Blog Tour: Heartcross Castle by Christie Barlow

Heartcross Castle

Apologies to everyone for the late posting of this review but I am delighted to finally be sharing my review of Heartcross Castle, the latest book in the Love Heart Lane series by Christie Barlow. Thank you to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on to the tour and her patience in waiting for this review, and to the author and the publisher for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially. Apologies again for the delay in posting and thanks for your understanding.

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Love Heart Lane – where friends are there for you no matter what

A second chance…

When her grandfather Marley passes away Grace Power discovers she’s been left the beautiful but crumbling estate of Heartcross Castle. As a single mum of three, Grace has no idea what she’s going to do with it – but who can say no to a roof over their kids’ heads and a chance to get away from past hurts?

And a forever home

Heartcross Castle is full of secrets – especially a lost security deposit box that holds the truth to everything… But when celebrity chef Andrew Glossop sets his eyes on the castle and, to make matters worse, mistakes Grace as the new housekeeper, Grace tells him there is absolutely NO CHANCE he is getting his hands on her home.

Devastated to have got it so wrong, Andrew will do anything to make it up to her – but is she willing to listen?

I am a huge fan of Christie’s Love Heart Lane series and I think this might be my favourite book in the series so far. It has the perfect combination of escapist setting, romantic tension, relatable characters and touching, emotional moments that make the ideal romantic read.

From the minute the book starts, Grace was a character that captured my heart and my sympathy, and I was with her on her journey throughout the book. As the mother of three young boys struggling with relationship issues, she feels so alone and I could relate to the sense of responsibility she felt for her kids, getting them out of the terrible situation they are in and building a better life for all of them. Christie really captures the agonies of being a single parent of young children, the heartbreak of not being able to give them everything you want them to have and having to deal with every crisis and problem by yourself, often not knowing how you are going to get through. You can really feel Grace’s pain through the pages.

Fans of the series will know that this is where the amazing community that Christie has built in Heartcross will come to the rescue. Honestly, it has now got to the stage that I have to remind myself that these are fictional characters and not a real set of people I am catching up with. I am so invested in this series and all the goings on in Heartcross that reading one of the books is like sitting down for a coy catch up with those old pals you having seen in a while but you know so well. The community welcomes Grace back with open arms and starts to help her rebuild, and it is nothing less than we expect.

The relationships in this book are what make it, and they are all beautiful. Grace and her boys, her old friends, and particularly that between Grace and Hector. Their interactions brought me to the verge of tears several times because the way they interacted was just so lovely. I love a book which explores relationships of all kinds, not just romantic ones, and this is where the people who are dismissive of romance novels are mistaken. There is always so much more going on in these books than a love story, and this book is a prime example of the complexity of issues that can be explored.

That’s not to say that the romance isn’t important. Andrew is a great love interest for Grace, but the romance is secondary to the other bonds Grace rediscovers in this book, and that is the way it should be. Romantic relationships are not the be all and end all of life, all our relationships support and nurture us in different and equally important ways.

Of course the setting is always a big draw in the Love Heart Lane books and, getting to explore inside the walls of Heartcross Castle was great fun. Christie has let her imagination run wild in the novel and has added all the fun quirks and secrets you would wish for in a Scottish castle. When I read things like this, it reminds me of the aspect of writing which most appeals to me, being able to create the world as you wish it existed, just because it makes you and your readers happy. This is what true escapism is, and escapist reading is sometimes just what we all need. 

Heartcross Castle is out now in ebook and audiobook formats, and will be available in paperback in March. You can buy a copy here.

Make sure you check out the rest of the blog tour:

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About the Author

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Christie Barlow is the number one international bestselling author of fifteen romantic comedies including the iconic Love Heart Lane Series, A Home at Honeysuckle Farm and Kitty’s Countryside Dream. She lives in a ramshackle cottage in a quaint village in the heart of Staffordshire with her four children and two dogs.

Her writing career has come as a lovely surprise when Christie decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. Christie’s dream was to become a writer and the book she wrote to prove a point went on to become a #1 international bestseller in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia.

When Christie isn’t writing she co-presents The Book Show on Radio Northwich, enjoys playing the piano, is a keen gardener and loves to paint and upcycle furniture.

Christie is an ambassador for the @ZuriProject alongside Patron of the charity, Emmerdale’s Bhasker Patel. They raise money and awareness for communities in Uganda.

Connect with Christie:

Facebook: Christie Barlow

Twitter: @ChristieJBarlow

Instagram: @christie_barlow

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Romancing The Romance Authors with… Lynne Shelby

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The final ever Romancing The Romance Authors! It’s been great fun doing this feature over the past 18 months but it’s retiring now, ready for a new feature in January. Let’s send it off with a bang by talking romance with author… Lynne Shelby.

Tell me a bit about the type of books you write and where you are in your publishing journey.

I write contemporary romance set in the world of theatre and film or in a foreign location that I have enjoyed visiting. I was first published in 2015, when my debut novel, French Kissing, won a national writing competition and since then I have had four more novels published. I am currently editing my sixth novel, Rome for the Summer, which will be published in 2022.

Why romance?

Before I wrote romance, I tried my hand at writing science fiction, fantasy, historical and mainstream stories, but about ten years ago, I ‘discovered’ romantic fiction and realised that with my stories all having a romantic relationship at their centre, romance is what I’d been writing all along without realising it. I enjoy writing (and reading) romance because, with it’s assurance of a happy-ever-after or happy-for-now ending (or even a hopefully-ever-after ending) it is a genre whose books leave the reader feeling positive about life and love, whatever tribulations the heroine and hero have to overcome along the way. 

What inspires your stories?

I find that almost anything can inspire a story. For example, a photograph or a painting or visiting a new place can spark an idea. My most recent novel, Love on Location, was inspired by a visit to Greece when I knew I simply had to write a book set in that beautiful country. I also get a lot of ideas for stories from overheard conversations on trains or buses, or even in the queue at the supermarket!

Who are your favourite romance authors, past and/or present?

Jane Austen, Miranda Dickinson, Paige Toon, Kate Eberlen, Jojo Moyes

If you had to pick one romance novel for me to read, which one would you recommend?

This is a very hard question to answer as there are so many fabulous romance novels to choose from, but I would have to say Pride and Prejudice as it sets the standard for every romance novel that came after it.

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Which romantic hero or heroine would you choose to spend your perfect romantic weekend with? Where would you go and what would you do?

