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Darcie Boleyn

Heartwarming Romance

#blogtour – Laura Lake and the Hipster Weddings – by Wendy Holden @HoZ_Books

 

Today I am delighted to welcome Wendy Holden to my blog as part of the blog tour for Laura Lake and the Hipster Weddings

 

Laura Lake blog tour

 

Hi Wendy,  thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I was born in Yorkshire, went to Cambridge and then moved to London to break into journalism. It took a while but I managed it in the end! I was a journalist on Tatler, the Sunday Times, and The Mail on Sunday before becoming an author. I’ve written ten consecutive Sunday Times top-ten bestsellers including a Number One. I live in the countryside, in Derbyshire. I am married with two children.

Why did you want to become a writer?

When I was a child I had a book called ‘My Life’ by Enid Blyton. She lived in a huge house in a vast garden and had a dishy tennis-playing husband. She had achieved all this through writing and she described her authorial routine as sitting on a swing chair in the garden, closing her eyes and waiting for her characters to come to life and do things, like figures on a cinema screen. Then all she had to do was write it all down. Fool that I was, I believed every word.

Actually, the other reason was that I was working in glossy magazines and found it hilarious. I wanted to share my experiences with a wider world!

Tell us a bit about your recent release.

Laura Lake is my fabulous new heroine – glam, gutsy and with a great sense of humour. She’s a reporter, a kind of female Tintin. At first she is an unpaid intern at a glossy magazine – sleeping secretly in the fashion cupboard and living on canapés. But then she gets her first big break – to infiltrate three society weddings and write a juicy expose. Security will be tighter than a bodycon dress, but how hard can it be to get the skinny? She’ll disguise herself as a ballgowned billionheiress for the castle-partying aristocrats and a boho-chic pixie child for the posh festival nuptials. Oh, and a moustachioed lobster for the Shoreditch hipsters. But nothing can prepare her for disappearing brides, raunchy royals and a brush with the next James Bond. Or the fact that her jealous office enemy will do anything to bring her down. Will Laura get the scoop of the year? Or will she be out on her ear?

What genre are your books?

They get called chick lit, which is fine by me. They are comedies about contemporary life. I picked weddings for Laura Lake’s first outing because they’ve got so complicated and overstyled. I read an article in a brides mag telling you how to get a blue unicorn. You find a horse, dye it and get a cone for its head from Hobbycraft. Laura goes to three types of fashionable wedding, but they are practically infinite these days.

What draws you to this genre?

It was drawn to me originally; I wrote my first novel whilst writing a column for Tara Palmer-Tomkinson in the Sunday Times. It made her hugely famous and, as I’d done all the work, I was a bit resentful. But then I realized I had a novel plot and my first book, Simply Divine, was all about a downtrodden newspaper hack who writes a column for a socialite. It was an instant hit and that was it, I was on my way.

And it was exactly the right subject. I have an eye for the ridiculous and there are few things more ridiculous than the celebrity lifestyle. I’ve written fourteen novels since and they are all full of film stars and socialites and the incredibly funny and silly things they do. Laura Lake and the Hipster Weddings is the funniest yet. She’s a glossy mag journalist, which is the perfect novel setting. I absolutely love glossies as they’re full of hilarious lifestyle detail whilst taking themselves extremely seriously.

Where do the your ideas come from? / What was the inspiration to write your most recent book?

I was writing a novel called Honeymoon Suite, which was more of a romance. In it, the heroine, who’s been jilted at the altar, ends up working in the weddings department of a stately home. I went to some wedding fairs for research and it was then I realized how much weddings have moved on, with their ice-cream bikes and flashdancing bridesmaids. There is also a class element to it; I had noticed that posh weddings had changed from the old chinless- wonder-and-Chelsea-church template. Rich people now have boho weddings or arty weddings or weddings like the one Prince Harry just went to in Jamaica, with people singing Bob Marley instead of hymns and saying ‘yeah man’ instead of ‘I do’, I thought in Laura Lake And The Hipster Weddings that my heroine could gatecrash examples of all these.

How much research do you do? / How do you research?

Because my beat, as it were, is glamour and gloss, I read every glossy magazine I can lay my hands on. I get lots and lots of material from them, because the best and funniest details are the ones you can never make up. Or I will go to specific things like the wedding fairs, as above. But sometimes I will be somewhere and a storyline will just suggest itself. That’s especially handy!

