Friday, 29 March 2013

Interview with Alice Peterson

Happy Friday - now this is my final post before taking a bit of a blogging break due to the new arrival in the family. There will still be posts, but they will be more sporadic.
So, no better way to celebrate this than by interviewing an author whose books I have greatly enjoyed, Alice Peterson.

I recently read Ten Years On and loved it. What gave you the idea of removing one of the key characters so early on and was this always the way you intended to start it?

Firstly, thank you Sooz! I’m so glad you loved Ten Years On.

Yes, I always intended to remove one of the characters earlier on, although his presence remains in the book throughout, if that makes sense! Ten Years On deals with many themes, including grief and a love triangle. Interestingly I think that the love triangle, where one of the male characters dies, actually makes him much more of an obstacle to the two left, than if he were still alive.

You keep us guessing for about 70% of the way through re why the three friends lost touch. Did you employ any particular devices to keep the momentum going whilst keeping us in suspense?

I love keeping the reader in suspense for as long as I can and the way I did it was to give a little away often, so there’s enough to keep the momentum going, but the reader is hopefully always wanting more! I really enjoy returning to the past and feeding information about the characters and their motivations. My novels usually flick between past and present.

Guilt plays a large part in the novel. How did you decide who would feel guilty in which way?

Everyone feels guilt in this novel, but most of all our central character, Rebecca – Becca for short. Becca feels guilty when she meets Joe, her old college friend who she hasn’t seen for ten years. Joe was also best friend to Olly, her husband. She kept things from both of them, and seeing Joe again reminds her of her past and their guilty secret. She also feels guilty being a burden to her parents when she moves home after the sudden death of Olly. Finally she feels guilty when she falls in love again, especially when it’s with Joe. She feels as if she’s betraying Olly all over again. 

Olly also has a secret, but again, this isn’t revealed until much later, simply alluded to. Did you ever think about making his secret a big bad one, rather than the much softer one than the other two’s transgressions?

It did occur to me that maybe Olly should have had an affair but each time I went down that road, I retreated. It would have been so hard to root for him and enjoy his presence in the book. I know it sounds complicated, since Olly died so early on, but his voice is in the book throughout in a moving and humorous way and I think it comes across just how much he and Becca loved one another, and I didn’t want anything to ruin that.

I loved the dynamic with the old lady who got a slot on the wine course. How important is writing minor characters to you and was she also your favourite in the novel, or was it someone else? If so, who?

I loved Janet! My grandmother, who was an incredible person with so much wisdom, life experience and a great sense of humour, inspired her. Like Janet, she also had this lovely outrageous laugh. I think minor characters are so important to novels. They add touches and depth. Makes me think of Judy Dench winning an Oscar for best supporting role in Shakespeare in Love, when she was only on screen for eight minutes. My favourite wasn’t Janet though – it’s tough to beat Joe, the hero!

I’d already read Monday to Friday Man a few years ago and was drawn to it initially by the cover. I loved this, too. Which of your novels is your favourite and why?

Oh, I can’t answer this. Each novel is special to me in different ways. Monday to Friday Man will always be close to my heart since it was inspired by my own dog, Mr Darcy – and I love the romance, the light-heartedness, the colourful dog walking world and the little sister, Megan, who gives it an extra depth.

Ten Years On is set in my hometown, Winchester, so I really enjoyed writing about the area, and I also fell in love with the idea that you can find true love twice.

Perhaps By My Side might be the favourite, in that it’s a love story again, but with a big difference. I’ll talk about it in the next question…

 Can you tell us a little about your other novels and the genre(s) they fall into? I have already downloaded By My Side (one of my World Book Day purchases)

Most of my books fall into the romantic comedy genre – but each story does tackle a theme, which is often disability. In Letters From My Sister, one of the characters, Bells, is born with a cleft lip and palate. In You, Me & Him, a six year old boy has ADHD. In my latest novel, By My Side, my heroine, Cass, is in a wheelchair following a road accident, but with the help of a beautiful golden Labrador assistance dog called Ticket slowly she rebuilds her life. She also meets the lovely Charlie Bell on a skiing holiday and it’s the beginning of realising there is life and love after her injury.

