Author Interview: Lauren Oliver

31 Oct

Today I’m delighted to welcome Lauren Oliver to One More Page to discuss her haunting new novel, Rooms. Lauren lives in New York.  She lists being cozy; fires; autumn; fuzzy slippers; very high heels; great wine and dark chocolate among her favourite things and her interests apart from writing, include reading, cooking, traveling, dancing and running. Lauren captivated readers with her beautiful first novel, Before I Fall. She followed that up with the Delirium trilogy and Panic. Rooms is her first adult novel. You can find out more about Lauren and her writing at: http://laurenoliverbooks.com

laurenoliverYour new novel, Rooms has just been published; please could you tell us a little about it and your inspiration for it?

Rooms is on one level the story of a troubled family, the Walkers, that return home to clean out their vast country house after the death of the volatile and problematic patriarch, Richard Walker. But it’s narrated in part from the perspectives of two ghosts, Alice and Sandra, who have previously inhabited the house and are now stuck in its walls. It isn’t a traditional ghost story, although as the book progresses the world of the living and the dead begin to converge, with increasingly explosive results. The inspiration in part came from a weekend trip I took to an old manor house in England, and in part because I was and have always been interested in old houses and the various lives that get played out in one space.

Rooms features a number of ghosts; have you ever had a ghostly encounter?

In 2009, after the death of my best friend, several things happened to me that seemed inexplicable and suggested some interference from the spirit side. I don’t exactly believe in ghosts–but I don’t disbelieve, either.

What drew you to this aspect of the paranormal?

Oh, I love ghosts. They’re elegant, in a way, and because they’re incorporeal they can have privileged information, go anywhere, and function almost as omniscient narrators while maintaining a personality and a past.

Which character did you find most difficult to write?

I struggled with Sandra’s voice initially. I had to find a balance between evocation and sharpness, between a blunt style of speech and also an ability to observe and reflect. And, you know, in the case of both Sandra and Alice I had to do quite a bit of research since they were born in such different eras.

This is your first adult novel, why did you decide to write for an adult audience this time? How did your writing experience rooms laurendiffer?

I didn’t set out to write a book for adults. The idea for Rooms came to me, the Walkers came to me, Alice came to me–and as I wrote, I knew it was a book meant for an adult audience. I don’t think most writers think very much about audience when they right; the audience is almost incidental to the process. So in that sense, the process didn’t differ very much.

And finally … what can we expect next from Lauren Oliver?

In the spring of 2015 I’m publishing my next teen book, Vanishing Girls, which is about two sisters and their troubled relationship in the aftermath of an accident. And in the fall I’m launching a new middle grade series, Curiosity House. Lots to come!

Thanks Lauren and Happy Halloween!

Rooms is out now in hardback and ebook formats from  Hodder & Stoughton

Perfect Paranormal – Halloween Hot Picks 2014

30 Oct

From vampires and werewolves to witches, magic and haunting ghost stories; there’s something for everyone in this year’s paranormal picks. Happy Halloween reading!

rooms laurenRooms by Lauren Oliver (Hodder, September 2014)

A haunting adult fiction debut from this bestselling children’s and young adult author. Look out for my interview with Lauren tomorrow!

Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family—bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna—have arrived for their inheritance.

But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself—in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb.

The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide—with cataclysmic results.

Otherworld Nights by Kelley Armstrong (Orbit, October 2014)

otherworld nights

I read one of Kelly Armstrong’s young adult books earlier this year and was intrigued to dip into this collection of short stories and novellas featuring characters from the Otherworld series. I loved the way Kelley brings the paranormal into our world and was so impressed that I’ve ordered the first book in the series!

A suspenseful, new collection of stories and novellas, both original and curated by the author from her short fiction.

Sunday Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong captivated readers with her Women of the Otherworld series of supernatural thrillers. In this new anthology, favourite characters return in stories of drama, danger and desire. Legendary werewolf partners Elena and Clay stalk the pages of this book, along with vampires, witches, half-demons and sorcerers.

Filled with fan favourites and rarities, Otherworld Nights concludes with a brand-new novella, ‘Vanishing Act’. This thrilling longer story is set after series finale 13, and features much-loved characters Savannah and Adam as they begin a new life – and a mysterious new case – together.

Declan CoverThe Keepers: Declan by Rae Rivers (HarperImpulse, June 2014)

Gripping paranormal romance from Rae Rivers – one of my favourite paranormal romance series of recent years. You can read the prequel to this series:,The Keepers: Sienna for free!