It has to be Mr Darcy! I’d hope to be invited to a ball at Pemberley where I would dance ‘til dawn.

What is your favourite thing about being a member of the RNA? What do you think you have gained from membership?

My favourite thing about being a member of the RNA is that events such as the Annual Conference have given me the opportunity to meet so many wonderful authors who write in the romance genre. RNA members are very generous with their advice, and if anyone has a question about writing there is usually someone in the organization who can answer it. Besides which, it’s great to meet other people who don’t look at you askance when you talk about the people in your head! I have learned so much about writing since being in the RNA and made some amazing writer friends.

What one piece of advice or tip would you give to new writers starting out in the romance genre?

Keep going, even when you find writing hard – it’s perseverance that turns a writer into a published author.

Tell us about your most recent novel. 

My most recent novel, Love On Location, is a contemporary romance set in the world of film-making, in London, Athens and on a fictional Greek island that bears more than a passing resemblance to Santorini.

When screenwriter Laurel Martin is asked to rewrite the script for a new timeslip movie set in ancient Greece, she expects the film’s historical advisor to be an elderly academic. But when she meets Professor Jason Harding, a young and unexpectedly handsome archaeologist with his own ideas about the script, she finds that the job isn’t going to be as simple as she first thought…

A screenwriter. An archaeologist. A film crew on location on an idyllic Greek island. Will movie magic lead to real life romance?

The book is available in ebook and paperback formats here.

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When screenwriter Laurel Martin is hired to rewrite the script for a new timeslip movie, she expects the historical advisor hired by the studio to be an elderly academic who won’t interfere too much with her writing. But when she meets Professor Jason Harding, a young and unexpectedly handsome archaeologist who has his own ideas about the script, she realises the job isn’t going to be as simple as she first thought.

As their work takes them from arguing over historical details in a cramped London office to discovering the hidden beauties of a Greek island, Laurel and Jason’s relationship starts to echo the romance of their script.

But with Laurel’s actor ex-boyfriend making trouble at home, and constant issues with the volatile director, will Laurel and Jason ever be able to write the happy ending for their own story?

About the Author

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Lynne Shelby writes contemporary women’s fiction and romance. When not writing or reading, Lynne can usually be found at the theatre or exploring a foreign city with her writer’s notebook, camera and sketchbook in hand. She lives in London with her husband, and has three adult children who live nearby.

Connect with Lynne:

Website: https://www.lynneshelby.com

Blog:  https://www.lynneshelby.com/blog-1

Facebook: LynneShelbyWriter

Twitter: @LynneShelby5

Instagram: lynneshelbywriter

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Book Review: Ed & Lily by Sofia Due

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Ed & Lily have a problem. It’s the day before Christmas Eve and the relationship everyone believed was rock solid is in trouble. It’s not just the past getting in the way, it’s the present too.

They’ve got thirty-six hours before they fly to Iceland for a snowy Christmas break. Can they resolve their differences or will their plane leave London without them?

A story about love, loss and chasing your dreams.

I was provided with a digital copy of this book for the purposes of review by the author, for which she has my sincere thanks. I have reviewed the book honestly and impartially.

Not your typical Christmas romance, this is a book to pick up if you are looking for a festive read that it is a little bit different. Set at Christmas, but focusing on the reality of the strain that this time of year can put on relationships, it was a book that rang authentically true, rather than a cosy celebration of the season.

We meet Ed & Lily on the day before Christmas Eve when they are in different parts of the country, supposedly coming together to fly to Iceland to spend the holiday together. But all is clearly not well in their relationship and, over the course of the novel, through a series of flashbacks, we see how their relationship has developed and how they got to the uncomfortable place they currently find themselves.

I don’t think the blurb does the depth of this book justice. This is a really detailed exploration of how two people can love each other and seemingly be made to be together, but still drift apart through a combination of life events and miscommunication. All the way through, I was desperate for them to work things out because it was so clear that they should be together but they were driving themselves apart through many misunderstandings and a failure to talk to each other. It is so easy to see how it is happening and so frustrating, but so true, to view from outside.

This book really moved me. I thought all of the characters were beautifully written and the relationships truly authentic. I was carried along by the story, feeling their joy and their pain as they experienced it in the book. The story felt very fresh and unique. I particularly loved the ending, and was delighted to read a festive romance that followed a different trajectory from what you normally expect. A really pleasurable read from an exciting new voice in contemporary romantic fiction.

I highly recommend this to someone looking for something to entertain them out of the mainstream this Christmas.

You can buy a copy of Ed & Lily in ebook and paperback formats here.

About the Author

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Sofia Due lives in London with her family and cats. She works as a civil liberties and human rights lawyer and works with asylum seekers and refugees every day. Writing fiction is the best way of problem solving and putting right all the things you can’t change in real life. She was shortlisted for the Exeter Novel Prize in 2017 and since joining the Romantic Novelists Association New Writers’ Scheme five years ago has been gradually learning the craft of telling a good story.

Connect with Sofia:

Website: https://www.sofiaduebooks.com

Twitter: @SofiaDue_words

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Romancing The Romance Authors with… Rachel Brimble

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Welcome to the penultimate edition of Romancing The Romance Authors. This feature is retiring at the end of the year in favour of some exciting new developments on the blog, which I will be announcing in due course. In the meantime, let’s enjoy chatting with this episode’s guest author about writing romance… Rachel Brimble.

Tell me a bit about the type of books you write and where you are in your publishing journey.

Right now, I am concentrating on writing historical romance set in the Victorian period. My last series was set in the Edwardian period. I’m fascinated with both periods so I think I’ll be staying within these two eras for the time being!

I am currently working on my 30th novel and have 27 books (contemporary and historical) published by various publishers – my next book/series proposal is currently under consideration so I’m hoping for some good news soon.

Why romance?

Because I love it! I love exploring relationships whether they be within family, friends or colleagues, but it the romantic relationships I enjoy writing the most. With so much doom and gloom in the world, there is nothing better than escaping into a love story – for both me and my readers!

What inspires your stories?

So many things, but my stories usually start with either an historical event or person who takes my interest. Alternatively, an historical building, house or village will spark my imagination. Once I find myself constantly thinking about one of these things, I know a story is brewing. I let it settle for a while and soon enough I know the general plot and then I have to create the right characters to tell the story.

Who are your favourite romance authors, past and/or present?

Past – Jane Austen/Georgette Heyer          Present – Nora Roberts/Julia London/Julia Quinn

If you had to pick one romance novel for me to read, which one would you recommend?

