Tuesday Night Drinks with…. Jane Cable @JaneCable @SapereBooks @RNATweets #FridayNightDrinks

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Due to an unfortunate incident with an excitable cocker spaniel, a doorbell and a collision between an iMac and a wooden floor (neither of which came out of the altercation well), I did not manage to get my anticipated Friday Night Drinks post up last week so, instead, I am going out on a school night and having Tuesday Night Drinks with author and fellow RNA member…..Jane Cable.

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Jane, welcome to the blog and thank you so much for being gracious about the postponement of our night out. Now we have finally got round to it, what can I get you?

Hi Julie – thanks for inviting me. Actually I’ve brought along some champagne because Another You was published last week. It’s my first with Sapere Books so I’m really excited.

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Congratulations! I will happily drink to its success with you. If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?

It would definitely be my local pub, The Victory Inn at Towan Cross. It just has to be the friendliest pub in Cornwall so you’d be welcomed with open arms. I’d probably take you on a Monday though, especially the first Monday in the month, because that’s book club night.

Oh, that would have been yesterday. I would love that. If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?

Despite writing slightly ghostly stories I don’t really believe in disturbing the dead. I’m very keen on history and archaeology though, so perhaps Michael Wood and Alice Roberts. It should turn out to be a fascinating evening.

So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. What have you got going on? How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?

As I said when I arrived, my third novel, Another You, has just been published. It tells the story of Marie, a pub chef trying to escape from her poisonous marriage, and how the sixtieth anniversary of D-Day changes her life in ways she could never imagine. It isn’t a dual timeline but the effects of World War Two definitely have an impact on the present in some unexpected ways.

The book didn’t start that way, however; it was the beauty of Studland Bay in Dorset that inspired me. But as I delved deeper into the history of the area the wartime story was so poignant it was just screaming to be told.

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What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?

My proudest moment was back in 2011 when The Cheesemaker’s House reached the final of the Alan Titchmarsh Show’s People’s Novelist competition. It was a big achievement which involved two television appearances and judging by notable writers such as Cathy Kelly and Jeffery Archer. My mother had persuaded me to enter and I think it was the proudest moment of her life too.

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In terms of challenge, it was undoubtedly getting a publishing deal. In general the industry is wary of ghosts when it comes to romantic fiction, although generally I find readers love them. For a long while I thought ‘you write well but…’ would end up being my epitaph!

I love a ghost in a romance story! What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, it’s just us talking after all!

I would like one of my books to become a bestseller and not just on Amazon. I’d love to see paperbacks with my name on sitting on the three-for-the-price-of-two table in Waterstones.

Everyone’s dream (well, amongst writers, at least). What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?

I’m in the process of editing my next book for Sapere. Like Another You, Winter Skies looks back to World War Two, but this time through the eyes of an archaeologist with a real talent for picking the wrong men. Rachel is so feisty she’s a joy to write and I’m sure readers will relate to her.

I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?

Oh, I love to travel too, but we’ve only really had time for long trips since moving to Cornwall a couple of years ago and giving up our business. That means the bucket list is incredibly long but we’re planning a trip to the States for 2021 which will take in Tucson (where my great great uncle was killed by Apaches), a tour of Texas wineries, walking in the Colorado Rockies (I see Estes is on your bucket list too!) then on to Seattle and Puget Sound. 

To pick one favourite place is hard – we’ve had some brilliant trips; an archaeological tour of Orkney was well up there, as was Iceland to see the Northern Lights. I guess overall it would be the Maldives. We’re keen snorkelers so we’ve been a number of times, but most recently we swam with Manta Rays and it was incredible.

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Sounds like you have an amazing trip planned. Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know about you.

When I was in sixth form I entered the Miss Cardiff competition for a dare and had to parade around the Top Rank dance floor in a swimsuit and high heels. Not my proudest moment.

OMG! That might be the best secret we’ve had on this feature so far. Are there any photos? Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?

Only one? That’s so hard. Watership Down stands the test of time and isn’t just for children, but I suspect you’ve read it. I’d guess the same goes for Rosamunde Pilcher’s The Shell Seekers, so how about Tracy Rees’ The Hourglass? It was the best book I read last year.

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I have this on my TBR but it hasn’t made its way to the top yet. So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?

Honestly… not to drink too much in the first place! But soluble paracetamol before bed is a good thing if the headache’s already starting.

After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

We had a pretty perfect weekend in February when my bestie and some other close friends came to stay to kick of the celebrations for her 60th birthday. We walked for miles, played the fool on various beaches and had a fabulous lunch in Padstow. I’d just improve the weather and upgrade our choice of restaurant to Paul Ainsworth’s No 6, which is one of my favourites.

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That sounds wonderful. Thank you so much for joining me, albeit belatedly, it has been a wonderful evening.

Jane’s new book, Another You, is out now and you can buy a copy here.

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Sometimes the hardest person to save is yourself…

Marie Johnson fell in love with The Smugglers pub when she first moved to Dorset with her husband, Stephen.

