2019, Author Love, Author Q&A, Blogtober, Uncategorized

Q&A with Daisy Tate…

So I promised there would be two posts to honour yesterday’s Twitter poll. www.Twitter.com/HayleyTOfficial

I’m delighted to welcome Daisy Tate to Hayley Reviews today. I loved and truly adored part one of the Happy Glampers and once I’ve organised my reading and my new working patterns I will be getting stuck into part two.

You can read my thoughts on the Happy Glampers Here

1.I read the Happy Glampers not knowing it was only part one and I loved it. Where did you get the inspiration for it?

The idea to write about Glampers was my editor’s idea. She wanted a four part series to release first online (available now) and then as an entire book (available in Spring 2020). I wrote a few synopses exploring different groups of friends/families who were either glamping or running a glamping business. Together we wove what is hopefully a magic mix of friends who glamp together (and stay together, obvs!).

2. As I say I didn’t realise it was only part one? What can we expect from the four friends, I cannot wait to read the rest.

I’m so happy you enjoyed it. The rest of the book takes quite a wild ride. The entire book takes place over the course of a year. Without giving too much away, each of the characters will take quite a wild ride that will make them take a hard look at their lives but with lots of laughs (and cake!) along the way. There will be camping in Wales, a trip to Scotland and possibly a trip down memory lane in Bristol!

3. This is your debut right? What else can we expect from you?

This is my debut. I was offered a two book contract so you’ll definitely see those and, fingers crossed, if you all enjoy the books, there will be more. One of my MANY fantasies is to write a book that becomes a film and/or a television series I started out wanting to be an actor and never lost the passion for TV and film. I then went on to become a news cameraman before I met my fella and we moved to the farm, so fingers crossed, I’ll get something up on the silver screen one day!

4. What’s your daily writing day like?

I get up pretty early. After a dog walk (if I haven’t convinced The Hubby to do it) and making a rather strong mug of coffee (about the size of my head), I head to the keyboard. Some days it’s a struggle ignore all of that exciting social media action out there, so it’s definitely an exercise in control. I tend to write until about midday when farm duties take over and from there on out it’s cows, chickens, bees and, of course, dog walks.

5. What are you reading at the moment?

I’m reading THREE books at the moment (for some reason, I can never do just one!). I’m reading Everything I Know About Love by the soul baring Dolly Alderton, The Break by the fabulous Marian Keyes and My Not So Fabulous Life by the wonderful Sophie Kinsella.

6. What are you working on at the moment?

I am working on a book called A Bicycle Built for Sue – I’m in the throes of writing my second book called A Bicycle Built for Sue which is a standalone novel (no need to wait for all of the parts this time!). I’ve just returned from riding my bicycle on the coast to coast Hadrian’s Wall ride as research…so that’s your teaser.

7. What’s your earliest memory of books?

Ohhhh….I would say going to the library. My sister, brother and I read like hungry wolves attack, umm….a bucket of KFC. We would bring ‘the box’ and were allowed six books and half an hour to choose whatever we wanted. My mum also used to read the Little House on the Prarie series to us again and again and again and I LOVED it every single time.

8. How do you create your characters??

I tend to need an image of them to really nail who they are. When I am writing them I really like being inside their emotional centre, so if I have a picture of who I’m writing in my head (or, in this case, I pinned them up on the corkboard opposite my desk), it really helps.

9. When did you realise you wanted to become a writer?

I was a bit slow off the mark on this one! Everyone seemed to know but me. I was obsessed with becoming an actor and then when it came time to hit the real world, it turned out I hated auditioning. Ooops. Then, when I worked in news, I wrote every day. I also wrote little plays we took up to Edinburgh and I loved writing comedy sketches and comedy news pieces. It wasn’t until a friend dared me to try and write a Mills & Boon that I finally sat down and wrote an entire book. And after that? Well…here we are!

10. What is your ultimate goal?

I’d love to write a book that scoops up the reader’s heart, takes it on a tumultuous journey of laughter, emotional peaks and troughs and then at the last breath-taing minute, brings you back to earth with a nice cosy landing. And, of course, have it made into a major motion picture starring, say, Emma Stone and…oh…fill in whoever floats your boat! (This week I’m all about Tom Hardy because he loves dogs as much as I do.) I would also like to have about a hundred Bernese Mountain Dogs. And more cows. And make honeycomb crunch that isn’t chewy to squish into homemade chocolate ice cream sandwiches.

Thank you once again Daisy and I cannot wait to finish the Glampers series. I am definitely a fan.

If you’re an author or blogger and would love to take part in one of my Q&A’s do get in touch…

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2019, A thought? A question, Author Q&A, Uncategorized

Q&A with Cressida McLaughlin

Today I am pleased to share an interview with Cressida McLaughlin and I’m so sorry it’s come so late in the day…I’ve been a tad busy with an awful MRI and it’s my best friends birthday…

So without further ado.

1 The Cornish Cream Tea Bus was my first of your reads although I also have the canal book cafe on my kindle. What was your inspiration for the Cornish Cream Tea Bus???

