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Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Author interview and Festive Fun Facts with Isabelle Broom

Isabelle Broom Author

My Map of You by Isabelle Broom will be published on the 21st April 2016. Available to pre-order now.

About the Book

Holly Wright has had a difficult few years. After her mother's death, she's become expert at keeping people at a distance - including her boyfriend, Rupert.
But when Holly receives an unexpected letter explaining that an aunt she never met has left her a house on the Greek island of Zakynthos, the walls she has built begin to crumble. Arriving on the island, Holly meets the handsome Aidan and slowly begins to uncover the truth about the secret which tore her family apart.
But is the island where Holly really belongs? Or will her real life catch up with her first?

Title:     My Map of You
Author: Isabelle Broom
Published By: Penguin
Date:      April 21st 2016
Link: Amazon Available to pre-order now

Author Interview with Isabelle Broom

We are delighted to welcome the lovely Isabelle Broom to our blog today to tell us a little about her brand new book which is due to be published in April. We even managed to squeeze in some Fun festive facts.

How did it feel when you first got the news that your book was being published? 
Thank you! To be honest, it all felt very surreal. It all happened quite quickly after the manuscript went out on submission, so I felt a bit like my head was spinning! But it was just so amazing, and it still is. I called my mum straight away and she was so happy that she cried – that was a special moment.

Your first book is called My Map of You, what was the inspiration behind this novel?
 
I always wanted to write a book set in Zakynthos, because I see the island very much as my second home and I have such a strong connection to it. Holly’s story very grew from the setting, and the island is a character in itself. My aim going forwards is always to make my various settings just as vital as the characters, because it’s so often the place that is the crux of the story. 

Did you always want to be a writer?
 
Yes! I have been writing stories for as far back as I remember. My mum has notebooks full of my ramblings. Writing, to me, is the only thing in the world better than reading. It’s a magical process. 

Apart from Book Reviews Editor at heat magazine, what other jobs have you had?

I’ve worked in many bars and restaurants over the years, but I’ve been in the media industry since leaving university. I started at a local paper, where I was a junior sub editor, then eventually joined heat and worked my way up to my current position. 

Do you feel that reviewing books for Heat magazine has helped you to gain an insight into what readers are looking for in a book? 
It’s certainly afforded me the opportunity to read a far wider range of genres, and I’m a firm believer in the more you read, the better writer you become. I think that each reader is unique when it comes to what they’re looking for in a book, so I would always approach my own work in an open-minded way. A fellow author once told me that you should aim to write the sort of books you want to read, and I’ve always held on to that. 

What is a typical day like for you at the office?
 
Well, as well as being the Book Reviews Editor at heat, I’m also the Deputy Production Editor, and so most of my day involves reading and subbing the pages of the mag. I tend to get around ten-to-fifteen books in the post every day, too, so I spend time entering new titles into the planner and working out which ones I want to review. There are always heaps of emails to be answered, too, and at lunchtimes I try to get out of the office and work on my own book. 

How do you manage to juggle writing with a full-time job? 
You just do. I mean, you really have to want to write, because it can be tricky motivating yourself when you’re exhausted, but for me it’s never been too much of an issue. I write on the bus to work, at lunchtimes, during any downtime I have and in the evenings, too. Weekends are great for nailing bigger chunks and editing what I’ve done during the week. It’s amazing how much you can get done if you just try to write a bit every single day.

Have you ever had writer's block? If so how did you overcome it?
 
Only very occasionally, to be honest, and I feel very lucky about that fact, because I know some writers do struggle with it. I usually find that a nice walk with the dog can give me the thinking time I need to push past any mental blockage.

What motivates you to keep writing?
 
There’s nothing I enjoy more, it’s as simple as that. Even if I wasn’t fortunate enough to have a book deal, I’d still be writing every day. 

Do your characters moods ever affect your mood and vice versa? 
Oh, definitely. I went through a period of horrible, debilitating heartbreak earlier this year, and I certainly harnessed those emotions and fed them back into my characters. Hopefully they have become far more real as a result. I’ve never been affected by their moods per se, but I do begin to see them as real people and when they’re crying, I’m generally crying, too.

