New book deal. New genre. New beginnings. My HAPPY news!

Writing thrillers is something I am super passionate about. It fulfils the Enid Blyton’s Famous Five obsessive inside of me, the Scooby Doo and the gang need to solve the mystery addict. But I’ve always had another dream. A dream I clutched tightly to my chest promising it one day, eventually, and when I’ve got more time but I never seemed to have more time and eventually never came.  It felt like a secret. A secret I couldn’t quite share. You see, I’d had my heart broken at the age of eight after reading Little Women and that was when I knew with certainty I wanted to one day write a story which would make readers fall in love with the characters, cry for them, hope, question ‘what would I do in that situation.’

It was while I was on holiday in Lanzarote, gazing out to sea that I saw a scene in my mind play out like a movie. Although the scene was imagined it was very real to me, along with the characters, Adam and Anna. Unusually, the idea came fully formed, as though it was their story and I just had to transcibe it.

I sat in a beach bar with my son who is already such a talented writer and I told him I had had an idea. ‘It’s a bit crazy though’ I warned him. ‘All the best ideas are,’ he wisely said. ‘You must write it,’ and so there and then I began to draft notes.  Their journey begins in Lanzarote (although I’ve renamed the island) with a love lock. I was already so invested in Adam and Anna as a couple I purchased them a love lock and fastened it to the chain fence at the beautiful cove where we were staying (which also features in the book). I wrote for the entire plane journey home.

Back at my desk, I picked up where I’d left off with my latest thriller and when I tweeted that I had been so excited about my new idea I felt so sad I had put it to one side. I knew I owed it to Adam and Anna to put down my current work in progress and finish their story. I owed it to myself to write something for pure joy.

 

At Christmas I was in a cab heading to a London event with my agent. ‘How’s the new thriller going?’ He asked. I fiddled nervously with my seatbelt. ‘I’ve stopped working on it. I’m writing something new. It’s not a thriller.’

‘What is it?’ He asked.

‘I don’t think it fits into a genre.’ I explained the concept to him. ‘It’s just for me. I don’t expect anyone else to love it but I need to do this. To write for the love of it rather than for publication.’

‘Then you must do that,’ he said. ‘And if when you’ve finished it you’d let me read it, I’d be delighted to.’

The book came together quicker than anything I’ve ever written before. I wrote constantly, long hours, every single day, not because of a deadline, not because I had to, but because I wanted to.

A few months later I had a novel I was immensely proud of. Tentatively I sent it my agent, he read it, loved it. ‘I’d like to show your editor this other side to your writing, do you mind?’ He asked.  Although I was worried my publishers might be annoyed I’d spent months working on something outside of my contract, I agreed.

Fittingly I was in Lanzarote again, on the same beach, watching the sun set, when the call came to say that my editor had read it and adored it. She’d shared it with the rest of the team at HQ, Harper Collins who thankfully felt just as enthusiastic. They wanted to make an offer.

I cried. A lot. I’d followed my heart and it had paid off. To celebrate, we drank cocktails on sitting on the sand.

Today, I’m so thrilled to be able share with you that my debut Women’s Fiction novel ‘The Life We Almost Had’ will be published this July by HQ under the pseudonym Amelia Henley (you can read The Bookseller announcement here.)

I shall still be writing thrillers under Louise Jensen, I’ve The Stolen Sisters publishing this October. Next summer there will be another Amelia Henley book – this time the heart-breaking story of Libby and Jack, and a further thriller in the autumn.

I feel incredibly blessed to be able to write in different genres and am hugely grateful to my agent, my editor and the whole team at HQ for supporting me in my new publishing strand. I can’t wait to see ‘The Life We Almost Had’ in the hands of readers. You can pre-order it here.

Follow Amelia Henley on social media to keep up to date with the news on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

 

‘The Wait’ – Flash Fiction – 100 words

 

Photo courtesy of Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

It was there, lurking in the gloom. Vague and amorphous and impossible to capture.

But that didn’t stop me trying.

I skulked and stalked and waited. Endlessly waited.

It was 3am on a cold winter’s night when I finally grasped it with both hands. The freezing air bit the tips of my nose, my cheeks but I didn’t care.

Triumph warmed me.

It was mine.

Slowly it began to uncover itself to me and I fell in love. Polishing it until it shone.

My idea.

I’d pinned it down. At last my scattered thoughts a solid something.

A book.

This week I’m celebrating a new 3-book deal with Harper Collin’s imprint, HQ. You can read my blog about that here and The Bookseller announcement here, along with the blurb for my 5thpsychological thriller, The Family.

‘The Wait’ was written for Friday Fictioneers, a weekly 100 word photo prompt challenge hosted by the fabulous Rochelle. Hop over to Rochelle’s blog here and read the other entries or join in!

My new book deal, book 5 blurb & an evening of crime!

I was over the moon yesterday to share the news that I’ve signed a three-book deal with the Harper Collins imprint, HQ. You can read the official announcement here. I’m very much looking forward to working with their dynamic, creative team.