I believe it’s important to represent people with disability in fiction, not make them worthy or angelic, but real characters.  Jojo Moye’s novel, Me Before You, is a great example of this. I completely fell for Will, and soon forgot he was in a wheelchair, he was just Will and I was rooting for him all the way. My novels, especially By My Side tackle darker themes of pain, loss, disability and overcoming adversity partly due to my own life experience of living with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), which I wrote about in my autobiography, A Will to Win, now republished as Another Alice. Aged 18 I was on the verge of going to America on a tennis scholarship when I was diagnosed with RA. Overnight my life changed, and I couldn’t play tennis again, a sadness that will always be with me. I have put all these experiences into my writing.

How did you go about tackling the serious subject of grief in the novel and how affects people in different ways?

Research – I talk to as many people as possible about their experiences. I’m always honest, saying I’m writing a book and I make sure people feel comfortable sharing their stories and memories. If I am tackling a different subject I must do it justice. It’s interesting talking to a variety of people because, while I don’t write their stories, I usually notice a pattern of emotions. My next novel is about addiction, and it’s the same; very different people, completely different stories but similar emotion.

I’ve compared Ten Years On, to Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You, not because it dealt with euthanasia, but because it dealt with serious topics, eg grief and wasn’t only about falling in love, handbags and cupcakes! If you had to align it with another novel, which would you choose?

That is such a compliment! Thank you. I love Jojo Moyes’s writing and couldn’t put Me Before You down! Ten Years On has been compared to PS I love you and it’s also been compared to One Day – but in the reverse! I rather like that…  so I’ll go with One Day!

The relationship with Becca and her family, especially her sister is pretty fraught. I wanted to bash Becca’s sister’s head in for her insensitivity and selfishness, but yet she still had redeeming qualities. What can you tell us about the familial relationship and why you set it as you did?

I wanted to make Becca’s return to her childhood home uneasy to build drama into the story. You’re right, Becca’s sister, Pippa, is selfish. She’s used to having all the attention and her mother on tap for babysitting, so I thought it’d be interesting to then see how she reacts when focus is shifted on to a grieving Becca. Of course it’s going to bring up all kinds of problems – the most obvious being jealousy, but as the reader delves more deeply we see that Pippa is a rather sad and lonely figure. She’s also very proud, wanting to give off the impression that all is well in her marriage and motherhood, and I think often women see it as a weakness admitting that perhaps things are not quite as they seem. In the end we soften towards Pippa as finally she sees things from Becca’s side, and is also honest about how unhappy she has been for many years.


Fun stuff

Who’s your Rupert Penry Jones? (everyone knows I am mad about him!)

I love Jim Sturgess (Dexter in One Day) – also love Wentworth Miller off Prison Break! Good choice by the way re RPJ – wouldn’t kick him out either!

 If one of your books had to be made into a movie, which one would you like it to be and why?

By My Side - because it’s the most powerful and romantic, and it’s a real tear jerker too.  That would be a dream come true.

Which book would you most like to turn into a movie which isn’t yours!?

I loved My Lover’s Lover, by Maggie O’Farrell and can really see that as a film – lots of suspense and romance.

What genres do you read and who are your favourite authors?

I read mainly the same genre that I write, although I do like thrillers too – I’ve really enjoyed books by William Boyd. My current favourite is Jojo Moyes and right now I’m reading, ‘The Girl You Left Behind’. I also love rereading Jane Austen.

Fave clothes type?

Love accessories – scarves, earrings with sparkle – I am girly girl – love all things pretty!

Best holiday destination ever (visited and also yet to visit)

Italy – I fell in love with Florence. I’m hoping to go on a cooking holiday in Tuscany (all good writing material!)

Pet person - yes or no? If yes, details pls!

