Blog Tour: Review & Author Interview – Driving Home For Christmas by A.L. Michael

cover55067-mediumSource: Carina UK via NetGalley
Format: E-book – Read on Kindle
Publish / Release Date: 28th October 2014 by Carina UK
Price: N/A
Date Read: 28th October 2014
Genre: Romance / Family
Links: Amazon UK / Amazon US

Note: I received this review copy of Driving Home For Christmas for free in return for an honest review during this blog tour. The opinions and thoughts I share in this review are my own.

Goodreads Summary:

Megan McAllister is home for Christmas…whether she likes it or not!

Christmas is about family…and for Megan family means two people: herself, and her daughter Skye. It doesn’t mean her parents who, ten years ago, saw her pregnancy as anything but a miracle. And it definitely doesn’t include her irresistible ex-boyfriend Lucas Bright.

So ‘Driving Home for Christmas’ has never been top of Megan’s festive playlist. But for Skye, she knows she needs to spend the holiday season with the people she’s left behind. She can do this. Even if the thought of meeting Lucas under the mistletoe still has her feeling like she’s drunk one-too-many Snowballs!

But somewhere between the hanging of stockings and the crackle of wrapping paper, Christmas starts to sparkle. And Megan begins to wonder if family could be bigger than her and Skye after all…

My Review:

Christmas reading in October? Usually something I wouldn’t do but Driving Home For Christmas is a fantastic story and one I would definitely encourage others to read.

The story is mainly told in the present day, in the 3rd person and from the point of view of Megan McAllister. Occasionally though, the author gives us different viewpoints such as the wonderful character of Megan’s daughter Skye. The author also assists the reader by filling in the back story bit by bit, by adding in italicised scenes from the past of Megan. This allows the reader to find out so much about the characters and stories surrounding Megan, including her previous relationship and friendship with Lucas, the early few months with baby Skye and so much more. These little glimpses every now and again – which do jump around and are not in a continuous order – enable the reader to puzzle through and put together this literary jigsaw.

There are so many wonderful characters in this story which all fit together and have their own amazing and real characteristics. The main character Megan has turned into a happy and loving mother but who has been away from her parents and brother for so long and for such a reason that returning is very hard. But she will do anything for her daughter Skye. Skye is an amazing girl; she is naturally loving and outgoing and at times far too grown up for her age but intuitive about her mother’s needs and her own. Skye wants to be a private investigator when she grows up and spends a lot of her time practicing; with great effect. Into the story also comes Lucas; former best friend and boyfriend of Megan and now handsome-hunk teacher / rock god. Lucas is, very fortunately for this story, single and living back in the same village he and Megan grew up in. Through the flashbacks, we find out that Lucas was the person Megan always ran to when she needed to get away from home and her parents and in the main story we see a rekindling of this friendship which is utterly sweet and wonderful. With the added minx of Skye to help things along, what could possibly go wrong?! Add in Anna, her gay lodger Jeremy and Megan’s parents the story is well and expressively told and a pure joy to read.

This book is a wonderful introduction to Christmas and one which many will be able to relate to. I was quickly drawn into the story and sped through it in around 4/5 hours. I didn’t want the story to end… Aww! I really hope you enjoy this story as much as I have. Merry Christmas!

Rating: ♥♥♥♥ – I loved it.

 

An Interview with author A.L. Michael:

Hi A.L. Michael and welcome to the blog! Thank you so much for taking a few minutes to answer a few questions for us. Congratulations on ‘Driving Home for Christmas’ which came out just 3 days ago!

A.L. is extremely mysterious – may we call you something else? And being a proper British host I must ask… Tea? Coffee? Mulled wine? Biscuits?

Call me Andi! Ooh, mulled wine is very seasonal, any excuse for something alcoholic and Christmassy!

 

Now we’re comfortable, could you please introduce yourself a little – any Christmassy likes, dislikes and hobbies you can tell us about?

I’m pretty simple! I’m a bit of a hipster writer type, a cliche really! Christmas for me is about being family, drinking fizzy wine, eating all the amazing food that I try not to eat the rest of the year.

