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Being An Author – Dream VS Reality By Fiona Gibson

Fiona GibsonOn the book tour for Fiona Gibson’s new book called ‘The Mum Who’d Had Enough’, Fiona talks about the reality of being an author.

I always loved the idea of writing a book. ‘How glamorous,’ I thought, ‘living the life of an author, travelling the world and being invited to, er, things!’ I imagined trotting out novels – which would be no more taxing than stringing a few anecdotes together – and spending the rest of my time on ‘research trips’ to glamorous destinations.

I’m not saying I don’t enjoy what I do. In fact I can’t imagine making a living any other way. But the reality of the job isn’t quite how I pictured it, when I dreamed of a writer’s life way back in my childhood bedroom…

The dream: a glamorous wardrobe
Reality:
I used to think that authors did lots of ‘public’ things (ie, general swanning about) and that this would require beautiful outfits. Yes, there might be the odd event to promote a new novel or take part in a book festival. However the actual writing part generally means pulling on something either very plain or downright disgusting, as you’re usually too befuddled by what feels like a monumental project to make sensible choices about what to wear. My first novel was written when I had three children under five, plus the builders in, and was covered in a fine layer of plaster dust.

The dream: fabulous parties
Reality:
Disappointingly, these imagined glittering occasions don’t come as part of the job. I’m lucky in that my publisher Avon’s parent company hosts a walloping annual do – but honestly, these are rare. As far as I’m aware, 99% of a novelist’s life is spent typing away in a draughty room, forking in potato salad straight from the tub.

The Mum Who’d Had Enough

The dream: a secretary
Reality
: I once imagined that, whilst the writer obviously did the writing part, there’d be someone on hand to take dictation/handle correspondence/tackle other less glamorous tasks. In fact every author I know breaks off regularly from writing to attend to laundry, check kids’ homework and bung a chicken in the oven. When one friend is stuck with a tricky aspect of her plot, she manically scrubs the bathroom floor.

The dream: limitless tranquility in which to write
Reality:
Many people don’t regard writing as a proper job. They think it’s okay to drop round – ‘Not working, are you?’ – to sip tea on your sofa for five hours while you sit there, rigid with panic, feeling your deadline breathing heavily down your neck. Life is full of distractions; if it’s not the window cleaner banging on the door for money, it’s Facebook luring you to look at the holiday pictures of someone you’ve never met.

The dream: inspiration strikes
Reality:
It does, occasionally. There are bursts of elation when the book seems to be literally falling out of your brain and onto the page – followed by lengthy periods of confusion when you realise that ‘Tom’ has mysteriously turned into ‘David’ and, actually, he belonged to your last book, and not the one you’re meant to be writing now.

However, after saying all that, for me the reality is better than the dream version. It is hard graft, for something like six months to a year or more – and by the time I type ‘The End’, I’m both exhausted and elated. But it’s also sort of addictive because within a week or so I am itching to type ‘Chapter One’ and start all over again.

You can buy The Mum Who’d Had Enough from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Big Sexy Love By Kirsty Greenwood

Big Sexy Love‘Big Sexy Love’ is the delicious new book by Kirsty Greenwood.

Olive Brewster is a scaredy cat. She doesn’t do new or risky. She’s happy enough with her job at the local market, it’s cool that she has no boyfriend to fret over, she even likes that she still lives in her childhood home. No drama, no fuss, no problems. Everything is fine. Super duper fine. Except … Olive’s best friend in the world​, Birdie, is dying. Birdie has one final wish. She wants to track down her first love, Chuck, and because she’s stuck in the hospital she needs Olive’s help to do it. But there’s a teeny problem: Chuck is somewhere in New York and Olive has never even left her home town, let alone roamed the crazy streets of Manhattan. As if the big city isn’t scary enough, Olive has to contend with Seth, a cocky comedy TV writer who thinks she’s a joke; Anders, a bored socialite who’s taken a shine to her; and the fact that no matter how hard she tries to track down Chuck, he doesn’t seem to want to be found. Can Olive learn to overcome her fears, abandon her old safe routine and fulfil her best friend’s last wish? It’s going to take extra bravery, one badass attitude and a whole lot of big sexy love to make this happen…

When it comes to Kirsty Greenwood, she’s a wee bit of a hero of mine. I love and admire her in equal measures. I admire her for creating one of the first book review websites in the United Kingdom, becoming her own publisher as well as having written some of the funniest books I’ve come to enjoy over recent years. And I love her for creating characters and scenarios that distract me from real life.