Yes!  I LOVE dogs and Mr Darcy, my Lucas Terrier, is in the inspiration behind Monday to Friday Man. I would not be without him – he’s the best.


Townie or country girl?

Both – couldn’t live in town all the time, or live in the country all the time. I love being a writer as I can take my laptop and go and stay with parents or sister in the country, and then come home to London.

Most romantic city in the world in your opinion?


Do you do anything special for Easter?

This year I am staying in London, seeing friends, eating out for lunch, taking Darcy for a long walk after indulging in lots of chocolate…

Final Note – thank you so much Sooz for having me on your blog.

Final final note from Sooz - Alice's latest book, By My Side is out in paperback on July 18th
You can catch up with Alice on her website -

Books/ebooks are available from the following sources:-

as well as the usual Amazon links - Ten Years On - (UK) & (US)
Monday to Friday Man - (UK) & (US)
Back when I have some more time! Wish me luck! Sooz




Friday, 22 March 2013

Review of Ten Years On by Alice Peterson

Happy Friday - again!  Rolls round quick, doesn't it?

I've been looking forward to having this author on the blog, this week in the form of a review and next week we'll see her interview!

For now, here's the blurb for Ten Years On.

Rebecca is happily married to Olly and content with her job at a glamorous London art gallery. But when tragedy strikes, she decides to move back to her childhood home in the country, hoping time will help her to heal. Joe, born in the same country town as Rebecca, had a falling out with her a decade earlier. Now he's the successful owner of a wine bar, Maison Joe, and is breaking local hearts by dating a striking actress, Peta. Rebecca finds living with her parents again a challenge. Nor is it easy to discover that Joe lives and works too close for comfort. When she sees him once more, memories rush back to haunt her, along with unanswered questions about the past. Why did they lose touch? What was Olly hiding? Can Rebecca answer those questions and move on?

Sad, heart-wrenching and optimistic

I had previously read Alice's Monday to Friday Man and really enjoyed it and I had been wanting to read this one for a while. I raced through this book. Although the subject matter is different, it tugged at the heartstrings in the same way that Jojo Moyes' Me Before You did. I felt the relationships between Olly and Rebecca, Rebecca and Joe and Joe and Olly were very well dealt with indeed. But always there was an undertone of why did they fall out? Why didn't they see each other for more than 10 years? The author did well to keep this from us until more than half way through the book, and it keeps us reading. Rebecca confides in her friend her difficulty in seeing Joe after all this time, but is persuaded to apply for a job in his wine bar. As they get closer, the past is finally addressed. Lots of misunderstandings are righted and they both realise that over the years their perceptions have been wrong. Rebecca hears Olly talk to her, giving her advice and chatting to her from far away.
I also liked the little old lady who went on the wine course and the valuable advice she could give to Rebeccca, even about love. Can the three main characters learn to forgive and move on?
This novel is an easy read, which pulls you in and doesn't let go until the last page. I will be downloading Alice's other books soon  - I already downloaded By My Side for World Book Day. Very impressed with Ten Years On - it didn't feel like just regular chicklit but had some life lessons to teach us and dealt very well with the topic of grief.

To get your copy of Ten Years On - (UK) & (US)
Monday to Friday Man - (UK) & (US)
You can also get Alice's books  in paperback from Amazon and from the following sources:-

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Interviewed by Laura Lovelock Book Reviews

Morning everyone!
It's snowing! Can't go out as no longer have any trousers which are fit for this weather and also fit me - downside of being heavily pregnant, I suppose!
Anyway, Laura Lovelock Book Reviews contacted me on Friday to see if she could review my books. She devoured them both over the weekend and also asked me a few questions. Here's the result! Enjoy!

Oh and check in tomorrow, to see who won the Lucky in Love Blog Hop prizes

And we're back on Friday with my book review of Alice Peterson's Ten Years On

Stay safe and warm!

