Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Q&A with Beth Thomas

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I am very excited to be part of this wonderful Blog Tour, thank you Beth for answering my questions.

Did you always dream of being a writer?

Absolutely. I have loved writing ever since I first could hold a pen, and made my poor mum read some perfectly terrible short stories over the years. I remember buying my first laptop – it was a giant black brick, with a tiny screen, and cost twice what a laptop costs these days, and this was the late 90s! But it became my most treasured possession. Finally I could move around the house with my writing, instead of always being stuck at a desk in front of a large PC.

Your newest book is called His Other Life, what is it about?

His Other Life is the story of a woman, Grace, discovering things about her husband after he pops out to get take away food and doesn’t come back.  Grace’s voyage of discovery, I suppose.

What was your inspiration for the book?

I find the idea of someone simply abandoning their life without any apparent preparation completely fascinating. You read about it in the news all the time, don’t you, where someone has just gone out to post a letter and is never seen again. I want to know what happened in that twenty minute period!

Carry You, your debut novel, was published last year, tell us more about the story.

Carry You is about Daisy, who‘s in a deep depression after losing her mum to cancer five months earlier. She’s at the lowest point in her life she’s ever been, but fortunately she has the world’s best best friend, Abby, who persuades her to complete the London Moonwalk.  Abby gets Daisy back on her feet, literally and figuratively!

What books or authors have most influenced your life most?

Is it too teed to say Jane Austen? I admire her so much because she had to write everything long hand, in ink, with a feather. So maybe five words a minute. How did she do it? Also she was writing and being published in a society where women were not expected to do anything much at all, so she was really up against it. I also love Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella and most of all, Jenny Colgan. My hero(ine).

How would you describe your style of writing?

I suppose you could say it’s romantic, dark and funny.  Although telling someone what something is like is never as good as demonstrating it! It’s what I’m aiming for, anyway. I very much hope I’ve achieved it.

His Other Life

He was hiding a terrible secret...

Grace’s new husband Adam seems like the perfect package. Good looking, great job, completely charming – almost too good to be true...

So when Adam suddenly disappears from Grace’s life, she is left bewildered and heartbroken. And with a lot of unanswered questions.

As she tries desperately to find him, Grace opens a Pandora’s Box of secrets and lies – and starts to learn that Adam wasn't so perfect after all.

What shameful secrets was her husband hiding? Is Grace in danger? And can she survive the truth? However terrible it may be...

About the author

Beth Thomas wrote her first book at the age of six. It was a short social commentary about ethnicity and fear of being different, incorporating magic, travel, adventure and ultimately, murder. The death at the end was an unexpected shock and came about as she had no idea how else to end the story. She thinks she's improved since then, and hope that now her endings are a little more planned and satisfying. She lives in Kent with her family.


Beth on Twitter: @BethThomas68

    His Other Life: Amazon UK

The Phantom of the Opera - A Musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber

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Souvenirs from the show

About the show:

The Phantom of the Opera is a musical with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Charles Hart with additions from Richard Stilgoe. Lloyd Webber and Stilgoe also wrote the musical's book together. Based on the French novel Le Fantôme de l'Opéra by Gaston Leroux, its central plot revolves around a beautiful soprano, Christine Daaé, who becomes the obsession of a mysterious, disfigured musical genius.
The musical opened in London's West End in 1986, and on Broadway in 1988. It won the 1986 Olivier Award and the 1988 Tony Award for Best Musical, and Michael Crawford (in the title role) won the Olivier and Tony Awards for Best Actor in a Musical. It is the longest running show in Broadway history by a wide margin, and celebrated its 10,000th Broadway performance on 11 February 2012, the first production ever to do so. It is the second longest-running West End musical, after Les Misérables, and the third longest-running West End show overall, after The Mousetrap.
With total estimated worldwide gross receipts of over $5.6 billion (the highest in history) and total Broadway gross of US$845 million (surpassed only by The Lion King), Phantom is the most financially successful entertainment event to date. By 2011 it had been seen by over 130 million people in 145 cities in 27 countries, and continues to play in both London and New York.