Ooh, this is so hard, but my latest obsession is the Bridgerton series – I loved the TV adaptation of book 1 but, as an author, I was desperate to read the books and praying I enjoyed them even more. All I can say is I am absolutely LOVING them… definitely more than the TV series! Highly recommended if you love you romance with plenty of fun and laughter!

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Escape to the ballrooms of Regency London with this beautifully designed boxset of the first four books in the worldwide bestselling Bridgerton series, the inspiration behind the Netflix phenomenon. In this glamorous, witty series, the Bridgertons reign over the Ton, watched (and gossiped about) by a mysterious columnist known only as Lady Whistledown . . .

The Duke & I
Simon Basset appears on the verge of proposing to the lovely Daphne Bridgerton. But secretly their affair is a ruse to escape marriage-minded society mothers . . . Or is it? Amidst the glittering, gossipy, cut-throat world of London’s elite, there is only one certainty: love ignores every rule . . .

The Viscount Who Loved Me
Anthony Bridgerton needs a wife. As the oldest son, he knows it’s high time he settled down and ensured the continuation of the Bridgerton line. What a shame then, that he seems to have fallen in love with entirely the wrong woman . . .

An Offer From a Gentleman
One ball, one unknown woman and one magical night, changed everything for Benedict Bridgerton. Now, he has sworn to find and wed his mystery miss, for he knows this is his only chance for a fairy tale love story . . .

Romancing Mr Bridgerton
Penelope Featherington has loved her best friend’s brother, Colin Bridgerton, ever since she was a girl. When she discovers his deepest secret she must decide: is it time to share her own?

Which romantic hero or heroine would you choose to spend your perfect romantic weekend with? Where would you go and what would you do?

I love Anthony from book 2 in the Bridgerton series, The Viscount Who Loved Me – after losing his beloved father, he has inherited the title, riches and property but he is deeply affected and bereaved by his loss which makes him so very real. He is strong, handsome, cares for his mother and siblings and harbours a deep sense of duty. What’s not to like?

If I could have a day with him, I would want to go somewhere beautiful in the country, like the Cotswolds. Walk, talk, take tea and later a wonderfully intimate dinner with music and wine. After that, who knows…

What is your favourite thing about being a member of the RNA? What do you think you have gained from membership?

My favourite thing is the friendships I’ve made over the years! I have gained so much support and mentorship since joining the RNA that I never feel alone in my writing endeavours which is so, so important. When I was starting out, I learned so much by attending the conferences and talking to published writers. Everything I learned would have taken me so much longer to carry out alone.

The RNA also offers the wonderful New Writers Scheme where an unpublished author can have their entire manuscript critiqued for a cost that is so much lower than a writer would pay for such a service elsewhere. It’s invaluable!

What one piece of advice or tip would you give to new writers starting out in the romance genre?

See above! First priority should be to join the RNA as you will have immediate access to published and unpublished writers who are on hand to answer questions via the FB page. You will also be able to join the New Writers Scheme.

Practically, the best advice I can give is to make sure you finish your novel, polish it, let it sit awhile and then revisit it. Ensure your story is the absolute best it can be, preferably having been looked at by trusted critique partners and/or a proofreader. Then make sure you submit it to agents/publishers! So many don’t take this terrifying step and if you don’t, nothing will ever change for you.

Tell us about your most recent novel.

My most recent novel is Trouble for the Leading Lady which is book 2 in my Victorian trilogy, The Ladies of Carson Street. Both this book and book 1, A Widow’s Vow, can be read stand-alone.

Trouble For the Leading Lady is Nancy’s story – Nancy is a good-time girl who dreams of one day being onstage. Deep inside, she knows her aspiration is never likely to come true when she lives and survives in the backstreet taverns and houses of Victorian Bath. Then she meets theatre manager, Francis Carlyle… and her dream turns into something else entirely as she and Francis join forces to help the children of Bath’s workhouse. You can buy a copy here.

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Bath, 1852.

As a girl, Nancy Bloom would go to Bath’s Theatre Royal, sit on the hard wooden benches and stare in awe at the actresses playing men as much as the women dressed in finery. She longed to be a part of it all and when a man promised her parents he could find a role for Nancy in the theatre, they believed him.

His lie and betrayal led to her ruin.

Francis Carlyle is a theatre manager, an ambitious man always looking for the next big thing to take the country by storm. A self-made man, Francis has finally shed the skin of his painful past and is now rich, successful and in need of a new female star. Never in a million years did he think he’d find her standing on a table in one of Bath’s bawdiest pubs.

Nancy vowed never to trust a man again. Francis will do anything to make her his star. As they engage in a battle of wits and wills, can either survive with their hearts intact?

The second in Rachel Brimble’s thrilling new Victorian saga series, Trouble for the Leading Lady will whisk you away to the riotous, thriving underbelly of Victorian Bath.

About the Author

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Rachel lives in a small town near Bath, England. She is the author of over 25 published novels including the Ladies of Carson Street trilogy, the Shop Girl series (Aria Fiction) and the Templeton Cove Stories (Harlequin).

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association as well as the Historical Novel Society and has thousands of social media followers all over the world. 

To sign up for her newsletter (a guaranteed giveaway every month!), click here: https://bit.ly/3zyH7dt

Connect with Rachel:

Website: https://rachelbrimble.com

Facebook: Rachel Brimble Author

Twitter: @RachelBrimble

Instagram: @rachelbrimbleauthor

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Book Review: The Party Crasher by Sophie Kinsella #BookReview

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The Talbots are having one last party at their family home.
But Effie hasn’t been invited . . .

Effie’s still not over her parents splitting up a year ago. Her dad and his new girlfriend are posting their PDAs all over Instagram (complete with super-gross hashtags #viagraworks and #sexinyoursixties) and as if that wasn’t bad enough, they’re now selling the beloved family home. So when Effie receives a last-minute anti-invitation to their ‘house-cooling’ party, she decides to give it a miss.

Then she remembers her precious Russian dolls, safely tucked away up a chimney. She’ll have to go back for them – but not as a guest. She’ll just creep in, grab the dolls and make a swift exit. No one will know she was ever there.

But Effie can’t find the dolls. And as she secretly clambers around dusty attics, hides under tables and tries to avoid bumping into her ex-boyfriend (who she’s very much not over), she discovers unexpected truths about her family – and even about herself.

