A Look Behind The Book With Carla Burgess.

IMG_1996 2There are some characters I continue to think about long after I’ve turned the final page of a book – and ex-soldier, Sam, the hero in Carla Burgess’ first novel, Marry Me Tomorrow, is one of them.

Luckily, Carla seems just as unwilling to let them go and one of the joys of reading her second and third novels was coming across little updates about Sam and her other creations (must try and remember they are not real people).

She released Stuck With You (which I adored, even though it starts with people trapped in a lift and I’m claustrophobic) in April this year and has just published her most recent, Meet Me Under The Mistletoe (review to follow).

I’ve been wanting to chat to her for ages and I was thrilled when she agreed to feature in my Behind The Book series. Thank you to Carla for not only answering my questions but also giving us peek at her very first (as yet unpublished) book she wrote and illustrated, which I think you’re going to love.

Marry Me Tomorrow was published after you responded to a Tweet from HQ Digital asking for submissions of stories that start with a proposal. Had you always wanted to be a writer?

Yes, I’d wanted to be a writer ever since I was little. It’s weird but I remember being amazed when I discovered that someone had actually physically wrote the books that I read and loved. I don’t know how I thought they’d been made, but I was only little at the time. I suppose I just thought they were written hundreds of years ago and passed down through the generations, and no new books were ever made! But when I found out, I thought what an amazing job that would be. So when I got a bit older, I decided to write my own. I was so in love with Enid Blyton’s Mallory Towers books that I wrote my own book about a boarding school. I also adored horses so it had a lot of horses in it too. My daughter was looking through it the other day and laughing at my home-made illustrations!

IMG_3289
I absolutely love this!

What happened after you submitted Marry Me Tomorrow? Did you already have the story written? If not how long did it take to write? Had you written any stories before?

I had only written one chapter and a synopsis for Marry Me Tomorrow, and that was completely in response to the tweet. Prior to that, I’d been writing a short story for an online writing course I was doing, and that had been about a homeless teenager who was in love with a girl he’d seen in a café. There had been lots of media coverage about the increasing rate of homelessness and how each homeless person has a different story to tell. Once you start hearing the stories, it becomes clear that it could happen to any one of us if our circumstances were to change. Basically, I really wanted to write a story about a homeless man, so I decided to adapt my initial idea and start from there. HQ (or Carina, as they were called then) phoned me back shortly after receiving it, and said they would like me to write it. I think I was given four months to write the first draft, which was daunting as I’d spent the previous ten or so years writing and rewriting just one book. But, at the same time, I knew I could do it because the previous November I’d participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and managed to write 50,000 words in a month.

You’ve just published your third book, Meet Me Under The Mistletoe, and, as I’ve already revealed, characters from your previous books make little cameos, which makes me so happy. Did you always plan for that? 

Ah, I’m so glad you liked that aspect of it. I love books where characters from previous stories pop up and readers can check how they’re getting on with their lives (Yes, they have real lives!). For instance, many years ago I read Rivals by Jilly Cooper and fell so in love with Rupert and Taggie’s story that I look for updates about them whenever she brings a new book out. I feel so excited and happy when they actually do pop up that it’s made me want to do that in my own books.

How do you know when your books are finished? Is there ever a temptation to write just one more chapter?

Definitely. I think that’s why I’m writing a sequel to Meet Me Under The Mistletoe! Rachel and Anthony have so much more to give and I don’t want to say goodbye to them yet.

Writing is often said to be a lonely profession. Do you find that? Does it bother you and if so how do you combat it?

It can be, but I have my lovely dog to keep me company, and I share my writing room with a bearded dragon who is very friendly too. I listen to music while I work so it doesn’t get too quiet, and I drop into Twitter and Facebook fairly regularly. Too regularly, to be honest. Also, the children are back from school before I know it.

How hard is it to come up with titles? Do they usually come as you’re writing?

Titles are so, so hard! Anything I come up with is usually changed by my editor anyway, but I trust her to know the market and what works so I’m quite happy to go with whatever she suggests.

How long have you been writing for? Do you do it full time now? If you don’t, how do you make time to write?