Declan Bennett has zero tolerance for thieves. He and his brothers, the Keepers, are fiercely protective of their witch, Sienna, and their privacy.

So when Kate Carrigan breaks into their estate, he’ll be damned if he lets the little wildcat get away with it – especially after she seduced him three months ago, leaving him buck-naked in a New Orleans hotel. Declan wants payback – and some answers.
Before she was murdered, Kate’s mother ingrained it in her not to trust anyone. Kate’s magical powers make her a pawn in the war between good and evil, a war she’s always avoided. Declan is everything she’s been taught to fear, even if she can’t forget the memory of his touch that one night…

Trouble is brewing as the powers of evil regroup – bolder and hungrier than ever – and Kate is forced to choose a side.

The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness (Headline, July 2014)book of life

The brilliant final part of the trilogy. I can’t recommend these books highly enough!

A world of witches, daemons and vampires. A manuscript which holds the secrets of their past and the key to their future. Diana and Matthew – the forbidden love at the heart of it.

After travelling through time in SHADOW OF NIGHT, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s enchant­ing series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home in France they reunite with their families – with one heart-breaking exception. But the real threat to their future is yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for the elusive manuscript Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on a terrifying urgency. Using ancient knowl­edge and modern science, from the palaces of Venice and beyond, Diana and Matthew will finally learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.

Banished-by-Liz-de-JagerBanished by Liz de Jager (Tor, February 2014)

Feisty Kit Blackheart is a match for anyone in this excellent debut – you’ve just got time to read it before the second novel in the trilogy, Vowed is released next week!

Kit is proud to be a Blackhart, now she’s living with her unorthodox cousins and sharing their strange lives. Especially since their home-schooling includes spells, fighting enemy fae and using ancient weapons.

But it’s not until she rescues a rather handsome fae prince, fighting for his life on the edge of Blackhart Manor, that her training really kicks in. With her family away on various missions, Kit must protect Prince Thorn, rely on new friends and use her own unfamiliar magic to stay ahead of Thorn’s enemies.

As things go from bad to apocalyptic, fae battle fae in a war that threatens to spill into the human world. Then Kit pits herself against the Elder Gods themselves – it’s that or lose everyone she’s learnt to love.

My So Called Afterlife by Tamsyn Murray (May 2014) my so called afterlife

Released with this fab new cover, earlier in the year, My So Called Afterlife is in turns wickedly funny and hauntingly heartbreaking. I love the way Tamsyn writes!

Imagine setting off for home one dark New Year’s Eve and never reaching your front door. Imagine losing everything you’ve ever known in one horrific moment. Imagine knowing you’ll never hug your mum or dad again. And imagine having to spend eternity in the most horrific, awful place you can think of… For fifteen year old Lucy Shaw, that’s reality. Stuck in the men’s toilets on Carnaby Street, she’s trying to come to terms with her own death, the bone-crushing loneliness and a floor that’s swimming with pee. Until the unlikeliest of saviours walks into her afterlife, that is – a twenty-seven year old lighting engineer called Jeremy, the only person who’s ever known she was there. Together, they find a way to get Lucy out of the loo and discover there’s a whole afterlife of mates, parties and boys just waiting to be discovered. But the shadow of Lucy’s murderer is looming again and it’s only a matter of time before someone else gets hurt. Is Lucy about to lose everything she loves again?

thinking womenThe Thinking Woman’s Guide to Magic by Emily Croy Barker (Penguin, July 2014)

A detailed and impressively imagined magical debut novel with elements of time travel, fantasy and romance in turns glittering and dark!

When Nora Fischer stumbles, quite literally, into a magical world where everyone is glamorous and life is one long party, she’s immediately captivated.

What she doesn’t realise, because everything is such fun, is that there’s a darker side to her new friends. In fact, it’s only after she agrees to marry the charismatic, masterful Raclin that she discovers she’s a prisoner in this new world.

If Nora is to escape, then she has just one hope: the magician Aruendiel. And if she can also persuade him to teach her the art of real magic, then she might just be able to return home.

Is that what she wants, though? Aruendiel has a biting tongue, a shrouded past and no patience, so there’s no way Nora could be falling for him… Is there?

The Winter Ghosts Kate Mosse (Orion, October 2014) winter ghosts

I’ve enjoyed a number of Kate Mosse’s novels and am looking forward to reading this book soon – I love this newly released cover.