Friday, 15 March 2013

Lucky In Love Blog Hop

Happy Friday everyone! Today sees the first of four days of the Lucky In Love Blog Hop, tying in with St Patrick's Day AND that's not all. St Patrick's Day coincidentally marks the first anniversary of the release of my first novel, Sign of the Times - so look out for the giveaway later! There are tons of prizes to be won and over 300 blogs to visit, comment on and hopefully win big!

So to celebrate the blog hop, I have a special short post for you in being lucky (or not!) in love.

Well, it’s coming up to St Paddy’s Day and we could all do with the luck of the Irish when it comes to love - so sending leprechauns and four leaf clovers your way!
Today Gill’s friends from The Dating Game are going to tell us a bit about her love life and whether she has been lucky or unlucky in love.

Lisa (snorts): Lucky? Are you joking? After marrying Barry and that barely lasting after the wedding reception, Gill’s either had dry spells or hooked up with complete losers or nutters.

Debbie: Well, Timothy certainly fell into that category.

Angela: Yeah, he was off his head, but apart from him, the others were all reasonable, just they didn’t work out in the end. Anyway, perhaps this agency lark will be just what she needs. I still can’t believe she has gone and signed up.

Lisa: I quite liked Charlie - just my type.

Angela (mutters): Who’s not your type?

Debbie: Anton’s gorgeous, though, and very sophisticated. He took her to that classical music concert, whereas Charlie scarpered sharpish on their first date.

Angela: But only because he was meeting his daughter.

Lisa: Yeah, pity about the baggage. And what’s the story with the ex-wife?

Angela (shrugs): The Irish guy was pretty good-looking, too, I thought.

Lisa: Yeah, and he was a lot of fun. Bowling!

Debbie: Jeez, can you imagine Gill bowling. She hates it!

Angela (nods) : Remember that Ronald guy?

Debbie: He was sixty-five if he was a day. Forty-nine my arse!

Angela: And what about Gary?

Debbie: He’s really sweet and looks like Liam Neeson. Wouldn’t kick him out of bed.

Lisa: I wonder how many more dates she’ll see...

Angela: Don’t forget Liam, her knight in shining armour and he didn’t take her to task over pranging his car.

Debbie: True. God, suddenly she’s spoilt for choice. Surely out of that lot she can find someone decent who’s in it for the long term.

Angela: Here’s hoping.
Now what are those prizes?
1st Grand Prize: A $100 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
2nd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more!

(Pls note the swag prize is US only - costs a fortune to ship it even within the US, never mind internationally!)
To be in with a chance of winning, simply use the Rafflecopter form below and be sure to leave a comment on the blog, including your email address, so the blog organiser can contact you if you win.
To win an ecopy of SIGN OF THE TIMES, you can enter as many ways as you like, and can also enter each day for some options. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And to visit all the other excellent blogs, hop over after 3pm GMT (10am EST) to

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Nicky Wells visits Sooz's Journal (interview)

Morning all
Ah, I'm feeling soooo much better this week - I'm actually getting some sleep - thank God!
Today I am delighted to introduce you to author Nicky Wells, who has given some very candid answers to my probing questions!  Enjoy!

Hi Sooz, thank you so much for inviting me onto your blog to have a good old chat. I’m so happy to be here! J Let’s see what you want to know then… is it all right if I fix myself a cuppa first? Milk and one sugar today would be lovely. Oooh, thank you!

Did you always know that you would have more than one novel from the Rock Star Romance series and can you tell us how many there will be in total?

Great question! The short answer is, no, I didn’t. I wrote the first book purely for my own consumption and hadn’t even envisaged publishing it. It was meant to be my personal all-time favourite feel-good romantic fairy tale, that was all. It wasn’t until I had published it and wondered where to go next that people suggested writing a second book. Well, Sophie’s story was far from finished so it was a pleasure to map out a sequel. Except the story turned out to be a little complicated ~ hey, such is life, right ~ and one sequel turned into two books, hence the Trilogy. There won’t be a fourth ‘Sophie’ book but I am working on a fourth book, of course; glamorous, glitzy and rock’n’roll, but with a new cast of characters and a different story.