As I said before, I used to write a lot when I was a child. It tailed off as I got older and homework and studying took over, but I always had stories in my head and would often daydream about them instead of getting on with what I was supposed to be doing. After doing a degree in English literature and Psychology, I took a job as an editor on a trade journal called Medical Device Technology and really that took care of my urge to write for a long time. Also, I got married, bought a house and started having children, so I felt like I didn’t have the time. But then, in 2004, I lost my sister to cancer and I felt like I needed an outlet for my feelings so writing became a sort of therapy for me. So, for the past thirteen years I’ve been writing properly. In the beginning, when I was still working, I’d write in the evening after the kids had gone to bed, but after having my third child and being made redundant, I decided to stay home with the children and now I am able to write full time. It’s funny because I used to feel guilty about the time I spent writing. I would constantly be thinking ‘I shouldn’t be doing this, I should be doing some housework instead’. So now, as well as being a dream come true, being published has also been quite liberating because now I think ‘Yes! I am doing what I should be doing!’

How do you write your heroes? They all seem so different. Do you have to fall for them a bit too or are you matching them to your heroine? Speaking of which, are any of them based on you?

 I think I’m a little bit in love with all of my heroes and I find it helps if I pick an actor or some kind of famous person to gaze at while I’m creating them! This, I find, is a major perk of my job! I suppose they have to match up to the heroines as well as the plot, and I think for the reader to love them they have to be kind and funny, and treat the heroine right. Sam from Marry Me Tomorrow had to be quite rugged because he was a homeless ex-soldier. Daniel was a tree surgeon and also a guitarist in a band, so I wanted him to be quite outdoorsy and confident. And Anthony is basically Tom Hiddleston. There, I said it. Obviously, the reader will create their own impression of what the hero looks like, so I shouldn’t really influence them in anyway, but that is who I based him on. Oooh, imagine if Tom Hiddleston walked into your flower shop?! Swoon! As for my heroines, I suppose all of them will have some aspect of me in them because I wrote them, but at the same time, I’m quite conscious of the fact that I don’t want them to be too much like me either.

I know you’ve just published your latest book but are you already working on something new? If so can you tell us anything about it?

I am frantically writing the sequel to Meet Me Under The Mistletoe, which should be out sometime in the spring.

Any writing tips you can pass on?

My one big tip is to try and join a writing group. It was easier for me because Authonomy was still in existence, so you could put up your manuscript and people would read and critique it. I wrote for years without showing anybody what I wrote, so it was a big boost to my confidence when people read my work and said it was actually okay. Authonomy has shut down now, but I know there are various online writing groups out there. On top of critiquing each other’s work, you get to share tips and information about the industry, and that can be invaluable. And as for the actual writing:

carlaquote

~

Reading Carla’s answers really put a smile on my face, I hope you enjoyed them too. I know just what she means when she talked about feeling guilty for writing before she was published. I am exactly the same. In fact, I’m taking part in NaNoWriMo at the moment and have been lucky enough to buddy up with an amazing group of women, many of whom have also spoken about similar issues. Does anyone else feel guilty about time they spend writing?

You can discover more about Carla and her wonderful books by following her on Twitter, checking out her website or heading straight for Amazon where you can buy her books, including her latest, which is only 99p at present.

I’ll have another Behind The Book post for you next month.

Advertisements

A Look Behind The Book With Jen Mouat.

JenMJust a few years after visiting the Wigtown Book Festival for the first time, Jen Mouat found herself speaking in front of an audience about her own novel, Summer At Bluebell Bank.

It was especially significant because Scotland’s National Book Town also inspired part of her debut, which follows the story of two childhood friends, Kate Vincent and Emily Cotton, who reunite to make the rundown bookshop Emily has bought a success.

I loved it (you can find my review here) and couldn’t wait to go Behind The Book to find out more.

Currently writing her second novel (as well as working full time), Jen very kindly took some time out to answer my questions.

Where did the idea for your debut come from and how did you develop it?

In 2010 my then boyfriend took me to a beautiful holiday cottage in Dumfries and Galloway and proposed, overlooking Rigg Bay – the location which really inspired Summer at Bluebell Bank. Rigg Bay becomes a special place for Kate and Emily in the book. It was on this trip that I first discovered Wigtown. Dumfries and Galloway was an important place for me, thanks to very special childhood holidays there, but I fell in love with Scotland’s National Book Town, and with the location of one bookshop in particular. I started writing some scenes featuring an unlikely book proprietor, seeking refuge in her new bookshop from everything life has thrown at her, but with no clue how to actually run a business, and also playing with the idea of a girl returning to a childhood haven to find the place and people are not as she left them. This is an important theme running through the book. There was always tension within Emily and Kate’s friendship – I loved exploring their secrets and the idea of good friends being the family you choose, but not being perfect.

