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Just My Luck Publication Day

Adele ParksI’m delighted to have an interview with one of my favourite authors, Adele Parks on the publication day of her new book called ‘Just My Luck’.

  1. Can you tell us a bit about your new book called ‘Just My Luck’
    It is the story about a group of friends who have been extremely close since they met at a baby group fifteen years ago. They do the lottery every week as a syndicate and over dinner parties, fish & chip suppers and summer barbecues, they’ve discussed the important stuff – the kids, marriages, jobs and houses – and they’ve laughed off their disappointment when they failed to win anything more than a tenner.

    But one week a tiff turns into a terrible rift – we don’t know what they are quarrelling about. Two of the three couples leave the syndicate but the very next week the numbers come up and Lexi and Jake have the winning ticket worth 18 million pounds! The others go to extreme lengths to try to get a share of the money. It is a novel that looks at what money can and can’t buy, should and certainly should not buy!

    Like ‘I Invited Her In’ and ‘Lies Lies Lies’ this is a dark novel that looks at loyalty, betrayal, friendship, and fidelity. It’s full of secrets and revelations. I hope readers are going to completely invest in the characters and plot.

  2. You’ve been an author for over 20 years, initially writing female fiction and then moving into suspense, why the change of genre?
    My female heroes were never sweetness and light looking for tall, dark and handsome, I have always written characters who are damaged or flawed and somewhat dark, even if my earlier writing was lighter (sometimes comedic). So, it wasn’t really a case of me turning from one thing to another, more of a development.

    'Just My Luck

    I think I have always just written what I wanted to read, what felt natural and relevant at the time. My personality, life-stage, age, ambition all influenced the tone. In my earlier books, the catalyst for action was often falling in or out of love and trying to understand that. Now, my character arcs often evolve through a more negative or challenging life experience (infertility, alcoholism, a toxic friendship, a death), experiences that generally speaking come later in life.

    I guess now I write less about choice and more about consequence (because that’s my mind shift), I think my work simply became darker because of that.

  3. If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
    Jane Fallon, Tasmina Perry, Nicola Moriarty, Lisa Jewell and Claire Mackintosh – off the top of my head – but there are dozens of writers I admire and enjoy the company of. We would probably have to have lots of lovely food (and possibly the odd glass of champers) at this book club! Oh, it sounds fabulous, I think I’ll start one!

  4. If you had the option of one of your books being adapted for screen, which one would you choose and who would play the characters?
    ‘Just My Luck’ has been optioned for screen so that is incredibly exciting! There are so many incredibly talented actors out there. There is a whole list of people I would be honoured to see play the role. Imagine if Amy Adams was Lexi! She’d be wonderful!

  5. Finally, how are you coping with lockdown? Have you discovered any new skills or authors?
    Lockdown does not really affect my life Monday to Friday, daytime because I have worked from home for 20 years. However, like everyone, I miss going out in the evenings and at weekends, I miss my family. I haven’t seen my parents or sister since January. I miss my friends and colleagues, my gym, restaurants etc etc! And, as you can imagine, a lockdown launch is presenting challenges but it is also presenting opportunities to be creative. I think it’s important to look at the pluses. I’m enjoying the unexpected bonus of having my son home from uni, I love spending time with him. Although, at the same time, I am really sorry for him and all young people. I think lockdown is harder the younger you are. It’s a time of your life when you should be entitled to fly. I think the new skills I am developing is patience and biting my tongue.

    You can buy ‘Just My Luck’ from Amazon and will be availble to buy from good bookshops.

    Follow Adele’s publication day excitement on Twitter, or wish her happy publication day yourself!

Trevor Wood

Trevor WoodTrevor Wood has lived in Newcastle for 25 years and considers himself an adopted Geordie, though he still can’t speak the language. He’s a successful playwright who has also worked as a journalist and spin-doctor for the City Council. Prior to that he served in the Royal Navy for 16 years joining, presciently, as a Writer. Trevor holds an MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) from UEA. His first novel, The Man on the Street, which is set in his home city, will be published by Quercus in Spring 2020

