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Heidi Swain

“HeidiHeidi Swain gained a degree in Literature and flirted briefly with a newspaper career. She married and had two children before she plucked up the courage to join a creative writing class and take her literary ambitions seriously. 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 celebrating 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.

  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.
    Hello Bronagh! Thank you so much for inviting me along today and hello to everyone who has dropped in to have a read. My name is Heidi Swain and I am an author of ‘feel good fiction’ signed to Simon and Schuster.

    I have written stories for as long as I can remember, but my big break into publishing came after I submitted my debut novel, ‘The Cherry Tree Café’ to my publisher via their #oneday open call for submissions.

  2. What made you decide to write female fiction?
    Female fiction has long been my favourite genre to read and I wanted to see if I had it in me to write the kind of book I would enjoy snuggling up with.
    I know it probably sounds self-indulgent, but I wanted to write about characters I would love to be friends with and who live in places I would love to visit. Fortunately, my readers feel the same way. I’ve lost count of the number of messages, emails and tweets I’ve received from folk who want to move to Wynbridge.
  3. If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
    That’s a great question! My goodness, so many authors… Without a doubt I would have to invite Trisha Ashley, Milly Johnson, Jilly Cooper and JK Rowling.
  4. What’s your favourite part of the writing process?
    That’s tricky to answer, because it can vary from book to book, but more often than not, as long as the words and ideas are flowing, writing the first draft is my favourite part of the process. I never end a writing session without knowing how I will carry on the next time I sit down. I’ll scribble a few notes, perhaps write the opening line and then mull the action over from then on until I start writing again.
  5. Sunshine And Sweetpeas In Nightingale Square

  6. What’s your favourite opening line from a book?
    The opening line of ‘A Christmas Carol’ – “Marley was dead: to begin with”. If that doesn’t make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, nothing will! I love the way Dickens then goes on to talk to his readers, leaving them in no doubt that he really is standing next to them as they read. Pure magic.
  7. You’re quite prolific on Instagram, what’s your top tip to take the perfect photograph?
    Truth be told, I have no idea! I just click away and hope for the best. That said, if I’m photographing a flower, I like to zoom in on the detail but if I’m snapping my baking or something in the house, I do pay attention to the background. No one wants to see a pile of dirty laundry or stacks of dishes!
  8. Who’s your favourite literary hero or heroine?
    I know you’ve asked for one or the other, but I have to pick two – the dynamic duo of Pop and Ma Larkin. Between them there’s no problem they can’t solve, no belly they can’t fill and no mood they can’t lift. I love their kindness, generosity and abundant love for their family and friends.
  9. What do you think makes a good book?
    A good book for me can be defined by its ability to carry me away and make me forget everything other than the words on the page. I want to be transported into the world the author has created and left in no doubt that if I bumped into the characters, or turned up in their town I would know who I was talking to and where I was, straightaway.
  10. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
    Three books! How about thirty three? Can I go for three collections? Let’s assume I can…
    The entire ‘Harry Potter’ series
    ‘The Darling Buds of May’ and all the other books H E Bates wrote about the Larkin family
    My Miss Read collection
    I know I’ve cheated but I’m guilt ridden have left behind ‘Wind in The Willows’, Trisha Ashley and Dickens!
  11. What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    I think the most important thing is to just keep writing. The more you practice, the better you’ll get. Push yourself to find the time and make the commitment to write every day and don’t abandon projects before you’ve written or typed The End. Every piece of fiction, no matter how short or long will have tricky patches but you have to work through them otherwise you’ll never learn how to finish anything.

    Also, read widely, and not just the genre you write in.

  12. When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
    I have a few things on the table – tea, notes, pencil, laptop, the usual really, but I also have a feather bookmark decorated with amethyst beads and an owl. The Goddess Athena is the goddess of the arts and literature and she had an owl, so I like to have a representation of her by me when I sit down to write.
  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?
    My sixth book, ‘Sunshine and Sweet Peas in Nightingale Square’, is due to be published at the end of May. It features a Wynbridge girl who is rebuilding her life after the breakdown of her marriage. She has made the brave decision not to move back to her home town and instead, she buys a house in Nightingale Square in Norwich.

    This will be the first book which isn’t set in or around Wynbridge and as daunting as that feels because my readers love the town, it has been very exciting. Creating somewhere new and filling it with a wonderful little urban community has been great fun and I hope the fine folk of Nightingale Square touch everyone’s hearts.

Follow Heidi Swain on Twitter Heidi Swain for updates or check out her website at Heidi Swain

Paige Toon Reveals New Book Called Five Years From Now

Five Years From NowWonderful news, as Paige Toon has revealed her new book called ‘Five Years From Now’

What the back cover says –

What happens if you meet the RIGHT person at the WRONG time?

Nell and Van meet as children when their parents fall in love, but soon they are forced worlds apart.