Quite a few secrets come out during the story, did that require a lot of planning? How long did it take to write? 

I probably should have been more thorough and organised as I ended up planning retrospectively a lot, rewriting and tying myself in knots with the plot far more than I would have liked. In total the book took me about four years to complete, but I kept taking breaks to write bits and pieces on other projects too because I had several ideas and just couldn’t decide which idea to run with. In future, I’ll definitely take the time to do more thorough planning from the outset.

How did you know it was ready to submit to publishers and what was that like? Was it an immediate hit? How did you find out it was going to be published? 

I definitely knew I wanted to take the route of finding an agent – I think I needed the support of a professional on my side and wasn’t confident enough to approach publishers unsolicited; I also felt that whilst I might be able to write a bit, I knew nothing about how to turn my scribblings into a fully fledged novel and needed lots of help. I don’t know that I ever consider my work ‘ready’ and that is still a bit of a problem for me. I’d previously never shown my writing to anyone at all and I was terrified of it being read – I still am to be honest. However, I am lucky to have an incredibly supportive best friend and I let her read a few chapters of the book in 2014; she kept demanding more so I finished it, but looking back it was still extremely rough around the edges at that stage. About the same time, my friend spotted an opportunity to pitch to the agent I’d been desperate to represent me, Jenny Brown. Jenny’s list was closed at that time, but she was offering short pitch sessions at Wigtown Book Festival. I knew right away this was an amazing opportunity and I jumped at it. Although Jenny loved the premise of the book, it still took several rewrites – including cutting 50 000 words – before she signed me up and considered it ready for publishers. I had several publishers reject the manuscript before it was accepted by HQ Digital – one very lovely rejection, a few polite disappointments and one that was rather brutal! It was just a week or so before Christmas 2016 when I got the offer from HQ. Jenny had left me a message which I managed to completely miss and I received a email from her asking me to call. She told me an editor at HQ was really enthusiastic about the book and wanted to publish. She thought I was just being really cool about it by not responding, but in truth I had missed her message and was then was running about the school screaming (I’m a teacher, but thankfully the children had left for the day!)

cover115657-medium-2It’s had a very positive response from readers, how did you feel when that first review came in? Were you worried beforehand? 

Like I said, I was always extremely nervous about people reading my writing – my husband didn’t even get to read a word until after I’d been accepted by my agent and sent it off to publishers. It felt very personal and scary to open myself up that way, but it definitely helped having the positivity and support of a great agent and editor. When the first reviews came in I had to have various family members read them first before I could bring myself to look. It is so incredibly thrilling to get great responses from readers, I’ll ever get complacent about that, no matter how many books I write and I am so appreciative for each and every review. I knew very little about the book blogging world before I got published, but book bloggers have been so instrumental in creating a buzz around the book and giving me confidence about putting my baby out there. Several of them even reduced me to tears – in a good way! I don’t think I’ll ever top the excitement of publication day for Summer at Bluebell Bank, and seeing those five star reviews popping up on Amazon.

I know you studied illustration and printmaking and now work as a primary school teacher, where does writing fit in? Was it always a dream to publish a book?

My background is in art and I’ve always enjoyed a variety of creative pursuits. Although I still love to draw as a hobby, writing has been my dream from a very young age. The earliest I can remember imagining being an author I think I was eight. I’d discovered Anne of Green Gables and everything I wrote was essentially Anne fan fiction back then. I learned my craft by reading avidly and writing loads – inspired by whatever I was reading at the time. My agent describes it as working my apprenticeship in my bedroom, which is totally true. There came a point when I realised if I didn’t do something different nothing would change. I got serious about writing about seven years ago and started dreaming with more determination. Being a teacher is a massive privilege, but it obviously keeps me extremely busy so I have to fit writing around a full time job. I’m a deputy head teacher at the moment, so I fill my weekends and holidays with writing. I also do a lot of plotting on the commute to work and whilst walking the dog. I think having different facets to my life is important for balance as it helps me to be a better writer.

Would you like to own a bookshop like Emily? 

I suspect I would be a terrible bookshop owner – like Emily I would just create my own personal library and customers would get in the way! I do like the idea of books and tea tasting, like in Summer at Bluebell Bank, although I also think beer and books would be a great combination.

What about your own reading habits? Are there any particular genres you really enjoy? 