But when Stephen’s wandering eye caused the breakdown of their marriage, and the costs of running the pub started to mount, Marie felt her dreams crashing down around her. 

With local celebrations planned for the 60th anniversary of D-Day, Marie is hopeful things will turn around.

But she could never have predicted the ways her life will soon be changed forever.

A charming American soldier walks into Marie’s life, but it becomes clear nothing is really as it seems…

Why is Marie suddenly plagued by headaches? Is her American soldier everything he seems to be?

Or could the D-Day re-enactments be stirring up something from the past…?

Jane Cable started to take her scribbling seriously when the manuscript that would become her debut novel reached the final of The Alan Titchmarsh Show’s People’s Novelist competition. After that she took time out to hone her craft and with two successful independently published novels under her belt is delighted to be joining Sapere Books.

The timing is perfect because last year Jane and her husband fulfilled their dream of moving to Cornwall and, despite the obvious distractions of surf, sand and the great outdoors, she has now become a full time author.

Jane writes contemporary romance with a twist of mystery and a glance back over the shoulder at the past. More than anything she is inspired by a place, delving back into its history to find stories which resonate with her modern characters – and her readers – alike.

An enthusiastic member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Jane also writes a weekly column about publishing and books for Frost online magazine. Connect with Jane via her website, Facebook and Twitter.

This Friday, bizarre and unlikely accidents permitting, I will be joined for Friday Night Drinks by debut author, Gail Aldwin, please do join us.

Friday Night Drinks with…. Rosie Travers @RosieTravers @crookedcatbooks @RNATweets #FridayNightDrinks

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I am delighted to welcome to Friday Night Drinks tonight, fellow RNA member and author….Rosie Travers.

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Hi Rosie. Thank you for joining me for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?

A glass of white wine. A fresh, crisp Sauvignon Blanc is my favourite tipple.

If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?

Anywhere beside water.  I grew up on the coast and I tend to get a bit panicky if I’m away from the water for too long. When I was writing my second novel, Your Secret’s Safe With Me, I was lucky enough to have a very quaint old waterside pub within walking distance of my house – I’ll admit the location did provide a lot of inspiration for the story.  

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Sounds lovely. I also find water, particularly the sea, inspirational. If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?

I think it would have to be William Shakespeare – although I imagine he might be a bit full of himself – would we get a word in edgeways? And JK Rowling – for writing tips!

That would be an interesting evening. I’d love it if Shakespeare actually was like David Mitchell in Upstart Crow! So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. What have you got going on? How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?

I am currently working on a new romantic comedy. I’m a complete pantser, so at the moment it’s very organic and fluid as the characters develop.  Originally a search for a missing family heirloom was at the crux of the story, but now another subplot has developed which might take precedence. I write escapism – the world is grim enough without me adding to it – although I do like my stories  to have deeper undercurrents and unpredictable twists and turns. Ultimately, I want my readers to feel uplifted and entertained by my books, even if they have to shed a tear or hold their breath along the way.

What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?

Obviously the publication of my first novel, The Theatre of Dreams, was my big ‘moment’. That book was so close to my heart – I actually turned down a publishing contract for the first book I’d written because I didn’t want to have to dilute the grittier aspects of The Theatre of Dreams to fit into a required series. I took a huge leap of faith and put the first book to one side to concentrate on finding a publisher who would let me keep the Theatre of Dreams intact – which I did with Crooked Cat. Having said that, it has been a challenge promoting books which don’t fit into a specific genre! Your Secret’s Safe With Me is more of a traditional romantic suspense, but it still has its quirkier moments. Crooked Cat are a small indie publishing house and marketing has been very much to up to me. I think it would be fair to say writing is what I do best, and social media/self-promotion what I do worse! 

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That was a brave thing to do, to stay true to your book. What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, its just us talking after all!

I would love one of my books to suddenly take off and subsequently be picked up by one of the big publishing houses. Obviously there would be a film, or a TV series – although personally I think the Theatre of Dreams would make a great stage musical – it’s got all the aspects, OTT characters, tragedy, drama, dance, comedy and of course, music! I live in hope.

What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?

My current WIP, despite being in a somewhat chaotic state is coming along nicely. It’s a dual time-line which is something I’ve never done before but I wanted to set myself a challenge. It’s had to take a bit of a backseat while I move house but once I’ve unpacked all my boxes I’m looking forward to picking it up again – my characters keep nagging me to get back to the keyboard!

Sounds exciting! I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?

I am so lucky to have had opportunities to travel and also to live abroad. I spent three years in California and three living in the Netherlands due to my husband’s job.  The Netherlands was great – I gave up my car and rode my bike everywhere – I’ve never been so fit. Definitely one of my favourite places! I don’t have a bucket list as such, I’m not a great one for setting goals and I have spent an awful lot of time in airport lounges in recent years. Now I’d actually like to see more of the UK. I’ve been all the way to  the Middle East, China, Australia and New Zealand but I’m ashamed to say as an English southerner, I’ve rarely ventured north of Watford. 