Do you have any groupie background or rock star fantasies in your past?

Um. How to best answer this? I tried the groupie thing, once. I had a boyfriend in tow, though and…well…the whole thing wasn’t me. I chickened out. However, rock star fantasies abound in my past. Shall we say my entire teenage years were consumed by various rock star fantasies? I even had my wedding to the delectable Joey Tempest all mapped out to the last detail, bar the one critical aspect: how to make the groom appear. I used to read about the industry like mad, watch every conceivable film and documentary, consume rock mags like a woman possessed and generally absorb information like a sponge. I think it’s the combination of all three ~ fantasy, research and failed groupie attempt ~ that perhaps conspired to make the Rock Star Trilogy what it is.

Sophie, although some of her actions can’t be condoned, remains a likeable character to us. How much do you think this was due to the fact you made her boyfriend unlikeable?

Aw, poor old Tim. I didn’t do him any favours, did I? Really, I got a little carried away in portraying the caricature of his character. He’s not actually a bad guy; he’s just not right for Sophie.

Personally, I think Sophie’s likeability factor stems from the fact that she’s quite real and down to earth, and that she gives herself a hard time about every decision she makes. Yes, her actions can’t always be condoned, and she knows that; yet she feels she has to give them a try to figure out who she really is. Ought she to have dumped Tim straightaway? Possibly. But then it’s not in her nature either to trample on people’s emotions on what might well have turned out to be a temporary aberration on her part, a fantasy, something that meant nothing. She just doesn’t know and that leads to her conundrum. I think…I hope the reader can identify with this and I hope that it is this authenticity that makes Sophie likeable. She could be your best friend, or even your sister. Or you!

Did you struggle with the ending, ie did you have several endings to toy with? Or did you always know how things would turn out from page 1?

LOL, did I struggle? Oh man, Sooz, you have no idea. See, I didn’t think Sophie’s Turn would end the way it did. I am a meticulous plotter and I had the ending all mapped out from Page 1. However, it was Sophie’s very growth as a character, her development through the pages, that foiled the ending I had planned. She couldn’t go through with it, and that was that. That scene in Paris… well, that wasn’t in the plan. That just happened, and I cried as I was writing it. It was the weirdest experience! I have since learned to listen to my characters, although I realise that I probably sound vaguely mad!

Sophie’s Turn was originally launched several years ago and was relaunched last year with Sapphire Star Publishing. Can you tell us a little about that process and how it differs from first time around for you?

Where to start? I published Sophie’s Turn independently in July 2011 and frankly, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I did everything backwards. I had no author platform. Heck, I wasn’t even on Facebook on the day I launched Sophie’s Turn onto the world. I had no idea! So I built the ship while sailing, in a manner of speaking. I opened a Facebook account and randomly started a Page, too; I got myself onto Twitter; I started blogging. Then I embarked on the blog tour with the help of some fantastic bloggers I had the great fortune of meeting, notably Sharon Goodwin. Gradually, I established myself and found my feet.

When Sophie’s Turn was launched again through Sapphire Star Publishing, I hit the ground running. Not only had I a platform, but I had also begun to establish a brand (“Romance That Rocks Your World”), I had a blogtour all set up complete with events and giveaways, I had tweets at the ready, reviews to post… it was a completely different process, and it made a huge difference.

The rock star crush, Dan, did some pretty sleazy things towards the end. He also seemed to be torn between being good fodder and bad fodder. How did you come up with this balance and which traits of his personality do you think redeemed him?