I’ve always described myself as a bookworm and that’s become quite an important part of my identity I think. However, with all the editing and writing and publicity recently, on top of a full time, full-on job I’ve found in the last year I’ve definitely had to carve out reading time for myself. I read every day, even if it’s just a few pages and my colleagues know to ignore me if I turn up in the staffroom with a book. I go through stages, but my current favourite genres are probably Crime Fiction – I grew up reading every Agatha Christie I could find in my Dad’s collection – YA – a recent obsession I can’t seem to get enough of right now, and anything about books and bookshops. As a teenager I read a lot of historical and women’s fiction – often picking up books that were a bit too grown up for me – and I’ve always loved stories that explore friendship and family.

Have you got any writing rituals? I’m assuming you write on a computer but do you need a new notebook to plan a new story? Or have you got a special pen you use? 

I do the hard graft on computer because it’s fast and I can really get into a rhythm, but to get inspired I love a notebook. All my books start out with ideas and scenes in longhand. I’m utterly obsessed with stationery, so there are always several new notebooks waiting to be used. I’m quite particular about design, feel and paper quality and I consider myself something of a connoisseur. My family buy me a lot of notebooks and pens. I like the idea of a special pen – again I’m fussy about how they feel to write with – but my bag is invariably filled with about twenty different ones in every colour you can imagine, so it’s usually whatever comes to hand. I find I write best in the morning, and if I exceed a four hour stretch my husband reckons I go a bit loopy. After a stint at the computer I find a walk with the dog or a spot of yoga helps me switch off and unwind.

Wigtown is obviously a very important place for you and this year you got to speak at its festival about your book, was that a dream come true? 

Speaking at the Wigtown Book Festival was an amazing experience. It was something I set out to achieve from the first time I visited the festival in 2014. My best friend and I sat in the audience listening to an author talk about her book, then she turned to me and said ‘that will be you next year.’ Of course, it wasn’t the next year, but it did happen three years later. That was definitely a turning point for me, because we stopped talking about ‘if’ I got published and spoke instead about ‘when.’ It helped me to really believe that it would happen and get serious about my writing and my intention to be an author. Wigtown has been massively important to me, not only because my book is set there, but also in terms of shaping me as a writer. Speaking there, about my debut novel, with my friends and family in the audience felt quite miraculous!

Can you talk about what you’re working on now? Is a second novel as difficult as they say? 

Yes! I think for me it’s always been difficult to focus in on one thing. I always have lots of ideas for books, but one thing I’ve learned is that it’s a long road from an idea to an actual book. Since my time is so limited it’s really important that I focus on the right thing. I met with my agent recently to suggest two possible ideas for my next novel – one a sequel to Summer at Bluebell Bank – and the other a bit of a departure in that it has a younger protagonist and is inspired by my love of mysteries. My agent’s advice to me was to write what I was most excited about, and I’ve settled on the latter. I think the sequel will be written at some point, but for now I’m enjoying the change of pace and liking dipping my toe into a slightly different genre. I’m loving writing the second book and it definitely gives me confident to already have been published.

Any top tips for getting a book published? 

You have to be prepared to put in the hours. Books don’t write themselves and much as you might love writing, the editing process is proper hard work for little immediate reward so you have to have that drive to write, the conviction to keep going.

For me, it’s been really crucial to develop self belief and having a friend to read my work and encourage me was really integral to that. It’s scary to tell people you’re writing a book – there’s always that scepticism, so it’s important to have someone in your corner. I’d definitely recommend finding an agent too – they really know what makes a book come together and what publishers are looking for. Find out about the agent you want, get to know the other authors on their list and what they like.

Jen Mouat quote real

 

Finally, I think it’s about the small goals – I now set myself simple targets, even if I write for fifteen minutes on a work day I count that as a achievement. I don’t think in terms of the finished book, or sometimes even a chapter; a decent paragraph can be enough to make me give myself a pat on the back.

~

Always lovely to meet a fellow stationery addict and what fantastic answers. I love that Jen got other people to read her reviews first. If I ever get that far I would be exactly the same. Sending best wishes to Jen for her second novel – although I also can’t wait for the follow up to Summer At Bluebell Bank (let’s hope she writes fast).

You can keep up to date with Jen’s progress by following her on Twitter and liking her Facebook page. You can also buy her debut from Amazon here.

I’ll be back with another Behind The Book post for you later this month.

 

A Look Behind The Book With Isabella Davidson.

