Thursday, 12 May 2022

The Summer Fair by Heidi Swain





Join Sunday Times bestseller Heidi Swain back in Nightingale Square for a sunshine and celebration filled summer… 

Beth loves her job working in a care home, looking after its elderly residents, but she doesn’t love the cramped and dirty house-share she currently lives in. So, when she gets the opportunity to move to Nightingale Square, sharing a house with the lovely Eli, she jumps at the chance. 

The community at Nightingale Square welcomes Beth with open arms, and when she needs help to organise a fundraiser for the care home they rally round. Then she discovers The Arches, a local creative arts centre, has closed and the venture to replace it needs their help too – but this opens old wounds and past secrets for Beth. 

Music was always an important part of her life, but now she has closed the door on all that. Will her friends at the care home and the people of Nightingale Square help her find a way to learn to love it once more…?

Title: The Summer Fair

Author: Heidi Swain

Published By: Simon & Schuster UK

Publication Day: 12th May 2022

Links: UK:   Amazon      US:   Amazon


Our Review

I was delighted to have been at the launch of Heidi Swain's first book, The Cherry Tree Cafe and have since read and loved every one of her books. The title and beautiful cover of the Summer Fair immediately conjures up thoughts of home baked cakes and a community coming together and that just sums up this book perfectly.

Beth is totally fed up with her flatmates who constantly leave the place in a mess and she's in a bit of a rut but her thoughtfulness in accompanying a resident in the old people's home she works in leads to a new opportunity for her and she soon finds herself sharing a place in Nightingale square with the gorgeous Eli. I've got to know Nightingale Square quite well from some of Heidi's previous books and feel as though I know the neighbours quite well now.

Beth and Eli reach a stumbling block in their relationship as both have been affected by loss for completely different reasons. A blast from the past provides another complication for Beth and Eli which they all need to work out together.

With more ups and downs than a raffle ticket in a tombola and an adorable and entertaining cast of residents from the care home this book deals with loss, forgiveness, friendship and love but most of all it deals with someone finding and believing in themselves again after being lost for a long time.

Sincerely

Book Angel x


About the Author

Heidi Swain is a Sunday Times Top Ten best-selling author who writes feel good fiction with heart for Simon and Schuster. She releases two books a year (early summer and winter) and the stories all have a strong sense of community, family and friendship. She is currently writing books set in three different locations - the Fenland town of Wynbridge, Nightingale Square in Norwich and Wynmouth on the Norfolk coast.

Heidi lives in beautiful south Norfolk with her mischievous cat called Storm. She is passionate about gardening, the countryside, collecting vintage paraphernalia and reading. Her tbr pile is always out of control!

Heidi loves to chat with her readers and you can get in touch via her website heidiswain.co.uk/ or Twitter @Heidi_Swain

Monday, 11 April 2022

Heartcross Castle by Christie Barlow



Love Heart Lane – where friends are there for you no matter what

A second chance…

When her grandfather Marley passes away Grace Power discovers she’s been left the beautiful but crumbling estate of Heartcross Castle. As a single mum of three, Grace has no idea what she’s going to do with it – but who can say no to a roof over their kids’ heads and a chance to get away from past hurts?

And a forever home

Heartcross Castle is full of secrets – especially a lost security deposit box that holds the truth to everything… But when celebrity chef Andrew Glossop sets his eyes on the castle and, to make matters worse, mistakes Grace as the new housekeeper, Grace tells him there is absolutely NO CHANCE he is getting his hands on her home.

 Devastated to have got it so wrong, Andrew will do anything to make it up to her – but is she willing to listen?


Title:  Heartcross Castle

Author:  Christie Barlow

Published By: One More Chapter

Publication Date:  31st December 2021

Links:  Uk:   Amazon       US:   Amazon


Our Review

I have read and loved every single one of Christie Barlow’s books and I have to say that this one was by far my favourite. Heartcross and LoveHeart Lane feel so familiar to me now and this story about the castle really brought all the previous books together even more and made me feel at home. 