Sleazy? Dan Hunter? OMG, I’m going to have to go back and figure out what’s going on! I meant him to be a lot of things but not sleazy, haw haw haw! No, but seriously ~ he had to do some ‘out there’ things, otherwise he wouldn’t have been credible as a rock star character. I don’t know if I got the balance exactly right, but I was trying to imagine my perfect rock star with all the quirks, dirt and good things that I could tolerate. Yes, he needed to be a little bit of a cliché. Yes, there are some things he needed to do… I say, womanizing, right? But he also needed to be honest with himself and Sophie, in the end. Humble. Contrite. And just a little heart-broken. I think it’s these aspects that turn him into the adorable rock god that he is.

One of my favourite parts was when Sophie’s boyfriend does something unexpected in a restaurant (didn’t want to spoil it). Which scene was your favourite?

I have several, but here are my two favourites. One is where Dan turns up unexpectedly at Sophie and Tim’s engagement party. OMG, I was biting my nails and nearly peeing my pants with glee when I wrote that one. And the other is when Dan has to hide in a utility cupboard.

The backstage and behind the scenes material seemed realistic to me. How much research did you do in this, or did you have first-hand knowledge?!


This answer ties in a little bit with my previous answer. I have had the privilege of visiting a couple of bands backstage. They weren’t huge bands like Bon Jovi, but I had the opportunity to observe some of the goings-on. With boyfriend in tow! I hasten to add that none of Sophie’s adventures are based on my own actual experience but are simply extensions of observations and imagined ‘what ifs.’

In addition, there are a lot of interesting films out there tracing bands and their backstage adventures. This Is Spinal Tap, Abba the Movie (not rock, but still highly informative) and Rock Star with Mark Wahlberg are just some examples. Plus in the aftermath of Freddy Mercury’s very sad and very untimely death, there were many documentaries on Queen plus many other rock bands, and I absorbed them all!

Sophie’s best friend was always egging her on to be a little bit naughty, thought her friend deserved more than her moany boyfriend could offer her. I liked her as a character (not that I would necessarily have done the same!) Which minor character did you enjoy writing most?

Oooh, definitely Rachel. I would love her as my best friend! She doesn’t mince words, she says it as it is, and she has an uncanny ability to see through people. Plus she is fiercely protective of Sophie!

The tableau with Sophie’s boyfriend and his ex in Paris was a bit of a shock and I hadn’t seen that coming.  How much do you think this alleviated Sophie’s conscience in the end?

To be honest, I think Sophie didn’t give this another thought until the very end. And even then, given that she’s a little naïve, it needed spelling out to her who exactly set up the ‘chance’ meeting and why. Did that alleviate her conscience… ~ well, yes, absolutely. It showed her that she wasn’t the only one who wasn’t entirely certain about the relationship. Did it make everything all right? Probably not, but life isn’t perfect and we work with what we have. Tune into Sophie’s Run for a small continuation of that subplot….


Fun stuff

Who is your Rupert Penry Jones? (everyone knows I am daft about him!)

Oooh Rupert! You can’t have him, he’s mine! Just kidding, but he is delectable. VERY delectable. My own Rupert Penry-Jones… well, that would have to be Mr. Jon Bon Jovi.

If you were Sophie, which rock star would you have liked to be Dan?

Jon. Obviously. Or possibly Joey Tempest.

If the Rock Star Romance series was made into a TV drama or film, which actor/actress would you like to see play Sophie/Dan?

Do you know, I used to have an answer for this one but I have changed my mind. I really don’t know. Incidentally, Rupert wouldn’t be a bad choice at all, providing he can grow his hair and sing! As for Sophie… she’d probably have to be a complete unknown to replicate the celebrity-and-girl-next-door kind of dynamic.

Favourite season of the year (in so far as we have seasons in the UK - it’s Spring and it’s snowing here today!)

Winter. I love snow, and I love all the lights and jollification in the run up to Christmas. However, in January the sun needs to come out and the weather to improve. January is absolutely categorically my least favourite month.

Biggest ever achievement

Moving to England on my own age 20.

Long term goal you’d love to meet

Become a best-selling author and see myself at the number 1 spot. (I’ve had this dream since I was ten!!)

I’m really nosy, are you German or another nationality than British?  I must have read something somewhere...

