I’m not sure how my liver is fairing after all this virtual drinking recently, how are you lot doing out there? Keeping up? We are pressing on regardless (although I may stay off the spirits tonight!) and I’m delighted to be joined by my next guest from the RONA 2022 nominees. This author’s novel, Life’s a Beach, was shortlisted in the Jane Wenham-Jones Award for Romantic Comedy category. It’s… Portia Macintosh.
Thank you for joining me for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?
Thanks for having me! I absolutely love a porn star martini. I love cocktails, and trying new ones, but passionfruit is one of my favourite flavours so, if I see a porn star martini on the menu, I can’t resist. The nicest cocktail I’ve ever had was a passionfruit meringue martini, which was similar to a porn star, but it had a foamy meringue top and it came with a little spoon. I must’ve had a thousand of them before my favourite bar retired them.
I love passionfruit too, so I’m partial to a pornstar martini. Estabulo also do the most delicious passionfruit maitai, if you ever find yourself in one of their restaurants! 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’m from Leeds and, before I got married, moved to the country and settled down, I was a real social butterfly. I know exactly how to have the perfect night out in Leeds city centre. I know where to eat, where to go, and when to go there. I even know where all the different pro sports teams hang out, so if you fancy bumping into any rugby players…
I might take you up on that, as I’m a Yorkshire lass myself and worked in Leeds city centre for several years, I wonder if we have any favourite places in common? 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?
That’s a really good question. My favourite musician at the moment is an Australian singer called Alex Cameron who is just such a brilliantly talented and creative person. His girlfriend is actress Jemima Kirke and I think the two of them would be so much fun to have a drink with. They’re creative, fun, kind of weird. I can’t see how we wouldn’t have a good time hanging out with them. I bet people give such great answers to this question and I’m just like: this odd singer and his cool girlfriend.
We like odd and cool! 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?
Workwise, I’m currently working on my two Christmas novels to be released later this year, as well as working through the final stages of my summer release, The Meet Cute Method. I love my job, I find it hard not get carried away. I always have so many ideas buzzing around in my head – it’s so nice to have found a publisher who can keep up with me.
Do movie romances ever happen in real life…?
Frankie doesn’t believe in true love. As relationships expert at popular magazine Stylife, she has learnt that dating disasters are far more common than happy ever afters.
So when she is tasked to find out if meet cutes can work in real life she is up for the challenge – but whether it’s being a damsel in distress with a flat tyre, or spilling coffee over a stranger, she isn’t convinced this can really lead to love.
But little does Frankie know that the ultimate meet cute opportunity is just around the corner. As she is whisked off her feet (all in the name of her work project of course…) perhaps true love isn’t just for the movies after all…?
What has been your proudest moment since you started writing/blogging and what has been your biggest challenge?
Honestly, it’s hard not to feel proud at every step of the way. I don’t feel like the odds were in my favour to have even one novel published, never mind more than twenty. So many little things make me proud, like seeing a new cover, or getting a great review. As far as the big things go, being shortlisted for an RNA Award for the second time means so much to me. I never expected it to happen once so twice is amazing.
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 think all authors would love to see one of their books adapted for the big screen. If one of my books is ever turned into a movie then that’s when I’ll know I’ve made it. I can’t think of anything cooler than seeing a live action remake of the people and the stories who only really exist in my head.
What have planned that you are really excited about?
I’m excited about my three books that are still to be published this year and I’ve just planned out next year’s books too. I just love writing stories and sharing them with people.
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 southern Italy. I don’t know if it’s obvious from my books, because I love to visit there on the pages, and everything that comes with it, but it’s where most of my family is from, so it’s special to me for a few reasons.
If I could go anywhere right now it would be Maui but the place at the top of my bucket list to visit has to be New York. I would love to live there, never mind visit.
Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself.
A few people already know that I used to be a music journalist. I don’t think many people know that my early novels were based on my own experiences of things I did and saw while I was in that job though. Just like my main character in those books I used to just head off on tour with my band friends – not even for work, just for fun. I had a bit of an Almost Famous phase. These days it feels like a movie I watched – and I’d hate to do it now. It wasn’t that long ago but I don’t think I could hack it anymore.
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’?
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath has to be my favourite novel of all time. I first read it when I was a teenager and so much of it spoke to me. I think everyone should read it.
I was supposed to be having the time of my life.
When Esther Greenwood wins an internship on a New York fashion magazine in 1953, she is elated, believing she will finally realise her dream to become a writer. But in between the cocktail parties and piles of manuscripts, Esther’s life begins to slide out of control. She finds herself spiralling into depression and eventually a suicide attempt, as she grapples with difficult relationships and a society which refuses to take women’s aspirations seriously.
The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath’s only novel, was originally published in 1963 under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas. The novel is partially based on Plath’s own life and descent into mental illness, and has become a modern classic. The Bell Jar has been celebrated for its darkly funny and razor sharp portrait of 1950s society.
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?
Slow and steady. I’ve never been the kind of drinker who likes to get drunk. I always know my limits and take it easy. Drinking loads of water and having a good breakfast the next day will always serve you well – but something delicious, like pancakes. Greasy isn’t always good the morning after.
After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?
I love a lazy weekend these days. Walking the dog and shopping are always great but you really can’t beat an evening on the sofa – ideally with a pizza and a cocktail, in front of a movie marathon or a TV binge.
Portia, it’s been great chatting with you, thanks for answering my ludicrous questions so brilliantly!
Portia’s RONA-shortlisted novel, Life’s a Beach, is out now, and you can buy a copy here.
Sun, sea and inescapable exes…
Peach is excited to hear that her sister, Di, is getting married. Of course, she would have preferred her little sister to be engaged to someone she’s known longer than a week – and the fact that his name is Charles doesn’t bode well – but who is she to judge?! After all, her own love life is non-existent, and who doesn’t love a destination wedding?
Whisked away to the gorgeous Italian coast, Peach assumes her role as chief bridesmaid and, despite her reservations about the groom, she tries to ensure everything goes to plan.
But weddings are never straightforward affairs … throw in some unexpected guests (in the form of ex-boyfriends) and one night stands, and soon enough there is more drama than a reality TV show.
Can Peach keep the show on the road, or might she end up in a whirlwind romance of her own…?
Portia’s new book, The Meet Cute Method, will be published in ebook format on 4 May and you can pre-order it here. I will be taking part in the blog tour for the book, so watch out for this coming up soon on the blog.
Portia MacIntosh is the bestselling author of over 20 romantic comedy novels.
From disastrous dates to destination weddings, Portia’s romcoms are the perfect way to escape from day to day life, visiting sunny beaches in the summer and snowy villages at Christmas time. Whether it’s southern Italy or the Yorkshire coast, Portia’s stories are the holiday you’re craving, conveniently packed in between the pages.
Formerly a journalist, Portia has left the city, swapping the music biz for the moors, to live the (not so) quiet life with her husband and her dog in Yorkshire.
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