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Well, staycations are very in these days! Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know about you.

Actually a lot of people – friends and former work colleagues – were very surprised when they’d heard I’d written a book! Seriously, I’m quite a creative person and very much into re-cycling and up-cycling. I’ve turned my hand to a few furniture projects and would like to do more, I just need a bigger workspace, or a barn.

Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?

I always recommend Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon because it is my favourite book of all time, but a close second is Tender is the Night by F Scott Fitzgerald. Everyone raves about The Great Gatsby but I think Tender is the Night has much more depth to it and it often gets overlooked. 

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So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?

I always hope a large glass of water before I go to bed will do the trick, but failing that fresh air is the answer. A long walk by the sea usually blows the cobwebs away.

After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

A perfect weekend would be catching up with family – my husband and two daughters.  Family time is precious as we have spent time living overseas so having chances to be together is actually quite rare. I am super excited my oldest daughter is moving back to the UK from Hungary this summer and for the first time in nearly 10 years we will all be living in the same country. I’d probably be in my garden, as gardening is my second love after writing – and I find it very therapeutic! Inspiration for writers block can often occur while tugging up the root of big weed!

Well, you are welcome to come round and dig around in my garden any time, I can provide plenty of big weeds to inspire you as I hate gardening! Rosie, thank you for joining me on the blog tonight, it has been a real pleasure.

Rosie’s new novel, Your Secret’s Safe With Me is out now, and you can buy a copy here.

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Romantic Novelist Pearl makes a surprise announcement and sends daughter Becca’s organised life reeling into chaos. The pair quit their London home and move to a tight-knit waterside community on the south coast. As Pearl embraces her new life amongst local sailing fraternity, Becca receives a grim warning that if she wants to keep her family safe, she should keep them away. But why should Becca trust the man who has betrayed her before, the man who broke her heart, the man who thinks he knows all her secrets?

Rosie Travers grew up in Southampton and began scribbling stories at a very early age. After juggling a career in local government with raising her family, she moved to Southern California with her husband in 2009. She began a blog about her life as an ex-pat wife which re-kindled a teenage desire to become a writer. Her first novel The Theatre of Dreams was published by Crooked Cat Books in August 2018 and her second Your Secret’s Safe With Me in February 2019.   Rosie takes inspiration from her local surroundings for her writing and both books are set in fictional locations along the south coast. She is a member of the Romantic Novelist’s Association and endeavours to entertain her readers with quirky stories populated by colourful characters, intrigue, romance and good dose of humour. You can connect with Rosie via her website, on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Next week I will be joined on the blog for Friday Night Drinks by author, Jane Cable.

 

Friday Night Drinks with…. Liam Livings @LiamLivings @RNATweets #FridayNightDrinks

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So, it’s been a while since I’ve been well enough to indulge in Friday Night Drinks, but tonight I am back with a bang with one of my most fabulous virtual nights out so far. Tonight I’m joined by someone I’ve been lucky enough to meet IRL, and who has produced probably the best set of images I’ve ever had for one of these guests spots, author and fellow RNA member, the lovely…Liam Livings.

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Liam, thank you so much for joining me for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?

A strawberry daiquiri please. In a large glass, with a glace cherry and a straw. 

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Oooh, one of my favourites! But we should really be drinking these in Sloppy Joe’s down in Key West, preferably when Hemingway was still frequenting the joint. But hey, this is your night so,  if we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?

Heaven. A gay club over 4 floors, right next to Charing Cross station. They have cheesy pop music and live acts on Saturday night – GAY is the name of the night since the Astoria was demolished. Himself, my boyfriend, used to be a member of the VIP lounge there. Oh, if those walls could talk, the celebrities we used to see! 

I’m in! If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?

Goldie Hawn and Chris Hemsworth. Goldie Hawn because I’ve loved her so much since forever. Seeing her in interviews I reckon she’d be a great laugh. And Chris Hemsworth, because he’s fun, but also because Thor. 

Great choices, but we might have to arm wrestle for Chris! So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. What have you got going on? How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?

I’m taking a break from self-editing a big backlog of my WIPs. I had 8 of them and have been working my way through and submitting them since late 2018. I’ve got one left to do and I’m just giving myself a week or so off for a change. I’m just about to read a RNA New Writers’ Scheme manuscript and write an appraisal. I’ve been a reader for the NWS since 2014 and think it’s a wonderful scheme. It’s given me lots of suggestions for common pitfalls when teaching writing workshops with my partner in sarcasm and writing crime, Virginia Heath – together we’re Real People Write Books. 

I’ve not submitted my NWS manuscript this year yet so I know it’s not mine you are reading! I agree, for new writers it is the most fantastic scheme, and I am so privileged to be a part of it. We all appreciate the helpful feedback from the readers so much, so thank you!

What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?