The Great War took much more than lives. It robbed a generation of friends, lovers and futures. In Freddie Watson’s case, it took his beloved brother and, at times, his peace of mind. Unable to cope with his grief, Freddie has spent much of the time since in a sanatorium.

In the winter of 1928, still seeking resolution, Freddie is travelling through the French Pyrenees – another region that has seen too much bloodshed over the years. During a snowstorm, his car spins off the mountain road. Shaken, he stumbles into the woods, emerging by a tiny village. There he meets Fabrissa, a beautiful local woman, also mourning a lost generation. Over the course of one night, Fabrissa and Freddie share their stories of remembrance and loss. By the time dawn breaks, he will have stumbled across a tragic mystery that goes back through the centuries.

By turns thrilling, poignant and haunting, this is a story of two lives touched by war and transformed by courage.

 

Book news: First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen

28 Oct

I’m a HUGE fan of Sarah Addison Allen and her lovely magical books and am eagerly anticipating her new novel, First Frost which is out early in 2015 (just in time for my birthday at the end of January!) so I was very excited to spot this gorgeous cover as I was browsing this evening! Just … WOW! 2015 is going to be a great year!

first frost

Autumn has finally arrived in the small town of Bascom, North Carolina, heralded by a strange old man appearing with a beaten-up suitcase. He has stories to tell, stories that could change the lives of the Waverley women forever. But the Waverleys have enough trouble on their hands. Quiet Claire Waverley has started a successful new venture, Waverley’s Candies, but it’s nothing like she thought it would be, and it’s slowly taking over her life. Claire’s wild sister Sydney, still trying to leave her past behind, is about to combust with her desire for another new beginning. And Sydney’s fifteen-year-old daughter Bay has given her heart away to the wrong boy and can’t get it back.

Find out more about Sarah Addison Allen and her books at: http://sarahaddisonallen.com/

Exclusive extract! I’ll Take New York by Miranda Dickinson

27 Oct

I’m a huge fan of author Miranda Dickinson and am delighted to be part of #TeamBea to celebrate the launch of I’ll Take New York on 4th December. Miranda’s debut Fairytale of New York which was released in 2009 is one of my all time favourite New York novels and I can’ wait to be back in my favourite city catching up with some familiar faces this year.

As part of the build up to the release of I’ll Take New York, #TeamBea will be taking part in #MirandaMondays from today until the release of the book on 4th December. Today is the first Miranda Monday and I’m very excited to share an exclusive extract from I’ll Take New York with you. Enjoy and do look out for more extracts, giveaways and other treats each Monday from now on!

ill take new york

Have you ever given up on love?

When her boyfriend lets her down for the last time, Brooklyn bookshop owner Bea James makes a decision – no more. No more men, no more heartbreak, and no more pain.

Psychiatrist Jake Steinmann is making a new start too, leaving his broken marriage behind in San Francisco. From now on there’ll just be one love in his life: New York.

At a party where they seem to be the only two singletons, Bea and Jake meet, and decide there’s just one thing for it. They will make a pact: no more relationships.

But the city has other plans . . .

——————————————————–

Chapter One

Stromoli’s restaurant, 11th Street, Brooklyn

 

‘Bea?’

Five more minutes…

‘Bea, honey, why don’t we just order? I don’t think he’s…’

‘He’s definitely not…’

Shh! Can’t you see she’s upset?’

‘What? I’m just saying…’

He’ll be here. I know he will

‘I think he stood her up.’

‘Could you say that any louder? Only I don’t think the waiter in the restaurant across the street heard you…’

‘Maybe we should wait a little longer?’

‘The fact is, he hasn’t just stood Bea up: he’s stood us all up…’

Bea James closed her eyes and willed her gathered family members to stop voicing the thoughts in her own head. Of course, they were right. They had waited nearly two hours already and now even the laid-back waiter in Stromoli’s restaurant was snatching not-so-subtle glances at his watch.

Bea’s father wasn’t likely to be silenced by her mother’s attempts. Even though he respectfully lowered his voice, Bea was still aware of every word.
‘If we don’t order soon, the kitchen will close and we’ll end up at Pete’s twenty-four hour diner. And you know what happened the last time I chanced a Reuben there…’

Her Uncle Gino and paternal grandfather Gramps mumbled in support.

‘He said he would be here,’ Bea’s mother hissed back. ‘He specifically asked us all to be here. We rescheduled our holiday to be here. Now why would he ask us to come if he had no intention of turning up?’ She reached across the table towards Bea. ‘Darling, have you checked your phone recently? Maybe he’s been unavoidably delayed?’