  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 joined the Royal Navy at 18. When I left 16 years later I retrained as a journalist. One of my fellow journalism students, Ed Waugh, was interested in writing, comedy in particular, and as we car-shared for the whole course we talked about that a lot. Several years later we decided to give it try and wrote a comedy play called Good to Firm which did very well. Our next play, Dirty Dusting, was a huge success. It ended up touring all over the world and is still being produced some seventeen years later. Eleven professionally-produced plays later I decided to take a break from theatre and try to write a crime novel, the genre I had been reading since I was a kid. I signed up for the inaugural MA in Crime Writing at UEA, which was even better than I had hoped it might be, and the novel I developed as part of that course became my debut novel The Man on the Street.
  2. Tell us about your new book called ‘The Man On The Street’
    The Man on the Street centres on Jimmy, a homeless veteran, grappling with PTSD, and living on the streets of Newcastle, who witnesses a murder. Initially no-one believes him and even he hopes it’s another one of his vivid hallucinations but then a newspaper headline catches his eye: GIRL IN MISSING DAD PLEA. He believes the missing man might be the victim of the crime he witnessed. It’s time for him to stop hiding from the world. But telling the girl, Carrie, what he saw puts him at risk from enemies, both old and new. Jimmy has one big advantage though; when you’ve got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose.
  3. What made you decide crime?
    It’s always been my first love as a reader. Like most people my age I blame Enid Blyton for everything. The Secret Seven, Famous Five and the ‘Adventure’ series were undoubtedly my gateway drugs to a lifelong love of crime fiction. It’s no coincidence that The Man on the Street features a dog. He’s a direct descendant of Timmy.

    Once I’d put on my big boy pants it was difficult to know where to go next – YA fiction was barely a thing back in the day. The solution came to me on a terribly dull barge holiday on the Norfolk Broads with my cousin. These days I’d love that kind of holiday – a glorified pub crawl on a boat being my kind of thing – but for a 14-year-old boy it was stupefyingly boring. The solution was galloping through the shelf full of books on the barge – all written by Agatha Christie. From that moment on it was crime all the way and it’s all due to Enid and Agatha (and maybe Scooby Doo)

  4. What do you find the most challenging about writing a book?
    The length of time it takes! 90,000 words is huge, especially as I used to write plays which come in at around 25k – and I had a co-writer. I know that some writers can breeze through a book in a couple of months but I can’t, something around nine months is optimum for me as I like to edit as I go along and maintaining focus and staying in the right zone to ensure I keep the voice and character consistent for that long is difficult.
  5. What’s your favourite opening line from a book?
    “The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there” from L.P Hartley’s ‘The Go Between’
  6. The Man on the Street

  7. If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
    How many can I have? Dennis Lehane, because he’s a genius, Dominic Nolan, great writer, funny man and the next big thing; Harriet Tyce, my best writing pal, fellow UEA MA graduate and a font of knowledge on crime writing; Olivia Kiernan, because she never stops talking; and maybe James Ellroy for the touch of madness he would bring to the party.
  8. Has there ever been a film that’s been better than the book?
    Yes. Unequivocably. ‘Nocturnal Animals’ is a thousand times better than the book it’s based upon, Tony and Susan. I really didn’t like the book at all and didn’t even finish it. When I saw the movie trailer in the cinema I realised it was from that book but it looked fantastic so I went to see it and it was superb. One of my favourite movies of the last ten years.
  9. Who’s your favourite villain or hero?
    I’ve always liked Alex in ‘A Clockwork Orange’ (which probably makes me a bad person)
  10. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
    ‘A Clockwork Orange’ by Anthony Burgess (again) – not only a great book but a lot of it is written in an invented foreign language – Nadsat – which means you can fill hours working out the words and maybe inventing new ones.

    ‘Different Seasons’ by Stephen King. Bit of a cheat as it’s four novellas in one book but as three of them became excellent movies, Stand By Me, The Shawshank Redemption and Apt Pupil it’s well worth reading time and again

    ‘My Absolute Darling by’ Gabriel Tallent – not just because it’s a brilliant if brutal book but, from memory, it also includes a lot of survival skills that may prove very useful on the island.

  11. What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    Think carefully about the decisions you make about how to tell your story. Whose perspective works best? Highsmith suggested that a single perspective increases intensity which I think is true but it also fences you in as a writer – your protagonist has to ‘see’ everything.

    Concentrate on character – how does your protagonist think, talk, interact with other people? What words does he use? Don’t show off by using ten-dollar words if your character wouldn’t use them.

    If you’re trying to write a thriller, focus on pace. Short chapters, short sentences, chapter endings that make the reader keep going. Be careful about too much description – Elmore Leonard’s advice to ‘leave out the bits people tend to skip’ is very sound.

