Meet the Author: Villa of Sun and Secrets by Jennifer Bohnet

Today we welcome Jennifer Bohnet as we travel to  the Mediterranean coast in the depths of Finistere, Brittany in France discovering how a quirky cottage, a utility room, the Cote d’Azur, Coco Chanel, and Ernest Hemingway have roles in Jennifer’s life and imagination. We’re stepping into the jazz age with this one, let’s go …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Villa of Sun and Secrets was published by Boldwood Books on 8th August.

In which genre do you write?

I write contemporary women’s fiction – sometimes with unexpected themes.

How many published books do you have?

Villa of Sun and Secrets is my 13th!

What does your ideal writing space look like?

Ooh this is fantasy right? I’d have one of those lovely wooden cabins you can buy now built in the garden and have it kitted out with lots of bookshelves, an old fashioned wooden desk with a leather top, comfy Lloyd Loom chairs, a bean to cup coffee machine and a really comfy dog bed for Django our collie and Gus our cat to snuggle up together in. In real life my writing space is in a converted room at the back of our quirky cottage that doubles up as a utility room.

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading two books – one is a non fiction book about writing –  The Science of Storytelling by Will Storr which I have to say is fascinating and informative. The novel I’m currently reading is Rosanna Ley’s, Her Mother’s Secret which is set in Brittany where I live but much further down off the coast of Morbihan.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

I read, walk with my husband, Django our collie dog and Gus the cat, in the countryside around our cottage and I like having friends to lunch. But I mainly write!

If you could have a fantasy date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

I’m fascinated by the history of the Cote d’Azur in the late 1920s and 30s so I’d like a party in the Provencal Hotel, Juan-les-Pins with guests from that period. Cole Porter, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Coco Chanel, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Picasso and all their friends. I’d interrogate them about what it was really like to be down there during the jazz age – lots of questions about the supposedly wild parties that were held. And then I’d write my definitive Riviera novel using all the gossip they’d told me.

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? 

I keep thinking I ought to start a journal – or at the very least a gratitude diary but somehow I never get around to it.

What is the most crazy and inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?

The most crazy thing I’ve – we’ve – ever done has to be getting on our bikes and riding down through France  – and not going home. It has also turned out to be the most inspiring for my writing.

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

My Old Lady starring three of my favourite actors – Maggie Smith, Kristen Scott Thomas and Kevin Kline. It’s set in Paris and has a brilliant script.

If you could ask your pet three questions, what would they be?

I’d ask Django 1. Why do you bark when there is nobody at the door? 2. Why do you steal my washing off the rack? 3. Why do you take up so much room on our bed every night. (Of course I already know the answers: because he’s an attention seeking collie puppy!

What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?

I love beaches and the seaside out of season. The old Port of Roscoff up on the north coast of Brittany is a favourite place to visit in winter.

Thank you Jennifer for being a part of MTA! Congratulations on your 13th book being published! I love that you and your husband went on a bike ride and never went home! HA! Brilliant! And now I’ve requested the Science of Storytelling and My Old Lady from the library. I adore Maggie Smith. All the best to you! –Camilla

Blurb for Villa of Sun and Secrets

Carla Sullivan’s 50th birthday is fast approaching when her whole world is turned upside down. Discovering her feckless husband is having yet another affair and following her mother’s death, she is in need of an escape. Finding an envelope addressed to her mother’s estranged sister Josette in the South of France gives Carla the perfect plan. Seizing the moment, she packs her bags and heads to Antibes to seek out the enigma known as Tante Josette. But as the two women begin to forge a tentative relationship, family secrets start to unravel, forcing Carla to question her life as she has always known it.

Where to find Jennifer’s latest book:

It’s available in all formats from Amazon and other book stores.

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Zz56G5

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2ZwHbau

Links:

Website: http://www.jenniferbohnet.com/index.html

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/JenniferBohnetNewsletter

Twitter handle: https://twitter.com/@jenniewriter

Amazon.com author page: http://amzn.to/299rvVv

Facebook Author page:  goo.gl/PDKQ8D 

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

Buy Me A Coffee

Meet the Author: Poppy’s Recipe for Life by Heidi Swain

Today we welcome Heidi Swain as we travel to Norfolk county to discover how a Sunday Times Bestseller, having a structured day, gardening, and Wind in the Willows integrate into Heidi’s to-do list. Grab your needles, let’s get clicking …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Heidi Swain and I live in the pretty county of Norfolk just a few miles south of the fine city of Norwich.

In which genre do you write?

