Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: 15 February 2018
Publisher: Endeavour Media
Georgia Lyle is an ambitious journalist when she interviews hopeful British tennis player Nick Pereira. It’s game, set and match, and soon wedding bells chime. At first the couple try to balance their careers, but eventually Georgia quits her job to tour with her husband. When she finds it impossible to continue being a tennis wife, the two split, but remain in touch as Nick moves to Australia to coach and Georgia begins a new career as a lifestyle and food writer. Soon she’s jetting off to Paris to film a series with some very famous chefs, including Frenchman Jean Luc, who is quite smitten with her. But Yasmin, his right hand woman, has other ideas on that score. Everyone thinks Nick and Georgia regret giving up on their marriage. But how does Georgia learn to love reaching thirty and how do two stubborn people admit they were wrong and reunite?
With all the back and forth of a Wimbledon final, Love Thirty is a lively romance set among the gentle green of England and the quirky restaurants of France.
“Is there a window for romance in your hectic schedule?”
The ticking of the silver carriage clock on the mantelpiece sounded like a conductor tapping his baton on the music stand. Georgia forgot to breathe.
Nick relaxed against the cushions. “I’ve no particular wish to play mixed doubles.” His eyes sparkled with mischief.
“Humour me. I want to connect with both female and male readers.” She released her most beguiling smile, determined to win the point.
A muscle twitched in his cheek. “The answer to your question is, not at the moment. Certainly not until I’m a top ten player.”
It was as if tiny fingers tapped their way down Georgia’s spine. His eyes told her his own comment had surprised him. Maybe it was the first time he’d confided his ambition. This made her heartbeat quicken though she realised there was no way Nick Pereira was media-savvy. By the end of this interview her squiggles would cover several pages and he probably prayed her article wouldn’t earn him too much flak from the guys in the locker room. He was a relatively minor British athlete, aiming to prove himself by actions not words.
Ignoring those amazing eyelashes and trying not to wonder what he was like with his shirt off, she challenged him with a drop shot. “How will you cope with the tabloids? They pounce on home grown players. Can you deal with that pressure-cooker situation as well as Andy Murray does?”
Nick hitched one long leg over the other and gazed up at the crystal chandelier. Georgia focused on the silky dark tuft at the open V of his shirt. Prayed the photos would prove finger-licking enough to make readers rush to buy the weekend paper.
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From initial idea to finished book – The journey of Love Thirty
I fell in love with tennis when I first picked up a mini racquet at around age seven and I can probably bore for Britain on the subject! Writing and tennis are my two great pleasures, as recognised by my long-suffering loved ones.
I began writing short stories and graduated to novellas and novels some years before I decided to use the theme of tennis in one of my books, even though I knew Nick Pereira would be a nightmare hero to write. Athletes are totally driven, aren’t they? So how could I prevent a focussed career sportsman, trying to chase the British Number One player up the rankings, from being one-dimensional? Nick’s basically a nice guy and he falls deeply in love with Georgia. But that ambition thing is a hard one to tame. I needed to make Georgia a strong-willed woman, so much so that she would never tolerate taking a back seat throughout the whole of her husband’s playing career. She too, has to find her own way in the world.
I’d like to explain that the title Love Thirty is not totally inspired by that game played with racquets and balls. However, the sport has gained much more popular interest since national hero Sir Andy Murray won Wimbledon not just once but twice! Georgia, who starts listening to her biological clock ticking as she heads for her 30th birthday, has more than one object on her personal agenda. Nick, who doesn’t see things totally her way, needs to step back from the limelight although he does remain a positive background figure in the story.
I spent years living in Wiltshire and also knew more than one local journalist so I knew the background and a bit about my heroine’s career. Georgia needed a sidekick, someone to banter with, go for a beer with, and to moan to, primarily about Baz, the pair’s ever so slightly misogynist boss. Enter Andy, who tried to tell me he was secretly in love with Georgia, but would I listen? No. She was always destined to marry Nick Pereira.
Although my novel isn’t tennis obsessed, the reader samples the flavour as the story progresses. As an author who writes character-led fiction, I hope you’ll enjoy meeting Georgia and Nick’s families, friends and colleagues. I needed a device to trigger a new beginning for my heroine after she quits roaming round the world’s tennis hot spots and I found that means within a short story of mine that was published in 2002. So I blame an ancient cookbook for the startling life change Georgia experiences.
Food is a great leveller, and it’s often used in fiction in exciting ways. I’m thinking of the novel by Henry Fielding that inspired the movie Tom Jones (no, not Jones the Voice!) although my book doesn’t include such a provocative supper scene. But Georgia and her recipes steal the heart of the British public, and possibly the heart of a sexy French chef who she finds tempting and with whom she ends up working. This takes the action to Paris.
As part of Georgia’s journey, I take readers from a small Wiltshire town beside a canal, to Nick’s parents’ extravagant property and to Georgia’s folks’ cottage on a large estate that her father manages. After a perfect winter wedding, the brief honeymoon is spent in Edinburgh so keep your thermals at the ready. Of course you get a ticket to Wimbledon later in the story so you might need your sun hat. Nothing but the best for Jill Barry’s readers! That section was one of my favourites to write, especially as I’ve attended the championships and loved celebrity spotting as much as I enjoyed the matches.
The consequence of Georgia’s visit to London SW19 proves to be another huge life-changer. Afterwards, she spends a brief but eventful period in Paris – cue more colourful characters – and by the time the novel ends, I hope you’ll sit back and think, wow!
ABOUT JILL BARRY
Jill Barry enjoys drawing upon some of her favourite job and holiday experiences for her books. Her romantic novels and novellas have been published digitally and in paperback as well as large print and pocket novel format. Currently, she’s working on the first book of a trilogy highlighting the lives and loves of three women. She critiques for other romantic novelists and runs creative writing sessions for students at an online high school.
Tweet Jill @barry_jill
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7276803.Jill_Barry
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