‘Or maybe he’s the schmuck we all thought he was,’ Aunt Ruby snorted. Never one to shy away from speaking her mind, Ruby had been uncharacteristically quiet this evening – until now. Bea knew this was the first comment of what would quickly become a flood.

‘That’s enough, Ruby! Think of poor Bea…’

Staring defiantly at the white linen tablecloth to avoid the concern of her family, Bea heard a chair scrape back on the other side of the table. Moments later, the vacant chair beside her – the one he should be sitting in right now – was occupied by the familiar hulk of her brother.

———————————————————-

I’ll Take New York will be released in paperback and ebook formats on 4th December and is available to pre-order now!

Find out more about Miranda and her writing at: http://miranda-dickinson.com/

Giveaway winners! It Started With Paris by Cathy Kelly

26 Oct

started with paris

 

The winners are …

Kim Neville, G Mcghie and Geraldine

Congratulations! I have sent you all an email. Thanks to everyone who entered. Look out for more giveaways very soon!

Book review: A Little In Love by Susan Fletcher

26 Oct

Little in loveParis, 1832. A street-girl takes a bullet, clutching a love note to her heart. What is Eponine’s story?

As a young child Eponine never knew kindness, except once from her family’s kitchen slave, Cosette. When at sixteen the girls’ paths cross again and their circumstances are reversed, Eponine must decide what that friendship is worth, even though they’ve both fallen for the same boy. In the end, Eponine will sacrifice everything to keep true love alive.

Although written as a young adult/teen fiction I wanted to start my review by saying straight away that this book is the perfect example of ‘crossover’ fiction – I’m many years away from its target audience but I loved it and would say it’s a must read for fans of Les Miserables, young and old and is a beautiful and haunting addition to the original story.

Whether you know Les Miserables through the recent film, the stage musical or Victor Hugo’s original literature, this novel adds poignancy and richness to Eponine’s story but if you’re not familiar, A Little In Love is an historically rich, emotional and tragically romantic stand alone story.

The novel charts lead character Eponine’s life from her birth to its tragic end and Susan Fletcher really brings Eponine, her motivations and her suffering to life. There were parts of this story that had me close to tears (there were a number of scenes that as a parent I found absolutely heartbreaking) and I was impressed by the level of attachment that I felt to Eponine despite this being a relatively short novel.

I haven’t read the original Victor Hugo novel so my knowledge of Les Miserables is based solely on the stage version but it was fascinating to get a more in depth view of Eponine and her family in this novel. There were many characters that were of course familiar such as Eponine’s unscrupulous parents, Cosette and Jean Valjean but there were also many characters and scenes that weren’t familiar to me yet blended perfectly into the overall story.

Fletcher gets the balance between gripping story-lines and historical detail just right and her excellent descriptions of 1830s Paris and the stark contrasts between the rich and poor living there really brought the city to life for me.

With a love story at its heart, A Little In Love is full of beautiful quotes and a touching story of survival and being true to yourself. Physically, this is a beautiful book too – I was sent a copy of the paperback which has striking red page edges but there is also a lovely limited edition hardback version. As a blogger, I’m lucky to be sent many books and unfortunately can’t keep them all but this novel has definitely found a space on my ‘permanent’ shelf. This is Susan Fletcher’s first foray into young adult fiction and I’m now looking forward to discovering her award-winning adult novels.

5/5

A Little In Love is out now in paperback, limited edition hardback and ebook formats.

I’d like to thank Laura at Laura Sherlock PR for sending me a review copy of this novel.

Short Story Spotlight: Hobb’s Cottage by Ruth Saberton

22 Oct

newhobbscottagefinalartworksmallerfileforwebWhen Phoebe Summers moves to an idyllic Cornish cottage, dark deeds from the past quickly begin to cast sinister shadows across the present…

I’ve been a fan of Ruth Saberton’s books and stories ever since I read Ellie Andrews Has Second Thoughts so when I was browsing for Halloween reads and this fab cover caught my eye I downloaded it straight away!

Hobbs Cottage is an ideal spooky quick read for this time of year but despite being short, the story certainly packed a punch emotionally and has stayed with me since I read it. Whilst the setting for this story is familiar territory (many of Ruth’s stories and novels are set in Cornwall), the subject matter is a bit of a departure for Ruth and I loved her venture into the paranormal.