My ideal Christmas is when I make breakfast for everyone, we lazily open presents, we all cook together, and everyone’s having fun and laughing, then passes out eating Quality Street in front of the TV. What I hate? Doing things just because you should- everyone’ Christmas should be different! Also my Mum is amazing and wants to cater to everyone, so she gets herself really stressed. But I know I would too if I was cooking for 15 people!

Hobbies…I’m into running, am desperately waiting for my new gym to open, and I love an excuse to dance, whether it’s salsa, forro or zumba. Something with a latin rhythm and I’m good to go!

 

One guide to writing says “Write what you know” – is this what you have done in ‘Driving Home for Christmas’?

Actually, no, not at all. The story appeared instantaneously, and I knew I wanted to write a book with a kid in. I’m getting to that age when my friends are settling down, and I wanted to think about what it would be like if one of us had a fairly grown up kid now. I set it in a rural village, when I live in London…I did always want to be in a band in secondary school though!

 

‘Driving Home for Christmas’ is of course a Christmas book… Duh. I would love to know, did you write in season or out and was it hard to write or a book that wrote itself?

Oh, I wrote it in July! It was crazy hard to get in the Christmas spirit. I was sweating away, eating BBQ and wearing flip flops- insane! The great thing is, now it’s out I’m completely feeling Christmassy and really excited for December to get here!

 

If you had to describe ‘Driving Home for Christmas’ in just one sentence, what would it be?

A nostalgic, bittersweet story about a young woman going home with her daughter, after running away from home at 17.

 

Do you have any plans in the pipeline for a continuation or a next book?

I absolutely love Skye and Megan and Lucas, and whilst I think their story has been completed, you can never say never. I didn’t think I was doing a sequel to The Last Word (my last novel) and now I am!

 

For fun, if you were stuck on a desert island and you could take only 3 items with you, what would they be and why?

I’m terrible about these, I’m always way too practical! Water filtration tablets, a blow up bed etc…but if I was being cheeky, I’d say lots of books, an amazing pair of sunglasses and…yeah, suncream. I can’t help it. Even fantasy scenarios are practical!

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions, and of course – Merry Christmas!

 

A bit about the author: 

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A.L. Michael

A.L Michael is a writer and workshop leader from North London. She has a BA in Creative Writing with English Lit, an MA in Creative Entrepreneurship and is starting an MsC in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes. She likes learning and hates essays.

She’s a fan of cheap wine, expensive chocolate and still wants to be a secret agent when she grows up, but she’ll settle for lying on the page.

Twitter // Website // Goodreads

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Review: Damsel In Distress? (Time-Travel to Regency England #2) by Kristina O’Grady

Welcome one and all to my stop on the Damsel In Distress? Blog Tour. Before we start with the review, do we all have refreshments to hand? Good!

Source: Carina UK via Girls Love to Read Blog Toursdamsel-in-distress4
Format: E-book – Read on Kindle
Publish / Release Date: 30th September 2014 by Carina UK
Price: N/A
Date Read: 26th October 2014
Genre: Time-Travel / Historical – Regency / Romance
Links: Amazon UK / Amazon US

Note: I received this review copy of Damsel In Distress? for free in return for an honest review during this blog tour. The opinions and thoughts I share in this review are my own.

Please be aware that this book contains language and situations that are adult in nature.

 

Damsel In Distress is the second book in the ‘Time-Travel to Regency England’ series by author Kristina O’Grady. I’ve been hearing fabulous things about this series so I was eager to join in when I heard about this fantastic tour.

Goodreads Summary:

A chance meeting that could scandalise the ton!

19th century England. Harriet is running for her life, chased by three men on horseback through Hyde Park. Knocked unconscious, everything goes black…

Philip, Baron Eaglestone, has never seen such a beautiful damsel in distress. And he’s even more intrigued when she opens her eyes, and begins to speak. Because this irresistible woman can only remember her first name, and has no knowledge as to who was trying to kill her… or where she is!

As Philip cares for Harriet, their attraction burns… and neither can shake the feeling that their chance meeting was truly a moment out of time. But if her memory returns, Harriet will be faced with a question. Will she return home or could it be that family is where her heart is – with a Regency rake!

Add Damsel In Distress on Goodreads here!

