Today I am one of the stops on the blog tour for It’s a Wonderful Night by Jaimie Admans. Jaimie will be telling us a little about the novel that is based on actual facts! **If you live in the UK, there is a giveaway going on!**
One night will change their lives forever…
Georgia Bailey is closing up her little charity shop in Oakbarrow when she gets a mysterious late night call from a stranger, threatening to jump off the town’s bridge.
Something about the man’s voice is faintly familiar but all she can do is stay on the line and, after talking for hours and losing sense of time passing, coax him back from the edge.
The next morning, Georgia walks to work, buys a festive latte from Leo (who she’s had a crush on for months!) at the local coffee shop, and is shocked when she suddenly recognizes the voice from last night…
A heartwarming festive love story that reminds us that even in the darkest of times, hope is always just around the corner!
**Also available from all other ebook retailers.**
*Oakbarrow is based on a real town.*
It’s a place I used to visit when I was young, a little town in Wales where I always went to do my Christmas shopping, and used to love going there every year. When I started thinking about It’s a Wonderful Night and where it would be set, this was the place that came to mind without consciously thinking about it. I could instantly picture the shops I had envisioned in the book in this real setting, despite the fact I haven’t been there for at least eighteen years. I went on Google Maps and had a look at the place on Street View, and instead of the bustling busy place that I remembered, now it’s all faded shops and boarded up empty buildings. It made me sad to see it as it is now – a real reminder of the ‘death of the high street’ stories we constantly see on the news. That inspired the part of the story where Georgia and Leo try to bring Christmas back to their own failing high street.
*Some of the things Georgia mentions actually happened.*
One of the things I love about writing books is that you can use little anecdotes from real life that you wouldn’t get to share anywhere else. For example, the part where Georgia tells Leo about singing along to The Wombles with a random woman in a supermarket – this actually happened to me! It was a brilliant moment, and I thought at the time that I would use it in a book one day! I used to work in a charity shop so I got to use a bit of experience from that, and when Georgia mentions that the shop phone is a wired one fixed to the wall because someone accidentally sold the cordless one – that genuinely happened in the charity shop where I worked!
*I got the idea after listening to Under Pressure by Queen & David Bowie, and the soundtrack to the book was this and Being Alive from the musical Company.*
After seeing a poor cover version on TV, I was listening to the original on Youtube and the idea of someone working on a suicide prevention helpline and answering the phone to a voice she recognised popped into my head. I’ve always thought that the song inspired it somehow, even though I don’t quite understand the connection! I can’t listen to music while I write because it stops me concentrating, but generally each book has a ‘soundtrack’ – usually one or two songs that I listen to before I start writing each day. For this book, it was Under Pressure and the other song was Being Alive from Company, a line of which also became a theme in the book.
*The connection with It’s a Wonderful Life was kind of an afterthought.*
I’d already named Georgia Bailey and outlined the plot before I realised there were similarities between my story and our best-loved Christmas film! Georgia stops Leo from jumping off a bridge, like Clarence does for George in the film, and I realised I could use the similarities as a hook for my story. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed to naturally fit, even to the point where Georgia pretends to work in a bank, similar to where the real George Bailey works in the film, and I didn’t even realise this myself until the moment Leo points it out in chapter three! I wanted a title that tied in with the film too, and my working title was Every Time A Bell Rings, which I didn’t expect to be able to keep, and my editor renamed it to It’s a Wonderful Night, which I love and is a much better fit!
*The character of Leo was inspired by a friend of mine.*
For about five years now, I’ve been friends with someone who I call ‘the happiest guy I know’. He makes me laugh every time I speak to him. If I’m feeling down, I send him a text or email because I know he’ll cheer me up. He’s never without a smile and something hilarious to say. And we were chatting one night and he opened up about having low self esteem, anxiety, and struggles with depression.
And it absolutely threw me, because it had never crossed my mind that there was something hidden underneath his cheeky grin. He was the last person I would ever have imagined suffering from mental health issues. It really made me think about that quote “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle that you know nothing about.”
I really wanted to show this through Leo. I wanted to show that no matter how much someone laughs and jokes, you have no idea what’s going on behind their smile. I wanted to show that he makes Georgia happy every morning but he’s struggling so much behind the bright smile he gives her every day.
I’ve lost family members and close friends to suicide, it’s something I care about a lot, and as I write romantic comedies, I never thought I’d get a chance to write about it, but I wanted to show that even the people you think are fine can find themselves at rock bottom, and I sincerely hope I’ve handled it sensitively enough and with hopefully a bit of humour too.
