#authorinterview: The Summer of Hopes and Dreams by Lynsey James

Happy Friday everyone. How are we all doing? Hopefully, not too cold I hope! The UK is currently experiencing the #BeastFromTheEast, so there’s lots of snow and we’re all freezing cold(!). One positive is that it’s the perfect weather for staying in and reading. 🙂

Today at A Book and Tea, I’m joined by the lovely Lynsey James, author of The Summer of Hopes and Dreams. You may also be familiar with her other books The Broken Hearts Book Club and Just the Way You Are. If you’re not, get downloading now!

So, let’s get to it…

The Summer of Hopes and Dreams is your latest release, although I’m going to post a fabulous book review later, can you give us a brief synopsis?

Lynsey: Sure! The Summer of Hopes and Dreams is all about Cleo, who’s lost her way a little bit in life. She’s been dealt a bad hand and hasn’t had it easy in life. But finding her teenage bucket list changes everything! She starts embracing life again and even meets a hunky personal trainer named after an iconic Neighbours character.

Cleo Jones has parts of her life and personality that we can all relate to. This is something I love in a character – was this your intention or just something that naturally came about?

Lynsey: A bit of both really – I wanted Cleo to be really relatable as a character, and for people to see elements of themselves in her. At the same time though, her personality was just so strong in my head as I was writing. I knew exactly the kind of person I wanted her to be, and so did she!

There’s a serious topic of weight loss and eating disorders, they were written perfectly within the novel, did you find this difficult to write?

Lynsey: I did because elements of it were quite personal. Like Cleo, I’ve experienced body dysmorphia and have had my own journey with it in the last couple of years. I wanted to make sure I portrayed the themes in the book sensitively without seeming like I was skating over them. There were a couple of scenes that took some time to write because I really wanted to nail the emotional impact. That sometimes meant delving quite deeply into my own experiences, which wasn’t always easy. I’m happy with how they came out though.

Cleo’s dream is to become a dance teacher. What are your hopes and dreams for 2018? Unless you’ve completed some already!

Lynsey: Ooh good question! The main one is to keep writing, which I’m working on right now. I’ve always got about a million ideas in my head anyway! Other than that, I’m trying to be a bit more active and healthier, which is going pretty well so far. I can’t say no to cake though.

What exciting books can we expect from you in the future?

Lynsey: I’m working on an idea right now that I absolutely LOVE. I can’t say too much about it because it’s really early days on it, but it may be my favourite book yet. Watch this space for more news…

And lastly, everyone who visits A Book and Tea gets asked this question, how do you take your tea?

Lynsey: Milk and two sugars, please!


About Lynsey James

Lynsey James Author Photo

Lynsey was born in Fife and is an incurable bookworm. A careers adviser at school once told her writing wasn’t a “good option”, so Lynsey has tried a little bit of everything, including makeup artistry, teaching and doing admin for a chocolate fountain company. Now, she finally has fulfilled her dream and is writing full-time. When not writing, eating cake or drinking tea, she’s daydreaming about the day Matthew Gray Gubler finally realises they’re meant to be together. It’ll happen one day. Follow her on Twitter at @Lynsey1991


About the book

The Summer of Hopes and Dreams cover

Format: E-book
Publisher: HQ Digital
Published: 11th September 2017
Pages: 384 Pages
Genres: Chick Lit, Romance, Disorders

The Blurb

It’s been a difficult year for Cleo Jones. The car accident that crushed her leg didn’t just destroy the village baker’s dreams of becoming a dancer but crushed her confidence too. And recovering from that has been harder than healing from any number of broken bones…

But this season is going to be different. Life is turning around for Cleo! Maybe it’s the invitation from her childhood bully to their high-school reunion that’s shocked her out of a ten-year slump. Or joining Carb Counters and finally starting to shed the weight she’d piled on during her recovery – or maybe it’s catching the eye of her gorgeous personal trainer!

Whatever the answer, this is going to be a feeling she never forgets… watch out world, Cleo Jones is finally fighting back!

Purchase the book: Amazon UK


The Review

Cleo is a girl that we can all relate to. She’s changing her ways and everyone can see her smile fill her face. It’s no secret that she’s having to deal with a few personal issues that seem to rear their ugly head. However, the warm arms of a stranger bring her joy. I loved Cleo, well, who wouldn’t? She’s the type of girl you want to be friends with (she bakes!).

The Summer of Hopes and Dreams is a story about new beginnings and learning to love yourself – let’s spread the word.

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Blog Tour & Extract – Twister River by Siobhan MacDonald

Twisted River - Blog Tour

Happy Tuesday everyone, I hope you’re all having a good week so far 🙂 I’m super excited to be a part of the Twisted River blog tour! In this fun-packed post, you’ll be able to read an extract from the book, which will most definitely leave you wanting more!


Book Extract

Oscar
Curragower Falls, Limerick, Ireland
Late October

She would never have fit as neatly into the trunk of his own car. He presses two fingers against her beautiful neck. Just in case. No pulse. The blow was fatal. He looks at her one last time and closes the trunk.

