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My Writing Space – Fiona Gibson

Fiona GibsonToday Fiona Gibson also known as Ellen Berry shares her writing space.

Although I’m lucky to have my own room in our flat to work in, I’m not really precious about it. I love the idea of having ‘beautiful things’ around me, but when I’m full on with writing I could be anywhere really. I enjoy working in libraries, cafes and on trains, etc, as much as being at home. I work on a fairly aged laptop – if you peer closely at the keyboard you’ll see it’s been hammered so hard, almost all the letters have worn off. My family laughs at the way I bash the keys. It’s probably because my first job, on Jackie magazine back in the early 80s, involved writing all my features on a manual typewriter. You really had to hammer the hell out of it!

Fiona Gibson Writers Space

This room overlooks our street in a fairly quiet, residential area of Glasgow. It’s crammed with bookshelves and art materials. As well as writing, I love to draw and paint, and have recently been asked to do a bit of illustration work. So my desk is often cluttered with paints, inks, brushes and suchlike as well as the book in progress. I like music on low while I’m working – jazz, soul, disco, Latin or folk – it varies according to my mood.

When my children were younger and still at home, having a designated workspace felt crucial if I was ever going to get anything done. But all three – our twin sons and daughter – have all left home now and it’s just me and Jimmy, my husband, and our collie cross, Jack. The house should be immaculately tidy – but somehow, it’s not!

Fiona Gibson Writers Space

Snowdrops On Rosemary Lane By Ellen Berry

Snowdrops On Rosemary Lane‘Snowdrops On Rosemary Lane’ is the latest book by Ellen Berry.

Lucy fell in love with tumbledown Rosemary Cottage as a child. So thirty years on, when she loses her city job and discovers the cottage is for sale, it feels like fate. She’ll raise her children in Burley Bridge and transform the cottage into a B&B with her husband. But a year can change everything. Now Lucy is juggling two children and a B&B, but on her own. Christmas looks set to be their last on Rosemary Lane – until she meets James, a face from her past and someone who might offer a different kind of future/ Should Lucy leave the cottage behind? Or could this winter on Rosemary Lane be the start of something new?

Ellen Berry is back with a new instalment in the Rosemary Lane series. This time it takes shape in the new bed and breakfast in the village, newly opened by Lucy and her husband and their two children. Just as they’ve settled into their new lives, tragedy strikes and Lucy finds herself alone with two young children and a new bed and breakfast. As Lucy adapts to a new life, she finds an old school friend called James who’s also going through a bit of a difficult time with a temperamental father. Together the pair of them embark on a new friendship now as adults and Lucy has to decide whether she wants to continue life in Rosemary.

I’ve come to love Ellen Berry, whether she’s writing as herself which is Fiona Gibson or Ellen, her books are always heart-warming, funny and emotive stories that tug at the readers heartstrings. In her latest book, we meet Lucy a kind woman who’s looking forward to beginning a new life in Rosemary Lane with her little family, but as she’s dealt a cruel hand, we see how she recovers from it and carries on with life, through new friendships, young children as well as her creativity that makes a popular character in the small village.

An enjoyable story from the first page, ‘Snowdrops on Rosemary Lane’ is an engaging and captivating story. With relatable characters and situations, the book is sweetly written and cleverly crafted with humour and warmth to really pull the reader in and is perfect festive story to curl up with.

You can pre-order ‘Snowdrops On Rosemary Lane’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 26th December 2019.

Ellen Berry Reveals New Book – The Little Bakery On Rosemary Lane

The Little Bakery On Rosemary LaneEllen Berry is back with the second in her Rosemary Lane series, called ‘The Little Bakery On Rosemary Lane’

What the back cover says –

Growing up in a Yorkshire village, Roxanne Cartwright couldn’t wait to escape and make her place in the world. Now, thirty years later, she’s a fashion editor living a glamorous life of perennial singlehood in London – or so it seems to her sister Della. But when Roxanne finds her career under threat, she feels herself pulled back to the quiet village she’d been so desperate to leave.

