It’s publication day for Melody Bittersweet and Kitty French answers five of TWG’s questions!

melody
Banner created by publishers Bookouture.

HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY KITTY FRENCH!!!!!

I am bouncing around the room with excitement, pretty similar to a toddler that has had sugar, yet I didn’t even write this book! You may have seen me mention this book once or twice. Missed it? Here’s a recap!
First of all I wrote a review for this fantastic book which can be found here: Book review of ‘Melody Bittersweet and The Girls Ghostbusting Agency’ by Kitty French.
Then, Kitty French’s book became TWG’s Book of the month for June:
It’s time to reveal TWG’s Book of the Month – June!!
TWG's BOTM

As it is Kitty’s day to celebrate this magnificant book, her publishers Bookouture – Kim Nash, allowed me five questions to ask Kitty. Now, I like to delve into the nitty gritty when I write questions for authors, so choosing just five was quite difficult!
Want to see what I asked? Of course you do!

TWG asks…Kitty French!
TWG: Kitty, how did you find the inspiration to create such a multi-dimensional character as Melody?
Unusually for me, Melody strolled into my head almost fully formed, complete with her name! I generally have to work quite hard to world build, but Melody and Co felt very real and vivid in my head from day one. Does that sound a bit weird? I feel like I know them really well and enjoy spending time with them, which I hope comes over on the page.

TWG: A lot of people may not believe in ghosts, nor have come across them. Why did you choose the subject of talking to and seeing ghosts? Was it a difficult topic to research?
Without wishing to sound like a cop out, again, Melody came to me with all of her quirks and foibles, so I had little choice but to write my first paranormal! I did research things to a degree, but I was also mindful that I wanted to keep the story as original as I could and for Melody and the other Bittersweet’s to have their own unique approach to all things ghostly. I found it quite daunting to get going, but once I’d established their basic world rules it became easier.

TWG: I have to ask, Parsnip, why didn’t you call the dog that? I was rather hopeful!!
Ah, Parsnip Bittersweet, or indeed Butternut Bittersweet! I did consider it, but Lestat just seemed perfect for that pesky pug – I’d read through hundreds of potential names for him and Lestat just made me laugh out loud in my office. He’s definitely one of my favourite characters in the book. 

TWG: Seeing as it’s the ‘Girls Ghostbusting Agency’, why was there a male employee? Not being sexist obviously, but it was a girls business ;).
Well, I can say this much – I hadn’t seen the trailer for the Ghostbuster’s movie at the time, and Artie is definitely no Chris Hemsworth! I just find his character so incredibly endearing, I’m not sure the dynamic would have worked quite as well if he’d been female. I know what you mean though about him being male. Let’s file it under artistic license. 🙂

TWG: I am going to be cheeky, what can we look forward to in terms of Melody? Aka, when will there be the next one?!?!?!
I’m writing the second book in the Melody Bittersweet series at the moment, and I can confirm that it’s every bit as crazy as book one! Expect a ghost circus, a lion tamer and his lion, a castle and a nun. Beyond that my lips are sealed!

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely cannot wait for the second book of the series. Going by what Kitty said in the last question, we are in for a treat yet again!

To nab your very own copy of ‘Melody Bittersweet and the Girls Ghostbusting Agency’ right NOW, click this link —>HERE<—. Oh and by the way, good ol’ life may try to distract you whilst you read the book, but don’t let it, you need to finish the book as soon as. I mean, why wait?

Huge congratulations again to Kitty French on her publication day, I hope you have an absolutely fantastic day. Also I would like to say congratulations to Bookouture for releasing yet another fantastic book!

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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!

An interview with…..Portia Macintosh!

Good evening! It is double whammy night here at The Writing Garnet to celebrate Portia Macintosh’s publication day of ‘Truth or date?’. It is available to buy right now over on Amazon —> Truth or date?. Portia has written several other novels such as ‘Drive me crazy’ and ‘Bad Bridesmaid’. All of her books can be found right….HERE!

If you’re just joining us tonight, this is the second blog of our double whammy, so if you haven’t already taken a look at the book review of this novel, go looksee before reading this interview! It’ll make more sense that way. Our book review can be found here: Book Review – Truth or Date?

You know the saying ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’, yes? Well, that applies right here. I was convinced that Portia wouldn’t be able to spare any time today for a chat, so I was very pleased she said yes! It is with great pleasure I welcome to The Writing Garnet….Portia Macintosh!