About the Author:
Jaimie is a 32-year-old English-sounding Welsh girl with an awkward-to-spell name. She lives in South Wales and enjoys writing, gardening, watching horror movies, and drinking tea, although she’s seriously considering marrying her coffee machine. She loves autumn and winter, and singing songs from musicals despite the fact she’s got the voice of a dying hyena. She hates spiders, hot weather, and cheese & onion crisps. She spends far too much time on Twitter and owns too many pairs of boots.
She will never have time to read all the books she wants to read.
She is the author of chick-lit romantic comedies The Chateau of Happily Ever Afters, The Little Wedding Island, It’s a Wonderful Night, and Kismetology, and she has also written young-adult romantic comedies Afterlife Academy, Not Pretty Enough, and North Pole Reform School.
Win an It’s a Wonderful Night Goodie bag which includes:
*It’s a Wonderful Night notebook
*It’s a Wonderful Night fridge magnet
*A signed postcard of the cover
*A copy of It’s a Wonderful Life on DVD because this is the inspiration behind the story.
*An invisible spine Paris notebook because it’s where Georgia wants to go more than anywhere in the world.
*A light-up Christmas tree pen, because who doesn’t need a light-up Christmas tree pen at this time of year?!
Today I am part of the blog tour for Strand of Faith by Rachel J Bonner: I interviewed her! There is also an INTERNATIONAL giveaway going on. Be sure to check that out!
When the choice is between love and life, how can anyone decide?
A girl and a monk, both with extraordinary mental powers, have compelling reasons not to fall in love. But those from whom they expect support are manipulating them both because their choices will have consequences for the rest of the world.
After a stormy youth, Brother Prospero has found comfort and fulfilment in the monastery. That is, until he discovers something that forces him to reconsider his whole vocation. To follow his heart, he’ll have to face his demons again, outside the security of the monastery. Is it worth the risk? Can he beat them this time? Or will they finally destroy him?
Orphaned and mistreated, Leonie has found sanctuary and safety at the abbey. All she wants is to learn how to manage her unusual abilities so that she is not a danger to those around her. When she comes into contact with Prospero everything threatens to spiral out of her control. Whether she leaves or whether she stays, how can she possibly avoid destroying – yet again – those she has come to care about?
Abbot Gabriel is faced with an impossible choice. He can do nothing and watch the world descend into war. Or he can manipulate events and ensure peace – at the cost of two lives that he is responsible for. He knows what he has to do but is he strong enough to sacrifice those he loves?
JRR (Jessica’s Reading Room): Tell us a little about yourself.
I guess there’s no such thing as a typical author, but I’m certainly not typical. I have a degree in Civil Engineering although I’ve never worked in that area. I’ve mostly worked as an accountant and I’m a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA). I’ve run my own accountancy business for many years, where I provide financial management and financial modelling services to public sector organisations. How that led to becoming an author, I’ve no idea.
In my spare time I like to keep fit so I swim regularly and I’m also an archer, something I enjoy very much. I’m actively involved in my local church where I manage the sound system (the minister is my husband – so I have the power to turn his mic off if he preaches too long!). I also have a couple of voluntary roles, one as trustee with a local youth theatre and the other advising a genealogical organisation.
JRR: I also worked the sound system at one of my former churches for a while and it’s hard work! (Turning off that mic can be tempting…. 😉 ) Now, Did you always want to become an author?
No, it happened to me by chance. The story developed in my head and eventually I had to write it down to stop the characters taking over my life. That didn’t work, by the way. Once I got them out of my head and onto paper they started taking over even more of my life!
JRR: What inspires you to write?
Pretty much anything! I can hear something, or see a picture or read something and an idea just develops. I dreamt one of the scenes in Strand of Faith and the rest of the story grew from there. I’m definitely a pantser not a plotter and I find the story unfolds on the page. Sometimes I’m surprised by the direction it goes.
JRR: What does your writing process consist of? Do you research, do you hand-write or type, do you have a playlist or do you need silence?
I don’t have a playlist but I don’t need silence. I’m quite happy to be interrupted and I find it quite easy to get back to work again. I type because my handwriting doesn’t keep up with my thought process – I can type much faster. I research when necessary but once I start research something there’s always a danger it will be hours before I get back to writing!
JRR: Who was the most influential author you read when you were growing up? Did his/her writings influence you to want to become an author?
I don’t think there’s any one author that has influenced me more than another. I read extensively as a child and I still do today. I couldn’t pick any one author.