My proudest moment was being shortlisted for the romantic comedy novel award in the 2019 RONAs. I couldn’t believe that a story about a cross-dressing gay man looking for love in Hampshire in the 1990s would be published, never mind end up shortlisted. Kev is a secondary character in my Best Friends Perfect series – the first of my published books – and he screamed for his own story. So I wrote him a trilogy. 

My biggest challenge has been fitting in writing around the rest of my life. 

What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, its just us talking after all!

I’d like one of my books to be for sale at airports. I’d love for one of my quirky British gay romance stories to be something holiday makers pick up to read on a sunbed by a pool. I think society has a while to go until that’s the case, but it’s definitely a big dream of mine. 

That would be a wonderful thing to see. Let’s hope we are moving in the right direction for that to happen soon. What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?

I have at least three fiction novels I’m planning to write in 2019. The one that’s most exciting me at the moment is a historical gay romance. Set in the 1950s, with all the societal challenges of being gay then. It’s about a surgeon and a farm hand who at first hate one another as they’re complete opposites, but soon find there’s a mutual attraction. But they need to overcome societal, professional, emotional and legal challenges to be together. I’ve never written historical before, so this is going to be a special sort of challenge. I’m really looking forward to writing it from April on wards. 

I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?

I love the Canary Islands – 4 hours from the UK and it’s so warm. I recently went to Florida for the first time and it won’t be the last. The climate, the food, the people, the laid-back nature of Key West and party atmosphere of Miami South Beach. I loved all of it. I’d like to visit India at some point, plus China and Japan. I’ve read that the combination of language and culture makes China and Japan about as different from the West as you can get without leaving the planet. 

I LOVE Key West, I’ll be back there in 6 weeks. Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know about you.

I was born with bilateral (both) club feet. 

Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?

I can’t pick one, so here’s a list: Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Montana Sky by Nora Roberts. Romancing The Wrong Twin by Clare London. The World is Full of Married Men by Jackie Collins. Octavia by Jilly Cooper. 

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Great choices, Rachel’s Holiday is one of my all time favourite books too. So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?

Alternate soft drinks with alcoholic ones. Have small drinks – singles and little glasses of wine. Stop drinking at 3 alcoholic beverages. Eat food while drinking. I had a rose wine based incident in Hampshire last summer and was completely useless for the whole of the next day. 

After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

A walk in the forest. A long bath with a book. Making food – particularly baking a cake. 

Liam, thank you so much for joining me this evening, I’ve had a great time and look forward to seeing you in person again soon at the RNA Conference.

Liam’s book, Adventures in Dating…In Heels was shortlisted for the romantic comedy novel RONA 2019 award and you can buy a copy here.

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Kev Harrison is a teenager, looking for a boyfriend and friends who will accept his cross-dressing. Only thing is, he lives in a small village near Salisbury, England, and it’s the nineties.

Tony Collins is Kev’s best friend, a Goth with a passion for fashion and anything to do with the Human League. He stands as the voice of reason while Kev muddles his way through coming out, career choices, and dating…in heels.

Liam Livings lives where east London ends and becomes Essex. He shares his house with his boyfriend and cat. He enjoys baking, cooking, classic cars and socialising with friends. He has a sweet tooth for food and entertainment: loving to escape from real life with a romantic book; enjoying a good cry at a sad, funny and camp film; and listening to musical cheesy pop from the eighties to now. He tirelessly watches an awful lot of Gilmore Girls in the name of writing ‘research’.

Published since 2013 by a number of British and American presses, his gay romance and gay fiction focuses on friendships, British humour, romance with plenty of sparkle. He’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and the Chartered Institute of Marketing. With a masters in creative writing from Kingston University, he teaches writing workshops with his partner in sarcasm and humour, Virginia Heath as https://www.realpeoplewritebooks.com/ and has also ghostwritten a client’s 5 Star reviewed autobiography. 

You can find out more about Liam via his website, and on Facebook and Twitter.

Next week I will be joined for Friday Night Drinks by author Rosie Travers, so you won’t want to miss that.

 

Friday Night Drinks with…. Lisa Hobman @LisaJHobmanAuth @Aria_Fiction #FridayNightDrinks #ASummerOfNewBeginnings

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Delighted tonight to be having Friday Night Drinks with author….Lisa Hobman.

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Welcome to the blog, Lisa and thank you for joining me for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?

Either a nice big glass of Shiraz or Jack Daniels and Coke. It’s hard to choose!

If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?

Definitely Edinburgh. It’s my favourite city in the world and it’s only a short distance from home so nice and convenient! But the atmosphere is incredible. And the castle is lit up at night too which is so beautiful to see.

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If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?

Freddy Mercury would be so interesting to talk to. I would love to chat with him in detail about his inspirations. I was heartbroken when he died, his music was and is such an inspiration for me and so many others.

 And I would be keen to chat to Emily Bronte. I absolutely LOVE Wuthering Heights and would love to get her advice on writing those gritty but loveable rogues. Heathcliff was my first experience of such a character and he fascinated me.

Second vote for Emily Bronte, recently! So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. What have you got going on? How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?