In her latest book we meet Olive, an anxiety ridden fish monger who doesn’t like change and is settled in her comfortable life with her brother and his controlling girlfriend, Donna. Olive is a home bird, who enjoys the simpler things in life but all that changes when her best friend Birdie asks her to help her.

Birdie is seriously ill and confined to her hospital bed and asks Olive to deliver a message to Chuck, her ex-boyfriend in New York, her one big sexy love and the one that got away. And so Olive finds herself confronting her fear of flying and facing the unexpected in New York alone.

Olive is a fabulous character, she’s sharp witted, caring and a woman I’d love for a best friend. She embraced her task with both hands and is determined to deliver the letter to Chuck, no matter all the obstacles that are placed in her way. Whilst on her journey in New York, she meets Seth, a handsome hipster writer for ‘Saturday Night Live’. Like her, he’s funny and scenes between the pair of them is deliciously funny and sexy reading. He keeps Olive on her toes and makes her realise what she really wants from life.

From start to finish, this book is a fabulous story, it’s rude, crude and full of attitude and impossible not to enjoy. The characters are great, so likeable and so fun. The interaction between Olive and Birdie is honest and hilarious, they speak openly about their fears and desires and Birdie isn’t one to hold back despite her serious illness.

Wittily written and filled with drama, sass and a little bit of sadness, ‘Big Sexy Love’ is a coming of age story about following your dreams and confronting your fears. A laugh out loud story that I couldn’t put down, this book is absolutely fantastic!

You can buy Big Sexy Love from Amazon and is available to buy for only £2.99 from 29th June 2017.

Love Under Different Skies By Nick Spalding

Love Under Different Skies‘Love Under Different Skies’ is the latest book from Nick Spalding.

Ever wish you could leave all your problems behind and make a fresh start somewhere else? Trade the stresses and strains of everyday life for your own slice of sun-kissed paradise on the other side of the world? Jamie and Laura Newman certainly have. When Jamie’s spectacular meltdown at work results in him being handed his P45 and Laura finds her working days end up rugby-tackling defenceless pensioners in the high street, a move ten thousand miles away sounds ideal. After all, it might mend some of the cracks that have appeared in their marriage over the past few months. So when Laura is offered a new job in Australia, the Newman family think their dreams have come true. But as the old saying goes – be careful what you wish for, you might just get it. As the hapless couple soon find out, problems have a way of following, no matter how far you go to avoid them.

I have read a couple of Nick’s earlier novels and one thing that I have learned from this author, is that you are definitely guaranteed a laugh with his books and for the poor unfortunate lead characters, life will not be an easy ride.

The story is seen from the perspective of stressed couple Jamie and Laura. Jamie tells his story though his blog whilst Laura is a bit more traditional and communicates through the traditional method of letters to her mum, confiding about the dramas and fear of their lives in Australia.

The story starts of where ‘Love And Sleepless Nights’ finished off. Jamie is unhappy and stressed in his job eventually one day he loses the head with his boss resulting in him losing his job. Whereas Laura forgot that she applied for a job in a chocolate company in Australia, so when she is successful in the position, the family then up sticks and move to Australia, to start a new life and Jamie can finally write the book that he always dreamt of writing. But, it seems that life never runs smoothly for the outspoken and turbulent couple and their equally adorable little girl, Poppy.

I loved this book to say that I enjoyed it immensely would be an understatement, as I read it in a day, unable to put it down. I consumed it during my lunch break, possibly scaring my colleagues as I sat at my desk guffawing away whilst reading the witty one-liners aloud and occasionally I would even share these anecdotes with them. I am a bit cynical when writers write as the opposite sex and I think Nick is one of the authors that does it very well and I really enjoy his writing as both sexes. He doesn’t create weak, whimsical women but strong empowering females with a sharp tongue and crude streak and not one to be made a fool off. Jamie, himself was wonderful, as he struggled with the sudden role reversal in the relationship, no longer the provider of the family, he found it difficult to take a step back in the relationship and Laura to become the breadwinner of the family.