  12. When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
    A cup of strong, black coffee. Or even better, a whole cafetierre.
  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?
    The Man on the Street is the first in a series of crime novels with the homeless community at the centre. I’m currently working on book 2 in the series which is provisionally called One Way Street. There’s an outbreak of bizarre drug-related deaths amongst runaway teenagers and, when one of his friends becomes involved, Jimmy is compelled to try and find out what’s really going on.

    Follow Trevor Wood on Twitter and his Facebook Page website for updates.

You can buy ‘The Man on the Street’ from Amazon

Pam Rhodes

Pam RhodesPam Rhodes is known around the world as the presenter of BBC Television’s Songs of Praise and her popular Hearts and Hymns programme on Premier Christian Radio. She describes herself as an ‘anorak’ in her fascination for hymns old and new, and her books on hymn-writers, like Love So Amazing, Then Sings My Soul and Hear My Song are essentials in many a church vestry! A natural storyteller with 25 varied books under her belt, Pam is perhaps best known for her novels packed with down-to-earth characters and situations that inspire and entertain. ‘Springtime At Hope Hall’ is the first book in her ‘Hope Hall’ series.

  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 the presenter of the BBC Television series ‘Songs of Praise’ for more than thirty years, with a wonderful opportunity over the years to interview hundreds of people with challenging or inspiring stories to share. Back in 1995, a publisher asked me to write a factual book about behind the scenes on ‘Songs of Praise’ – but I didn’t feel I had the right to share those stories when I was mostly no longer in touch with the interviewees. So I tried my hand at writing a fictional account of the making of a ‘Songs of Praise’ programme instead, in which I could feature elements of the most moving stories, but change the characters, location and exact situation of their experience so that it was unrecognisable. That book, ‘With Hearts and Hymns and Voices’ is still selling well today, all these years later – and from that moment on, I was hooked on writing novels.
  2. You have led quite a varied career over the years, has this inspired your writing and your new book ‘Springtime at Hope Hall’?
    ‘Songs of Praise’ has provided me with an unmatchable tapestry of human experience and emotion from which I am able to draw. I think I’m a bit sponge-like whenever I hear a moving or challenging real-life story, so that when I’m writing, I can draw on those memories to create completely new fictional characters.
  3. If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
    I like all sorts of reading, mostly nothing like the books I write myself. I love the books written some years ago by Fiona Castle, the widow of the entertainer Roy Castle. She has written several comforting and yet challenging books full of quotations as well as her own thoughts, and I often delve into them with great pleasure. Then, I love a good mystery – so Joy Ellis, the detective story writer is one of my favourites – and because I like a good romance too, I also enjoy the gentle, down-to-earth storytelling of Jill Mansell.
  4. What’s your favourite book of all time?
    I have always loved ‘The Shoes of the Fisherman’by Morris West. I read it first many years ago, and it really touched me. When I fancy the best possible reading experience – you know, a book with a storyline that has me bawling my eyes out – it’s that book I reach for!
  5. Why did you decide to write female fiction?
    I wasn’t aware that I’d ever made that decision! I don’t write for any one kind of reader, and I hope my books aren’t only entertaining for women. I mostly write stories based in communities – in churches sometimes, or in the case of this recent trilogy, a large Victorian community hall used by people of all age groups and interests – and I hope the books that appear as a result of that come from all sorts of age groups and interests too.
  6. Springtime At Hope Hall