As much as there was a very sad and upsetting beginning, the story swiftly moved on to one of sheer joy and total escapism. 

I loved Grace and her three sons were so adorable and I really felt part of the adventure as they discovered the joys of Heartcross Castle. I could really feel the emotions that Grace went through especially the guilt of leaving her grandfather all those years before. 

There were some lovely twists which I didn’t see coming which added intrigue to the story as well. 

I loved old Hector and the chickens and just about everything about this story and Heartcross castle would definitely be on my list of places to visit. I wish it was real and I’m already missing all the characters so shall be looking forward to the next book in this wonderful series. 

Sincerely

Book Angel x


About the Author



Christie Barlow is the number one international bestselling author of fifteen romantic comedies including the iconic Love Heart Lane Series, A Home at Honeysuckle Farm and Kitty's Countryside Dream. She lives in a ramshackle cottage in a quaint village in the heart of Staffordshire with her four children and two dogs.

Her writing career has come as a lovely surprise when Christie decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. Christie’s dream was to become a writer and the book she wrote to prove a point went on to become a #1 international bestseller in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia.

When Christie isn’t writing she co-presents The Book Show on Radio Northwich, enjoys playing the piano, is a keen gardener and loves to paint and upcycle furniture.

Christie is an ambassador for the @ZuriProject alongside Patron of the charity, Emmerdale’s Bhasker Patel. They raise money and awareness for communities in Uganda.

Christie loves to hear from her readers and you can get in touch via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Twitter - @ChristieJBarlow

Facebook – Christie Barlow Author


Tuesday, 15 March 2022

A Life for a Life by Carol Wyer




 

Nobody can get into the mind of an erratic killer—except an unpredictable detective.

When a young man is found lying on a station platform with a hole in his head, DI Kate Young is called in to investigate the grisly murder. But the killing is no one-off. As bodies start to pile up, she is faced with what might be an impossible task—to hunt down a ruthless killer on a seemingly random rampage.

Meanwhile, Kate has her own demons to battle as she struggles to come to terms with her husband’s death. And she is hell-bent on exposing corruption within the force and bringing Superintendent John Dickson to justice. But with the trail of deception running deeper—and closer to home—than she could ever have imagined, she no longer knows who she can trust.

With her grip on reality slipping, Kate realises that maybe she and the killer are not so different after all. But time is running out and Kate is low on options. Can she catch the killer before she loses everything?


Title:  A Life for a Life

Author:  Carol Wyer

Published by: Thomas and Mercer

Publication Date:  15th March 2022

Links:  UK:   Amazon     US:   Amazon 

WHSmith


Our Review

A Life for a Life

This is the third in the Detective Kate Young series and wow what a fast paced roller coaster it is. I could barely catch my breath as Kate hits the ground running.

After a couple of murders occur Kate and the team realise they have a serial killer on their hands and they have no idea where to go with this one. It just seems baffling but after an interesting investigation which I always feel a part of, they begin to make some headway. 

Not only is the investigation taking up all of Kate’s time and energy but she still hasn’t given up on finding her husband’s killer and that brings us another nail biting thread to cope with. 

Kate’s character is flawed but also realistic especially as we delve into her emotions and relationships with her family and colleagues. She is forced into making decisions she shouldn't have to which really screws with her mind as she knows her husband and father wouldn't have approved of them but she is fighting for her life as well as justice so has to do what she has to do. 

I love the loyalty of her team and the contacts that she has even though they may not do everything above board. I wish I could have gone to the White Rose for a drink with them all as I feel I know them all really well. 

Carol’s books don’t shy away from the gruesome aspects of murder but I do feel strangely comforted and completely at home reading her books as I love her writing. 

Intriguing and chilling with a cleverly constructed plot that runs throughout the series. We’ve been left on an amazing cliff-hanger here so I can’t wait for the next book to find out what happens next. 

