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Welcome, Mandy Baggot…

Mandy B pic

Can I offer you a drink? Tea? Wine?

Perhaps a tea first and then we can move onto wine!

*Hands tea to Mandy* 

Cup of tea at Coconut Loft1

Can you tell me a little about yourself? (inc if you use a pen name and why)

I’m Mandy Baggot and I’m a bestselling romantic novelist of – currently – 14 novels. Mandy Baggot is my real name. I did think about writing under another name when I started to write more romantic comedy than anything else, but one Google search told me there was so much information on Mandy Baggot it would be foolish to work against that with a new name.

What is the title and genre of your book?

My latest book is called Single for the Summer and it’s a romantic comedy set on the Greek island of Corfu. Perfect summer reading for your suitcase… or garden at home.

How did you come up with the story?

Ha! It came quite easily really. I wanted to tell the story of someone who’s a serial dater but doesn’t want a boyfriend. Sound weird? Well Tess has been hurt badly so dinner dates and theatre trips she can do, but there is absolutely no commitment. Add in her broken-hearted best friend who says they must remain completely single for the Summer and Tess has a real problem… particularly when she meets gorgeous Greek, Andras.

 It has a lovely cover, did you have any say in what you wanted the cover to be?

Yes. Ebury very much wanted to keep the style of my previous Greek-set books with the large title and they chose me the most amazing designer – Adrian Valencia. I am a real admirer of his work so I knew it was going to be special. It’s completely summery and Greek and gives the perfect flavour for the story.

Mandy Bs book~Single for the Summer

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Write that book! Don’t think too long and hard about planning, just get the words down on the page – you can tinker later. Think about what YOU want to write. Fall in love with your characters, because if you’re not in love with them chances are no one will be.

What is your writing routine?

I generally write when my children are at school every day. But I often work evenings and weekends too depending on deadlines. I am currently writing two books a year so there is quite a quick turnaround!

Do you have an editing process?

I generally write the entire book and then I do one or two read-throughs where I might add in certain details I’ve missed or add more setting etc. Then the book goes to my agent for reading and then on to my editor. After that it goes to copy and line edits with me getting it back in between each time. I always do a final read through on my Kindle to spot any oddities!

What do you enjoy the most/least about writing?

I enjoy making characters that people seem to resonate with. I write, I hope, real life, as well as summery fantasy where you know a happy ending is guaranteed. When readers connect with me and tell me how much they loved my book and how they have been through the same dilemmas as I’ve written it means a great deal.

There isn’t anything I don’t like apart from there are never enough hours in the day!

Where can people find you on the internet?

I am all over the place! Here are some ways to find out more and get in touch!

www.mandybaggot.com

https://www.facebook.com/mandybaggotauthor/

https://twitter.com/mandybaggot

https://www.instagram.com/mandybaggot/

Is there anything else you would like to share with your readers?

I am extremely excited that Single for the Summer will be going in to W H Smith Travel, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Tesco from 27 July. There will be a competition for photos shared of the book on shelves! Keep checking my social media channels!

 Mandy Bs book covers

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_13?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=mandy+baggott&sprefix=mandy+baggott%2Cstripbooks%2C149&crid=3L7T6ZXLOSJ35

Thank you for a lovely interview, Suzan.

You’re welcome and thank you for taking time out to tell us about your fabulous new book. I’ve got my evening sorted. 

Presecco   Mandy Bs book~Single for the Summer

 

 

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Welcome, Heidi Swain…

Heidi Swain head and shoulders~black and white

Thank you for inviting me to visit Suzan. I’m delighted to be here.

Can I offer you a drink? Tea? Wine?

I’d love a cup of tea please. Milk and one, not too heaped, sugar. Thank you.

*Hands tea to Heidi*

Cup of tea at Coconut Loft1

Can you tell me a little about yourself? (inc if you use a pen name and why)

My name is Heidi Swain. I am an author who writes commercial fiction for Simon and Schuster and my agent is Amanda Preston from LBA. I live, with my family and our rescue cat called Storm, in a village a few miles south of Norwich.

I don’t have a pen name because I would find it all far too confusing.

What is the title and genre of your book?

