#BlogTour! #Q&A with author of #TheGoodDaughter – @alexandraburt @avonbooksuk

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From the #1 ebook and Sunday Times bestseller, comes the tale of a young woman in search of her past, and the mother who will do anything to keep it hidden…

What if you were the worst crime your mother ever committed?

Dahlia Waller’s childhood memories consist of stuffy cars, seedy motels, and a rootless existence traveling the country with her eccentric mother. Now grown, she desperately wants to distance herself from that life. Yet one thing is stopping her from moving forward: she has questions.

In order to understand her past, Dahlia must go back. Back to her mother in the stifling town of Aurora, Texas. Back into the past of a woman on the brink of madness. But after she discovers three grave-like mounds on a neighbouring farm, she’ll learn that in her mother’s world of secrets, not all questions are meant to be answered…

The Good Daughter is a compelling take on a genre that shows no sign of slowing down. The perfect read for fans of Gillian Flynn and Paula Hawkins.

Buy now from Amazon

It’s my stop on the blog tour for ,The Good Daughter, by Alexandra Burt! I have a mini interview to share with you today, enjoy!

Q&A with author, Alexandra Burt.

1.      Your second novel, just like Little Girl Gone, centers on a mother-daughter- relationship. Was that a conscious choice, did you feel compelled to revisit the relationship?

I am fascinated by mother-daughter relationships. My mother passed away when I was in college and I never got to experience an adult relationship between us. There are so many unanswered questions, so many stories she hadn’t told me yet. Her absence left such a steep abyss, such a cavernous black hole, and the effects were far reaching—I felt grief beyond loss, beyond darkness and despair, her death was the end of nurturing, the end of safety, and the end of who I was. I revisit mother-daughter relationships because it allows me the opportunity to live vicariously through my characters, mothers and daughters, for I am both; a motherless daughter and the mother of a daughter. The word ‘orphan’ has such a dramatic incantation, is reminiscent of Dicken’s Oliver Twist getting by with little food and few comforts, a Victorian vision of what it means to be alone in this world and yet it isn’t so farfetched at all, because here I am, literally, forever holding out the empty bowl asking for some more of my mother’s love. It took decades yet eventually I came to a place of gratitude and appreciation, after all, twenty-one years with her were better than nineteen, or ten. Any amount seemed better than no time at all and I continue to hold on to this gratitude. I sometimes hear her firm voice—she wasn’t stern at all but that’s how I imagine it—saying You get what you get and you don’t complain, her attempt to lessen the blow of her absence, make it less painful, less life-altering, a mere loving scolding.

There were these odd moments that snuck up on me after her death. The first one was in my early forties when I realized I had spent more years without her than with her, like a switch had been flipped. Shortly thereafter I approached the age my mother had passed and I imagined my life being cut short at that moment and I felt this panic inside of me; if I let another year go by my stories will be lost to my daughter like my mother’s stories are lost to me. Let no stories be lost was a mantra I adopted, like a coping mechanism, a motto allowing me to eternalize death which is inevitable. That’s when I began to write about mothers and daughters, and yes, there might just be a theme here I won’t be able to escape from any time soon.

 

  1. How did your preparation/research for writing this novel differ from, or perhaps was similar to, your preparation for writing Little Girl Gone?

I had personal experience with postpartum depression, a central aspect of Little Girl Gone. I had a lot to draw from, personally and from the mothers I spoke with in preparation for the book. I also consulted maps of New York, had to get it just right because slipups are easy and readers would notice. The setting of Aurora Texas, somewhere East of Dallas, is completely fictional. There are many small towns like Aurora in Texas and all over the country. Childhood is not only a place but also a state of being, something you re-experience once you cross that threshold and returning home to the house you grew up in or lived for the better part of your life can be extremely emotional.

For The Good Daughter I did a lot of research on personality disorders and seizure disorders. The most fascinating theory I came across was a theory called “the doorway effect.” In essence it is the belief that memory is disrupted by switching locations, like walking in another room but forgetting why we went there. It’s not a matter of poor memory at all, but an event that creates a mental boundary, separating episodes, filing them away, in essence compartmentalizing them in order to be able to move on. For The Good Daughter I imagined this “doorway effect” in reverse and on a grander scale: what if we revisit a place where some sort of suffering was inflicted upon us and how that would play out when a character returns to a house where unspeakable acts have taken place. Then I imagined the character unable to leave and forced to confront the past. I was literally stuck in that process of the research, didn’t want it to end, that’s how fascinated I was. Almost as if my mind refused to step out of it, cross over a threshold, anxious if my state of wonder would erase itself, would I too forget how it felt? It’s this obsessive part of a project that allows me to soak up knowledge like a sponge and as I write, I squeeze it and watch it all unfold.

 

  1. What were your influences in creating the characters of Dahlia and her mother?

The Good Daughter was inspired by the demise of a marriage I witnessed. I wasn’t at the heart of the story, I was a mere bystander, yet it is safe to say that I got caught up in it. There was a middle-aged couple and their marriage came to an abrupt end. There were no red flags, no infidelity, and no disagreements on financial decisions. I want to believe, like any marriage, it wasn’t perfect but quite average in its trials and tribulations. One day a man finds his house empty, but it’s one thing to be in a deteriorating marriage and ending up separated, it’s another to be the victim of a cloak and dagger operation in the middle of the night. I was left with the premise that we really don’t know the people we live with, regardless how much we want to believe we know everything about them. In the novel I took it a step further; what if your entire life was based on a lie from the day you were born and it was up to you alone to assemble the pieces to uncover the truth. In The Good Daughter, the character Dahlia is a flower and every flower needs water and soil and sunshine and nurturing, like human beings rely on others to sustain them. I realized early readers were quite fascinated with the character of the mother, and I found myself connecting more and more dots and ending up with the character named Memphis who became just as important as Dahlia. Memphis means to endure. It felt fitting, inevitable in a way.

Thank you for stopping by, Alexandra! Also, thank you to Avon Books for having me involved in the tour! This book is on my TBR pile, looking forward to reading it once I get to it!

Here are all the other blogs involved in this tour:

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#BlogTour! Secrets We Keep by Faith Hogan (@GerHogan) @Aria_Fiction #Review & #Q&A

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Today is Sunday 5th Feb which can only mean one thing; ITS MY STOP ON FAITH’S BLOG TOURRRRRR! Can you tell that I’m excited? I was GUTTED that I couldn’t be part of Faith’s previous tour as I was still the new kid on the block. However, I’m here now and what a stop I have for you! Not only am I reviewing Faith’s new book ‘Secrets We Keep’, I was also given permission to interrogate the lovely author herself AND keep both spoiler free. I hope you enjoy!

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Blurb.

Two distant relatives, drawn together in companionship are forced to confront their pasts
and learn that some people are good at keeping secrets and some secrets are never
meant to be kept..
A bittersweet story of love, loss and life. Perfect for the fans of Patricia Scanlan and Adele
Parks.
The beautiful old Bath House in Ballytokeep has lain empty and abandoned for decades.
For devoted pensioners Archie and Iris, it holds too many conflicting memories of their
adolescent dalliances and tragic consequences – sometimes it’s better to leave the past
where it belongs.
For highflying, top London divorce lawyer Kate Hunt, it’s a fresh start – maybe even her
future. On a winter visit to see her estranged Aunt Iris she falls in love with the Bath
House. Inspired, she moves to Ballytokeep leaving her past heartache 600 miles away –
but can you ever escape your past or your destiny?

What does TWG think?

At first I did wonder whether the novel was going to go down the old life = new start route, with the character rejigging their life and having a happy ending. Predictable, so I am sure you can sense my relief when it became clear that the main characters life wasn’t that straight forward…in the slightest. Kate Hunt had done a bit of to-ing and fro-ing over the years, but little did she know that she was going to clock up even more miles on her return to Ireland. Heartbroken and emotional, Kate has multiple decisions ahead of her, none of which can be solved over a cup of tea and a jammy dodger.

I couldn’t get enough of this storyline! Yes, I was a bit concerned that it was going to end up predictable, however, ‘Secrets We Keep’ is a storyline with incredible depth. The highlight for me was the historical influence. Not only did we delve into the characters past, we were also made aware of the history behind certain points in Ireland. Being part Irish myself and having never been, the insight to the history of certain buildings and areas was mind-blowing.