I’m working in a brand new book set on the Isle of Skye. It’s a place I love to visit with scenery that takes my breath away. I tend to write about the places I’ve visited and loved, so Skye is the next location I’m taking readers to. I’m hoping it will be a three book series but I usually write stand alone stories so it’s a challenge that I’m looking forward to.

What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?

My proudest moment by far was when my debut novel Bridge Over the Atlantic was shortlisted in the RNA Awards. I attended the awards ceremony in London which was surreal as I was in a category with my favourite author Lisa Jewell! The book has now been renamed A Seaside Escape and republished by Aria Fiction.

I think the toughest challenge is getting the word out there about my back catalogue. I’m trying to build new connections as I go but it’s hard work. I am determined though!

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Let’s hope this helps a bit then. What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, its just us talking after all!

My biggest ambition at present is to see my books on the shelves in well known bookstore chains rather than solely in digital format and POD. I feel like it will happen one day. I just have to keep working hard and believing in my stories. 

What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?

My latest story will no doubt mean a trip to Skye again in the near future so I can’t wait for that! I like to revisit places I write about to make sure the imagery in my stories is close to reality so the reader can escape there in their mind!

I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?

My favourite place in the world is Scotland. We relocated here in 2012 and I love it even more now. Aside from this I would most like to visit Canada someday. The scenery is spectacular from the photos I have seen and it’s just the kind of place I love.

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Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know about you.

I’m also a singer. I used to sing professionally and have appeared on TV on a show called Stars in Their Eyes. It was way back in the 90s and I was Alanis Morissette for my performance.

And look what I found! 

 

Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?

Gosh that is a difficult one to answer! Just recently I’ve read and loved books by Lulu Taylor. Her books set in Winter are superb. But I also loved Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell. It was incredibly gripping and I couldn’t put it down!

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She was fifteen, her mother’s golden girl.
She had her whole life ahead of her.
And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone.

Ten years on, Laurel has never given up hope of finding Ellie. And then she meets a charming and charismatic stranger who sweeps her off her feet.

But what really takes her breath away is when she meets his nine-year-old daughter.

Because his daughter is the image of Ellie.

Now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back.

What really happened to Ellie? And who still has secrets to hide?

I have this on my TBR. So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?

Water and lots of it! If I’ve been celebrating I always tend to drink lots of water before I go to sleep and then do the same the following morning. Also I don’t drink on an empty stomach!

After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

Either sitting cuddled up on the sofa, in front of the roaring log burner, with my family, dogs and a good book. Or if they were all busy I would be at the desk in my writing den getting some words down but wearing my PJs and fluffy slipper boots of course!

 

Awww, your doggies are so cute! Lisa, thank you for joining me, it has been an absolute delight.
Lisa’s latest book, A Summer of New Beginnings,is out now and you can buy a copy here.
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Meet Zara Bailey, a travel writer paid to cover some of the globe’s most luxurious locations. Jetting from wooden huts on stilts in turquoise seas to boutique hotels with roaring fires to 7* penthouse suites with panoramic views of the world’s most glamorous cities… Zara knows hers is the definition of a dream job!

So she is seriously shocked to receive her next assignment; Scotland’s Northcoast 500 route. By bicycle. Sleeping in a tent so basic it can’t remotely be dressed up as glamping!

But this could be just the distraction the recently heartbroken Zara needs. No men, no romance, just the breathtakingly rugged Highland scenery. Until she meets croft owner Lachlan Grant, and his black and white Border Collie Bess, that is…

 

Lisa is happily married mum with two energetic dogs and a thing for men with tattoos! In May 2012 she relocated from Yorkshire to her favourite place in the world, Scotland. The time since then has been a rollercoaster!

She loves writing, singing and is very passionate about music. Her tastes are quite eclectic.

Her debut novel Bridge Over the Atlantic was shortlisted in the 2014 RoNA awards and she has written many more since! In 2017, she signed to Aria Fiction and is loving working with them!

To discover more about Lisa, check out her website or find her on Facebook  and Twitter.

Next week I am having drinks with awarding-winning blogger and great friend, Kaisha Holloway from The Writing Garnet, so I know you will want to come back and join us then.

 

Friday Night Drinks with…. Kate Field @katehaswords @AvonBooksUK @RNATweets #FridayNightDrinks #TheManIFellInLoveWith

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Tonight on Friday Night Drinks, I am delighted to be joined by fellow RNA member, award-winning romance author, and all-round gorgeous lady…..Kate Field.

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Hi Kate, thank you for joining me for drinks this evening. Sorry we aren’t meeting IRL this time, but my virtual bar is quite cosy. First things first, what are you drinking?

It would have to be a glass of red wine – perhaps a Californian red. I’m from Lancashire – it’s rarely warm enough to make a chilled white wine desirable!

The wrong side of the Pennines but I’ll let you off! If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?

I love a cosy, country pub with roaring fires and comfy seats. One of my favourites is The Aspinall Arms in Mitton, in the heart of the Ribble Valley, so I think I’d take you there. It has a gorgeous garden overlooking the river, just in case we’re lucky with the weather!

