‘The Cherry Tree Cafe’ turns ONE today! Happy debut book birthday Heidi Swain!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR THE CHERRY TREE CAFEEEEEEEE
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!

Plus, TWG would like to say a massive congratulations to Heidi Swain as one year ago today, her debut novel was published! (The Cherry Tree Café, if you haven’t worked it out ;)).

To help Heidi mark such a special occasion, she got the privilege(privilege was all mine really!!) of sitting down with TWG and answering all the questions that I ‘threw’ at her!

I have read and reviewed both of Heidi’s books, here are the links in case you missed the posts:
I need a coffee and a yummy cake, ‘The Cherry Tree Cafe’ anyone? Heidi Swain?
Book review of ‘Summer at Skylark Farm’ by Heidi Swain.

TWG: Thank you Heidi for stopping by the blog today, I really appreciate you taking the time to have a chat!  Seeing as this is your first interview on TWG, I’m going to ease you in gently with a quick fire round of questions, are you okay with that?

Yes, I love a quick fire round but before we begin can I just say thank you so much for inviting me? I am absolutely delighted to be making my first visit to your fabulous blog, especially on this exciting anniversary for The Cherry Tree Café.

TWG: Milk chocolate or white chocolate?
Milk

TWG: Books or movies?
Books

TWG: Movie adaptation or book?
Book, although I love the Merchant Ivory Forster adaptations and I’m a huge fan of Peter Jackson and his Tolkien adventures.

TWG: High heels or flats?
At 5 foot nothing in my socks I should probably make more of an effort, but flats all the way! I’m middle aged now and I take comfort over style any day!

TWG: Potatoes or pasta?
Potatoes

TWG: Blackjack chews or fruit salad chews?
Neither really. I’m not a huge sweetie fan.

TWG: If you could choose to be any animal, which one would you choose and why?
A hare. I love everything about them – their elusiveness, wildness and the mythology which surrounds them – I’m fascinated by it all. They thrive in south Norfolk and I’m lucky enough to see them on most trips out.

TWG: If you could choose one super power; which one would you choose and why?
Gosh, that’s a tough one.  Can I make one up? I’d rather like the ability to banish prejudice and hate, anything in fact that causes pain, fear and unhappiness.

TWG: Okay Heidi, hopefully that has melted any first time ice! Now let’s talk books!

TWG: For those that aren’t familiar with your work, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am an author of contemporary romance novels which are filled with a whole host of feisty female characters and some rather delicious heroes.  An author friend recently described my writing as ‘feel-good fiction’ and I’m thrilled to wear that badge! So far my novels have been based around the fictitious East Anglian country town of Wynbridge.

TWG: What made you decide one day to write your first book?
The decision to write my first novel wasn’t really a conscious one. I had finally taken the plunge and started to take my writing seriously, attending creative writing courses and submitting short stories to an online community. Writing my first novel seemed like the natural (but nonetheless daunting), next step.

TWG: Speaking of your first book; your debut novel ‘The Cherry Tree Cafe’ turns one today! Happy birthday! What are your plans for the birthday book today? I hope there is cake!
Thank you lovely. I ‘m still struggling to believe it’s been a whole year since The Cherry Tree Café was published! So many exciting things have happened in the last twelve months so this summery anniversary couldn’t be better timed for a little celebration of everything. Of course there will be cake and bunting and there will definitely be a few corks popping!

TWG: What was the inspiration behind ‘The Cherry Tree Cafe’?
The Café itself came first and then Lizzie strolled in and told her story (it wasn’t quite that simple but you get the idea). Setting is hugely important to me and I love to write about places, jobs and lives that I would love to experience and let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to spend their days surrounded by pretty crafting projects and luscious cakes? Personally I can’t imagine a more perfect combination and fortunately my publishers and readers agreed with me!