Everything flowed really well overall, although I did find myself becoming a bit impatient when males came on the scene as I wanted to get back to Kate’s family history! I sound a geek now eh!
I really do think that ‘Secrets We Keep’ is Faith’s best novel so far as its shown a different side to her writing  without having to add a severely drastic situation to the overall storyline. It kept me on my toes, had me wondering ‘what ifs?’ and even had me sitting there with my mouth open trying to catch fish (that’s shocked to you and me by the way). There is something incredibly special about ‘Secrets We Keep’ and I really believe that that special something is the fact it was written from the authors heart.

Gripping, heart warming and positively eye-opening; ‘Secrets We Keep’ goes above and beyond with such an enchanting and emotional storyline. It is pretty clear that a lot of research went into the novel as well as a lot of effort. Faith Hogan, you’ve done yourself proud; a truly wonderful read.

Thank you Aria!

Buy Links.

Amazon UK // Amazon US // Kobo // Google Play // iBooks

Q & A with the lady herself, Faith Hogan!

Welcome back to TWG, Faith Hogan!

First off, thanks for having me Kaisha! It’s lovely to be back dropping in on TWG!

TWG: For those that aren’t overly familiar with your work, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to be a published author?

Well, like you, I’m a Mammy first (Irish mothers are always Mammy’s!!) I live with my husband, four children and a fat cat called Norris in the beautiful, if somewhat windswept west of Ireland. I just love books, always have and once I discovered eBooks, well let’s just say I’m a seriously happy bunny. I’m one of those people who has always written, whether it was sitting in a waiting room or wrestling with a longer piece of fiction. The road to publication was what it was – I think we get to where we’re going when we’re ready to be there. I’ve been lucky, my agent is the best and Aria Fiction are a seriously dedicated and lovely bunch – I can honestly say, I’ve loved every minute. Now, I get to talk to bookish types like yourself all the time and it’s even better than I could have hoped for!

TWG: Your first novel, My Husbands Wives (published by Aria in May 2016), has got such a deep and dark feel to it in comparison to your new novel, The Secrets We Keep. Was it intentional to write two books with storylines verging on both ends of the spectrum, as it were?

I’m not sure any book is intentional – they just sort of need to be written! I always believed I’d write crime and My Husbands’ Wives grew from the question of ‘What If…; My agent felt I had a women’s fiction book in me, if we could just get it out! Now, it’s flowing out of me and the words are just flying onto the pages – it’s amazing to love what for so long you resisted.

Secrets We Keep was born of the place – Ballytokeep is based on a small seaside town near where I Iive. The characters are from my imagination, but there is an old Bath House dug into black stone cliffs and I’m sure I’m not alone in having looked at it and maybe asking that same question once more – What if…

TWG: How hard has it been to write two novels and get them both published, in under a year? I am in awe! What’s your secret?

Well, the writing is actually the easy bit! Aria Fiction are the wizards who got them out there. I had started Secrets We Keep once I sent off My Husbands’ Wives – it was a way of keeping my nerves even! Really, it’s down to time and making the most of it. We have a busy house, but I’m lucky – I have a husband who is happy to dig in and a family around me who are all rooting for me, in all the best practical ways.

TWG: Having read both of your books (and thoroughly enjoyed them), were there any parts of the storylines that you find quite difficult to write, on a personal level?

In the first draft of Secrets We Keep we had a tragic death and to be honest, I’m really glad that I changed that in a later draft, the change was actually more emotional than the death. It felt as though I could touch on the notion of soul mates. Secrets We Keep had a working title of MFEO – Meant For Each Other and I think that was the bit that kind of got me!

As regards things that would cause me sleepless nights – I never write about children in peril, never write about children as victims – I know, I couldn’t cope with that at all – in fact, I love a good thriller, but I won’t read anything with a child victim – I think it affects me more now I have children of my own. Life is too short to go reading things that make you sad or upset!

TWG: Your second novel, Secrets We Keep, has just been released, congratulations! How did publication day feel the second time around?

To be honest, the night I got the news that Aria were interested in taking me on was the best night ever. We announced to family and opened a bottle of champagne – I’m not a drinker, but even I had a glass of bubbly that night!

On the night of publication,(My Husbands’ Wives,) I thought I’d explode with excitement. I lay in bed for hours, spinning everything from the text to the blog tour over in my mind. It dawned on me, that I was going to bed as a writer, but I would waken as an author and in some profound way, I felt it changed me from what I always wanted to become to who I was meant to be!

For Secret’s We Keep, the party was planned well in advance, just a very nice meal out with my nearest and dearest, well, it’s not every day you publish your second book, is it?

TWG: Secrets We Keep seemed to be centred on genealogy, which I found extremely interesting. Have you ever had (or wanted) to delve further into your own family history?

I think every family has secrets – sometimes, there better left alone!

In Secrets We Keep it all turned out for the best, but in real life, what’s good for one can be disastrous for another. I live in the same area that my family has lived in for generations. Recently, my husband visited a graveyard about twenty miles from where we live and he stumbled across my great, great, great grandparents graves, by chance more than by design. I knew they were there, but I’ve only been there twice. The man with him remembered the ‘old master’ (my father’s family were all teachers) and he sang a song that had been written about him in the village where he taught. It’s nice to hear things like that, but I’m sure that there are many other ditties written about school masters back in the day that were not so very complimentary!

TWG: Were there any characters from your books that you found yourself disliking?

Now, let me see – would you fancy Duncan Delaney?

TWG: Those that are familiar with your work know that you have joined the ever growing list of Irish authors. I have Irish heritage yet I have never been there! How important was it to you that you set, The Secrets We Keep, in Ireland? Is that a theme you will use for your other books going forward?

I suppose I’m inspired by the landscape – by the wind and rain, maybe more than by the sunshine. There is nothing to compare with the autumn sound of the wind raging through the trees and the scatter of tawny leaves at your feet. Perhaps one day, I’ll decide that I just love sun, sand and sangria and move to… you see, I can’t think of anywhere else I’d want to be. So, probably yes, for now I’ll be writing about what fills my soul – those bright and breezy days, walking along the coast or through shaded woods, far from that ‘madding crowd.’

TWG: This is a question that gets asked in every single interview that I do: what was your favourite book(s) as a child? Oh, I’m quite boring that way, I grew up on a diet of Enid Blyton. I could blame her for my love of crime fiction, but the truth is, I graduated from her, probably too early to Agatha Christie and then I ended up getting a compendium of Arthur Conan Doyle and I was hooked forever. Thankfully, my reading cache has widened somewhat, but that’s where I started!

With the kids I’ve gone back and read Roald Dahl and I’m probably the biggest Harry Potter fan in the house. Now, I’m loving David Walliams too – he’s funny, current and brave.

TWG: If you could walk into a book shop, pick up any book and have the author name change to yours, which book would it be and why?

It would have to be Kate Atkinson – I love her style of prose.

Then, I’ve also gotten lost in quite a few Kate Morton books and everything about them is just dreamy as a writer – I’ve even bought some of them in hard back – although I’ve read them on my kindle! They’re just the right mix of women’s fiction, historical fiction and intrigue. 

TWG: When you’re not busy writing books for me to read (I’ll share them, honest), what would we find you doing?

Did I mention that I have four children, a husband and very fat cat…

Seriously, I love the simple things, going for a walk, meeting up with friends, hanging out with the kids. My oldest is partial to a Netflix binge, so although I’m hopelessly behind on anything cool I love to sit late into the night with him for that (occasionally)!

And of course, there’s always chocolate…

TWG: As you know, TWG LOVES an exclusive (or two), do you have a little something that you can tell me about any upcoming books? It’ll be ‘The Secret We Keep’, honest ;).

Well, there is talk of a trade paperback for My Husbands Wives in May, now that’s been a well-kept secret for a while…

TWG: It is still very early in 2017, how is the rest of the year looking for you, book wise? Are there any new books on the horizon? Different genres?

I have something very close to finished. It’s a story about three women who decide to strike out and change their lives and we all know how easy that is!! Let’s just say, it’s not as straight forward as they thought 😉

TWG: One last question; in ONE sentence only, what advice would you give someone who wants to enter the world of authors, and publish a book?

I’d say first, write because you want to write, not because you want to get published. Write because it’s what you do, because it’s who you are.

Then, I’d say read, read, read. Read books like you want to write, good books and terrible books, they all have something to teach. Read books that show you specifically how to write, there are lots of them out there.