JRR: Oops… Who are some of your favorite authors as an adult?
I have quite a list – some of my favourites include Neil Gaiman, Terry Prachett (Discworld), Jodi Picoult, Annette Marie (urban fantasy), Jodi Taylor (Chronicles of St Mary’s), Sarah Woodbury (After Cilmeri time travel fiction), Trisha Ashley (romance), Diane Gabaldon (Outlander), Anne McCaffery (Dragonrider series). But there are many, many more.
JRR: If you could have dinner with three people (living or dead) who would they be and why?
My Dad would be one of them, definitely. He died five years ago which was before I started writing or had any idea about publishing so I’d really like to share all this with him. He influenced at least one of my male characters. I’d love to spend time with Neil Gaiman, because I’ve read so much of his work and it ranges over so many different areas. And that leads me on to my third choice, Terry Pratchett. I could (and have) read his Discworld series over and over again. Spending time with someone with that level of imagination would be fascinating.
JRR: Which book have you always meant to get around to reading, but still not read?
Umm…My TBR pile currently has 25 books in it and that’s just the physical pile. I don’t think there’s any one stand out book that I’ve always meant to read, just a whole lot that have tempted me. I started the Goodreads reading challenge to encourage me to work through the physical pile this year, but much of what I read is eBooks. Using an eReader means I can adjust the font size if I need to instead of having to hunt for my reading glasses.
JRR: Yes, too many books and never enough time! What made you choose the paranormal romance genre to write your first novel?
I didn’t choose it, not exactly. I just wrote Strand of Faith and its sequels and then tried to work out what genre it was. Paranormal romance seemed to be the closest fit for something that is really cross genre.
JRR: Where did you get the idea for Strand of Faith? Did you base any character off anyone you know?
The idea started when I dreamt one of the scenes in this book, and then developed in my mind and on paper. It felt like the characters were telling me their story and I was writing it down. Some were more reticent than others! No character is based directly on someone I know, but I can see some of my friends’ characteristics in some of my characters.
JRR: What’s the best advice you have ever received?
Finish it! It’s very easy to start something and not nearly so easy to plough on and finish it. It applies to everything, not just writing. I felt a tremendous sense of achievement when I finished the first draft of all four books in the Choices and Consequences series.
JRR: Is there anything else you would like to share?
I really hope you enjoy reading Strand of Faith as much as I have enjoyed writing it. My plan is to release the other three books in the series over the next fifteen months or so. I’d love it if, at the end of Strand of Faith, readers were eager to read the rest and impatient for the next release date. If you want to look out for them:
Book 2 – Thread of Hope, to be released spring 2019
Book 3 – Weave of Love, to be released autumn 2019
Book 4 – Cloth of Grace, to be released spring 2020
Or sign up for my newsletter at www.racheljbonner.co.uk to be sure you don’t miss out.
JRR: Thank you for your time with this interview Rachel! And now we know when to look out for the rest of the series!!
About the Author:
Rachel J Bonner is the author of the four book Choices and Consequences series, the first of which, Strand of Faith, is due out in November 2018.
Getting a degree in engineering, followed by a career in accountancy is probably not a conventional path to becoming an author, particularly in paranormal romance. Rachel says that, although accountancy isn’t anything like as boring as everyone thinks, writing is a lot more fun. When not writing, she can be found walking in the beautiful countryside near where she lives, which has influenced much of the scenery in her books, or shooting things with her local archery club. Target shooting only, honest. Nothing to worry about.
She also enjoys swimming, eating chocolate chip cookies and growing aromatic herbs, especially thyme and rosemary. It’s no coincidence that her heroine likes the same things.
You can find out more about her books and sign up for Rachel’s newsletters at www.racheljbonner.co.uk.
Win a signed paperback copy of Strand of Faith, a set of bookmarks (3 styles plus a business card) featuring the cover art, and a canvas print (40cm by 30cm) of the original cover art. **Open Internationally**
a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Today I am one of the stops on the blog blitz for Thalidomide Kid by Kate Rigby. I will be sharing an extract from the novel. And if you live in the UK, there is a giveaway going on!
Daryl Wainwright is the quirky youngest child of a large family of petty thieves and criminals who calls himself ‘Thalidomide Kid’.
Celia Burkett is the new girl at the local primary school, and the daughter of the deputy head at the local comprehensive where she is bound the following September. With few friends, Celia soon becomes fascinated by ‘the boy with no arms’.
