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Phillipa Ashley

Phillipa AshleyPhillipa 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.

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Who’s your favourite literary hero or heroine?
    Elizabeth Bennet. Ross Poldark.
  5. 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.
  6. What’s your favourite part of the writing process?
  7. 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.
  8. 'Christmas on the Little Cornish Isles

  9. 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.
  10. 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!
  11. 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.
  12. When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
    Earl Grey tea.
  13. 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’.

Follow Phillipa Ashley Twitter Phillipa Ashley for updates or check out her website at Phillipa Ashley

Paul Finch Writers Tips

C.L. TaylorAuthor of ‘Ashes To Ashes’, Paul Finch shares his writing tips for aspiring authors.

Learn the lessons of rejection. Sorry, but I’ve no time for newcomers who won’t listen to the advice of those who’ve gone ahead of them. We all of us get rejections in our early days (and not just then either, trust me). As the old saying goes, we should keep all our rejection slips so that we can gloatingly wallpaper our studies with them when we become successful. It’s no picnic at the time, being told that your work isn’t up to scratch. But if you want to get on, you need to turn this disappointment to your advantage. So, if an editor or a publisher or a producer takes the time to tell you why he/she has rejected your work, you don’t have to accept it, but you at least need to take note of it. And if you hear the same thing again and again, the likelihood is that the fault lies with you, not them. In which case, if you can put it right, that could be the difference between getting rejected again when you next submit … or making a sale. The other thing is, and it’s tied to that, you’re going to have to tough these rejections out. This is no job for a snowflake. But if it helps, remember this – it’s a long, rocky road for all of us, and we trip lots of times, but we only actually fail the day we give up.

Book News – Amanda Robson Reveals New Book Obsession

ObsessionIf you’re a fan of Paula Hawkins and BA Paris, then the new book by Amanda Robson called ‘Obsession’ is just the book for you.

What the back cover says

It is a simple question – a little game – that will destroy her life.

Carly and Rob are a perfect couple. They share happy lives with their children and their close friends Craig and Jenny. They’re lucky. But beneath the surface, no relationship is simple: can another woman’s husband and another man’s wife ever just be good friends?

Little by little, Carly’s question sends her life spiralling out of control, as she begins to doubt everything she thought was true. Who can she trust? The man she has promised to stick by forever, or the best friend she has known for years? And is Carly being entirely honest with either of them?

Obsession is a dark, twisting thriller about how quickly our lives can fall apart when we act on our desires.

I don’t know about you, but this is a book I’m definitely looking forward to reading!

You can pre-order the ebook of Obsession from Amazon from 4th May 2017 and the paperback will be available to buy from 1st June 2017.

Claudia Carroll Reveals New Book – Our Little Secret

Our Little Secret Irish author Claudia Carroll is back with a new book called, ‘Our Little Secret’.

What the back cover says.

A sparkling story about what happens when you let someone into your life… but they turn out to want more than you’d bargained for!

Sarah Dee has the perfect life. A high-flying job in a law firm, a beautiful daughter and a house to die for. So how does she find herself looking in through the kitchen window while another woman enjoys it all?

When Sarah takes pity on a struggling young graduate who can’t get a job, she thinks she’s doing the right thing. She’s being kind, generous and helpful to others, as she always is. But as Sarah allows the younger woman into her home, her law firm and even her family, is there more to this pretty youngster than meets the eye? And could this be a good deed that goes further than expected?

With a beautiful cover, that’s a bit different from Claudia’s previous books, this book is about what happens when your life becomes up for grabs…

You can pre-order Our Little Secret from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 23rd March 2017.

It’s A Wonderful Life By Julia Williams

It's A Wonderful Life‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ is the latest book by Julia Williams.

This Christmas, be careful what you wish for. Christmas with the family. Cosy, relaxing…and a total nightmare?Driving home for Christmas, Beth has everything she wants. The kids and the house, the career and the husband. So why is it that when the New Year comes, she can’t stop thinking about her old college boyfriend? Beth’s sister Lou has just been dumped…again. Single and childless, she can’t help but be jealous of her sibling’s success. But is the grass really always greener?

I’ve had the delight of reading some great Christmas books over the last couple of weeks and I have to say that ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ is a truly warm story.

The story is seen primarily in the first person of Beth King, a successful children’s author who’s suddenly struggling with her latest book and the once stable family that she was proud to be part is in chaos. After looking up to parents for achieving 42 years of marriage, her world falls apart when her father announces he’s having an affair and leaves her mother for another woman. Heartbroken, Beth tries to carry on with her book, but her life is filled with so many distractions, a broken marriage, rebellious children and a past love that’s it’s hard to put her little angel on the right road.

The story is also written in the third person for Beth’s sister Lou and Beth’s husband Daniel. Lou is struggling with her life, harbouring a secret from her family, she feels a failure to her parents and siblings for not being married and wants nothing more than to be loved meanwhile Daniel never got over his father leaving him as a child and when his father reappears wanting to make amends, Daniel finds it hard to move on causing conflict in the family.

The story starts at Christmas and flows on through the year to the following year and shows the progress the family has made from being a family that lived for Christmas to a now broken unit. It follows the ups and downs of the family when people are truly tested.

The many perspectives of the story make for insightful and entertaining reading as various members of the family deal with the sudden shift in the dynamics.

The story is sweetly written and flows at a warm pace that is both tender and humorous and with the cast of fun and vibrant characters the story is a lovely read. Also, the inclusion of extracts from Beth’s children’s book really does make for cute reading.

A pleasurable story about the importance of family and coming together, ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ is an enchanting tale from one of Avon’s best loved authors.

You can buy It’s a Wonderful Life from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.