I write commercial fiction for Simon and Schuster. The more commonly known description – women’s commercial fiction – isn’t always accurate as I know some pretty burly truck drivers who are more than happy to settle down with my books after a long day of driving!

How many published books do you have?

I’ve had eight books published in the last four years and my Christmas book for this year, The Christmas Wish List, will be out in October. My fifth book, Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells became a Sunday Times Bestseller – the pinnacle of my writing career so far!

If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why, what would you do? 

I would love to be Jemma. She runs The Cherry Tree Café in Wynbridge in partnership with her best friend Lizzie Dixon. Lizzie is the crafting expert and Jemma is the baking queen. Jemma features in practically all of my books and yet I have never written her story. She’s a character I admire greatly – ambitious, competent, approachable, supportive and a great mum, wife and business woman. I love her vision, drive and enthusiasm for life. She’s a real go-getter! If there’s a problem Jemma can always fix it and she’s so creative. If I could be Jemma for a day, I’d spend my day in the Café, enjoying the company of the customers and batch baking sweet treats.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

How disciplined I am. Writing two books a year – one for the summer market and the other for Christmas – I have to be very organised and stick to a schedule otherwise I’d never hit my deadlines. I have a weekly planner which even lists the hours I’ll be writing and when I’ll take a break. I know it wouldn’t work for everyone, but I thrive on having a structured day. I’m never happier than when I can go to bed with everything ticked off the daily to-do list!

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

Reading would be the most obvious answer, but I’m also a very keen gardener – I gardened professionally for a while when I was younger – and I love getting out and walking in the local woods. I always start my day with a wander around the garden to see what’s grown, which flowers have bloomed and if anything needs my attention. I love that moment in spring when the urge to get my hands in the earth takes over and I rush off to the garden centre for seeds to sow. It’s all very Wind in The Willows! I’ve also learned how to knit this year and although I’m not very good, if it’s raining you’ll probably find me with the needles out, clicking away.

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

The last movie I watched was Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I’ve seen it probably a hundred times, but it was on TV early yesterday evening and as soon as I heard the opening few notes I knew I wasn’t going to budge from my armchair. I’m a huge HP fan and it doesn’t take much to get me talking about all things Hogwarts! I went to boarding school but the feasts were nowhere near as good!

What does your ideal writing space look like?

A small room of my own would be wonderful! A desk, bookcase, comfy armchair and a view of the garden would be enough to keep me happy. Up until my daughter went to Uni last year I was perched on the edge of the dining table and had to pack away at the end of every day. Since she’s been gone I’ve taken over the desk in her room and it has been bliss. Not my ideal writing space, but a place I can leave set up at the end of the day. By the time you read this it will be the summer hols and I’ll be back at the dining table and cursing the lack of space and privacy!

If you could ask your pet three questions, what would they be?

I have a little black rescue cat called Storm. She was born in an air conditioning shaft in Norwich as was the runt of the litter no one wanted. Lucky for me because she’s absolutely gorgeous! If I could ask her three questions they would be…

Where do you go at night?
What’s the appeal of the bottom shelf in the airing cupboard?
If you could ask me three questions what would they be?

She’s always popping up on my Instagram account so keep your eyes peeled for her posing.

Thanks Heidi for being a part of MTA. It was wonderful to learn more about you and your writing life. I have seen Storm pop up on instagram just recently when she didn’t return home! So happy that she finally made her way back to you! All the best to you for continued success! –Camilla

Heidi Swain:

Although passionate about writing from an early age, Heidi Swain gained a degree in Literature, flirted briefly with a newspaper career, married and had two children before she plucked up the courage to join a creative writing class and take her literary ambitions seriously.

A lover of vintage paraphernalia and the odd bottle of fizz, she now writes feel good fiction with heart for Simon and Schuster.

Her debut novel, The Cherry Tree Café was published in July 2015 and since then she has had a further six books published, becoming a Sunday Times Bestseller in 2017. She is currently celebrating the release of her 2019 summer title, Poppy’s Recipe for Life while working on her next project.

Heidi is represented by Amanda Preston and lives in Norfolk with her wonderful family and a mischievous cat called Storm.

Poppy’s Recipe for Life

Things haven’t always been straightforward in Poppy’s life but her dreams are finally within her reach.

She’s moving into a cottage in beautiful Nightingale Square, close to the local community garden, where she can indulge her passion for making preserves and pickles. She may not have the best relationship with her family but she is surrounded by loving friends, and feels sure that even her grumpy new neighbour, Jacob, has more to him than his steely exterior belies.

