Friday Night Drinks with…. Rosemary Smith @Endeavour_Media @RNATweets #FridayNightDrinks

cocktail-2098458_1920

Tonight, I am delighted to welcome to the blog for Friday Night Drinks, author …..Rosemary Smith.

Jpeg

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

Hi Julie, thanks for inviting me. I would like a peach schnapps & lemonade please, no ice. Thank you.

My pleasure. 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?

If I return the compliment, and I hope I can, I would like to take you to our cosy little pub in the village where we live, The Walter Raleigh. The pub is named after Sir Walter Raleigh, who was born in our village. Very quaint and full of atmosphere, the pub boasts a cosy little bar, and a small restaurant area where delicious meals & sweets are served. I have no doubt you would enjoy a relaxing evening here with me Julie!

Jpeg

Look idyllic. 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 also like to invite author Emily Bronte, and poet laureate John Betjeman to join us for a drink. Emily, because I love her writings, and truly believe that since visiting her home at Haworth, she has been my guide with my own writing. I love Victorian times, and set my novellas in that period of time. And Emily lived in those times, and understood love and all its frailties. I feel we would both enjoy her company.
Like John Betjeman, I love Churches, and in 1966 I was lucky enough to hold a conversation with him at Alturnun Church in Cornwall, on a grey November day. I also love poetry, and so did Emily, and feel they would be worthy, interesting people for us to chat too.

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?

Apart from writing, I have for 17 years been searching for my husband Mike’s sister. The family were all split up in 1950 when their Mother died. Mike was adopted, and found out about his sib!ings when he applied to the Courts for his adoption papers. We found his brothers, but his sister Mary has eluded us thus far. I search on a daily basis along with others, and my hope is, that one day soon we will find her.

Wow, that’s an amazing story, I hope it has a happy ending eventually. What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?

My proudest moment since I started writing, was when my first novella The Amethyst Brooch was published. Sadly my dear Dad who always believed in me, died a few days before the story’s release date. But it was my proudest moment.

My biggest challenge has been trying to get back to writing since my dear eldest daughter, Paula, passed away after a battle with jaw cancer. I am at last back to writing, and at last I have the inspiration, but it has been a challenge!

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!

The one big thing I would like to achieve, is to see my seven Victorian Romantic Suspense novellas put into two-hourly dramas on television!! A wild thing to hope for, but many of my readers have said how much they would like to see my stories acted out on television! There are big houses on Cornish cliffs, beautiful dresses, weddings, secrets & mystery. I can but dream!!

FB_IMG_1536659307038

Having dreams is very important! What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?

At the moment I am working on, hopefully, my eighth novella! For the first time I had a story rejected, and will submit it elsewhere, but in the meantime have started a new story! Set in Scotland, about a young woman who wakes up in a castle, and has no idea who she is. I have titled the story The Key of Love, and while that could possibly change, I am very excited about this project. This time I have stuck to my usual format of love, mystery & romance, which has always worked for me! A key does hold the answer to the mystery, hence the title. I am enjoying writing this novella, and do feel very hopeful for 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?

The favourite place I have visited, has to be the Isles of Scilly. I adore the peace and tranquility of each island I have visited, it reminds me of how life was in the 1950s. The only traffic is on the Island of St Mary’s, and that is very sparse. It is without doubt a writer’s paradise, and I love it there.

Top of my bucket list to visit, is the artist Monet’s home Giverney outside of Paris. Monet is my favourite artist, and I would dearly love to see where he lived & worked. Everything crossed that I visit there one day.

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

One surprising fact about myself! I never mention it much to anyone, but in the very early 1960s when living in Bristol, I did photographic modelling, for travel brochures and advertising. The beautiful photos I had, were sadly stolen, by someone who broke into my bedsit while I was afraid home in Devon for Christmas! I can never replace them, which is very sad!

That sounds like a fascinating career. 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’?

There are so many wonderful books which I have read, which I could recommend to you! But the one which springs to mind, is, The Lost Castle by Kristy Cambron. This book totally captivated me with its 3 timelines. It is one of those books which I couldn’t wait to get back too. Beautifully written, it really drew me in, and I was very sad when it finished! I would recommend it to anyone who wishes to escape into another world & another time.

91inksDdumL._AC_UY218_

Broken-down walls and crumbling stones seemed to possess a secret language all their own.

What stories would they tell, if she finally listened?

Ellie Carver arrives at her grandmother’s bedside expecting to find her silently slipping away. Instead, the beloved woman begins speaking. Of a secret past and castle ruins forgotten by time. Of a hidden chapel that served as a rendezvous for the French Resistance in World War II. Of lost love and deep regret . . .

Each piece that unlocks the story seems to unlock part of Ellie too—where she came from and who she is becoming. But her grandmother is quickly disappearing into the shadows of Alzheimer’s and Ellie must act fast if she wants to uncover the truth of her family’s history. Drawn by the mystery surrounding The Sleeping Beauty—a castle so named for Charles Perrault’s beloved fairy tale—Ellie embarks on a journey to France’s Loire Valley in hopes that she can unearth its secrets before time silences them forever.