Sincerely

Book Angel x


About the Author

Carol Wyer is a USA Today bestselling author and winner of the People’s Book Prize Award. Her crime novels have sold over one million copies and been translated into nine languages.

A move from humour to the 'dark side' in 2017, saw the introduction of popular DI Robyn Carter in Little Girl Lost and proved that Carol had found her true niche.

In 2021, An Eye For An Eye, the first in the DI Kate Young series, was chosen as a Kindle First Reads. It became the #1 bestselling book on Amazon UK and Australia. The third, A Life For A Life, is due out March 15th, 2022, but is available to preorder.

Carol has had articles published in national magazines 'Woman's Weekly', featured in 'Take A Break', 'Choice', 'Yours' and 'Woman's Own' magazines and written for the Huffington Post. She’s also been interviewed on numerous radio shows and on Sky and BBC Breakfast television.

She currently lives on a windy hill in rural Staffordshire with her husband, Mr. Grumpy . . . who is very, very grumpy.

When not plotting devious murders, she can be found performing her comedy routine, Smile While You Still Have Teeth.

To learn more, go to www.carolwyer.co.uk, subscribe to her YouTube channel, or follow her on Twitter @carolewyer

Follow the blog tour here:





Wednesday, 2 March 2022

Reputation by Sarah Vaughan



From the bestselling author of Anatomy of a Scandal, soon to be a major Netflix series… 

Reputation: it takes a lifetime to build and just one moment to destroy.

Emma Webster is a respectable MP. 

Emma Webster is a devoted mother. 

Emma Webster is innocent of the murder of a tabloid journalist. 

Emma Webster is a liar. 

#Reputation: The story you tell about yourself. And the lies others choose to believe…


Title: Reputation

Author: Sarah Vaughan

Published By: Simon & Schuster UK

Publication Date: 3rd March 2022

Links:  UK: Amazon       US: Amazon

Waterstones

WHSmith



Our Review

This is the second of Sarah Vaughan's books that I've read, the first being Anatomy of a Scandal which I thought was brilliant and this one was even better. Not only is Sarah a brilliant and intelligent writer of fiction I think her skills as a journalist are brought to the fore as well which gives the books even more authenticity.

Reputation chilled me to the bone, the story being about a female MP clearly shone a spotlight on the lives of some of our politicians and women in general and the misogyny and abuse they are facing on a daily basis. Imagine the stress of having to deal with rape and death threats almost every day or being called a whore just for doing your job. How are people allowed to get away with this? The book also highlighted how quick the media are to build somebody up and viciously tear them back down again. It also showed how toxic social media can be with its pack mentality and the double standards and abuse that women face.

I was also really interested in the relationship that Emma had with her daughter and the issues her daughter faced at school. I think it's terrifying that our children are being brought up with cyber bullying and have unfiltered access to the internet even whilst at school. 

Emma may not have been an entirely likeable character and she had her flaws but I did like her because she was strong and she fought for justice and what she believed in and she loved her daughter. Her family set up was another reason why I felt a huge amount of empathy for her. Her fear when walking or cycling alone at night was almost tangible and I remember being on the edge of my seat when reading those bits. I also had a few WTF moments as shock after shock hit me when the story unfolded.

Chilling, gripping and terrifyingly true to life. I can't wait to see this on the telly.

Sincerely

Book Angel x

About the Author

Sarah Vaughan read English at Oxford and went on to become a journalist. After training at the Press Association, she spent eleven years at the Guardian as a news reporter and political correspondent before leaving to freelance and write fiction. Anatomy of a Scandal, her 3rd novel and her first courtroom drama/psychological thriller, combined these experiences and became an instant international bestseller, and Sunday Times top five bestseller. Translated into 22 languages, it was also a kindle number 1 bestseller, shortlisted for awards in the UK, France and Sweden, and filmed as a six-part Netflix mini-series, starring Sienna Miller, Michelle Dockery, and Rupert Friend. It will be transmitted in spring 2022.