Plotter or pantser? – Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

I have a plot, because comedy depends on contrast; you need to know what’s coming next. Also, Laura Lake is a woman of action, as well as being very curious and a bit accident-prone. There are lots of exciting scenes as she foils her adversaries and gets into trouble.

Describe what a typical writing day involves for you. / Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

I am really happy if I can write 4000 words but my more usual total is half of that. I’m more concerned that I have moved the plot and the action on, as you can get stuck on particular bits for ages.

What’s the toughest part of the writing process for you?

Just sitting down and doing it! There’s no way round the fact that bum has to hit seat and finger must make contact with keyboard. I find all manner of displacement activities before I finally get going.

What’s the most enjoyable part of writing?

When you’ve done a really good day’s work, or even better, finished a book and it’s gone off and is someone else’s responsibility for a while!

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

I am more disciplined now and I have more confidence; I think writing comedy is good because it makes people happy. Some people think a great book is one that makes them cry but to me, it’s more of an achievement to make them laugh. I am proud to be an entertainer, someone who cheers people up and makes them smile.

Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, how do you get through it?

I have written 15 books and so far it has not been a problem. I think about having a proper job and that usually does the trick.

Out of all the wonderful books out there, which book do you wish you had written and why?

The Great Gatsby is my favourite novel. It is such a beautiful, sad, brilliant book. But it might be smarter to say I wish I’d written Harry Potter!

If you could spend the day with your favourite literary character,who would you spend it with and what would you do?

Sir Lancelot in Tennyson’s The Lady of Shalott. He’s the sexiest dude in all literature. I’d swing up on his jewelled saddle and we’d go off on his warhorse!

What can we expect next from you?

The next Laura Lake novel – Laura Lake And The Celebrity Meltdown! Laura moves her investigations to a fashionable village full of famous people. But the countryside is not as quiet as she first thought! I also have a short story coming out on ebook in the summer; Laura Lake And The Luxury Press Trip. In which Laura goes off on a magazine jolly to a palm-fringed paradise island, with unexpected consequences!

Have you ever had a book rejected by a publisher / agent? How did you deal with it? How would you advise other authors to deal with rejection?

My agent has rejected ideas I’ve had for books I wanted to write. He was always right; they were terrible! It has never stopped me having other ideas and trying again though. You have to be pretty thick-skinned as a writer and try not to take things personally. But it’s hard!

You’re hosting a literary dinner party, which five authors/celebs would you invite? (alive or dead)

I would invite Byron, Shelley, Keats, Shakespeare and T S Eliot. Then I would sit at the end of the table and just listen.

What are you reading at the moment?

P G Wodehouse’s Mike and Psmith. Psmith is one of my favourite literary characters. He is incredibly affected, but also incredibly funny, loyal and kind. He’s a bit like Laura Lake’s appallingly self-obsessed but hilarious actor friend Caspar

 

FOR FUN:

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

Writing a brilliant book in one week and taking the rest of the year off

What literary character is most like you?

I passionately identified with the Ugly Duckling as a child. It was may favourite story. I loved the theme of transformation and that change from dowdy to glamorous has been my enduring theme as a writer. I’m not saying I’ve changed into a swan though!

What secret talents do you have?

I can draw cartoons and caricatures. I used to give caricatures of themselves to my friends for their wedding presents. It makes me cringe to think of it now! On the other hand, I met my husband when I was drawing caricatures of people at a university ball. He was in a jazz band and was playing right behind me.

 

How can readers discover more about you and your work?

Website

Facebook

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#authorinterview – Jo Platt – @JoPlattTweets @canelo_co

 

Today I am delighted to have the fabulous Jo Platt at my blog!

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Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I was born in Liverpool, moving to Devizes, a small Wiltshire market town, when I was eight. I lived there until I went to study English Literature at King’s College, London, in the late ‘80s. After university, I stayed put, working in the City for ten years, before relocating, with my husband and young daughter, to Seattle. Two years later, we returned to the UK, with an additional daughter in tow, living in St Albans for eighteen months, before finally settling in Bristol in 2004.

Why did you want to become a writer?

I’ve described myself as an accidental author in the past because although I’ve always loved writing, I had never considered it as a career. My novel Reading Upside Down was written purely for fun, and it was thanks only to the prodding of family and friends that I took it further, first self-publishing it in 2013 and then sending it to an agency. That led to the rights being picked up by publishers internationally and a deal for a second book.

