Lunch with the lovely literary lot

There I am, like the ham filling in an Agent Milburn/Editor Baggaley sarnie. Not a bad spot!

There I am, like the ham filling in an Agent Milburn/Editor Baggaley sarnie. Not a bad spot!

It’s a funny old existence, being a writer of novels. You spend half your year, maybe more, maybe less, shuffling around the house in ‘comfy clothes’ (manky old pj bottoms, odd socks, coffee-stained tees) racking your ravished little mind for some spark of creativity you might be able to bully into a marvellous sentence if you’re lucky, or maybe just an intelligible one if you’ve already lost the will. And then all of a sudden, it’s done… you have a manuscript, and mostly it makes sense, and before you know it, it’s edited and smartened up and out of your hands, free from the shadows of that grotesquely messy garret you’ve been confined to while the rest of the world carried on having regular sleep and showers and meals and fresh air and snogs.

So yesterday, rested and scrubbed up and still chilling in the afterweeks of a recently released novel, I waved a hasty goodbye to my favourite ankle-biter, took a deep breath of I’m-out-of-the-house-and-doing-something-grown-upness and headed off down to London for lunch with my agent Madeleine Milburn and new soon-to-be-frustrated editor, Anna Baggaley from Harlequin/Harper Collins.

The ankle-biter I mentioned, looking innocent. Don't be fooled.

The ankle-biter I mentioned, looking innocent. Don’t be fooled.

We yacked away about the next two contracts Anna’s just having drafted up for me (eep!) and which I’m completely frothy-headed with relief and excitement and gratitude to have been offered. Then over a pretty badass goat’s cheese salad I gabbled off my ideas for book 4 (latest ideas I should say… the first plot outlines I sent off were a bit naff) and, hoo-bloody-rah, everyone seemed to be enthused!

‘Book 4 is going to be so topical!’ said someone. ‘And your feelings about these issues will show through your writing!’

‘Yes!’ I agreed. Yes! Yes! Yes! I am feeling PUMPED, because this is that stage of writing a book, when your ideas are shiny and new and the mountain to climb ahead, whilst big and slightly intimidating, looks more of a jolly old adventure than a spirit-breaking endeavour that just may kill you.

Yes! I thought, book 4 is going to be relevant and funny and thought-provoking and impassioned because I do feel strongly about the issues I’m going to be writing about and I do want to do my characters’ stories justice and I DO want to become a better and betterer writer who can feel chuffed to death with myself once I’ve made it to the other side of that big-assed mountain! I am gonna write the shizzle outta Book 4 and…

…and then the dessert menu landed and it all became about chocolatey pancakes and caramelised bananas.

So anyway, that’s a little snippet of my very lovely day. A sniffter of the other side of writing. The side where you get to leave your writing room and wang on a bit of mascara and feel quite groovy trundling along the streets of London to meet the professionals who’ve got your back and are going to kit you out in the best crampons they can for the adventure ahead.

Didn’t manage to shake off my comfy shoes, mind…

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A bit about the books I’ve written…

Since You've Been Gone

Since You’ve Been Gone

The one that started it all! Since You’ve Been Gone is the book that won me my publishing deal on UK national television, thanks to ITV Lorraine and publishing giants, Mills & Boon.

A story about young widow Holly as she learns to live, and love, again while safely carrying the memory of her husband, Charlie.

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A Part of Me

After years of trying, Amy Alwood and James Coffrey have finally been accepted into the adoption process. At long last they are going to get their ‘happy ever after’. And then it all starts to fall apart. Amy throws herself into her work for the distraction, her new client Rohan Bywater is certainly keeping her on her toes. He’s frustrating, lives on the edge… and she can’t stop thinking about him. Rohan’s very clear on one thing though: kids are not part of his future.

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Letting You Go

A lapse in concentration. A tragic accident. A lifetime of guilt.

Can you ever leave the past behind…?

Alex Foster has spent years away from her home town and the people she left there, trying not to inflict herself upon the family she let down. Now she must return and face a past full of ghosts, and a family full of secrets.

Since You’ve Been Gone

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Available to buy here!

‘The perfect summer read – warm, sexy and addictive!’  – Jenny Colgan

‘A thrilling debut from an exciting young author’  – Jackie Collins

‘A brilliant page turner…we’ve discovered a real talent’  – Lorraine Kelly

At the week’s start, Jesse and I had just begun the Monday morning ritual of divvying up jobs for the bakery’s days ahead when the first customer of the week, a Mrs Ludlow-Burns, had walked into Cake.

