AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Isabella May

If you have followed me over the years you will know that there is one Author I feature regularly, because not only does she write the most delectable books, but she is one of the most supportive and creative Authors I have the privilege of knowing: Isabella May

Today I am delighted to have been given the chance to interview her, and also feature her latest book, and share some news on her up and coming new books.

Interview:

Q: What inspires you to write your books?

A: Sharing my love of travel and food. Giving people a few laughs and reminding them that romance and magic are both alive and kicking!

Q: Is there any truth in the storyline of any of your books that relates to your own life?

A: I think we infuse parts of ourselves in many of our characters. My travels and foodie penchants definitely shape the storylines of all of my books! My debut, Oh! What a Pavlova is loosely based on my own experience of domestic violence.

Q: What have been your favourite moments of being an author?

A: Heartwarming feedback. Hearing that I have made someone laugh, inspired them through a character/plot, encouraged them to improve their relationship with food, given them a few hours of escapism. These are the things I dream of achieving when I write a story.

Q: What motivates you to keep writing?

A: Receiving thumbs up messages from readers all over the world. There is no feeling quite like it!

Q: How do you come up with the plots of your books?

A: I have a rough idea but the characters speak to me as I begin to write. I never truly know what the twists and turns will be and I am always delighted to discover them on the journey.

Q: Of all the books you have written, which would you say is the most special to you or your favourite and why?

A: They are all dear to me for completely different reasons. That would feel like trying to choose my favourite child!

Q: Are there any characters that have felt so real to you that you feel you could keep writing about them?

A: Many of them. But since I grew up in Glastonbury, just like my MC River Jackson from The Cocktail Bar (who is also appearing again in my Christmas novel, Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Bar), I would have to say him!

Q: If you could choose to have an exclusive book club with three authors, dead or alive, who would you choose and what would be your ideal discussion to have with them?

A: Nigella, Julian Fellowes and Julie Caplin probably. The perfect mix of food, travel and wit – all fused with the most kaleidoscopic language. I just adore the way all three authors write.

Q: What books do you currently have on your bedside table?

A: I’m reading ‘The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul’ at the moment. It’s as far removed from your typically twee little coffee shop titled books as you can get! But it’s a refreshing change. A bit of a slow burner but a deeply fascinating insight into life in modern day Afghanistan from a female perspective. Great writing. I highly recommend it.

Q: What book is your latest, or releasing soon and can you tell us a little about it?

A: Bubblegum and Blazers will be published on 1st July 2021. I’m really excited about it and had a silly amount of fun writing it. It’s quite a unique story but a great way to escape the antics of the outside world, so I truly hope it helps uplift bookworms this summer! Here’s the blurb:

When Ali, Blake, Charlotte, and Grant sign contracts to star in a Back to School reality TV show, LOVE is the very last thing on their minds:

Ali flies to the UK from New Zealand, intrigued by the golden opportunity to advance her amateur social media influencer career.

Blake carpe diems the moment with both hands after a constant flurry of bad luck.

Charlotte jumps at the chance to relive her sporting glories of the past – and take a hiatus from her humdrum marriage.

And Grant is just relieved to get away from his failing second-hand music shop.

But once the advances hit their bank accounts, it soon becomes apparent that producer Jock’s Pied Piper-style offer to change their lives is distinctly lacking in sherbet fizz!

In fact, the only sweet thing about this gig for the former students and the rest of their Bubblegum and Blazers competitors, may just be the packet of candy in their pockets.

Re-enacting their past is a rollercoaster of revelations, retaliation, and unlikely romance in a goldfish bowl of mayhem where Raphael (agony uncle of the school sweet shop) and his rhubarb and custards reign supreme…

Q: What is the kindest thing a stranger has ever done for you or said to you?

A: I can’t think of anything recently. I am trying to be that person for others daily. I think the pandemic has really awakened that duty in me. I don’t always get it right but I think that’s one benefit the pandemic has brought with it: this deep ache and need for many of us to give what we can to others. Even if it’s just a smile.

When I think back to the past though, I will never forget those who have unconsciously changed the path of my life just by being in the right place at the right time and making me wake up and smell the coffee (especially during the aforementioned DV relationship).