About the show:

I've been a fan of the Phantom of the Opera for ages. I always liked Andrew Lloyd Webber as a musical composer anyway and I always wanted to see that show. Well, my mum has already seen it, so she was never keen on going again, so I finally took the chance now, going to London alone.
I booked the show for Friday evening at 7.30 pm. I knew my flight was at 3.55 pm and since going to London I was winning an hour, arriving in the UK at 4.45 pm. Of course then my plane got delayed... We took off one hour late. I was getting a bit stressed about arriving, taki g train and taxi, eating, getting changed and going to the theatre. it was stessful, but I made it.

Now, enough about that, will talk about the show now. I was sitting row Q, so prezty far back and I had a pilar in front of me, I knew that though, they warned me when I booked it. Ir made it a bit difficult to see everything, I had to switch from left to rufht and back etc. I still enjoyed every second of it. The music of this musical is very powerful and strong and that came across really well. The orchestra did an amazing job and I got really emotional hearing the songs. I have a strong connection to some of them, because I sang them myslef at concertsand presentations, especially Angel of Music (sang it with a good friend at a concert in high school) and All I Ask of You, which I sang for my thesis presentation with an almost boyfriend...

The actors on stage did a great job, they sang beautifully and put a lot of feelings into it. The guy, who played the Phantom (Geronimo Rauch) was fab! I liked Christine as well, but her voice wasn't special to me. The voive of guy playing Raul (Liam Tamne)though was wonderful, just wow! I like it when guys can sing like that...

The scenery and costumes were amazing, there were so many different sets, probs and costume changes, very impressive and beautiful! The effects were great and I liked the way the Phantom spoke and sang from somewhere in the theatre, loud and then almost whispering, really good.

It was a gripping show with lots of memorable moments. I'm glad I've seen it now, wouldn't go for a second time though, unless I now the actors ;)

Monday, 30 March 2015

The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance – by Kirtsy Greenwood

Original Cover
My own copy

The blurb:

Jessica Beam is a girl who knows how to party. Only lately she's been forgetting to turn up for work on time. Or in clean clothes. Down on her luck, out of a job and homeless, Jess seeks the help of her long-lost grandmother.

Things aren't going well for Matilda Beam, either. Her 1950s Good Woman guide books are out of print, her mortgage repayments are staggering and her granddaughter wears neon Wonderbras!

When a lifeline from a London publisher arrives, the pair have an opportunity to secure the roof over their heads – by invigorating the Good Woman guides and transforming modern, rebellious Jess into a demure vintage lady.

The true test of their make-over will be to capture the heart of notorious London playboy Leo Frost and prove that Matilda’s guides still work. It's going to take commitment, nerves of steel and one seriously pointy bra to pull this off...

My Opinion:

*Book provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

When this book arrived at my door I squealed with excitement!!! Beautifully rapped, a red lipstick and more… Thanks again Kirsty and Lucie Twiggs for sending me a copy.

The blurb of this book sounds awesome and it sure is, more than that actually!!! And the cover is just GENIOUS!

Jessica Beam is a blogger, she leaves with her boss, who is her best friend at the same time. The get invited to London and might get a book deal soon. At a bookish event in London everything goes wrong though. Jess makes a fool of herself and is mean to Leo Frost, the bachelor... Her best friend Summer gets so mad that she throws her out and fires her...

The only possibility now... Her grandma Matilda Beam, so Jess is off to London again. New opportunities open up for her and ger grandma and they start a project. Getting a man in 50ties style... And who is best victim? Leo Frost if course. He's Valentina's ex, the girl from the publishing agency. From Valentina Jess learns a lot about Summer and what that girl pulled, let's just say I hate Summer and I'm glad Jess didn't have anything to do with her anymore.

Jess changes her behavior, her hair and name to get to Leo Frost. She doesn't liek him at all, or better she thimks that. getting to know him better and in an emotional way, she suddenly sees a different side to him, she likes him. But she doesn't want to like him. Their scenes were fresh, flirty, fun and full of memorable moments.
She is nit the relationship type anyway, so she also has something going on with the sexy doctor from downstaurs, Jamie. Jamie has been great to her throughout the book, I liked him and I'm glad he is part of Jess' life.
She also gets to know Peach, she is Matilda's assisstant and is originally from America. The two of the, become friends and have a lot of fun together.