That does look nice, I might be tempted to venture in to enemy territory to visit! If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?

I’ll have to pick Kenneth Branagh for our male guest. I’ve loved him since I was a teenager and saw him play Hamlet – it was a mesmerising performance. Every time I see him being interviewed, he has wonderful stories to tell, and he seems genuinely interested in listening to other people too. My female choice would be Miriam Margolyes. She tells hilarious and irreverent stories, and I don’t think we’d stop laughing all night.

Ooh, good choices. I absolutely love Kenneth Branagh. He was so good as Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing (Beatrice & Benedick are my favourite Shakespearean couple.) I have a feeling Miriam is barking mad so it would definitely be a fun evening.

So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. What have you got going on? How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?

Last year, I collaborated with a group of author friends on a collection of short stories called Miss Moonshine’s Emporium of Happy Endings. We’re planning to publish another Miss Moonshine anthology this year, with a Christmas theme, so I’m writing that story at the moment while I’m waiting for the edits on my next novel.

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What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?

My proudest moment has to be when my first novel, The Magic of Ramblings, won the Joan Hessayon Award for new writers. It was a huge surprise, as anyone who saw the photo of my shocked face will know! I completely failed to capitalise on the win, though, as I’m too modest to ever mention it, unless I’m asked a question like this. It feels so bigheaded to say ‘award-winning author’! As you’ll gather from that, promotion is my biggest challenge!

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It’s okay, I’ll do it for you. I’ve already mentioned that Kate is an award-winning author. Her winning book, The Magic of Ramblings is one of my favourite novels of recent years and you can read my glowing review of it here. I’ve been a huge fan of her writing since I picked this book up. 

What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, its just us talking after all!

Well, between us, Sunday Times bestseller has a good ring to it, doesn’t it?! Back in the real world, my latest book, The Man I Fell In Love With, recently had an orange bestseller flag on Amazon for about 48 hours and that felt like a huge achievement!

What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?

The edits for my second book with Avon are due this week, so I’m looking forward to going back to that. I’m quite anxious too, as we didn’t discuss the idea before I started writing it, and I’ve had no feedback so far, so I hope the editor thinks the book has potential! It’s a story about archeology, kindness, and a couple who meet again seventeen years after the man abandoned the woman at the worst moment of her life. It’s exciting to see how the finished book will end up!

I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?

Many years ago, we spent a couple of weeks visiting Florence, Venice and Rome and it still ranks as one of my favourite holidays. I’d love to go back. It’s not very exotic, but visiting the Isles of Scilly is high on my bucket list. There’s something fascinating and romantic about island life.

The Isles of Scilly are also on my bucket list. Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know about you.

The first Valentine’s Day card I ever sent was to a boy called Simon in primary school. Unfortunately, I didn’t realise they were supposed to be anonymous. Simon then sent my card to another girl, crossing out our names and adding hers instead. You will never find a romantic hero called Simon in one of my books!

Oh, that’s a sad story! Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?

You may have read this one already, as I’m late in discovering it, but I recently read The Salt Path by Raynor Winn and loved it. It’s gorgeously written, has given me a new perspective on homelessness, and has inspired me to walk the South West coastal path one day. I think I’ll give sleeping in a tent a miss though!

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Just days after Raynor learns that Moth, her husband of 32 years, is terminally ill, their home is taken away and they lose their livelihood. With nothing left and little time, they make the brave and impulsive decision to walk the 630 miles of the sea-swept South West Coast Path, from Somerset to Dorset, via Devon and Cornwall.

Carrying only the essentials for survival on their backs, they live wild in the ancient, weathered landscape of cliffs, sea and sky. Yet through every step, every encounter and every test along the way, their walk becomes a remarkable journey.

The Salt Path is an honest and life-affirming true story of coming to terms with grief and the healing power of the natural world. Ultimately, it is a portrayal of home, and how it can be lost, rebuilt and rediscovered in the most unexpected ways.

I have a copy of this but haven’t got round to it yet. So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?

The memory of some terrible hangovers in the past is my safeguard! I’m boringly sensible and have learnt when to stop and never to mix drinks!

After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

A long walk in the countryside, a pub lunch and then spending the rest of the day with a good book. If only every day could be like that!

Kate, thank you for joining me, as it has been as much of a delight as seeing you in the flesh. I wish you great success with the book and look forward to catching up with you at an RNA event soon.

Kate’s new book, The Man I Fell in Love With, is out now. You can buy a copy here and I can’t wait to read it.

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Sometimes we find happiness where we least expect it…

After twenty years of contented marriage, no one is more surprised than Mary Black when her husband announces he’s leaving her… for another man.

For the sake of the children, Mary has no choice but to pick herself up and start again. She hosts family meals that include Leo and his new partner. She copes with the kids wanting to spend less time with her and more time with their ‘fun’ dads. But one thing she can’t quite ignore is Leo’s gorgeous brother, who has just come back to town…

After living a life of sliding doors and missed opportunities, can Mary finally put herself first and take a chance that could change everything?