I have been visiting Cornwall for about four years, after seeing it on the recent BBC adaptation of Poldark, and have completely fallen in love with it. The landscape is so beautiful and dramatic, and it’s so romantic, too, that as soon as I went I knew I wanted to set a book there. It also has some delicious, traditional food – fresh fish, pasties and, of course, the Cornish Cream Tea. I loved the idea of there being a slightly forgotten village, of a determined heroine coming in and trying to rescue it while also trying to get over her own heartbreak. I wanted her to face lots of challenges, some opposition, and I wanted there to be mouth-watering food.

I loved everything about it the setting was atmospheric and pretty something and the characters well they truly touched my heart?

I am so pleased you loved the characters! I really do too – I love all my characters, but I particularly loved creating Porthgolow and all its unique inhabitants: the contrast between Myrtle, who has lived there for decades, and Daniel, with his modern hotel sitting up on the cliff, Jonah with all his knowledge and, of course, Charlie. I loved breathing life into them, and I’m so glad you were touched by them, and thought the setting was atmospheric – that’s exactly the impression I wanted to make.

2. What’s been your best highlight of being a published author?

There are so many – it really is a dream come true! Hearing from readers who have loved my books, who have been touched by them in some way, or just been completely engrossed in the story is amazing, because it means I’ve done my job. I write them to entertain people, and so hearing that it’s worked is the best feeling. Also, the moment you get to hold your paperback for the first time is always thrilling and emotional – and it never gets any less exciting. Holding my first paperback of The Cornish Cream Tea Bus felt as special as holding A Christmas Tail.

3. What’s your average writing day like? Paint us a picture…

My brain is much better in the morning than it is in the afternoon, so I like to start early. I usually get up around 6.30 and then go for a walk round our closest park, meeting all the dogs. We don’t have any pets at the moment, but it’s lovely to meet all the local pooches. Then, when I’m back home, I’ll take a cup of tea up to my office, turn on all my fairy lights and – usually after responding to emails and engaging in some other forms of procrastination – I’ll start writing.

I aim to write at least 3,000 words a day. That’s about one of my chapters, and sometimes I’ll just scrape it, sometimes I’ll write double that, and sometimes I’ll manage 0 good words and get very annoyed with myself! I usually write until about 1.30, then have lunch, and then, depending on how well I’ve done in the morning, I’ll either carry on or I’ll use the afternoon to catch up with blogs, doing any Q&As (like this!) or reading. I’m fuelled by lots of coffee during the morning, and occasionally chocolate! 🙂

4. Where do you get your inspiration?

Inspiration comes from so many different places – an actual location, like some of the places we’ve visited in Cornwall, a snippet of conversation I’ve overheard in a coffee shop, a question that appears randomly into my head – for example: what would it be like to own a café on a narrowboat? – or something very specific.

I remember exactly when the idea for The House of Birds and Butterflies popped into my head. We were visiting Minsmere, which is a wonderful nature reserve in Suffolk run by the RSPB, and it has this very long, windy driveway through the woods, to get to the car park. Nestled in the trees was this beautiful little cottage, so quaint and so remote, but with all these cars going to and from the nature reserve, and hikers walking past it with their binoculars and waterproofs, and I just thought – what would it be like to live in that cottage? How would you feel if you’d just moved there, and realised it wasn’t as quiet as you thought it was going to be? Suddenly I had the whole premise of The House of Birds and Butterflies – Abby working in the reserve, trying to improve its fortunes, and Jack, just moved into the adjacent cottage, grumpy and hurting, looking for some peace and quiet and finding none.

That’s just one example, but it was such a specific moment, and it’s so brilliant when you get flashes of inspiration like that!

5. How do your characters come together? Characters are a huge thing for me….and I loved those you created in the Cornish Cream Tea Bus.

They always come together quite slowly. I start with my heroine, what her predicament is, and what kind of person she is. For example, Charlie is very determined, she’s positive and she won’t let things get her down. She is generous and ambitious, but she also jumps quickly to conclusions, and sometimes her temper gets the better of her.

Once I’ve got my heroine, I have a huge amount of fun creating my hero. I have to think they’re really hot, or I won’t write the tension between them and my heroine convincingly. They have to have things in common with her, but also beliefs or circumstances that mean they will clash in some way, so they won’t immediately fall into each other’s arms. The will-they-won’t-they is very important in my books, one of my favourite things to write – and also to read.

Supporting characters are also great fun to write – family members, friends and the locals in whichever community I’m creating. Those tend to appear as I write, when I need my heroine to face obstacles and also find allies. I start with quite a sketchy idea and as the story develops, all my characters flesh out – quite often very differently to how I first imagine them – so by the time I write ‘The end’ I feel like I know them all pretty well.

6. What’s your earliest memory of books?

My house was always full of books when I was growing up, and I think my first memory was sitting on my bed, my dad showing me a pop-up picture book of The Wind in the Willows. There was a page with a row of bare trees, darkness behind them, and when you pulled the tab, horrible weasels popped out from behind the trees. It always used to terrify me, but at the same time I wanted my dad to go back to that page and pull that tab over and over again. Maybe that’s why I love reading scary books now!