IsabellaDavidsonPhoto2For years she wrote the popular but very much anonymous blog, Notting Hill Yummy Mummy, which gave a rather tongue in cheek peek at the glamorous, competitive and often bizarre world of the super rich of west London.

That changed when her first book, The Beta Mum: Adventures In Alpha Land, came out and she had to reveal herself as Isabella Davidson – not just to her readership but also to her neighbours and the school gate mums she sometimes wrote about.

In my latest Behind The Book post I was thrilled to be able to ask Isabella about what it was like to be thrust into the spotlight in such a big way (she was featured in the Times and other newspapers as well as on TV and radio) together with picking up some tips for bloggers hoping to become authors.

When did you start writing? Was it with the blog or even before that? Was it your dream to eventually publish a book?

I have always written, ever since I was a child, whether short stories in class or in my diary. I also took a creative writing class during university but having my work read and critiqued in class when I was 18 was quite hard to take in. Then, I went back to writing when I started my blog, which was a fun and creative outlet for me at the time, but my dream was always to write and publish a book.

Would you say blogging helped you, aside from subject matter, with your book?

Blogging has been a huge help for many reasons. Firstly, it forces you to write even when you don’t want to, but it also helps you hone your craft. As they say, the more you write, the better you get at it, so writing blogs is a way of writing which contributes to your writing skills. Of course, when people complimented me on my writing, it gave me confidence to think that perhaps I could write a book. And having a ready audience helps. You know that at least a few people will read your book!

You gave up your anonymity when you published your novel. What was that like? Was it a big decision to take? Was there any fallout for you?

It was a big decision to come out in the open. Originally, I wanted to publish my book under a pseudonym and keep the blog anonymous. But when the Times asked to interview me, I didn’t have much choice, because they wanted pictures of me (a massive two page insert of me in my house!) so I asked my husband if he was ok with it, and when he said ok, that was the end of my anonymity. Mostly, people have been very supportive and encouraging of my book, but they also said I was very brave. I am sure a lot of people have been talking about me and my book when I’m not there. There has been some fallout, but truthfully, not with any of my friends, who all know who I am and know that it was a bit of fun. It’s mostly people who don’t know me that have taken their distance, or people who are scared that I am going to write about them or expose their life or lifestyles. I keep it all anonymous and tongue and cheek and it’s not meant to be taken very seriously, but I understand that not everyone will be happy with what I have done.

Not only did your book get a lot of publicity when it was launched but so did you. I’ve seen some beautiful photos of you reclining on a lovely white sofa. Was that difficult to deal with, especially having been anonymous? Had you expected it? And did you get any help with managing it?

I knew that when the Times article came out, it would cause a stir, I just didn’t know how much. From there, I went on to be interviewed by The Daily Mail and went on TV and radio, but it was an intense period of time. I was being interviewed on a regular basis and it takes time and effort to prepare for the interviews and to look ‘good’ and to be ‘on’ all the time. It was quite draining. I didn’t get help with how to answer controversial questions I was asked, but I did in the end get some help with the PR because I couldn’t do it on my own. It was a lot of work. I am glad the publicity has died down somewhat and I can go back to my normal life without having people coming up to me and saying they saw me in the papers. In the process, I realised that I am a lot more private than I thought. I thought I would enjoy all the attention but after I while, all I wanted was some peace and quiet.

image1Your fabulous book follows the story of Sophie Bennett who arrives in London fresh from Canada and is thrown into the outrageous, entertaining but also sometimes quite cruel world of the Alpha Mums. I felt genuinely sorry for Sophie but by the end of the book I also (surprisingly) had some sympathy with the Alpha Mums. I think it would have been easy just to cast them as the bad guys and leave it at that but you made them very 3D. Was that important to you? 

Yes, it was important that I make them realistic too. I didn’t want my readers to think all these mums are horrid and evil, because for the most part they aren’t. There are a few exceptions like Kelly, that really exist, but most of the mums are absolutely lovely and nice. But there would be no story if everyone was nice! So I had to pile on the horridness. There is a lot of competition though, and that’s just very true in London in general or any big city. New York is 100 times worst. I also believe that most people are 3D characters and have reasons for acting certain ways, whether because they are unhappy or insecure or just negative people, so I try to understand the motivations behind people and try to have empathy towards everyone.

How much of the story was autobiographical? Is it really like that? And which side are you on?