My current release, which was published on July 13th is called Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage. It is the fourth book I have written set in and around the fictitious town of Wynbridge in East Anglia and it is commercial women’s fiction. Although I’m not too sure how I feel about the ‘women’s’ tag as my other half is an HGV driver and his colleagues enjoy my books. And they are very manly!

Heidi Swain~cover forComing Hme to Cuckoo Cottage

Do you write in first or third person? Please explain why

All of my books are written in the first person but my short stories are third. I never made a conscious decision to work that way. It just kind of happened, however, I do like writing in the first person because you really get right inside a character and find out what makes them tick.

How did you come up with the story?

The story of Cuckoo Cottage came to me when I was writing Mince Pies and Mistletoe at The Christmas Market (my Christmas 2016 release). There was a fabulous character called Gwen who was demanding her share of the limelight. She was completely eccentric and lived in a pretty cottage on the outskirts of Wynbridge. I knew straightaway that her home needed investigating and then along came Lottie Foster.

It has a lovely cover, did you have any say in what you wanted the cover to be?

Thank you. My daughter tells me it is her favourite so far but I find it impossible to pick one as I love them all. However, the Christmas 2017 cover is stunning…

With regards to the cover creation process, my editor, Emma Capron, and I have a quick chat about what we think the focus should be and then the ideas are sent off to Pip Watkins in the art department. So far she has struck gold every time and I can’t imagine that is going to change. She’s hugely talented and knows exactly what we want to achieve.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

I’m asked this a lot now and I always come back to the same thing – don’t think, just write. If you have a story you want to tell just blooming well get on and write it! If we all waited for the perfect time, the idyllic writing room and the endless hours of free time, we’d never write a word. Stop procrastinating and get the words down and remember, the world won’t stop turning if you make a mistake. Every word you write is a learning curve but you have to take those first steps to climb it.

That sounds a bit ranty. Sorry. I feel very passionate about this!

What is your writing routine?

This has had a bit of a shake-up recently, and is still evolving as I’m now writing full-time (yay) and determined not to get stuck in a rut, sitting for endless hours and having no social life or fresh air.

I still like to get up early and, weather pending, begin the day with a walk rather than words. If I can manage 25 mins pounding the pavements I won’t feel so guilty about sitting and working on the WIP until lunchtime and occasionally beyond, depending on how the words are flowing.

Afternoons are generally kept for answering emails, writing blog posts and interviews.

However, I’ve discovered that us authors never really switch off, do we? Even when we’re ironing, hoovering or scrubbing the bath, our brains are still untangling plot problems and dreaming up new settings.

Do you have an editing process?

When I’ve completed a first draft, I like to leave it alone for a few days before having a read through and a tinker and then it goes off to my editor. Once she has returned it I’ll work through her notes and suggestions and work on it again. And again if necessary, although so far so good. Next come the proof pages and the finishing touches and voila! A book is born.

Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Don’t be fooled. I’ve left out the bits about months of obsessing and the crucial error of getting sucked into editing as you go along…

What do you enjoy the most/least about writing?

Most – creating a character that resonates with readers and coming up with settings that people would actually want to live in. I readily admit that I would be quite happy living the lives of all my leading ladies!

Least – the sleepless nights spent worrying that my lovely readers won’t like the next story and those (thankfully infrequent) scathing reviews that feel like a blow to the stomach and stick with you far longer than they should.

Where can people find you on the internet?

I’m all over the internet. I adore social media!

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

Is there anything else you would like to share with your readers?

A massive hug if I may? And an even bigger thank you for being so hugely supportive and giving me the confidence to carry on!

You are appearing at the East Anglian Festival of Culture in the Ambassador Room in the Hatfield Hotel in Lowestoft on Saturday 9th September.

I’m really looking forward to this! It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet some fellow local authors and hopefully some new readers. I’m thrilled to have been invited.

Will you be reading one of your fabulous books or talking about becoming a fulltime writer?

I’m planning to read from Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage but am more than happy to talk about becoming a full time author as well. I could chat about all things bookish until the cows come home!

Thank you for a lovely interview.