7. When did you realise you wanted to be a writer?

Not until my mid twenties. I have always loved reading books, and I did English Literature at University and wrote lots of essays about books I’d read, but never really had ambitions to write them myself. Then I read a few women’s fiction books, most notably Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella and A Hopeless Romantic by Harriet Evans, and I LOVED them! I loved the way they made me feel – they were so funny and emotional, they made me laugh and cry, and they were beautifully, swooningly romantic. After that, I decided that I wanted to write books like that – that I wanted to control the stories, and create characters that readers loved and heroes they swooned over, and I wanted to make people laugh and cry. Once I’d got it into my head, that was all I wanted to do.

8. What advice would you give to wannabe writers and bloggers?

Read lots of books, and try and read different genres, because you can learn a lot about writing by reading books – what you think works and what doesn’t; the tricks writers use to make you laugh or cry or hide behind a pillow.

I would also say that to be a successful writer, or a book blogger, you need to be passionate about it. Write a story that you feel strongly about, don’t do it because you think it’s going to be a great way of making money. One piece of advice I heard, which I thought was brilliant, was: write the book that you want to read. That way, your heart will be invested in it, and you’ll work hard to make it work. Don’t write a book because you think there’s a current trend or it’s the kind of thing that’s selling. If you don’t care about the story, it’s unlikely that your readers will.

I would also say the same about blogging. I used to blog for the book website Novelicious before I got my book deal, and I loved it – reviewing books, sending Q&As to authors and publicists, typing up the ‘My Book Deal Moment’ feature, always hoping that one day I would have my own. All the book bloggers I’ve come across seem super dedicated – they all love books, and love blogging about them, and I think that’s the main thing you need.

9. What are you working on now??? Can you tell us anything?

I’m working on a book called The Cornish Cream Tea Summer. From the title, you can probably guess that it’s going to involve some familiar characters – but there will also be some new ones!

The heroine, Charlie’s cousin Delilah, comes to Porthgolow after something goes seriously wrong in her life back in London. She’s heard about Charlie’s idyllic existence in the Cornish village and she thinks it’s the perfect place to run to, but she might get more than she bargained for once she gets acquainted with The Cornish Cream Tea Bus, and all that Porthgolow has to offer.

As I write this I’ve only got two more chapters left of the first draft, and even though it’s in a very rough and ready state at the moment, I am so excited about it! I hope you love Delilah and her story as much as I do.

10. What are you reading right now? Have your reading habits changed since being a writer.

I certainly read more since I’ve become a full time writer, because, now I don’t have a standard nine to five job and don’t have to fit my writing into evenings and weekends, I have more time to read.

I’ve always been an avid reader, and I’ve always read quite widely – I love crime and thrillers and ghost stories, as well as romance and women’s fiction – and that hasn’t changed. And I love that I sometimes get sent proofs of books to read, as it means I can discover lots of new authors. It does mean that my TBR Pile is never-ending, but I’ve come to accept that as a (very positive) occupational hazard.

At the moment I’m reading Kiss Heaven Goodbye, by Tasmina Perry. She’s a brilliant author who writes glamorous thrillers, often centred around wealthy people who have secrets to hide. They’re fast paced, full of drama and romance and twists, and are proper escapism. I’m going on holiday next week and I’ve got Mhairi McFarlane’s new book, If I Never Met You, to read, and I am SO excited about that. One of the best things about being a writer is that I can count reading as part of my job. I really am living the dream.

Cressida McLaughlin

Instagram: @cressmclaughlin

Facebook: @cressidamclaughlinauthor

Twitter: @cressmclaughlin

Website: cressidamclaughlin.com

Thank you Cressida for joining me today and I cannot wait to go back To Cornwall for Delilah’s story….

2018, Author Love, Author Q&A, Guest Post, Uncategorized

Guest Post: Q&A with Victoria Walters plus Summer at the Kindness Cafe news..

It’s always a pleasure to host this lovely lady on Hayley Reviews.

Victoria Walters should need no introduction she’s featured on here a few times now and I’m literally in awe of her. A beautiful soul inside and out, who has truly inspired me to be kinder especially to myself. Saying that I’m still a work in progress so without further ado I give you Victoria Walters….

This time I’ve asked her some questions I hope you find it as enlightening as I did.

1. Random acts of kindness or as it’s now known Summer at the Kindness cafe. What inspired you to write this? And how does it feel to have inspired many readers like myself.

Kindness is a big trend at the moment and I hadn’t read a women’s fiction novel that dealt with it so I wanted to give it a go. I think being kinder to others and to yourself has a really positive effect on everyone  I really hope that people are inspired by that idea and maybe go and do some acts of kindness as a result, that would be wonderful.

2. Keeping with kindness – are you kind enough to yourself as I know I could be kinder to me.

It’s hard, isn’t it? I am a massive worrier so I definitely need to work on worrying less as it really stresses me out. I try to do some self-care things when I feel worried even if it’s just sitting down with a book or watching a favourite film or buying some chocolate, sometimes the little things can really brighten your day. Treating yourself or having a pamper session is great and I love to light a candle to help me relax. I also think trying not to compare yourself to others is really important – it’s hard sometimes not to feel like you aren’t achieving enough but you need to give yourself a pat on the back for all the good things that you have done, and doing things your own way always the best way.

3. I loved the Summer I Met You and hope to devour The Second Love Of my life although in reading the blurb it made me 😦 would you like to write more novellas?

