Sunday, 6 April 2014

Author in the Headlights - Rosie Dean

Rosie Dean writes romantic fiction with a sense of humor and, sometimes, a sense of the ridiculous. ‘Because we all know life and love aren't exactly how we'd like them to be,’ she says.
When not writing, she loves to cook and to read, she even reads in the car (talking books) and has notched up countless unnecessary miles as a result.
Not one to spend hours in the gym or pounding the pavement, she prefers Yoga and Pilates, which means she can tone and tighten whilst watching TV.

Who has influenced your life the most? Quite possibly Jean, who I met when I was fifteen. She was the mother of my first boyfriend, and went on to become a dear and supportive friend.

Which is your favourite book? As a child, I read 101 Dalmations by Dodie Smith many times. As an adult, I've probably read Prudence by Jilly Cooper as often, but Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes is a close runner up.

Other than those you love, what would you save in a fire? Old family albums.

Which film have you seen several times? Several films - but probably most often:
Something's Gotta Give;
While You Were Sleeping;
When Harry Met Sally;
You've Got Mail;
And the boxed set of Anne of Green Gables.

What in your life do you regret doing? I regret failing to send flowers to my dad on his 50th wedding anniversary. I intended to, but didn't get around to it. He had a massive stroke the following night and died soon after.

What ambition do you have? Right now - to find a great agent to represent me and my writing.

What is your favourite colour? Cherry red.

If you were an animal, what would you be and why? A black cat, because they're independent, go anywhere they chose and are ultra cool.

What temptation do you wish you could resist? Procrastination (if that's a temptation).

What, in others, makes you angry? Cruelty to animals or people. And professional dishonesty, i.e. people who lie or cheat to get on in life.

What wisdom would you share with a child? Look for the good in every moment and try to improve it for others. Don't sweat the small stuff.

What is your philosophy on life? Live and let live.

What is your favourite song? Tricky to choose one … can I have two, please? Whispers, by Eddie Reader, and Growing up Beside you, by Paulo Nutini.

What is your favourite piece of music? Any cello piece moves me, so I'd choose The Swan by Saint-Saens. Cloudbusting by Kate Bush also uses cellos to drive the melody, I love that piece, too. Finally I couldn't leave out Vipers Drag by Fats Waller, preferably played by my dad.

Which four people (dead or alive) would you like to invite to dinner and why? So … I started with a massive list and cut it down to twelve. Which means I need to hold three dinner parties.

A totally feasible ladies' night would include: Emma Thomson, Sandra Bullock, Whoopi Godberg and Marian Keyes, because they're all smart, sassy and entertaining women - I think it would be an absolute blast.

A completely different mix would be: Noel Coward, Jane Austen, Ian Hislop and Jack Nicholson. I think their conversation would be entertaining.

Finally, a bunch who philosophise on different levels and would generate very stimulating discussion would be: Billy Connolly,, the Dalai Lama and Ann Leslie.

If forced to choose only four, for a good night in, it would be: Noel Coward, Sandra Bullock, and Ian Hislop.

Which of life's simple pleasures do you most enjoy? A cream tea in an English country garden on a summer's day.

What would you want if you could choose anything? Aside from world peace and all other people following the principle of live and let live, it would be perpetual good health for all.

On a material level, I'd settle for Claude Monet's painting of The Magpie, thank you very much.

Who is the most fascinating person you've ever met? A rather eccentric chap who was very keen on cars and motorbikes. I joked, 'Do you keep your motorbike in the hall?' to which he replied, 'No, but I have an MGB in my bedroom.'

He had the brand new car picked up on a trailer, brought to his house, then the bedroom window was removed to allow the car to be lifted in.

Any conversation I've ever had with him has been out of the ordinary.

Who is your real life hero? My dad.

If you weren't a writer, what would you be? If I had room for a large kiln, I'd probably make big, sculptural pots.

Five things you might not know about Rosie Dean …

She has a phobia of bells in belfries - if they appear on TV, she shudders and looks away;
Her voice has been on several corporate answer-phone systems;
She once won £250 worth of silk clothes for suggesting the name 'Peaches' for a new range of silk underwear. A the time, £250 equalled ten items of clothing;
She returned to college in her thirties to study Theatrical and Media Make-up;
She has been known to read tea-leaves with surprising accuracy - none more surprised than she herself.