As Roxanne reacquaints herself with life on Rosemary Lane, she slowly makes a surprising discovery: the people who live in Burley Bridge are, well, just people – different from the fashion set she’s used to, but kind and even interesting. Michael, a single dad trying to make a go of a small bakery, particularly so. Little by little, cupcake by cupcake, Roxanne and Michael fall into an unexpected friendship. Could there be a life for Roxanne after all, in the place she’s spent years trying to escape?

I loved the first book in this series and can’t wait to get reading the latest addition.

You can pre-order The Little Bakery on Rosemary Lane from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 7th September 2017.

The Bookshop On Rosemary Lane By Ellen Berry

The Bookshop On Rosemary Lane‘The Bookshop On Rosemary Lane’ is the latest book by Ellen Berry.

Kitty Cartwright has always solved her problems in the kitchen. Her cookbooks are her life, and there isn’t an issue that ‘Cooking with Aspic’ can’t fix. Her only wish is that she had a book entitled ‘Rustling Up Dinner When Your Husband Has Left You’. On Rosemary Lane, Della Cartwright plans to open a very special little bookshop. Not knowing what to do with the hundreds of cookbooks her mother left her, she now wants to share their recipes with the world – and no amount of aspic will stand in her way. But with her family convinced it’s a hare-brained scheme, Della starts to wonder if she’s made a terrible decision. One thing’s for sure: she’s about to find out…

‘The Bookshop On Rosemary Lane’ is the first book that Fiona Gibson has written under her new pseudonym Ellen Berry and like her previous books, this book was packed with her familiar warmth and gentle narrative.

The story is mainly seen through the eyes of Della Cartwright, whose life has recently come under a lot of upheaval with the death of her mother, her only child leaving for university so feeling at a loss, she finds solace in her mother’s hundreds of cookery books, the only thing that Della has claimed since her mother, Kitty’s death. With the house coming down with cookery books of all descriptions, much to the frustration of the husband Mark and her daughter Sophie, Della decides to open her own bookshop when a shop becomes vacant in the village and sell all the recipe books that have taken over the house.

The story then follows Della as she embarks on her venture, her daughter flies the nest and she has to deal with suddenly not being her daughter’s priority and her marriage goes into jeopardy, Della deals with all these issues as well as open her own bookshop.

I loved Della, she was a lovely, warmhearted character with a huge heart, not afraid of hard work and chasing her dreams, she’s an inspirational woman as she shows that it’s never too late to start over. There’s also a sweet injection of mystery to the tale, as Della delves into her mother’s cookbooks, she realises that her mother and childhood wasn’t as it seemed and Della also finds herself on a journey of uncovering the mysterious names in her mother’s recipe books.

Sweetly written, with fun and engaging characters, ‘The Bookshop On Rosemary Lane’ is a exquisite story that flows at a gentle pace and made for warm reading, I look forward to Ellen’s future novels.

You can buy ‘The Bookshop On Rosemary Lane’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Book Tour – Extract From The Bookshop On Rosemary Lane By Ellen Berry

The Bookshop On Rosemary LaneOn the book tour for Ellen Berry’s new book, ’The Bookshop On Rosemary Lane’, sit back and enjoy an extract from the first chapter of the book. Fans of Fiona Gibson, should definitely check out this book, as this book is written under Fiona’s pen name, Ellen Berry.

Chapter One

It wasn’t a train she was trying to catch but her mother’s last breath. So Della couldn’t be late. ‘Start, dammit,’ she muttered, repeatedly turning the ignition key: nothing. Her car appeared to be dead. Her mother could be too, very soon, if her brother was right. He’d called just a few moments ago.

‘Della,’ Jeff had barked, ‘things aren’t looking good. You’d better get yourself over here right away.’ It was the phrase that had stung her: get yourself over here, implying that she’d spent the past three days lying prone on the sofa, posting chocolates into her mouth, rather than keeping an almost permanent vigil at their mother’s bedside. In fact, even before Kitty had moved to the hospice, Della had done most of the caring, driving over to Rosemary Cottage every day after work, not to mention weekends. Jeff, who was based ninety minutes away in Manchester, was generally ‘too tied up’ to assist. As for Della’s younger sister, Roxanne: despite their mother’s decline, this was the first time she’d deigned to venture to Yorkshire from London in three weeks. And just when Della had dared to pop home to catch up on a little sleep, it had started to happen.

