Friday, November 25, 2011

I'm in the Sunday Times Bestsellers again!!

I had the most incredible news this week... It Started With a Kiss has entered the Sunday Times Bestsellers list at NUMBER 13!!

It's unbelievable and I can't tell you how utterly thrilled I am to see how many lovely people have bought my novel - I just hope that everyone enjoys reading about Romily's quest to find her handsome stranger!

It's been a bit of a crazy fortnight, with book-signings in Wolverhampton and Worcester, an article in Closer magazine, an author talk at an event for Walsall Reading Groups in Bloxwich, trying to write book 4 in between and packing up my belongings for my imminent house move! Below is a slideshow of some of the things that have been happening, together with a daft dance tune I wrote with my chum Chris Smith (who may or may not be partially responsible for inspiring the character of Jack in It Started With a Kiss...)

I'm editing my latest vlog post today so I will post that later this evening. In the meantime I thought you might like to see a two-part video interview (vinterview?!) I did for the fabulous Chicklit Reviews and News...

Part One

Part Two

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Writer Spotlight: Simon Toyne

On Coffee and Roses I like to bring you news of exciting authors who are either waiting to be published or published and worth checking out.

This week, I'm really excited to welcome the very lovely (and ridiculously talented) SIMON TOYNE into the Coffee and Roses Writer Spotlight...

When did you first decide that you wanted to write?

I’ve always written. When I was 9 or 10 I handwrote a book of poetry, riddles and jokes, got my dad to photocopy it at work and then sold it to my family for 5p a copy. Later, I studied English and Drama at university then slid into a career in television where I wrote scripts and voice-over commentary for nearly twenty years. In that time I also wrote a couple of spec screenplays that didn’t get produced. Sanctus is the first novel I’ve written, but I’ve been a professional writer my entire adult life and writing is just like any craft – the more you do it, the better you get.

What interests you as a writer?

People. This is true of the work and also the extraordinary people you meet in the course of researching and then publicizing your books. If there’s no human dimension to the work then it’s hard to get excited by it.

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

I find my children act as a useful, organic timing device – particularly during term time. I get up early, around 6am, and work for a couple of hours until either my son or daughter trots into the office and demands breakfast. I often get half the day’s word count done in these two hours (I try and write 1,000 good words a day). I then stop to do breakfast, school run and dog duties then am back at it at around 10am. This is when I switch the internet on and deal with anything else that needs doing. Because I’m lucky enough to be published all over the world there’s usually a book coming out somewhere in some form or another so I like to support them as much as I can with their PR activities by doing articles and interviews. I try and get these done by lunchtime then take a break before getting back to the book. The kids come home at 3pm so that’s my deadline for getting the word count done. I may do a bit more in the evening (or a lot more if I’m running behind schedule). Whenever I’m close to finishing a book all of this goes out the window and I tend to work exclusively on the book from dawn ‘til dusk, 7 days a week until it’s done.

Which authors inspire you and why?

Anyone who’s a better writer than me – of which there are very, very many. I read a lot and widely. Reading good writing reminds you where the bar is and keeps you honest and sharp.

What are the best things about being a writer?

Being able to work from home so I can take my kids to school every day, pick them up afterwards, eat every meal with them and never miss a sports day or carol concert.

And the worst?

It’s very solitary. You sit alone for months on end listening to the voices in your head. This is also a very good working definition for insanity.

Tell me about Sanctus

Sanctus is the story of one woman’s search for her own identity, played out against the backdrop of the eternal fight between good and evil. It’s a bit like a feminist critique of patriarchal religion wrapped up in a high-octane, modern thriller. If that all sounds too worthy, then it’s also a page-turning holiday read.

Sanctus is enjoying phenomenal success, being published in over fifty countries and translated into twenty-eight languages. What has the experience of this been like for you as a debut novelist?