Bridging the past to the present in three time periods—the French Revolution, World War II, and present day—The Lost Castle is a story of loves won and lost, of battles waged in the hearts of men, and of an enchanted castle that stood witness to it all, inspiring a legacy of faith through the generations.

That sounds great, I will add it to the 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?

My failsafe plan to avoid a hangover, is to not drink too much! But if I end up with one, my cure is a good breakfast, and to drink plenty of water!

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

After our wonderful night out, my ideal way to spend a weekend is to watch beautiful movies, eat chocolate & drink lemonade!

Thank you Julie for a wonderful evening.

It has been my pleasure, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me and I wish you great success with all your projects.

Rosemary Smith is the Devon-based author of seven Victorian suspense novels, Where Love Takes You,  The Lady and the LakeDarkwoodA Stranger’s KissA Strange AffairGypsy Heart and Matters of the Heart. They are available as ebooks via Amazon by following the preceding links or borrowed from your local library.

FB_IMG_1443192682453

Find out more about Rosemary by visiting her Facebook author page.

Next week I will be joined on the blog by my friend and fellow blogger, Yvonne Bastian of Me and My Books so don’t miss that.

Friday Night Drinks with…. Rachel Brimble @RachelBrimble @Aria_Fiction @RNATweets #FridayNightDrinks #Penningtons

cocktail-2098458_1920

Tonight I am happy to welcome to Friday Night Drinks on the blog, author and fellow RNA member… Rachel Brimble.

Author pic1 - Aug 2018

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

A lovely chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc – I adore white wine (probably too much!) and Sauvignon is my favourite.

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?

Whenever people come to visit me, I love taking them to Lacock – it’s a small village where parts of the Harry Potter films, Pride & Prejudice and Poldark were filmed. It wouldn’t be a rock and roll kind of night, but you’d be fed good, old-fashioned pub food, plenty of wine and some lovely sightseeing walks.

Unknown

Looks gorgeous! It sounds like my perfect kind of evening, I am not very rock and roll these days. 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?

Oprah Winfrey and Cillian Murphy – Oprah so I could gather some wisdom, Cillian so I could just stare at him…

Good choices! Roll on, Peaky Blinders Series 6. 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 revisions for my next book – Christmas At Pennington’s will be released in the Autumn and I can’t wait! And once those are done, I’ll start on the first draft of Pennington’s Book 4, which I intend part of the story to take place on the Titanic – I am so excited as I’ve wanted to write a Titanic book for YEARS!!

That sounds really exciting, what a fascinating time you will have doing the research. What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?

My proudest moment was probably when I signed my first book deal with Harlequin – I had been told they were an almost impossible publisher to break into, but I managed it and went on to write a further seven books for them (The Templeton Cove Stories).

My biggest challenge has always been (and still is!) stretching an initial idea to 90,000 + words!

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 love to have a bestseller and earn enough money that my husband, who has supported me for years, to be able to give up his day job and spend all day with his music. Oh, and I think we should be able to spend our time cruising around the world while I write – bliss!

Good ambitions to have, you need to talk to Jean Fullerton about achieving the last part! What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?

See question 4!

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?

The best place I have been to so far is probably Maderia, which was beautiful and Verona which I absolutely loved. I love to travel, too and there are so many places I’d love to visit – I suppose my top two destinations are Nora Roberts’ hotel in Maryland and the Maldives.

That’s fascinating, I never knew that Nora Roberts owned a hotel. One for the bucket list. Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know about you.

I was rescued by helicopter from a hotel roof during the 2010 French floods – my family and I were stranded during a flash flood while on holiday. It was the most terrifying 18 hours of my life. Twenty-five people from our resort died that day…

How terrifying, glad you made it out safely.  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’?

For contemporary, anything by Nora Roberts. For historical, anything by Philippa Gregory.

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?

Food! I am terrible for enjoying my wine more than my food but if I eat as well as drink, I usually avoid the dreaded hangover. If that fails, a bacon sandwich and plenty of orange juice in the morning!

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

Sitting in my sunny back garden with either a book or my knitting – I LOVE knitting and find it’s the best route to my relaxation. 

Rachel, it has been really lovely chatting to you this evening, thank you for taking the time to join me and I wish you great success with the next books in the Pennington’s series.

Penningtons FB banner

The first two books in the Pennington’s series by Rachel Brimble, The Mistress of Pennington’s and A Rebel at Pennington’s are out now and can be purchased by following the preceding links. Book 3, Christmas at Pennington’s, will be out this autumn.

Cover

One woman’s journey to find herself and help secure the vote. Perfect for the fans of the TV series Mr Selfridge and The Paradise.

1911 Bath. Banished from her ancestral home, passionate suffrage campaigner, Esther Stanbury works as a window dresser in Pennington’s Department Store. She has hopes and dreams for women’s progression and will do anything to help secure the vote. 
Owner of the prestigious Phoenix Hotel, Lawrence Culford has what most would view as a successful life. But Lawrence is harbouring shame, resentment and an anger that threatens his future happiness.