With time (and hiding places) running out, Effie starts to wonder if the only way to find out what’s really going on with her family is to simply crash the party . . .

You know you can rely on a Sophie Kinsella book for uplifting, humorous writing, and The Party Crashers is up there with the best of her work. Starting off with the enticing premise of the book – a young girl has to secretly crash a party at her own father’s house without being seen – I loved everything about this book from beginning to end.

This author has a genius for writing hapless characters that are charmingly madcap who you can’t help falling in love with and rooting for, and Effie is no exception. Who can blame her for not being enamoured of her father’s antics with his much-younger, gold-digging new girlfriend who has invaded the family home and begun to wipe out all traces of his previous family life? Anyone could sympathise, even if she does take things to the extreme. This is the real skill in Sophie’s writing, taking a believable premise but then pushing the envelope to wring every comedic nuance from the plot without losing the reader in the ludicrousness of the situation.

This book has many genuinely laugh out loud moments. I particularly loved the section when they are all sitting down to dinner in the dining room. This is a perfect example of a scene where actually you can’t understand how anyone could get themselves in the predicament Effie finds herself in, but Sophie’s writing is so charming that she carries you along in the mayhem.

As well as the comedic moments, the book does explore the issue of family dynamics and how, no matter how old we get, it is difficult to come to terms with divorce and learning that your parents and their relationship may not be the fairytale you always assumed it was. How we hide difficult truths from the people we love and, in some aspects, we never really grow up. I found the book very heartwarming as well as funny. I think it may be my favourite Sophie Kinsella novel to date. Fans should definitely not miss this one.

You can buy The Party Crasher in all formats here.

About the Author

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Sophie Kinsella is a writer and former financial journalist. She is the number one bestselling author of Can You Keep a Secret?, The Undomestic Goddess, Remember Me?, Twenties Girl, I’ve Got Your Number, Wedding Night, My Not So Perfect Life, Surprise Me, the hugely popular Shopaholic novels and the Young Adult novel Finding Audrey. She lives in the UK with her husband and family. She is also the author of the children’s series Mummy Fairy and Me / Fairy Mom and Me, and several bestselling novels under the name of Madeleine Wickham.

Connect with Sophie:

Website: https://www.sophiekinsella.co.uk

Facebook: Sophie Kinsella

Twitter: @KinsellaSophie

Instagram: @sophiekinsellawriter

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Friday Night Drinks with… Melissa Oliver

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We’ve arrived at the end of the month again already, can you believe it? And we are now only four weeks away from Christmas! I think it is time to start the Christmas celebrations and tonight I will be having my first festive Friday Night Drinks with Mills and Boon author… Melissa Oliver.

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

It’s getting close to the Christmas season, so I’m going to be indulgent and go for an Expresso Martini, or a Bailey’s White Russian. 

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Yes, it’s definitely cocktail season. 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?

 We’re going all out, Julie, so I’ll be taking you to the Connaught Bar in London, with it’s elegant Cubist wood-paneling, huge smoky mirrors and signature Martinis! We could pretend we’re in a James Bond film or something!

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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?

I would go with a couple who sizzled on the big screen together, oozed elegance but are sadly no longer with us- Peter O’ Toole and Audrey Hepburn- they would definitely keep us entertained with their stories and add a dash of glamour to the place.

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

I have just completed my latest historical romance for Harlequin Mills and Boon, which kicks off a new series set in Medieval London. I’m really excited about it as both the hero and heroine are quite different from any characters that I have written before and the backdrop of London is really exciting- there’s something quite familiar and accessible about it but obviously with it being set in the 13th century, quite different as well. 

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

Like many writers, my biggest challenge was finally getting published. It can be soul destroying getting those rejection emails but once you get that offer of a book deal, it more than makes up for it. And I’d say that my proudest moment was winning the prestigious RNA Joan Hessayon Award in 2020 for my debut, The Rebel Heiress and the Knight (Notorious Knights book 1). It was definitely the cherry on top after being offered said book deal with Harlequin Mills and Boon. I remember walking around in a daze for a few days afterwards wondering if it really had happened or whether my active imagination had run riot! 

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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’m not going to deny that the lure of having a book adapted for film or tv wouldn’t be amazing and of course if that opportunity came my way, I’d grab it with both hands. In the meantime, I want to develop as a writer, continue to enjoy what I’m doing, write books that captivate and are really, really, really successful, reaching more readers all over the world. In other words, I would love for my books to become bestsellers. 

What are have planned that you are really excited about?

I really enjoyed writing my latest book, The Knight’s Convenient Alliance– (Notorious Knights book 4), because …

1) It’s a Medieval romance with plenty of intrigue, adventure, drama, set in King Henry III reign.   

2)The leads first meet in book 3 of the Notorious Knights series. 

3) They have both been marred by tragedy in the past. 

4) The hero is an Agent of the Crown.  

5) There’s lots of banter between the leads- Brida O’Conaill is far too serious and Tom Lovent can’t help but tease her. 

It was a lot of fun to write but having said that, this book marks the end of the Notorious Knights series, which also meant having to say goodbye to many characters from previous books- it was a little sad but I’m really happy where I ended it.  

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 Italy- it’s filled with so much history, culture, art & beauty, not to mention incredible food! My favourite places include, Rome, Tuscany, Venice and the Amalfi coast. 

I also love places of significant historical interest- Pompeii, The Acropolis, the Pyramids of Giza, the Colosseum and Persepolis have been some of the most amazing places I’ve been to and following in that vain, I would love to see the lost city of Petra in Jordan. The Red Rose city looks so romantic, so breathtakingly majestic, I really can’t wait to see it in person. One day…  

Jordan is also really high on my bucket list. Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself.

I used to make made-to-measure wedding dresses which was something I really enjoyed doing at the time. I particularly loved to find out the stories of how and where my clients met their fiancés. So yes, I’ve always been a romantic at heart!

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 love Georgette Heyer’s Regencies. They are so witty, so well-crafted with endearing characters, sparkling dialogue and amusing plot lines. She’s considered to be one of the first historical romance authors and her books have classic timeless quality which I return to again and again. If I had to pick one (which would definitely change depending on my mood, by the way) I would go with Sylvester or maybe Frederica but then there’s The Grand Sophy and not forgetting Cotillion

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Endowed with rank, wealth and elegance, Sylvester, Duke of Salford, is ready to find a bride.

His pursuit of a partner sets him on course to Phoebe Marlow, a young lady who is far more concerned with riding than sewing or beautiful clothes.

