Friday, 23 September 2016

UNCOVERED INTERVIEWS: Carol Wyer

Carol Wyer's new book Take a Chance on Me is released today, and it's a fantastic read! The novel focuses on Charlie who, after finding herself single and feeling low, embarks on a life to-do list with the help of her friends. Carol has stopped by for a Q&A about the novel, the inspiration behind it, and what she's up to next...

Tell us about your latest novel in 15 words or less.
Charlie’s lost her zest for life but a crazy ‘Carpe Diem’ list will transform it.

What inspired you to write Take A Chance On Me?
In my late teens I spent thirteen weeks in hospital thanks to spinal difficulties. Hospital radio was the only thing that kept me sane at the time as I was flat on my back, unable to move. That gave me the kernel of an idea for the setting of the book.

The story is one of loss, love, and friendship, and of course, about seizing the moment.

After major surgery on my spine and again in my twenties, I was told I would always have problems, especially as I aged. I made a conscious decision to live my life just as I wanted – I have quad biked up mountain paths, driven a 4X4 over glaciers in Iceland, learned to kick box, flown helicopters, scuba dived and dived with sharks, and much more and although my spine is degenerating badly now and I can’t move or walk very easily, I have the knowledge that I managed to do and enjoy many things in life. I wanted to share that message that no matter how bad life seems you can make it better.

Where do you do most of your writing?
Either in what I call my garret, which is a room in my house with no windows, only a skylight. That way I don’t get distracted by the view or what is happening outside. I chew through endless packets of sweets and type. However, I also write in the garden of a little gite—a pigeonier—part of a small working farm, in France. We go there every year. It is in the middle of nowhere and is where I plan and write my plots by hand in a notebook. Yes, I write it all out in pencil first!

What is your favourite book? 
Candide by Voltaire. I studied it at Uni and it is the reason I write humour today.

Which part of Take A Chance On Me did you enjoy writing the most?
That’s a difficult question as I enjoyed writing it all but the scenes where Charlie does her challenges were the most fun, especially as I had to do the challenges myself to get a feel of them. The bellydancing scene was a laugh to do and I love some of the dialogue with Mercedes. I really liked her character. She has some great lines.

Who is your favourite literary heroine? 
I am a fan of Janet Evanovich’s books so it has to be Stephanie Plum, a female bounty hunter who’s a spunky combination of Nancy Drew and Dirty Harry.

Do you have any tips for readers who are looking to become published writers?
You need tenacity, patience and good luck. Don’t be in a hurry to get your work published. It is understandable that once you type “the end” you will want to see your book in print but you have work to do before that happens. Make sure a professional edits it and get beta readers to offer you suggestions before you submit. It will take months to get responses from publishers or agents so use that time to build up a social media profile or write your next book…then cross your fingers. Don’t give up!

Are you working on anything else at the moment and if so, can you tell us?
Following a compilation of short stories that look at the “darker” side of love, called Love Hurts, I am embarking on a series of thrillers for Bookouture. I absolutely love writing them even though I manage to scare myself with what I write! The first will be published next January.

Thanks, Carol!

You can find out more about Carol Wyer and her novels at her website, Twitter and Facebook. She is also a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association.

Take a Chance on Me by Carol Wyer

When Charlie’s husband leaves after ten years of marriage, her spirits hit an all-time low. She just isn’t sure how to pick herself up again. So, best friend Mercedes makes it her mission to put a spring back in Charlie’s step with the perfect bucket list. 

As Charlie takes a chance and bungee jumps and belly dances her way through an array of adventures, her love life also begins to look up and she’s soon enjoying a few dates as a newly single woman. She begins to realise that finding romance, might not be so hard, especially when you’ve got someone like journalist Jake who has an adorable little boy and is very easy on the eye. 

But is Jake too good to be true? As Charlie’s challenges on the bucket list get bigger, so do her questions about Jake. Should she continue to hold out for the fairy-tale? Or should she take a chance on Jake and hope for a happy ending? 