I have been a massive fan of regency romances since my introduction to Mills & Boon books many years ago. Since then I haven’t really picked any up, but since reading Damsel In Distress? I’m once again raring to pick them up again along with all the Jane Austen’s, Bronte’s and so forth. Damsel In Distress? however, brings something rather different to the table; time-travel. Somehow, the main female character has travelled back in time from the present day to England in the regency era. Whether there was also some country-to-country travel too I couldn’t quite work out though I do suspect so. I loved the idea of time-travel though – it opens up so many possibilities and answers the fantasies of many historical romance fans! How the time-travel element is explained though was a little…unbelievable, though so I kind of skipped over that. I had no trouble imagining the scenes of horse chases, balls and carriage rides thanks to lashings of Pride and Prejudice marathons in my youth and the wonderfully descriptive text of the author.

I found the characters of Harriet and Philip to be fun, exciting, likeable and well-matched. It was definitely a romance story with some mystery and action thrown in for good measure. After Harriet is knocked unconscious, she doesn’t remember anything apart from her name so the majority of the story concerns her trying to find out who she is, why she is being chased and (of course) falling in love with Philip. Philip, a Baron and rather rakish character, is quick to fall for the mysterious and amnesiac beautiful woman he rescues in Hyde Park. Of course, scandal is ripe in this age and rumours are soon flying about the ton (fashionable society)! There were a few intimate scenes between Philip and Harriet but these, although steamy, were descriptive enough to get the gist but didn’t overly go into detail. As for the other characters in the story, they all have their own individualistic characteristics which separate one from another; from the butler to the Duchess and the maid to Philip’s sister, each person has their own way about them and you can tell how much the author has really put into this story.

The story flowed at a good pace with relatively short chapters – please don’t be put off when you see 38 chapters listed! The book when put down was easy to pick back up again if you needed to or could only read for a short time. Personally my attention was caught in the first couple of pages and I read the book in a single evening.  I haven’t yet read book one of the Time-Travel to Regency England series but as it appears the stories can be read individually it will be easy to go back to the start. This book does contain the major characters from book 1, though as minor characters in this story. Overall it was a very enjoyable read and I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more in this series and by this author in the future.

Thank you to Carina UK for giving me the opportunity to review this fantastic book.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥ – I loved it.

About the author:

Kristina O’Grady

Kristina O’Grady has always loved telling a good story. She took up writing at a young age and spent many hours (when she should have been doing her math homework) writing romance stories in a book she hid in her sock drawer. She still remembers the first romance book she ever read. She was without anything to read (oh no) while on vacation with her family and bought a book in the small shop in the hotel lobby. It involved an Earl, a horse and very bad fever and of course, a Lady. Since then she has been hooked on the Regency era.

Kristina grew up on a cattle ranch in Western Canada and although has been told many times she should be writing about cowboys, she can’t seem to leave the fantasy of Dukes and Earls alone. She worked in the Oil and Gas Industry for several years first as a laborer, machine operator, crew foreman, technician and eventually as an environmental consultant. She loves getting out in the fresh air and enjoying the peace of nature. In mid 2000 Kristina met her own knight in shining armor/cowboy who swept her off her feet and across the world to New Zealand, where she now lives on a sheep and beef farm with her amazingly supportive husband, three gorgeous young kids, seven working dogs and one very needy cat.

Twitter // Website

 

This blog was brought to you by JennyBee’s Book Blog in concert with Girls Love To Read Blog Tours

Blog-Tours

Book Blitz: Mollywood (Carved Hearts #2) by L.G. Pace III & Michelle Pace (& Giveaway Link)

Title: Mollywood (Carved Hearts #2)Mollywood cover
Authors: L.G. Pace III & Michelle Pace
Publish Date: 27th October 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Goodreads summary:

“A good chef can throw seemingly random ingredients into a pot and create something delicious. On rare occasions, fate does the same thing with hearts. With the right combination of elements at just the right time, a couple can fall head over heels in love. That being said, blending two lives can get messier than any kitchen and also a hell of a lot harder to clean up.”

Molly’s food truck took Austin by storm, and she’s got more prospects than she knows what to do with. Her crazy ex is out of the picture, and she’s moved in with her gorgeous boyfriend, Joe. She and Joe rarely see one another, and when they do, their time is squandered arguing. Molly’s anxious to break this cycle because the tension between them is literally making her sick.