It’s unbelievable. I wasn’t even sure the book would get published, let alone in so many countries. The plus side is that it has enabled me to write full-time and I get invited to various places when the book comes out there. This year I’ve been to Norway, Italy, Switzerland, Canada, America and Romania. Seeing your book in foreign bookshops is a surreal and amazing experience. The down-side is that I spend so much time doing PR for each launch that I hardly have time left to write. I’m in no way complaining but it’s something I wasn’t prepared for. This, coupled with a tight deadline for delivery of the second book, has meant my laptop has become an extension of my body. For example I’m writing this now in a café in Ravenna, Italy as I wait for someone to come and pick me up and take me to the airport. I seem to spend a lot of time alone with my laptop in strange places these days.

What are you working on now?

I’ve just finished the second book in the trilogy – The Key – where the ripples from the huge revelation at the end of Sanctus spread out into the wider world and the consequences of what has happened have to be faced by all the central characters. The slow-burn ‘will-they-won’t-they’ relationship of the two main characters is developed further, only with a very large apocalyptic shadow hanging over them.

Do you have a dream project you would love to write?

The book I’m dying to write is actually the third book of the Sanctus trilogy. I’ve got final edits of The Key to do then I’ll start work on it. It’s all planned out and I can’t wait to start. It brings the story to a final, revelatory ending. The conclusion of this book is an even bigger surprise than the one at the end of Sanctus or The Key. Its working title is The End of Days, which gives you a hint at where it’s heading.

What would be your top three tips for aspiring writers?

1. Write. Read. Rewrite (repeat).
2. Don’t over analyse, just get the first draft done. You can change it as much as you like once it’s on the page and no one else has to see it until you’re happy.
3. Switch off the internet when you’re writing.

Anything else you'd like to say?
Love your hat. x

Sanctus is released in paperback today (24th November). You can follow Simon on twitter (@sjtoyne), on facebook and on his website.

Thanks so much to Simon for stepping into the Writer Spotlight (from an Italian café as well!) Sanctus is an incredible book - it's a cliché to say a novel is a page-turner, but in the case of this book it is entirely deserved. Many reviewers have compared Simon's writing to Dan Brown, but in my opinion Sanctus is better by far: its plot is more creative, the pace is better and the characters are people you can believe in. I loved it and I can't wait to read The Key!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Book the REAL Peppermints!

If you're looking to find my wedding band, THE PEPPERMINTS, read this to avoid disappointment!

It's come to my attention that some people are trying to find the wedding band I sing with - The Peppermints - who are the inspiration for The Pinstripes in It Started With a Kiss. If you Google the name and find an Oxfordshire-based band with a facebook page and twitter profile, this is NOT my band!

We're based in the West Midlands and are the original Peppermints. Our website is here - it will be updated soon, but you can hear a couple of our songs here (I'm singing the Disco Medley and my fab friend Susanna is singing Lovely Day!).

We're available for weddings, birthdays, events... so if you fancy my dulcet tones at your special event, why not book us?!! Please share this if you can so that the RIGHT band gets noticed! xx

For The Peppermints - the inspiration for The Pinstripes in It Started With a Kiss
- go to:

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A-mazing news!

OH. MY. GIDDY. LIFE... l've just had the most awesome news about sales for my new book, It Started With a Kiss...

Are you ready?

*tries to contain glee... fails!*

Here it is...

It Started With a Kiss has sold an amazing 6,000 copies in its first THREE DAYS!!!!!!

I am completely, utterly over the moon! Thank you so, so much for supporting the novel and for believing in my writing! I'm absolutely chuffed to ribbons (not to mention thoroughly relieved!). It's such a massive thing to put your literary baby out into the big, scary world and it doesn't get any less terrifying when there are three out there. So when I know that people are buying my book - and loving it, which has made me happier than I can express - it's the best feeling in the world!

Thank you so much for all your tweets, emails and lovely blog comments about It Started With a Kiss, too - they've really helped to quieten the pesky publication butterflies that have been pounding my stomach all week!

I will be filming a proper response to this for the next vlog, but I just wanted to share the good news with you as soon as I could. I will be walking on air for the rest of the day - thank you! xx

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

It Started With a Kiss episode 23: Woo-hoo! It's P-Day!!

All this year, I'm keeping a video diary of everything that goes into writing my third novel, It Started With a Kiss. This week, the big day has finally arrived - it's P-Day!!