As Phoebe moves into an historic cottage she senses ghostly presence and her own story becomes entwined with that of a young girl from centuries earlier. As regular readers will know, I love stories about witches and this one had me hooked as Ruth mixed history, myth and raw emotion to tell a tale of witch hunts and unsettled souls.

As Phoebe tries to write past wrongs, I didn’t want the story to end but it certainly had an impact on me when it did! An excellent short story and highly recommended!

5/5

Find out more about Ruth Saberton and her writing at: http://www.ruthsaberton.co.uk

Hobbs Cottage is out now in ebook formats.

Book review: Casting Shadows: Extraordinary Tales From New Writers with Foreword by Emily Barr

20 Oct

9781781321485-Cover.inddPrepare to enter a world where nothing is quite as it seems. From family curses to shadow-puppets, spiteful Welsh grandmothers to mysteriously multiplying piles of seaweed, each story showcases the talent of an exciting new writer and is beautifully illustrated with atmospheric black and white images. But be warned, with their eerie and unexpected twists, these stories may linger in the mind long after you’ve turned the last page…

I’m a firm believer in serendipity and a few weeks ago I was at a book event and got chatting to a lovely lady called Liz. Liz is a budding author and part of a group of writers that have put together a collection of eerie short stories called Casting Shadows. The stories came out of an assignment for a writing MA course that all the authors were on and I was intrigued to find that Emily Barr had done the foreword for the book. Liz kindly offered me a copy to review on the spot and the rest as they say is history.

As regular readers will know, I love short stories and today I’m kicking off a fortnight of paranormal reviews and posts in the build up to Halloween! Casting Shadows is an impressive collection with beautiful illustrations and the eight short stories included in the book are perfectly chilling quick reads for this time of year.

Be warned – you’ll want to read this collection with the light on as everyday situations take sinister turns and sudden twists will have you darting back through the pages as you see the stories in a new light. These are tales that have stayed in my mind since I read them and wonderful examples of the as yet undiscovered writing talent that is out there.

My personal favourites include Vivienne by C H Anderson, where a gap year fling turns into a dangerous obsession; Lost Soul by Lulu Badger – (I’m never going to take a clifftop walk again after reading this one!) and The Bypass by Liz Crossland which is set around the already spooky Stocksbridge Bypass in Sheffield.

With stories that include strange happenings, haunted houses, legends and magic; locations ranging from Bali to the British seaside, there’s something to appeal to all readers in Casting Shadows and I look forward to reading more from this fab group of new authors.

4/5

Casting Shadows is available now in paperback and ebook formats.

I’d like to thank Liz Crossland for providing a review copy of this book.

Find out more about Casting Shadows at: http://wordmachinepress.wordpress.com/

 

Giveaway! Three copies of It Started With Paris to be won!

16 Oct

Earlier today, I interviewed Cathy Kelly about her new novel, It Started With Paris. To celebrate the release of this gorgeous new book Cathy’s lovely publisher Orion has given me three hardback copies of the book to give away to lucky readers!

started with paris

It all started with Paris. At the top of the Eiffel Tower, a young man proposes to his girlfriend, cheered on by delighted tourists. In that second, everything changes, not just for the happy couple, but for the family and friends awaiting their return in Bridgeport, Ireland…

Leila’s been nursing a badly broken heart since her love-rat husband just upped and left her one morning, but she’s still determined to put on a brave face for the bride.

Vonnie, a widow and exceptional cake-maker, is just daring to let love back into her life, although someone seems determined to stop it.

And Grace, a divorced head teacher, finds the impending wedding of her son means that she’s spending more time with her ex-husband. After all those years apart, is it possible she’s made a mistake?

To enter this giveaway just leave a comment in the box below telling me what you would do or where you would go if you could visit Paris for a day and I’ll draw three winners using Random.org after the closing date.

This giveaway is open to UK residents only and will close at midnight on Wednesday 22nd October.

Good luck!

Author interview: Cathy Kelly

16 Oct

I’m very excited to welcome Cathy Kelly to One More Page today to talk about her beautiful new novel, It Started With Paris. Cathy is published around the world, with millions of books in print. A No.1 bestseller in the UK, Ireland and Australia, her trademark is warm Irish storytelling about modern life, always with an uplifting message, sense of community and strong female characters at the heart. She lives with her family and their three dogs in County Wicklow, Ireland. She is also an Ambassador for UNICEF Ireland, raising funds and awareness for children orphaned by or living with HIV/AIDS. Find out more at www.cathykelly.com

Cathy-smaller-166x250Your new novel, It Started With Paris has just been released, please could you tell us a little about it and your inspiration for it?