Tell us a bit about your recent release

My second novel, It Was You, is all about changing relationships within a small, Bristol-based, book group. In particular, the novel focuses on thirty-something Alice Waites. She’s been single for almost two years and when her friends gently question her reluctance to meet a new man, even for a coffee, she decides it’s time to start dating again. It’s most definitely a romcom but, be warned, it has its darker moments too. Alice’s journey is far from plain sailing.

What genre are your books?

I’ve described my novels as chickwit in the past and I think I’d like to stick with that description. My purpose, when writing has always been, first and foremost, to entertain – initially myself and now a wider audience. But although my books are, I hope, feel-good and funny, they also work hard not to insult or under-estimate the intelligence of the reader, in terms of writing, characterisation and plot. Both novels were written with the members of my book group in mind and they’re a bright bunch. So I wanted to present them with characters and situations which would not only make them laugh, but which also made them think and gave them something to discuss.

What draws you to this genre?

I like to laugh and feel uplifted and I love the idea that my books might make other people feel the same way.

Where do the your ideas come from? / What was the inspiration to write your most recent book?

My ideas come from friends, family and overheard snippets of conversations in coffee shops, post offices, trains and, most recently, in my GP’s waiting room. Each book is the result of a myriad of minor inspirations, but my book group was obviously a significant one when writing It Was You. I love the idea of a diverse group of people, coming together with perhaps little in common other than an affection for each other and the book they have read that month.

Plotter or pantser? – Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

I’m a bit of both. I know where each chapter will start and finish, but I don’t always know exactly how I’m going to get from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’.

Describe what a typical writing day involves for you. / Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

My typical writing day involves an awful lot of tea and a whole heap of procrastination. After the school run and any admin, I usually aim to be at my laptop by 10am. I then do a lot of staring out of the window. I tried for a short while to write a certain number of words per day but that often resulted in stilted, stressed prose, which I then deleted first thing the following morning. So my approach is now very much quality not quantity.

 

What’s the toughest part of the writing process for you?

I love every moment of writing a novel but I find the prospect of sharing it with others absolutely terrifying.

What’s the most enjoyable part of writing?

Making myself laugh, without a doubt.

Do you ever get writer’s block?

I do but try very hard not to get frustrated about it. I overcame my most recent bout by thinking about the plot problem as I switched off the light to go to sleep. I probably lost about thirty minutes’ sleep each night for a week, but it was a more relaxed approach than staring desperately at the clock and a flashing cursor on my laptop screen.

Out of all the wonderful books out there, which book do you wish you had written and why?

That is such a difficult question and tempted though I am to choose something by Dickens (A Christmas Carol) or Austen (Sense and Sensibility), I’m going to plump for To Kill a Mocking Bird, which has been my favourite book since I first read it at the age of sixteen. It’s such a powerful story, told with simplicity and complete authenticity.

If you could spend the day with your favourite literary character, who would you spend it with and what would you do?

Fitzwilliam Darcy. And I’d like to keep the details of our hypothetical day private, if that’s ok.

What can we expect next from you?

My recently completed third novel is about an author who has been temporarily derailed both professionally and emotionally. All names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Jo’s Blog

Twitter

Canelo

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#bookreview – Summer at Oyster Bay – by Jenny Hale @jhaleauthor

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I loved this story! It was funny, emotional and heart-warming.

The main character, Emily Tate, is sweet and loyal, and I warmed to her immediately. She’s had some ups and downs recently but she always has good intentions. When Emily returns to Oyster Bay, she realises what she’s been missing, and I joined her on a rollercoaster of emotions as she is reunited with her precious Gram and extended family, as well as the ghosts of her past.

Then there’s Charles… the handsome new owner of the Water’s Edge Inn, and he brings a whole load of delightful complications into Emily’s life. He’s a serious businessman but also gorgeous and kind, and I enjoyed the journey as Emily brings out the best in him, and they realise that they have more than an appreciation of Oyster Bay in common.

Summer at Oyster Bay is a feel-good romance that captivates the senses and Jenny Hale is an author with a gift for seamlessly immersing the reader in the story and making them fall in love with her characters.

This is a 5* read, for sure!