Little Disasters has also been optioned for the screen, was a Waterstone's thriller of the month, WH Smith paperback of the month, Kindle bestseller, and has been published in the US and various other countries. She is currently working on her fifth novel.

FB: Sarah Vaughan Author

twitter: @SVaughanAuthor

www.sarahvaughanauthor.com

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Author Q & A Suzie Hull - In This Foreign Land

'I beg of you this one thing - that if I should perish here, in this foreign land, that you will look after her.'

March, 1914. When talented artist Isobel embarks on a journey to Egypt, it's to reunite her best friend Alice with her husband, Wilfred - and to use the stunning sights of Cairo as inspiration for her own paintings.

A whirlwind romance was the last thing she expected, but when Isobel meets Wilfred's handsome brother, Edward, neither can deny the strong connection between them - especially when unexpected tragedy strikes, leaving them all reeling.

Just as they get to grips with their grief, WW1 erupts, and the lovers are forced to separate. They promise to meet again in London. But when Edward is listed as 'missing - presumed dead' only weeks after landing in France, Isobel is devastated, unmarried and on the brink of ruin. She has only one way to save her honour... but it means betraying the love she holds so dear.

A heartrending and thrilling WW1 romance, In This Foreign Land is the stunning new debut from Suzie Hull, for fans of Kate Hewitt, Shirley Dickson and Kate Eastham.


Title: In This Foreign Land

Author: Suzie Hull

Published By: Orion Dash

Publication Date: 25th November 2021

Links:  UK:  Amazon    US:  Amazon


What was the inspiration behind In This Foreign Land

My novel changed quite considerably whilst being edited, but at its core the original idea still stands – I was on a train and passed a house where I knew a family lived a hundred years previously and I had an idea for a heart wrenching love story set in WW1, where the couple were torn apart by circumstances. As I passed the house I imagined the young woman hanging up nappies on a line and waiting everyday for a letter from her lover. I wanted to have part of their love story set in Egypt, but had no idea where to find accurate information of how they would travel there, and where they would stay etc. I mentioned this to my sister, and she paused, and said, we have two travel diaries from 1907/1908 in her husband’s family circle, and would I like to read them? Of course I wanted to read them! So whilst my own couple, Edward and Isobel have their own love story on the page, I was able to re-create the British community in Cairo directly from three women who journeyed there: Emma, Lina and Minna. I won’t spoil the plot of my novel, but suffice to say that life back in the early 1900’s was precarious when it came to personal health.


Did you always want to be a writer? 

No actually, I didn’t, not at school anyway, but the desire to write started when I was at home with my first baby, (reader she is now twenty-six), and I started several books over the years. One even took fifteen years to complete! But basically the feeling that I wanted to write just settled into my soul and it wouldn’t go away. And here I am. 


What other jobs have you had? 

I love this question! Loads is the answer to that. I’ve been a chamber maid, a nanny, I’m a Montessori Nursery teacher. I’ve worked in retail for years as well as being a classroom assistant. On the side, I’ve also done various charity jobs, and now and again I carried out surveys for a major food retailer in Northern Ireland. My claim to fame is that I once measured up twenty-six Tesco stores to get new bread shelves fitted. I loved it as I could fit the work in around my kids, but I got to the point where I felt sick every time I went into a bakery department and believe it or not I am now gluten intolerant! Lol!


How did it feel when you were offered a publishing deal? 

This is a dream come true. I know that’s a cliché but it’s true. I have cried many tears in frustration over the years because I knew this was what I wanted so badly. I’m just incredibly proud to get to this point and also very, very, grateful to my beta readers along the way and Rhea Kurien from Orion Dash for taking me on. 


Can you please tell us a little about your publishing story. 