Kaisha – Hi Portia, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to me! I want to start off by saying congratulations to you today as it is the publication day for your new book ‘Truth or Date?’! How nervous are you for this book to be released compared to your other releases?

Thank you so much! It’s my pleasure to talk to you – all about myself haha. I feel daft admitting it, but I’m kind of nervous this time. This is my fifth book, you’d think I’d be used to it, but there’s something about this one… It’s possibly the most influenced by my real life, so there’s a degree of: ‘if people think this is dumb, do people think I’m dumb? Am I dumb? I’m probably dumb…’ I have to admit, when I got my first few reviews and they were all good, I breathed the ultimate sigh of relief. Like: ‘as you were, Portia.’ 

Kaisha – For those that aren’t aware of your work (yet), could you tell us about yourself and how you came to be a writer?

In some ways my journey was pretty typical – another journalist turned author – but I started out writing books as a way to anonymously tell my stories from my time touring with bands. I fast realised that I loved writing fiction, even more than I loved writing about music. Since I signed with Carina UK, I’ve never looked back. 

Kaisha – You have had several books published before ‘Truth or Date?’ what makes this novel different from your previous ones?

Well, like I said before, I think this one is the most influenced by my real life. I spent last year playing the dating game, being set up by friends, using every app I could feasibly download considering I eternally have the ‘storage almost full’ message on my iPhone – and I gathered enough information to fill fifty books. From the good, to the bad, to the just plain ugly, it’s nice to take real stuff and put it to good use. 

Kaisha – The main character in your book, Ruby, seems the type of person that a lot of readers may relate to in terms of unlucky in love, and her attitude towards dating. Is Ruby based on anyone that you know? If not, how did you come about creating such a ‘totally me’ personality in her?

I’m Ruby. My friends are Ruby. Everyone who has ever been messed around by a man is Ruby. The poor girl has been through a lot – an absolute barrage of rubbish men – but I wanted to show people what we girls go through in our quest to find true love. I want my readers to follow Ruby’s story and think: ‘thank God, it’s not just me!’ – because at some point we’re all in the same sinking boat, waiting for a sexy lifeguard to save us from a sea of dating misery haha. 

Kaisha – Millsy, Ruby’s best friend, is such an immature player which you have written brilliantly. However, he seems the ‘annoying best friend’, did you find yourself wanting to tell him to grow up when you were writing him?

Millsy is a blatant swipe at all of my immature male friends who think they are LADs. Not a bad person, but with his priorities all wrong. I have lots of friends like Millsy, I’ve been on dates with guys like Millsy – and they’re charming, funny, and an absolute blast to be around, but at the end of the day, you can’t change them. So as much as I’d love the Millsys of the world to grow up, I know better than to try and change a guy like that – in and out of fiction. 

Kaisha – You have written such a hilarious book, definitely not for a prude! Were those one-liners easy for you to write? Or did they come to you naturally?

Aww, thank you. Much to my family’s annoyance, I have quiet a vulgar sense of humour, and I’m very sarcastic, so one-liners make up a good 80% of my day-to-day dialogue. It was nice to have an outlet for them that didn’t see an elderly relative roll their eyes at me haha. 

Kaisha – ‘Truth or Date?’ is very cleverly written, did you know straight away you were going to create characters that weren’t so clever? Naming no names!

Yes, definitely. One thing I wanted to make very clear is that, when it comes to love, we’re all idiots. We all make wrong choices, we all do stuff we’re not proud of. I think everyone has had a crush on someone they couldn’t have, or they’ve done something stupid to try and win someone over – sometimes absolutely crazy things we wouldn’t do if we were thinking straight. People are silly when it comes to love, so I knew my characters needed to be just as clueless. 

Kaisha – Are there any characters in your book that you dislike? Be honest!

Yes – Heather. She’s so annoying, isn’t she? Now, don’t get me wrong, I have so much respect for people who chose to live a vegan lifestyle. I absolutely love animals, and I hate to think of anyone harming them in any way, but to commit to vegan life is a big deal and that needs commending. That said, I cannot stand anyone who preaches about anything, and I have this one vegan friend who saw me eating meat in a café, and proceeded to tell me exactly how animals are slaughtered – literally while the food is in my mouth. We all have our beliefs and that’s awesome, but we should all be allowed to ‘do us’ without criticism or being made to feel guilty, right? 