I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I actually wrote the Summer I Met You after the novel. I prefer writing novels as it’s hard to get to know characters with something shorter but it’s fun to take on a challenge so I wouldn’t say no!

4. What is your average day like?

I usually write in the mornings and then break for lunch then write a bit more in the afternoon but I often end up finishing by 3pm and then do some social media bits or have a break with a book or a film maybe. Two days a week I work in a bookshop so I don’t write on those days.

5. Do you have any rituals with your writing?

Not really. I usually write at home at my desk, I’m not really good at writing in public, I can’t concentrate. I always write to music and my cat is usually there annoying me!

6. Has your reading habits changed and how?

I read a lot and always have done. I read more widely now I work in a bookshop actually – I see so many different titles in there plus I get sent a lot to read so it has made me pick up books I wouldn’t have done in the past I think.

7. Tell us a fun fact about yourself?

I have a bit of an obsession with buying mugs especially if they have a slogan on them. My cupboard is getting almost too full to close oops!

8. What would you tell your younger self?

I would say keep trying – your dreams won’t be easy to make come true but you’ll be much happier trying than if you didn’t!

9. What advice do you have for others inspired to write?

Go for it! It’s hard and you need to be determined and prepared for rejection but if I can do it then so can you.

10. You take the best Instagram pictures advice for people like me?

I love Instagram and I really enjoy taking photos, just have fun with it and follow some accounts that you like and get inspiration from them. If you take pictures of things you love then others will love them too. Also natural lighting is the best and make sure you edit your photos so they look as good as they can.

I also mentioned Summer at the Kindness Cafe news and this beauty is 99p for a limited time. Snap this up you honestly won’t regret it. I devoured this and it’s still with me. Summer at the Kindness Cafe if it doesn’t have you instantly wanting your very own brew then who are you.

2018, Author Love, Author Q&A, Guest Post

Guest Post: Kathryn Freeman talks brooding heroes….

So today I am super excited to be hosting the fabulous Kathryn Freeman Oh Crumbs was one of my favourite reads this summer which got me thinking. I’m a massive tweeter when I’m reading and I told Kathryn she sure does have a thing for brooding heroes.

So without further ado I give you Kathryn….

My fabulous host knows I have a thing for brooding men. So thank you, Hayley, for allowing me onto your blog to write about the appeal, to me, of creating the brooding hero.

Emily and Charlotte Brontë knew a thing or two about creating the brooding male hero. It’s hard to find finer examples than the tortured Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights and the moody Rochester from Jane Eyre. Often described as Byronic, after the romantic poet Lord Byron, brooding heroes can be arrogant, cynical, proud and passionate. Rugged rather than handsome, they’re strong, flawed men who’ve experienced hard times and carry that pain with them. Are they as compelling to write as they are to read?

You bet they are.

As a writer of romantic fiction I’ve created many different heroes; funny, charming, magnetic, but I have to confess, I keep sneaking back to the brooding hero. There is something about getting inside the head of a stubborn, hurting, blunt spoken male that is powerfully addictive.

Why? For me, I think it’s because he can surprise us more, especially when he finds himself in situations that go against his usual type. In my latest book, Oh Crumbs, my hero, Doug, is quiet and reserved; definitely ticks several of the brooding hero boxes. The last place he wants to be caught kissing my heroine, Abby, is on her drive, watched by two of her teenage sisters. Oh boy, did I feel his pain. I could so easily picture him squirming, mortified, as the girls started to giggle.

‘He’s eating her.’

‘Don’t be silly. That’s kissing. It’s what grown-ups do.’

‘Well, I don’t want to be kissed then.’

I relished making Doug suffer, because it was in those moments that the image of him became most vivid, and the words seemed to flow without any conscious thought.

And what about when the arrogant, surly hero shows a rare sensitivity or vulnerability? In Do Opposites Attract? My hero, charity doctor Mitch McBride, has had a really hard life. Tough and abrasive, work in the harsh environment of the refugee camp suits him down to the ground. What definitely doesn’t suit this fiercely proud, independent man is being stuck in a hospital bed. So that’s where I shoved him. Now I could feel his bubbling frustration; an active man, forced to lie in bed. A stubborn man, forced to be reliant on others. The scenes when my heroine visits him were a real treat to write. At first he lashed out, upsetting her so badly she nearly didn’t visit him again. His relief when she did, enabled me to show another side to him.

‘I’ve never had anyone look after me, Brianna,’ he admitted slowly. ‘I’m used to taking care of myself. For me to have to admit I need help is incredibly hard.’ He gave her a rueful smile. ‘But here I am, in plaster casts from head to foot and as helpless as a bloody baby. I don’t have the luxury of being proud. You made a very kind offer and I’m really grateful. Hell, I might not show it, but I’m grateful for everything you’ve done for me.’ His voice was as serious as the look in his deep brown eyes. ‘You saved my life, Brianna. Your visits also saved my sanity. I didn’t realise quite how much until you stopped coming.’

I suspect in the end, the appeal of writing about the brooding hero is less to do with his moody ways, and more to do with being able to show the reader that there’s more to him than first meets the eye. Brooding or not, our romantic hero is much like an onion – stick with me on this one – he needs to have layers. The more layers, the more depth, and thus the more intriguing he is to both write and read about. Also like the onion, when we peel back his layers, he should, if he’s written well, bring tears to our eyes.