What three pieces of advice would you give to an aspiring writer? 
1) Write. It sounds so simple, but it’s the best advice. Nobody is going to write a book for you. Try to get some words down every day.
2) Read lots of books! Every single one will enrich and inspire you, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time.
3) Be honest. I always think the best writing comes from the heart. Don’t be afraid to share what you feel and what you’ve been through, even if you’re scared – it will add huge amounts of depth to your work.

Which authors inspire you? 
All of them. Writing a book takes passion, determination and a lot of hard work. They all deserve medals! I’m always inspired by authors who aren’t afraid to take risks and do something different and exciting. Just look at JK Rowling! She had so many rejections and never gave up. It’s hard to imagine a world without Harry Potter now, isn’t it? She’s amazing, brave and incredibly talented. 

What are you reading at the moment? 
Frazzled by Ruby Wax. It’s all about mindfulness and it’s brilliant! She’s a great writer and so witty, but almost unflinchingly honest. I’m also reading about Prague on a daily basis at the moment, as it’s the setting for my next novel.

If your book was made into a film, what song would you choose for the opening credits?
 
What an amazing question! Well, I guess I would have to opt for something Greek with a plinky-plonky guitar. Zorba The Greek? Or anything by McFly, because I love them. 
Click here for Zorba the Greek dance

Who would you choose to play your favourite character in the film of your book?

That’s easy – it would be Aidan Turner (aka Poldark) playing my Aidan. They have tallness, Irishness and handsomeness in common. Swoon… 


What do you hope readers will take away with them from your book? 
My Map Of You is very much a story about being true to who you really are and learning to accept that person. I fully believe that people are responsible for their own happiness – you can’t rely on another person to make you happy – and until you work out how to do that, you can’t be in a proper, honest relationship. I would like readers to go on the same journey as Holly, my central character, does, and stop being so hard on themselves. We are all unique and lovable, but so often we put pressures on ourselves that we never would on anyone else. Learning to be happy in your own skin is what it’s all about. 

I'm so excited to have won a competition to have a character named after me in your next book, can you tell us anything about it? 
The finer details are still secret at the moment, but I can tell you that the story will revolve around three couples that are all in very different stages of their lives and their relationships. They all come together in Prague and what happens over the course of five days changes all their lives forever.

Thanks for a fantastic insight into your world and now for some festive fun facts;

Festive Fun Facts


How will you be spending Christmas this year? 
Writing! It sounds like a cliché answer, but I have a deadline looming and really need to write every single day. I’ll be doing so at my parents’ house, though, surrounded by cats, dogs, family and lots of food! 

What is your favourite Xmas movie? 
Home Alone is a classic – and Love Actually is a big guilty pleasure of mine. I have to watch that every year, mostly to see Hugh Grant’s amazing dance routine. 


What is your favourite Xmas book? 
The Snowman. It has everything! And my mum met Raymond Briggs years ago and says he was an absolute gent. 


What is your favourite Xmas song? 
All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey, or Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree. I haven’t listened to enough Christmas music this year – must try harder! 

Click here to watch the video


What is your favourite Xmas memory?

Last year, my sister bought my younger brother a giant inflatable dinosaur for Christmas and blew it up before she wrapped it. That was some sight under the tree, I can tell you! I haven’t laughed so much in years.

Thanks you so much for joining us today Isabelle wishing you a very merry Christmas and lots of luck with your book which will be published in April next year. X x x


Sincerely
Book Angel x

About the Author

Isabelle Broom was born in Cambridge nine days before the 1980s began and studied Media Arts at the University of West London before starting a career first in local newspapers and then as a junior sub-editor at heat magazine. She travelled through Europe during her gap year and went to live on the Greek island of Zakynthos for an unforgettable and life-shaping six months after completing her degree. Since then, she has travelled to Canada, Sri Lanka, Sicily, New York, LA, the Canary Islands, Spain and lots more of Greece, but her wanderlust was reined in when she met Max, a fluffy little Bolognese puppy desperate for a home. When she's not writing novels set in far-flung locations, Isabelle spends her time being the Book Reviews Editor at heat magazine and walking her beloved dog round the parks of north London.
You can follow her on Twitter @Isabelle_Broom or find her on Facebook under Isabelle Broom Author.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Jumper by Debbie Johnson


You’ve seen Mark Darcy in the reindeer jumper his mother gave him, now meet Marco Cavelli in this season’s Christmas knit!