You read that right ~ I am German, although I have lived in the UK for nearly 20 years (anniversary is coming up on 27 September this year!) and I have always felt more at home here than in Germany. Don’t ask me why…

Current pop music or 80s pop? (you’re not allowed to say Rock!)


As I write this, it’s Mother’s Day in the UK. How do/did you celebrate Mother’s Day?

Well, my family spoiled me, I have to confess. I wasn’t allowed to lift a finger. Hubby and kids made breakfast, lunch and dinner (and tidied up!). We had a fabulous walk by the seaside in the freezing cold and with some snow ~ it was exhilarating! And, of course, the boys made me cards and presents, including chocolates. I am a lucky Mum!

 Favourite game as a child (eg old fashioned games like hopscotch)

Hide and seek. I used to read lots of Cowboy-and-Indian stories as a child (and Famous Five) and I used to pretend to be on a secret mission. I wasn’t a great runner but I was an excellent stealth operator and I used to make it back to base without being caught. I remember long summer’s evenings spent that way, roaming freely around the estate with my friends until dusk. Bliss! I hope I can eventually afford my kids the same freedom where we live now…
Well, thanks Nicky for visiting today. You can keep track of Nicky via the following means:-
To buy the books: Sophie's Turn (UK) & (US)
Sophie's Run - (UK) & (US)
Tune in tomorrow for the final blog hop for quite some time, The Lucky in Love blog hop. I will be busy changing dirty nappies in the coming months!  A special post on love, plus lots of fab prizes to be won, including a $100 Amazon or B&N voucher!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Mother's Day Sign of the Times extract - for a bit of levity!

Happy Mother's Day everyone!
After phoning my parents this morning, to advise them it was snowing here and to make sure they would be able to get to ours for Mother's Day lunch, I realised only 3 hours later, that I hadn't actually spoken to my mum, only my dad! Oops. I was called on it, when I phoned her back!

Anyway, I promised you a Six Sentence Sunday, but shock, horror, Six Sentence Sunday is no more. R.I.P. So I've amended that to a short excerpt of Sign of the Times, especially for Mother's Day.
Hope you enjoy it!

(taken from the Leo chapter of Sign of the Times)
After lunch, Amy and Maria dropped David at school and went into Kilburn.  The problem was she always ended up getting more than she came for when she came into town.  She’d nipped into the tearoom and bought a lovely sponge cake to welcome Angelika, something light, not an E number festival.  Since she was here, she’d nip into the supermarket, stock up on cleaning goods. 

She completed her supermarket shop in record time.  “Mummy. I need a pee pee,” Amy tugged her arm.  She’d almost forgotten her daughter was there; she’d been so well behaved.

“Can you hold it just a minute?” she said as she paid for her shopping.  Shoving her hastily packed bags in the trolley, she pushed it with one hand, grasping Amy’s hand in the other and walked towards the Customer Toilets sign.  A few customers let her go before them, when they saw Amy hopping from foot to foot.

“Mummy, I need a poo as well,” Amy said loudly.  Maria was glad she was inside the cubicle, as she could hear titters on the other side.  Amy was always mortifying her, she thought.

“Mummy, I want to watch Bob when I get home,” Amy said.

“That’s fine.  You can watch Bob.”  Maria would have promised her anything at that point. Her discomfort increased further, as Amy started singing Bob the Builder at full volume.  Maria was cursing the builders, as there was no window to use as an escape route.  Finally, Amy was finished.  Maria was scarlet and as she opened the door, a round of applause broke out.

“Well done, young lady,” one elderly woman told her.  “What’s your name?”

“Amy,” she said proudly.

“Well Amy, that was a great performance,” she said, grinning at Maria.  Maria red-faced dragged Amy off to the wash hand basins before she combusted.  As the door closed behind her, she heard shrieks of laughter from within. 
Stop by on Thursday for an interview with Nicky Wells. It's a day earlier than the usual Friday, as we have another blog hop starting on Friday for a few days, so stay tuned to win lots of lovely prizes.