Contact details

Website:  http://kathrynfreeman.co.uk

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/kathrynfreeman

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/KathrynFreeman1

Oh Crumbs review

I hoped to have had a post yesterday but I had an extremely busy and productive Monday. I believe this week is going to be a busy one so my posts will either be early or late in the day….there should be a mix of posts this week but if there is anything you would love to see do get in touch.

In regards to reading I have only managed some audio and a magazine but I’m hoping as my week evens out that changes.

Author Q&A, Uncategorized

Katey Lovell speaks to Hayley Reviews….

Monday Monday…what a gloomy looking day and I’m not feeling great but enough of that negativity. This morning I am welcoming the lovely Katey Lovell to Hayley Reviews – this post has been delayed as we both had holidays so here it is.

Katey’s latest novel The Cafe in Fir Tree Park has recently been released in paperback I devoured the EBook back in May but I was eager to help Katey re-promote this gorgeous Summer read. Here is my Review.

1. What was your inspiration for The Cafe in Fir Tree Park?

I’m very fortunate to live in Sheffield, which has beautiful greenery alongside all the benefits of a major city. There are two large parks within walking distance of my house, and I combined some of my favourite features of each of them to create Fir Tree Park.

 In terms of characters, I wanted to write about friendships between women of different generations, and my original idea was to follow Maggie and Fern’s stories – once I started writing about Pearl and Lacey though, I couldn’t stop!

 2. Who was your favourite character or characters to write and why? You know I have some favourites.

This is a really hard one, because I genuinely loved writing all the characters. If I had to choose one, it would probably be Pearl. Everything else I’ve written has been about younger women, but Pearl has a back story which made her fun to explore.

 3. Do you think these characters will ever pop up again?

I’d never say never, but my gut reaction is probably not. Initially I’d planned a companion Christmas novella, but the focus of that was around a plot point that didn’t make it into the final draft of The Café in Fir Tree Park so it didn’t feel as necessary.

 4. Your next release is a Christmas book – how did it feel writing Christmas outside of Christmas time?

Being an author you often find yourself writing about summer in the winter and vice versa. It can be quite disconcerting, but fortunately I’d written the first half of Joe and Clara’s Christmas Countdown during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November 2016. The first draft was finished in May, so it wasn’t as though I was writing in a heatwave this time – I wrote The Boy Under the Mistletoe in August on a baking hot weekend!

 5. You’re a proper fan girl have you ever thought about writing about that in some way shape and form?

Erm…I’m not sure how much I can get away with saying. Can I just say ‘yes’ and leave it at that?!

 6. Would you ever write more Meet Cutes following the characters we already have? If so which ones?

This is something I’d love to do! Ooh, who do I think would have had an interesting relationship after their meeting – maybe Lauren and Toby from The Boy at the Beach. It would be fun to see if they were still partying or if they were enjoying more quiet nights in now they’re a couple!

 7. If you were to pitch The Cafe in Fir Tree Park to someone who doesn’t read really how would you phrase it?

It’s a contemporary novel about friendship, family and relationships set in a fictional Home Counties park. The story is told through four different women’s voices, so hopefully readers can relate to at least one of the characters. Overall, it’s about accepting yourself, and accepting that making mistakes and having flaws is a natural part of life.

 8. You now have an agent, how amazing is that and how has it changed you?

It’s fantastic! I’m now working with Julia Silk at MBA on a few different projects and it’s lovely to have honest input from someone so knowledgeable of the industry at all points in the process. I wouldn’t say it’s changed me as such, but it’s definitely given me a renewed sense of purpose – as people who follow me on social media will know, I’ve been working incredibly hard this summer on a new project that Julia is advising me on.

 9. How sad were you to say goodbye to your blog? Although it surely feels good to just be an author blogging?

Book blogging was a huge part of my life for a long time, and deciding to close Books with Bunny was a big decision for me. Ultimately, it came down to not having enough hours in the day to do it justice, and although I felt very sad about it, I know it’s the right thing. I’m still talking about books online, especially on Twitter, so it’s not as if I’ve stopped sharing the book love altogether. And as you say, I have my author blog which I keep promising I’ll update!

 10. Tell us a random fact about you that no one would know?

Oh gosh… let me think. I really want to get a tattoo but I’m scared it’ll hurt – will that do? I used to be petrified of needles, but I have to self-inject weekly because the medication I take for Crohn’s disease is through an injectable pen, so I’m getting over it. Weirdly I’ve always been fine with piercings and have a few!

You can find The Cafe in Fir Tree Park Here and you can pre order her Christmas read I have already done so back in July Here that’s called Joe and Clara’s Christmas Countdown.

Author Q&A, Guest Post, Uncategorized

Author Guest post: The Summer of Serendipity by Ali McNamara

Today here at Hayley Reviews I welcome the wonderful Ali McNamara. Ali is a genius for writing books that pull you in and leave you wanting more. It’s been a while since I have devoured an Ali classic and I’m pretty sure the last one I read whilst on holiday….her latest novel The Summer of Serendipity is out now. 

