Author tries new genre after success of debut novel

A WOKING author has released her second novel, The Unsound Sister, building on the success of Widow’s Lace, published a year ago.

Lelita Baldock attracted glowing reviews for Widow’s Lace, a historical mystery set in her native Australia, but has opted for a change of pace with The Unsound Sister.

COVER STORY – Lelita Baldock with her published novels

“I have been blown away by the positive response from readers of Widow’s Lace,” Lelita said. “Feedback is so important for an author, especially when you are new. It can be very easy to doubt yourself.

“I decided to try a different genre with The Unsound Sister, which is crime fiction rather than historical, because I enjoy a challenge.

“The idea for The Unsound Sister had been rolling about in my head for about five years, but it wasn’t until I visited Devon in 2019 that the threads of the story came together and I found the perfect setting.

“My father, Trevor, and his partner, Sharon, were a huge help in structuring the court scenes and legal process of the story, so it could be as authentic as possible.

“It’s been exciting to see readers of Widow’s Lace trust me again and pick up The Unsound Sister. I’ve also begun to find a whole new reader base and, although it’s early days, the reception has been very warm.”

Lelita, who was born and grew up in Adelaide, settled in Woking in 2018 with her husband Ryan, with whom she runs a web development business.

She has worked as an English teacher in Australia and on a previous stint in the UK, and makes time for writing outside working hours and at weekends.

So keen was Lelita for a permanent return to the UK that she even brought over her adored rescue cat Jasmine, who had been adopted in Australia.

Many authors testify to the difficulties of the second novel, but Lelita feels she has learnt a lot over the past year.

“I know much more about myself, the skill of writing, publishing and self-promotion,” she said. “The craft of writing is something I have worked on for many years, through trial and error, various writers’ courses and university study.

“I believe, though, it is something you have to do day in, day out, to improve. Reading widely also helps, you absorb elements of effective writing as you read it.

Widow’s Lace took me over 12 years to write, but really that was because I was learning about the craft as I went. Now I have established my approach to writing and feel much more confident.

“Online, authors joke about being a planner or a pantser. I am definitely a planner, not someone who flies by the seat of their pants.

“When a story idea comes to me I will mull it over for a while. Then, when I’m ready, I plan: characters, events and, eventually, a chapter-by-chapter outline. It sounds odd, but planning is what releases my creativity.

“The self-promotion side is something I’d never really tackled. Social media is about knowing your audience, forming relationships and connections.

“I’ve established a bi-monthly writing newsletter that I publish on my website and email to subscribers. I feature writing tips, author interviews, book reviews, anything to engage people who enjoy reading.”

As her writing career gathers pace, Lelita is clear about where her future lies.

“We love living in Woking and don’t see ourselves leaving,” she said. “It’s a beautiful town with a friendly community feel. We are really happy here.

“And now I’m deep into the second draft of my third novel, White Cove. It’s a return to historical fiction, the story of life in a small Cornish fishing village in the 1800s. I’m aiming for a release later this year.”

Widow’s Lace and The Unsound Sister are available on Amazon. For more information on the author, reviews and to subscribe to her newsletter, visit www.lelitabaldock.com.

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