‘Testicles,’ she’d said tartly from the other side of the counter, ‘on a plate. If you’re up to the job?’ Her cool grey eyes had deviated then, first inspecting the displays around her, then giving all of Jesse’s six-foot-something a considered once-over. Jess, wide and athletic, had towered over the woman, but despite the pearls and tweed she was by far the more intimidating of the two. Outside, a chauffeur had stood waiting dutifully beside a Bentley, shining more violently than the sun. ‘And I’d like for them to be large,’ she’d added, holding up two gloved hands to make her point.

‘Human?’ I’d asked. It was all I could think to say.

She’d gone on to produce a pristine shoebox, Dior set in gold against the crisp white of the lid, inside a pair of brand new black patent leather peeptoe heels, as shiny and new as the Bentley.

We were instructed to put one of the shoes, specifically the heel, right through the thick of a testicle. Mrs Ludlow-Burns said she wanted the cake to look painful. Like marriage.

***

She’s loved and lost – will she ever learn to open her heart again? In one tragic moment, Holly Jefferson’s life as she knows it changes for ever. Now, to the external world, everything’s ‘fine’: she’s renovating her cottage, running her own business, Cake – and generally just getting on with it.

What she feels inside is a different story: lost, alone, unsure of the future – and certain she’ll never love again. When she meets handsome Ciaran Argyll, son of a self-made millionaire businessman, she thinks their worlds couldn’t be more different. He’s rich, confident and gets by on his looks; she’s just trying to get by.

However, there’s more to Ciaran than the superficial world that surrounds him, and he too is wrestling with his own ghosts. Will Holly find the missing ingredient that allows her to put her grief behind her – and embrace an unknown and unexpected tomorrow?

Since You’ve Been Gone book trailer:

Also available in the following titles…

North American

North American

Spanish

Spanish

Italian

German

German

French

French

A Part Of Me

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Click here to buy…

‘A real talent’ – Lorraine Kelly

‘It caught me by surprise how much I loved it’ – Hello

‘He’s back,’ purred a honeyed voice from the crowd behind me. Another appreciative spectator. I kept my eyes trained on Rohan, wondering how many of these people had known him before his accident, and how incredibly gifted he must have been if losing his leg had made him any lesser an athlete.

Something clicked repeatedly near to my right shoulder. I turned and was greeted by a chunky black zoom lens and a scruffy chignon of blonde hair. She’d flown in from Barcelona a day early.

Megan took a few more action shots of her ex boyfriend before turning her pale blue eyes on me. ‘You really did keep an eye on them, didn’t you?’ She smiled, slipping the camera strap over her arm. She held her hands out to me for her child. I swallowed, knowing that my cheeks were on fire. Lily whimpered as I passed her to her mother, the indentation of my wrinkled dress on her cheek. Megan looked at me as if she could see the imprint Lily had left on me too, and just like that, I was redundant again.

***

After years of heartache, Amy and James’ dream of a happy ever after is looking like a reality.But all these years of waiting for their hopes to be realised has changed them. Can they find their way back to each other or is a hopeful new beginning on the horizon? An exploration of love, heartbreak and finding the ‘one’. A Part Of Me is in turns smart, laugh-out-loud funny and heart-warming – and above all, recognizable to women everywhere.

Letting You Go

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Out now! Click here for info

‘I loved it’ – Hello

‘Moving’ – The Sun

‘A riveting read’ – Sunday Express S Magazine

‘Tense and smart family drama’ – Heat

‘Where the hell were you?’ her father demanded, taking in the state of Alex’s nettle-stung arms and legs. Alex watched him look accusingly at Joseph Finn’s lower body, Finn’s matching affliction where the stingers had got him too. Finn’s shirt was inside out. As if he’d gotten dressed in a hurry.

Alex waited uselessly for her dad to turn that look of furious disbelief back on her. A stab of pain seared like a hot iron through her chest as she saw more devastated tears dancing down her dad’s face.

‘YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE WATCHING MY SON!’

***

What if a tragedy occurred and you only had yourself to blame? How do you move on from the past?

Alex Foster lives a quiet life, avoiding the home she hasn’t visited in eight years. Then her sister Jaime calls. Their mother is sick, and Alex must return. Suddenly she’s plunged back into the past she’s been trying to escape.

Returning to her hometown, memories of the tragic accident that has haunted her and her family are impossible to ignore. Alex still blames herself for what happened to her brother and it’s soon clear that her father holds her responsible too. As Alex struggles to cope, can she ever escape the ghosts of the past?