As I said above, I started to write twenty-six years ago. That’s a very long time. I would have a burst at writing, then get stuck and set the manuscript away for a long time, sometimes even years; but I always came back to it and when I kept re-reading I thought to myself, you know, it’s quite good but I can do better. So I kept looking out for new opportunities and also other fellow writers on twitter and facebook who were also aspiring writers or just published. I found Hazel Gaynor who had just self-published her very first historical novel, ‘The Girl Who Came Home’, and also Carmel Harrington. I was awfully lucky to be able to join Carmel’s writing group, and that was my first major turning point. Then I joined the RNA’s New Writers Scheme which was amazing, but I submitted two other books first and then my newly published book three times! It took a lot of work. I was also mentored for six months by Sophie Orme who is an Editorial Director at Bonnier and she was the first person to really start working on this novel with me, and this gave me confidence that I was moving in the right direction. Like I said before, this novel has changed an awful lot from its early days when it started out as a dual-timeline and was called many different titles on the way. I think it’s taken four or five years for this novel to get to this point. It was nearly picked up by another publisher, but they decided they would rather it was purely historical rather than a dual-timeline and at the time I was nearly defeated in how to rewrite it yet again.

 Cut to the pandemic. I was at home, with time on my hands, and was able to have a couple of sessions with Alison May and feeling re-invigorated, I re-wrote it again. Summer 2020 I subbed it to Charlotte Mursell who is with Orion, at the RNA virtual conference and she liked it, but still made some suggestions to improve it. Autumn 2020 I re-wrote it again, subbed it to Charlotte in December that year, plus several other publishers and this time it was like a little magical bell had rung. I immediately had interest from a couple of publishers really quickly. When the email from Charlotte dropped onto my phone I initially thought it was a rejection. My daughter had to make me re-read it. Charlotte loved the story but it wasn’t right for Orion but she was passing it on to their imprint Dash, and someone would be in touch. Wow! I still refused to believe that this was it, and even when Rhea Kurien booked a telephone call with me, I was still not 100% sure I was over the finish line. I cried when she actually said they were offering me a two-book deal. Note: when they ask to phone you, it is good news!


What other books have you written? 

Many books which will not see the light of day. Some of my earlier books were a kind of Maeve Binchy Irish saga style. I also tried many times to write Medieval novels for Mills & Boon, and failed. I once got a super speedy rejection with two weeks from them which must have been a record. There are also a couple of Christmas contemporaries, one of which got to be short-listed in the Penguin Random House Christmas Love Story competition. 


Have you ever had writer's block? 

Yes. Anytime I feel sad and defeated it happens. 


If so how did you overcome it? 

Take time out. Read, watch films that inspire you, look after myself. It passes. Or, rather, my desire to write comes back again. You need to re-fill your creative well. Don’t worry too much about it.


What motivates you to keep writing? 

I love writing stories and so far, I keep coming up with new stories in my head so I need to keep getting them down. I also love reading non-fiction historical books. They inspire me. 


Where is your favourite place to write? 

I have taken over the dining table and it is a mess. But I can look out towards the front of the house and down our lane and that motivates me. I do need to see nature in order to write. 


Do your characters moods ever affect your mood and vice versa? 

When I was writing the contemporary part of my dual-timeline my characters ate a lot of scones and were forever drinking coffee! I like a lot of coffee and cake when I’m writing. But I don’t think my mood affects my characters. It’s their journey I’m re-telling, as though it’s already happened so my current feeling doesn’t slide in there.


What three pieces of advice would you give to an aspiring writer? 

Join the RNA New Writers Scheme. Find other writers to connect with. Keep writing. If that is your biggest desire in life then keep at it and don’t give up.

Suzie with Annette Hannah
at the RNA Industry Awards 2021

Which authors inspire you? 

