Thursday, August 10, 2017

Riverside Lane by Ginger Black | Blog Tour with Excerpt, Guest Post, and Giveaway

The Blurb

After arranging a house swap with a debonair antiques dealer, a darkly handsome American named Luca Tempesta arrives in a quaint English village. Tempesta, who claims to run a detective agency in Los Angeles, is supposedly on holiday  but the inhabitants of the village are unconvinced.

Yet, as they attempt to solve the mystery of the stranger in their midst, it gradually transpires that there are more than enough secrets to go around in the village itself, harboured by the local MP and his uptight, ambitious wife; the has-been former game show host; the respectable couple with the jailbird son; the hometown journalist, striving for a scoop that will rescue her from debt; and so on. The place is revealed as a labyrinth of deception masquerading as a picture-postcard hamlet; tension begins to mount in between the dinner parties and evenings at the pub, and soon culminates in an unexpected death.

Behind perfect privets and brightly painted front doors, the lives of Riverside Lane’s residents slowly unravel. Tempesta, guarding his secrets with a vengeance, is suddenly threatened with exposure by the elderly religious zealot Ivy Midwinter, whose own past involved keeping professional confidences. When she challenges him in church, she learns that Tempesta will stop at nothing to protect his privacy ...

Set against the exquisite backdrop of a gastronomic village by the Thames, Riverside Lane is a tautly paced page-turner that also gently satirises middle-class English manners: the upstanding denizens of the village watch and whisper behind a mask of English hauteur, whilst their own fragile lives come undone.

Riverside Lane by Ginger Black
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Endeavour Press
Publication Date: January 25, 2016
Print Length: 260 pages
E-Book File Size: 2087 KB
Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UKEndeavour Press | Goodreads

The Excerpt

Ivy bolted the door behind the journalist. Returning to her desk, she locked the drawer and squeezed her eyes shut. “The blind will see, and those who see will become blind,” she intoned, blinking furiously to dispel the strange dots that had started presenting themselves in her vision. They were becoming more frequent; Ivy knew she should visit an ophthalmologist. She hoped it was not un-Christian, but the thought of being unable to read her beloved sheet music upset her more deeply than any of the memories from her past. The Victorian marble clock, which comforted her hourly with its sweet Handel music, proclaimed that there was just enough time to deliver the cheque to the bank and get back to the Village for Evensong. 

Standing at the bus stop with the melodious clock chimes still echoing softly in her head, Ivy caught sight of Luca Tempesta walking through the churchyard. Handel, she thought, had been sent to law school by his father, just like this American. The former had abandoned his studies and blessed mankind with the “Hallelujah” chorus; the latter, according to Ivy’s preliminary investigations, had abandoned his to set up a private-detective firm; then, some years later, he had apparently disappeared from God’s Earth without a trace. Except he had not disappeared. He was here in the Village, living in Clive’s house, next door to Frank, smoking Russian cigarettes. And Ivy Midwinter planned to find out why.

The Guest Post

Gaynor and I are often asked how our Ginger Black writing partnership works and so I thought we could use our visit to your blog today to tell you a little about how two people write a novel together. Thank you so much for hosting us.

We dreamed up the concept of a series of village mysteries observing the rules and nuances of the village social structure while wondering around Bray-on-Thames (UK) where we live. We began to wonder, what would happen, for example, if you dropped an international spy into the midst of such a quintessentially English community? How would a conman or an art thief fair among the curtain twitching complexity of a typical English village. Our first novel, Riverside Lane, set in Bray and grew organically through these conversations. We decided a house swap would be a good vehicle to introduce different protagonists through a series of stories. 

Once we agreed to write together our nom de plume came early, Gaynor has ginger hair, mine is dark and my maiden name is Blackburn. In some ways, having a ‘brand name’ spurred us on, making us feel professional and like a team. While I had written novels before — mostly children’s — I had never submitted them for publication and as a national newspaper journalist Gaynor was used to being published, but had not written fiction.

We developed the plot for Riverside Lane pacing the Thames path with Rumpole, my British Bulldog panting in our wake. Pretty soon stuff needed to be written down so we committed to a regular Monday meeting. Here we would plan for the week and then leave armed with a brief for — depending on where we were in the process — character development, scene breakdown or copy for the next scene. We set a midweek deadline to file copy to one another and edited the work, emailing it to and fro before signing it off the following Monday. 

And so we progressed, step by step along the towpaths, word by word onto the page until we completed our first draft. While every word, character and plot point is a collaboration, we each bring different strengths to the Ginger Black partnership. Gaynor is good at seeing the big picture and excellent at pace and shape while I sweat every word and comma and obsess over continuity and credibility. She is patient with my pedantry and I am grateful for her vision. 

Once we finished the first draft of Riverside Lane, we filed it to the bottom draw and worked on promoting the Ginger Black name much as we did the writing; discussing what needed to be done at Monday meetings and dividing the work between us. We developed a website and social media identity then set about building a digital presence and that all important mailing list to give us something — as well as our magnum opus — to make us a marketable prospect to agents and publishers. And then we rewrote the manuscript. Like all the other jobs, we shared this one but instead of working in parallel Gaynor edited the entire novel, then I did, and then we each did it again, and again, and again! We are now mid-way through our second novel which is set upstream in Cookham, a historic village made famous by, amongst other things, The Wind In The Willows, Stanley Spencer and, of course, the Profumo affair at Cliveden . 

So — how does a writing partnership work? I think the short answer is with a similar work ethic, a sense of humour and complete trust. We take the discipline of writing seriously — in three years of partnership we have rarely missed a deadline — but a healthy dose of self deprecation and irreverence has definitely smoothed our path while guaranteeing terrific fun along the way. 

I feel fortunate to have met Gaynor and found a kindred spirit and writing partner. Being with her has made the rebuttals and submission failures easier to bear and the successes and delights have been far more exciting together.

The Author

About Ginger Black

Ginger Black is a writing partnership between Gaynor Pengelly and Julia Thum.


Julia left Somerset for London at 16. She founded & ran her own consumer P R agency representing a range of international brands including Braun, Molton Brown, Clairol & Kleenex. After selling the business she trained as a psychotherapist specializing in eating disorders & hosted a phone-in show on Radio Luxembourg.

Julia writes bespoke literature & articles for private clients and visits secondary schools & prisons representing two national charities in providing emotional support to pupils & inmates. A keen kayaker and a passionate cook, she lives in Bray-on-Thames with her husband Nicolas and their four children.


Gaynor has worked as a national newspaper correspondent for more than twenty years, interviewing everyone from the great and the good to extraordinary people in ordinary lives. The rich variety of her subject matter and their circumstances has given her a rare insight into human nature and the challenges many people face.

Gaynor's great loves include sitting in pavement cafes watching the world go by, National Trust and English Heritage and hiking across the windswept Yorkshire moors. She lives in Bray-on-Thames with her husband Jonathan and their son, Freddie James.

Find Ginger Black on the web at

The Giveaway

Ginger Black will award a $10 Amazon/BN Gift Card 
to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Follow the tour here. Daily comments increase your chances of winning!

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