HQ will be publishing my fifth psychological thriller, The Family, next year. The Family has characters I’ve become extraordinarily attached to whilst writing it. It’s the story of Laura who is grieving after the loss of her husband following his sudden death. She’s struggled to hold it together for her daughter, Tilly, and realises she needs help. When all seems lost, she turns to a group of apparently well-meaning strangers. But, as they settle into their new community, sinister things begin to happen and Tilly becomes enthralled by the ‘head’ of their new family, Alex. It soon becomes clear to Laura that she needs to get her daughter away from Alex, but is Tilly too far gone to be saved?

Tilly and her mum, Laura took me through the whole range of emotions whilst writing from fear for their safety to utter heartbreak. I can’t wait to share where the inspiration came from and to get it into the hands of readers when it’s published on 17th October 2019.

 

My first day with HQ kicked off to a brilliant start with their crime writer’s showcase event held in their swanky offices, with stunning views overlooking the Thames. It was a chance for authors, book bloggers and book sellers to connect over canapés and inevitably, plenty of booze.

It was lovely to put faces to twitter handles and meet those bloggers I hadn’t met before as well as authors and this is where I get ridiculously self-conscious, still unable to believe after a lifetime of loving stories that I’m mixing with actual writers – me!

I’m feeling incredibly grateful right now. A BIG thank you to all who have supported me. I’m so excited to see what the future holds.

Louise x

Flash Fiction – Be careful what you wish for…

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Image courtesy of Sarah Potter

 

When I was 6, Papa gave me a snow globe and I longed to be the princess inside, adored by my forever prince.

Be careful what you wish for Mama used to say.

From the outside looking in my life is perfect but I’m lost. Alone. Afraid. I rest my bruised face against the window, wondering what mood my husband will be in tonight, wondering where it all went wrong. What I did wrong.

I could leave. Be free. But where would I go?

Be careful what you wish for.

Instead, I paint a smile onto my lips.

 

I can’t believe it has been a year since I signed my book deal! I wrote a post you can read here on whether the reality has lived up to the dream.

‘Be careful what you wish for,’ was written for Friday Fictioneers. A weekly 100 word story challenge inspired by a photo prompt. You can read the other entries, or join in, over at host Rochelle’s blog here

 

How I REALLY felt when I got a book deal

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I’d envisaged the moment so many times. Receiving THE call. Someone believes in me and wants to represent this novel, along with the million other books I’m bound to write.

I thought I’d float around the garden in a giant bubble of happiness while birds tweeted their congratulations in my ear and rabbits frolicked at my feet.

Instead what happened was after a fraught few days exchanging emails with Bookouture, a proposal dropped into my inbox offering me a three-book deal. No fanfare. No dancing unicorns or rainbows stretching across the sky, as the sun smiled down on me. And what I felt, instead of the euphoria I’d expected, was sheer dread.

They want two more books? Are they crazy? I’m not a writer. I’m a mum who bashes out a few words on a laptop between the school run, work and cooking dinner. What if I never, ever have another idea again? This. Can’t. Be. Happening.

I seesawed between intense gratitude and a churning panic. Lydia, my editor, called to discuss the deal and she was patient and kind, but my mind was fuzzy and I couldn’t makes sense of the words she was saying. Couldn’t think of anything sensible to ask. Numb with shock I found myself agreeing and a contract was quickly emailed over. Pages of terms I’d never heard before and didn’t really understand. I waited for the excitement to kick in. And I waited. And waited.

Fear gripped me and for the rest of that week my word count stood at zero. My ideas dried up and the second book I’d started screeched to a halt. By Friday I was crippled with self-doubt and still hadn’t told my family or friends, or signed the contract. Stricken at the thought of letting Lydia and Bookouture down I poured all my concerns out in an email, trying to explain that although I was incredibly grateful, it was what I’d always wanted, but the process of writing another book, in a specific genre, with a looming deadline, was terrifying. Believing I’d blown my chance I went to bed for the rest of the day with the covers pulled over my head.

On Saturday I left the house for the first time in days. It was freezing, but as I sat by a local lake, my fingers blue with cold, idea upon idea juggernauted towards me. What if I put this twist in my new book? What if the main character did this? I scrambled in my bag for my ever-present note-book and scrawled page upon page of bullet points. Sunday was spent typing up my notes. My novel was back on track.

Lydia rang me Monday morning and alleviated every single fear I’d had, and even some I wasn’t even aware of.

And that’s when I felt it. That frisson of excitement.

That I can.

I will.

I am.

 

It took a while to fully sink in but I can now genuinely say I’m utterly thrilled with the opportunity and so, so thankful to be signed to such an innovative and dynamic publisher. I can’t stop smiling.

So if you look out of your window and happen to see a woman cartwheeling down the street while simultaneously screaming with happiness and necking champagne, well, that would be me.

I’ve got a book deal!!

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I’m utterly thrilled to be able to announce I have signed a three-book deal with Bookouture. (You can read the official announcement here). The Bookouture team and their authors have all been so welcoming I feel like part of the family already.

My psychological thriller, The Sister, is due to be published July 2016.

It has all been a bit of a whirlwind and I will post more details soon, but for now, I’m off to celebrate.