In the lead up to publication day I asked Ali to answer some of my questions and here they are.

1.What’s your usual publication day? Are you excited for it?

All my publication days have been different. Sometimes I’ve had book launches, sometimes quiet meals with family and friends. My favourite launch was for my first book – From Notting Hill with Love… Actually. We held it at the Travel Bookshop from the Notting Hill movie. That was very special.

2 & 3 Tell us about your inspiration for The summer of serendipity? You spent some time in Ireland as research where did you go and what can you tell us about it?

The Summer of Serendipity is set in the fictional town of Ballykiltara which is based on the town of Killarney on the west coast of Ireland. We stayed there for a few days and I was inspired by the lakes, the beautiful scenery, and the Celtic history of the area.

4. I had a guest post from you when I was part of Dark Readers and that was a while ago now. You have accomplished so much how can you put that into words? And what advice would you give to budding writers?

Being a writer is a wonderful job to have. Creating stories and sending them out into the world, then having people tell me how much they enjoy them is amazing. It can also be tough too. There are days when motivating yourself to head into your office and write 2000 words (my usual daily word count.) can feel terribly hard, and days when you think what you’re writing is complete rubbish! But luckily those days don’t happen too often, and for the most part, I love my job!
My advice is always the same: Write something you would like to read yourself, don’t try to follow trends, and most of all just get on and do it! Books won’t write themselves!

5. Tell us about the main characters from the new book and are they real people or all fictional?

All fictional. But a couple of them were inspired by people I met while in Ireland…

6. Lastly what’s the scariest thing about sending your book out into the world?

Will my readers like this one!

You can download a ebook or purchase a paperback via https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B01MQJVNBC/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1500407629&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=ali+mcnamara and just so you know there is also a special copy via Sainsbury’s with a short linked to Breakfast At Darcy’s.

Ali featured on Dark Readers for me and here it is. Ali McNamara speaks to Dark Readers

My review of The little flower shop by the sea.

My review of From Notting Hill with Love Actually

Links:

www.alimcnamara.co.uk
Twitter: https://twitter.com/alimcnamara?lang=en

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/AliMcNamara.official/?locale2=en_GB

Thank you Ali for taking the time to answer my questions I look forward to reading and reviewing your latest novel. 

Author Q&A, Publication Day

Author Guest Post: Happy Publication day Heidi Swain for Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage

Today here at Hayley Reviews I welcome to you Heidi Swain, an author I have had on my TBR list for a while I am ashamed to say. I was lucky enough to meet Heidi at the Simon & Schuster Digital Originals evening in June. (I will be posting a blog post on that it is on my list.)

Happy Publication day Heidi….I cannot wait to start delving into your world…

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Before I start are you all excited and set for publication day.
Hello my lovely and thank you so much for inviting me to feature on your blog. Yes, I think I’m ready – the fizz is in the fridge and every device in the house is fully charged.
• How will you spend publication day?
Publication day itself is mostly spent on social media thanking everyone for their fabulous likes, posts, shares, tweets, shelfies and kind wishes. It’s always fabulous but very busy and this time around I have to be even more organised than usual as I’m heading off to the RNA Conference early the next day!
This is book number four and you are now a full time author that must feel like a dream come true?
The last two years have been an absolute whirlwind and I consider myself very lucky, not only to have had 4 books published so quickly, but also to be doing the job I love every single day. It’s been a lot of hard work to get to this point but I wouldn’t change a single thing and am looking forward to writing dozens more books for decades to come.
• Have you always known what you wanted to do?
Yes. For as long as I can remember I always wanted to be an author but it took me years to pluck up the courage to do anything about it. A school friend of mine says she can remember me talking about wanting to write when we were in our early teens but it wasn’t until I was actually in my 30’s that I began to seriously get some words down.
• Tell us something about you that no one would know?
My first job was working Saturdays in a ‘record’ shop. Yep, we’re talking before CD’s here. Who would have guessed I’m that old?
• As its publication day we have to talk about your latest book, where did you get your inspiration for Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage?
The initial idea for Cuckoo Cottage popped into my head when I was writing my first Christmas book, Mince Pies and Mistletoe at The Christmas Market. Gwen, the owner of Cuckoo Cottage is a wonderfully eccentric character in that book and I just knew, having discovered what she did with all the battered Christmas trees, that her home had a story of its own to tell. A research trip to Happy Days Retro Vacations to stay in a refurbished Airstream van sealed the plot and Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage was born!
•Tell us about the main characters from Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage and your inspiration for them?
Lottie Foster is the main character. She hasn’t had the easiest of starts in life and I wanted to tell her story and show that just because life has rubbish moments, it doesn’t have to be that way forever. You have to look out for the opportunities that come your way and grab them, even if they might not be what you are expecting.
Lottie has two guys to keep her company at Cuckoo Cottage – Will and Matt. I’m not going to say anything about either of these characters. I’ll let you make up your own minds!
• It must be a nice feeling to see two of your novels in the Kindle sale ahead of your fourth coming out?
Yes, this is really exciting and perfectly timed. I would love as many people as possible to fall in love with Wynbridge and to have both The Cherry Tree Café and Summer at Skylark Farm in the sale offers the best chance of that happening!
• Now you are a full time author what is your average day like?
I’m an early bird – always up around 5 or not long after. Weather permitting, I’ll start the day with a 20 minute walk and then settle down to work on the WIP until lunchtime. Afternoons are generally reserved for writing blog posts, answering emails, fiddling on Insta and occasionally flinging the vacuum cleaner around of course! I do like to write longhand sometimes so if I can’t get to the keyboard for any reason I’ll be working away in pencil.
• What would you say to aspiring authors?
Don’t put off getting those words down. Even if all you have are a collection of ideas – character names, bits and pieces of dialogue, settings – get them all recorded and let your creativity grow. If you have a story in you, let it out! Once you have committed your thoughts to paper, you’ll be amazed by how quickly they begin to take on a life of their own.
• What sort of books do you like reading and what are you reading right now?
I love reading commercial romantic fiction but I’m not adverse to the odd thriller. I’ve also started to read more historical fiction – Georgette Heyer has been a revelation. My current read is The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse by lovely Cressida McLaughlin, which I am absolutely loving.