When Esther and Lawrence meet their mutual understanding of life’s challenges unites them and they are drawn to the possibility of a life of love that neither thought existed. 
With the Coronation of King-Emperor George V looming, the atmosphere in Bath is building to fever pitch, as is the suffragists’ determination to secure the vote.

Will Esther’s rebellious nature lead her to ruin or can they overcome their pasts and look to build a future together?

Rachel lives with her husband and their two daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. Since 2007, she has had several novels published by small US presses, eight books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical.

In January 2018, she signed a four-book deal with Aria Fiction for a new Edwardian series set in Bath’s finest department store. The first book, The Mistress of Pennington’s released July 2018 with book two coming February 2019.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America and has thousands of social media followers from all over the world. 

You can find out more about Rachel and her books on her website, and via Facebook and Twitter.

Next week I will be having Friday Night Drinks with author, Rosemary Smith, so please do join us.

Friday Night Drinks with…. Cressida McLaughlin @CressMcLaughlin @HarperFiction @KarenSwan1 #FridayNightDrinks #TheCornishCreamTeaBus

cocktail-2098458_1920

I have been looking forward to this evening for ages because tonight I am having Friday Night Drinks with one of my absolute favourite authors and all-round lovely virtual friend, Cressida McLaughlin. It’s a special evening too, as the full version of Cressy’s latest book, The Cornish Cream Tea Bus was published only yesterday.

IMG_1510

Welcome to the blog at last, Cressy! I am so excited to finally have you on. First things first, one are you drinking to celebrate the launch of your new book?

A glass of prosecco or, as it’s a special occasion, champagne. Pink, preferably. Pink champagne seems like a cliché, but it is my all-time favourite drink. 

images

Pink champagne it is then. 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 live in Norwich, which is a great city for versatile nightlife, with lots of cozy pubs and smart bars to choose from. I’d take you to St Benedict’s Street, for cocktails at The Ten Bells, wine and live music at Platform 12 or, if you want a quieter atmosphere, The Bicycle Shop. If the weather’s nice, we might walk along the river and sit in the garden of The Rushcutters, watching the boats and swans go past.  

That sounds great. My only visit to Norwich was when I went to look at the University in 1989! I didn’t end up there, but the city seemed nice. 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 invite Karen Swan and Henry Cavill. Karen Swan is a goddess of fiction, I am in awe of every book she produces, and I would love to hear about her life in the fashion industry and where she gets her story ideas. Henry Cavill is my favourite actor and, in my opinion, perfect romantic hero material. But he also comes across as smart and funny, and I’m sure would be good fun on a night out. 

Oooh, good choices! I adore Karen’s books, I would love to spend an evening chatting with her, I’m going to tag her, in the vain hope she might agree to a night out! 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’ve just finished my final changes to The Cornish Cream Tea Bus, which came out in four e-serial parts in June and July, and then as a paperback yesterday. I really enjoyed writing it; it wasn’t as straightforward as some of my previous books, but I feel stronger and more resilient as a writer for having had to work so hard on it, and I think the book is a lot better as a result. I want it to be successful, for readers who already enjoy my books to love it, and for it to find new readers, too. It’s a summery, uplifting story in a beautiful setting, and I hope people will see it as a real holiday indulgence; a romantic, escapist read they can sink their teeth into. 

Your books are always the perfect holiday read, I am such a huge fan and have been since the first one. What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?

Holding your book for the first time is always such a proud moment, and never gets any less special or – in some ways – unbelievable.  Holding my first paperback, A Christmas Tail, having a launch at my local Waterstones and watching the copies disappear from the table is something I will remember forever.  The biggest challenge is also the biggest thrill. Putting your work out there  – something that you’ve been working so hard on for months, that you really care about, and feel protective towards, and putting it in the hands of readers.  There’s always the fear that it’s actually awful, and of course there are the bad reviews. You start to grow a thicker skin, realise that not everyone is going to like it, but there’s still a hold-your-breath moment before each new book comes out. 

I love that picture of you signing your book. You just look so happy, exactly as it should be, it makes me smile.

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!

Can I have two? They’re both pretty typical writer goals, I think. I would love to be a Sunday Times bestseller, and I would love one of my books to be adapted into a film or TV series, preferably with Henry Cavill in a starring role. ☺ 

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

I’ve just started thinking about my next book.  It is in very early, fledgling stages at the moment, so I can’t really say any more, but I am very excited about my initial idea, the potential it has to be a romantic, engaging and, hopefully, compelling story. 

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 husband, David, and I went to the Amalfi coast a couple of years ago, and I’m not sure anything will ever beat it.  Everything about that week was beautiful, luxurious and special. We did lots of walking around the town, sat in the square with cold beers and people-watched, lounged by the hotel pool with the cliffs above us and the sea below.  We got a speedboat out to Capri – the boat was all white leather and wood like something out of a James Bond film – sat on these seats on the bow and got a wonderful view of the Amalfi coast, of Naples and Vesuvius.  It was a magical week, and I’d love to go back there.  At the top of my bucket list is seeing the Northern Lights.  Even pictures of them make me gasp, and I would love to see them in real life.  I can’t think of anything more impressive or awe-inspiring. 