  7. Who’s your literary hero/heroine?
    I’m not sure I can answer that in terms of the books I enjoy reading, because I simply love meeting and getting to know the central character of each and every story. Sometimes the character I like most actually plays a minor role – but is simply extraordinary as all ordinary people are. They are the characters I like best of all.
  8. What’s been your favourite part of the writing process?
    Simply sitting down at the computer and starting! I never allow myself an empty screen. Even if I have no clear idea where the storyline is heading, I just get started – and somehow all the other characters and storylines join me on the way!
  9. What’s your favourite opening line from a book?
    It would be hard to beat that wonderful opening line from Daphne du Maurier’s classic story of ‘Rebecca’ –‘Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” In a few short words, we recognize the heroine’s voice, where she is and the dreamlike atmosphere of that tragic story of love and loss.
  10. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
    I’d bring a ‘Songs of Praise’ hymn book, because I’d be very happy not just remembering the melodies, but recognising the beauty of the words, especially those from writers down the centuries whose life stories are inspirational in themselves. I’d bring an old copy of Ripley’s ‘Believe It Or Not’. When I was a youngster, that was the book we were tucked up with if ever we were ill. I loved those unbelievably odd stories, and the pictures alongside each example have stuck in my mind too. I’d love to look through that old book again in more detail now. And I think I’d have to bring a Bible – because there is so much of it that I’ve never read. I’d like to have the time to read it with a greater sense of chronology, and of the characters and situations of the writers themselves.
  11. What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    I think they should concentrate on the sheer joy of writing. Go to a writing course, if you feel that would help – but don’t let some suggested technique stop you just starting to write down what you want to say first, and then just letting your own imagination fill the page for you. It doesn’t matter if no one but you ever reads it, or if it is eventually published and read by thousands. The main thing is to enjoy the act of writing, which is as compelling as reading – and, I think, much more fulfilling.
  12. When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
    My glasses. I can’t see a thing without them.
  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 am just about to bring out another trilogy, ‘Hope Hall’, all about a wonderful old Memorial Hall that could be very much like the community hall down the road from wherever you live. It’s open from morning till night for all age groups and interests – so that young and old, locals and visitors, meet up inside its walls.’Hope Hall’ is full of great characters, some of whom span the three books, whilst some of them feature in cameo storylines about the various group activities going on at the hall. All of life is there – emotional, challenging and downright fun!

    You can buy ‘Springtime At Hope Hall’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

    Follow Pam Rhodes on Twitter and her website for updates.

Hayley Nolan

Hayley NolanHayley Nolan is the writer/producer and presenter of hit iTunes podcast series The History Review and its spin-off vlog series, which has gained more than one million views in its first 5 months. She is a graduate of London’s prestigious Royal Court Young Writer’s Programme, has trained in screenwriting at RADA and creative writing at Cambridge University, and has trained in screenwriting at RADA. An Anne Boleyn expert, her research has seen her working with the French and UK governments, partnering with some of the UK’s most respected historical organisations, and has garnered her the support of respected historians. ‘Anne Bolyeyn – 500 Years of Lies’ is her latest book.