Finally, the most important thing, buy, get or borrow a very comfortable chair – you may be sitting in it for a very long time!

Thanks again, Kaisha for having me on the blog –I love TWG!!

Faith x

Thank you so much for letting me interrogate you!
If you wish to keep up to date with Faith’s books, here are a few author links for you to nosey at:

 

Continuing publication day buzz, Kelly Rimmer(@KelRimmerWrites) gets interrogated! @Bookouture

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Nothing says ‘congratulations on your latest release’ better than an interrogation, does it? Glad you agree! Kelly Rimmer’s latest book; A Mother’s Confession, was published yesterday by Bookouture and you can find my review right here: Publication day #review! A Mother’s Confession by Kelly Rimmer (@KelRimmerWrites) @Bookouture.

As soon as I finished the book (in amongst my snotty, ugly crying), I had some questions that I was needing answered. Luckily, Kelly said yes to my request for an interrogation (no spoilers guaranteed):

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really do appreciate it. After reading ‘A Mothers Confession’, I just knew that I had to delve a little deeper as I am a curious little devil! Don’t worry; I’m good at interrogation so it will be spoiler free!



 TWG: Your newest novel, ‘A Mothers Confession’, has just been published, congratulations! If you could describe the book in a mere five words, which ones would they be?

I only need 3!

Perspective is everything 🙂 

TWG: What made you decide to write such a complex and intense storyline for ‘A Mothers Confession’, and how?!



I like to write about things that bewilder and scare me, and domestic violence fits that bill perfectly. So I started researching it, and as I read and listened and talked to people, Olivia and Ivy’s stories solidified in my mind. 

TWG: The book was written, in my opinion, with such a personal feel to it as if YOU (the author) could relate to the storyline personally. Is that the case with this book?



I always try to put myself deep into the character when I’m planning a story, so that’s exactly the end result I really try to achieve, thanks for saying that! There are always aspects of my experience in my books, but it’s usually the small things like the way conversations flow or aspects to a particular type of character’s behaviour.

TWG: Before I read the book I saw on social media that many people couldn’t stop crying as they were reading it. I’ll be honest, I got halfway and wondered why I hadn’t cried….YET (that soon changed). How emotional did you get while you were writing the book? Did you find yourself getting far too emotional and had to stop writing?



I do write emotional books, and I get insanely attached to my characters which is strange, given I know better than anyone that they aren’t real :),  but this was the first time I had to write the difficult scenes before I wrote the start of the story. I knew they were going to be too hard to write once I knew the characters inside out. I’m so glad I did that or we might still have a story stuck at 75%… 

TWG: A lot of important topics are covered within ‘A Mothers Confession’. Was that done intentionally?



Yes, I definitely set out to understand and then write about how some aspects of our culture contribute to family violence, and to explore the impact these behaviours have on survivors and even bystanders.

TWG:  As the storyline went on and I learnt more about the characters, it quickly became clear which character I disliked. When you thought up your characters, did you feel angry to any of them based on the life you had/were creating for them?



I know exactly which character you are referring to and yes!!! I kept trying to soften the characters to make them more likeable, but that really took away from the realism in the story. But in the writing of this book there were several incidents of me yelling at my screen!

TWG: The tears came thick and fast shortly after I wondered where they were, and I ended up having a book hangover for days afterwards. Did you find that once you had written the book you needed comforted yourself?



For the first time ever after a book, I took a few weeks’ downtime. I banned myself from reading anything heavy or intense and just took it easy. It’s all fiction, of course, but this was a really difficult book to write and I needed some recovery time emotionally myself.

TWG: How different is ‘A Mothers Confession’ to your other books, overall?

Well, I think readers who enjoyed this book would enjoy my others, but I have covered a wide variety of topics in them, from romance and illness in Me Without You, to forced adoption in The Secret Daughter, and the breakdown of a marriage in When I Lost You. 

TWG:  If you could choose one of your own books to be your favourite one, which one would it be and why?



I’ve loved writing them all but A Mother’s Confession is my favourite so far. I had such a clear vision for it from the outset, which is pretty rare for me. I think being a few books in, I had more confidence writing it and I knew where I needed to take it much earlier in the process. Plus the topic is just such an important one and one that’s not openly discussed in enough circles.

I really hope readers connect with the story the way I did :).

TWG: I mentioned above about book hangovers, which book have you read that has ended up giving YOU a book hangover, and why?



I am a die-hard Jodi Piccoult fan and I think I sobbed for half a day when I read My Sister’s Keeper. I kept crying long after I’d closed the book and even years later still think about it sometimes. It was the book that inspired me to write this genre, so I guess it’s given me a many year hangover!!

TWG: Because you do write such emotional and poignant books, do you find that you steer away from those types of books when choosing a book to read yourself?



I read anything and everything. I read a lot now that I’m writing full time too. I try to read at least one independently published book a month, a few from my genre, and something random. I have a few friends who write crime/thrillers and I keep trying to get into that genre but I’m such a huge, gigantic chicken, all it takes is a grizzly murder scene and I have to shut the book, so I’m not getting very far 😉

I also read a lot of non-fiction in doing my research.

TWG:  I ask this question to all of the authors that I have on my blog; what were your favourite books as a child? Who are your favourite authors now?



Heidi by Joanna Spiri – I SO loved that book when I was a child. I was also obsessed with Roald Dahl, and I think I read every Trixie Belden book at least twice!

These days I will immediately buy anything by Jodi Piccoult, Dianne Chamberlain or for very different genred but always brilliant storytelling, I adore Margaret Atwood. My Bookouture sisters Teresa Driscoll and Renita D’silva are amazing writers, too! 

TWG: If you weren’t an author, making me ugly cry, what do you think that you would be doing career wise?

I had a career in IT before this, most recently in business intelligence.

 I can’t remember making anyone ugly cry in my old job 😉

TWG: Lastly, seeing as I detest odd numbers and had to make it an even one; what is in store for you next? Is there another book coming out? Can you give TWG an exclusive? Tell me all!!





Haha, there is something in the works, I can’t give you an exclusive just yet but once I have some details you’ll be the first to know, promise! 🙂

Thank you so much to Kelly Rimmer for answering all of my questions, and apologies for interrogating you ;). I really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer those questions, and out yourself as a gigantic chicken :D.

If you’re rather curious about A Mother’s Confession, you can buy yourself a copy of the book via Amazon UK | Amazon US.

If you feel the need to buy all of  Kelly’s previous books (just like I did), you can do so via:
Kelly’s Amazon Page UK | Kelly’s Amazon Page US

Review of ‘Fresh Brewed’ & interview with author Pamela Ford (@pamelafordbooks) @iReadBookTours

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TWG is back with a review of book two from ‘The Continental Breakfast Club’ series; ‘Fresh Brewed’!
If you missed my review of the first book in the series; ‘Over Easy’, you can find my review here: Blog Tour! Review of ‘Over Easy’ by Pamela Ford.. iRead Book Tours have been running the tour for both books for over a month and today is the last day -cries-, it’s been wonderful to be involved, so thank you!

fbBlurb.

Breanna Mitchell is on her way to a relaxing vacation at the ocean. Maybe she’ll even have a beachside fling to help her get over a recent breakup. But when a tropical storm makes her destination hotel uninhabitable, a chance encounter at continental breakfast delivers a fabulous option—with a catch.
She and her friends can stay at a privately-owned, three-story oceanfront home—if she pretends to be the girlfriend of the owner’s heartbreaker grandson, Ethan. Since he won’t even be there, how hard could it be?
Everything is going swimmingly until Bree drinks too much wine and regales the family with romantic tales about her relationship with Ethan. His adorable brother Adam gets suspicious. His marriage-minded grandma gets engagement fever. The beautiful woman next door gets teary-eyed.
And then, Ethan unexpectedly arrives. Suddenly Bree is about to get everything she’s ever wished for—but is it what she really wants?

What does TWG think?

I’ll be honest (when am I not?), I was a little bit concerned about this book because I really enjoyed the previous book in the series and I really didn’t want it to disappoint!
It didn’t disappoint, at all, not in the slightest!
Oh my gosh! Aside from the fact that a tropical storm creates issues before Breanna’s holiday fully begins, there is just drama, after drama. A drama storm! Yes, a male induced drama. It is all well and good going along with a fictional story to help a man you have never met, in return for a decent place to stay, but what happens if the man in question turns up? Breanna wants to be loved, she wants someone to like her for her, fling or not. Could Breanna get her happily ever after from a fictional story? Or will her vacation end up being one that she wishes to forget?

