Thursday, 22 April 2010

Chick Lit Reviews: Interview

Well, the sun is out, the sky is (less) blue (than it was now that the planes are flying again and there are vapour trails everywhere) and my interest in the General Election has increased dramatically since I found out we have Arthur Pendragon, the Once and Future King standing in our constituency as a candidate - although, as a friend of mine pointed out, does he actually need to be elected; can't some watery bint just chuck a sword at him and have done with it?

On another matter lovely Leah from Chick Lit Reviews has just popped an interview with yours truly up on her site, and I thought I'd put a link up. To read what I have to say about writing, the books and plans for the future, click here.

Friday, 16 April 2010

My Name's Ben Elton...

Not the usual writerly stuff, but thought I'd get a bit topical and mention the 'Leader's (so-called) Debate' that was on ITV1 last night. Not that I watched all of it (or indeed most of it - well, what do you expect, it up was up against 'Outnumbered' on BBC1) but I thought the polictical commentary on it was so startling that it deserved a mention. All the pundits this morning were not discussing policy, or what will happen to the economy if Buggins' party gets elected or anything that actually MATTERS, they are all concerned with 'who did best'. And again, that is not 'who did best and will pull this country away from the brink of a double-dip recession without decimating the NHS in the process' but 'who did the voters like best'. Well, pardon me for getting a bit shouty, but is this what it's come down to? Trench warfare with no actual policies but the winner being the person who got their coloured worm to climb the highest up the ratings for the greatest amount of time??? It's no wonder we have an apathetic electorate. Probably including myself, here. I am aching for some debate, some issues, even - to hell with it -some vision that can inspire us and get us debating and talking about stuff for the first time in years, not all this bunkam about what are, in effect, political beuaty pageants. Where will it all end? Sam Cam and Sarah B staging a cookie 'bake-off' for the media as they do in the USA? Arggh.
Actually, I'd probably just settle for a return of that 80s staple, 'Spitting Image'. Apart from the pleasing prospect of a David Cameron puppet dripping with slime (an homage, perhaps to the Kenneth Baker snail of the later Thatcher years) at least SI had the knack of getting right down to the substance of the matter and presenting it in a way that cut through all the spin-doctoring and political mud-slinging.
Or perhaps that's the problem: there simply is no substance any more and the most important issue in the election will be who has the cleanest shave and the best tie.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Stop Press

As well as having lunch with my old mates Clive and Clare AND it being my brother's birthday, today was the day that the shortlist for the Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance. Because I'm really clued up, I found out that 'Tug of Love' had made it on to the shortlist when I logged on to my FB page and found people congratulating me on my nomination. Nomination - what nomination? I said - and then spotted the name Melissa Nathan. That was about six hours ago and my hands are still shaking as I type this.

This is the press release:

We are delighted to announce the shortlist for 2010:
I Heart New York by Lindsey Kelk (HarperCollins)
Wedding Tiers by Trisha Ashley (Avon)
Tug of Love by Allie Spencer (A Little Black Dress Book)
Love Letters by Katie Fforde (Century)
Moon-Light in Odessa by Janet Skeslien Charles (Bloomsbury)
Blue Collar by Danny King (Serpent's Tail)
The Winner will be announced at a gala evening in London on 15th June and we look forward to seeing you there for champagne, canap├ęs, fun and entertainment. All the short-listed authors will receive a trophy, and the winning author will receive a cheque.
The Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance (MNA) is the UK's only literary award dedicated to comedy romance. The judging panel features the writer and comedienne Jo Brand, mega-selling novelists Joanna Trollope OBE and Sophie Kinsella, actor and comedienne Morwenna Banks, and actor and television presenter Liza Tarbuck.
The inaugural MNA was held in June 2007, and the winner was Marian Keyes for her novel ANYONE OUT THERE? In 2008 the winner was Lisa Jewell for 31 DREAM STREET. THE MARRIAGE BUREAU FOR RICH PEOPLE by Farahad Zama was last year's winner.

My gob is well and truly smacked. And wow. Thank you. Wow. (Stumbles off into incoherency...)

Radio Devon

Had a lovely few days down in Devon last week including another go on the BBC Radio Devon 'Good Morning Plymouth' show hosted by the mighty Gordon Sparks (who my brother - an ardent Plymouth Argyle fan - says is a god). As well as chatting about 'The Not-So Secret Diary of a City Girl', I managed to get the question about the theme tune to 80s computer games wrong, which just shows you shouldn't commit yourself on public record without checking your facts first: Manic Miner was 'In the Hall of the Mountain King' by Greig, and the Can-Can was (apparently) a game called Mr Ee. And if you don't have any idea at all what I've just been talking about, it's probably for the best.

To listen to my interview click here

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Finding Monsieur Right - book review

I hope you all have had a good few days. Amazingly, we still have unopened Easter eggs sitting on the side in the kitchen and (even more amazingly) my chocolate consumption has been limited to a few choccie buttons and a tiny piece of egg. But oh - isn't Easter egg chocolate just the most delicious chocolate in the world? And the unopened egg means there is something to look forward to when I finish my diet (he he evil laughter).

Anyway, to keep myself distracted from the confectionery fest of the past few days, I've been reading 'Finding Monsieur Right' by Muriel Zagha. It is a witty, elegant, beautifully crafted rom com, focusing on the lives of two girls: Daisy who is English and Isabelle who is French. The pair room-, city- and life-swap for a year: Daisy moving to Paris to further her career as a fashion writer and Isabelle coming over to London to pursue her PhD research - and each finds their lives, love-lives and expectations turned completely upside down. Zagha obviously knows both London and Paris intimately, and moves between each city with huge flair and panache. More importantly, she also knows people and creates brilliant, diverse characters who leap off the page at you. As well as the wonderfully drawn main characters and their various love interests, she creates an amazing supporting cast of treacherous friends, uber-cool fashionistas and, my favourites by a long way, a collection of good-hearted goths who save the day on at least one occasion. The writing is polished, elegant and very funny and the plot twists and turns masterfully, bringing surprise after page-turning surprise to the reader and keeping them glued to the very end. I loved it - and am sure you will too!

Monday, 5 April 2010

More News on City Girl

An absolutely stonking review from Leah at Chick Lit Reviews for City Girl - thank you, Leah xx - and an interview with yours truly at Trashionista (who describe CG as 'blatantly unputdownable'). Yay!

For the review click here

and for the Trashionista interview click here

Friday, 2 April 2010

Novelicious - Interview and Review

The fabulous Novelicious site published the first review of 'City Girl' - on the day it was launched - together with an interview with yours truly. To read them, click on the links below.

For the interview click here

For the review click here

We Have Lift-Off

So yesterday was the release of 'City Girl'. To kick start the proceedings came a lovely review of the book on the Novelicious site, giving it a stonking 9/10 (thank you Debs!) . Then, after an morning of manic cleaning, and an afternoon of general (but still manic) busy-ness, the official launch party got underway. My evil hand - really sore the night before after an unspecified cleaning injury(!) was less evil than it had been and I could happily hold a pen and sign a few copies of the new book. It was, essentially, planned as an evening of chilling, chatting and champers and a chance for me to say a heart-felt 'thank you' to all my friends who have given so much support in one way or another to me and my writing - I simply couldn't have done it without their back-up, encouragement, emergency childcare and general good-heartedness. Thank you! We even raised a bit of cash for the local pre-school whilst we were at it. It was a lovely night and I had one of those evenings where I never had an empty glass but, bizarrely, never felt in the least bit tipsy. I want to know how this happened - and how I can make it happen again in future!! Thanks again guys, you are the best. xx