After years alone and shattered, Molly has reawakened a part of Joe that he was sure couldn’t be revived. He’s terrified of losing her, but their combined baggage makes every step forward seem littered with landmines. Molly’s more than worth the fight, but she shouldn’t be the one he’s constantly battling. A master carpenter by trade, Joe has restored countless treasures which seemed beyond repair. He’s determined that he and Molly won’t be the exception.

Fate kicks in the door and rocks them to their very foundation. Boundaries are tested, tears shed, and Molly and Joe will question everything they think they know about themselves and each other.

You can add Mollywood to your Goodreads To Read list here!

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Excerpt:

I found myself looking over at Joe’s perfect profile, and felt that familiar ache in my chest. Frustrated at our disjointed state and suddenly overwhelmed with emotion, I stopped in my tracks. Joe turned to face me, a perplexed expression marring his flawlessness. I placed my hands on both of his uncharacteristically smooth cheeks and looked him in the eye.

“I love you, Joe.” I felt my throat narrow painfully, and blinked away unexpected tears.

“I love you, too.” His frown deepened and he brushed my sweeping bangs away from my eyes. “What’s wrong, Molly?”

It was a good question and I wished I had a reasonable explanation. We’d come so far and been through so much, it seemed unfair that we couldn’t get it together long enough to enjoy any of it. I’d been wracking my brain for weeks to find the right thing to say, a verbal Band-Aid to slap over a hemorrhaging wound. It made me wish my love life could be as straightforward as my job.

A good chef can throw random ingredients into a pot and create something delicious. On rare occasions, fate does the same thing with hearts. With the right combination of elements at just the right time, a couple can fall head over heels in love. That being said, blending two lives can get messier than any kitchen and also a hell of a lot harder to clean up. I wasn’t usually such a bawl baby, but when it came to Joe, all bets were off. I was freaked out about “us” just then, and what we were becom- ing. I pulled his face down to meet mine and kissed his lips delicately, so he wouldn’t be covered in my lipstick all night.

“Let’s try to enjoy ourselves and talk about the ugly stuff afterwards. Okay?”

mollywood teaser5

A bit about the authors:

 L.G. Pace III

LG Pace

L.G.Pace III has spent several decades pouring creative energy into other things besides writing. He began his current journey by telling his two daughters bedtime stories about a magical realm and a hero named Terel. Though that story is still sitting unfinished in the electronic universe he has managed to bring two other stories out of the dark maelstrom of his mind for others to enjoy.

He dwells in the great state of Texas with his wife, novelist Michelle Pace and their children.

You can find L.G. Pace III on his Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads pages.

Michelle Pace

Michelle Pace

Michelle Pace lives in north Texas with her husband, Les, who is also a novelist. An Iowan native, she is the mother of two lovely daughters, Holly and Bridgette, and one uber-charismatic son, Kai. A former singer and actress, Michelle has always enjoyed entertaining people and is excited to continue to do so as a writer.

Michelle has written a number of other books including: Fury (Sound Wave Series #1), Rage (Sound Wave Series #2), The Perpetual Quest for the Perfect Life (Jefferson Point #1), Something’s Come Up and Crazy Love.

You can find Michelle on her Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads pages. You can also find Michelle’s website here and sign up to her newsletter here.

 

L.G. Pace III and Michelle Pace are running a Giveaway!

The prize: A $10 Amazon gift-card and Signed copies of Good Wood & Mollywood – Carved Hearts #1 & #2.

Take me to the giveaway!

This blog was brought to you by JennyBee’s Book Blog with the assistance of, and in concert with Between the Sheets Promotions.

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Weekly Round-Up – 26.10.14

Hello and welcome to my weekly round-up, covering (as far as I am able to remember) the past 2 weeks of beautiful book deliveries and buying sprees. During one spree in a shop while looking for books I also bought a secondhand Kindle – this will be fantastic for splitting my blogging book reads from my personal pleasure reads on my current Kindle. Confusing? Better get on then!