Jess' mum died when she was 18 years old and through living with her grandma, Jess discoversthe truth of her mother's past and more. It's shocking and puts a bad light on her grandma. DRAMA ;)
And let's not forget she is lying to Leo, what will come out of that?!

This wonderful book is full of drama, excitment, fun, flirting, passion and so much more. I loved following Jess' journey of finding what she really wants and being honest to herself. It's such a light hearted, sparkly and ... Read with a lot of spark, emotions and vivid scenes. Jess' world just sounds great and she is an awesome character to follow. Sometimes a bit unorganized and weird, but everything comes from the heart and makes you smile. I can't wait to read more if this series. Another thing I liked is the chapter beginnings, which vintage romance advice from Matilda and we also got to read part of Jess' mother's diary, which opened up a lot about her past. And you don't really know until the end, what was going to happen - which builds up the excitement ;)

Kirsty is a wonderful writer, who writes with passion and heart. The storyline has a beautiful flow and the scenes are vivid and detailed, I enjoyed every single second of this book! GRIPPING, FABULOUS AND AWESOME!!!!!!!!!


My possible cast:

Jessica Beam: Holland Roden

Peach Carmichael: Jenna Coleman

Leo Frost: Ryan Gosling

Jamie Abernathy: Zachary Levi

Grandma Matilda Beam: Maggie Smith

Kirsty on Twitter: @KirstyBooks

Friday, 27 March 2015

Q&A with Nikki Moore

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Today I'm very happy to welcome the wonderful Nikki Moore on Sky's Book Corner - she answered some questions for me. Last week Cocktails in Chelsea her forth story in the #LoveLondon series, came out. Thanks for answering my questions lovely lady.


 Thanks so much for inviting me here for a chat Simona :)

1.    Did you always dream of being a writer?

Absolutely :)  As soon as I learnt to read, I knew I wanted to make up stories for a living (by being a published author, not a professional liar! Lol) and started scribbling away. The first story I remember writing was based on a brief given by a primary school teacher, The Cry of the Banshee. Needless to say it was a horror story, not a romance!

2.    Cocktails in Chelsea is the forth book in your LoveLondon series, what is it about?

Well, here’s the short blurb...
Mix one ambitious barman who has a serious dislike for Chelsea princesses, with one tomboy who might just have pretended to be something she isn't, add one impulsive kiss and a late night rescue, shake and serve over ice... Springtime in Chelsea – will love blossom? 

3.    Can you tell us more about the main character(s)?

Sure. Sofia is a Bournemouth girl who is reluctantly visiting old childhood friends in London for Easter weekend. She’s keenly aware she's not part of their glamorous world, and is more comfortable riding a surfboard or skateboarding than wearing designer dresses and towering heels. In fact, she’s very used to being ‘one of the boys‘ and hasn’t got a lot of experience with men. Unfortunately, in trying to fit in with her friends, she comes across as everything that Nathan (the hero) doesn’t like. He‘s working as a barman to raise money to set up his own cocktail bar, and is fiercely ambitious. He dislikes posh, entitled girls, and although he’s not looking for a relationship, at heart he wants a girl-next-door type. So it gets interesting when they run into each other...

4.    The first book in the series is called Skating at Somerset House, can you tell us more about it?

I’ve been so lucky with this series. Skating at Somerset House was a Christmas title and got lots of great attention, and has the largest number of reviews on Amazon so far. I think the covers are amazing (thanks so much to Steve Panton, genius designer) and a series of romances set in and around iconic London landmarks / locations seem to have really captured people’s imagination. 

Here’s the blurb...
There’s nothing Holly Winterlake loves more than Christmas and skating, so working as an Ice Marshall at London's Somerset House is a dream come true.
Noel Summerford hates the festive season and is a disaster on the ice, so taking his godson to Somerset House is his idea of the nightmare before Christmas!
Things are bound to get interesting when these two collide…
With a forty foot Christmas tree, an assortment of well meaning friends and relatives, and a mad chocolate Labrador, will this festive season be one to remember … or forget?

5.    How about New Year at the Ritz and Valentine’s on Primrose Hill?

Well, This Means War is one of my favourite rom-coms (I think Reese Witherspoon is great) and I love the premise of choosing between two guys, so I suppose I was channeling that initally when I first started New Year at The Ritz, but needless to say, the stories are very different, especially as mine takes place over only a few days, and features a scavenger hunt!