Seeing the Northern Lights seems to be the most popular pick amongst my guests! Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know about you.

When I was 13 or 14 I was in the English National Opera’s youth group. We performed youth operas (I played a glass in an opera about crockery!) and we also got involved in various projects in the London Coliseum.  I remember once, before and during the interval of performances of Hansel and Gretel, going round to the bar areas, telling the audience members how they could spot a witch and handing out packets of supposedly ‘safe’ sweets. 

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’?

If I had to narrow it down to one recommendation I think it would be The Greek Escape by Karen Swan.  It came out last summer and it is one of the best, most breathless and brilliant books I’ve read.  It has a twisting, compelling plot, great characters, beautiful locations, heartbreak, loss and a beautiful romance at its heart.  I love all Karen’s books but felt like this one was a step up – it was just MORE everything, and I fell in love with it. 

51mrpzEfu2L._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_

Before every new beginning, there must be an ending . . .

Running from heartbreak, Chloe Marston leaves her old life in London for a fresh start in New York. Working at a luxury concierge company, she makes other people’s lives run perfectly, even if her own has ground to a halt. But a terrible accident forces her to step into a new role, up close and personal with the company’s most esteemed and powerful clients. Charismatic Joe Lincoln is one of them and his every wish is her command, so when he asks her to find him a secluded holiday home in the Greek Islands, she sets about sourcing the perfect retreat.

But when Tom, her ex, unexpectedly shows up in Manhattan and the stability of her new life is thrown off-balance again, she jumps at the chance to help Joe inspect the holiday house; escaping to Greece will give her the time and space to decide where her future truly lies. Tom is the man she has loved for so long but he has hurt her before – can she give him another chance? And as she draws closer to Joe, does she even want to? As magnetic as he is mysterious, there’s an undeniable chemistry between them that she can’t resist.

But whatever her heart is telling her, she’s in over her head – another client’s wife has mysteriously disappeared and serious allegations about Joe threaten more than just her happiness. Who can she trust? And will Chloe uncover the truth in time?

I loved that book 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?

Ugh.  I wish I had the perfect hangover cure.  If I’ve had a lot of alcohol, I always try and drink at least a pint of water before bed. Then, in the morning, a nice big breakfast – eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, possibly hash browns – usually helps.  Once, when we’d been out drinking in London, we got bean wraps from the M&S food shop at the station.  It had been a fun night, but we’d had too much whisky, and I was prepared to feel awful the next day.  But I didn’t – and it wasn’t even that I was still drunk and started to flag later – I just felt fine from the moment I got up.  So perhaps a three-bean tortilla wrap is the answer?  I haven’t tested the experiment a second time, but maybe I should. 

That’s a new one, I will give it a try. After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

In the garden if it’s nice, or going to one of the beaches not too far from us – Norfolk has loads to choose from.  Lots of reading, cooking some delicious weekend food, and watching a couple of films in the evenings.  Generally being lazy and indulgent is my idea of a perfect weekend! 

Cressy, thank you so much for joining me this evening, it has been the most marvellous fun and I wish you great success with the new book. If it is half as good as your previous ones, I know I will love it. Let’s hope we get to meet IRL soon, maybe with Karen Swan, what a night that would be.

Cressida’s latest book, The Cornish Cream Tea Bus, is out now and you can buy it in ebook and paperback format here.

51YlwgxBUyL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_

Baking fanatic, Charlie Quilter, is surprised when her late uncle bequeaths his vintage bus to her in his will. Keen to give the bus a new lease of life, Charlie thinks it will be the perfect mobile café for afternoon tea, and when her friend, Juliette, suggests Charlie comes to stay with her in the picturesque Cornish village of Porthgolow, she’s thrilled at the chance of a new start.
Charlie and her cute dog, Marmite, make new friends wherever their bus stops – except for the sexy but reclusive owner of the posh spa up on the hill, Daniel Harper, who isn’t very pleased that her bus is parked outside his lovely hotel.
Has Charlie’s Cornish dream developed a soggy bottom? Or can she convince Daniel that her bus could be the start of something wonderful for the little village – and for them?

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.

Cressy’s favourite things – other than writing – include terrifying ghost stories, lava lamps and romantic heroes, though not necessarily at the same time. (Though perhaps a good starting point for a story . . ?)

When she isn’t writing, Cressy spends her spare time reading, returning to London or exploring the beautiful and romantic Norfolk coastline.

You can find out more about Cressy and her books on her website, Facebook, Twitter and  Instagram.

You can also read my reviews of Cressida’s last two books, The House of Birds and Butterflies and The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse, on the blog to whet your appetite for her writing.

Next week I will be having drinks with author, Rachel Brimble, so please do join us.