As soon as I had read about the ‘plan’, I just knew that I would be in for a drama filled read. Something just HAD to go wrong. I’m not being a cynic, but when you go along with something incredibly farfetched, there is a chance you’ll be falling flat on your face. Whilst the ‘plan’ was very farfetched, it was also absolutely BRILLIANT! Breanna was asking for trouble, but once she let loose and went with the flow, I couldn’t stop laughing. The things that Bree came out with were so cringy, but in a ‘omg I need to carry on’ sort of way.

As well as Breanna’s hilarious thoughts, her friends, Allie and Megan, didn’t keep quiet either. Maybe their continental breakfasts should add sarcasm to it, not that they would need any extra mind!

Just like ‘Over Easy’, there was  ALOT happening in the story, each of the girls were always making their presence known, as well as making sure any eligible bachelors spotted them too. What I find incredible about Pamela’s books is the way they’re so easy to read. I found myself getting so involved with the storyline that I didn’t realise I had nearly finished the book (much to my disappointment). Pamela has such a talent when it comes to writing books as she writes in such an engaging and relaxed way, yet still ensures a storyline full of things to sink your teeth into.

Yes ‘Fresh Brewed’ is full of mad moments, bad decisions and ‘oh my gosh, what ARE you doing?’ moments, but those moments make the book what it is. I loved reading ‘Fresh Brewed’, everything about it was hilariously brilliant.

‘Fresh Brewed’ is a story about breakfast, bad decisions and following your heart. If you don’t stay true to yourself, who will? This is the perfect book to lose yourself in, and just relax. Make sure you have a freshly brewed cuppa though, yeah?

(I received a complimentary copy of the book in return for my thoughts.)

Purchase links:
Buy from Amazon US
Buy from Amazon UK

Don’t go anywhere just yet as I managed to get Pamela Ford under the TWG spotlight, take a look:

TWG: Could you tell us a bit about you and your background before you began writing?
I have known since forever that I would be a writer. But from high school on, I wanted to go into advertising and become a copywriter. Breaking into advertising isn’t easy, so after graduating college with a degree in Advertising, I ended up working as a graphic designer and then in sales for a few years before finally landing a writing job at an ad agency. 

TWG: Have you always wanted to be a published writer?
Even though I’d always been a voracious reader, the idea of writing a book never crossed my mind until I was in my late twenties. . .and even then, I didn’t actually write one until five years later. That book, which took me years to write, has a permanent home in the attic!

TWG: You might make me jealous here, but have you been to every city/country where your books are set?
I have! But since I don’t have that many books out, you don’t have much to be jealous about!

TWG: If you had to choose a favourite character from one of your books, who would it be and why?
Oh no! That’s like asking which of your children is your favorite. Each of my characters has different traits that make me love them. For example, I love Allie in Over Easy because she has such an overactive imagination and goes off on these mental flights of fancy. I love Kathleen in To Ride a White Horse because of her loyalty to family and because she doesn’t give up in the face of overwhelming adversity. I think I tend to write people who I would like to be friends with, so that makes this question especially tough.

TWG: Have you ever disliked any of the characters in your stories?
I’m writing one right now, but since the book is still in first draft, he may not stay as unlikable as he is right now!

TWG: Time for a tough one. If you could choose any book that has already been published to be the author of, which would you choose and why?
Hands down, The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. It’s a retelling of the King Arthur saga from the point of view of the women. I was drawn into the story from the first sentence and couldn’t put it down. Her writing is superb. The way she rounded out the King Arthur legends was amazing. She did such a phenomenal job of creating all the worlds, including the magical island of Avalon, that you can’t help believe that it’s all real. I was so enthralled, I actually did a lot of research afterward to try to find out how much was real and how much she created.

TWG: One final question. What advice would you give to a writer that wants to be published? Any words of wisdom?
Learn the craft. I wasted several years simply writing—and getting rejected. Once I realized there was more to writing a book than just getting words on the page, my writing improved, and I sold. Learn about Goal, Motivation, and Conflict and apply it to your work. (Get Debra Dixon’s book by the same name—it’s awesome!) Learn about turning points, black moments, and character arcs, and make sure you incorporate them into your book. It’ll mean you have to plan more, but your writing will be much stronger because of it.

Author bio:

overeasy1

Pamela Ford is the award-winning author of contemporary and historical romance. She grew up watching old movies, blissfully sighing over the romance; and reading sci-fi and adventure novels, vicariously living the action. The combination probably explains why the books she writes are romantic, happily-ever-afters with plenty of plot – and often lots of laughter.

After graduating from college with a degree in Advertising, Pam merrily set off to earn a living, searching for that perfect career as she became a graphic designer, print buyer, pantyhose sales rep, public relations specialist, copywriter, freelance writer – and finally author. Pam has won numerous awards including the Booksellers Best, the Laurel Wreath, and a gold medal IPPY in the Independent Book Publisher Awards. She is a Kindle Book Awards finalist and a two-time Golden Heart Finalist. She lives in Wisconsin where she is working on her next novel.

Social links:
Website
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads

 

#Blogtour take 1! An interview with Elle Field, author of ‘Found’? Yes please!!

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Today it’s TWG’s turn on Elle Field’s blog tour for her latest release; ‘Found’. You might be wondering why it’s ‘take 1’? Not only is today my stop on the tour, it’s also my 1/2! I’ll be back for take 2 on the tour on the 24th August. If you want to keep up with all the stops on the tour, take a nose at the tour banner.

I had the pleasure of interrogating, SORRY, interviewing Elle. Why DO I keep getting that wrong?! 😉
Apparently Elle wants to touch people……

Hi Elle and welcome to TWG interrogation! Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you! Oh, it’s not an interrogation? It’s called an interview? Pfft, spoil my fun! Anyway, whilst I’m sulking, could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself please?
Hi, my name is Elle, and I don’t like interrogations… Oh, wait. This is an interview? OK, I can cope with this! (You’re *sure* this is an interview, right? I’m trusting you!) Let’s see, I live in London, in the same bit where Noah Penrose lives (readers of the Arielle Lockley books will know where I mean), but fortunately I’ve never bumped into any NP-types.

I’m the author of the Arielle Lockley series and Geli Voyante’s Hot or Not, which are new adult/coming of age/chick lit books, and I, myself, love reading. (Which often gets in the way of my writing!) I like holidays (who doesn’t?), giraffes, musicals and tea. Right, is that enough to stop you sulking?

Round 1: Okay, I’m going to give you a quick fire round, choose just one!
Ready?
Minnie Mouse or Daisy Duck?

Minnie Mouse!
Socks or slippers?
Socks, though I do have some awesome slippers that look like Sulley’s feet (from Monsters Inc.).
Hair up or hair down?
Hair down (when I can be bothered to straighten it).
Chocolate or crisps?
Chocolate. Big fan of Milka Daim. Yum! (TWG: now you’re talking!!)
Starter or dessert?
Dessert, please.
Bananas or apples?
Neither!

Round 2: Would you?
Would you go into a supermarket in your pjs?

Yes, though maybe not in my giraffe kigu…
Would you walk through a busy town in a Disney costume?
Definitely! Who doesn’t love Disney?
Would you prank your partner for a bet?
Ha, of course, but I’m not sure I’d be able to keep a straight face!

Round 3: TWG becomes sensible. How did you find those questions? Am I still your friend haha?
Ha, you are! Though I’m now trying to think which Disney costume I would wear..
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What made you decide to write your first book?
So, Kept wasn’t my first book, it was a book called Torn. Basically, I’d had a pretty rough time at uni one semester, and I wrote that book in the summer for catharsis. I had scribbled down other tales before, but that was my first chick lit book and it was great practise for writing Kept. One day I’ll revisit that book and edit it up to scratch.

Did you always want to be a writer?
I did, though sadly since people don’t advertise “author” as a job. It’s something I’ve had to do alongside building up a career so I can actually eat!

You’ve written a series of books, the first one called ‘Kept’. All four novels have quite intriguing titles, may I ask how that come about?
Originally Kept was titled The Ramblings of an Unemployed Graduate (I called it TROG for short), then Pipe Dreams and Professions (which was my old blog’s title), before I realised that less is more and Kept was a far better title. “Kept”, “Lost” and “Found” are the perfect words to describe each book in one word.