Her blood is all over his hands. Oscar stares at the curious patterns forming on his pale skin. No latex gloves this time. He tries to think. In the cold he hardly moves, watching the tiny pearls of red slide down the coarse hairs to his wedding band. The burning in his stomach spreads upward to his chest. His control is slipping, his panicked breath forming small clouds in the dark. Oscar is in turmoil. From man to shivering animal in the space of three minutes.

Across the road, water rages over the falls. Oscar has felt like this before. It was a long time ago but the memory is vivid. In fourth grade, he punches Annabel Klein so hard in the stomach that she vomits. Another memory flashes before him. This time he’s standing over Birgitte, watching her die. Up the road, the church bells sound a mournful chime. What’s done is done.

There comes the sudden beat of wings. Looking up, Oscar sees an arrowhead of swans slicing through the night sky. A splutter of rain starts to fall, the drops making a tinkling sound on the plastic bags scattered at his feet. Shards of glass from a smashed jar of peanut butter mingle with exploded bags of popcorn. There’s a squashed banana— the flesh pulped from its skin— and a packet of brownie mix daubed in blood.

Should he look in the trunk of the car one more time to make sure?

He fumbles for the catch. It isn’t like his BMW. This is a VW sedan. The car they’d agonized in, attempting to sort things out. He’d so wanted to straighten things out. His fingers slip left and right, searching for the catch. The VW badge is smeared with blood. There it is. He squeezes with his thumb and forefinger.

“Dad?”

He freezes. He hadn’t seen the kids pick their way across the gravel.

“Elliot?”

His nine- year- old is shivering in pajamas in the driveway. Jess, his twelve- year- old daughter, is behind him.

“You’ve been gone a long time, Dad,” says Elliot.

It’s more a question than a statement.

Jess stands there, perplexed, eyes innocent and wide. He sees her scanning the debris of the grocery shopping all over the driveway. His children cannot know what just happened. They must be protected, no matter what. The roaring in his ears begins to build again. He wills his mouth into a smile, pulling his lips over his teeth. He hopes it looks convincing.

Jess’s face drains of color as she edges toward him. The sound in his ears is almost unbearable.

“What is it, Jess?”

He can see her mouth is moving. She is asking something.

“What did you say?” he shouts.

“Where’s Mom?” she shouts back.


image

The Blurb

Kate and Mannix O’Brien and their children live beside Curragower Falls in Limerick, Ireland, in a house they love but can barely afford. What her family needs, Kate decides, is a vacation. So when she sees a beautiful Manhattan apartment on a house swap website, it seems like a dream come true.

Oscar and his wife, Hazel, live with their two children in a gorgeous apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. They too need a vacation, and Hazel has long wanted to take her children back to her native Limerick. The house swap seems like the perfect solution. But this is anything but an ideal vacation, and the discovery of a body is just the beginning.

Twisted River by Siobhán MacDonald is available now in eBook by Canelo.

Purchase on Amazon


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Blog Tour & Guest Post: The Trials and Tribulations of an Unusual Name

Today, as part of The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper blog tour, I am joined by author Phaedra Patrick who talks about ‘The Trials and Tribulations of an Unusual Name’.

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper in a nutshell:

Having been married for over 40 years, 69-year-old Arthur Pepper is mourning the loss of his wife. On the anniversary of her death, he finally musters the courage to go through her possessions, and happens upon a charm bracelet that he has never seen before.

Purchase: Amazon


The Trials and Tribulations of an Unusual Name

Phaedra PatrickRihanna, Beyonce, Apple and Harper – these days an unusual name is essential for grabbing attention. However, as a shy, studious Oldham schoolgirl in the eighties, I definitely didn’t want to stand out. Back then, I often wished I was called Lisa, Debbie, or even Dave.

My name is Phaedra, after Some Velvet Morning, a Nancy Sinatra song that not many people have heard of.  In Greek mythology, Phaedra was the wife of King Theseus. She fell in love with her stepson, Hipplytus, caused his death and then killed herself. The Nancy Sinatra connection is much less gory.

People read my name, I see their eyes glaze over, then they attempt, ‘Ffffff….’ as if they’re trying not to swear. I’ve been called Phoebe, Fedora (as in the hat), Deborah and, my personal favourite, Madeira Cake. ‘Tell him you’re called Louise,’ my mum, who gave me the name, used to whisper when we visited Father Christmas in his grotto. ‘Your middle name is easier.’

Each time I meet someone new, I have to explain how to say it, where it comes from and that, no, I have no Greek ancestry whatsoever. Nor am I Irish, as my surname and red hair suggest. It’s all very confusing.

Now I’m a writer, it’s rather nice to have a curious name. The late Peaches Geldof named her second son Phaedra, and Primal Scream and Kate Moss covered Some Velvet Morning, so it must be pretty cool. But how on earth do you say it? I prefer to use Phedra, with a flat ‘e’ as in ‘egg’. My friends from Oldham call me Phed. I’m fine with Phaydra too. But please never ever Pheedra. That’s a pronunciation too far.