Friday Night Drinks with…. Eleanor Harkstead & Catherine Curzon @e_harkstead @MadameGilflurt @Totally_Bound #FridayNightDrinks #TheGhostGarden

cocktail-2098458_1920

I have a rather delayed Friday Night Drinks tonight, as this should have appeared in April, until I was suddenly struck down by illness. However, better late than never, and it is a double whammy as, for the first time, I am having drinks with two authors tonight who are co-authors of a series of historical novels. You know what they say, two’s company, three is a party, so I am delighted to welcome to the blog…. Eleanor Harkstead and Catherine Curzon.

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

EH: Give me gin or give me death. Or alternatively a nice white wine.

CC: Tea! I will happily order tea in a pub, because there’s no finer drink under the sun. If I must have something a little more dramatic, Mason’s do a stunning tea gin. They do a lot of stunning gins, but that one is particularly special. 

 You are ladies after my own heart, as I have been a gin devotee since long before it became trendy. I have never tried the tea gin, though, so I must track that down. 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?

EH: There’s a place in Birmingham called The Jekyll and Hyde. It has an amazing “gin palace” room where they sell nothing but gin! 

Unknown-1

CC: There’s no better way to start an evening out than a gorgeous meal and no better place to have a gorgeous meal than Salvo’s in Headingley. I’m not sponsored by them, but I wish I was — send me free food, Salvos! It’s the best Italian you’ll ever eat at, and has been family run for something like forty years. They won Best Neighbourhood Italian on Gordon Ramsey’s The F Word too, which isn’t to be sniffed (or sworn) at.

Unknown

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?

EH: Byron and his pet bear. I’m not sure if the bear was male or female, but I’m sure no one’ll mind. Byron would be a laugh on the gin (or a morality black hole, it’s hard to say which), and the bear would be an excellent conversation piece. Besides, you never know when a bear might come in handy on a night out. It could keep an eye on your drinks while you’re dancing or deal with any argy-bargy. 

byron

CC: In my other writing life, I write nonfiction about the 18th century and that means there can only be one correct answer to this question. Laurence Sterne on one side and Caroline of Brunswick on the other. Sterne was known for wit and fabulous conversation and could hold a room in the palm of his hand with his stories. It’d be a privilege to meet the great man.

Caroline of Brunswick, meanwhile, was the scandalous estranged wife of George IV. She famously danced in diaphanous gowns on the Italian coast, shared a bed with a soldier noted for his dramatic whiskers and didn’t always wear her stays in polite company. I’d love to discover if the stories about Prinny are true, as well as find out if Caroline’s own hygiene was as shocking as her husband claimed it was!

Sounds like this could turn into quite a raucous night out, even without the bear. 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?

EH/CC: We’re celebrating the publication of The Ghost Garden. We’re also writing something in our sandbox just for fun, but as usually happens, I’m sure the grain of an idea will make itself known and we’ll be off to turn it into a novel.

the-ghost-garden

Within the tangled vines of a forgotten garden, can a blossoming new love overcome an ancient evil that threatens both the living and the dead?

After losing her brother in the trenches of the Great War, Cecily James is a prisoner of Whitmore Hall, the respected but remote boys’ school where her brutish husband reigns as headmaster. With its forsaken walled garden, a hauntingly tragic past, and midnight footsteps heard from an unoccupied clocktower, Whitmore Hall is a place where the dead are rumored to walk.

Whitmore Hall is a place filled with mysteries and as a ghost garden emerges from the sun-bleached soil, long-buried secrets cry out to be told.

When new teacher Raf de Chastelaine blunders into an impromptu seance, Cecily finds an unlikely and eccentric ally. In a world of discipline and respectability, barefoot Raf is unlike any teacher Cecily has ever met. With his tales of the Carpathian mountains and a love of midnight gardening, he shakes Whitmore Hall to its foundations. Could there be more to Raf than meets the eye? And as he and Cecily realise that their feelings run deeper than friendship, dare they dream of a world beyond Whitmore Hall?

As Cecily and Raf team up to unite long-dead lovers and do battle with an ancient evil that has long haunted Whitmore Hall, Cecily finds her chance of happiness threatened by her tyrannical husband. But is the controlling headmaster acting of his own free will, or is he the puppet of a malevolent power from beyond the grave?

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

CC/EH: Definitely when Pride signed up our first Captivating Captains novel, The Captain and the Cavalry Trooper. Our first published work with Pride was a short story, An Actor’s Guide To Romance, and that was a really special moment for us as co-writers, but to see our first joint novel out there was fantastic. Even better was when Pride decided to launch the Captivating Captains series of novels, which cross genres and eras to tell stand alone stories featuring… some captivating captains!

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!

EH/CC: I suppose every writer hopes this, and it’s not very realistic, but we’d love it if one of our stories was dramatised. But (again unrealistically!) we’d like to oversee the casting. 

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

CC/EH: We’ve just put the final finishing touches to the first draft of the sequel to The Ghost Garden and we’re ready to shout it from the rooftops, but we can’t just yet! 

We’re really excited to introduce readers to the village where Raf’s family have lived for generations and to the people who live there. Although it’s the second book in our series, The de Chastelaine Chronicles, it can be read as a stand alone too, so readers who aren’t familiar with Raf and Cecily will still be able to jump right in and uncover their latest supernatural investigation!