Please do check out my review of Kate’s marvellous book, The Magic of Ramblings, and you can also find my review of Kate’s last book, The Winter That Made Ushere. (Can you tell I am a fan?)

To find out more about Kate, you can find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday Night Drinks with…. Lorna Cook @LornaCookAuthor @AvonBooksUK @RNATweets @Becky_Ritchie1 #FridayNightDrinks #TheForgottenVillage

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I am so thrilled to be joined for Friday Night Drinks this evening by fellow RNA member and soon-to-be debut author…Lorna Cook.

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Welcome to the blog, Lorna, I am so happy you are joining me for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?

Wine! Pinot Grigio Blush (if we’re being specific!)

One of my favourites, let’s get a bottle. If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?

Great question! Somewhere cosy. A gastro pub, roaring fire, good wine and piles of comfort food. There’s a great place relatively near me in the antiques-haven of Battlesbridge. It’s called The Hawk. I’d take you there. 

That does look lovely, just my kind of place. If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?

Jane Austen. It would be great to explore whether or not she’d have a dirty sense of humour. I suspect she would. Stephen Fry. He’d keep the conversation going if there was a dry spell.

That is a first appearance for Jane Austen, which is quite surprising but Mr Fry is a very popular nominee. So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. What have you got going on? How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?

At the moment I’m staring into the abyss of launching my debut novel The Forgotten Village. It’s exciting but mainly it’s just plain frightening. 

I can quite understand the mixed feelings but I am sure it will be a fabulous day. I already have my copy on pre-order! What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?

My proudest moment was all down to my lovely agent Becky Ritchie. She worked her agent magic and rustled up a two-book paperback deal with a UK publisher (Avon) and a few translation deals all in the space of a few weeks. 

What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, its just us talking after all!

Hmmm, we’re British so we aren’t very good at being ambitious! I’d love to just keep writing but to keep learning and bettering my craft as I go. As long as I can keep writing novels and people want to read them that’s as ambitious as I’d ever dare to be!

What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?

I’m writing book three at the moment, which is set in Scotland during World War 2. I’m VERY excited about it because I’m currently planning the twists and turns and am itching to write all the revelatory scenes before I write the rest of the book. 

I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?

When writing The Forgotten Village, I discovered the beauty that is Dorset. The novel is set in the requisitioned village of Tyneham and so I went on a ‘research trip,’ ahem, holiday. It was my first time in the county. I’ll confess to having always been a Cornwall girl at heart and I still love Cornwall but discovering Dorset, and the almost Caribbean beauty of the water at Lulworth Cove was a game changer. On my bucket list is the Northern Lights, but hardly anyone I know whose been has actually seen the lights so I’ve not risked it yet. 

Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know about you.

I have signed the Official Secrets Act. 

Oh, come on, that is too much of a teaser! If I ever track you down at an RNA event, you will have to elaborate! Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?

Letters to the Lost by Iona Grey. It’s beautiful and gut-wrenchingly sad but still the most wonderful read. I recommend this to everyone. I should be on commission. 

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1943, in the ruins of Blitzed London…
Stella Thorne and Dan Rosinski meet by chance and fall in love by accident. Theirs is a reluctant, unstoppable affair in which all the odds are stacked against them: she is newly married, and he is an American bomber pilot whose chance of survival is just one in five.
… He promised to love her forever
Seventy years later Dan makes one final attempt to find the girl he has never forgotten, and sends a letter to the house where they shared a brief yet perfect happiness. But Stella has gone, and the letter is opened by Jess, a young girl hiding from problems of her own. And as Jess reads Dan’s words, she is captivated by the story of a love affair that burned so bright and dimmed too soon. Can she help Dan find Stella before it is too late?
Now forever is finally running out.

That does sound good, I will add it to the teetering TBR. So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?

I don’t have a failsafe plan to avoid a hangover (unless stopping drinking early is allowed). If anyone knows a magical method for hangover avoidance that doesn’t involve stopping drinking early then tell me immediately. 

The next day, however, the only thing that works for me is sleep. The mother of all lay-ins means avoiding the issue.

After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

I have two small children so I’m often running around, laundering school uniform, planning dinners or running children to playdates. But my dream weekend would involve none of that. I would curl up in front of the TV and read trashy magazines and the Sunday supplements. Someone would cook me a roast dinner and then I’d get my PJs on early, head to bed and read a fabulous novel!

Lorna, it has been an absolute delight to have you on the blog, thank you so much for taking the time. I wish you huge success with the novel, I cannot wait to read it.

Lorna’s debut novel, The Forgotten Village is out on Thursday 4 April and you can pre-order your copy here. I will be reviewing it at a future date on the blog, so watch out for that.

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1943: The world is at war, and the villagers of Tyneham are being asked to make one more sacrifice: to give their homes over to the British army. But on the eve of their departure, a terrible act will cause three of them to disappear forever.