The story of a blossoming romance and sexual awakening between a lonely girl and a disabled boy, and their struggle against adversity and prejudice as they pass from primary to secondary school in 1970s Cirencester. The story deals with themes and issues that are timeless.
This is an excerpt where Celia overhears a conversation about ‘the boy with no arms’. Celia is still at primary school and her father, deputy head of ‘the big school’ has invited the head Miss Bond, for a meal.
“Should we retire to the snug?” Dad said, when second helpings had long been demolished; a cue for the girls to clear away the plates and help Mum with the dishes. Celia and Abby took out the sherry glasses first, sipping the bits left at the bottom. They knew which was Miss Bond’s glass by the pink shade of her lipstick.
By the time they’d done the dishes and their mother had seen to the coffees in the best Prinknash cups, the conversation had switched again. Dad, in one of the armchairs, was relighting his pipe, the blackened match nearly burning his fingers in its dying flare, while Miss Bond was holding forth on the studio couch, the tail end of which was about a fourth year boy from Upper Churnside who was always truanting and up to no good, even when he did attend school.
“Let’s be blunt …” Miss Bond continued, her glasses on the end of a chain and her plump knees pointing to one side. “They’re a family of juvenile delinquents and congenital liars.”
Mrs Burkett, after offering the coffees, sat at the other end of the studio couch. Abby took the other armchair, leaving Celia with the milking stool one of the boys had made in woodwork at Dad’s old school in Accrington. She sat on it against the wall and pulled out one of her old Buntys that had somehow found its way into the magazine rack, having decided that it was OK to flick through her comic in this situation, seeing as the grown-ups were talking about stuff which wasn’t strictly for her ears. In this situation, discretion was a good strategy, she decided, and tried to lose herself in the pictures of fictional schoolgirls, some with pudding-basin haircuts like her own.
“It’s not surprising,” Miss Bond went on. “The father’s in and out of prison and a couple of the older ones have been sent to borstal.” She looked at their father over her slanted glasses. “Even the younger ones are at it. There’s one, only about ten years old.”
Celia noticed how this Bunty had lost its new smell, that hot off-the-press smell it had when the instalments were all eagerly waiting to be read.
“A Thalidomide,” said Miss Bond. “So he gets away with a lot of mischief because of his handicap. Apparently he was caught stealing and was sent home with little more than a slap on the wrist, except he hasn’t a wrist to slap, of course. Maybe he wants to prove to his family that he can be like them, though I think it’s more a case of them exploiting his handicap. He’d be about Celia’s age.”
Miss Bond glanced over at Celia who’d become enthralled by the story unfolding outside the confines of her comic. It must be him that Miss Bond was talking about. The boy with no arms.
“I think he goes to her school,” continued Miss Bond. “The mother had a fight to let him go there, I believe, instead of the physically handicapped place. Of course, we’ll be presented with the same dilemma next year, though we pride ourselves on our progressive policies towards the integration of the handicapped at Cirencester High. A mark of any civilized society, don’t you think?”
The conversation gradually moved on again to the fourth year parents’ evening and PTAs and school governors, and Celia drifted off, glowing on dregs of sherry and thinking of May and June with their severed legs and the handicapped boy with hair the colour of a doll’s. Lovely, unspoilt hair.
About the Author:
Kate Rigby was born near Liverpool and now lives in the south west of England. She’s been writing for nearly forty years. She has been traditionally published, small press published and indie published.
She realized her unhip credentials were mounting so she decided to write about it. Little Guide to Unhip was first published in 2010 and has since been updated.
However she’s not completely unhip. Her punk novel, Fall Of The Flamingo Circus was published by Allison & Busby (1990) and by Villard (American hardback 1990). Skrev Press published her novels Seaview Terrace (2003) Sucka!(2004) and Break Point (2006) and other shorter work has appeared in Skrev’s magazines.
Thalidomide Kid was published by Bewrite Books (2007).
Her novel Savage To Savvy was an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA) Quarter-Finalist in 2012.
She has had other short stories published and shortlisted including Hard Workers and Headboards, first published in The Diva Book of Short Stories, in an erotic anthology published by Pfoxmoor Publishing and more recently in an anthology of Awkward Sexcapades by Beating Windward Press.
She also received a Southern Arts bursary for her novel Where A Shadow Played (now re-Kindled as Did You Whisper Back?).
She has re-Kindled her backlist and is gradually getting her titles (back) into paperback.
Win 1 signed copy of Thalidomide Kid
a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Terms and Conditions –Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.