NetGalley:

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The Great Christmas Knit Off by Alexandra Brown – Pub 25.09.14
Three Amazing Things About You by Jill Mansell – Pub 15.01.15
Empire (Chronicles of the Invaders #2) by John Connolly & Jennifer Ridyard – Pub 01.01.15
The Iron Ghost (The Copper Promise #2) by Jen Williams – Pub 26.02.15
Braving Fate (The Mythean Arcana Series #1) by Linsey Hall – Pub 10.11.14
Pyramid (Jack Howard #8?) by David Gibbins – Pub 06.11.14
~ALL EBooks~

Books Received for Blog Tour:

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For Friday 31st October: Driving Home For Christmas by A.L. Michael (EBook) – Received via NetGalley
For Wednesday 19th November: The List by Joanne Bolouri
For Saturday 1st October: Loving the Senator (Capitol Affairs #1) by Mia Villano (EBook)

Books Bought:

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Divine by Choice by P.C. Cast – £1.00 via CS
The Vampire Next Door by Angela Snyder (EBook) – 77p via Amazon UK
The Rosie Project – £1.00 via CS
Pretty Little Mistakes – £1.00 via CS
Almost Heaven by Judith McNaught – 15p via CS
Blood & Ice by Robert Masello – 15p via CS
Pita Ten #1, #2 & #3 – 40p via CS
Death Note #1 & #2 – 20p via CS
Mar #1 – 10p via CS

Total = £4.77

Accepted Unsolicited Review Requests:

cover53825-medium

Dead Gorgeous by Elizabeth Flynn (EBook) – Received via NetGalley

Blogs Posted:

Review: Finding Her Way Back by Heather Van Fleet – 13th October 2014
Event: Octobathon – 17th-19th October 2014 – 14th October 2014
Event: Octobathon Reading List – 16th October 2014
Event Write Up: Octobathon – 17th-19th October 2014 – 19th October 2014
Cover Reveal: One hundred Christmas Proposals by Holly Martin – 20th October 2014
Event: Reading Cram 2.0 – Chills and Thrills Readathon – 20th October 2014
Blog Tour: An Interview with Joan Ellis, Author of I Am Ella, Buy Me – 22nd October 2014
Review: The Monogram Murders (The New Hercule Poirot Mystery #1) by Sophie Hannah – 23rd October 2014
Event: Reading Cram 2.0 – Chills and Thrills – Challenge #1: TBR – 24th October 2014

~*~

So, plenty for me to read and some very exciting blog tours coming up this week and beyond. I hope you’ll join me for them x

Event: Reading Cram 2.0 – Chills and Thrills – Challenge #1: TBR

Welcome to my first challenge of Reading Cram 2.0 – Chills and Thrills Readathon. Not spotted my intro post? Read it here!

#1: The TBR Challenge 

Book 1: The Angel Inside (The Luminosi Brotherhood Series #1) by Rea Ford

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This is a book I was approached to review and has been waiting on my TBR pile for far too long. It looks like a great short-ish book to start with!

Spooky theme: Paranormal / Angels

Book 2: The Vampire Next Door by Angela Snyder

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I had been eyeing this book on Amazon UK for quite a while but when I heard that it was on sale, I quickly snapped up this intriguing read.

Spooky theme: Vampires

Book 3: Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles #1) by Gena Showalter

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I bought this book in it’s physical form as a treat to myself a few weeks ago. I love the writing of Gena Showalter and the Alice in Wonderland stories so I’m excited to see what an amalgamation of the two with added zombies will be like.

Spooky theme: Zombies

Book 4: The Wolf’s Mate Book 6: Logan & Jenna by R.E. Butler

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I found this book as an Amazon Kindle freebie and I’m not going to lie, I just got it for the cover. Phwoar!

Spooky theme: Werewolves

Book 5: The Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy #2) by Deborah Harkness

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I have been trying to get around to reading this book for far too long and it really needs to go back to the library soon. Really hope I get round to it this time!

Spooky theme: Vampires, Witches & Demons

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Well, that’s my list! I may get through it, I may not. I will certainly give it my best shot though. I look forward to seeing what everyone else decides to read!