2018: Melissa had hoped a break on the coast of Dorset would rekindle her stagnant relationship, but despite the idyllic scenery, it’s pushing her and Liam to the brink. When Melissa discovers a strange photograph of a woman who once lived in the forgotten local village of Tyneham, she becomes determined to find out more about her story. But Tyneham hides a terrible secret, and Melissa’s search for the truth will change her life in ways she never imagined possible.

Lorna Cook writes dual-timeline stories that blend secrets of the past with the present.

Her first novel, The Forgotten Village, is set in the real village of Tyneham in Dorset, requisitioned in entirety in World War Two and never returned. The story moves between 1943 and present day as secrets about what happened on requisition day are finally revealed.

Lorna lives by the sea with her husband, two small daughters and a demanding dog called Socks.

To find out more about Lorna and her writing, you can visit her website or find her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Next week I will be joined on for Friday Night Drinks by another RNA member and one of my favourite authors, Kate Field, as we celebrate the paperback publication of her latest book, so please come and join us.

Disturbance by Marianne Kavanagh #BlogTour #GuestPost (@MarianneKav) @HodderBooks @ReadEatRetreat #Disturbance

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You don’t know what is going on in Sara’s house… or in her head.

Sara is lonely. No one talks to her – not even her bad-tempered workaholic husband or her two beloved sons. Her solace is her house, the biggest in the village, hidden away behind high hedges.

Then she strikes up a friendship with Katie, a college student living nearby, and a new world opens up. Her neighbours have been dying to get to know her, and they rush to help when Sara is devastated by a terrible accident.

But nothing is quite what it seems. And when new betrayals and shocking revelations disturb her peace, Sara realises she has no choice: she must act to protect the safety of those she loves.

I’m really thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour today for Disturbance by Marianne Kavanagh. My thanks to Kate Keehan at Hodder & Stoughton for asking me to be on the tour and for my copy of the book, which I will be reviewing on the blog at a later date.

For now, Marianne has very kindly agreed to be my guinea pig for a new feature I am considering introducing to the blog called 5W1H, where I will be asking authors a series of what, when, why, who, where and how questions about their writing process. Let’s see what Marianne made of my questions!

What inspired the plot for this book?

It’s difficult to answer this without giving too much away – Disturbance is full of twists and turns, and I hope you don’t realise what’s really going on until the very end of the book. But I was reading a lot of Patricia Highsmith, and thinking about how she makes you have sympathy for people who are behaving badly. I was also thinking about how the seven deadly sins are seen as normal pleasures these days – you’re encouraged to be full of pride, to envy other people, to laze about and eat too much. None of this is very apparent in the final novel – they were just ideas about good and evil that were running beneath the surface when I began.

 

When did you start writing this novel?

I just looked that up – August 2016.

 

Why do you choose Sara as the central character to carry the story?

It wasn’t Sara originally. In the first few drafts, everything was seen through Katie’s eyes. After about a year of struggling, I switched to Sara’s point of view. It was very hard, being inside Sara’s head, but the story came together for the first time, so it was the right decision.

 

Who is the first person who gets to read your work when you’ve finished it?

My husband Matt reads the very first draft, which is usually rubbish. Friends read later drafts, and my daughter Alice reads the final draft before I send it to my agent.

 

Where do you do most of your writing?

At home, in a room downstairs next to the kitchen. I used to find it really difficult to write if there was anyone in the house at all, because I got so distracted by noise. But nowadays I can blank out everything except for my tabby cat Mo wanting his dinner.

 

How did you set about writing the book? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Usually I’m a plotter. I write a few key scenes to get going, and then plan the whole novel. But that didn’t happen with Disturbance – I kept having to throw it all away and start again. But maybe that’s the point. So much of writing is re-writing. Sometimes you have to do everything the wrong way before you can work out the right way.

Thank you, Marianne, for answering my questions. As an aspiring writer myself, i find glimpses into other author’s processes absolutely fascinating.

Disturbance is out now and you can buy a copy here.

Watch out for my review of the book coming soon but, if you can’t wait that long, please check out the other stops on the blog tour as detailed below to read some reviews from my fabulous fellow bloggers.

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About the Author

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Marianne Kavanagh is an author and journalist.

She has worked for Woman, the Tatler, the Sunday Telegraph magazine and British Marie Claire, and has contributed features to a wide variety of national newspapers, magazines and websites.

She has three grown-up children in their twenties – a journalist, a stand-up comic and a textiles designer.

She lives in south-east London with her husband Matt and two extraordinarily annoying cats.

Marianne’s first two novels have been translated into eight languages. Her third and fourth novels are published by Hodder & Stoughton – SHOULD YOU ASK ME is out now (hardback, paperback, ebook and audio) and DISTURBANCE will be published in March 2019.

Connect with Marianne:

Website: http://www.mariannekavanagh.com

Facebook: Marianne Kavanagh Writer

Twitter: @MarianneKav

Instagram: @mariannekavanaghwriter