  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’m actually a trained scriptwriter as that’s the medium I have the most affinity with. After graduating from the Royal Court Theatre Young Writer’s Programme in London I went on to further train at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in Advances in Scriptwriting. It was my script work that lead me to then take a side-step into history, which I didn’t intend to be the huge career diversion it’s become, but when I discovered the incredible censorship surrounding Anne Boleyn’s story I realised there was a book in this that needed to be written!
  2. Out of all the historical icons, why did you decide to create a book about Anne Boleyn?
    It was the least conscious decision I’ve ever made, it kind of unfolded bit by bit. I first set out to understand, simply for my own interest, why Henry could do what he did to Anne; how after supposedly fighting for seven years to be with the woman they say he loved that he could decapitate her within three years of eventually marrying her. So it was through my research into the king that I discovered the truth about Anne hidden away from the general public, smattered across the pages of obscure history books and right there in the original source material the historians work from. When I started to piece the puzzle together and had those lightbulb moment I realised I simply had to share this with a wider commercial audience because so far they were just being fed the lies. This is how the podcast came to be…but after some reluctance I knew I had to bite the bullet and write a book. Something needed to be out there on a bigger scale to counteract the lies that get sold in the commercial history books, TV documentaries and dramas.
  3. If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
    Hollie Kyte would be a great one, she has just released her debut book ‘Roaring Girls: The Forgotten Feminists of British History’ and we are so on the same page in terms of bringing the censored stories of powerful women into the mainstream. Similarly, Anneka Harry has written an incredible book coming out in 2020 called ‘Gender Rebels’, she’d have to be invited as she tells the world about 50 sheroes who, in her own words, had to change the rules and their identities to get sh*t done! Love it! Alya Mooro, the kick-ass author of ‘The Greater Freedom’ would have to be in there too. She’s challenging stereotypes about Middle Eastern women in her new book which is part biography and part social commentary, something we need if we are to truly become this progressive society we claim to aspire to. Oooh can I invite Danielle Jawando too? She is a scriptwriter and author with an epic book coming out in 2020, ‘And The Stars Were Burning Brightly’ is Young Adult fiction but inspired by her own experiences with bullying and suicide and, my God, this is something we need to hear. And, of course, I’d have to round off with Mary Beard for her manifesto ‘Women and Power’, the themes of which really came into play in my own book ‘Anne Boleyn: 500 Years of Lies’ when I discuss why Anne’s story continues to be re-written and mis-told in this day and age and what it says about our perception of powerful women.
  4. What’s your favourite book of all time?
    I don’t think I’ve had a favourite book since I was a child – do you think that’s an age thing? Like when we used have our one ‘best friend’ as a children and now we have a whole group of people because they each bring us something different? I feel that’s the same with books. However, I can tell you my favourite script easily; Black Swan by Andrez Heinz, Mark Heyman and John J McLaughlin. That writing, my friends, is a work of absolute bloody genius and the film itself is my go-to feel good movie. Make of that what you will…haha!
  5. As well as being a writer and researcher, you also have a podcast series. Is there any part of your career that you enjoyed more than others?
    In general the writing process is always my passion, but if we’re talking specifically my historical work then actually the research was the most thrilling. When parts of the Anne Boleyn puzzle suddenly fell into place or I discovered evidence that everyone else had been dismissing when, for example, it was actually the real reason for her death, my Goodness, I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited by sixteenth century politics in my life! I felt like a detective, digging beyond the surface level research, not accepting the generic answers we’ve always been fed about Anne and Henry until I found the truth. It was such a thrill, and I made sure I kept that pace and excitement for the reader in the book because I wanted you guys to experience it too.
    Anne Bolyeyn - 500 Years of Lies
  6. Who’s you favourite literary icon?
    I think Phoebe Waller-Bridge is fast becoming my literary icon at the moment – I know, again with the scriptwriting, I think you can see where my heart lies! To be able to write something like Fleabag and then Killing Eve and make both just as searingly brutal in their respective genres is so inspirational! But just the way she writes real women; powerful yet broken, fabulous yet flawed, real, raw, unapologetically so – and we women feel we have to apologise for so much! I have to say, Phoebe’s characters remind me of Anne Boleyn – that’s why I can’t wait for readers to meet the real Anne in my book, not the one dimensional fictional character we’ve been fed who needs to fit within the Six Wives gimmick!
  7. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
    It would have to be ‘This Is Going To Hurt’ by Adam Kay because I’ve shamefully still not read it and everyone says it’s hilarious, I think I’d probably need a little light relief if I was stranded alone. The second book would be my own, ‘Anne Boleyn: 500 Years of Lies’ to remind me of my proudest achievement in life before I died a certain death on this ominous desert island you’ve placed me on. Also, there is just so much packed in that book, every time I’ve had to read it through for an edit or to record the audiobook without fail I’ve come across a section that has me saying “Oh God, I’d forgotten about that bit!” The third book would then have to be a blank notepad because I couldn’t not write for an extended period of time! Plus it would be just too much of a missed opportunity to not document my final dramatic days!
  8. What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    There is so much that goes into getting a book published these days from whether there will be demand for it, how is your book different from others in the genre, could an agent sell it to publishers, will all departments of the publishing house see your book as a viable investment in the infamous ‘acquisition’ meetings? Frustratingly all this comes into play, and there are plenty of things you can do as an author to make sure the book you are pitching will appeal…HOWEVER when it comes down to it, it’s all about the writing. You can have an amazing concept but if the writing doesn’t live up to expectations then it won’t happen. So this needs to be your focus and priority. With writing it’s all about honesty…and editing!

    Everyone tells writers they’re looking for that ‘unique voice’, they say ‘tell the story only you can tell.’ And it’s so easy to try and second guess what ‘voice’ people will want or think will work. But as much as an agent or publisher would like to discover a ‘fresh new voice’ they basically mean they don’t want you to try and emulate someone else’s style, because if you are doing it, you can be certain hundreds of others will be too. This is where the honesty comes in, be honest with what your style is; how you enjoy to write, what comes naturally…then hone it. Sure, your voice won’t be right for some and that’s a shame but when it’s right for that magical one (and it only takes one, sod the bidding wars) they will be behind you 100% because you’re honest and not faking it. As a historian I know I could have followed the standard academic style for this book in order to fit in – but I also knew a bold book like this needed some bold words, so I decided not to put on any pretentions and instead write with a raw passion and fire that isn’t expected in the non-fiction history genre. Even in the edit when I warned that my tone and language might cause a storm, I refused to dilute my voice because the urgent messages in this book needed to be heard and I wanted the reader to know just how pissed off I was about it! Haha!