With Phoebe struggling to meet her family’s demands of gentility and poise, a potential match with Sylvester is exceedingly advantageous. So, it is very intriguing indeed when a visit from her potential suitor causes Phoebe to flee her home.

When the pair meet again and an unexpected adventure ensues, Sylvester comes to realise that there is much more to Phoebe than her reputation affords . . .

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 know my limits so never drink to the point that I would have a hangover the following morning but one tip is to alternate your drinks with fruit juice or water and failing that, a full English breakfast with lots of tea does the trick.

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

Spa and afternoon tea with friends. Long walks with my husband, our daughters and cocker spaniel Mr Darcy, followed by a pub lunch with log fires. And finally then cuddled up on the sofa for a movie night with big buckets of pop-corn to share. 

Melissa, I have had the best time chatting to you this evening, thank you so much for joining me.

Melissa’s latest book for Mills and Book Historical is The Knight’s Convenient Alliance (Notorious Knights, Book 4) was published yesterday in the UK and Australia and is out in the USA on 30 November. You can buy a copy here.

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The only man who’s tempted her…

Now poses as her husband!

When an injured knight arrives on Brida O’Conaill’s doorstep, the village assumes he’s her long-lost husband. But her only previous connection to Sir Thomas Lovent was an intense shared moment at a tournament years ago. Brida maintains the pretence while she nurses him, yet once he’s back to full, virile health, she cannot reveal Thomas is not her husband – or that she’s unmarried! – when everyone is expecting them to act like man and wife…

Melissa Oliver is from south-west London where she writes historical romance novels. She lives with her lovely husband and daughters, who share her passion for decrepit, old castles, palaces and all things historical.

Melissa is the WINNER of The Romantic Novelist Association’s Joan Hessayon Award for new writers 2020 for her debut, The Rebel Heiress and the Knight.

When she’s not writing she loves to travel for inspiration, paint, and visit museums & art galleries.

You can find out more about Melissa via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Blog Tour: Christmas Carols and a Cornish Cream Tea by Cressida McLaughlin

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All Meredith Verren has ever wanted is to escape the holiday season without having to wear a Christmas jumper. Her new job at the cosy gift shop in a picturesque Cornish tourist spot is making it impossible for her to maintain her scrooge-like manner.

With their seasonal hampers on everyone’s wish list, Meredith must paste on a smile and fake some holiday cheer. Then she meets handsome new arrival, Finn, who wishes it could be Christmas every day and wants her to feel the same way too.

Can she embrace the holly and the ivy before the decorations are packed away for another year?

What could be more perfect for my first Christmas book of the season than the lastest book in one of my favourite series by one of my favourite authors? Nothing is the answer, which is why I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Christmas Carols and a Cornish Cream Tea by Cressida McLaughlin, which was published yesterday. Huge thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the tour and to the publicity team at HarperCollins for providing me with a copy of the book for purposes of review. I have reviewed the book honestly and impartially as always.

This is the latest book in the Cornish Cream Tea series but the action moves in this book from Porthgolow to the nearby town of Port Karadow, where we meet a new character, Meredith, who is not a big fan of Christmas. This is a bit of a disadvantage when she works in a gift shop and is in charge of pushing and promoting products for the Christmas season. When her neighbour has her house decorated like the outside of the Rockefeller Centre and her best friend is planning the Christmas light display for the town. Christmas is everywhere, and there is no avoiding it, however much she might try.

There is nothing more delightful than a Christmas book set in Cornwall, and Cressida has milked the opportunities presented by this premise to the max. This book is bedecked with as much glitter, cosiness and festive cheer as you could possibly hope for, it is the knobbliest, fullest Christmas stocking of a book that you could possibly pick up and will get you perfectly in the mood for the Christmas season. There are lights, parades, carolling, parties and celebrations galore and you’ll wish you were spending Christmas at Port Karadow by the end of it.

On top of this, Meredith meets a man who charms, thrills and infuriates her all at the same time. Finn has come into Meredith’s life to teach her the real meaning of Christmas and show her that she can enjoy this time of year if she just starts to look at it differently. But Finn has issues of his own, can Meredith help him in return? I absolutely loved the way the relationship developed between Finn and Meredith. I was completely in love with both of them by the end of the book, to the point where I had a real lump in my throat and a tear in my eye at the denouement of the book.

This was only very loosely connected to the Cornish Cream Tea series, and for me this book had a different feel from the previous ones, but this isn’t a negative thing, it is nice to see Cressida taking the books in a fresh direction and I really enjoyed the new characters and setting introduced here. I am really looking forward to seeing what comes next since, in a recent interview, Cressida has confirmed that there are more stories to come in this series. Who wouldn’t want to pay more visits to the beautiful Cornish coast for more romantic encounters?

Christmas Carols and a Cornish Cream Tea is out now in all formats and you can buy a copy here.

Please do check out the rest of the blogs taking part in the tour for alternative reviews and other great content:

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About the Author

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Cressy was born in South East London surrounded by books and with a cat named after Lawrence of Arabia. She studied English at the University of East Anglia and now lives in Norwich with her husband David. When she isn’t writing, Cressy spends her spare time reading, returning to London or exploring the beautiful Norfolk coastline.

Connect with Cressida:

Website: https://www.cressidamclaughlin.com/

Facebook: Cressida McLaughlin Author

Twitter: @CressMcLaughlin

Instagram: @cressmclaughlin

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Romancing The Romance Authors with… Lesley Field

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I love my bi-weekly chats with romance authors on a subject close to my heart… the writing of romance novels! I can’t wait to hear what this week’s guest has to say on the subject, so I am delighted to welcome to the blog…. Lesley Field.

Tell me a bit about the type of books you write and where you are in your publishing journey.

