in and push!”
He kept up a steady stream of encouragement, and whooped when the baby’s head didn’t slip back down the birth canal after the next contraction. Then the head was delivered to a resounding scream from Sarah. “Sarah, honey, stop pushing. I don’t want you to tear,” Micah instructed firmly. “I need you to listen to my voice. I want you to pant, and with the next contraction we’ll have a baby.”
“I can’t… I changed my mind.”
“Probably should have thought of that before you had that early night, Webb,” Micah shot back. The next contraction began almost straight away and Micah briefly gripped Sarah’s knee. “This is it, baby. I want little pushes while I ease him out. That’s it… another one… fantastic, honey. Blow your breath out. Think about all the blow jobs you gave behind 4C… yes… just like that….” Micah let out another yell as two shoulders slipped easily into the world followed by the rest of Sarah and Gary’s baby boy, his Godson.
Once the cord had stopped pulsing Micah clamped it and held the scissors out to Gary. “Come on, Daddy. I’ve done my part…” Gary was in a state of euphoric shock. Micah had to steady his hand as the other man cut the cord in between the clamps, and Baby Boy Webb was on his own. Micah rose with the baby in his arms and placed him on Sarah’s breast, not quite being able to join in the celebration; he wasn’t done yet.
While Sarah and Gary laughed, cried and stared in exhausted amazement at their new son, Micah efficiently drew the Pitocin into a syringe and injected it into Sarah’s thigh. Not that she noticed. He shook his head with a soft smile as he placed his hand on her abdomen, waiting for the injection to take effect. In the five years he’d been one of the midwives here at Cherry Tree Birthing Centre, he didn’t think any woman had ever paid attention when he’d administered the drug designed to deliver the placenta.
Thankfully the final stage of labour didn’t take long, and within twenty minutes he had weighed and discarded the disc-like placenta after checking it was intact. Turning back to Sarah, he surveyed his handiwork.
“You can stop staring at my girl parts now,” Sarah said sarcastically. “You’re done down that end… get your arse further north.”
“Sorry,” Micah said with a wide grin. “But I’m damn good. Not a single tear. Actually, if it weren’t for the fact that you shit yourself, you would never know you just had a baby.”
“You are seriously disturbed,” Sarah shook her head and gazed back down at her son. “If Uncle Micah ever tries to tell you the story of your birth, kick him in the shins and run like hell. Mummy would like to try and retain a little dignity.”
“Don’t listen to her,” Micah cooed, gently lifting the baby from Sarah’s arms. “We are going to have some serious fun, little man. I’m going to teach you all the ways to make your mummy get that crinkle above her nose when she’s piss—sorry—ticked off. I’m also going to fill you full of E-numbers, additives and preservatives, then send you home to your parents. It’s my job, no matter what Mummy says. It’s on page one of the Uncle Handbook. Right there with getting you your first lap dance when you’re twenty-one.”
“He’s ten minutes old, Lewis,” Sarah griped. “Don’t start corrupting him already.”
Micah chuckled softly as he gently lowered the baby into the scales. He made a note of his weight before measuring his length and his head. He completed all the tests he needed to do and updated his notes, then quickly administered the vitamin K injection, mumbling soothing noises as the baby let out a wail. With practiced ease, he fastened a nappy, and dressed the tiny boy in a vest and a baby-gro before wrapping him in the blanket Gary handed him. Picking the baby up, he dropped a gentle kiss on his soft skin and then placed him in his father’s arms. He settled himself in the chair in the corner and proceeded to finish the rest of his notes, allowing Sarah and Gary some alone time with their new son.
Watching the way Sarah stared in stunned awe at the baby had Micah swallowing past the lump in his throat. She was a year older than him, and she and Gary had already been trying for three years before they moved back to the tiny village where Sarah and Micah had grown up. That had been four years ago, so it had been seven years of miscarriages and three costly IVF treatments before they were able to see the beautiful puffy little face now yawning up at them.
“Look at him,” Gary grinned happily. “You’d think he’d done all the work. Who does he look like?”
“You,” Sarah replied immediately. “Poor little sod… and my dad.”
“He looks like Winston Churchill,” Micah piped up, not lifting his gaze from his notes. “All babies look like Winston Churchill… it’s the law.”
“You’re a knob, Micah,” Sarah shot back. “I’m going to rescind the Godfather invitation if you’re not careful.”
Micah closed her file and slipped his pen into the top pocket of his scrubs. Standing up he walked over to the bed and stroked a gentle finger over the baby’s downy cheek. “You can’t. I have to have some kind of reward for wiping your arse.” He leaned down and kissed her forehead softly. “He is eight and half pounds of perfect, Sare. You did good.” Raising an eyebrow he tilted his head as he gazed down at the little boy he was planning to spoil within an inch of his life. “Are you seriously going to saddle him with,” he faked a shudder, “that name?”
“It was my father’s name,” Gary said firmly. “And his father’s name before him. It’s tradition.”
“Then why is your name Gary?” Micah reasoned. “Doesn’t it tell you something when your own mother refused to carry on the tradition? How can you do it to him? He’s going to get his arse severely kicked his entire life.”
“Shut up the two of you,” Sarah sighed heavily with a roll of her eyes. “Micah, get over it. We like it, it’s cute. Now hold your Godson… Algernon Micah Webb.”
Supporting the baby’s head in the crook of his elbow, Micah kissed him softly. “Don’t worry, Algie. When you’re eighteen I’ll pay for you to get it changed.”
About the Author
I live in Southend-on-Sea, a small seaside town just outside London on the South East coast of Essex, England that boasts the longest pier in the world; where I am ordered around by two precocious children and a dog who thinks she’s the boss of me. I’ve been writing seriously for three years now and love giving voice to the characters warring to be heard in my head, and am currently petitioning for more hours in the day, because I never seem to have enough of them.
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April 2: Prism Book Alliance
April 6: Divine Magazine
April 9: Nic Starr
Series: Left at the Crossroads #2
Author: Sue Brown
Length: 43,000 words/139 Pages
Release Date: April 15, 2015
Blurb: Little Mowbury is a sleepy English village deep in the Cotswolds. The kind of village where you’re only a local if your lineage can be traced back to the dinosaurs. Where you can find everything in the single village shop from morning newspapers to dry-cleaning, and getting your shoes mended. And, of course, where everybody knows everybody else’s business. It’s easy to find… you can’t miss it… just ask anyone and they’ll tell you… “It’s left at the crossroads.”
Eighteen months ago Jason Havers lost the love of his life and it’s time to move on. Applying for the position of chef in a sleepy country pub, a million miles away from his previous life, may well be the fresh start he needs. His new employers immediately take him under their wing and before long he finds himself with a passel of new friends and a job he loves. What he doesn’t expect is Tom, a gorgeous midwife, who stirs up feelings he’s not ready to deal with.
But when someone from his previous life turns up in Little Mowbury, will Jason be able to keep them from revealing the secret he’s been keeping from those he’s come to love?