New Year, New Love… or Old Love, New Start?
Everyone keeps telling Frankie Taylor that a new year is a time for new beginnings. She's not so sure. Single for a year, she's been more than happy on her own, thanks very much!
At least, that's what she thinks until she receives a note on New Year’s Eve inviting her to follow the clues, and her heart, across Knightsbridge.
But who's behind the romantic adventure? Old flame Christian who she loved for years and was always there for her, or new admirer and work colleague Zack, who has the habit of turning up in all sorts of unexpected places?
There's only one way she's going to find out…

As for Valentine’s on Primrose Hill, this is one of my personal favourites. Georgiana and Leo had been in my head for a long time, waiting for their story to be told, and of all my babies, this is the one I am probably most proud of. So I’m unbelievably excited that it’s had mostly five star reviews. Here’s the blurb...

For Georgiana Dunn, life changed forever in the devastating moment that the lorry hit her car.
Scarred and scared, she's not left the house in months. Then her mum buys her a puppy, forcing her to face the world again, walking on London's beautiful Primrose Hill. But that doesn't mean she's looking forward to Valentine's Day.
Leo devotes himself to working with children with special educational needs. In fact, he does very little else, and his friends are always telling him to get a (love) life. So when they challenge him to find a date for Valentine's Day, and he meets a lovely but lost girl who looks like she could use a friend, he thinks he's found the perfect solution.
But life has a way of being less than perfect … Will he be left standing on his own on the most romantic day of the year?

6.    What can we expect from the rest of the series?

Well, Strawberries in Wimbledon, the last short story / novella is out on 23 April, and is about Adam and Rayne (university sweethearts) and whether you can ever go back and recapture that first love. 

Picnics in Hyde Park is out as an eBook on 21 May and paperback on a print on demand basis from 30 July. It’s a full length summer novel, and the end of the series :( You finally get to meet Matt and Zoe, who some of the rest of the #LoveLondon series characters are linked to, and find out their story. As a taster, I can tell you that Zoe, on the rebound from a cheating fiancé, believes Matt (a rich, famous music producer) and his brother Stephen have basically ruined her younger sister’s life, so she moves in with Matt and pretends to be his children’s Nanny while she plots revenge against him. Except he’s not quite as bad as she expected...

7.    What was your inspiration for the series?

My lovely HarperImpulse editor Charlotte commissioned me to write a series of romantic short stories all set in London. We decided there would be five, with the sixth story being a full length novel, which I had already pitched to her.

For me, what usually happens is the two main characters appear in my head first, then the plot slowly builds from them. But in the case of the #LoveLondon series, I had the settings and key dates / events first e.g Christmas/Somerset House, New Year’s/The Ritz, Valentine’s Day/Primrose Hill etc and then thought about what each one of those represented, and the conflicts that theme might present for the characters, and I built the heroes and heroines from there.

8.    Where and when do you write your stories?

Great question, simple answer :) Wherever and whenever I can!  I used to be a bit precious about my writing time, but now I fit it in on the sofa over breakfast at 6.30 a.m. (before getting ready for the day job) or in the evenings in bed with my laptop once the kids are in bed. Occasionally I take the laptop into work and write on my lunch break. I do have a writing room set up but don’t spend a lot of time in there as it always feels cold...

9.    What do you do and enjoy when you’re not writing?

I adore reading. I love crime thrillers, police procedurals and gory serial killer series but also love Chicklit, romances, and weightier women’s fiction. But really I’ll read anything I can get my hands on.

Apart from that, I like spending time with my kids, family and lovely boyfriend, drinking wine, watching films, trying new stuff and going for bracing walks on the beach. I’m also partial to social gatherings, which is why I love being part of the Romantic Novelists Association.

10. Last year your novel Crazy Undercover Love was published, can you tell us more about it?

I worked on Crazy, Undercover, Love for about four years before it was accepted for publication, and rewrote it about eight times, so this one will always be very close to my heart. It’s about feisty uber-career girl Charley who travels to Barcelona on a weekend assignment with hot, complicated CEO Alex to try and get her life back on track. There are lots of twists and turns in this story, which readers seem to like, so I’m very happy I persisted with this book.