TWG: As well as having a book turning one, you have also had another reason to celebrate recently. Your second book ‘Summer at Skylark Farm’ was published in June of this year, congratulations! How would you describe your book using just one word?Idyllic

TWG: I adored ‘Summer at Skylark Farm’. It gave me the Calamity Jane type vibe with the homeliness. Are you a Calamity Jane fan?
I have to admit that until now Calamity Jane hasn’t been on my radar but if ‘homeliness’ is key then I know I’m going to love it! *heads straight to internet to search*

TWG: Are either of your books influenced by anything from your own life?
I grew up in the countryside. My dad’s family are arable Fenland farmers, my mum and stepdad were pig farmers and my granddad grew summer fruits and potatoes to sell at the local auction, (now sadly replaced by a housing estate). All of those things had an influence on Summer at Skylark Farm and I have also lived in some beautiful parts of the country so I understand the value of loving the landscape and having that connection with the earth and her seasons.

TWG: In ‘Summer at Skylark Farm’, Amber strikes me as the lost and unconfident type. What made you have that personality as your main character?
It was never my intention for her to come across as lost and unconfident. I think, given the fact that she moved to an environment and situation so far removed from her comfort zone, she coped pretty well. She got stuck in and always coped with whatever life on the farm threw at her. 

TWG: Will ‘Skylark Farm’ be appearing again in any of your future books?
Definitely! So many people have told me how thrilled they were that The Cherry Tree Café and Jemma and Lizzie featured in Summer at Skylark Farm that it would be impossible to let them all disappear. Pretty much everyone pops back up in Mince Pies and Mistletoe at The Christmas Market so you can look forward to discovering what happens to them all next!

TWG: Out of both of your books, which one was harder to write?
Summer at Skylark Farm I think. There is always that pressure to produce an even stronger book second time around and I hope I’ve done that. The Cherry Tree Café was very successful and lots of readers were waiting to see what I would do next. I hope I have lived up to their expectations. The reviews have been fantastic so far.

TWG: What is your writing space like?
I wrote a blog post recently titled ‘on being an adaptable author’ in which I explain that these days with deadlines looming I have to write pretty much anywhere.  I write in my car, on the sofa, in cafes and on the train. My spot for editing and typing up the longhand I write during the day however is always the same and that is at the head of the dining table in relative silence, if I’m lucky!

TWG: I am curious about your answer to this question! What was your favourite book when you were a child?
I was a huge fan of Enid Blyton, the Magic Faraway Tree and the Wishing Chair were two firm favourites, but I also loved the Brambly Hedge tales and Beatrix Potter. I was hooked on anything with a country element from an early age. 

TWG: If TWG flutters eyelashes at you, would that persuade you to give us an exclusive? I would love to hear what we can look forward to from you next!
Well now, let’s see. Mince Pies and Mistletoe at The Christmas Market will be published on October 20th in both paperback and e-book and I can’t tell you how excited I am to get my hands on the paperback. I might have had a little peek at the cover already but you mustn’t tell anyone. Needless to say it is gorgeous! The Books and the City Team produce such beautiful jackets and I’m planning on having them made into canvases to hang in our hall at home.
I’m currently writing the first draft of the Summer novel for next year which introduces some brand new characters to Wynbridge as well as catching up with some old friends but I can’t say more than that!

TWG: Heidi, it has been an absolute pleasure. Thank you so much for joining me today. Happy birthday to your debut novel! Please do pop by the blog again, you’re always very welcome!
Thank you my lovely. It has been a real treat to visit and I can’t wait to come back and see you again very soon!

TWG gets another exclusive! Whoop! I absolutely loved doing that interview, such wonderful answers from Heidi, especially loving the Magic Faraway Tree! I don’t know about you, but I know what I’ll be buying on the 20th October in paperback! I hope you enjoyed reading the interview as much as I enjoyed being involved in it. I think it is an amazing achievement to be celebrating a debut novel reaching one year old, as well as having a second novel published within the same year. Congratulations Heidi!!

Here are all the important links that you’ll need to grab yourself a copy of Heidi’s books, as well as the links to keep up to date with the latest from the lady herself!!

Once again, happy birthday ‘The Cherry Tree Cafe’ and congratulations to Heidi!

happyyyy

Purchase links:
Buy ‘The Cherry Tree Cafe’ on Amazon UK.
Buy ‘The Cherry Tree Cafe’ from Amazon US
Buy Heidi’s latest novel ‘Summer at Skylark Farm’
Buy ‘Summer at Skylark Farm’ from Amazon US

Keep up to date with Heidi:
Heidi @ Simon and Schuster
Heidi Swain on Facebook
Follow Heidi on Twitter.

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