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?

EH: I have two favourite places, which are in fact weirdly similar — Edinburgh and Granada. They’re both modern cities but ancient too with lovely old towns and castles. Granada is a magical place — I went in December once in the snow and it was beautiful. The Alhambra Palace is an amazing place to visit, but also to see peering over the buildings of the city as you wander about. And the view from the Albayzin (the Old Town) of the Alhambra with mountains behind it is breathtaking. I love Edinburgh — the Georgian New Town is gorgeous, and the higgledy-piggledy Old Town around The Royal Mile is fascinating. And Edinburgh’s old cemeteries are fantastic to visit.

alhambra

Top of my bucket list is Japan — I studied Japanese for two years but have never had the chance to go. One day, maybe!

CC: I’m going to choose two places for this question, one at home and one abroad. 

My first choice is the breathtaking Niagara Falls. It’s a place everyone should experience if they can for its wildness and the sheer scale and strength of the falls. I’m a bit of a waterfall fan!

niagara-falls

A little closer to home, there’s nowhere better than the rugged North Yorkshire coast. Not only can one have the best fish and chips, there’s miles of wonderful walking, gorgeous views and friendly Yorkshire folk – like me (though I’m only honorary Yorkshire!). 

At the top of my bucket list is only one thing: I am utterly obsessed with seeing the Northern Lights. It’s something I’ve always dreamed of doing and something I hope will happen one day!

Well, we are honoured to have you in Yorkshire and I agree that the North Yorkshire coast is as beautiful as any you will find anywhere. Lots of places there that are also on my bucket list! Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know ​​​about you.

EH: I was once, by accident, in a documentary about students from the Middle East. I’m actually from East Anglia, which isn’t quite the same thing. I still don’t know how that happened.

CC: I spent many years working in the House of Commons. At some point during this occasionally surreal decade, a Home Secretary stole my shoe whilst he was drunk. I won’t name him!

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’?

EH: Chingiz Aytmatov’s Jamila (also known as Jamilia). It’s a beautiful, quietly rebellious love story set in Soviet Kyrgyzstan — so exquisitely moving and will stay with you long after you’ve read it. James Riordan’s translation is nothing short of lyrical.

51yN6ZR9YEL._AC_UL436_

The Second World War is raging, and Jamilia’s husband is off fighting at the front. Accompanied by Daniyar, a sullen newcomer who was wounded on the battlefield, Jamilia spends her days hauling sacks of grain from the threshing floor to the train station in their village in the Central Asia.

Spurning men’s advances and wincing at the dispassionate letters she receives from her husband, Jamilia falls helplessly in love with the mysterious Daniyar in this heartbreakingly beautiful tale.

CC: The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman. I guarantee you’ve never read anything like it before, and you never will again. My interest in history and writing was awakened by my grandad, who was a born storyteller. Tristram Shandy is just like sitting beside grandad’s hearth and listening to him tell tales. It wanders, stops and starts, and leaves you hanging. Perfect storytelling!

51NSZgOyXoL._AC_UL436_

Sterne’s great comic novel is the fictional autobiography of Tristram Shandy, a hero who fails even to get born in the first two volumes. It contains some of the best-known and best-loved characters in English literature, including Uncle Toby, Corporal Trim, Parson Yorick, Dr Slop and the Widow Wadman. Beginning with Tristram’s conception, the novel recounts his progress in ‘this scurvy and disasterous world of ours’, including his misnaming during baptism and his accidental circumcision by a falling sash-window at the age of five; unsurprisingly, Tristram declares that he has been ‘the continual sport of what the world calls Fortune’. Tristram Shandy also offers the narrator’s ‘opinions’, at once facetious and highly serious, on books and learning in an age of rapidly expanding print culture, and on the changing understanding of the roles of writers and readers alike.

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?​

EH: Drink lots of water, keep paracetamol by the bed and get lots of sleep! To be honest, I’d also say that in order to avoid hangovers never pass the age of thirty. And don’t have more than one or two drinks, definitely never on an empty stomach. (Thus speaks the voice of bitter experience. And the least said about that the better, I think!)

CC: I’ve never been drunk, so I’ve never had a hangover. My failsafe plan is, therefore, don’t get drunk! Easier said than done sometimes, I know, but it works for me!

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

EH: Almost inevitably, there will be writing and maybe podcasting. Other than that, I might be in the garden. I’ve just planted a clematis, a honeysuckle and a passion flower to climb my boring fences, and I now have a red bottlebrush — it’s a magnificent Australian plant which reminds me of my auntie’s garden in Perth.

CC: There’d definitely be some writing in there somewhere! I’d also catch a football match (and hopefully, unlike this season, we might even win!) then pack my airband radio and binoculars and head off to the airport. I’m not a plane spotter so much as a plane watcher. We sit at the end of the runway, eat fish and chips, drink tea and watch the planes come and go whilst listening to pilots and tower. It’s more fun than it sounds, believe me, you see some really unexpected sights!