You’re welcome and thank you for taking time out to tell us about your fabulous new book. I’ve got my evening sorted. Can’t decide on chocolate or chocolate with strawberries…

Presecco Chocolate Strawberries and chocolate  Heidi Swain~cover forComing Hme to Cuckoo Cottage

 

Covers

BID to have the name of your pet or a child in book 5 of my Chatty Cat series. Bidding closes tomorrow! ALL proceeds to Grenfell Tower.

https://authorsforgrenfelltower.com/2017/06/25/name-a-pet-or-child-in-book-5-of-the-chatty-cat-series-by-suzan-collins/

Thank you to everyone who voted for my book ‘Chatty Cat: My Purr-fect Friends’ to become a FINALIST in the People’s Book Prize. I am su-purr excited. Of course Chatty Cat (my rescue cat) is just taking it in her stride, mind you that’s probably because I haven’t told her.

Voting is now open for people to vote again and this time it’s to vote for the book to WIN the children’s category.

front-cover-on-amazon   #paperback & #kindle

Title: Chatty Cat: My Purr-fect Friends    

Author: Suzan Collins                                  ISBN: 978-0993493454

One of the many 5* reviews on Amazon

‘I was reading it as soon as it was out of the package! I wasn’t disappointed it is brilliant, immediately I’m there with Chatty Cat and her purr-felt friends on their adventures. Suzan Collins at her best sprinkled with magic. If you are owned by cats it’s a must read!’  If you would like to read more reviews or purchase your own copy click here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Suzan-Collins/e/B0037DXY46/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1495315316&sr=1-2-ent

Vote for me

#Collar Tree #Sun Switch #Cat Prison #Feed-me-Time #Chatty Cat #Micky #Maggie #The Poop Group #Sardine Saturday #Toffee Cat #Shehooman #Stray Cat #Clancy Cat #Sooty Cat #Bert the Parrot #Rocky Dog #Brandi Dog #Om #Daenerys

#humour #social etiquette  *introduces bullying and dementia in a subtle way*

If you would like to vote for my book to WIN the People’s Book Prize please vote now!

front-cover-on-amazon

http://www.peoplesbookprize.com/book.php?id=1474

Thank you for your support.

Hope you’re having a lovely weekend x

PS: My Chatty Cat books are written as though it’s Chatty Cat telling the stories. They are suitable for children of 8 years and above. And guess what? Adults love the Chatty Cat books too.

Welcome, Jean Gill…

jean sm~head and shoulders 

Can you tell me a little about yourself?

After a career teaching English, and writing when I could find the time, I wanted to write full-time. I now live in Dieulefit, a small village in Provence, where we moved from Wales in 2003 after my husband retired (and is the subject of my memoir How Blue is My Valley). My claim to fame is that I was the first woman to be a secondary Headteacher in the Welsh county of Carmarthenshire.

From 2008, I also worked as a photographer. Life brings surprises if you’re open to adventures, so I learned dog-training with top international Michel Hasbrouck, and then, two years ago, I trained as a beekeeper. Which means I live with a Nikon D750, two scruffy dogs, a couple of beehives and a man. We also have five children between us so life has been pretty hectic.

What is the title and genre of your book?

Song at Dawn is Book 1of The Troubadours Quartet, historical fiction set in 1150 Provence.

Jean sm Song eBook cover

How did you come up with the story?

I was reading books about the troubadours, who lived and worked in this very region where I now live, and I came across the sentence, ‘Rumour says there was a female troubadour touring the south of France with a large white dog.’ How could I not write that book? Poetry, a feisty woman and a big white dog! I could see Estela in a ditch, on the run, and the Great Pyrenees at her side, and that’s how the story begins.

It has a lovely cover, did you have any say in what you wanted the cover to be?

Thank you and all credit to my amazing designer Jessica Bell http://www.jessicabellauthor.com/book-cover-design-services.html  Yes, that’s one of the things I love about Indie publishing – never again will feel disappointed at seeing the cover a publisher has chosen!

Designing The Troubadours covers was the first time Jessica and I worked together but she understood straight away that I wanted a branded look for all my books, a series look for The Troubadours (three were already written) and finally the individual cover. An impossible task with 18 published books, of different genres, but she pulled it off!

Jean ms troubadours no text

Jessica is free to choose any of my photos if she wants and, for Song at Dawn, the dog on the cover is one of my own Great Pyrenees, Bételgeuse. The 12th century fortified village is also my photo, of Poët-Laval, a 12th century stronghold of the Knights Templar, right next door to me.