Review: The Monogram Murders (The New Hercule Poirot Mystery #1) by Sophie Hannah

UK_Monogram_Murders_jacketSource: Library
Format: Hardback
Publish Date: 9th September 2014 by HarperCollins
Price: N/A
Date Read: 18th October 2014
Genre: Crime / Mystery

I read the Monogram Murders as part of my Octobathon (see below) choices and it was a fantastic one to start with.

Octobathon: Intro // Reading List // Write-Up

Hercule Poirot’s quiet supper in a London coffee house is interrupted when a young woman confides to him that she is about to be murdered. She is terrified, but begs Poirot not to find and punish her killer. Once she is dead, she insists, justice will have been done.

Later that night, Poirot learns that three guests at the fashionable Bloxham Hotel have been murdered, a cufflink placed in each one’s mouth. Could there be a connection with the frightened woman? While Poirot struggles to put together the bizarre pieces of the puzzle, the murderer prepares another hotel bedroom for a fourth victim…

As a massive fan of Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple and the rest of Agatha Christie’s wonderful creations, when I discovered that there was a new one coming out I was extremely excited! Fortunately my library was in the process of ordering a few copies so I added my name to the rather long list. Unfortunately as soon as I received it, it was nabbed by the parental authorities for their own nefarious reading and I had to wait – entirely far too long if I’m honest!

In London, Hercule Poirot’s dinner in a local coffee house is interrupted when a young woman called Jennie comes in, hiding from an unknown assailant, professing that she is next to be murdered. The story mainly takes place in London, around the Bloxham Hotel (a fictional place I believe). Edward Catchpool, a Scotland Yard detective is called to the hotel after the bodies of three people are found in rooms of the hotel. Calling upon the great detective Hercule Poirot, he and Catchpool are swiftly on hand to tackle this mystery. Catchpool takes over the role formerly held by Arthur Hastings as the student and sounding board to Poirot. He is also the main narrator of the story and it is written from his point of view. I very much enjoyed the narration and the new point of view from Hastings. The character of Catchpool is a fantastic way for the audience to interact with and understand the plot. From the half-explanations or little hints made by Poirot, the audience has a friend in the narrator who half the time doesn’t understand himself. This explanation and conversation is something which I love in a mystery or crime book. I may not move from A to J to Z like Poirot, but I can certainly have a good go – especially with the aid of a 3rd party like Catchpool.

The mystery itself was a real muddle and the narrator and reader both do end up terribly confused at times – at least I did! The author has done a fantastic job of not just continuing the work of Agatha Christie, but building upon it. It isn’t the same by any means and should not be taken so. This is a work by a completely different author and I really hope Sophie Hannah writes lots more.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥ – I loved it.

Blog Tour: An Interview with Joan Ellis, Author of I Am Ella, Buy Me

Welcome to my stop on the Joan Ellis ‘I Am Ella, Buy Me’ blog tour! I have a wonderful interview for you with this fantastic author and I am extremely excited to share it with you.

 

i am ella buy meTitle: I Am Ella, Buy Me
Author: Joan Ellis
Publish/Release Date: 2oth July 2014
Genre: Fiction – Humour
Purchase Links: Amazon UK / Amazon US

 

About the book:

Based on Joan’s own experiences in top London advertising agencies, this funny, fast-paced tale is set against a backdrop of Thatcher’s Britain where money trumped morals and lust was a must. ‘I am a ginger tom. I am a boy racer. I am a housewife. I am a pain in the arse.’ Working in Soho’s mad, bad Adland in the sexist 80s, Ella David is a rare beast – a woman in a man’s world. When her lothario boss, Peter Richards, bored with his ball-clicker, demands something or someone new to play with, Ella finds herself battling more than just fat thighs. Faced with losing her job or sleeping with him, Ella turns to her friend, Adam Hart the one constant bright spot in her life. Can love help her go from a girl in the firing line to a woman calling the shots?

 

An interview with author Joan Ellis:

Hi Joan welcome to the blog – thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions for me! Just to warn you though, this is my first author interview so please be kind!

Hello, no worries, it’s my first time too! I’ve had a sneaky peak at your questions – they’re great!

 

Let’s start off on the right foot. Thanks to Ella and Adam, reading your book made me think constantly of cake… What’ll you be having? And can I offer a cup of tea, coffee or other to go with it?