AMAZON UK

AMAZON.COM 

Jenny Hale

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What is it about Christmas? by T.A. Williams #christmas #MondayBlogs #christmascountdown #amreading @TAWilliamsBooks

T A Williams reflects on what it means to write a Christmas book.

   When my editor told me she wanted a Christmas book, I wasn’t sure what to write. You see, I’m a grumpy (well, some of the time) old man and I grew out of the whole tinsel and fairy lights thing a long time ago. I worked out at a very early age that the presents my brother and I found under the tree on Christmas morning had more to do with mum and dad than a big fat man squeezing down the chimney. Now, I’m not exactly saying I’m a bah humbug sort of guy, but let’s just say that Christmas for me isn’t maybe as magical and fabulous as it is to so many billions around the globe.

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So, when faced with clear instructions that they wanted a Christmas book from me, I had to sit down and take stock. Just what does Christmas mean to a 67 year old cynic? The answer, at least as far as I am concerned, is definitely not tinsel, fairy lights and presents; the answer is people. Christmas is a time when families and friends get together. Our daughter lives in London and we only meet up a few times a year. It isn’t that far from Devon to London, but you know how it is. Stuff happens. She works very hard. We all get busy and one thing leads to another and the months fly by. But Christmas is different. Christmas brings us all that bit closer together so, whatever your religious views, whatever you may think about little children paying to sit on the laps of big fat bearded men, or fairies hanging on Christmas trees, nobody can deny that Christmas justifies its existence by bringing people closer together.

ta-williamsSo, when planning What Happens at Christmas, I started out with that in mind. I wanted to write a book that brought people closer together. And I’m not just talking about the characters in the book. I really wanted to write something that would make the reader turn the last page and immediately go off and hug as many members of their family as they could find, while they’ve still got them. You see, nothing lasts forever and you’ve got to remember that. We are on this planet for a frighteningly short time and we need to ensure we enjoy our loved ones before it’s too late.

The story of What Happens at Christmas is Holly’s voyage of discovery when she visits the little stone cottage on Dartmoor where her father lived and died. She hasn’t seen him or heard from him for twenty years, ever since he dumped her and her mother and moved out. Now he’s dead. She knows very little about him except that she hates him. As she gets to know more about him, she begins to realise that she has maybe misjudged him. I think there’s a lesson there for all of us. Don’t jump to conclusions and don’t always assume that people are bad, rather than good.

Assisting Holly in her enquiries is Stirling. Stirling comes as a big surprise to Holly. It’s not every day that you inherit sixty pounds of bone and muscle with an insatiable appetite and a habit of climbing onto her bed, onto the sofa and onto her lap. He and she soon become close friends, partly because he, like so many Labradors, is adorable, but most of all because he’s the last living link she has to her father. So, if you decide to follow my advice and embrace all the members of your family, don’t forget the big hairy one in the basket. Families come in all shapes and sizes.

So, What Happens at Christmas isn’t some sort of kiddies’ cartoon Christmas story. It’s a book about people brought together by their friendship for, and their love of, a man who is no longer there. He was no saint, but his influence that Christmas is responsible for bringing people closer together and changing lives. Specially Holly’s.

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COMING SOON…

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My Favourite Bits of Christmas by Sue Watson #guestpost #Christmas #MondayBlogs @suewatsonwriter

 

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The thing I love most about Christmas – is guilt-free food. As a woman who sumo-wrestles her weight throughout the year, I welcome the festive season with gusto because throughout December it’s ok to eat anything. Isn’t it? At this time of year all calories are erased by those two magic words ‘it’s Christmas,’ which I reckon means I can eat anything and everything that’s vaguely festive or not. From Christmas cake to chocolates to crisps – it all goes under the Christmas ‘umbrella,’ and if it doesn’t then I am the queen of adaptation. If my crisps are turkey flavoured then, ‘it’s Christmas,’ if I sprinkle cinnamon on a doughnut that’s ‘Christmas,’ too. In fact I reckon I could eat anything if I sang Jingle Bells at the same time – and I could eat as much as I liked and the calories wouldn’t count.

fullsizerenderAs most of my books contain the word cake in the title, you may not be surprised to know that I have a sweet tooth – so mince pies, pudding and Christmas cake are my festive favourites. However there is one thing that eclipses even a mountain of Quality Street or Roses chocolates – and that’s ‘festive cream.’ I love the way fresh cream suddenly becomes alcoholic, chocolatey, or fruity in all good supermarkets near me from about October. I try to hold back (sometimes I leave it as late as 2nd October) but once I’m there by the chiller cabinet it only takes one lustful glance, and I’m hooked. The frambois drenched, rum soaked, champagne-fuelled creams reach out to me. I’m a slave to the heavenly combination of cream, alcohol, chocolate and winter fruits – just little tubs of pure Christmasness smiling seductively from their shelves.