I wondered if we’d made a mistake having fantasy adventure vibes rather than a straight ‘authentic history’ medieval tapestry-type cover, given that the period detail is as accurate as a year’s research can make it, but when a reviewer said the book’s ‘like GOT but with real history’ I thought, ‘Yes! We got the covers right.’

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Believe in your own work. If you don’t, why should anyone else? And I’m a big fan of the approach; ‘Don’t get it right, get it written,’ with the P.S. ‘THEN redraft as often as it takes to get it right!’

What is your writing routine?

I’m a morning person, writing either at my desk in a corner of the living-room, where I can look at the garden and listen to Metallica or troubadour music, or outdoors with my laptop. I write about 1,000 words in one session and I try to always stop at a point when I know what comes next. I’m sure that’s why I never get writer’s block (touch wood!)

Do you have an editing process?

I really hate editing but nobody else can make my choices for me, even though I have a great professional editor. I write the book first, only looking back to check details or re-arrange parts and insert foreshadowing. When I finish (hooray moment!) I re-read and edit the whole book (ouch moment!). Then I let my husband read it; he has the knack of picking out a wrong note or something that just doesn’t work. Then my close group of writer-friends read it and feed back. Their feedback is essential and I call them alpha readers because beta readers is demeaning to such top quality writers. Then I consider all the suggestions, make my changes and send the typescript off to my editor for the final polish. She too will make suggestions on content so the pain is still possible.

What do you enjoy the most/least about writing?

Editing!

Where can people find you on the internet?

 Everywhere! 😊

Song at Dawn, Book 1 of the award-winning Troubadours Quartet is available free to subscribers who sign up to Jean’s newsletter here http://eepurl.com/AGvy5

Contact jean.gill@wanadoo.fr

IPPY Award for Best Author Website www.jeangill.com

Blog www.jeangill.blogspot.com

Twitter https://twitter.com/writerjeangill

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

The Troubadours Page https://www.facebook.com/jeangilltroubadours

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4619468.Jean_Gill

Watch the book trailers on youtube https://www.youtube.com/user/beteljean

Jean sm twitter banner 2016

East Coast author event poster

 

 

A lovely day was had at The Loddon Swan Hotel last Saturday (25th Feb) where I joined some lovely authors to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

 

 

 

East Coast author event~Sandra Delf reading1

Sandra Delf

East Coast author event~Helen reading

Elizabeth Manning-Ives

East Coast author event ~ just starting

Enid Thwaites and Sandra Forder on the left

East Coast author event~Get Writing stall

East Coast author event ~Darren and Aisha 2017

Darren Barker and Aisha Khalaf

Me at the East Coast Author event at The Loddon Swan 25th Feb 2017

Suzan Collins

East Coast author event ~Cath Pickles and Worzel    East Coast author event~Worzel

Cath Pickles and Worzel

Thank you to the authors for giving their time and to The Loddon Swan for hosting us and looking after us. Thank you.

 

Welcome…Pam Lecky

pam-lecky

Can you tell me a little about yourself? (inc if you use a pen name and why)

I was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland. Married with three children, I work part-time and have a lot to juggle, which isn’t ideal for my writing. As a result, independent publishing has been wonderful as it suits my hectic life down to a tee and I set my own deadlines. I’m probably a typical writer – a bit introverted, and was prone to daydreaming from an early age. I was an only child and my mother died when I was young, so I grew up spending a lot of time alone (though not lonely). Books were always my joy and I turned to them frequently. I grew up during the seventies – a particularly bleak time in Ireland, so escaping into other worlds was attractive.

I first dabbled with poetry during my teens. Then I helped out on a local newsletter for a year or two, but it was only after my third child was born, that I decided to write a book – and it was purely to prove to myself that I could and with no thought of ever publishing. I loved writing and researching it and that was the catalyst. Early on, I joined the Historical Novel Society whose members, I have to say, are some of the most supportive people I have had the pleasure to meet.

Stories just pop into my head and then I have to get them down as fast as I can. I grew up watching period dramas and reading classics so a lot of my background inspiration comes from those. Primarily I am intrigued by how people react in difficult circumstances and I suppose a little part of me wants to explore the world through their eyes (my characters tend to be a lot braver than me!).