The story is deliciously funny and delightfully crude in some parts and had some creative dialogue that it was hard not to laugh at, as both Jamie and Laura tried not to swear in front of their little girl so they had substitute words which were just as bad!

With a cast of great characters, hilarious scenarios and just the right blend of humour and romance, ‘Love Under Different Skies’ is a heartwarming book that will definitely bring a smile to your face.

You can buy Love…Under Different Skies from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Jenny Colgan’s New Book – The Little Beach Street Bakery

The Little Beach Street BakeryRoNA winner Jenny Colgan is returning in 2014 with her new book, ‘The Little Beach Street Bakery’ with another beautifully illustrated cover and heartwarming story.

The story of ‘The Little Beach Street Bakery’ is –

Polly Waterford is recovering from a toxic relationship. Unable to afford their townhouse, she has to move miles away from everyone, to a sleepy little seaside resort in Cornwall, where she lives alone above an abandoned shop. And so Polly takes out her frustrations on her favourite hobby: making bread. But what was previously a weekend diversion suddenly becomes far more important as she pours her emotions into kneading and pounding the dough, and each loaf becomes better and better. With nuts and seeds, olives and chorizo, with local honey (courtesy of local bee keeper, Huckle), and with reserves of determination and creativity Polly never knew she had, she bakes and bakes and bakes …And people start to hear about it. Sometimes, bread really is life …And Polly is about to reclaim hers.

As a longtime fan of Jenny and her stories of humour, food and love, ‘The Little Beach Street Bakery’ is definitely a book I’m looking forward to.

You can pre-order The Little Beach Street Bakery from Amazon and will available to buy from good bookshops from 13th March 2014.

The Wish List By Jane Costello

The Wish List‘The Wish List’is the latest book by Jane Costello.

There are six months left of Emma Reiss’s twenties and she has some unfinished business. Her career is all wrong, her love life is a mess and that rambling country house she pictured herself in simply never materialised. Moreover, she’s never seen the Northern Lights, mastered the guitar, jumped out of a plane or snogged anyone famous – just some of the aspiration declared on a list she compiled fifteen years ago. So, as Emma hurtles towards her thirtieth birthday, she sets about addressing these issues. But, as she discovers with hilarious consequences, some of them are trickier to achieve than she’d thought.

Again I have found another new author for me, but Jane Costello is an author who has been around for a while, with five novels already under her belt she is well established within the industry.

‘The Wish List’ is a unique story that I enjoyed immensely but I also found a bit sad, as I approached my own thirtieth birthday with both trepidation and excitement, as I reflected upon my first 30 years of life. Emma plays the protagonist in the story, a young, creative and vibrant woman who approaches her thirtieth birthday with apprehension when upon discovering a list that she and her best friends made when they were 15, of things that they hope to achieve by the time they reach 30. The list is an adventurous and fun one, that I imagine all teenage girls would like to achieve at some point in their lives, snog a celebrity, a parachute jump and marry the one they love. But, as Emma reflects back on the list, she realises just how little she has done with her life and decides to finally fulfil as much of the list as she can, before her thirtieth birthday.

Seen solely through the eyes of Emma, ‘The Wish List’ is a bright story that makes for the perfect light reading companion, with a lead character that I could easily relate to, it almost felt like Emma was playing myself at times! I loved her energy and willingness to trying new things. The opening scene to the book was particularly entertaining, as Emma goes about the first item of the list as she wakes up after her first one night stand and wonders did she or didn’t she sleep with the wonderfully gorgeous Matt.

With the help of her close group of best friends, Emma seeks out to finish the list with hilarious and heartwarming results. With regular scenes of snort out loud laughter and scenes of hurt and betrayal, that gives the story an edge of deception as one of Emma’s best friends falls for a married man, the story also gives an insight into just how hard it can be to be the other woman.

Wittily written, with short snappy chapters that you can easily absorb in a day and the inclusion of a group of wonderful characters, hilarious misfortunes and charming and beautiful men. ‘The Wish List’ is the perfect introduction to Jane Costello.

You can buy The Wish List on Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.