Home-made chocolate cake, New York cheesecake, Christmas cake, coffee and walnut, lemon drizzle, raspberry Pavlova, Yule log, almond croissant. The richer the better. And a cup of black Earl Grey, please. On second thoughts, better make that a pot. Thanks!

 

Now we’re comfortable, could you please introduce yourself a little – any likes, dislikes and hobbies you can tell us about?

Can’t get enough of:

Love and laughter with family and friends.

London (especially my beloved Crouch End), the Isle of Wight for taking me to its heart and Capri for the best gelato in the world.

The sea – the one place where I don’t have a care in the world. I saw a sea-horse once. Not going to lie – I thought it would be the size of, well, a horse.

My thatched cottage – like living in a tea-room but with less people and more cakes.

My cat, Baby Ragger – born to be cute. Cheers me up when I’m down.

Could certainly live without:

Injustice

Illness

Dishonesty

Tofu

 

One guide to writing says “Write what you know” – is this what you have done in ‘I Am Ella, Buy Me’?

Yes, up to a point. Like Ella, I was a woman in a man’s world, an award-winning copywriter in top London advertising agencies with a penchant for bad boys and big hair. Well, it was the 80s.

Some sleaze did actually say to me: ‘I’ve never had you, have I?’  Wrong on so many levels but the perfect quote for Peter!

Obviously, ‘I am Ella. Buy me’ is a novel; what happens never happened in real life but it’s fun to think some of it might have. I’m just relieved Peter isn’t out there somewhere, stalking the corridors of power, causing havoc!

 

‘I Am Ella, Buy Me’ has some fantastic characters (Wally and Adam) and some not so good ones. I am of course talking about the sleaze-ball (Peter) and villainous weasel (Tom) – are any of these based on people you have come across before?

Wally is based on my darling Dad, the funniest man I ever met. Adam is a great friend of mine who has seen me through the best and worst of times. Kind, witty and most importantly, knows there’s nothing a slab of cake can’t solve.

Tom and Peter are pure fiction, each created using a mishmash of unsavoury characteristics. I love a good villain. Every book needs at least one to add colour to the black and white pages.

 

Do you have any plans in the pipeline for a next book?

I have just launched my first psychological thriller, The Killing of Mummy’s Boy. People ask why I didn’t move when I found myself sitting next to a murderer on a train. In the hour I was trapped with him, I was terrified, horrified and sickened but never bored. What better start to a novel?

My third book Guilt is out soon. Seven-year-old Susan is alone with her younger brother when he dies of an overdose. The guilt informs the rest of her life. When it threatens to destroy not only her but also her family, she must revisit her past to discover the truth.

If you want to give someone a fright this Christmas, these are the gifts that keeps on giving!

 

For fun, if you were stuck on a desert island and you could take only 3 items with you, what would they be and why?

Something to write on – I could invent a host of characters to keep me company. One might even be smart enough to help me escape!

A massive photo album going back years – I’d relive all the happy times spent with my daughter, my husband and the rest of my family and friends.

Red lipstick – no-one would see me wearing it but it would make me feel more glam.

 

Finally for the most important question. In a cream tea, do you put the jam or cream on first?

Love it! Always the cream on first but I’m a Londoner, what do I know?

Thank you. It’s been fun and thought provoking.

 

And thank you Joan – you’ve given us some amazing answers!

 

A bit about the author:

joan ellis

 Joan Ellis

Advertising copywriter, comedy writer, performer, lecturer – Joan Ellis has been them all. With a full-time job in a top London advertising agency and a new baby, she did what any right-minded woman would’ve done and set up a comedy club. She even appeared on the same bill as Jo Brand. Once.

A career highlight was casting a black and white moggie as Humphrey Bogart for her award-winning cat food commercial. Other great performers who brought her words to life include Penelope Keith and Harry Enfield.

As a lecturer, Joan taught comedian Noel Fielding all he knows about advertising before encouraging him to showcase his creative talents on a wider stage.

Working for The Press Association, she tutored Wordsworth’s great-grandson in the art of copywriting: Buy a host of golden daffodils and get a blue one, free!

Suffering from swine flu and sweating like a pig, she moved from London to the Isle of Wight where she lives on cream teas with her beloved husband, daughter and two cats.

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