I write under my maiden name for a few reasons; firstly as it is an unusual name it makes me easy to find; I have come to writing relatively late in life and want to keep my personal and writing life separate; lastly, I wanted to use my maiden name for sentimental reasons.

What is the title and genre of your book?

My debut novel is entitled The Bowes Inheritance. The genre is historical fiction but it is a mix of romance and mystery set in the late Victorian era (my favourite part of the 19th century). My next published piece will be a short story set in the WW1 era and set in Ireland. It is called In Three-Quarter Time and I hope to publish it on Kindle very soon.

pam-lecky-coverbowes    pam-leckycoverin-three-quarter-time

How did you come up with the story?

The original premise for The Bowes Inheritance was a young woman inheriting a property and having to fight to keep it. It had a beginning, a middle and an end (always a good thing!), but there was no flesh to its bones. I knew I wanted it to have an Irish flavour, but with a new angle perhaps. I have always been fascinated by the complex relationship between the Irish Ascendency and their British counterparts and that, and a wrangle over land, seemed a good place to start. It was only as I started to research, that the story took on a life of its own. Sub-plots popped up, often influenced by real events that I read about from old newspapers, books and on-line blogs. What started out primarily as a love story became tangled up in Irish history, Fenians and the English Lake District! The Bowes Inheritance was born.

Much to my delight the book has been very well received and was longlisted for the Historical Novel Society Indie Award 2016 and shortlisted for The Carousel Aware Prize 2016. Just last week it was awarded the ‘Discovered Diamond’ status.

It has a lovely cover, did you have any say in what you wanted the cover to be?

As I’m independently published I have complete control over title and cover. My original cover, when I first published in 2015, was lovely and I was really proud of it but I felt over time that it was too ‘nice’ and not genre specific enough. I found a cover I loved (a pre-made cover) and the graphic designer, Victoria Cooper, was very willing to add to and amend it to what you see today.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

If I could only give one piece of advice it would be to write about what you love and what interests you. Good writing will out. If you want to write to a formula for commercial success ask yourself what  kind of legacy is that leaving? Will anyone want to read your work in a hundred years’ time if it’s the same as a hundred other novels out there? I’ll take quality over quantity any day.

What is your writing routine?

Most of my writing is done in the evening or at weekends. As I work outside the home on a part-time basis, having a writing routine is virtually impossible. Marketing and promotion take up a lot of time and eat into those hours I’d rather be writing. Lately, I have pulled back on it and all of the other distractions that stop me from writing but it isn’t always easy. The days I’m working I am usually too tired to write and sometimes when I have time the writing muse deserts me!

I’m lucky to have an office at home where I can surround myself with my favourite books, pictures and research material. It is nice and quiet and generally the only company I have is the dog and perhaps the cat if he’s in the mood! Most importantly I can listen to music while I write – I find it helps me relax and the ideas flow more easily.

Do you have an editing process?

I tend to edit as I go which I suppose draws out the process somewhat. However, it seems to be the only way I can work. I always have an outline of the plot but it is only as I write that the details emerge. Historical fiction requires a lot of research and luckily I love that as much as the writing.

I have a wonderful editor, Hilary Johnson. She does an initial structural edit, checking for any major errors, plot and character holes, etc. Once I’m happy I have the final version I send it back to her for a thorough copy edit/proofread. She is incredibly professional and strict. I trust her judgement so if she says something isn’t working, I will go away and think about it. She’s usually right!

What do you enjoy the most/least about writing?

The most enjoyable part for me is watching my characters emerge and grow. When I’m working on a story, the characters tend to be in my head all of the time, even to the point where they are having conversations. But dialogue makes or breaks a book so I tend to spend a lot of time and energy on trying to get it right.

The worst thing for me is not having enough quality time to write. I really envy those who are lucky enough to be full-time writers.

Where can people find you on the internet?

I maintain an active presence on Facebook and Twitter and I have a website/blog. These work best for me as I have such a limited amount of time to be online. I love to interact with fellow authors and of course, readers. My first wow moment after publication, was when a total stranger emailed me to say they loved my book. You can’t get much better than that.

Links:

Facebook

Twitter

www.pamlecky.com

Goodreads

Universal Link to buy The Bowes Inheritance (Amazon) www.bookgoodies.com/a/B010EB2XC2