Thursday, March 31, 2011

Listen to my album!

While I'm waiting for YouTube to finally upload this week's vlog (grrr), I thought you might like a bit of a treat...

So, here, for your listening pleasure, is my album, About Time, which will available soon on iTunes and my website. All the tracks are here in full - hope you enjoy it! Let me know what you think, lovelies!

p.s. Make sure you scroll to the bottom (use the slider on the right-hand side of the box) to hear all 15 tracks!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

It Started With a Kiss week 8: Structural edits, big decisions and writers' block...

All this year, I'm keeping a video diary of everything that goes into writing my third novel, It Started With a Kiss, due to be published on 3rd November. This week, I'm back in the living room (they wouldn't let me stay in Cornwall, boo!) and the hard work of editing begins in earnest.

I'll tell you about one of the major changes that I've already made to the initial draft and also let you in on a bit of a challenge I'm facing with the first chapter. Plus, of course, your amazing questions - thank you so much and keep asking!!

Your fabulous questions this week include overcoming writers' block, how I've changed as a writer and an editor, how long Coffee at Kowalski's - my original novel that became Fairytale of New York - was on before it was discovered and how I started writing. Big thanks as ever for your questions, especially the very lovely Joanna Cannon, who as JoannaCannon is one of my Twitter tweethearts and quite a brilliant writer to boot - make sure you go to her blogand say hi!

Oh, and hope you like the hat. I couldn't resist it in the January sales and this it its official World Premiere...


p.s. This week's YouTube generated freeze frame is entitled: "(slightly scary) Easter Bunny"...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It Started With a Kiss week 7: writing retreats, book covers and more...

All this year, I'm keeping a video diary of everything that goes into writing my third novel, It Started With a Kiss, due to be published on 3rd November. This week, I've finally made it out of the living room! So, from the beautiful Cornish fishing village of Polperro, I'm answering your questions on book covers, manuscripts, writing sacrifices and schedules.

I was fortunate enough to be asked by my very lovely friend, fab author and now RNA Romantic Comedy award nominee, Ruth Saberton to be a guest author at her Writing Weekend in stunning Polperro, so I took my trusty Flip video camera and headed down to Cornwall. It was wonderful to meet writers on different stages of their literary journeys - from an unpublished writer preparing her manuscript for agent submissions, to a very talented author who has just signed a huge publishing deal and needed reassurance before she embarks on the adventure of a lifetime!

This week, I answer your questions on who designs my book covers (and let you know about plans for the cover of It Started With a Kiss), how to prepare a manuscript for submitting to publishers and agents, what sacrifices you have to make as a writer and what my writing schedule is like. Thanks so much for all your questions - please keep them coming!

Oh, and in case you didn't notice the subtle plug above, I now have a publishing date for It Started With a Kiss! It's November 3rd this year, which suddenly seems scarily close... This is the time where it starts to appear on Amazon and Waterstones sites (even though it's still being edited!) and they put up an awful 'days to publication' counter that eventually Bob will ban me from looking at because I start to get a little obsessed!

In addition to this week's vlog, I also couldn't resist putting together a little video of my weekend in Polperro, including an interview with Ruth! I can't recommend her writing holidays enough - whether you're a published author looking for space and inspiration for your new book, a new writer just starting out, or an aspiring author preparing a manuscript for submission to agents, Ruth's writing courses and retreats are perfect.


p.s. The freeze frame on this week's vlog I've lovingly termed 'Talk to the Hand'... ;o)

Week 7 vlog

Polperro Mini-Vid!

Friday, March 4, 2011

It Started With a Kiss week 6: Editing, covers and film deals...

All this year, I'm keeping a video diary of everything that goes into writing my third novel, It Started With a Kiss, due to be published in November. This week, I'm doing things a little differently, so there are two parts to the vlog! Part one is about the editing process that began this week and in part two I'm answering more of your fab questions.

So much has been happening this week, it was impossible to cram everything into one video (you know how much I can talk!) I'm starting the editing process, so I'll tell you about the mammoth seven-hour editorial meeting I had on Monday - and let you in on how writers really feel about edit notes from their publishers...