11. If you could switch places with a characters from a book, who would it be and why?

What an amazing question. Wow, there are too many to choose from, but it would definitely be a strong, independent female character who has to overcome unbeatable odds to achieve her goals. Let me think about that some more...

12.  What books have most influenced your life most?

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favourite books, and the things it taught me about empathy, prejudice and forgiveness are instilled in me even now, more than twenty years after reading it. I also think the style of writing has a certain beauty to it.

13. What are you working on at the moment?

I’m currently focusing on the promo for the #LoveLondon series but in terms of my next writing plans, I’m hoping to get back to a women’s commercial fiction book that I’ve been working on for a couple of years now. We’ll have to see what my publishers think...

14. What do you enjoy most about writing?

The opportunity to tell the stories of the people who live in my head :). I know that might sound a bit odd, but to me my characters are friends who sit around and tell me what’s going on in their lives, how that’s made them feel, and what they’ve learnt from it.
Of course I also love it when readers or reviewers contact me and tell me a particular story has touched them, or taught them something, or simply helped them escape from real life for a while. The opportunity to connect with other people and know a story has meant something to them is an honour and privilege.

15. You have written other short stories as well, what are they about and what makes a short story special in your eyes?

That’s right - I’ve also written The Love Letter and A Day in the Life... which featured in the HarperImpulse short story collection Be My Valentine. The Love Letter is written from a male perspective and is about a widower moving on after the death of his wife, and A Day in the Life ... is the story of a runaway bride alone on her honeymoon in the Maldives.
A Night to Remember, in the bestselling Mills & Boon / Romantic Novelists Association anthology, has been billed as an English version of Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook, and asks the question, can love conquer anything? 
Short stories are very hard to write, as you need to try and fit a compelling tale into a tight word count, along with characters that are well developed enough to make readers care. But they’re incredibly satisfying for the same reasons, and I think I’d be very sad if I only got to write full length books.

16. Coffee or tea?

Tea. I have to start every day with a cup.

17. Paperback or e-reader?

Both. Can I do that? Paperback for the bath, e-reader or app on my mobile for any other time I have a minute to read.

18. Mountains or the sea?

Sea. I love the beach, and swimming, and the sounds and smells of it. I’ve lived on the south coast my whole life, and love it.

19. Summer or winter?

Definitely summer. I hate winter, because I don’t like the cold. The only good things about winter are Christmas, New Year and the opportunity to snuggle up with a book and hot chocolate when it’s cold outside...

20. Sweet or salty?

     It has to be sweet. I have a sweet tooth, and it’s awful because at work we always have cakes, chocolates, sweets or biscuits lying around. It’s a wonder my hips aren’t a lot broader than they are!

Thanks for the interview Simona; it’s been fun x

About the author

Nikki Moore lives in Dorset near beautiful Sandbanks beach with her two gorgeous children, and is lucky enough to have a lovely boyfriend too. She has a full-time day job in Human Resources, enjoys the variety of her role and is grateful for her very supportive colleagues! She loves writing and does it as often as possible, but can also be found reading and consuming white wine in long, hot baths on a regular basis...

Her debut novel Crazy, Undercover, Love was published by HarperImpulse in 2014 and she is also the author of the #LoveLondon series, with a short story A Night to Remember in the bestselling Mills & Boon/Romantic Novelists Association anthology Truly, Madly, Deeply.

Nikki is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association, went through the RNA New Writers Scheme, and is a firm advocate of aspiring and emerging authors. She is on Twitter @NikkiMoore_Auth and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NikkiMooreWrites and would love to hear from anyone who wants to chat about reading, writing, love or life in general!

Bk 1, Skating At Somerset House (Short Story) Amazon UK - My Review
Bk 2, New Year at The Ritz (Short Story) Amazon UK - My Review
Bk 3, Valentine's on Primrose Hill (Short Story) Amazon UK - My Review
Bk 4, Cocktails in Chelsea (Short Story) Amazon UK - My Review
Bk 5, Strawberries at Wimbledon (Short Story) Coming April 2015 Amazon UK
Bk 6, Picnics in Hyde Park, (Novel) Ebook Coming May 2015 Amazon UK