    So I know the usual advice is to read as much as you can, but also…just write. Keep writing. Re-read your old work and critique it. You’ll see why it didn’t work after some breathing space, any clunkiness, stilted language, anything that feels forced, and you will learn from your own mistakes and realise what is ‘you’. Then the magic happens when you match that writing with a unique concept and you’ll see it all take off from there…!

  9. When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
    Lately it’s been a random one; a pot of fresh salsa and Dorrito Lime dippers! 
  10. 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’ve got some incredibly exciting projects I’m working on at the moment but unfortunately I’m not at the stage where I can share them yet – sorry, typical boring response! But just know this, I’m only just getting started with correcting the lies about Anne Boleyn. I will keep going until the truth is as mainstream as the lies… so watch this space!

    Follow Hayley Nolan Instagram and her website website for updates.

Bella Osborne

Bella OsborneBella has been jotting down stories as far back as she can remember but decided that 2013 would be the year that she finished a full length novel. In 2016, her debut novel,’It Started At Sunset Cottage’, was shortlisted for the Contemporary Romantic Novel of the Year and RNA Joan Hessayon New Writers Award. Bella’s stories are about friendship, love and coping with what life throws at you. She likes to find the humour in the darker moments of life and weaves these into her stories. Her novels are often serialised in four parts ahead of the full book publication. She lives in The Midlands, UK with her lovely husband and wonderful daughter, who thankfully, both accept her as she is (with mad morning hair and a penchant for skipping).

  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.
    Hi *waves* Thanks for having me on your blog.
    I live in Warwickshire with my husband, daughter and a cat who thinks she’s a dog. I have been jotting down stories as far back as I can remember but decided that 2013 would be the year that I finished a full length novel. I joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s new writer’s scheme and after meeting my editor at the RNA conference I was lucky enough to sign with HarperCollins. My debut novel was published in February 2015 and since then I have had four best sellers and two novels short listed for the RNA Contemporary Romance Novel of the Year.
  2. If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
    My first thought is to include my favourite authors – Jill Mansell, Katie Fforde and Milly Johnson. However, these are all in the same genre and the joy of a book club is being able to read a variety of authors. So I would also invite Gail Honeyman because I loved ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’ and A.J. Pearce who wrote Dear Mrs Bird for the same reason. I might invite B.A. Paris because her writing is brilliant but she’d have to promise not to scare me. Can I throw in Gary Barlow too? I know technically he’s not an author but there was an autobiography and he is rather lovely.
  3. Is there anything that you would change about your writing journey?
    I would have started it a lot earlier. I never thought for a moment that people like me became authors so it was just a hobby for many years. If only I’d known I didn’t suck at it I could have been doing the job I love for much longer.
  4. A Walk In The Wildflower Park

  5. What’s your favourite opening line from a book?
    It’s from ‘Please Don’t Stop The Music’ by Jane Lovering – “You know you’re in for a bad day when the Devil eats your last HobNob”.
  6. What’s your favourite book of all time?
    One? Just one favourite book? That’s mean. Okay, let’s go with ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’.
  7. If you could rewrite any book, what would it be?
    ‘The Life of Pi’ by Yann Martel, because I loved the story until the last section when it brought the whole tiger experience into question. I’d end it where the tiger walks away.
  8. What’s your favourite part of the writing process?
    The shiny new idea stage where there are lots and lots of post-it notes.
  9. Why did you decide to write female fiction?
    It wasn’t a conscious decision it’s just where my characters took me and my publishers put a label on it.
  10. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
    ‘Harry Potter’ omnibus edition if there is such a thing but if not book 3 ‘The Prisoner of Azkaban’, ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’ and the latest Jill Mansell novel because I always save her books for holidays.
  11. What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    I think specifics will be personal to each writer but I believe all writers can benefit by surrounding themselves with like minded people. Only other writers know what it’s like and they are an incredibly supportive bunch. So my advice is to look up organisations for your genre and local groups and seek out your tribe.
  12. When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
    Plenty of custard creams.
  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 new novel ‘A Walk in Wildflower Park’ is out on 27th June and will be available from Amazon. It’s my fifth romantic comedy and I can’t wait to hear what readers think.

    Follow Bella Osborne on Twitter and follow her website