I must admit, I haven’t had the chance to read the previous books in the series yet. So I am going to be annoying and read the most recent one first. What advice would you give your readers for reading your books out of ‘sync’ as it were? Are you secretly cursing me for that?
I am! And I implore you to read them in order. As I mentioned above, Found follows directly on from Lost, so for you to get the most enjoyment out of Found, it’s worth knowing why Arielle was “Lost” to begin with! You’re going to get confused if you read Found first, and you won’t enjoy it as much. (Ask the lovely Ana from This Chick Reads, she read Found first and wishes she had read Lost, at the very least, first!)

The last book in the series ‘Found’ is out right now, could you tell us a little bit about the book?
Found is the final (*coughs*) book in the Arielle Lockley series and it’s set in New York City, which was such a treat to write. You’re going to find out why Piers let Arielle be a kept woman for so long, what’s troubling Ob, and also discover if Etta and Arielle manage to put their differences aside… There are weddings galore to look forward to – yes, multiple weddings! – and some old characters will make an appearance.

If you could choose any book already written, to claim as your own (just to clarify, we aren’t stealing. DREAMWORLD), which one would it be and why?
Has to be the Harry Potter books, doesn’t it? Though that amount of success… mightily scary! To touch that many people with my words would be amazing though.

What were your favourite books to read as a child? I’m assuming you were a bookworm, please don’t insult me by saying that you weren’t ;).
Books? What are they? Ha, of course I was, and I was such a bookworm that even though children were only allowed to borrow three books from the library, I was allowed to take out five because I read so quickly. When I wasn’t taking books out from the library, I was spending my pocket money on books. (Of course!)My favourites included The Baby-Sitters’ Club, Goosebumps, the Sweet Valley books, the Anastasia Krupnik books, Roald Dahl’s books, Enid Blyton’s books (especially Malory Towers and the Famous Five series), and when I was really little I loved Puddle Lane and also Richard Scarry’s books. Oh, and The Chronicles of Narnia!
(TWG: Elle, you’re the first interviewee that hasn’t said The Magic Faraway Tree! Care to explain why not, HMPH!!)

I have noticed on your social media that you seem to have a slight addiction, with the library. Libraries are in need of a lot of support just now, you’re definitely helping, but, if you had a magic wand, how could you make more people step foot into a library?
I think addiction is putting it strongly! Nah, libraries are marvellous places and such an amazing thing when you think about it. Someone is letting you take out books for free and through them you’re being entertained and transported into different worlds. For free!! I would set us a scheme where people get an afternoon off work each week, but they have to spend it in the library reading (not necessarily work-related books either!). Do you think that would work?

I am going to put you on the spot, TWG LOVES exclusives. Can you give me an exclusive today? What are you working on right now? What else can we look forward to from the glorious Elle Field? Tell me allllll!
I’m writing a book that’s set in Brixton, and follows the story of Audrey Huckle, who is the polar opposite to Arielle (fashionista, previously a “kept” woman) and Geli (fluffy newspaper columnist). She’s very down-to- earth, but she’s also a little *too* trusting… and that’s why her calamities begin! We’ll forgive her for being an estate agent. I’m also writing a YA dystopian novel, though that wouldn’t be released as a glorious Elle Field book… Ooooh, do I have more than one pen name? I’ll never tell! 😉

Thank you so much Elle!
No, thank you for having me on The Writing Garnet today! 😀

I must admit, I was in hysterics hearing Elle’s answers! This is what I love about my job (can I call it that?!), being able to have a laugh in an interview. Brilliant.

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Blurb.

“How did people even come up with the idea of these dizzying skyscrapers, let alone work out how to make them possible? Whoever built the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building, their legacy will live on forever. What sort of a difference will I ever make?”
Who knew one flight could change everything? When Arielle Lockley stepped on the plane at Heathrow, she never realised how different her life would be when she touched down in New York City. Now she’s dealing with that aftermath, as well as trying to find common ground with Etta, her new and unexpected business partner.

But, trying to sort out business in London whilst her fiancé, Piers, recovers from surgery in New York, is starting to take its toll on their relationship. Can Arielle and Etta work together to continue Felicity’s legacy without destroying it, and will Arielle and Piers even make it down the aisle to say “I do”?
Find out whether Arielle gets her happily ever after in the final part of the warm and wonderful Arielle Lockley series.

If you like the sound of that, Elle is running a giveaway to celebrate the release of her book. To enter click —>a Rafflecopter giveaway<—

Where to buy:
Amazon UK
Amazon US
Add to Goodreads

Elle’s Social Media Links
Browse/buy Elle’s Book Catalogue
Website
Twitter
Facebook

Author Q & A with Aimee Horton as well as her re-launch and re-brand!

Book Tour

I’m so excited to bring you the ReLaunch and ReBrand of Aimee Horton’s ‘The Perfect Disaster Series’
Velvet Morning Press has recently ReLaunched these books with the fabulous covers below! As soon as I received the e-mail from HCL Book Tours and saw the catchy covers, I just had to be involved somehow. Surely you know TWG by now, a sucker for a cover, and these do not disappoint! The blurbs aren’t half bad either ;). Not only is there a re-launch, Aimee Horton answered five questions for us here at TWG. I hope you enjoy, and thank you Aimee for answering them!

The cover links may take you to the US Amazon, so for those in the UK that wish to get their hands on a copy, you can do so via this link: Aimee Horton – Amazon UK

I LOVE these new covers!! I can’t wait to read these!!

(To find out more about each book, click on the covers)

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Perfect Mishap
Blurb:

A hilarious and honest British mom’s madcap adventures in suburbia, from Amazon UK bestselling author Aimee Horton!

Dottie Harris has a knack for stumbling into chaotic situations, gin & tonic in hand. When Dottie and Henry Harris move to their new house, Dottie’s only desire is to make friends in the neighbourhood. But Dottie, just home from delivering her third child, is struggling to adjust to village life. Recently promoted Henry travels a lot, and the neighbours aren’t very welcoming (although that could be because when Dottie first met them, she had dyed her children green).

So when Dottie accidentally hears her neighbours’ conversations over her baby monitor, she can’t help but use the sneaky information in her quest to build new friendships.

Of course, eavesdropping never ends well, and when Dottie discovers that two of her neighbours are having an affair, she’s horrified. Worse still, the locals are convinced she’s the one who’s doing the cheating. It’s up to Dottie to clear her name and uncover (and expose) the real cheat—in her signature haphazard way!

A humorous blend between chick lit and cozy mystery, this funny novel will have you laughing along with gin-drinking amateur sleuth Dottie!

Previously published as Mothers Ruined

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Perfect Mayhem

Blurb:

Bridget Jones’s Diary meets The Nanny Diaries in this Amazon UK Best Seller!

The only thing Dottie Harris loves more than her gin & tonic is her family. Most of the time.

From her hapless-but-well-meaning husband to her two energetic bundles of joy, Dottie certainly has her hands full. And she’s tired. So tired.

With quips like “How do sleeping babies know the minute you sit down?” this modern-day diary will have you laughing—when you’re not crying with empathy, that is!

Dottie tells it like it is: the good, the bad, and the eternal piles of dirty laundry.

If you’re looking for chick lit packed with parenting humor, or simply want to know you’re not the only one having trouble parenting newborns and toddlers, this book about the ups and downs of parenthood is for you! It’s a motherhood manifesto, social media style!

Previously published as Survival of the Ginnest.

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Perfect Christmas
Blurb:

A hilarious Christmas novella from Amazon UK bestselling author Aimee Horton!

“Cooking for nineteen people will be a cinch!”

Ever-optimistic Dottie Harris is preparing for the biggest and best Christmas celebration ever, and nothing—not even unexpected guests or running out of gin—will get her down.

But as always, things don’t run smoothly for Dottie, and it’s not long before her two energetic children, hapless husband and a nasty stomach bug wreak havoc on her carefully planned spreadsheets.

Can Dottie throw the perfect family Christmas (without so much as a swig of gin to help her through) or will preparing for the festivities get the best of her? One thing’s for sure: This will be a Christmas to remember!

A humorous Christmas novella, perfect if you’re looking for a funny read for the Christmas season, or want to get in the Christmas spirit. Or you can spread some Christmas cheer and give it as a Christmas gift!