Everyone thinks the story is autobiographical, but it’s not. People come up to me thinking I am like Sophie and are almost disappointed that I’m not. I am not Sophie in many ways, she is shy and reserved and that’s certainly not how my friends would describe me. I have lived in London for 15 years so that’s also very different. I used the set up of Sophie moving to London to really show an outsider’s point of view of London. I am probably more Alpha than Beta in the end as well… But I’d like the Alphas to be kinder to each other and not to take it all too seriously. Some parts of the book are influenced by real events that have happened to me or to people that I know, but mostly it is all fiction and fictionalised. The plot and all the characters are fiction and not based on any particular person.

Can you talk about how you were published? Did you submit to agents/publishers or were you discovered? What was the process like? How was it seeing a copy of your book in the shops for the first time?

My road to publishing in the end was very much my own path. I was first approached by an agent through my blog, (but he turned it down later) so that’s when I started thinking seriously about writing a novel. I then went on the Faber Academy novel writing course and wrote my novel that year. I did approach several agents and publishers, but after a few months, I decided to do it on my own terms and sent my manuscript to Silverwood, which is an independent self-funded publisher that I found through another writer who had done the Faber course as well. These days, there is more than one way to get your book published and I didn’t want to wait one and a half years to see if I could get a traditional publishing deal. Luckily, I already had a platform and visibility through the blog, which got me the Times interview. In the end, for me, I just wanted to see and feel my book in my hands, which was a wonderful thing. And having it all over the Notting Hill Bookshop window was pretty cool. I couldn’t have asked for a better place for it. But doing it on your own is so much work, so you need time and dedication and determination to get your book out there. Neither path is easy, but as they say in writing, you need perseverance.

You have lots of strings to your bow but I know you worked a medical doctor for a long time. Would you ever write about your experiences of that profession, either as a book or for newspapers and magazines?

Interestingly, I don’t have a need to write about medicine or being a doctor. When I was a doctor, I did quite a bit of medical research writing but for my fiction writing, I want to create a world outside of medicine. I can’t see myself blending those two worlds, which for me is a serious world (medicine) and a creative world (writing). I would love to write a book about Vietnam one day though (I am half Vietnamese).

How do you find time to write along with family life and all the many other things you have on your plate?

That’s a good question. When I was writing my novel, I dedicated that year to writing and said ‘no’ to coffee mornings, lunches, events and working out and spent my days between school drop offs and pick ups writing. Also, I need the mental space to get involved in my story and in my characters, so it is usually a solitary time for me. I didn’t do much blogging during that time. Then after the book was published it was about doing interviews, being on social media and doing blogger outreach and interviews, so it’s been a lot less about writing recently. Right now, I’m also enjoying doing book events, I had a book reading and signing last week and I have another one next week – and that’s also quite time consuming! But you have to find time and to prioritise if you want to write a novel. That meant while the kids were at school, after they went to bed, and sometimes when we were on holiday.

Is there another book in the pipeline? Can you talk about what you’re working on now?

I am not quite ready for my next book yet. I still need to digest this one and still need to do a bit of work with this one. There is a potential project with this book that is rather quite exciting, and if it took off, it would take up most of my time for the next year or so. But the chances that it will happen is 1/1000 or less so I think I can still keep dreaming. It’s always good to have a dream and a goal though, so that keeps me going.

Any tips for fellow bloggers interested in writing a book?

My writing tutor told me that the most important thing was ‘tenacity.’ As a writer, you have to have so much perseverance, dedication and determination. Of course talent helps, but what sets a writer apart is their hard work: to sit on that chair and write every day, to finish that book, to edit, edit, edit, to send it to agents and publishers, to accept rejection and to just keep going until one day you may get to see your book on a bookshelf in a bookstore. It is incredibly hard work, but to succeed, you need to work harder than anyone else and never give up.

Isabella quote

Oh, and luck really helps too, but unfortunately I can’t help you with that! What you can do though is to keep going…

 ~

Many thanks to Isabella for answering my (often very long) questions. It’s great to find out more about her and her book. I think she handled her new found fame much better than I would have done. I can’t wait to see if her exciting project comes off, I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

You can read my review and an excerpt of The Beta Mum: Adventures In Alpha Land here. You can also follow more of Isabella’s adventures via her blog, on Twitter and, of course, you can buy her book via Amazon in paperback or for Kindle here.

I’ll have two more Behind The Book guests next month. Don’t forget you can now follow After The Rain on Facebook so you need never miss a post.