RNA Chair, Nicola Cornick writes: Back in the summer I had an email from Jules Wake, the RNA’s PR Officer. A cruise company was looking for an author to take a river cruise in Europe and write a story based on their experiences. I don’t mind admitting that had I been free to go I would have tried very hard to persuade them that a historical or a timeslip story would be perfect for their purposes, and that the ideal author would have been – Me! However, it was short notice and I was booked elsewhere and anyway, we believe in democracy in the RNA, so very reluctantly I consulted with a number of people to come up with a shortlist of authors who fitted the bill. From that list, Jo Thomas was chosen to be writer-in-residence and to embark on a romantic-inspired adventure!
I’m sure it will come as no surprise to anyone that this is very much the sort of joint venture that the RNA would love to be involved in in future; there is definitely a synergy between romance and travel and at the RNA we are ideally placed to write about it.
Below, the cruise company and Jo herself give an insight into the experience, and you can follow the link to read Jo’s wonderful story!
Award-winning, romantic fiction author Jo Thomas has teamed up with travel company, Titan, to pen her latest offering inspired by the beauty and romance of a river cruise adventure through Belgium and the Netherlands.
As a writer in residence onboard Titan’s MS Serenade 1, Jo spent a week journeying from Amsterdam to Rotterdam, all the while planning, writing and editing a short story that brought to life the sights, sounds and food she encountered along the way. She drew inspiration for the storyline and characters from everything from trying fresh mussels in Antwerp to browsing chocolate shops in Ghent.
Jo, who is known for her emotive novels about love and food, regularly uses her travels at home and abroad to inspire and drive her work. Her trip with Titan, however, has been one of her most immersive writing experiences to date with every element of the story coming together aboard the ship.
The charming short story, titled Uncharted Waters, is available as a free download from Titan’s website, and charts the journey of Ella and Richard who rediscover adventure and love on a Dutch barge after almost 10 years of marriage, with a few mishaps (and uninvited mother-in-laws) along the way.
Author Jo Thomas, said: “I was so looking forward to working with Titan and stepping aboard a river cruise for the first time. I imagined just sitting back and letting the world pass by, letting my mind wander and the stories unfold but there was so much to see and do, that once the writing and the ideas started to flow, I just couldn’t stop.
This partnership was a wonderful opportunity to turn my hand to a new writing process. I travel a lot for my books but often I’m not actually writing whilst I’m there. I usually immerse myself in the country and bring it all together when I get home but Titan challenged me to take the beautiful sights, smells and tastes I experienced and immediately add them to the story so it evolved with every stop we made. It was fantastic and I can’t wait for everyone to download the free ebook and enjoy it.”
Rob Stapley, Cruise Product Manager at Titan Travel, said: “We wanted to bring to life the spirit of river cruising in a new and dynamic way and Jo’s done a wonderful job of artfully capturing the sights, sounds and even the flavours of the low countries in Uncharted Waters.
Losing yourself in a book on a relaxing getaway has long been the perfect pairing and Jo’s wonderful style of writing seamlessly blends the spirit of modern romance novels with her enchanting flair for food and travel.”
Jo Thomas is author to the gorgeous new sun-filled read The Honey Farm on the Hill as well as the runaway bestseller, The Oyster Catcher. She worked for many years as a reporter and producer, first for BBC Radio 5, before moving on to Radio 2’s The Steve Wright Show. In 2013 Jo won the RNA Katie Fforde Bursary and was awarded both the 2014 RNA Joan Hessayon Award and the 2014 Festival of Romance Best Ebook Award. Jo lives in the Vale of Glamorgan with her husband and three children. Her new book, Sunset Over the Cherry Orchard, will be coming out this summer.