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I tell myself (from behind a snowy avalanche of kirsch/Cointreau/white chocolate and spiced orange double cream) that they’re not all bad. I reckon those containing fruit are at least one of my five a day. As for the cream? Well there must be some calcium in there right?

 

Besides, I’m merely testing ALL these luscious bad boys to make sure I choose the correct accompaniment to my family’s Christmas pudding. Oh yes, this is a selfless act of pure kindness and each year I’m pushed on to find that perfect Christmas cream for everyone.

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So if you see a woman in your supermarket filing her basket with an obscene amount of fancy festive cream (and possibly dribbling), look away, it might be me seeking the true meaning of Christmas. And if you want to join me in my endeavours might I recommend using a warm mince pie as the vehicle for your research?

And I’d like to stress again, please don’t worry about the calories because ‘It’s Christmas!’

 

 

Find Sue here.

Find The Christmas Cake Cafe here.

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#authorinterview -Terri Nixon – #amreading #series #saga @terrinixon

 

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Hi Terri and thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

Hi, and thanks so much for asking me onto your blog today! Briefly, I was born and brought up in the wonderful English West Country, and I’m a hybrid author of Historical Sagas and Mythic Fiction, with a background in horror and fantasy. I’m currently under contract to Little, Brown for my new series, and am about to published my seventh novel. I have two sons, one of whom still lives at home, and I live on toast. No, seriously.

 Tell us a bit about your recent release.

Penhaligon’s Attic is the first in a brand new Cornish saga, set in the fictitious mining town of Caernoweth, with its neighbouring fishing hamlet. It tells the story of Freya Penhaligon and her family, and the arrival of a woman who has the potential to either save Freya’s troubled father, or to destroy everything. This is the back-cover blurb:

1910: Anna Garvey arrives in Caernoweth, Cornwall with her daughter and a secret. Having come from Ireland to take up an inheritance of the local pub, she and her eighteen year-old daughter Mairead are initially viewed with suspicion by the close-knit community.

Anna soon becomes acquainted with Freya Penhaligon, a vulnerable girl struggling to keep her family business afloat in the wake of her grandmother’s death, and starts to gain the trust of the locals. As their friendship deepens, and Freya is brought out of her shell by the clever and lively Mairead, even Freya’s protective father Matthew begins to thaw.

But when a part of Anna’s past she’d long tried to escape turns up in the town, she is forced to confront the life she left behind – for her sake and her daughter’s too . . .

What genre are your books?

My self-published books are Mythic Fiction – contemporary characters caught up in the dark side of traditional Cornish folklore, but my traditionally-published ones are Historical, set mostly in the early twentieth century.

What draws you to this genre?

Considering I have it on record that I have said the one genre I would never write is Historical, I really don’t know! I think it was that the first book, which was intended as a one-off (Maid of Oaklands Manor, loosely based on my grandmother’s time in service) sparked such an interest in the way everything was changing just prior to, and during, the First World War. As I was researching that one, and I could feel the other characters knocking for attention, I knew I wanted to explore it further, from the points of view of people in different situations and professions.

Where do the your ideas come from? / What was the inspiration to write your most recent book?

Penhaligon’s Attic came originally from the idea that I wanted to write a traditional Edwardian ghost story. My best friend and I were road-tripping from Ohio to Canada, and thrashing out ideas as we went, but later I was informed that ghost stories didn’t really sell that well. So I re-wrote it as a community-driven drama, and that community has grown until it feels completely real, and I keep forgetting it’s not!

How much research do you do? / How do you research?

I research constantly, throughout the entire process. I could never read a chunk of something, then put it down and go ‘Right, I’m ready now!’ I have a bookmark list as long as your arm with pages I can flick to in a moment and double-check something. One of the most useful is an Historical Calendar page, where I can check days of the week for any given year, and when full moons/holidays etc occurred at that time. The only trouble with those links, is that I get dragged in too easily, and can spend (I won’t say ‘waste, but…!) an hour reading about conditions in a Cornish tin mine and how the explosives are set, when all I really need to know is; what day of the week did the 18th March fall on, in 1910?!