I’ve always read historical novels from when I was in Primary school and I’ve always been fascinated by WW1 and WW2. I read Judith Kerr’s ‘When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit’ as a child and couldn’t believe that a child the same age as me had had to escape from their home. As an adult, Kate Morton’s book, The Lake House totally inspired me to start writing dual-timelines and I am always on the lookout for great page-turning historicals, preferably if they are set abroad. Favourite authors are Iona Grey, Dinah Jefferies, Hazel Gaynor, Jenny Ashcroft  and Jojo Moyes to name a few.


What are you reading at the moment? 

I have just finished Jojo Moyes novel, The last Letter from my Lover, which I adored, and I’m about to start Pam Lecky’s book, Her Secret War. 


If your book was made into a film what song would you choose for the opening credits? 

Well even though it is set during WW1, Ed Sheeran’s Perfect, would be, well…perfect. 


What is your next book about? 

For my next book I took inspiration from my Quaker roots and I have written another love story set abroad at the start of WW1. This time I have incorporated a dual-narrative but it’s all set within the past. 


Thank you so much for joining us Suzie and Good Luck with the book.


Sincerely
Book Angel x

About the Author





















Suzie Hull lives in Northern Ireland with her family and numerous rescue cats. She originally had notions of being a ballet dancer, but after that didn’t work out, she trained as a Montessori Nursery teacher and has spent the last thirty years working with children. She has always had an enduring passion for history and books, and since she came from a family of creative women it was only a matter of time before she turned to writing her own. A member of the Romantic Novelists' Association, In This Foreign Land is her debut novel.

Friday, 19 November 2021

Author Q & A Julia Wild - The Secret Notebook



A page-turning, emotional WW2 novel for fans of Barbara Taylor Bradford, Lucinda Riley and Kathryn Hughes

A view to the past…

When Izzie Dean’s beloved nan, Molly Blackshaw, passes away, Izzie returns to the Blackpool bungalow where she grew up, to say goodbye once and for all. When Izzie’s homecoming reunites her with her first love, Justin Swift, every emotion that Izzie has repressed since the day he broke her heart comes rushing to the surface. But then an unexpected discovery changes everything.

Between the pages of the battered secret diary Molly kept during WWII, Izzie discovers a story of love, heartbreak, and the incomparable hardship of life in a world at war. Reading her grandmother’s words soon puts her own story into perspective, and suddenly Izzie realises that the only thing holding her back from happiness, might be herself. Now she just has to convince Justin that they deserve a second chance at forever…


Title: The Secret Notebook

Author: Julia Wild

Published By: One More Chapter

Publication Date: 8th July 2021

Links:    UK:  Amazon    US:   Amazon


What was the inspiration behind The Secret Notebook? 

The inspiration behind The Secret Notebook came after talking with Charlotte Ledger of 0ne More Chapter, then uncovering my own time spent living in a Blackpool guest house – discovering that RAF trainees were billeted there during WW2, and reliving the sights sounds, and walks along the prom both in and out of season.


Did you always want to be a writer? 

I always wrote diaries and stories starring friends and myself along with whoever we had a crush on at the time, and have always been an avid reader (gifts were always book tokens) but I didn’t realise just how obvious it was that I wanted to be a writer until I read a rare book that I didn’t enjoy much and thought ‘oh, I could do this…’ 

Little did I realise – you don’t just write a book and send it off to the publishers and get your cheque back in the post! (This was way before the internet came into being) And yes, I really thought that was how it worked!


What other jobs have you had? 

I have worked as a receptionist for a famous cheese company in London, a bank teller, a nightclub waitress, a legal secretary and for an environmental equipment company, also worked in a housebound library service delivering books to those who couldn’t leave home – and then in a local library. 


How did it feel when your first novel was published?

There is nothing to rival that feeling – I was so excited and I didn’t stop smiling for at least three weeks! Realising that all your effort has finally paid off is so joyous.


Can you please tell us a little about your publishing story? 