Thursday, 22 September 2016

BOOK NEWS: Playing FTSE by Penelope Jacobs

There are some great novels heading our way in November, one being Playing FTSE by Penelope Jacobs, in which ambitious Melanie finds herself falling for a colleague. Penelope Jacobs has worked in finance since 1998, and Playing FTSE is her debut novel.

When Melanie Collins joins an investment bank as a young graduate, she quickly discovers that femininity is an invaluable asset. But it must not be abused. She witnesses other women falling victim to office affairs and is determined to be taken seriously. In an industry where abilities are rewarded handsomely, she rises rapidly through the ranks. But her increased profile attracts the attention of a senior colleague and she is ill equipped to handle his advances. Balancing a demanding job with a confusing personal life proves difficult and soon their relationship threatens to jeopardise her career. As events move beyond control, her glamorous world becomes tainted by betrayal and bitterness. Set against London's financial markets, 'Playing FTSE' explores the dynamic of ambition, friendship and love in the City. A woman can reach the top, but at what price?

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

BOOK NEWS: The Dress by Jane L Rosen

The Dress is the gorgeous new novel by Jane L Rosen, which is due for release on 17th November. In the novel, the lives of nine women are transformed by the dress of the season...

Legend has it that every season there is one dress.

The dress that can make your career.

The dress to ignite a spark with that special someone,

The dress to utterly transform your life.

For Natalie who has sworn off men since her ex dumped her; for Sally Ann, the model who wears the dress for the first time on the catwalk, for Sophie who is creating her perfect imaginary life on social media to thousands of followers – for them and for others, life is about to change.

 And all because of their brush with the dress of the season, the perfect little black number that everyone wants to get their hands on…

Thursday, 15 September 2016

GUEST POST - S.C. Stephens on Writing Relationships

Furious Rush is the newly-released novel from New York Times bestselling author S.C. Stephens, who also wrote 2015 novel Thoughtful. When it comes to writing relationships, S.C. Stephens certainly knows how, and today she's joined us to share some tips!

Writing relationships: how to make readers invested

Readers connect with characters they understand. If you make the characters as real as possible, and give them understandable, sympathetic reasons for everything they do, then fans will connect with them and cheer them on. They'll become more than characters to readers, they'll become friends, and everyone loves to see their friends overcome obstacles and succeed.

That goes back to my point about my characters becoming real to me. I invest so much in creating them to resemble what could be real people with real problems. It means so much to me when readers tell me that they love them, that they feel like they know them or they see a piece of themselves in them. Or even better—that they once dated someone like Kellan or Hayden. As an author, the most satisfying feeling I have is when a reader relates to my characters. It’s what drives me to continue dreaming and writing.

FURIOUS RUSH by S.C. Stephens 

For Mackenzie Cox, racing motorcycles is in her blood. Born into a family legacy, she's determined to show the world that she has inherited her father's talent in this male-dominated sport. The last thing Kenzie needs is to be antagonised by her rival team's newest rider, Hayden Hayes. Hayden, exceedingly arrogant and outrageously attractive, immediately gets under Kenzie's skin and she can't help but be distracted.

As Kenzie and Hayden push each other on the track, the electric energy between them off the track shifts into an intense - and strictly forbidden - attraction. The only rule between their two ultra-competitive teams is zero contact. Kenzie needs a win, and she also needs to stay away from Hayden. Unfortunately for her though, one thing has become all too clear: she can't.

Fuelled by passion, driven by desire, Hayden and Mackenzie both want to win more than anything else. Except for, maybe, each other. But anger, jealousy and extreme competitiveness aren't their only obstacles...

BOOK REVIEW: Who We Were Before by Leah Mercer

Who We Were Before is the new novel by Leah Mercer (who also writes romantic comedies under the name Talli Roland). Who We Were Before focuses on the life of married couple Zoe and Edward Morgan, as they try to come to terms with a shared tragedy.

Zoe and Edward have grown apart since the death of their two-year-old son Milo. Once happy, the tragedy has pulled them from one another so forcefully that they may not be able to repair their marriage. As a gift, Zoe's parents have arranged a weekend in Paris for the both of them to enjoy, which neither is looking forward to.

