Author Interview: Angela Cairns
Author Angela Cairns joins me this week. Touch is the first book in the uplifting Ellie Rose women’s fiction series. If you like inspiring stories of self-discovery, wounded heroes, and second-chance love, then you’ll adore Angela Cairns’ beautiful tale.
Angela is a working clinician - Physiotherapist/Acupuncturist. Her career began when she wrote a collection of relaxation stories set to original sound-tracks called Play Pause Unwind. Working as a physiotherapist, she felt readers were long overdue a physiotherapist heroine to join the ranks of fictional doctors, nurses and psychologists. The character Ellie Rose is clever, compassionate and determined. She is a heroine to take to your heart... Angela lives in Essex, UK, with her husband. She has two grown-up sons and a clan of Gordon Setter dogs.
Click here to receive free novella a Short Time in Paradise - prequel to Touch.
Blurb for Touch
She can heal her patients. But when tragedy strikes, can she mend her own broken heart?
England, 1986. Physiotherapist Ellie Rose is devastated by the tragic loss of her soulmate. Unable to endure the stifling sympathy of friends, she quits London for the quiet countryside of Essex where she knows no one. And after suffering too long at an awful job, she establishes a holistic health clinic and wonders if she’ll ever reclaim her happiness.
Much to her surprise, Ellie finds solace in healing her clients. But she still can’t release the pain lingering in her soul. Until a charming new neighbor with his own grief opens the door to loving again.
Can Ellie at last find the strength to let go of the past and live life once more with passion?
An Interview with Angela:
What are your most notable victories?
I’ve been writing and broadcasting as a physiotherapist for the BBC for over twenty years.
With talented composer Simon Ramet who wrote the most fabulous soundtracks, I recorded my relaxation stories in a non-fiction resource called Play Pause Unwind. These were my first published stories.
I longed to write a book and realised as the birthdays rolled by that I needed to make time to write it. I study with the Writer’s Company in Wivenhoe, and have an amazing group of fellow writers in the novel writer’s workshop. They are my beta readers, my cheerleaders, and always find kind and inventive ways to say, “Write it again!” They give me the structure I need to make the dream a reality.
I write short stories too in a sweeter romance style; several are published in anthologies, national women’s magazines and on Amazon. I recently sold a trilogy of shorts which appeared as a series in ‘Yours’ magazine earlier in the year.
In addition to launching Dilemma, I have just finished expanding a short story I initially called Ellie and Brett into a prologue novella called A Short Time in Paradise. The novella will be my gift to readers who sign up to receive The Glint of Light my monthly newsletter. Why The Glint of Light? It comes from a quote by Chekhov about showing not telling in your writing: “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
I am still a working clinician. I’m proud to say that I have treated three generations of some families. I work with some amazing clinicians too. My clinics are multidisciplinary and include holistic practitioners, counsellors, yoga and fitness instructors as well as physio/acupuncturists like me.
Outside writing, my crowning achievements are that I am happily married and have two grown-up lads and I’m incredibly proud to watch the men they’ve become. My clan of madcap Gordon Setter’s, and the puppies I had with my beloved Ginny, continue to provide love and companionship all over the country, who could wish for more.
What can you tell us about your new novel Dilemma (to be released 2021)?
Dilemma is the second in the Ellie Rose series. It’s a Women’s Fiction book that looks at the impact of motherhood on the lives of women. It has a romantic story arc and a secondary theme of recovery after loss. In Dilemma we re-find Physiotherapist Ellie Rose, who seems fully recovered from the tragedy in her past which we uncover in Touch. Her life seemingly rebuilt, she has her thriving, holistic clinic, a close circle of friends, and her loving partner Mark.
Now in their thirties, most of her friends are married and starting families. Everyone assumes that Mark and Ellie will be next; including Mark. So why is Ellie avoiding the issue? She says life is perfect the way it is, so why would she change? But is this truly her only reason?
With Mark distracted by work, and angry at her refusal to commit, Ellie finds her ideal world unravelling. She begins to enjoy the company of James, a sophisticated, older businessman, who knows exactly how to inject some fun into her life and suddenly she faces temptation and confusion.
The pain of the past brings doubt to the future for Ellie; can she face the fears which haunt her, and finally find peace?
What is your favourite part about the Women’s Fiction genre?
I am fascinated by people and in particular how their relationships colour their lives. Women lead varied and colourful emotional lives and face unique issues related to their careers, motherhood and finding self within those demanding arenas. Irresistible for an author.
What is your favourite part about writing Women’s Fiction?