Kaisha – If you could choose a book that has been written by another author to be one of the books written by you, which one would it be and why?

Ooh, that’s a good question. I absolutely love Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It made me wish I wrote thrillers. 

Kaisha – Do you find that the more novels you write, the more pressure there is for each one to be more successful than the last?

I do, actually. Because the second you write a book that people don’t love, you’re going to think you’ve lost your touch, get the fear and never write again. OK, maybe that’s extreme, but it’s in the back of your mind, for sure. 

Kaisha – Lastly, what are your plans for the future in terms of writing? What else can we look forward to seeing from you?

I have started book six already, which should be out at the end of year. I can’t say much at this stage – not because I’m being a tease, because I’m still trying to figure a lot of it out haha. What I will say…it might be a Christmas book. Maybe. I’m still trying to work out if that’s a brilliant idea, or just my way of justifying eating too much and listening to carols while I write it…

Such an honest interview! Thank you Portia for giving such a wonderful interview. You are right, people shouldn’t feel guilty for being themselves or doing what they feel is right, especially if someone else does something different.

Hope you all enjoyed reading the interview and the book review tonight, thank you for stopping by!

An interview with…..

Several readers over on the Facebook page might remember me dropping hints about an interview, yes? Okay, this author is extremely well known and has written many books about food, and a puffin. Any ideas?

The Writing Garnet is absolutely thrilled to welcome Jenny Colgan! You might be familiar with some of her books, for example, Little Beach Street Bakery. (Amazon) and more recently The Little Shop of Happy-Ever-After. (Amazon). I have admired her work for a while so I was extremely honoured to be able to have a chat with her about her work. Enjoy!

First of all, I would like to thank you for taking the time for this interview!

Garnet:  Could you tell us a bit about you and your background before you began writing?
Jenny: I worked in the NHS for a few years, not very successfully! I always wanted to be doing something else. 

Garnet: Have you always wanted to become a published writer?
Jenny: Well yes, but I didn’t really think it would ever actually happen. I just kept plugging away at it, but I was quite surprised when it actually came true.

Garnet: Several of your books are about working in food retailers, how were you able to create such realistic situations? Have you worked in a bakery or chocolate shop before?
Jenny: I’ve worked in bars and restaurants of course, but never things like bakeries. My father ran a small business so I know how hard people have to work to do it. I don’t know how realistic it is really, I rarely show people struggling with VAT!

Garnet: How hard was it to find the inspiration for each of your books?
Jenny: Not really difficult, I think of stories I’d like to tell and settings I personally like. We moved as a family to Scotland last year so I know I wanted to write about that experience.

 Garnet: If you could pick one character from any of your books, who would it be and why?
Jenny: Well, that depends what for! I’m very fond of Rosie & Stephen in the Rosie Hopkins series, I like them a lot.

Garnet: Have you ever disliked any of the characters in your stories?
Jenny: Of course, I always have baddies. Most recently Mrs Manse in the Bakery books was a fairly implacable enemy.

Garnet:  I see that you have written children’s books too, did you find those easier to write than the ones you write for adults?
Jenny: No, they’re far harder, because you have to practice them so often and they have to stand up to being able to be read aloud over and over again. Children’s books are far harder to get right I feel.

Garnet:  You are a very well known author, do you find that gives you added pressure when writing books, because of how well your other books have done?
Jenny: I don’t feel well-known at all! I think it’s perspective though. It doesn’t really add pressure; you just have to write the book you want to read and hope other people feel the same way.

Garnet: Time for a tough one, if you could choose any book that has already been published to be the author of, which one would you choose and why?
Jenny: Oh lord, loads of course. I suppose Harry Potter, because not only did they sell millions, they’re also brilliantly good.

Garnet:  One final question. What advice would you give to a writer that wants to be published? Any words of wisdom?
Jenny: Yes: do your research! There are so many useful sites out there that tell you what agents do, where to find them, how to market your work, etc. it’s much easier now than when I was starting out. And check for typos. Then check again. You’d be amazed how many slip through the net… and good luck!

Thank you again to Jenny Colgan for stopping by for the chat, much appreciated! To keep up to date with her latest information, follow her on twitter: @jennycolgan