The Story Behind the Story: the Corsican Widow

This week, Vanessa Couchman takes over the blog to tell us about the story behind her second Corsica novel, The Corsican Widow.

I am a self-confessed history nut. I’m lucky, then, to live in Southwest France, which is absolutely steeped in history. Some of my novels and short stories are set in the area where I live.

But I have also been captivated by the savagely beautiful island of Corsica in the Mediterranean. I can’t get back there often enough, although this year, sadly, I suspect we won’t have the chance.

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Augustine is Released Today

We’re excited to announce that Vanessa Couchman’s novella, Augustine, is released today on Amazon Kindle under the Ocelot Press imprint.

Augustine is a prequel to her Alouette trilogy, and it’s set against the rolling hills and perched villages of Southwest France in the late 19th-century. Vanessa lives in southern France, not far from where the action takes place, and there’s plenty of period detail woven into the story, drawn from her researches and knowledge of the area. The backdrop is a way of life that lasted for centuries but has now disappeared forever.

In the book, you’ll meet Augustine Bousquet and Joseph Vernhes, who appear again in Overture, Book 1 of the Alouette trilogy. Augustine can be read as a standalone or before Overture.

Chapter 1 of Augustine

Have a sneak peak at Chapter 1 of Vanessa Couchman’s Augustine, coming soon!

Vanessa Couchman

Augustine is a bitter-sweet romance set against the rolling landscape and hilltop villages of southern France in the late 19th century. This novella is a prequel to the Alouette Trilogy and is currently on pre-order on Amazon Kindle for publication on 30th April 2020. Read Chapter 1 below.

Belcastel, one of the beautiful villages of Southwest France

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Augustine: Cover Reveal and Launch Details

We’re thrilled to announce Vanessa Couchman’s latest book, Augustine, a prequel novella to the Alouette trilogy.

Vanessa Couchman

On 30th April, I’m publishing a prequel to the Alouette trilogy, Augustine. This is a novella (about half the length of a standard novel), set in rural Southwest France in the 1880s. It tells the story of Augustine and Joseph, who appear in Book 1 of the trilogy, Overture.

My fab cover designer, JD Smith, has come up with the goods yet again. The cover fits the story really well and is just what I wanted.

Here’s the blurb:

Love conquers all. Or does it?

Rural France 1880. Augustine is not conventionally pretty and fears that she may never marry. Joseph rents his land and dreams of owning a farm one day. But without a wife and children, he lacks the help he needs.

When Joseph saves Augustine from a drunkard at a dance, they are immediately attracted to each other. They meet again, and the attraction…

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The Power of Letters

Letters that inspired a novel

What is it about old letters that come to light later that is so appealing to our imagination? In our age of instant communication via email and social media, letter-writing is a rare practice. Why write someone a letter when you can Skype them instead? But for people a century ago, no other means of staying in contact existed. A letter was a personal thing, even if it took some time for it to arrive or for a reply to come back.

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Going Back in Time: Creating a Sense of Place in Fiction

In our continuing series of weekly blog posts, Ocelot author Vanessa Couchman tells us about her research process.

For all historical novelists, research is a vital part of the writing process. Since I took a degree in history, I enjoy the research part enormously. The danger for me is getting so carried away with the research that it threatens to take over the writing!

Continue reading “Going Back in Time: Creating a Sense of Place in Fiction”

The Ghostly Father is now available in audiobook format

Huge excitement here at Ocelot Press as The Ghostly Father, Sue Barnard’s wonderful rewriting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, is launched in audiobook format! This is the first – but certainly not the last – of the Ocelot list to become an audiobook, and more will follow soon.

In the meantime, you can now listen to The Ghostly Father in the car, on the train, while you’re doing household or gardening tasks, or even in the bath (but be careful not to drop it in the water!). The possibilities are endless.

Think you know the world’s most famous love story? Think again. The alternative version of Romeo and Juliet, The Ghostly Father, is now in #audiobook format. @OcelotPress

If you haven’t already come across this lovely story, here’s the description:

Think you know the world’s most famous love story? Think again. What if the story of Romeo and Juliet really happened – but not quite in the way we’ve all been told? 

This part-prequel, part-sequel to the original tale, told from the point of view of the Friar, tells how an ancient Italian manuscript reveals secrets and lies which have remained hidden for hundreds of years, and casts new doubts on the official story of Shakespeare’s famous star-crossed lovers. 

If you love the Romeo and Juliet story but are disappointed with the way it ended, this is the book for you.

The Ghostly Father has two narrators: Danielle Cohen, a rising star in the audiobook narration world, who can master an amazing range of accents; and Philip Rose, a voice actor with long experience in voice-overs and audiobook narration.

You have a treat in store!

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