I write both contemporary and historical romance. My contemporary novels are set in Canada and my historical novels are set in and around the Regency period. I first started writing in 2012 when I saw a short story in a magazine and thought, “I could do that.” So I did. I wrote a contemporary novel, intended to be a short story, but it became more. Eventually it turned into a 90,000 work plus novel which later became the first book in my Saunders series, Saunders-Lies and Deception. However, that was not my first published novel. Having written contemporary I wondered if I could write historical as I’ve always loved reading historical books. Again, I sat at the computer and wrote, Dangerous Entrapment, which became the first book in my Duchess in Danger series. I was fortunate enough to get a publishing contract for that book from Canadian publishers. The book was published in 2015 and to my delight (and shock) was shortlisted for Historical Novel of the Year 2016 by The Romantic Novelists Association (RNA). I published a further 6 e-books through my Canadian publishers, 3 more in the Duchess in Danger series, and 3 books in my Saunders series, Saunders-Lies and Deception, (book 1) Saunders-Endings and Beginnings, (book 2) and finally, Saunders-Sisters and Lovers, (Book 3). All books were set in Banff, Canada. In the meantime I had obtained a publishing contract from a UK publishers for a further contemporary romance set in Canada, Betrayal. The rights to all 7 books have recently reverted back to me and I decided to take a big step away from publishers and become an independently published author. I now have all 7 books re-edited and re-published through Amazon KDP under the publishing name of “Wild Moose Publications,” which is in fact me. 

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Why romance?

I think because I’m a romantic at heart and I love a happy ever after. Not everyone gets that in life but they do in my books. Also I believe that we all need something to make us smile, to take us away from the everyday problems that life throws at us. There is enough violence in life and it’s lovely to sit and escape from it all, even if it’s only for a short while. Not, that there isn’t some danger in my books, or temporary heartache caused by misunderstandings, there is. But it’s the smile on a readers face when they reach the end of the book that’s my main goal.

Also there is sexual content in my books, which goes beyond the bedroom door. Some people like this, some don’t. So if a reader doesn’t like this my suggestion is, skip that bit. In my 2nd book in the Duchess in Danger series, Dangerous Deception, I pushed my boundaries as regards the sexual content. It was way out of my comfort zone and when I’d finished it I had to walk away from the laptop as I was actually shaking. There is always a reason for something like that, and in that particular book it had to be severe to justify the later action/belief of my heroine. I do accept that some people would be offended by some of the content, but those things happened in that era.

What inspires your stories?

I wish I knew. I never know where or when a storyline will suddenly pop into my head. My Saunders series was only intended to be one book, but book 2 came to me when my hubby and I were on a coach tour in America. There was a lot of scribbling in a notebook on that journey. Now I take a laptop with me when we travel. I always remember my mum telling me that I had a vivid imagination, so I guess that’s where the inspiration starts. Sometimes it could be something in a book that I‘m reading. Just a comment made about a person and I can start to weave a story around them, which could eventually turn into a book.

Who are your favourite romance authors, past and/or present?

I have to say Georgette Heyer and Barbara Cartland as past authors, not forgetting the Brontes and Jane Austen. I certainly can’t forget Jane Austen as the 3rd Book in my Duchess in Danger series, Dangerous Desire, was awarded a Jane Austen Complimentary Award. For present day authors I have a leaning toward Bella Andre, for contemporary. I think she writes the most sensual loves scenes, I only wish I could do half as well. For historical, Sarah MacLean, Ella Quinn, Stephanie Laurens, and more recently Elizabeth St Michel. 

If you had to pick one romance novel for me to read, which one would you recommend?

This is a really difficult question to answer as there are so many romantic books out there. I could say Bridgerton, which would be a no brainer. But I think I’ll suggest a contemporary novel, something from Bella Andre’s Sullivan series. I love this series and, as I previously said, I find her description of sex scenes sensual rather than sexual. I would choose, Can’t Help Falling in Love. As a bonus could I suggest a historical novel, set amid the American Civil war, Surrender to Honor, by Elizabeth St Michel. This is the second book in her Surrender series. The description of the events and the relationship between the main characters, where no quarter is asked and no quarter given, keeps you captivated until the last page.

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Gabe Sullivan risks his life every day as a firefighter in San Francisco. But after learning a brutal lesson about professional boundaries, he knows better than to risk his heart to his fire victims ever again. Especially the brave mother and daughter he saved from a deadly apartment fire…and can’t stop thinking about.

Megan Harris knows she owes the heroic firefighter everything for running into a burning building to save her and her seven-year-old daughter. Everything except her heart. Because after losing her navy pilot husband five years ago, she has vowed to never suffer through loving – and losing – a man with a dangerous job again.

Only, when Gabe and Megan meet again and uncontrollable flames of desire ignite between them, how can he possibly ignore her courage, determination, and beauty? And how can she deny not only his strong bond with her daughter…but the way his sweetly sensual kisses are challenging her to risk everything she’s been guarding for so long? If one – or both – of them aren’t careful, they just might end up falling in love.

Which romantic hero or heroine would you choose to spend your perfect romantic weekend with? Where would you go and what would you do?

I think it would have to be Ethan Slade from my own novel, Betrayal. A hunky rancher/businessman. I describe him as, “a rancher who exudes testosterone enough to make your toes curl.” Time spent on his ranch on the outskirts of Calgary, romantic picnics and riding into the foothills of the Canadian Rockies with him would be wonderful. That would keep me occupied all weekend. I always fancied myself as a cowgirl, then again perhaps I am in a parallel universe.

What is your favourite thing about being a member of the RNA? What do you think you have gained from membership?

I think the RNA is fantastic. I came through the New Writers Scheme which is an amazing opportunity for new writers. The organization is so helpful and I have gained friends, and an insight into writing and publishing that I would never have discovered. I also find the other members are most helpful if you have a problem and there does not appear to be any back biting or hostility amongst members, unless I’m walking about with my eyes and ears shut. I’m proud to be a member of this amazing organisation.

What one piece of advice or tip would you give to new writers starting out in the romance genre?

Never give up and keep reading. Read a much as you can, not only in your own genre, but push your boundaries and open your mind to what others are writing. Never take a rejection personally, and keep submitting, or look at the possibility of going independent. Although, I do think that to be published by a publisher will give a person an insight into editing and what is needed to promote their book. I have learned a lot from my editors and am carrying that into my independent publishing world.

Tell us about your most recent novel.

My most recent novel, which was published on 8th November 2021, was my first independently published novel. Apart from a first for independent publishing it was a first for the genre, as it’s a time travel novel, moving from 2009 back to the Regency period. It does contain sexual content, as do all of my novels as mentioned above. The title is Duchess Thro Time, and it tells the story of Kate who is celebrating her friend Charlotte’s (Charlie’s) birthday, at the country home of Charlie’s grandparents, Halford Park. Finding herself betrayed by her two best friends she flees to the top floor of the house. Finding a door she’s not seen before she follows the sound of music and finds herself back in 1811 and under the suspicious eye of the local spy master. What happens next takes her on a journey of discovery which I hope the reader will enjoy. I have to give credit here to my wonderful husband who has prepared the cover art work for both the e-book and print book. You can buy a copy of the book here.