Heidi – Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions ahead of a busy day.

 

 

 

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 Heidi Swain Author Bio

Although passionate about writing from an early age, Heidi Swain gained a degree in Literature, flirted briefly with a newspaper career, married and had two children before she plucked up the courage to join a creative writing class and take her literary ambitions seriously.

A lover of Galaxy bars, vintage paraphernalia and the odd bottle of fizz, she now writes feel good fiction with heart for Simon and Schuster.

Her debut novel, The Chery Tree Café was published in July 2015 (paperback June 2017) and Summer at Skylark Farm hit the shelves the following June. Mince Pies and Mistletoe at the Christmas Market was a hugely successful Christmas 2016 release and her fourth book, Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage was published in July 2017. She is currently preparing for her October 2017 Christmas release, Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells at The Christmas Fair.

Heidi lives in Norfolk with her wonderful family and a mischievous cat called Storm.

 Links

Website: http://www.heidiswain.co.uk/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Heidi_Swain

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WriterHeidiJoSwain?ref=hl

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Heidi-Swain/e/B00YNN3LDI/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1483439180&sr=8-2-ent

 Cuckoo Cottage: https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_1_16?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=coming+home+to+cuckoo+cottage&sprefix=coming+home+to+c%2Caps%2C240&crid=M3CL71BR7MXM 

Author Q&A, Netgalley, Publication Day, Uncategorized

Author post: The New Beginnings Coffee Club by Samantha Tonge

Firstly it’s publication day of The New Beginnings Coffee Club. Which I have sat waiting for me on my Kindle app. Sam has kindly answered some questions for me on this very exciting day….


Before I get stuck in here is the blurb.

Everyone deserves a second chance…don’t they?

Jenny Masters finds herself living the modern dream. Wife to a millionaire, living in a mansion and mother to Kardashian-obsessed ten-year-old April, there isn’t anything missing. Until, her whole world comes crashing down, forcing Jenny and April to leave behind their glittering life and start over with nothing.

With village gossip following her wherever she goes, she finds refuge and a job in the new coffee shop in town. As the days pass Jenny fears she doesn’t have what it takes to pick herself back up and give April the life she always wanted to. But with the help of enigmatic new boss Noah, and housemate Elle, Jenny realises it’s never too late to become the woman life really intending you to be!.
Intrigued I know I am….

1. Tell us a bit about The New Beginnings Coffee Club and your inspiration?

 The New Beginnings Coffee Club is a story about starting over and finding yourself. The three main characters all have a past that they have to come to terms with and I think – hope – the story is very relatable. We all , to a degree, put on a mask in public and this novel is about being strong enough to remove that and just be yourself. As well as these themes, coffee shops were also a huge inspiration to me when writing this. They seem to have taken over from pubs, in terms of being the hub of a community, and I love my local one. I only have to walk through the door and a couple of the baristas seem to sense what I’d like to drink!!!

2. Fave coffee ( I have to ask about coffee right?) 

Americano. No milk. And (shhh, don’t tell anyone) decaffeinated! And can I count Hot Chocolate, too? DELICIOUS.

3. Tell us something that readers wouldn’t know about you?

 I was part of the opening crew for Disneyland Paris, way back in the early Nineties! Huge fun.

4. What is your ideal writing day? Plus your ideal day off?

A cycle ride first, my cat for company and a trip out to my local coffee shop, at some point, to refuel! My ideal day off is to get out of the house, away from my computer. I’ve recently become a fan of mindfulness and like nothing more than a walk through a park, observing nature.

5. What are your hopes for 2017?

2016 was a challenging year for me, on many levels – I hope 2017 is a gentler one that ends with a sense of hope. Rather like my novel.

Thank you Sam for joining me today The New Beginnings Coffee Club is out NOW!!!!!! 

Buy it here!!!

I literally adore this top 😉 #coffeeaddict.

About Sam:

Samantha lives in Cheshire with her lovely family and a cat that thinks it’s a dog. Along with writing, her days are spent cycling, willing cakes to rise and avoiding housework. Formally trained as a linguist, Samantha now likes nothing more than holing herself up in the spare room, in front of the keyboard. Writing romantic comedy novels is her passion.
Samantha has sold over 80 short stories to mainstream women’s magazines. Her debut romantic comedy novel from HarperCollins (CarinaUK), bestselling “Doubting Abbey”, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction Best Romantic Ebook award, 2014. The bestselling summer novel, Game of Scones, won the Love Stories Awards 2015 Best Romantic Ebook category.