Thanks again for all your fabulous questions! This week, I'm answering questions from Emily and fabulous book-bloggers-extraordinaire Dot from Dot Scribbles and Leah from Chicklit Reviews. Please check out their sites if you haven't already - they're awesome.

I also have a brand new hat (yeah, baby...)

So sit back, grab a cuppa and prepare yourself for a double-bill of nattering!

p.s. I'm calling this week's YouTube-designated freeze-frame shots 'Invisible Dog' (part one) and 'Invisible Rabbit' (part two).



Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Writer Spotlight: Jill Mansell

Every now and again on Coffee and Roses I like to highlight published writers worth checking out and not-yet-published writers I think you'll love. This week, I'm thrilled to welcome the very lovely JILL MANSELL.

When did you first decide that you wanted to write? Was it a Damascus-esque flash or a slow-burn?

It was pretty Damascus-esque, actually! I was on the lookout for a way to make money - (yes, I KNOW!) and was keen to write a brilliant song. Sadly this wasn't on the cards, as I couldn't sing in tune or write music or play any instruments. I do get brilliant songs in my head though. I could be the next George Michael, I'm convinced of it...

Anyway, I was working in a hospital and picked up a Sunday Express magazine in the waiting room. Inside was an article about women who had transformed their lives by becoming best-selling authors. Which sounded quite nice, and I was already able to read and write, so that was a good start...

So I joined a local evening class for creative writing and had a go at M&Bs, because in the magazine article Charlotte Lamb said she could write one in a week. Obviously it took me a lot longer...

Long story short, I had seven or eight manuscripts rejected by M&B who said, very nicely, that my work contained far too much humour for them and lacked emotional depth as a result. They were right! So I set out to write the kind of book I would like to read myself, which was a JillyCooper-esque rom com minus the horses. And that book was Fast Friends...

What interests you as a writer?

Absolutely everyone and everything. My brain gets overloaded with questions all day long. If I'm on a train, I can't stop wondering about the lives of the people in the houses we're rattling past. Is everyone like that, or is it just a writerly thing? I have no idea!

Do you have a typical writing day? If not, when is the best time to write for you?

I just write during the day now, keeping school hours. But I'm quite slow and easily distracted. A thousand words a day is enough for me. Two thousand makes me feel shaky and sick.

What inspired you to write To The Moon and Back?

I wanted to write something where one of the main characters is dead, kind of like Patrick Swayze in Ghost, or Elvira in Blithe Spirit. But I couldn't suddenly write a ghost story, so Jamie isn't a ghost. He is, though, one of my all time favourite characters.

What are the best things about being a writer?

Writing in bed. Easy access to the fridge.

And the worst?

Having to get out of bed in order to get to the fridge. (I SOOOO need a butler.)

You have inspired so many romantic comedy writers - which writers inspire you?

Gosh, lots! I love to read rom-com. If someone deals with an issue in a clever way, I'll admire and take note of how they've done it. I love to read and learn from other writers and do so constantly. I can be inspired by anyone. But if we're talking about a specific writer, it would have to be Jilly Cooper. She doesn't know it, but she changed my life.

Do you have a dream project you'd love to write?

Every time I start a new book, I want it to be my best yet. I suppose that makes each one a dream project. Otherwise, it would have to be my Oscars acceptance speech...

Anything else you'd like to say?

I really hope I haven't sounded smug. I do know how incredibly lucky I've been. Never in a million years did I think my life would turn out like this, so a massive thank you to anyone who has ever bought one of my books. Also, my bear would like to say hi. He was my birthday present last year and lives in our fireplace. Here he is, in his Christmas outfit...

Huge thanks to Jill for taking the time to do this interview! Her books introduced me to rom-coms and I'm a big fan of her writing. To The Moon and Back is a fabulous book and I'm loving reading it (my treat after all the writing madness of the past couple of months!)

I'm always looking for new and emerging authors to feature in my Writer Spotlights. If you would like to be considered, or if there's a write you think I should feature, email me at:
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Listen to my album tracks!