For single mum Maggie, Christmas has always been a family occasion – her daughter Ellen filling the house with her bubbly warmth and mistletoe, her dad Paddy having one too many festive tipples, and the traditional family Christmas tree looking like a drunken elf vomited a rainbow all over it.

But this year, with both Ellen and Paddy away for the holidays, Maggie’s facing a truly blue Christmas – alone with nothing but a bottle of Baileys and an M&S turkey dinner.

Until walking the snowy streets of Oxford, Marco Cavelli quite literally crashes into her life – and, complete with broken leg, becomes her unexpected houseguest. All dreamy brown eyes and 6’5” of gorgeousness, the man is hotter and more delicious than a freshly baked mince pie.

Though Maggie always thought it’s a truth universally acknowledged that you never kiss a man in a Christmas jumper?

The next FABULOUS book from Debbie Johnson, author of best-selling Christmas number one, ‘Cold Feet at Christmas’ and the summer hit ‘Pippa’s Cornish Dream’.

Author: Debbie Johnson
Title: Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Jumper
Publishers: Harper Impulse
Publication Date: 5th Nov 2015
Link: Uk: Amazon US: Amazon

My Review

The first thing that attracted me to this book was the title which I thought was really witty and when I received the book I loved the jolly cover, then I found out that Debbie Johnson was from Liverpool as am I so that was the cherry on the top.
The overall feeling I got from this book was one of warmth. It's a lovely story about a lady called Maggie who has brought her daughter Ellen up single handedly, although she luckily has always had the support from her own dad. Becoming a teenage mum complicated her life in more ways than one but she had a lovely relationship with her now eighteen year old daughter who was becoming more independent and grown up every day. 
Maggie was quite content with her lot until she quite literally bumped into Marco, a handsome American man, causing him to fall off his bike and break his leg, she feels so guilty that she reluctantly allows his sister- in-law to persuade her to look after him until Christmas. She has no intention of falling in love but being in close proximity to this hunk of a man she realises he is stirring feelings up that she had never had before, especially during the moment when she is taping his leg up so he can have a shower...Phew even I could feel how hot it was getting in there.
I loved the relationship that Maggie had with all the brides who's dresses she made so perfectly and the fact that they invited her to their weddings showed how highly they thought of her.
The relationship with Marco provides Maggie with a taste of happiness but also dredges up something from her past that she feels will cause him pain in the future. Will Maggie let Marco convince her that she definitely should kiss a man in a Christmas jumper? Read this fabulous festive and touching story to find out.

Huge thanks to Harper Impulse and Debbie Johnson for the review copy.
Sincerely
Book Angel x

About the Author


Debbie Johnson lives and works in Liverpool, where she divides her time between writing, caring for a small tribe of children and animals, and not doing the housework.She writes romance, fantasy and crime - which is as confusing as it sounds!

Her first humorous contemporary romance, Cold Feet At Christmas, a seasonal tale of snow-bound fun, was released by HarperImpulse last year, and became an Amazon top ten best-seller. Her latest, Never Kiss A Man In A Christmas Jumper, is out now. 

You can also find her supernatural crime thriller, Fear No Evil, featuring Liverpool PI Jayne McCartney, on Amazon, published by Maze/Avon Books.

Debbie also writes urban fantasy, set in modern day Liverpool. Dark Vision and the follow-up Dark Touch are published by Del Rey UK, and earned her the title 'a Liverpudlian Charlaine Harris' from The Guardian.