Whilst spending a day in a double-glazing showroom as a favour (when there were such places) I’d taken along a book to read and it was then I thought, I could write one! That was in 1989 and between then and being published in 1997, I joined Eastern Arts, who would critique a first chapter per year and in 1993 won a week on a Historical residential course; a tutor there said, ‘Join the Romantic Novelists’ Association…’ which I did – a very good move - and also went to night school for creative writing. I wrote and submitted everything from 18th Century blockbusters to Medical Romances, and then in 1996, Hilary Johnson, also known as ‘The Oracle’ and who at the time ran the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme suggested that I try writing a contemporary romance for a new line with Robinson – Scarlet. Which I did, and Dark Canvas was accepted for publication on 2nd January, 1997! It went on to win the RNA’s New Writers’ Award for that year – and I was absolutely thrilled – I had that feeling of dreams coming true!


What other books have you written? 

Dark Canvas was the first, then Blue Silk Promise, Moon Shadow, Soul Whispers, Secrets and Illusions. Illusions won the RNA’s first Shorter Romance Prize in 2003. 

They were all destined for the same publisher, Scarlet, but sadly, that line finished. However, my lovely editor and friend, Sue Curran took me along to Heartline Books with her and the books were tweaked and published there.

After that, Heartline also folded, life took over, all my submissions to agents and publishers weren’t successful, so in 2014, when the library cuts happened, I took voluntary redundancy in order to bring out my backlist as eBooks.  I think I need to go back and look at refreshing the covers of these at some point! 

In 2018, the writing tide turned again when I met Charlotte Ledger at an RNA party and submitted to her at 0ne More Chapter @Harper Collins) That particular story wasn’t taken up, but after some collaborating the Secret Notebook came into being.


Have you ever had writer’s block? 

Yes, usually if my emotions are all over the place in my own life.


If so, how did you overcome it?

Talking to friends and fellow writers, taking some long walks. A breakthrough for me came about when I took a few pages of work on a train journey and found that change of writing location inspired me enormously – unexpectedly I was through the block!


What motivates you to keep writing?

That fizzy excitement when a new idea begins to grow – that motivates me to keep writing.


Where is your favourite place to write? (can we please have a picture)

I’ve turned the little bedroom into an office and just love it. Yes, of course, I’ve attached a photo. 


Do your characters moods ever affect your mood and vice versa? 

Yes, although interacting with friends or family if the character moods threaten to take over is a useful thing to do – or a walk (even up and down the garden a few times) is a great way to get the balance back. My own mood can affect the ability to write – I think worrying can be a difficult emotion to overcome. I meditate these days to help that but don’t always manage to throw it off. However, in the words of my lovely meditation teacher, Val, ‘Fake it till you make it’ – that can work too!


What three pieces of advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

First, don’t give up, second, write what you enjoy writing (it will show) and lastly, try to write in a natural voice (I used to litter my mss with fancy words just so that it looked as if I knew what I was doing!) I don’t do that now. I would also say don’t throw anything away that you write – it’s a fabulous way to see how your writing changes over time and I always thought of any work that was rejected as my apprenticeship – and still do!

 

Which authors inspire you?

Sidney Sheldon, Sandra Brown, Milly Johnson, Serena Mackesy, Debbie Viggiano, – there are so many brilliant new authors too.


What are you reading at the moment?

I’m just between books at the moment, I recently finished Big Sexy Love by Kirsty Greenwood which was amazing (I laughed and cried)


If your book was made into a film what song would you choose for the opening credits?

Oh! ELO’s Mr Blue Sky. I LOVE Jeff Lynne and that song reminds me of looking over the sea on a lovely summer day in Blackpool.


Who would you choose to play your favourite character in the film of your book? 

Izzie and Molly would be played by Nicole Kidman, Eric Christian Olsen would play Justin (he has the best smile and twinkly eyes!) Aiden Turner would play Jack Blackshaw. Apologies for casting everyone – it’s one of my favourite pastimes!


What is your next book about? 