It's been an amazing journey from initial draft to published novel - and it isn't over yet! It's the most special day of my year so far, when It Started With a Kiss officially goes out into the world... It's scary and thrilling in equal parts and I wanted to share my P-Day with you. So this week you can see the first time I see the book on the shelves, my visit to HarperCollins and the very swanky book launch that Grange Hotels threw for me (honestly, it was so posh that I wondered if they would let me in!).

So, without further ado, here's my P-Day vlog! (...and read on afterwards for pics from my launch event...)


p.s. This week's YouTube-nominated freeze-frame is entitled, 'Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!'

It was so fab to meet some of the lovely people who have been watching my vlog, asking questions each week and chatting with me on Coffee and Roses, twitter and facebook - and to be able to say thank you. It means so much to me that you tune in everuy week and the support I have received this year has totally blown me away. It's also wonderful to see how excited everyone is about the book!

Pics: The view from the balcony at my book launch event; all my babies together - free books for everyone!; meeting lovely people at the launch

Monday, November 7, 2011

It Started With a Kiss 22 - emotional highs and exciting things!

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 10th November. This week, I show you what it's like to see the first printed copy of It Started With a Kiss, give you a bit of a sneak peek at the bonus content I've written for the novel, answer your questions about book launches, royalties and much more!

As promised, I captured on video what the moment was like when I opened the package containing the finished copy of It Started With a Kiss - and got a bit emotional in the process!

Also this week, I received a copy of the special Tesco limited edition of ISWAK, which has pink-edged pages! How cool is that?! They will be available in major Tesco stores right across the UK. It's unbelievably cool to have my very own limited edition and this is the first time anything like this has happened for my novels, so I'm very chuffed with that!

Make sure you visit my website for cool bonus content to extend your ISWAK experience! It includes deleted scenes, character profiles and an extended interview with me where I reveal my childhood fairy ambitions... plus much more!

So here's the latest episode of my vlog, complete with fab questions from Suzy Turner, Joanna Cannon and Leah from Chicklit Reviews (you can read her fab review of It Started With a Kiss here) and the latest news on my Wombat novel!

Enjoy! xx

p.s. This week's YouTube-nominated freeze frame is entitled: 'Ooh, Matron!'

Thursday, November 3, 2011

It Started With a Kiss - here it is!

Well, the day I've been waiting for months for finally arrived this week... Here is my very first printed copy of It Started With a Kiss!

I've videoed the actual moment I opened the package to reveal my book - the vlog will be up tomorrow, so keep your eyes peeled for that!

I can't tell you how truly, utterly amazing it is to finally hold in your hands a copy of the book you've worked all year on. It's magical. There's no other word for it. I'm always surprised by how everything seems to stop when I first see the finished book: it's like an almost reverent moment, mainly because for that one small moment in time, this book is mine - before it heads out into the big, scary world of reviews and publicity. I don't have children yet, so I can only imagine this feels a little bit like when a mum sees her newborn child for the first time. So many hours have gone into making this, so many late nights and frustrations and triumphs and sheer hard slog. And now, here it is: perfect and sparkly and every word in it came out of my head... How amazing is that?!

The first reviews have come in for It Started With a Kiss - and they're both five-stars!

Lovely Leah from Chick Lit Reviews and News said: 'The story is amazing, the characters are so warm and so witty and loveable and Miranda’s writing just flows so naturally. I’m always wary of synopses that proclaim the book to be the “perfect book to curl up with” but It Started With A Kiss is the perfect book to curl up with. Miranda Dickinson just gets better with every book and I can’t wait for book number four. It Started With A Kiss was a triumph in every sense of the word.'

Fab Chloe from Chloe's Chick Lit Reviews said: 'I'm sure you'll be attracted to this book because of its beautiful cover, but let me assure, what's inside is magical too. It's a well written, well constructed tale of love and searching for something that you believe in, no matter what anyone else says or thinks. If you love romantic novels with a bit of a twist, then It Started With A Kiss is certainly the book for you!'

And the great news (which came as a complete shock to me last night) is that the Kindle/ebook edition of It Started With a Kiss is out TODAY! The ebook edition has lots of bonus content, too - including a whole load of deleted scenes from the book, with a commentary by me!

So, it's finally happening - my baby is going out into the big, wide world... Scary but wonderful!
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