Five years later, they find each other. Their bond is rekindled and new feelings take hold, but once again they have to separate.

For the next two decades, fate brings Nell and Van together every five years, as life and circumstance continue to divide them. Will they ever find true happiness? And will it be together?

‘One day, maybe five years from now, you’ll look back and understand why this happened…’

Can’t wait to read this one!

You can pre-order Five Years From Now from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 17th May 2018.

Milly Johnson Reveals New Book – The Perfectly Imperfect Woman

The Perfectly Imperfect WomanOne of my favourite authors Milly Johnson is back with a new boo, wonderfully called ‘The Perfectly Imperfect Woman’.

What the back cover says:

Marnie Salt has made so many mistakes in her life that she fears she will never get on the right track. But when she ‘meets’ an old lady on a baking chatroom and begins confiding in her, little does she know how her life will change.

Arranging to see each other for lunch, Marnie finds discovers that Lilian is every bit as mad and delightful as she’d hoped – and that she owns a whole village in the Yorkshire Dales, which has been passed down through generations. And when Marnie needs a refuge after a crisis, she ups sticks and heads for Wychwell – a temporary measure, so she thinks.

But soon Marnie finds that Wychwell has claimed her as its own and she is duty bound not to leave. Even if what she has to do makes her as unpopular as a force 12 gale in a confetti factory! But everyone has imperfections, as Marnie comes to realise, and that is not such a bad thing – after all, your flaws are perfect for the heart that is meant to love you.

‘The Perfectly Imperfect Woman’ is the heart-warming and hilarious new novel from our queen of feel-good fiction – a novel of family, secrets, love and redemption … and broken hearts mended and made all the stronger for it.

You can pre-order The Perfectly Imperfect Woman from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 22nd February 2018.

Practice Makes Perfect Book Tour – Cotswolds Quirks

Penny ParksOn the book tour for Penny Parks’ new book, ‘Practice Makes Perfect’, Penny talks about the quirks of living in the Cotswolds.

There must be something in the water…

I’m often asked what I love about living in the Cotswolds and, in truth, there are so many different answers to that question – the wonderful sense of community in our village, the honey coloured stone, the rolling fields and countryside… well, you catch my drift. But one of the notable quirks of Cotswold life is our particular penchant for a bonkers event.

If you happen to visit the Cotswolds, for example, on a Bank Holiday in May, you will find grown men and athletes hurtling down a virtually-vertical hillside near Gloucester in pursuit of a rolling cheese – yes, you did read that correctly. A nine-pound Double Gloucester Cheese to be precise.

Cotswolds Park

And on that self-same day, you would see the streets of Tetbury decked out for a country fair, as men and women alike attempt an undulating and challenging course, whilst carrying a fully laden wool sack on their shoulders.

TetburyNeither one for the faint hearted!

If you like your madness a little more genteel, then of course you could opt for the Boxing Day Bibury Duck Race – try saying that after a festive tipple or two! – where thousands of people turn out to watch a flotilla of sponsored yellow ducks race their way along the River Coln.

Bourton-on-the-Water

Practice Makes PerfectOr pop into Bourton-on-the-Water for a quick game of football in the river – splashing about on August Bank Holiday in an attempt to best the opposing team.

So whatever your inclination, there is almost certainly a Cotswold tradition that might float your boat – or indeed your duck. And it is this spirit of gung-ho adventure and individuality that makes the Cotswolds such a wonderful place to be.

And since my fictional town of Larkford is set in the Cotswolds, it is my very great pleasure to bring a little of this hearty hedonism to the page, where of course we can be assured that Dan and Taffy will make the very most of it.

You can buy Practice Makes Perfect from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Images from Loving The Cotswolds

Book News – You, Me, Everything By Catherine Isaac

You, Me, EverythingCatherine Isaac has revealed the cover to her debut novel called ‘You, Me, Everything’ which excitedly is being adapted for film, even though it won’t be out until 2018.

But for people not in the know, Catherine Isaac is actually Jane Costello, who already has nine books under her belt.

What the back cover says:

Sick of her boyfriend Adam’s lying and cheating, Laura throws him out only months after giving birth to their son. While she brings up William with the help of her mum, Susan, Adam moves to France to follow his dreams.

But ten years on, Susan is battling a debilitating disease, aged just 53, and she convinces her daughter that William needs his father in his life. So, in their first trip abroad in years, Laura and ten-year-old William set off to spend the summer at Chateau de Roussignol, in the sunlit hills of the Dordogne, where Adam now lives.

Laura is determined is to make Adam fall in love with his own son. But the problem isn’t only that he’s an unwilling participant in this game. It’s that Laura is tormented by a secret of her own, one that nobody – especially William – must discover.

With a beautiful cover and a heartbreaking synopsis, ‘You, Me, Everything’ sounds like a stunning story.

You can pre-order You Me Everything from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 20th September 2018.