Oh, then there have definitely been a couple of guardian angels who happened to appear from nowhere when I was being pursued as a young woman – once in a car when I needed to flag a motorist down for help, once in a car park after clocking off from my work shift, and once on a train in Denmark – I missed my stop in the middle-of-nowhere (it was late at night) and a random guy decided to ‘befriend’ me. I quietly freaked out and notified the ticket inspector because the end of the line was some stop in a forest! The inspector spoke to the driver and they phoned ahead to the train passing in the opposite direction so that both trains could literally (almost) stop on the tracks and I could jump across. You really couldn’t make it up! I’ve no doubt I was saved from some pretty appalling potential situations in all three of those cases. And each time it was a male who stepped into that role and helped me out, actually.

And as for the person who helped me up when I tumbled down the women’s Olympic downhill ski slope in Austria! He was far better in tune with the ski school students than the instructor lol…

Q: Lastly, something fun that our readers might not know about you?

A: I speak four languages, I have weird thumbs, and I twice turned down an interview to appear on the UK version of ‘The Apprentice’. I thank God for the latter!

Featured book: The Chocolate Box by Isabella May

Blurb:

Ellie Sanchez wants revenge.

Spurned during her school days at prestigious Monty’s academy when she was plain Eleanor Finch, and played second fiddle to her idol, Barnaby Westwood, and his show-off sister, Clementine, Ellie will stop at nothing to turn the tables now she’s all grown up. The siblings and their snubbing have been the catalyst for everything that’s gone wrong in her life, from parental neglect to her divorce.

When the Westwood travel merchandise company advertises for a new HR manager, Ellie decides her unique combo of karma and Law of Attraction has finally come good. And she’ll be bagging herself a cherry-on-the-cake, second, and richer, husband in the process – once Barnaby sees how much she’s changed, anyway.

Fast forward six months and he STILL doesn’t recognise her! Fast forward six months and the company is in a financial mess.Last Chance Saloon-style, Ellie coerces the siblings and their older sister, Brooke (the perpetual spanner in her works) to a rustic gîte in Normandy for a spot of team-building… over a very ‘special’ box of artisan chocolates.

“Cue ALL the fireworks in the cocoa bean version of Jumanji…”

About the Author

Isabella May

Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalusia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the mountains and the sea. Having grown up on Glastonbury’s ley lines however, she’s unable to completely shake off her spiritual inner child, and is a Law of Attraction fanatic, as well as a Pranic Healer.

After a degree in Modern Languages and European Studies at UWE, Bristol (and a year working abroad in Bordeaux and Stuttgart), Isabella bagged an extremely jammy and fascinating job in children’s publishing… selling foreign rights for novelty, board, pop-up and non-fiction books all over the world; in every language from Icelandic to Korean, Bahasa Indonesian to Papiamento!

All of which has fuelled her curiosity and love of international food and travel – both feature extensively in her cross-genre novels, fused with a dollop of romcom, and a sprinkle of magical realism.

Isabella May’s Social media links:

Website: www.isabellamayauthor.com

Twitter – @IsabellaMayBks

Instagram – @isabella_may_author

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/IsabellaMayAuthor/

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Taryn Leigh is the Author of Perfect Imperfections and The Secret Letters, which are currently available from AmazonWaterstonesBarnes&Noble, Exclusive Books and where all good books are sold.

Author Interview: Francine Beaton

I am so delighted to be able to interview Francine Beaton today who is a phenomenal Author here with me in South Africa, and also a fellow member of ROSA (Romance Writers Organisation of South Africa).

Francine has successfully written over 15 books, available in English and Afrikaans, and is a huge blessing and a source of a wealth of information to us Authors.

Interview:

Q: What inspires you to write your books?

A: Life. Love. People. There is so much sadness in the world, especially now. I hope my books help people to escape that, even for a little while.

Q: Is there any truth in the storyline of any of your books that relates to your own life?

A: Yes, there is always something about me or someone I know in my stories. I will not tell you which story has the most of me, though.

Q: What have been your favourite moments of being an author?

A: The moment I can type The End. I know it is unnecessary, but the feeling of accomplishment I can never explain. It’s probably because I never dreamed of writing a book. What to say fifteen!

The moment you hold the first print copy of a new book in your hand.

When a reader reaches out to you and telling you how much they enjoyed a story. All these moments make writing worthwhile.

Q: What motivates you to keep writing?

A:  I can answer this question exactly as the previous one. It’s those happy moments that motivates me.

Q: How do you come up with the plots of your books?

A: I’m a pantser. I don’t come up with plots. The characters tell me what to write. I might slap them back in submission now and again, but mostly, my stories are character-driven.