Plotter or pantser? – Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

Obsessive plotter! Becoming more so, as time goes on. I think, when you’re writing a series, you have to be, if you want to be able to drop clues into one book, for incidents or reveals that won’t happen until the next. Having said that, I’m also a pantser in the sense that, once I know more or less what I need to include, I will just fling myself at the keyboard and see if I can find the most entertaining way of achieving it! Often I find myself changing entire plot lines because of something that fell onto the page while I wasn’t paying attention.

Describe what a typical writing day involves for you. / Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

I have to take the opportunity to write whenever I can, so when I get the chance, I plant my bum in my seat, and just do as much as I can. On a decent day, when I’ve been able to write for most of it, I’ll nail 5,000-ish words. Much of it fuelled by cheap instant coffee and midget gems, I have to admit. And toast.

What’s the toughest part of the writing process for you?

Finding the time! I only really have weekends to do it, so I have to make the conscious decision to ignore everything else, and just sit down and do it. Luckily for me I have an admirable knack for ignoring ironing piles and dust-bunnies for long stretches of time!

What’s the most enjoyable part of writing?

So much! I think, when something just clicks into place, and you realise you’d actually prepared the ground for it without realising it, it’s almost like being a little bit drunk! Grinning like a loon, and fist-pumping, then a quick look at the window to make sure no-one saw you!

Out of all the wonderful books out there, which book do you wish you had written and why?

Pretty much anything by George Eliot. The language is just so beautiful, and so rich, and her characters so multi-layered. You just get sucked right in. That, or Stephen King’s The Stand. Just because it’s epic!

 

What can we expect next from you?

I’ve completed the second Penhaligon book, (Penhaligon’s Pride) but it doesn’t have a home yet. I’m naturally hoping Little, Brown will pick it up, but I can’t count on that so I’m already thinking ahead to the possibility of self-publishing the remainder of the series. (I’ve learned, to my cost, never to split a series between two different publishers again!) I enjoy the self-pubbing process, so it wouldn’t faze me if I had to go that way.

Have you ever had a book rejected by a publisher / agent? How did you deal with it? How would you advise other authors to deal with rejection?

Oh, many times! They gradually become more and more helpful and constructive as time went on, so it got easier but it’s a shame that, when we’re starting out and at our most vulnerable, those are usually the shortest, tersest rejections we get. That said, it does help you grow a thicker skin! The only advice I can give really, is to remember that the rejections are not of you as a person, nor, most of the time, even of the standard of your work. It’s a reflection of the needs of that particular agent/publisher, at that particular time. Don’t give up, collect rejections as achievement badges, and remember that fewer people reach that stage than don’t. You’re already a winner!

What are you reading at the moment?

I’m reading The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins. First time of reading it, although I’ve read him before. This is an absolute delight so far, wish I’d read it sooner.

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FOR FUN:

  • What secret talents do you have?

I can balance a spoon on my nose, I can do most accents after a bit of a practice, and I’ve just discovered I can cry at will. I had no idea I could do that! *runs off to audition for Corrie*

  • Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?

I’d love to go to the Rocky Mountains in the autumn. I’m sure it’d be beautiful, with quiet places to walk, or to sit and read or write.

  • Do you have any scars? What are they from?

Hmm! I have an appendectomy scar, a breast-cancer scar, some dinky little keyhole surgery scars from having my gall bladder out, and a little half-moon scar on the knuckle of my thumb, after an altercation with a sharp blade in a leather workshop!

  • Are you a morning or night person? Explain.

Definitely a morning person. I’m used to getting up early for work, so even on weekends I get restless by 8am, and convince myself the day will disappear if I don’t get up and ‘at it!’ Plus, you know, toast.

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How can readers discover more about you and your work?

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Thanks so much for visiting, Terri! Good luck with your latest release! 

 

 

 

A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas by Darcie Boleyn #BlogTour @DarcieBoleyn @fayerogersuk

Thanks to the fabulous Joanne Robertson for a gorgeous review as part of the Very Merry Blog Tour!!!😊❤️🎄🎁🎉

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I am feeling very Christmassy today as I’m delighted to be a stop on The Very Merry Blog Tour for Darcie Boleyn and her book A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas.  