Some diverse weekend plans there! Thank you very much for joining me on the blog tonight, it has been a great evening.

As well as their book, The Ghost Garden, which is described above and which you can buy here,, Eleanor and Catherine have a new book coming out on 3 September. The Captain and the Theatrical is the third book in the Captivating Captains series and you can buy a copy here.

51At7iCuCuL

When Captain Pendleton needs an emergency fiancée, who better to turn to than his male best friend? After all, for Amadeo Orsini, life’s one long, happy drag!

Captain Ambrose “Pen” Pendleton might have distinguished himself on the battlefield at Waterloo but since he’s come home to civvy street, he’s struggled to make his mark.

Pen dreams of becoming a playwright but his ambitious father has other ideas, including a trophy wife and a new job in America. If he’s to stand a hope of staying in England and pursuing his dream, Pen needs to find a fiancée fast.

Amadeo Orsini never made it as a leading man, but as a leading lady he’s the toast of the continental stage. Now Cosima is about to face her most challenging role yet, that of Captain Pendleton’s secret amour.

With the help of a talking theatrical parrot who never forgets his lines, Orsini throws on his best frock, slaps on the rouge and sets out to save Pen from the clutches of Miss Harriet Tarbottom and her scheming parents.

As friendship turns into love, will the captain be able to write a happy ending for himself and Orsini before the curtain falls?

Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead began writing together in the spring of 2017 and swiftly discovered a shared love of sauce, well-dressed gents and a uniquely British sort of romance. They drink gallons of tea, spend hours discussing the importance of good tailoring and are never at a loss for a double entendre.

Their short stories and the Captivating Captains series are published by Pride. Don’t miss the de Chastelaine Chronicles, coming in 2019 from Totally Bound.

You can find more information on their writing partnership on their website.

Catherine Curzon is an author and royal historian of the 18th century.

In addition to her four non-fiction books on Georgian royalty, available from Pen & Sword, she written extensively for a number of internationally-published publications,  and has spoken at venues and events across the United Kingdom.

Catherine holds a Master’s degree in Film and when not dodging the furies of the guillotine can often be found cheering for the mighty Huddersfield Town. She lives in Yorkshire atop a ludicrously steep hill with a rakish colonial gentleman, a long-suffering cat and a lively dog.

Connect with Catherine via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Eleanor Harkstead likes to dash about in nineteenth-century costume, in bonnet or cravat as the mood takes her. She knows rather a lot about poisons, and can occasionally be found wandering old graveyards. Eleanor is very fond of chocolate, wine, tweed waistcoats and nice pens, and has a huge collection of vintage hats. She is the winner of the Best Dressed Sixth Former award and came third in the under-11s race at the Colchester Fire Swim.

Originally from the south-east of England, Eleanor now lives somewhere in the Midlands with a large ginger cat who resembles a Viking.

Connect with Eleanor via FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Next week, I will be joined by the fabulous Cressida Mclaughlin to celebrate the publication of her latest paperback, so make sure you join us.

Friday Night Drinks with…. Gail Aldwin @gailaldwin @VictorinaPress @PeoplesBkPrize #FridayNightDrinks #TheStringGames

cocktail-2098458_1920

Well, it’s a beautiful, sunny July evening here in Yorkshire so I think I will take my Friday Night Drinks outside with tonight’s guest, debut author….Gail Aldwin.

Gail Aldwin1

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

 A chilled glass of prosecco, please. 

My favourite, I think I will have the same. If we weren’t here in my virtual beer garden tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?

I live in the county town of Dorchester, so I suggest we have a wander through the water meadows in the late afternoon sun then go to a local bar for a cocktail. 

Unknown

That sounds like the opening chapter of a Jilly Cooper novel, right up my street and perfect for this glorious weather! 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 like a good laugh so I’d be pleased to spend an evening with Richard E Grant (ever since he played Withnail in the 1987 film, I’ve been a fan.) And I’d also invite Caroline Aherne to make up the party. Such a shame she died young. 

Both geniuses. I thought Richard was magnificent in Can You Ever Forgive Me? with Melissa McCarthy recently. If you haven’t seen it, you must give it a watch, it was so brilliant and she was a real surprise in it, after all her comedy roles.

 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?

My debut novel, The String Games was published by Victorina Press last month, and my debut poetry pamphlet adversaries/comrades was published in April, so I am flat out marketing and promoting both of these publications in order to reach readers. Alongside my independent writing, I’m also part of a collaborative comedy sketch writing group call 3-She. We’re taking a new show called Big Heads & Others to the Shaftesbury Fringe on 6 July. 

fullsizeoutput_1d4e

That looks like an interesting show! What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?

I wanted to take a photograph of my collection of short fiction Paisley Shirt on the shelf at my local library. However, when I got there the book was already on loan. It’s such a thrill to think of people reading my stories.