Q: Of all the books you have written, which would you say is the most special to you or your favourite and why?

A: It’s like asking a mother which is her favourite child! It is difficult to choose. Each time I finish a book, I think this is my favourite, then comes the next one and then that’s my favourite. My first published book, Eye on the Ball, will always be one of my favourite books. If I have to choose? I loved writing Taste for Cupcakes, and also Wrecking Ball.

Q: Are there any characters that have felt so real to you that you feel you could keep writing about them?

A: Aren’t they real? When I tell my family a story, my husband and daughter first ask: ‘Is this now real or is it one of your stories?’ Richie in Wrecking Ball, especially, felt real to me. He is a Scot from Glasgow. If you hear Richie’s voice in your head, you’ll hear my husband. Some of Richie’s scenes are things that happened to my husband, and with his permission I could use it in Wrecking Ball.

Q: If you could choose to have an exclusive book club with three authors, dead or alive, who would you choose and what would be your ideal discussion to have with them?

A: I’d definitely choose Nora Roberts, Marie Force, and Rhoda Baxter. If I may sneak in a fourth one, it might be Sophie Kinsella. I probably be so tongue-tied that I may not talk much, but I guess we will talk about writing, and the same questions you asked me. With Rhoda I would like to chat about writing romantic comedy, as this is the genre I want to pursue. With Marie: Ooh, I am so in awe of her ability to write series and continue to keep them fresh. And Norah: I’d love to know how she writes under different pen names for the different genres. I would like to try that too.

Q: What books do you currently have on your bedside table?

A:  I only have a copy of Stuart MacBride’s All That’s Dead on my bedside table, gathering dust. I mostly read on my tablet, which is bursting out of its seams with my TBR list, but it feels as if I’ve read nothing other than books about writing and marketing the last few months.

Q: What book is your latest, or releasing soon, and can you tell us a little about it?

A: Currently, I’m releasing mostly in Afrikaans. The latest book is Keuses van Gister, which appeared in English as Choices, the first book in the On the Sidelines series. I’ve just finished a shorter story for ROSA’s sweet anthology called Chances (which will be the second book in the On the Sidelines Series), and hope to release Blood Brothers, the seventh Playing for Glory romance in June or July, if all goes well. Things are hectic at the moment, though, and I’m not sure if I will manage that. I may first finish Second Chances and A Last Chance in the Kick-Off Trilogy first.

Q: What is the kindest thing a stranger has ever done for you or said to you?

A: I think it has been soon after I published my first book when a reader e-mailed me to tell me how much she enjoyed the book. I didn’t have any reviews yet, or didn’t know where to go from there, but that helped to keep my focus. I may not make millions, but those kind and unexpected e-mail, made my day.

Q: Lastly, something fun that our readers might not know about you?A: I have a terrible fear of grasshoppers. Can you imagine how it feels for someone with acridophobia to land in a grasshopper plague in the Northern Cape?

We are also featuring one of Francine’s books:

Title: Taste for Cupcakes (A Taste for Love Novella)

Blurb:

The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach… hers might be through his kitchen…

Morag MacPherson returns to Scotland with one dream, and that is to open her open cupcake shop. She knows she has to work hard and may have to wait before fulfilling that dream, but she doesn’t mind that. She will not let one obnoxious man, accusing her of things she will never consider, derails her plan.

When Peter Moriarty realises he made a big mistake, he tries his best to rectify it, but Morag is not a feisty red-head for nothing. He has to work hard to gain her trust and friendship. What can he do to win her heart?

Peter has an ace up his sleeve, however. What is that saying again? The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

Hers might be through his kitchen.

About the Author:

Romance author Francine Beaton published her first romance novel—a contemporary sports romance called Eye On The Ball—in April 2018, after she first started writing in July 2016. Francine calls Pretoria home, but she loves travelling to faraway places and considers Scotland her second home. When she’s not reading or writing about love and Happily Ever After, she’s most likely busy painting or taking photos of everything that catches her eye. During rugby season, you’ll know where to find her. It will either next to the pitch or in front of the television, following her favourite teams. It’s probably not difficult to figure out why her debut novel, Eye on the Ball, and the series, Playing for Glory, has rugby as a theme.