About Phaedra
Phaedra Patrick studied art and marketing and has worked as a stained glass artist, film festival organiser and communications manager. She was inspired to write Arthur Pepper’s story by the memories of her own charm bracelet. She lives near Manchester with her husband and son.

Find out more about Phaedra: Author Website | Twitter | Facebook


I finished The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper at the weekend and I can honestly say the book has changed my life. I won’t reveal too much now as I’ll be posting a review sometime next week, but let’s just say life is worth living.

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper blog tour banner


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Q and A with Andy Jones

Andy Jones AuthorToday, I’m excited to announce that Andy Jones, author of The Two of Us, has joined me for a Q and A session. I fell head-over-heels in love with Andy’s debut novel and if you haven’t already, you can view my review here.


Hello Clare, it’s lovely to be on your blog, and I’m not just saying that because you’re based in North Wales, literally down the road from the house I grew up in. In fact, it’s close to Fisher’s dad’s place in The Two of Us, so that’s nice, isn’t it. For what it’s worth, I’m writing this Q&A in Smithfield today, in a café around the corner from this week’s day job (freelance advertising copywriter); the coffee’s dreadful!  So…

The Two of Us - Andy JonesI’m sure you have been asked this question many times before, but where did the idea for the novel come from?
The idea for The Two of Us, came from a novel called Girl 99 that I self-published in 2012. That book was about a guy called William Fisher, who learns over the course of the novel that if you devote all your energies to getting laid, you can miss out on something far more important – love.

The inspiration for that book was a friend of mine who was a bit … well, he liked the company of women, shall we say. He would brag about his escapades and conquests, but there was something a bit sad about it – it wasn’t making him happy, that’s for sure. And I started thinking about the old chestnut that claims men look for sex while women look for love, and I thought, yeah, there’s a book in that. I created a love-interest called Ivy and threw the two of them together.

Thing is, when I got to the end of Girl 99 (and you will have guessed already that they get together), I realised I hadn’t finished with this couple. So, on a walk with my wife one day (January 1st, 2013 to be precise), I thought: What would happen if Ivy became pregnant, quickly and unexpectedly? And that is precisely what happens at the start of The Two of Us.

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Valentine’s Book Love – My top 5 weddings!

Opened book and heart shape

Continuing the love for Valentine’s Book Love I give you my top 5 weddings. It only seems natural that I write about this topic because I got engaged in January 🙂 My wedding isn’t going to be until 2017, but that’s ok because it means I can plan and go to lots of wedding fairs!

I tried incredibly hard to pick weddings that came out of literature, so it’s probably  bad of me to only post one – sorry everyone! You book lovers will probably be shouting your disgust at me right now. If you have any favourites, post in the comments below!

Storm of Swords(Image Credit)
5. The Red Wedding in A Storm of Swords by George R.R.Martin
I haven’t actually read this book, but thanks to the Game of Thrones TV series, everyone knows about The Red Wedding. It was essentially a massive blood bath and audiences everywhere were shocked at what happened, yet to me that’s what makes it top 5 worth – the shock factor. Adding a little excitement  to a wedding is always good, I just wouldn’t advise doing this at yours or any wedding for that matter (I realise I sound creepy, I’m not violent or anything!).

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Valentine’s Book Love – QandA & Guest Post from Jennifer Joyce

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! I hope you all have a lovely day, regardless if you’re single or taken! Today on the blog it’s all about the ‘Valentine’s Book Love’. Simona from Sky’s Book Corner has done a great job at creating this love-inspired blog tour where there are some exciting things happening! There is a selection of top 5 posts, giveaways and question and answers. Below you can see a list of bloggers involved and what is happening on their blogs!

SimonaSky’s Book Corner – Top 5 Kisses / Aven Ellis Guest Post – Q&A and Giveaway!
Alba Alba in Bookland Top 5 Dates / Nikki Moore Guest Post – Q&A and Giveaway!
EmmaStar Crossed Reviews – Top 5 Couples
Clare (me) – Top 5 Weddings / Jennifer Joyce Guest Post – Q&A and Giveaway!


Opened book and heart shape
As a writer of romantic comedies, there is a definite relationship between books and Valentine’s Day for me. I want my books to be fun and romantic, which is what I also want on 14th February. Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love, whether that is with a partner or husband who you love despite the dirty socks left lying on the bedroom floor, or during that magical time of falling in love. Both are equally special and I like to write about either situation and hope to find humour in both.

In my novel, Everything Changes But You, Ally feels that her life has become stale with her husband Gavin. Their lives lack spontaneity or any kind of glamour, which Ally craves. So when her birthday arrives, Ally makes a wish as she blows out the candles, wishing for a more exciting life. But when her wish comes true, Ally quickly realises that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side and she begins to truly appreciate the life she had with Gavin. I think Valentine’s Day is a welcome reminder for us to take a step back from our busy everyday lives and appreciate what we have. Those dirty socks left lying on the bedroom floor aren’t so important when you think about how much you love your partner or spouse and how much they enrich your lives. Valentine’s Day is a little less drastic than a life-altering wish, but it can have the same results – with the added bonus of cards and chocolates!

Follow the ‘read more’ tag for a great love inspired question and answer from Jennifer!

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