It is very much in the building stage, but Tally and Gabe meet when they have both deliberately escaped the world to adjoining cottages in the Lake District – each for their own powerful reasons… There may be a thread running from The Secret Notebook.


Thank you so much for joining us on our blog today and good luck with the book. 

And huge thanks for having me on your blog, Sincerely Book Angels, it’s been great fun!

We reviewed The Secret Notebook here


Sincerely 

Book Angel x


About the Author

Hello there!

I was born near Manchester, am married and live in Bedfordshire and have three fantastic youngsters - all adults now.

After years of submitting to the Romantic Novelists Association in the 1990s, I came through the Scheme to win the New Writers Award (now the Joan Hessayon Award) with Dark Canvas, my first published book. Illusions, which was originally published in 2002, also won an award - the RNA's Romance Prize in 2003.

I love to read romantic intrigues, thrillers, suspense and love stories, love writing them too - turning what first appears simple into something far more mysterious! Always, my books start with... 'Oh, what if...?' a wonderful, tingling question, the story developing as I work.

As well as a variety of jobs in a craft shop, solicitors, a bank, a nightclub, and I worked most recently in local libraries for 18 years and when the cutbacks came, I took redundancy and am taking some time to be self-employed, doing what I love best - escaping into the writing world with a head full of dreams and story themes.


Sunday, 31 October 2021

Underneath the Christmas Tree by Heidi Swain


 ***The sparkling new Christmas novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author Heidi Swain!***

Wynter’s Trees is the home of Christmas. For the people of Wynmouth it’s where they get their family Christmas tree, and where Christmas truly comes to life.

But for Liza Wynter, it’s a millstone around her neck. It was her father’s pride and joy but now he’s gone, she can’t have anything to do with it. Until her father’s business partner decides to retire and she must go back to handle the transition to his son Ned.

When Liza arrives, she discovers a much-loved business that’s flourishing under Ned’s stewardship. And she’s happy to stay and help for the Christmas season, but then she has other plans. But will the place where she grew up make her change her mind? And can it weave its Christmas cheer around her heart…?

Underneath the Christmas Tree is the perfect festive read, promising snowfall, warm fires and breath-taking seasonal romance. Perfect for fans of Milly Johnson, Carole Matthews and Cathy Bramley.


Title: Underneath the Christmas Tree

Author:   Heidi Swain

Published By: Simon and Schuster UK

Publication Day: 28th October 2021

Links:   UK:   Amazon       US:   Amazon

WHSmith

Waterstones


Our Review

Underneath the Christmas Tree is a wonderful slice of Christmassy heaven from beginning to end and I think has quickly become my favourite of all of Heidi’s fabulous Christmas books. 

First of all just look at that dreamy cover, I fell in love with that immediately and when I opened the book and found it was based on a Christmas tree plantation I thought 'eat your heart out hallmark Christmas movies.' 

Underneath the Christmas Tree ticks every box you would hope to find in a Christmas book and is just absolutely gorgeous. I could see Wynter’s lodge so clearly in my mind and really wanted to curl up in there with one of those delicious sounding hot chocolates. 

The book touches on every emotion such as grief, regret and guilt and it was interesting watching Liza work through all of those feelings. I loved the memories she had of her parents and how close she was to her dad’s best friend and especially how close she got with his son Ned, (who sounds absolutely gorgeous by the way.) It was also wonderful to see Liza being able to make such a positive difference to other people's lives which involved a fair amount of forgiveness.

This story is joyful with a real sense of community at its heart. I loved every word. A fabulously festive five star read that will really get you in the mood for Christmas.

Sincerely

Book Angel x




About the Author


Heidi lives in beautiful south Norfolk with her family and a mischievous cat called Storm. She is passionate about gardening, the countryside, collecting vintage paraphernalia and reading. Her TBR pile is always out of control! To find out more, follow Heidi on twitter @Heidi_Swain or visit her website: heidiswain.co.uk.