Social media links:

http://samanthatonge.co.uk/

https://twitter.com/SamTongeWriter

https://www.facebook.com/SamanthaTongeAuthor/

Author Q&A, Guest Post

Guest Post: Sheila Norton talks to Hayley Reviews.

Today I am delighted to welcome Sheila Norton to Hayley Reviews. As you can see from my previous post I read and loved The Vets at Hope Green part one. Before part two becomes available I decided to ask Sheila some questions. Welcome Sheila and thank you so much for joining me….

1. Sheila as an extremely new fan of your writing tell me a bit about your background and your books? After I have read each part of vets at hope green I hope to read more from you. 

Hayley, it’s so good to have you as a fan! I’ve been writing my entire life really, but it was just a hobby until I started having short stories published during the 1990s. Then my first novel was published in 2003 – followed by seven more with that first publisher and six that I self-published from scratch. The early novels were all in the ‘chick lit’ genre, but more recently I’ve written two novels set in the 1960s (my teenage era!) and one with grandparents as the heroines. You can probably tell my age from that! However, my newest books are with Ebury Publishing, who commissioned me specially to write ‘animal’ stories. The first two of these are ‘cat’ stories – narrated by the cats! These have been very popular and I loved writing them, but I’ve also really loved writing ‘The Vets at Hope Green’, which has both human and animal interest! I’m now retired from my day job, so writing is my main occupation, but I worked most of my life as a medical secretary in the NHS. I also brought up three daughters, who between them have now blessed my husband and me with six little grandchildren. So I’m used to being busy!
There’s a full list of my books on my website www.sheilanorton.com

2. Cathy Bramley has done extremely well from e-book 4 part stories. Whose decision was it to do The Vets at Hope Green in this way? 

It was my publisher’s decision, partly because of the success of similar series. When my editor first suggested it, I found the idea quite strange, and it was tricky writing the book in four parts, with ‘cliff hangers’ at the end of each part to encourage readers on to the next one – but I soon got into it and enjoyed the process. It’s always good to try something different. And now I’m really excited about the next one, which will be another four part series. Watch this space!

3. Is Hope Green based on a real or fictional place?

It’s fictional. But we spend a lot of time in the west country so I enjoyed setting the story in a Dorset village. I could imagine it quite clearly in my mind! The next one will be set in Devon.

4. Without spoilers tell us a bit more about the characters?

Sam is a Norfolk girl originally, who’s moved to London to work in an upmarket city vet practice, but her real dream is to have more contact with animals, and ideally to live somewhere in the country where she can have dogs and children! Unfortunately her boyfriend Adam doesn’t share her dream at all, but she finds comfort and understanding in Hope Green with her Nana Peggy – a no-nonsense, tough lady who speaks her mind but adores her granddaughter. In Hope Green Sam meets some interesting characters including Joe, the new vet who seems to like animals a lot more than people, and David, who walks local people’s dogs for a living. And of course – there are some lovely animal characters too!

5. What is your ideal writing day? Explain.

Much as I love my family and friends, and prioritise them whenever possible, I also love having a day when I have nothing at all in my diary, no shopping or housework desperately needing to be done, and can write as much as I like! After breakfast I’ll check emails and social media first, responding to anything I need to, then start by reading through the last few pages of what I’ve written in the previous session. If I’m working from a synopsis, which is the case with my new books, I’ll re-read the part I’m working through, and then get stuck in. I’ll break for a cup of tea after an hour or so, and again either to go for a walk or a swim, following which I’ll have a sandwich for lunch. Then check the emails etc again before carrying on with some more work on the book. When I’ve reached a good place to stop – ideally at an exciting part, so I’m going to be fired up to get back to it the next day! – I’ll make a brief note of what I’m planning to put next. Then I’ll cook dinner, if it’s time, or else relax with the paper, a book, or a computer game. I don’t often work during the evening unless I’m running tight for a deadline. I had to do all my writing during the evenings when I was at my day job, so I enjoy having them free now. I’m happy to respond to emails and social media while watching TV though – and enjoy writing things like this!

6. What are your hopes for 2017?

Well, of course I’m hoping ‘The Vets At Hope Green’ will be a success! The most important thing for me is that people enjoy it – I’ve never expected to be a bestseller, not that it wouldn’t be nice if it happened! And
I’ve just had the synopsis for the next four-part series agreed by my editor, and have started writing the first part of it, so I’m obviously looking forward to completing that, too. Other than that, at my age my chief hopes are to be healthy enough to enjoy life, and for all my family to be happy and healthy.

I already adore Sam and I haven’t yet finished part one and I know that’s only the beginning of her story.

Thank you! So pleased you’re enjoying it. And thank you so much for inviting me to feature on your blog.
Thank you so much Sheila it was lovely to have you here. 

As stated The Vets At Hope Green part one: Escape to the country is available now. Kindle link with part two available for pre-order Kindle link part two. I have pre-ordered mine have you???