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About this book…

Warm your heart with this perfectly festive romance

Lucie Quigley hates Christmas. It’s the time of year when everything goes wrong in her life. So this year, when she’s asked to be a bridesmaid at her friend Petra’s Manhattan wedding, she jumps at the invitation to escape the festivities.

Dale Treharne has been best friends with Lucie for as long as he can remember. He’s used to looking out for his oldest friend and when she asks him to be her plus one, he can’t seem to find a reason to refuse. Instead, he sees it as a way to help Lucie get through what is, for her, the most miserable time of the year.

In…

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Author Interview – Louisa George #amreading #author #bookrelease

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Hi Louisa thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

Thanks for having me here!

Below is my official bio, but basically I’ve been published for 5 years with Mills and Boon and now I’m spreading my wings a little and trying new things with my women’s fiction books.

Award-winning author Louisa George has been an avid reader her whole life. In between chapters she managed to fit in a BA degree in Communication Studies, trained as a nurse, married her doctor hero and had two sons. Now, she spends her days writing chapters of her own in the medical romance, contemporary romance and women’s fiction genres.

To date, she has 18 books available in ebook/print.

Louisa’s books have variously been nominated for the coveted RITA® Award and the NZ Koru Award (which she won in 2014 and 2016 for the Short Sexy Category) and translated into twelve languages. She lives in Auckland, New Zealand and, when not writing or reading, likes to travel, drink mojitos and do Zumba®- preferably all at the same time.

Why did you want to become a writer?

It was never a long-held burning ambition simply because I didn’t think people like me could be ‘writers’- that was something clever people did! But I did a creative writing course when I emigrated to New Zealand just so I could meet people and that ignited something in me and I couldn’t stop writing! I would still write even if my books didn’t get published.

Tell us a bit about your recent release. 

The Secret Art of Forgiveness is my first book for Carina UK and I’m so excited about it!

Here’s the official blurb:

Living in a big city, means you can escape your past…

Until Emily Forrester is called back to Little Duxbury, the chocolate-box English village where she grew up – though it was anything but idyllic for the tearaway teenager. Her estranged step-father, a former high-court judge, is unwell and her step-sisters need her help.

It’s just a week, Emily tells herself, but faced with the lies – and hard truths – that drove her to leave in the first place is difficult enough. Having to cope with a step-father (and the only parent she has left) who is so unlike the man she remembers pushes Emily’s emotions in ways she hasn’t been tested in years – since her mother’s death.

They say home is where the heart is – but by the end of the week, Emily isn’t entirely sure which home that is.

What genre are your books?

The Secret Art of Forgiveness is women’s fiction, but I also write medical romance for Mills and Boon, contemporary romance for Tule Publishing, and I have also self-published two contemporary romances.

What draws you to this genre?

I love the Women’s Fiction genre because we have so much latitude to write about everything and anything that affects women; family, work, relationships, illness, divorce, marriage, kids etc….

Where do the your ideas come from? / What was the inspiration to write your most recent book?

The Secret Art of Forgiveness is essentially about a family coming to terms with illness, and a woman coming to terms with a patchwork family and her past. The illness is Alzheimer’s and it is something close to my heart as my mum has it. It is definitely challenging and hard to get your head around. I also look at ideas around what exactly is ‘home’ and ‘family’ and delve into how we have all probably done silly things in the past and how that might shape our future actions and relationships.

How much research do you do? / How do you research?

I do research as I go, e.g. if I need to give a sense of a location/setting or need to find out about a specific disease etc I will do a quick Google search as I need it. Otherwise I’d get bogged down with reading lots of interesting articles and books and never get my daily word count done!

Plotter or pantser? – Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

Definitely a pantser- I tend to start with a very loose plot/idea and then write myself in to the story

Describe what a typical writing day involves for you. / Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

I get up and do emails/facebook etc while having breakfast, go to the gym for a 9.30am class (depending on the day it’s Step or Zumba or something hideous called X55 which means step and toning) or I run with a friend for an hour. Then, shower and at my desk by 11.30am. I have a daily word count of 2,000 words, which I do Mon-Friday and then once those words are written I do work-related things such as blogging, marketing etc…

What’s the toughest part of the writing process for you?