Previously published as Survival of the Christmas Spirit.

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Perfect Mix-Up

Blurb:

Find out just how British Dottie is…

Dottie Harris is as British as they come, which is exactly what endears her to us. But when her pregnant American cousin comes for a visit, Dottie is a frazzled disaster who can’t seem to overcome the language barrier.

Perfect Mix-Up is a funny look at parenting from both sides of the pond, and the surprising number of confusing language differences that entails.

If you’d like to try the ebook before you buy, it’s free if you join Aimee’s mailing list: http://bit.ly/aimee-gin-news

Previously published as Lush in Translation.

TWG’s Q & A with Aimee Horton.

TWG – What made you decide to start writing books?

I¹ve always loved writing, and as a child I used to write loads of
stories, then as I got older my confidence dwindled. It was only after I
had my second child that I saw it as an actual possibility again.

TWG – If you weren’t an author, what could you see yourself doing instead?
Superhero?

Ha, I’d be an awful superhero – I¹m far too tired! I genuinely struggle to
think of an alternative, personal shopper maybe?! I love helping my friends
choose clothes to suit them.

TWG – What was your favourite book as a child?

Ooh there were a few, Huff the Hedgehog, Goodnight Moon, The Owl Who was
afraid of the dark were huge favourites. But I think the TOP TOP TOP
books, anything by Enid Blyton, I just LOVE her. OH AND JUDY BLUME!

TWG – What was your inspiration behind your books? Did you find them
difficult to write?

My real life is inspiration for The Perfect Disaster Series. Being a mum
was a lot harder than I realised, and I also realised I was often a lot
more honest about it than other people! I loved writing the books, they
were enjoyable and almost therapeutic. The next few books I¹m writing are
slightly different, and more just ideas I¹ve had from people watching or
reading the news/social media.

TWG – If you could choose any book by another author, that you would become
the author of instead, which one would you choose and why?

Ooohhh! That¹s tricky!! There are so many good books out there right now,
but I think Amanda Jennings IN HER WAKE – it¹s just fabulous, so clever,
emotive, and addictive.

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Aimee Horton

Bio:

Aimee is from Lincoln, England, where she enjoys drinking gin and spending time with her family (and she won’t tell you which of those she prefers doing). As a child, one of her favourite parts of the summer holidays was to devour all the books in a little book shop in Devon. She continued reading at lightning speed right up until having children. She now reads with eyes propped open by match sticks.

Find her here:

http://passthegin.co.uk/
GoodReads
Twitter
Facebook

Check out the rest of the #BookTour

July 18th

On My Bookshelf – Author Guest Post
Novelgossip – Book Promo/Excerpt
Hello Chick Lit – Book Promo

July 19th

Sylv all about books and films – Book Excerpt
He Said Books or Me – Author Guest Post

July 20th

Jenna Books – Book Promo/Excerpt
Judging More Than Just The Cover – Author Q&A
Sweet Little Pretties – Book Promo/Excerpt

July 21st

The Writing Garnet – Author Q&A
Book Lover in Florida – Book Promo/Excerpt

July 22nd

One Book At A Time – Promo Post
Dreaming With Open Eyes – Author Q&A
These Words: A Blog – Author Guest Post
Grass Monster – Book Review (Amazon)

BookTour arranged by HCL Book Tours & Author Services
(now taking clients and book for late summer/early fall)
HCL Book Tours Logo (2)

Rachel Strong is ‘That Girl’ as TWG puts her under the spotlight!

Whilst reading ‘That Girl’ by Rachel Strong, I found that I was beginning to get a lot of questions in my mind about the story. Hands up who has read the book yet? No? Here is my book review of Rachel’s book if you haven’t: #Bookreview of ‘That Girl’ by Rachel Strong – Blog Tour.
For those that have already read the book, if you’re anything like me in terms of dissecting a story and want to know EVERYTHING, then you’re going to love this post today. TWG has managed to have a chat with Rachel about her latest book where she has answered a few of my questions regarding it. Don’t worry though, there are no spoilers within the answers, you’re safe ;), I’m not that mean!
I hope you enjoy!

TWG: Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer a few questions!
Thank you for having me, I’m so excited!

TWG: Some of TWG’s readers may not be too familiar with your name; could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Well, I’m Rachel, I’m married to the lovely Greg and we have three gorgeous children. I’m also the author of Complicated Love and I have just released my second book That Girl.

TWG: Now, because this is your first interview with TWG, I’m going to ease you in gently! Which would you choose?

Pasta or potatoes?
Pasta

Chocolate or crisps?
Chocolate

Black or white?
Black

Lions or leopards?
Lions – love them!

Tesco or Asda?
Asda – I go at least once a day!

Family guy or Friends?
FRIENDS!!!!!!!!! I’m a big Friends fan, I recite the dialogue as I watch it, I drive my husband crackers.

James or Katie?
Oooohhh what a question! But I’m going to say James. Despite doing what he did, James is a good guy, he got himself in quite a pickle and things spiralled out of control, he was just desperate to make things right and be a good dad. Whilst writing That Girl, I just felt so sorry for James, yes he did something awful – but Katie was very deceitful. 

TWG: What were your favourite books to read as a child?
I loved The Faraway Tree – being able to escape to some magical land always appealed to me and Moon Face was my favourite character. I also loved Matilda.

If you could choose any superpower, which would it be and why?
To be invisible, so that I could see what my kids are up to when I catch them with that guilty look on their faces, especially my eldest.

TWG: Congratulations on your newest book ‘That Girl’, how on Earth did you get the inspiration for that particular story?
Aw, thank you so much. The idea came to me a few years ago when I was writing my first book, Complicated Love, I kind of briefly touched on the subject there and then there was a big story in the news about this very thing and I just thought, that would make such a good story line for a book. I must admit, with it being such a delicate matter, I was nervous to write about it, but I couldn’t not, and I’m so proud of how the story unfolded. When my husband read the first draft, he just sat there and said ‘wow!’ He read the last couple of chapters on a plane, flying home from Germany with his boss, and he told me he just completely lost it and sat there and cried like a baby.

TWG: Did you feel as though you may have helped any readers that were going through similar things, as you wrote the story?
I like to think I have, this was what I have been most scared of, not getting it right and offending anyone that has been through what happened to Katie.

TWG: How long did ‘That Girl’ take you to write?
The first draft took me about a year, I kept leaving it and coming back to it because I got so involved in the story and it was emotional. Plus, with three kids, finding the time to sit down and write can be difficult.

TWG: Throughout the book, several big decisions had to be made. How did you reach the decision to write which path certain characters took?
A lot of the time I just kind of went with the flow. Just lately, I have started planning out my stories, but with That Girl I just let things happen and unfold without really planning ahead. Though I knew how I wanted it to end, before I even finished the first chapter. With some of the characters, I put myself in their shoes. For instance, Katie’s parents. As a mother to a daughter, I made myself think about how I would feel and the protectiveness came out. But by the end, my attitude kind of changed because as a parent all you want is your child to be happy.

TWG: Do you think that many readers will side with your choice of how the events unfolded, or do you think readers may disagree?
I have had very mixed reactions, some have come back to me and said, ‘wow, I couldn’t have been so forgiving,’ quite passionately. And then others have been like, ‘well, I can see where they’re coming from’. This is what I love about being a writer, the difference of opinion on my characters, it’s very entertaining.

TWG: Some of the characters in the story have very complex personalities, yet others were the complete opposite. How difficult was it to switch between the characters and their diversity?
When I start writing a new story, I always have an idea of what kind of personalities my characters are going to have and so I get them fixed in my head and spend a lot of time thinking about each of them and how I want to them to be.

TWG: Because ‘That Girl’ has such a harrowing storyline, how did you manage to get the facts so realistic?
Aw, thank you! A lot of research! Google is a wonderful tool. I really don’t know what I would do without it!

TWG: Katie is someone who I found, how shall I say this, rather tricky. Did you write her like that because of her age or because you knew she would be a bit ‘marmite’? Both. Katie is very young and immature so I didn’t want her to come across older for her years. She reeled James in, in a very manipulative way, and I wanted the readers to have a love/hate relationship with her, but then I wanted them feel everything with her at the end.

