Phillipa Ashley is the author of the best-selling Cornish Cafe series. Before she became a full-time writer, she studied English at Oxford and worked as a copywriter and journalist. As Pippa Croft, Phillipa also writes as the Oxford Blue series which is published by Penguin Books. She lives in a Staffordshire village with her husband and has a grown-up daughter. When she’s not writing, she loves falling off surf boards and following ‘Poldark’ around in a camper van.
- To readers of the blog who may not be familiar with you or your writing, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing
I’ve been writing for 11 years and got started by writing online fanfic for a TV period drama called ‘North & South’, ‘Christmas on the Little Cornish Isles’ will be my 16th published novel!
- What is your new book about?
It’s about Maisie, who quits her job managing a busy Cornish pub to run her parents’ inn on the Isles of Scilly. She’s looking forward to a proper family Christmas for the first time in years but can’t forget the previous Christmas – and the day she lost everything.
- If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
My friends from the Romantic Novelists Association including Bella Osborne, Elizabeth Hanbury, Nell Dixon, Katie Fforde, Jo Thomas, Jill Mansell, Cressida McLaughlin, Alison Sherlock – so many fantastic authors. We’d have lots of wine as well as books.
- Who’s your favourite literary hero or heroine?
Elizabeth Bennet. Ross Poldark.
- Was there ever a book that you read, that didn’t live up to the hype that surrounded it and left you disappointed?
I have given up on a book that I was very disappointed in compared to the film. The only clue I’m giving is that Ewan McGregor was in it.
- What’s your favourite part of the writing process?
- What’s your favourite opening line from a book?
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”. (‘A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens’) I also almost injured myself laughing so much at the opening chapter of ‘Notes from a Small Island’ by Bill Bryson.
- What do you think makes a good book?
An unputdownable read that doesn’t end with the unexpected death of a character you have invested in.
- If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
‘Pride & Prejudice’, ‘Jane Eyre’ and something very long that I haven’t read yet!
- What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
Developing confidence in their own voice and creating memorable characters.
- When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
Earl Grey tea.
- And finally do you have any projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the readers of the website
I’m currently writing ‘Spring in the Little Cornish Isles: the Flower Farm’ and have already started the third book in the series, ‘Summer on the Little Cornish Isles: the Starfish Studio’.