It was also announced this week that, The String Games has been longlisted in The People’s Book Prize. This is a national award that aims to find and promote new and undiscovered work. One of the the organisation’s aims is to support the complete eradication of illiteracy. This is something very important to me as, following years of working with parents and children to build their literacy skills, there is still a need in communities for further work. In this longlisting, I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect match: an opportunity to gain a wider readership for The String Games and support a cause close to my heart, so I am absolutely thrilled, as you can imagine.

The biggest challenge, of course, is finding ways to reach new readers, so I really appreciate your work as a book blogger, Julie. 

Thank you, Gail, it is nice for the work we bloggers do to be recognised by authors. 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 love to take a show to the Edinburgh Fringe. And then get the show on TV. And then get my own TV show … 

Modest ambitions – I love it! What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?

I’m working on a new novel called This Much I Know, which has a six-year-old narrator called Mikey Griffiths. Set in suburban London, Mikey is friendly with his neighbour called Leonard and he can’t understand why a vigilante group would terrorise an old man. Mikey decides he is the best person to show Leonard isn’t a threat to anyone. It’s fun working on a story using the restricted viewpoint of a child – and quite challenging at the same time. 

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?

This year I fulfilled an ambition I’d held for at least eight years. I spent the whole of January in Guatemala trying to learn Spanish. By the end of my time in the city of Antigua, I could use four different tenses, but every single sentence I rehearsed in my head before making an utterance. It would take considerably more time to become fluent in Spanish than I had imagined. Another burning ambition is to work in a developing country with Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO). I’d love to share my skills with learners and understand what it’s like to integrate into the workplace in a different country and culture. 

Unknown-4

Wow, that is a different twist on the bucket list entries I usually have. Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know about you.

My first husband was twenty years older than me. (The marriage didn’t last very long!)

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’?

Love by Hanne Ørstavik (translated from Norwegian by Martin Aitken). This is an extraordinary novel that explores the loneliness experienced by a mother and her nine-year-old son. 

41pUT1jdLuL._SX421_BO1,204,203,200_

Love is the story of Vibeke and Jon, a mother and son who have just moved to a small place in the north of Norway. It’s the day before Jon’s birthday, and a travelling carnival has come to the village. Jon goes out to sell lottery tickets for his sports club, and Vibeke is going to the library. From here on we follow the two individuals on their separate journeys through a cold winter’s night – while a sense of uneasiness grows.

I will add it to the 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?

Hangovers are an occupational hazard for any little book problem drinker. I usually eat apples if I end up with one. 

I have not heard of that as a cure before, I will add it to list. After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

A good walk on a windswept beach is an absolute must. 

Perfect. Thank you so much for joining me, Gail, it has been a fascinating evening, and good luck with your show tomorrow.

Gail’s book, The String Games, is out now and you can buy a copy here. Jacquelyn Mitchard, bestselling author of The Deep End of the Ocean says of the book ‘Gail Aldwin’s The String Games takes hold of the reader and the juncture of the head and the heart and simply does not let go. With courage and tenderness, and an unblinking eye, Gail Aldwin explores the ways in which the loss of a child explodes a family. Treat yourself and read this one.’

TSG_Front_only_18.01.2019_RGB_web

When four-year-old Josh is abducted and murdered during a family holiday in France, Nim, aged ten, becomes an only child. To cope with the tragedy, Nim reinvents herself but continues to carry a burden of unresolved grief. As an adult she returns to France determined to find out more about the circumstances of Josh’s death. How will she deal with this new information and what are the implications for her future? 

Settled in Dorset since 2006, Gail Aldwin has lived in Australia, Papua New Guinea and Spain. Her short fiction collection Paisley Shirt was longlisted in the best short story category of the Saboteur Awards 2018. She co-writes comedy sketches and short plays which have been performed in Brighton, Salisbury and Bridport. Winner of the Bournemouth National Poetry Day competition 2016, Gail’s poetry is included in the poetry trail at Beaumont Park, Huddersfield and can be found at Flaghead Chine Seaside Garden, Poole. Her first poetry pamphlet adversaries/comrades is based on the theme of siblings and is published by The Student Wordsmith in 2019. Gail’s debut novel The String Games is published with Victorina Press and has received outstanding reviews. As chair of the Dorset Writers’ Network, Gail works with the steering group to inspire writers and connect creative communities. She also supports undergraduates on the Creative Writing BA (Hons) at Art University Bournemouth as a visiting tutor.

You can connect with Gail via her blog and on Facebook and Twitter.

If would like to support Gail by voting for The String Games in The People’s Book Prize, you can do so by following this link.

Next week, I will be spending my evening, literally, with Kim Nash, author and social media manager at Bookouture, as we both attend the Romantic Novelists’ Association conference in Lancaster, so make sure you join us.

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

cocktail-2098458_1920

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

Unknown

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

41TOn0vHDZL

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.

swimming with mantas

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.

51zOp12habL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_

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.

beach jump

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.

Another You final cover

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

cocktail-2098458_1920

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

20180423_153744

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.  

20190515_104138

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! 

31143884_1914234175283048_8927325451584536576_o

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. 

Photo 4

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. 

51kS6aEjFIL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_Unknown-2

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.

Your Secrets Safe With Me Cover 1

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.