The first of Rosie's books, Millie's Game Plan, is available to download for Kindle or in paperback from Amazon by clicking here. Her second novel, Vicki's Work of Heart, is available for Kindle, paperback coming soon, by clicking here.

Find out more about Rosie by visiting her web site - you can go there straight away by clicking here.

Or make friends with her on Facebook here, or on Twitter by yet one more click here.

Thanks, Rosie, for guesting on my blog. How many years have we known each other? I never knew about your phobia.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Author in the Headlights - Lynda Renham

Lynda Renham is famous for her romantic comedy novels. She has been called A Comedian in a Book, Chicklit Royalty and A Comic Genius. Her writing style has been liked to Sophie Kinsella but is refreshingly down to earth with characters that become your friends. Lynda is a prolific writer, blogger and when not writing can usually be found wasting her time on Facebook.
Who has influenced your life the most, Lynda?

I’d have to say my husband Andrew, who I have known for twelve years. He has taught me how to be calmer and more focused and more importantly he has given me the confidence to write and encouraged me to push on through the obstacles. He has been a big influence.

Which is your favourite book?

I have more than one ‘The Sea the Sea’ by Iris Murdoch and ‘Calico Palace’ by Gwen Bristow

Other than those you love, what would you save in a fire?

It would have to be my laptop as my whole life is on there. Photos, music, everything. Call me a geek but that’s what it would be.

Which film have you seen several times?

‘The Painted Veil’ ‘The Holiday’ ‘Micky Blue Eyes’ ‘The End of the Affair’ ‘Notes on a Scandal’ 

What in your life do you regret doing?

I don’t believe in regrets. Everything I’ve done so far has led somewhere or has taught me something. So, I don’t regret anything in my life.  

What ambition do you have?

I’d like to learn to play the piano. I’d like one of my books to be made into a film. I’d like to lose a few pounds and my biggest ambition is to suddenly find I hate chocolate.

What is your favourite colour?

Chocolate (of course)

If you were an animal, what would you be and why?

I don’t want to be an animal. I can’t think of one animal I would want to be. Trust me I gave this question a lot of thought. I did think I’d like to be a lion or a tiger until Andrew pointed out I would get shot, eventually. I did consider being a polar bear, but I can’t stand the cold. I thought about other animals and they live in fear of being hunted. It’s hard enough being a human.  

What temptation do you wish you could resist?


What, in others, makes you angry?

Stupidity and arrogance.

What wisdom would you share with a child?

Just have a good time. 

What is your philosophy on life?

Just have a good time. 

What is your favourite song?

The Scientist by Coldplay
I love Coldplay

What is your favourite piece of music/song?

The Emperor by Beethoven

Which four (dead or alive) people would you like to invite to dinner?

Christopher Hitchens, Salman Rushdie, Lytton Strachey, Iris Murdoch.

What has made you the happiest?

Being married to Andrew 

What would you want if you could choose anything?

Calorie free chocolate

Who is the most fascinating person you’ve ever met?

 Professor John Bayley

Who is your real life hero?

I don’t normally look up to people but I do admire Lady Gaga 

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?

I was originally a Doctor’s receptionist so I imagine I would be that. But by choice I would like to have been a comedienne. 

Five things the readers don’t know about you Lynda:

'I used to have a bad stammer. I wrote about this in ‘The Dog’s Bollocks’
I can’t swim
I often wear clothes with the labels still in them (don’t ask me why)
I like sugar on tomatoes
I’m an Essex girl (although you can’t tell now, apparently)'

Lynda lives in Oxfordshire with her second husband and cat. Her web page is: and  you can follow her on Twitter @lyndarenham.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

My Poor Neglected Blog

I knew it had been a long time since I'd last posted anything on my blog, but was staggered to find it's been almost a year.

I will attempt to be a better contributor in the future …

There are new author interviews in the pipeline and a couple of other, I think, exciting ideas I've had recently that I'd like to add to the mix. But it's early stages, so, as they say, watch this space.

My most exciting news is that I will soon be self-publishing my debut novel, The Vanished Hand.

It will be available on Amazon as an e-book and, in due course for those who like to feel a book in their hands (me!) as a paperback. I'll post a link as soon as I have one.

So, what's it about? This is the 'blurb' ...

When Tamara Bellingham reluctantly joins a residential help seminar for people battling the grief that is crippling their lives, she doesn’t expect her own to change so dramatically.