I love writing about the contrast between real life and the imaginary life we all imagine other people live – you know, you imagine the girl next door with the high heels and the nice handbag has a fascinating life full of excitement and low on things like sweeping up in the kitchen. The reality might be different…. So It Started With Paris begins with a gloriously romantic marriage proposal on the Eiffel Tower and then moves into real life: people who split up, people who got divorced and people whose husbands left them for someone with legs up to her armpits. On the outside, they look as if they have one sort of life but we soon find out what their inner lives are really like.

Grace is a classy and kind school principal who has the sort of civilised divorce with her ex-husband which means they talk happily, never used their children as ammunition and are both thrilled when their son becomes engaged. But fifteen years after her divorce, she looks at her ex husband and his partner, and feels lonely… Then there’s feisty Leila with the fabulous job in the movie industry and she’s desperately hiding her misery after her music-industry husband came home one night, got calmly into bed with her and packed his bags the next day. Finally, there’s Vonnie, who was tragically widowed and left with a young son. Somehow, she’s managed to build a new life for them both and then she falls in love – except one person will do anything to ruin this chance of happiness.  I wanted to look at how glorious early romance (the Eiffel Tower) is and how much harder real life is.

The novel begins in Paris and I love the beautiful cover of the Eiffel Tower; what would your ideal day in the City be like?

Thank you for saying lovely things about the cover!! Ooooh, my ideal day in Paris would start with having breakfast on the terrace of the small apart/hotel we stayed in last time, where you can see over the rooftops to all of Paris from Montmartre on one side, to Notre Dame. Then, with enough Parisian coffee inside me, myself, my husband and my sons would hit the Louvre for a couple of hours, perhaps meander through the Jardin de Tuileries and admire the exquisite flowers, and head for lunch somewhere nearby – with  a trip on the famous ferris wheel. I am terribly scared of heights and the wheel works on a desensitization system for people like me because you are ready to get off after the first go and then it goes around twice more! You are not so scared by the third time and you see so much of Paris.

If we’re  not too tired, we might whizz around on the Metro, buy some macaroons in Ladurée on the Champs Elysee and hit the Musee d’Orsay  or just walk along the Seine, admire the paintings and buy mad keyrings of the Eiffel Tower, which light up like my book, with its glorious sparkles, seems to light up. I love looking at the people too. People-watching is one of my favourite things in the world.

Perhaps I might escape off to a department store like Printemps  (Boulevard Haussman) for some retail therapy – two stores, at least seven floors and glorious stuff. Then home, relax and off to dinner. There’s a fabulous restaurant on every street corner.

We meet Leila, Vonnie and Grace in this story, three fab strong ladies! Please could you sum each of them up in three words?

Leila is funny, wry and hiding her hurt. Vonnie is grace under pressure. And Grace is kind, wise and witty.

Did you have a favourite character to write? IT STARTED WITH PARIS

I loved them all, to be honest. When I write in a particular voice, I almost become that person and sometimes speak their dialogue out loud. Mad, I know!

It Started With Paris is your 15th novel (congratuations!); what are your top tips for new writers who are just  starting their careers?

Have faith in yourself. When I started, I so wanted to write but had no confidence and I think that stops many wonderful writers. Just have faith and try to write a little every day. Writing fiction is a particular muscle and you need to flex it.

Don’t delete everything on the grounds that you think it’s hopeless because a week later, you might like it after all. Read blogs from published writers and I do recommend On Writing by Stephen King, which is a wonderful guide to how Stephen does it.

What do you like to read you’re not writing?

I read commercial women’s fiction, thrillers, biographies, you name it. I’ve literally just finished Ian McEwan’s The Children Act ( marvellous), read an unputdownable Daniel Silva thriller (had never read him before) and reread EM Delafield’s Diary of a Provincial Lady, which is marvellous and never gets old, even though it was written in the 1930s.

And finally … what can we expect next from Cathy Kelly?

I am working on a new book and plan to TIDY MY DESK. Well, one day, perhaps!

Thank you Cathy!

It Started With Paris is out now in hardback, audio and ebook formats.

Please do check out the other stops on Cathy’s It Started With Paris blog tour and pop back again later today when there will be a chance to win a copy of this fab novel!