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Kate Thornton loves Halford Park, the country estate of her best friend’s grandparents, the Duke and Duchess of Halford. A party celebrating (Charlotte’s) Charlie’s birthday, finds them both dressed in gowns from the Nineteenth century. As the party progresses Kate discovers she’s been betrayed by her two best friends. A confrontation and heated words send Kate fleeing to the top floor of the house and into an area she’s not seen before.Following the sound of music she finds herself among people dressed the same as her. Believing this to be Charlie’s idea of a joke she slips out into the garden. As she tries to obtain a service for her phone she is approached by Marcus Welford who escorts her back into the house. When there is a threat of danger he offers her protection. Discovering that Marcus Welford is the Sixth Duke of Halford, and Charlie’s several times removed grandfather is a shock. Unable to understand how she has travelled back to 1811 Kate is grateful to Marcus for keeping her safe, especially when she risks being accused of being a French spy. As they become close danger forces Marcus to extend his protection to marriage. A marriage of convenience soon turns to more.
Can this marriage work or must Marcus send her back to her own time?
And if he sends her back can either of them live without the other?

About the Author

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Lesley Field was born and grew up on Teesside, in the North East of England. She enjoyed riding and reading and later spent most of her working life pursuing personal injury claims on behalf of claimants. When retirement came she kicked off the restraints of the law and discovered her real self. What she discovered or re-discovered was writing something she’d dabbled in when she was in her teens. Although writing contemporary fiction set in Canada, she also writes historical fiction, set in London in and around the Regency period. Using her love of Canada and her enjoyment of horses she brings both to her books.

Lesley is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association coming in through their New Writers Scheme. Having now progressed to full membership she is also a member of ROMNA and a member of Promoting Yorkshire Authors. 

Happily living on the North Yorkshire coast with her husband she spends her days enjoying life, and writing.

Connect with Lesley:

Website: https://lesleyfield.com 

Facebook: Lesley Field

Twitter: @lesley_field2

Instagram: @lesley_field2

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Book Review: A Convenient Marriage by Jeevani Charika #BookReview

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It was the perfect marriage… until they fell in love.

Chaya is a young woman torn between her duty to family and her life in the UK. While her traditional Sri Lankan parents want her to settle down into marriage, what they don’t know is that Chaya has turned away the one true love of her life, Noah, terrified of their disapproval.

Gimhana is hiding his sexuality from his family. It’s easy enough to pretend he’s straight when he lives half a world away in the UK. But it’s getting harder and harder to turn down the potential brides his parents keep finding for him.

When Chaya and Gimhana meet, a marriage of convenience seems like the perfect solution to their problems. Together they have everything – friendship, stability and their parents’ approval. But when both Chaya and Gimhana find themselves falling in love outside of their marriage, they’re left with an impossible decision – risk everything they’ve built together, or finally follow their heart?

Will they choose love, or carry on living a lie?

This is a really engrossing and moving story about the many different kinds of love that exist outside of romantic love and how, despite ourselves, many of us make choices which are more about pleasing other people and deciding not to rock the boat, than being true to ourselves, but whichever path we take, pitfalls lie ahead.

Both Chaya and Gimhana are Sri Lankans living in the UK. They come from traditional families and are torn between loyalty to their parents back in Sri Lanka and alternative futures that they are building for themselves in the West. Both Chaya and Gimhana are hiding parts of themselves from their families and find they cannot be truly themselves until they meet each other. Because they are both keeping secrets, and being torn between loyalty and love, they find in each other the only other person who really understands them.

I felt very deeply for both Gimhana and Chaya and the necessity they felt in being what people expected of them, rather than just being themselves. To a lesser degree, this is something many of us can relate to because many of us are subject of family pressures and expectations. However, this is heightened when it comes to the demands of very strict traditional families and the society in which they live in Sri Lanka, which can be extremely judgmental.

Jeevani builds the image of the Sri Lankan family in great detail and extremely vividly and I completely understood where Chaya and Gimhana were coming from and why they were so torn. Their love and respect for their families forces them to deny the other loves that come into their lives, but it is impossible to maintain a facade indefinitely. I could feel the pain and the yearning coming from both of them, and it was incredibly affecting.

There are some beautiful characters and relationships in this book, as well as intimate portrayals of struggles with mental health and homosexuality in a society which is not accepting of this identity. Parts of the books were very painful to read, and the author really takes the reader under the characters’ skins and lets us live their experiences with them. The book had a slow beginning but it go more engrossing as it went along and by the end I could not put it down.

The book really moved me and made me think deeply about how much some of us take for granted and how little we know of the struggles other people face but how, if we look closely enough, we have enough shared experience to allow us to empathise with and support those who may seem different initially. In the end, all of these experiences are human experiences. A really fantastic love story with a difference. I highly recommend it.

A Convenient Marriage is out now in all formats and you can buy a copy here.

About the Author

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Jeevani Charika writes women’s fiction and contemporary romances with a hint of British cynicism.  (In case you were wondering, it’s pronounced Jeev-uh-nee.)

There’s a whole lot of other stuff she could tell you – but mainly: she’s a former scientist, an adult fan of Lego, an embarrassing mum, a part time geek (see ’embarrassing mum’) and a Very Short Person.

She also writes romantic comedy under the pen name Rhoda Baxter. So why the two names? Well… Jeevani writes about British-Sri Lankan main characters. Rhoda, not so much.

Connect with Jeevani:

Website: https://jeevanicharika.com/home/

Facebook: Jeevani Charika

Twitter: @RhodaBaxter

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Friday Night Drinks with… Annette Hannah

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Tonight’s guest on Friday Night Drinks is someone I have been lucky enough to actually drink with in person, an event which has ever embedded me in her mind as ‘the woman who fell off an office chair.. twice.’ Tonight, with my seat firmly positioned beneath my derriere, I am delighted to welcome to the blog, author… Annette Hannah.

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

Thank you so much for having me on your lovely blog. As it’s Friday night I think it has to be my favourite cocktail, a cosmopolitan, gloriously pink with a swirl of orange peel in it. Clink cheers.

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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?

Ooh I think one of the best nights in London I had was a Christmas cocktail night in Drake and Morgan. It was hosted by Sara-Jade Virtue and the Books and the City team over at Simon and Schuster. They had custom made cocktails and I remember a gin fizz one which was delicious So I think we would go there. Its handy for St Pancras station too.