Cursing under her breath, she turned the key over and over. It was as effective as repeatedly jabbing at the button to call a lift.

She scrambled out of her car – a scuffed red Fiat Punto – and glanced around the quiet residential street in panic. Running to the hospice wasn’t an option. Della wasn’t built for speed, and Perivale House – which sounded like a luxury spa rather than a place where people went to die – was a couple of miles away on the outskirts of the bustling market town. You couldn’t just hail a taxi in Heathfield – they had to be booked in advance – and Della couldn’t think of anyone she knew who’d be around, ready and willing to drive her, at 3.17 p.m. on a grubby-skied September afternoon.

Whilst pacing at the bus stop she tried Mark on his mobile, knowing he wouldn’t pick up; his working days were filled with back-to-back patient consultations. Often he didn’t even break for lunch. ‘Going to the hospice,’ she informed his voicemail. ‘It doesn’t sound good, love. Jeff and Rox are with her right now and, can you believe this, my bloody car won’t start. I’ll call you later, okay? Or call me. Yes, please call me, soon as you can. ’Bye.’ She tried to calm her breathing before calling Sophie, their daughter, who didn’t answer either. Not because she was working – she was probably in Starbucks hanging out with her best friend Evie, or perhaps Liam, the boyfriend who seemed to be fading from her affections – but because MUM had flashed up on her phone. These days, Della was always pleasantly surprised and faintly honoured when her daughter did answer a call.

Finally – finally – the bus crawled into view. Della perched on the edge of the front seat, as if that would get her there faster as it trundled through the bustling market town. Her mother was dying, for goodness’ sake, couldn’t the driver put his foot down? Of course, it wasn’t his fault that Heathfield was especially busy today, it being the first Wednesday in the month and therefore farmers’ market day. Never mind a seventy-seven-year-old lady with terminal cancer: people needed their onion marmalades and artisan cheeses. And the driver had to let passengers on and off; it was his job, Della reminded herself, conscious of her thumping heart. And her job right now was to be with Kitty, to hold her bony hand as she slipped away to … where exactly? Although Della didn’t believe in the afterlife, she hoped her mother might drift away to a place where pain, confusion and toxic chemicals would be replaced by a steady trickle of gin.

Come on, bus. Come ON! It had stopped, not at a bus stop but due to a van parked outside Greggs, hazard lights flashing, blocking the lane. Seven minutes, it took, for a man in unforgiving tight jeans to reappear and drive it away. Della felt herself ageing rapidly as the bus finally nudged its way along the tree-lined residential roads and out into the soft, rolling North Yorkshire countryside towards Perivale House. The turreted Victorian manor came into view. The bus doors opened and Della sprang off.

Roxanne and Jeff looked up from Kitty’s bedside in the small private room. Jeff muttered something – it might have been ‘Here you are’ – but Della couldn’t hear properly. All she could do was look at the tiny old lady whose facial skin had settled into little folds around her jawline. A little downy fuzz was all that was left of her hair now.

‘Oh, Mum,’ Della whispered, kneeling down on the rubbery floor and taking her mother’s hand.

Kitty’s slim fingers were cold, her ring with its chunky emerald a little loose. ‘I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye. I’m so sorry.’

Roxanne reached down and squeezed her sister’s arm. Apart from pinkish, sore-looking eyes, she was her usual immaculate self in a plain but clearly expensive black shift, plus an embroidered cream cardi and low, glossy black heels. Della was wearing the leggings and faded turquoise T-shirt she’d napped in. Jeff, the eldest of the three and something important in banking, fixed her with a resigned look across the bed. As her siblings were occupying the only two chairs, Della remained kneeling on the floor. ‘When did it happen?’ she murmured.

‘About ten minutes ago,’ Roxanne replied.

‘Ten minutes! I can’t believe it. That’s when I was stuck outside Greggs …’

‘You went to Greggs on your way here?’ Jeff gasped.

‘No, of course I didn’t. I was on the bus’.

You can buy ‘The Bookshop On Rosemary Lane’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.