Friday, 8 March 2013

My guest post at Clippings in the Shed

Afternoon everyone
I was invited by fellow author, Francine La Sala to her Five for Friday interview slot. Today we're talking pub crawls, quirks and travel, among other things. I really enjoyed doing this fun interview!

Tune in on Sunday for Six Sentence Sunday - it's been a while I know!

Review of Sophie's Turn by Nicky Wells

Happy Friday again guys. I know there hasn't been much happening on the blog this week - well actually nowt, but that will change shortly! In fact, today we have two items, the second I will post this afternoon (and keep you guessing until then!)
For now, here's my book review of Sophie's Turn which I enjoyed so much, I downloaded the sequel, Sophie's Run yesterday to celebrate World Book Day.

Slapper? Slut? Adulteress? Sophie Penhalligan's life and moral universe is turned upside down when rock star Dan proposes to her in full knowledge that she is already engaged. She has always loved Dan, in a remote-crush kind of way. She thinks she loves her fiancé, Tim. What is she to do?

It's all happening because her past has come to tempt her. Nine years ago, she met her teenage idol and rock star extraordinaire, Dan Hunter, up close and personal. Well, almost!

Now Dan has crash-landed back in her life just as Sophie is happily embroiled in a relationship with Tim, her boyfriend of two years. Until recently, she was confident Tim would eventually propose. But while his persistent inaction is beginning to cast a cloud over their relationship, Dan's sudden reappearance poses a whole new dilemma.

Having accompanied Dan's band to Paris, Sophie suddenly finds herself engaged to Dan while her erstwhile fiancé Tim is... well, doing whatever it is Tim does back in London. Torn between the dream-come-true and the sensible-thing-to-do, Sophie concludes her inadvertent journey of self-discovery with an ending that surprises herself, and everyone around her.

Sophie's Turn is a glamorous contemporary fairy tale that will make chick-lit and romance lovers laugh, cry and rock along every step of the way.

My review
Easily a 4.5 star

I won a copy of this book a few months ago in a competition. I had recently read another 'rock star' type book, so wanted to wait a while before reading this one, as I had really enjoyed the previous book I'd read and didn't want to confuse the two. I need not have worried. They were very different. Sophie's story you could imagine having happened, if you were part of that music scene and a groupie. The original meeting 10 years previously wasn't so OTT that it was unbelievable. I immediately didn't take to Sophie's boyfriend, or the way in which he dealt with important events, or the way he shunned her and made her views seem unimportant. That doesn't mean I condone Sophie's actions, but many of us couldn't blame her for her choices and let's face it, who gets to 'meet' their idol and spend time with them as adults?
Crossing the fine line between removing herself from the 'danger zone' and going to a gig alone, without her boyfriend in the end, as a meeting had come up, was a turning point - in the end, one of no return.
Sophie's best friend egging her on and her boss putting her in a position where she didn't have a decision to make, but which put her in dangerous territory, were also well portrayed.
I found the decadent lifestyle enjoyed by rock stars credible and it was clear the author had some knowledge of the music industry, whether through research or because she was a groupie/rock chick herself, who knows?!
The additional complication of her fiance's ex-girlfriend and the way he reacted around her, simply added to the mind games and right up until the end I didn't know how she was going to choose.
The characters were well depicted and diverse and although I didn't agree with all of Sophie's decisions, I liked her.
I enjoyed the unpredictable ending, just the type I like - none of this foregone conclusion stuff!
There's a sequel I believe, or next instalment, Sophie's Run.
Sophie's Turn is well written and I read it in only a few days - always a good sign.

You can buy the books here:-
Sophie's Turn - (UK) & (US)
Sophie's Run - (UK) & (US)
Both are also available in paperback.
And I've just read, there will be another part, released in September, Sophie's Encore. She kept that quiet!

Tune in this afternoon for a surprise post!