But the unexpected arrival of Poppy’s troubled younger brother soon threatens her new-found happiness and as the garden team works together to win community space of the year, Poppy must decide where her priorities lie and what she is prepared to fight for …

Where to Buy:

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Hg66IY

UK Amazonhttps://amzn.to/33U56UO

Heidi’s Books on UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2MraxFd

Connect with Heidi:

Website: http://www.heidiswain.co.uk/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Heidi_Swain
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WriterHeidiJoSwain?ref=hl

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

Buy Me A Coffee

Meet the Author: The Girl in the Dark by Susan Willis

Today we welcome Susan Willis as we travel to a small town in Co-Durham, North East England to learn how recipes, setting an alarm, the garden shed and Cinderella comprise the ingredients of Susan’s writing life. Get the simmering pots ready, let’s get cookin’ ….

List 3 interesting facts about yourself.

I didn’t start writing until I was 48 years old.

I develop new recipes and products for food companies, mainly Marks & Spencer.

After ten years I still love the fact that people enjoy what I write. Good reviews to me are like winning the lottery.

What was the first thing you ever had published?

Lamb in a Pot, a short story in a USA magazine 2009. I’d written the story on a long train journey because I’d been using sensory terms for lamb at work. I decided to weave them into a cook’s story when her boyfriend turns the tables and makes a meal for her. Caramelising onions, garlic and rosemary, majestic chunks of tender lamb, pebble-like new potatoes, black olives, and plump juicy tomatoes: all simmered for hours. Mama Mia! The cook had cried – this is the type of food to make me feel faint with pleasure and desire!

Do you have a writing routine?

When I’m not working and intend to write, I set my alarm for one hour only to do emails and social media. I need to limit this because it can take over your day and reduce the time left for actual writing, and, after all, that’s what I love to do!

Do you have any writing rituals?

I try to move from my chair every two hours and take a walk around the garden to think. If it’s raining, I end up in the garden shed! I often find if my character is stuck in a certain situation the fresh air helps to clear my mind and I can usually think of a way forward.

Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?

A couple of years ago I decided to move more into relationship themed stories instead of focusing on food. I enjoyed writing the conflict scenes and, teasing the reader so much that I’ve moved into romantic suspense. The Girl in the Dark, is based in a photography studio with a food stylist and two photographers. I read somewhere that Alfred Hitchcock was dubbed, The Master of Suspense, and was one of the first to move away from, the who done it concept, knowing exactly how to manipulate the viewers in the cinema to keep them watching the film. I was intrigued and delved into psychological suspense.

Who was the first person you shared your book with?

My dear friend, Rosie Jones, who is also a writer. I’d waited in trepidation for her comments knowing she’d tell me the truth, warts and all. Thankfully, she loved the story, and told me it was the best thing I’ve written!

Do you have a current work in progress?

Yes, I have a new novel and am looking for a publisher. It’s called, His Wife’s Secret. Does anyone know where I could submit?

Do you have any advice for budding authors?

Don’t Give Up! If you have a story to tell, then do it!

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

George Clooney! Do I need to say more, girls? I think I’d just sit and drool….

If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?

Cinderella – I love shoes!!

Thank you Susan for joining us on MTA. It was wonderful to learn more about you. –Camilla

Book Blurb

The Girl in the Dark is the latest Grip Lit novel from Susan Willis. A thrilling romantic suspense story that will keep you turning pages long into the night.

When Kim goes to old friend, Sidney’s, photography studio to start a new food styling contract she meets his new assistant, Alex. Kim is catapulted from her mournful existence into an explosive romantic relationship with Alex. Sidney, however, is wary. He thinks, there’s something not quite right about Alex, and urges caution.

Will Kim look back and wish she’d listened…

Where to buy the book:

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2ThnjGL

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2GT7EbH

About Susan:

Susan Willis is a published author of three novels, and five novellas’. She lives in the North East of England surrounded by family and friends. Following publication of a love story about a chef and her boyfriend, she wrote more foodie-based love stories and wove them into her first novel, ‘Yes Chef, No Chef’.

Now Susan has ventured into romantic suspense with her latest novel, The Girl In The Dark.

Set in her hometown of Durham City, this storyline is not a who done it thriller, but, a psychological page-turner which she loved writing.

Connect with Susan:

Website: www.susanwillis.co.uk
Twitter – @SusanWillis69
Facebook – m.me/AUTHORSusanWillis
Instagram – susansuspenseauthor

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

Buy Me A Coffee