TWG: Speaking of marmite, do you like marmite?
I have never tried it – not sure I want to either (ha ha)

TWG: It takes a lot of strength to be able to write about a situation with such emotion, could you tell us how you truly felt whilst writing ‘That Girl’?
Writing That Girl really took it out of me, I think I went through everything with James and Katie. Writing the end was so un-believably hard, I just couldn’t keep it together long enough to get my words down and it took me over a week. When it was done, I sat there and had a big cry.

TWG: Could you give TWG any exclusives? Is there a new book in the pipeline? What is in store for you going forward?
I can! I have just finished the sequel to my first book, Complicated Love –  Coming Home. It’s now just a case of editing, editing – oh and editing! Not my favourite process, but I’m hoping for a release date of early next year.  I have just started planning out my fourth book, another delicate subject to write about, but something that is happening to a lot of people in the world right now and a subject pretty close to my heart.

TWG: Thank you again for answering my interrogation, and congratulations on the book!
No, thank you for having me – it’s been fun!

TWG got an exclusive!! How brilliant is that! More books to come from Rachel Strong with yet another delicate subject, I must say I am incredibly intrigued! Thank you again to Rachel for answering my questions! Although I do have one more for you Rachel; which land is your favourite from The Magic Faraway Tree?!?

It’s quite clear that ‘That Girl’ will divide readers with their opinions on the situation. If you have read the book, do let Rachel know what you think of it via Amazon/GoodReads! A review goes a long way!
If you wish toy the book or her first one, seeing as there is a sequel coming out for it 😉 then pop along to Amazon via HERE, and grab yourself a treat…or two!

It may be Liz Tipping’s publication day, but she wants to spend it talking to TWG!!

DON’T YOUUU, FORGET ABOUT MEEEE, DON’T DON’T DON’T!
Why is it that I tend to sing or dance or speak about cakes, whenever I blog? Hmmmm! I wonder!
TWG would like to say a MASSIVE congratulations to Liz Tipping as today her novel ‘Don’t you forget about me’ is released for you to buy! I pre-ordered my copy and it pinged straight onto my kindle first thing this morning, felt like Christmas! I must say, I’m incredibly surprised that Liz isn’t having a bath in champagne tonight as she is here talking to me! I asked her some rather exciting questions to find out what made her tick, here’s what she said:
(Oh, and Liz? I totally want my million bonus points on a picture…for my blog…don’t you forget about me now 😉 )

TWG: Banana’s or strawberries?
After much deliberation I am going with strawberries because you cant make jam out of bananas.

TWG: Heels or flats?
Flats- I only own one pair of shoes and I’m always in trainers.

TWG: Giraffes or koalas?
Love both, but I saw a giraffe at Dudley Zoo and they are so beautiful!

TWG: Left or right?
Right!

TWG: The Breakfast Club or Breakfast At Tiffany’s?
Has to be The Breakfast Club. I love that film so much! That ending!

Next – would you?

TWG: Would you run around a supermarket in your PJ’s singing ‘don’t you forget about me?’
Probably not even though I do find myself singing sometimes in the supermarket!

TWG: Would you prank a significant other because your best friend told you to?
No, I’d do it myself anyway without prompting

TWG: Would you arrange a surprise party for someone that disliked surprises?
Ha ha, no I wouldn’t. I’m not too keen on parties myself, they’re too much like enforced fun.

General.

TWG: If you could become any animal, what would you become and why?
A bird so I could soar high above the world – and you know, also poop on my enemies

TWG: Name the superpower you would love to have, and why.

A bot of telekinesis wouldn’t go amiss. Very handy for all those times when you went into the kitchen for something and returned to the couch and got all comfy. You could just summon your KitKat without having to go back and fetch it

TWG: What is the weirdest or most unusual thing that you have done in a dare?
I don’t think I have done anything like that. I mustn’t be very daring.

Book time!

TWG: Some people might not get what your book links to in terms of the title (do I get bonus points for saying that I did?!). For those that didn’t, what was your inspiration behind your book?

Yes! A million bonus points are herby awarded to you. My latest novel is influenced by the films of the late, great John Hughes. In the 1980s John Hughes directed some of the most memorable teen movies of our time including my favourites The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink and Some Kind of Wonderful.
Like Andie in Pretty in Pink, Cara is from “the wrong side of the tracks” and feels like she doesn’t quite fit in so she is on a mission to find her thing. Like the characters in The Breakfast Club, she wonders if she is an athlete, a princess, a brain, a criminal or a basket case and attempts to discover if any of these could apply to her.

TWG: If you could sum up your book in 5 words, what would they be?
Funny, nostalgic, quirky, romantic and summery.

TWG: Were there any characters in your book that you found yourself disliking?
There are a few, but I changed my mind about them as the book went on.

TWG: How long did ‘Don’t you forget about me’ take to write?
I wrote the first draft in a month as part of Nanowrimoo- National Novel Writing month, but then spent a good while rewriting it.

TWG: Was your book based on yourself or anyone else in particular?
No, not really, but I did work in a video library like Cara does and a lot of the things the customers say to her are things that have been said to me.

TWG: What is your writing process like? Do you plan first? Need to write in quiet?
Yes, I like to plan , I love to know exactly what is going to happen apart from the last couple of chapters which I decided on as I write the book. Sometimes I am surprised by the ending!

TWG: Have you got any exclusives that you can tell us? When a next book is coming out (after this one)? Tell us what is in store for you next!
I haven’t got any plans just at the moment for a new one, just a few scribbles really. I’ll be sure to let you know when I have concrete plans in place.

About Liz Tipping.

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As well as reading and writing novels, and blogging, I enjoy watching John Hughes films and science fiction box sets. I also love reality television, Irish sausages and ginger beer. I love camping, glamping , polka dots,  adventures to the seaside and having a natter on twitter. I live with my husband and our beagle, Mary.

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About the book – Don’t you forget about me.
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Buy ‘Don’t you forget about me’ from Amazon

Cara Dunham is definitely one of them. But stuck in her small hometown, with no prospects of escape, she’s struggling to find her thing. Her life is more book club than Breakfast Club and there is no Judd Nelson in sight!
So when Cara is invited to a school reunion she knows this is her chance to channel her inner Molly Ringwald and grab her John Hughes moment, once and for all. Because her teenage love, Daniel Rose will be there, the coolest boy at school and the one that got away. But transforming into an 80’s icon isn’t easy and Cara enlists the help of her oldest friend, Stubbs, to teach her all she needs to know about being cool and quirky – a la Ringwald.
Except Stubbs thinks she’s perfect, just as she is and takes it upon himself to show Cara that her life might not be ‘movie perfect’, but there is always another take to get things right. And maybe the hero she’s dreamed of has been under her nose the whole time…’

 

TWG speaks to Natalie Page before her next ‘Zak & Jen’ adventure!

planet

Before Natalie decided to use Zak’s umbrella to go on her own adventure, I nabbed her for a chat to find out why she chose to write a children’s book! Here’s what she said:

TWG: What made you decide to write a children’s book instead of an adults?
I love reading to my daughter, which is probably what inspired me most to write children’s
literature. I also have a niece, nephew and two godsons so there are a lot of wonderful children in my life! I love the freedom of writing for children, you can allow your
imagination to wander completely off the grid and it doesn’t matter. I remember how I
used to feel reading when I was growing up, that sense of awe and excitement. Being so
eager to see what happened next that I didn’t want to go to bed until the book was
finished. I would love to inspire that feeling in others.
TWG: Did you have any inspiration behind your debut book?
The debut book was the result of fantastic source material. Chris had been an artist for
some time and often painted these slightly unique characters against beautiful night sky
backdrops. One day I called him and asked if I could write a story about them. I talked him
through some of my ideas and then sent him a first draft, thankfully he was completely on
board! The paintings already had quite an art following and so many people seemed to
love the idea of them being a children’s series.
TWG: Did you set out for the book to have a hidden message in it, or is that just me finding one?
Depends on what you think the message was! What has been so nice is watching how
other people and their children interpret the book. There is an obvious message about
appreciating what you have, and also the fact that you have the power to change things if
you are unhappy. However those that have read it so far have found strong messages
about preserving the environment, and accepting people for who they are and not what
they look like. The characters don’t have a traditional children’s literature look and feel
and I think that is one of the key things that makes this book unique.
TWG: Is your plan to continue writing children’s books or do you think you will write an adult’s book later on?
Interestingly the first book I finished was a Young Adult novel which I am still trying to edit (amidst everything else!). Because it is YA, the subject matter is much darker and grittier, and I was keen to have a very strong female lead character. However, I love writing books for young children, it is so wonderful to see the enjoyment they get from them. As for adult fiction, I am not against writing for adults at all! Although, I tend to follow my
inspiration when it comes to writing, if I come up with a great idea for an adult book I will
definitely do what I can to write it!
TWG: What was your favourite book when you were a child?
I was an avid reader as a child so I had lots of favourite books. However, when I was very
young my favourite, without question, was the Faraway Tree series by Enid Blyton. I loved
being able to escape into a world of pure magic. Generally that is what I love most about
reading and writing, the escapism.
TWG: Did your experiences of reading as a child, influence your book writing now?
Absolutely. If I hadn’t been such a bookworm as a child, I would never have enjoyed
writing so much as a child and I doubt I would enjoy it as much now. Being able to write
stories takes me back to when I was a young and the way writing made me feel then.
TWG: If you had your own planet like Jen and Zak, what would you have on it, or what would your view be?
That is a tough one! I would want so many things! One of my greatest loves (and places of
inspiration) is sitting and looking at the ocean. It is one of the few places that I feel totally
at peace. I once saw a picture of a beach somewhere in the world where the water had
florescent plankton in it, so at night the water glowed and sparkled. I imagine my ocean
would look a bit like that. I also adore flowers and trees. Cherry blossom is one of my
favourites, which is why it appears in the book. However, I also love peonies and magnolia
trees (especially the purple ones). Overall, I think I would have a sparkling ocean with a
white sandy beach and then hundreds of flowers and blossom trees – maybe some with
unusually coloured flowers, like gold!
TWG: If you could choose any fantasy land or world from another children’s book, to disappear into yourself, which one would it be, and why?
Again, another great question – especially for a lover of fantasy fiction like me. I think it
would probably be Narnia (although Fantasia from the Neverending Story would be a
close second). I grew up reading the Narnia series and quite honestly, I always thought it
would be amazing to live at castle Cair Paravel! Oh, and who wouldn’t want to hang out
with Aslan?
TWG: I know you have plans for a second book, but what’s in store for you after that? What can we look forward to?
We have lots of exciting things that we are exploring for this first book, as well as working
on plans for a second and third book! I can’t reveal too much right now, but it seems that
people are very anxious to see more of these characters so we are looking at innovative
ways we can do that!

How exciting! That’s another person that enjoyed The Magic Faraway tree as a child, although I am yet to find someone that still reads it as an adult…except me of course! Big thank you to Natalie for stopping by for a chat, and a huge congratulations to Natalie & Chris for such a wonderful book.

I was lucky enough to get a copy of the book before it was released, here’s what I thought about it: TWG is going on an adventure to ‘The Petal Planet’ with Zak & Jen!

If you wish to buy your own copy of this magical book, follow this link right here: Buy Zak & Jen from Amazon

I cannot wait to see more from Zak & Jen and what they get up to next!

TWG speaks to Lily Graham on the publication day for Summer Escape. OUT NOW!!

♥HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY!!!

If you haven’t guessed already, today is the day that Lily Graham’s latest book ‘The Summer Escape’ released! It is available for all of you lovely readers to go onto Amazon and get your hands on a copy.
‘Why?’ I hear you shout. Well, click —-> The Summer Escape – Book Review <—- to find my honest opinion on the book. It honestly is a book you do not want to miss out on, especially if you’re going on holiday because it’s an ideal summer book!
To order your copy (available in E-book and paperback): Buy ‘The Summer Escape’ on Amazon UK.

Lily is an exceptionally busy lady, (especially given the fact she is currently writing her next book as we speak), I was very honoured when she agreed to sit and have a chat with me about writing, books….oh, and The Magic Faraway Tree, obviously!

TWG: Could you tell us a bit about yourself before you started writing, and how you came to decide to start writing your first novel?

Sure, I’ve been a journalist for about ten years, and before that I studied literature. Reading and writing have always been a part of me. At around age nine, when I discovered that books were written by actual people, I made a pact that I would do that one day. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my time, twenty plus years later – I still can’t. My first complete novel though was due to my best friend. She’d been reading all of my half-finished manuscripts for years and set me a challenge to finish one. Which I did. That became An Invincible Summer, which has now been republished as The Summer Escape. None of it wouldn’t have happened if she hadn’t of put her rather gentle foot down.

TWG: Ria has such a tough career to begin with. I am trying to approach this delicately, but why did you choose that as her first career? Wasn’t that quite difficult for you to write?

I wanted to give her a job that she would want to run away from, one that tested the very heart of her, but also brought out the best in her as well. It was a great way of showing her heart, and her courage from the start, and how if used well, it could lead to incredible things. I started off thinking: what would be the worst job you could have if you’d lost two of the people closest to you.

TWG: In your novel ‘The Summer Escape’, you have given such an incredibly detailed description of Crete and the bakeries. Have you ever been there? If so, how similar are your descriptions to the actual place?

Yes, I have. Though I would have loved a year there like Ria. My village Ouranó, which means heaven is a fictional blend of a few places I visited in Chania. I wanted to create a place that blended vineyards with olive groves and the sea.

TWG: As a reader, you are quite sheltered from Ria’s past for a majority of the story, just like those she comes to meet. How intentional was that? Did you feel that Ria needed to trust the readers as much as the strangers she meets, before she told her story?

That’s a great question. I think it’s a bit of both, the reader is getting to know Ria, like they would a friend, and most people take a while to reveal what is in their hearts. Also, in many ways Ria’s only coping mechanism has been to not deal with anything. She’s been living in a form of denial for years, stuck in limbo. It’s only when she changes her circumstances is she able to open up, even to herself.

TWG: Were any of your characters or situations based on people you know?

Very loosely. I know a fabulous travel blogger who served as the inspiration for Caroline in some ways, Joanna Lumley was also a bit of the inspiration – love her. The rest were pretty much from my imagination. Parts of Ria are also inspired by my best-friend, Catherine.

TWG: Poor Ria gets herself into a pickle once or twice throughout the novel, did you ever feel sorry for her when you were writing her actions and personality?

Oh definitely! But it was fun to see her work her way out of them. Often she ended up surprising me with her resourcefulness, and her confrontational attitude. What I loved about her character was how strong she was, despite everything she’d been through.

TWG: Halfway into the story, Ria and the readers find themselves playing detective, it does make you think! You wrote it very cleverly. Once again, the detail and realistic take on the scenario is mind-blowing, that must have taken a lot of research on your part to ensure you were on point with everything surely?

Thanks so much. Yes – that was my favourite part. A lot of the book is actually a detective story and you are unlocking the clues with Ria. It was fun to work them all out. I had such a lucky boon though when a defence attorney friend beta read the book and said that it all sounded plausible, which made my year. The hardest part is when you change something, then you have to go back and change it everywhere and make sure it all works out like dates, evidence etc.

TWG: Did you dislike any of your characters in your book?

Not really. The baddies were fun to write. Tony, Tom’s brother for instance, has some really great lines, as does Chief Inspector Mino who is simply awful. Writing those scenes were oddly satisfying, mainly because it really tests Ria’s wit and I love how sarcastic and real she could become.

TWG: This is unrelated, sorry, but I must ask this one. I know one of your favourite books is The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton. Anyone that knows me will be well aware that I LOVE that book and I get super excited by a certain land, burning question, which is your favourite land that appears at the top of the tree and why?

I think my favourite part has always been the tree itself. I still want to visit Moonface and Silky and take a slide down the slippery slip! But favourite land, I think it must be the land of spells. I love anything to do with magic. Now you have to tell us yours!!
TWG: My favourite land is the Land of Goodies! Or the Land of Presents haha.

TWG: Lastly, what is next for you for the rest of 2016 and onwards? What exciting things can we look forward to?

Towards September, my second book, will be released. It was previously published as a novella called The Postcard, and has now been turned into a full length novel, it’s a magical tale about the power of a mother’s love.

Thank you again to the lovely Lily for making time for The Writing Garnet! Really looking forward to her next book, also rather impatient though! After you have read The Summer Escape, pretty please do leave a review on Amazon/Goodreads, not only are you giving your thoughts (constructive), you’re also supporting the author and their work! Plus, when you get a good book to read like this one, two seconds to leave a review is nothing really is it? 😉