As well as writing, I’ve been a physiotherapist/acupuncturist/relaxation coach for forty years. I am privileged to hear the poignant and courageous stories people tell me. Part of my job is to enable them, despite all their set-backs and tragedies, to continue to hope, dream and find redemption. They tell me amazing, funny stories too, and we get through some tissues in the clinic, mopping up tears of laughter as well as sadness. As an author I want to bring in fictionalised form, those powerful, uplifting stories of everyday courage. You can see, there is no shortage of inspiration.
I write on the computer, with a flask of herbal tea, some nibbles and a notebook that has all my scribbled ideas in it. My dogs know the drill and settle in various poses of total relaxation while I get the words down. I do lots of my planning while I walk the dogs too.
As well as writing, I’ve had to hone and transfer lots of other skills. I chose to be an indie author, so I design all my own social media posts, I blog, as well as contributing live events such as readings and book club talks.
What are the most challenging parts of writing?
The most challenging (and rewarding) aspect of writing in this genre is to bring depth to the characters and avoid clichés, while still keeping the reader engaged with all the emotion of the story. I like to leave the reader uplifted at the end of each book because there is enough unremitting bleakness in the world, without reading and writing it as well. I believe in hope and redemption.
Because I still work, I have to be disciplined about setting aside time to write. I ‘diary out’ time, so if I’m asked to do something else, I truthfully say, “Sorry, I have an appointment.”
Your readers can think of me on Wednesday and Friday morning: I’ll be there at my desk tapping away. It’s no hardship; writing is a joy and very therapeutic. Imagine, I can take annoying characters from real life and do whatever I like to them on the page! Then there are the amazing men I can conjure. My friend’s mother said she wished she had met Brett, one of the main characters, because she was more than half in love with him.
How are you similar to your heroine?
There is, of course, some of Ellie in me and vice versa. She reflects the messages I’d like to convey about health and wellbeing, also about how important I believe therapeutic relationships are. In her personal life, Ellie loves dogs and country living as do I, and we both own Gordon Setters, too.
How are you different from Ellie?
Well, Ellie is at a different stage of her life and career to me and also her personal story doesn’t mirror mine at all.
What do you hope readers will gain from the experience of reading your book?
First and foremost a beautifully written, uplifting story. Then some healing and nourishing as the characters look at problems and dilemmas we all face along the way. Dilemma differs from some other romances/women’s fiction novels because it contains elements of a medical memoir; Ellie’s patients are important cameo characters and their role in the story is always to bring insight.
One of my patients said that reading my first novel, Touch, had allowed her to admit after thirty years how hard it had been to cope with raising a family on her own. She had cried for her younger self for the first time. Books entertain, but they heal too.
What are your plans for the future in your writing career?
Keep writing, keep improving and to build the same amazing relationships with my readers as I have with my patients.
Books create amazing worlds, one of my favourites is in Chocolat and its sequels by Joanne Harris. Joanne transports me back to France, where I lived for six years, and there is just a little hint of magic in all her stories - if I can get close, I’ll be happy. Then there is the wonderfully sensuous chocolate that you can almost taste! If I can make my readers feel and taste and see the way she does, I’ve achieved what I set out to write.
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert also chimes with me; the restlessness that leads to her journey and the peace she finds. I also practice Yoga and T’ai Chi and cherish the peace and grounding that stillness brings. I’d like to bring some of that inner peace to my readers.
I also love a good crime novel; Inspector Lynley, Rebus, Temperance Brennan and Cormoran Strike are all delightfully flawed heroes, In Touch and Dilemma I hope I bring you heroines and heroes that readers will take to their heart.
What are the favourite themes in your books?
In amongst all the fun, the message I want to convey in the Ellie Rose series is that wellbeing and self-esteem are key to our health. No-one does it all by themselves, so we have to know who and when to ask for help. And even in our darkest times, there is hope, there is laughter, and there are fantastic people.
Any last thoughts?
I hope I’ve inspired upcoming generations to read because I’ve read to my children, grandchildren and their friends. All of us authors and parents have gifted the next generation the magical worlds found within the covers of books, and set the example by reading and writing ourselves. We’ve taught them well, I hope. Life without books? I don’t think so!
Where can you find out more about Angela's novels and short stories?
Dilemma, the second in series, is due out in 2021. Angela's collection of short stories called Seasonal Produce can be found here.
You can also visit her website for her mailing list, monthly newsletter (which always includes an original short story), news and great book promos.
Find Angela on social media:
Instagram and Facebook @angelacairnsauthor