On the way, the pair get separated, leaving Edward with the hotel tickets and Zoe without her phone and purse, having to wander Paris in search of her husband. As Zoe and Edward navigate their trip, they're also forced to navigate their relationship, and try to come to terms with what has happened to their once idyllic family life.

The novel focuses on both Zoe and Edward, the chapters switching between characters and their lives both in the present, and the years previously, giving an insight into their relationship from the beginning, the highs, lows, and the problems they faced both before and after Milo's death. As the book continues and the pair struggle to find each other in the Paris evening, we learn more about the couple's struggles and the events that brought them to that very point.

Despite their troubles, Zoe and Edward are both likeable characters; individually flawed yet loving and determined, once, to make their family work. However, as things in life don't always go to plan, their growing family is ripped apart in an instant, leaving them to cope with heartache and loss. Their troubles are understandable and I found myself rooting for both of them from the start of the book, hoping that things would eventually work out.

I won't spoil the book for you, but Who We Were Before is a beautiful novel; gripping, yet very emotional, focusing on grief, loss, and the possibility of saving what was once to be a happy ending.

Rating: 5/5

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

BOOK REVIEW: The Happy Ever Afterlife of Rosie Potter by Kate Winter

Rosie Potter wakes up dead. Seems nonsensical, but Rosie's predicament is exactly that. Rosie wakes from what she thinks in a terrible hangover to find that she's no longer living - she's a ghost, hanging around in the afterlife, it seems. Just how she got there, and why she's still able to wander freely round her village, are mysteries that Rosie is determined to solve.

Rosie has her suspicions about what happened to her and who did it, but solving the case of her death is proving more difficult than she envisioned, especially when nobody can see her (which could be a good thing, given the PJs she's wearing). That is, until she finally finds someone who can see her - her brother's best friend. Who, it turns out, is much more lovely than she remembered in life. Could she be falling in love even after she's died?

I love fun chick-lit reads with a ghostly twist - Heaven Can Wait by Cally Taylor and Kitty French's Melody Bittersweet and the Girls' Ghostbusting Agency are among by favourites - which is what intrigued me about this novel. Granted, the premise does seem quite upsetting, and I was bracing myself for a bit of an emotional rollercoaster! And yes, it is emotional. After all, Rosie has to deal with the fact that she's leaving her friends, family and entire life behind, as well as trying to piece together the events which led to her death. Not only that, but she might just be falling for the only person in the world who can actually see her.

However, Rosie Potter is also a hilarious novel. It's impossible not to love Rosie, whose bright, bubbly personality draws you in from the beginning. It's a novel full of laughs, with Rosie's search for answers taking her all around her home village, uncovering many secrets. Her humour shines through despite her unfortunate predicament!

I had a feeling I would love this novel, but I wasn't prepared for how lovely a story this is. And the ending is perfect. Sad, but perfect.

The Happy Ever Afterlife of Rosie Potter is a wonderful read; emotional, but also uplifting. Kate Winter's talent is evident in this novel and I'm looking forward to reading more of her books in future.

Rating: 5/5

Monday, 12 September 2016

NEW RELEASES: The Girl I Was Before by Izzy Bayliss

The Girl I Was Before is the newly-released novel by Izzy Bayliss, in which Lily is faced with some big life changes when she catches her husband with another woman...

When Lily McDermott walks in to find Marc, her husband of just three months in bed with actress Nadia, life as she knows it is over. Lily thinks things can't get any worse when she sees photos of her husband and his new lover splashed across the glossy magazine pages, but when she loses her job too, she is at her lowest ebb and turns to baking to soothe her soul. 

Wounded and broken she has to try and pick herself up again with the help of her best friend Frankie and with her encouragement, Lily decides to turn her hobby into a business and sets up Baked With Love. However whatever Lily does, it seems disaster soon ensues and when handsome stranger Sam comes to her rescue, Lily isn't quite ready to turn her back on her marriage. 

Can Lily risk opening her heart again or is she destined to allow Marc to shadow her life forever? 
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