It usually depends where I am in the process… by which I mean, if I’m at chapter 9 and get asked this question I’d likely reply chapter 9. If I was at chapter 3 I’d say chapter 3…you get the drift! Some days the words flow and some days they don’t.

What’s the most enjoyable part of writing?

Readers! I love getting emails/contact from my readers and knowing I’ve made someone smile.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

I am more confident, I think, of trusting my instincts as to pacing etc

Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, how do you get through it?

Some days I get ‘stuck’ and I don’t know where I’m going with a story. When this happens I’ll go back to thinking about the core conflict or the core themes and bring the story back to that. This could take me a couple of days to figure out so in the meantime I’ll either write another chapter further along in the book (I still need to make my daily word count, blocked or not!) or I’ll go back and add layers to the earlier chapters and see if there’s anything there that can give me a eureka moment.

Out of all the wonderful books out there, which book do you wish you had written and why?

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

I adored this book, laughed and cried so hard-it’s wonderful and raw and fresh

What can we expect next from you?

I’m working on another women’s fiction book due out in April 2017 and I have a medical romance about surrogacy, set in New Zealand, due out in December 2017

Is there any particular writing advice you wish you’d been given at the start of your writing career?

Find your tribe, join a writing organization/facebook group/with like minded people and share your worries/joy/knowledge with people who understand you

Have you ever had a book rejected by a publisher / agent? How did you deal with it? How would you advise other authors to deal with rejection?

Yes, I had my very first manuscript rightfully rejected (it was terrible!) and, recently, I had a manuscript rejected by two agents. Rejection is part of the business so you have to learn to live with it. It’s not a reflection of YOU as a person, it’s a reflection of the market or it may just be that your book isn’t right for that particular organization. I have a rejection 24 hour rule: Shout. Have chocolate. Drink wine. Then dust yourself off and keep going!

You’re hosting a literary dinner party, which five authors/celebs would you invite? (alive or dead)

Gosh, this is a hard one!!!

JoJo Moyes, JK Rowling, Tom Hardy, Anne Boleyn (I’d love to know what the heck was really going on there!) and Oscar Wilde

What are you reading at the moment?

I’m having a bit of a thriller-fest at the moment; I See You by Clare Mackintosh (so good!!)

 

FOR FUN: 

  • If you had a superpower, what would it be? Teleporting, so I could be with my friends and family in UK in an instant rather than a 28 hour flight!
  • What secret talents do you have? I teach Zumba!
  • What is your favourite motivational phrase?

From Nora Roberts, on writing:

‘My top three pieces of writing advice? Stop whining and write. Stop f***ing around and write. Stop making excuses and write.’

  • What is your favourite film and why? Love Actually …because Colin Firth and Liam Neeson

 

How can readers discover more about you and your work?

Website

Blog

Facebook

Twitter

Amazon Author Page

 

Book Links

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Goodreads

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Thanks so much for a fabulous interview, Louisa! 

 

A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas #christmas #amreading @canelo_co

manhattan-christmas-1This week saw the release of my third novel, A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas. This story has a special place in my heart because it features New York – where my husband proposed to me – and because I thoroughly enjoyed writing it. I am a hopeless romantic; I believe in true love, and that it’s worth fighting for and what better place to fall in love than in Manhattan…

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A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas is about two friends, Lucie and Dale, who’ve always been there for each other. This year, Lucie is asked to be a bridesmaid at her friend Petra’s Christmas wedding in New York. She asks Dale to go with her because they do everything together and because she can’t imagine going without him.

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My inspiration for the story started as a seed of an idea that bloomed into a novel. I love festive stories, especially A Christmas Carol, and one day I started thinking about a character who might, in some ways, be a modern female version of Ebenezer Scrooge but not as miserable or miserly. I thought, what if there were a few ghosts of Christmas past haunting her; a few events that she couldn’t quite get over? Then I added a very positive spirit of Christmas present – to help her learn to love the festive season – in the hunky form of Dale.

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But will he be the spirit of Christmas future?

You’ll have to read A Very Manhattan Christmas to find out!

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If you do read the story and enjoy it, I’d love to know, and I’m always extremely grateful if you can find the time to post a review.

BUY LINKS – in case you fancy heading to Manhattan with Lucie and Dale: 

CANELO

AMAZON

Have a fabulous weekend!

Darcie XXX

 

 

 

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