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?

It would have to be Jackie Collins as she was my all-time favourite author. I met her a couple of weeks before she passed and what struck me was that she was so genuinely interested in her readers. She wished me luck with my writing too as I’d confided in her that I’d been dabbling. I think for the man it would be Adam Levine from Maroon 5 because I just love their songs and we could ask him to sing for us.

I’m very jealous of you meeting Jackie! Did you see the documentary about her recently, it was fascinating. So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?

Well Poppy’s Christmas Wishes is my third published book but it was actually the first book I ever wrote. I’d been wanting to write forever and after a brief stint when my three children were tiny I realized I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. About six years ago I became part of a promotional team for my favourite author Milly Johnson, just by answering a call out on facebook. I was then invited to a blogger evening by Simon and Schuster and from then on I became a blogger. This helped me to find my voice and when authors started using my quotes in their books I actually couldn’t believe it. I made lots of blogging and writing friends and the lovely Vicki Bowles told me about the Romantic Novelists’ Association which I joined on their New Writers’ Scheme. Simon and Schuster hold a one-day submission event for non-agented writers every year, so I plucked up the courage to write the first three chapters of Poppy’s Christmas Wishes and submitted it. Then I panicked, what if they asked for the rest? This prompted me to finish the book in a month, and that was it my dream of writing a book had come true. It was rejected by S&S and I sent it out to a couple of other places but I realise now how naive I was then as it was a first draft and I hadn’t edited it at all. After writing my other books I decided to edit it and send it to through the New Writers’ Scheme for a second time and then my editor at Orion Dash offered me another two-book deal.

The idea for the book came about ten years ago when I was on a Christmas night out and my friends and I met a man who was playing a genie in his local pantomime. I thought it would be a perfect theme for a book and so along came Poppy’s Christmas Wishes. I would love to see it on telly as a cosy Christmas movie, snuggled up on the couch with my daughter with a hot chocolate in hand and snow falling outside the window.

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

My proudest moment has to be when the lovely and amazing Milly Johnson said she would provide a quote for my debut novel Wedding Bells at the Signal Box Café

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I think the biggest challenge so far has to be trying to get your book published as I’d tried for a few years but I didn’t hang around waiting I just kept writing more books as after the first one it felt as though a tap had been turned on and my head is constantly filled with story ideas.

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 to have a film or a telly deal, because I see my writing in my head as though it’s a film playing before me so I think it would be fascinating to actually sit and watch it with my family and friends.

What are have planned that you are really excited about?

I’m currently working on a book at the moment which is really exciting and quite different to the others. The whole story has formed in my head so I just need to get it down, I also have a dual timeline book that I wrote a few years ago which I think is my favourite out of all the books I’ve written. I’m hoping to edit that again soon and get it out there.

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 also love to travel, just before the dreaded lockdown my husband and I recreated a holiday we had years ago but this time with our children. We went to Australia and Singapore and I think Singapore has to be one of my favourite places ever, the Zoo is just wonderful. We all loved it. I also loved Venice and Monte Carlo and San Francisco. So many places. Santorini is a place I’d like to visit one day.

Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself.

As well as being a blogger and an author I’m also Press Officer for the RNA and on the committee

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’?

Oooh that’s a hard one as I’ve read so many fantastic books in my life but there are two that have stayed with me from my teenage days, Flowers in the Attic by Virginia Andrews and Chances by Jackie Collins. I don’t know if it’s because they featured young people like I was at the time but I think for Flowers in the Attic, the wickedness was so shocking in it and I fell in love with Christopher, I also fell in love with Gino actually from Chances so maybe that’s why they meant so much to me, they were my first book boyfriend crushes.

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The book that made Jackie Collins one of Britain’s favourite authors sweeps you from the sophisticated playgrounds of Europe to the glittering gambling palaces of Las Vegas. It plunges you into the reckless, dangerous world of the Santangelo crime family. It introduces you to Gino Santangelo, the street kid who makes it all the way to the top. And then it brings you Lucky – his sensual, stunningly beautiful, and passionate daughter; a woman who dares to win her father’s empire for herself; a woman unafraid of taking … CHANCES.

Flowers in the Attic is one of the creepiest books I’ve ever read, although not as creepy as My Sweet Audrina by the same author! 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 like to try and drink water between sips of alcoholic drinks and recently started drinking J20 apple and raspberry which is quite cocktail like. If I do have one which is very rare thankfully, then I like a glass of fresh orange with my daughter’s specialty of bacon done in the air fryer on a toasted bagel with avocado in it. It is so delicious and perfect for non-hangover days too.

I had bacon on a toasted bagel for lunch today, although I like mine with roasted cherry tomatoes. It’s even nicer if you spread the bagel with Boursin instead of butter! After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

A little bit of shopping and a gorgeous afternoon tea in a posh hotel.

Sounds perfect! Annette, thanks for chatting to me this evening, I’ve had a blast and managed to stay on the chair! Good luck with the new book.

Annette’s new book, Poppy’s Christmas Wishes, is out as an ebook on 2 December and you can pre-order it here.

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What would you wish for if you were granted three wishes?

For the first time she can remember, Poppy is dreading Christmas. Unceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend after moving across the country for him, there’s nothing cheery about the festive season this year.

Dragged to a Christmas ball by best friend Layla, Poppy meets gorgeous actor Gabe, who stars as a genie in a play. When he asks her what three wishes she would make, she realises it’s quite simple: love, a job she’s happy in and, just once in her life, to do something extraordinary.

Gabe and Poppy make a pact to help each other make their dreams come true. As they tick off their wishes, their friendship blossoms… But, as they discover, sometimes, what you want for Christmas isn’t necessarily what you need…

Annette Hannah is a Liver Bird who relocated to leafy Hertfordshire in the 80’s and now lives near a river with her husband, two of their three grown up children and a crazy black cocker spaniel. She writes Romantic comedies in settings inspired by the beautiful countryside around her and always with a nod to her hometown.

She worked in Marketing for many years as a qualified Marketeer which she loved as it tapped into her creative side.

As an avid reader, she began to review the books she read, became a book blogger and eventually plucked up the courage to fulfil her life long dream of writing a book.

For four years she was a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s new writers’ scheme, during which time she wrote a book a year

After signing a two book deal with Orion Dash in 2020 she graduated to full member of the organisation and is also their Press Officer.

She loves long walks along the river, travelling to far flung places and spending time with her friends and family.

Connect further with Annette via her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

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