A Look Behind The Book With Lucy Mitchell.

IMG_3074 2Monday mornings were always just that bit more manageable when I knew Lucy Mitchell would be posting the latest instalment of The Diary of Roxy Collins on her blog.

Her funny, warm and relatable series, featuring a single mother of three, looking for love after some disastrous relationships, has since been turned into a popular podcast, read by Lucy (links at the end).

For now though, Roxy is having to step aside – not that she’s very happy about it – while Lucy is busy writing her debut novel.

I’ve been a fan for years and can’t wait to see what she comes up with but first I was very happy when she agreed to chat to me for my latest Behind The Book post.

Let’s start with the big one, what’s the dream writing-wise? And how do you keep that dream alive?

I want to see one of my stories turned into a book. I want to frame the cover and put it on my living room wall. Every night I sit in my writing corner, in the lounge, and glance up at the bare wall, near my book shelves. One day it will contain a framed book cover and I will be so proud of myself.

At what age did you start writing? Were you encouraged at school?

I wrote a lot as a child and excelled at English at school. When I went to university I wrote to my mother every week. Instead of terrifying her with my student adventures I turned them all into little comedies. Mum tells me laughed her head off each breakfast time, as she read my lengthy account of student life, and she knew I would one day do something with my writing.

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You write romantic comedy fiction. Were you always interested in that genre? What was the lure? 

I enjoy writing stuff that makes people laugh and I also enjoy reading romance. I write about real romances as for years I have grown tired of reading about stick thin heroines with glamorous jobs and angelic children. It is time for the real life heroines with failed marriages, ex partners, unsuccessful diets, money issues and wild best friends, to make an appearance.

Can we talk about your very successful blog? When and why did you start it?

My kids and husband were doing my head in one Sunday back in April 2014. I crept upstairs and started my blog. I wanted a place where I could come out as a writer and gain some confidence.

You’re very open about the ups and downs of a writing life, which I can totally identify with. Was that a conscious decision? I know a lot of authors feel like they shouldn’t talk about rejections, what do you think?

My blog is a place where I sort out my head. I use each blog post to investigate an issue or deal with an emotional problem.

I will be talking about the highs and lows of my publishing journey on my blog.

How do you find time to blog, write, work and I’m sure do a million other different things?

I write in the bath, in motorway service stations, in hotel rooms, in cafes in my lunch hour and before I go to bed. I am tapping out words on dog walks, in lifts and in shopping centres. Writing is a huge part of my life.

 

Can you talk about your character Roxy Collins? As well as your blog, she also features on Wattpad and a very successful podcast.

Roxy Collins has become an old friend to me. I am so glad I turned her into a podcast and gave her a voice. She’s always in my head and never leaves me. Roxy makes me giggle as I know she gets jealous of new female characters who come into my mind.

The female character who makes it to publication better be tough enough to face up to Roxy.

How important do you think social media is to writers?

Social media has been a life saver for me. I have entered a supportive and encouraging community of creative people who have been like beacons of light for me on dark days.

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Who are your favourite authors to read?

I like Stephie Chapman, Victoria Cooke and Roxie Cooper. They all make me smile.

I know you share a lot of writing tips on your blog, do you have a top one you live by?

Keep writing. Even when you are having a tough time, keep writing.

~

Wise words, particularly at the end there. I completely agree about finding fellow writers on social media too – and Lucy has always been lovely.

You can find her brilliant blog, Blonde Write More, here, read Roxy’s story on Wattpad here and hear Lucy (and Roxy) in action on her podcast on iTunes here. It’s also available on Stitcher and Soundcloud.

A big thank you to Lucy for taking part and sending best wishes for her debut.

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Book Review: One Thousand Stars And You.

cover138629-mediumThe one thing you can guarantee after reading an Isabelle Broom novel is that you’ll want to book a holiday – and this time you’ll be packing for Sri Lanka.

One Thousand Stars And You is a beautifully written tale of friendship and self-discovery with more than a touch of romance.

I was quickly swept into the story and was really quite surprised to find myself at the end – I even went and checked how many pages it was because I felt sure it couldn’t be over already, even though it clearly was. It just flows perfectly and there’s never a good point to put it down – so I obviously didn’t!

Here’s the blurb:

Alice is settling down. It might not be the adventurous life she once imagined, but more than anything she wants to make everyone happy – her steady boyfriend, her over-protective mother – even if it means a little part of her will always feel stifled.

Max is shaking things up. After a devastating injury, he is determined to prove himself. To find the man beyond the disability, to escape his smothering family and go on an adventure.

A trip to Sri Lanka is Alice’s last hurrah – her chance to throw herself into the heat, chaos and colour of a place thousands of miles from home.

It’s also the moment she meets Max.

Alice doesn’t know it yet, but her whole life is about to change.

Max doesn’t know it yet, but he’s the one who’s going to change it.

I sigh happily when I think of Alice and Max but that’s because I’ve finished the book and know how things end (I’m pretty sure that’s not a spoiler).

At the start they are both pent up and unhappy – although I’m not sure Alice realises it yet – but Sri Lanka, with its endless beaches, exotic wildlife, rich culture and historic sites, quickly begins to work its magic.

Isabelle has a wonderful talent for making the location almost another character in her books. I was lucky enough to travel there for work many moons ago but I know from her other novels that, even if you haven’t been, her colourful descriptions, seamlessly woven into the story, make you feel like you have.

Once again, Isabelle has crafted a wonderful novel with a cast who come alive on the page – and not just Alice and Max but their friends too.

While A Year And A Day will probably always be my favourite, her new book is a very close second.

Format: Kindle.

Price: £4.99.

My rating: Five stars.

With thanks to Michael Jospeh, via NetGalley, for inviting me to read it.

Book Review: One Day In December.

onedayDecIt was just a moment. Our eyes met, no, not met, more like collided, and something just…clicked – or at least it did for me.

Maybe he didn’t give me another thought. Maybe I only noticed him because he was wearing a tuxedo at 10.30am? Or maybe it was because he practically fell out of a BHS in his hurry but, whatever it was, even now, many, many years later, I remember him. I remember that feeling. It was a proper Mills and Boon moment.

And that little story is why I was instantly hooked by Josie Silvers far longer one.

It’s a page turner, that’s for sure. There are many twists and turns but I don’t think I ever actually guessed how it would end, not really – although I hoped it would play out the way I wanted.

Here’s the blurb:

Two people.

Ten chances.

One unforgettable love story.

Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn’t exist. After all, life isn’t a scene from the movies, is it?

But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic…and then her bus drives away.

Laurie thinks she’ll never see the boy from the bus again. But at their Christmas party a year later, her best friend Sarah introduces her to the new love of her life. Who is, of course, the boy from the bus.

Determined to let him go, Laurie gets on with her life. But what if fate has other plans?

Beautifully written, it captures the normal, messy lives of its engaging characters over a decade in a way that makes you want to keep reading. In fact, it felt like I was living the story with them.

At the start my heart was willing Laurie to tell Sarah the truth about Jack but my head was completely with the storyline. Why would you spoil your best friends relationship on the basis of just a look? Of course, it didn’t stop my heart aching for Laurie.

Josie Silver describes herself as a “unashamed romantic” and I think that comes across in the book, particularly the rather epic ending, which had me swooning.

I’ve seen it said in other reviews that this book would make a wonderful film and I wholeheartedly agree but it should be law that you must read the book first.

Format: Kindle.

Price: £4.99 (from Amazon).

My rating: Five stars.

With thanks to Penguin Books (via NetGalley) for the ARC in return for my honest opinion.