Francine’s Social media links:

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/3ao0WKC

Websites: https://www.francinebeaton.com

                www.francinebeatonskrywer.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/francinebeaton

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FrancineBeatonAuthor

Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/BeatonFrancine

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/goodreadscomfrancinebeaton

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Francine-Beaton/e/B07BJH92HR

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/francine-beaton

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/beatonfrancine/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrfWDZ8HDx1xMf_elYxFbXA

Website:

https://linktr.ee/francinebeaton

https://bingebooks.com/author/francine-beaton

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Taryn Leigh is the Author of Perfect Imperfections and The Secret Letters, which are currently available from AmazonWaterstonesBarnes&Noble, Exclusive Books and where all good books are sold.

COVER REVEAL – Gill Paul’s latest book – THE COLLECTOR’S DAUGHTER

I am so excited to be a part of the COVER REVEAL today for Gill Paul’s latest book, The Collector’s Daughter, which will be published on September 7th in the US & Canada, and September 30th in the UK.

Blurb:

Bestselling author Gill Paul returns with a brilliant novel about Lady Evelyn Herbert, who grew up in Highclere Castle—the real Downton Abbey—and became the first person in modern times to enter the tomb of Ancient Egyptian king Tutankhamun.

She is the daughter of the Earl of Carnarvon, brought up to make her society debut and follow it with a prestigious marriage. But popular and pretty Lady Evelyn Herbert has other ideas. First she falls for a man her mother doesn’t approve of, then she accompanies her father to Egypt, leaving behind the world of etiquette and chaperones to work alongside archeologist Howard Carter in the Valley of the Kings.

In November 1922 the extraordinary happens when they discover the burial place of Tutankhamun, packed full of gold and inconceivable riches. Eve is the first to crawl inside, the first person to see the treasures in three thousand years. She calls it the “greatest moment” of her life—but soon afterwards a string of tragedies leaves her world a darker, sadder place.

Newspapers claim it is “the curse of Tutankhamun.” Howard Carter says no rational person would entertain such nonsense. Fifty years later, an Egyptian academic comes asking questions about what really happened in the tomb in 1922. And that visit unleashes a new chain of events threatening Eve’s happy life, and making her wonder if there could be some truth behind the stories of an ancient curse.

Get your copy now on Pre-order

• Preorder link for the US: https://www.harpercollins.com/products/the-collectors-daughter-gill-paul?variant=33011847888930

•Preorder link for the UK: https://uk.bookshop.org/books/the-collector-s-daughter/9780008453473

• Link to sign up to her newsletter: https://bit.ly/gillpaulnews

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Taryn Leigh is the Author of Perfect Imperfections and The Secret Letters, which are currently available from AmazonWaterstonesBarnes&Noble, Exclusive Books and where all good books are sold.

The Secret Letters by Taryn Leigh Voted Top Book Cover for 2020

I get so excited when people love my books and also my covers.

As an Author you spend so much time agonizing over these things with the hope that it will be loved and appreciated.

So you can imagine my joy when Fiction_book_reviews voted The Secret Letters as one of their Top 3 book covers for 2020!

A HUGE thank you for loving my book and my cover. I’m very thrilled and extremely appreciative!

Now if you haven’t bought your copy yet I hope you will be getting it soon.

It’s also a fabulous gift for Christmas! Available in Paperback and on Kindle as well as being FREE on Kindle Unlimited.

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Taryn Leigh is the Author of Perfect Imperfections and The Secret Letters, which are currently available from AmazonWaterstonesBarnes&Noble, Exclusive Books and where all good books are sold.

Behind the scenes of The Secret Letters by Taryn Leigh

INSIDE INFO OF MY LATEST BOOK

In my latest book #TheSecretLetters you will see that the main character named Rachel has two dogs named MAX and SNUGGLES.


Well the dogs in the book are named after these two DOGS, who were my babies named Rocky and Cuddles in real life.

Rocky and Cuddles AKA Max and Snuggles in The Secret Letters

We decided to give Rocky and Cuddles away to another family 2 years ago because they needed a big home with lots of place to run.


They now live on a massive plot of land with a donkey and they are in their element. We’ve even been allowed to go see them. ❤️

Rocky AKA Max in The Secret Letters

But the things I mention about their personalities and the stories about them in the book are all TRUE.

So I hope you love Max and Snuggles as much as I love Rocky and Cuddles 😍❤️😊

Cuddles AKA Snuggles in The Secret Letters
Rocky AKA Max in
The Secret Letters by Taryn Leigh

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Taryn Leigh is the Author of Perfect Imperfections and The Secret Letters, which are currently available from AmazonWaterstonesBarnes&Noble, Exclusive Books and where all good books are sold.