During her short time at Gresham House she finds comfort in the shared experiences within the diverse group of people she’s thrown into. From hedonistic rock star Jay to battered housewife Sandra, the Gresham crew all end up with more than they bargained for: new friendships, new directions, even new romances.

But when Ted is arrested on suspicion of attacking his daughter’s murderer, tensions rise, and single mother Tamara finds herself stepping up to the plate.

But can she trust Garner, the dangerously charming lawyer who seems determined to break down all her defences?

As soon as there is more news - I'll post it here.

Exciting, daunting, terrifying times!

Monday, 1 April 2013

A - for Anthony

I've decided to take part in the A to Z blogging challenge.

And I've chosen heros as my subject.  To kick off we have one of my very first ...

Anthony Andrews.

He was perfect as Lord Sebastian Flyte in Brideshead.  Such a romantic, tortured character.

He also made a fabulous Scarlet Pimpernel.

Obviously he's had a rich acting career, but those are the two roles that stand out for me.

Now to come up with B ...

Friday, 1 March 2013

Author in the Headlights - Alison Morton

Alison Morton grew up in West Kent and worked as a civil servant in the City of London; dealt in coins and antique jewellery; head-hunted chief executives; served as a Territorial Army officer and owned and ran a translation company. She now lives in France with her husband.

A ‘Roman nut’ since age 11, she has visited sites throughout Europe including the alma mater, Rome. But it was the mosaics at Ampurias (Spain) that triggered her wondering what a modern Roman society would be like if run by women…

A wordsmith much of her life - playwright (aged 7), article writer, local magazine editor and qualified translator - she came to novel writing in reaction to a particularly dire film.

‘I could do better than that,’ she whispered in the darkened cinema.
‘So why don’t you?’ came her spouse’s reply.

Three months later, she had completed the first draft of INCEPTIO, her debut novel.

Thank you, Rebecca, for the opportunity to be your guest today.

Who has influenced your life the most? My mother, for her love of learning, books and patience in answering the “why?” question from her own child after a full day of teaching others. But most of all for saying and showing that girls were as good as boys. How many little girls wanted a train set for Christmas and were taught to wire a plug at aged eight?

And my father for opening the door to the Roman world, showing me you could look at things differently and that it was nobody’s damn business if you did.

Which is your favourite book? Currently, William Boyd’s Restless – spies, Second World War, betrayal on personal and political levels, Cold War, class, alienation, two strong women leads and beautiful prose. What more could you want?
As a child, I loved anything by Rosemary Sutcliff, The Emerald Crown by Violet Needham and all of Narnia. My most dog-eared book in my late teens was Katherine by Anya Seton

Other than those you love in fire, what would you save in a fire? Photo albums and my netbook

Which film have you seen several times? I’m a film addict and watch most films several times! I adored Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Inception(!), You’ve Got Mail. The King’s Speech.

What in your life do you regret doing? I don’t tend to look back – what’s done is done.

What ambition do you have?  To see all my Roma Nova books become best sellers!

What is your favourite colour? Blue – any shade

If you were an animal, what would you be? A lynx - a cross between a pussy cat and a sabre-tooth tiger  ;-) 

What temptation do you wish you could resist? The temptation to take the easy choice.
Oh, and chocolate.

What, in others, makes you angry? Irrationality and the inability of people to listen properly

What wisdom would you share with a child? Examine all aspects of what you’re trying to decide or resolve, make your choice and be confident you have made the best decision in the prevailing circumstances.

What is your philosophy of life? Be kind, help if you can but accept it if you can’t. Above all, get on with it!

What is your favourite song? Bridge Over Troubled Water.

What is your favourite piece of music? Jupiter, by Holst – it cheers me up!

Well, I had to include him ...!
Which four people would you like to invite to dinner and why?  Mary Beard, Classics professor, Newnham College, and fab television presenter of the Romans; Hypatia of Alexandria, philosopher and maths professor who was murdered by a Christian mob in AD 415 - both intelligent women challenging irrationality and dogma; George Clooney, a clever (and gorgeous) actor and political activist; Michael Portillo, presenter, wit and charming man.

What has made you happiest? Learning new stuff, experiencing new things, exploring new places

What would you want if you could choose anything? Nothing material that I can think of. I know I’m a terrible person to buy presents for! ;-) 
Immaterially, recognition and/or success in anything I undertake, including my books.

Who is the most fascinating person you’ve met? The Princess Royal, Princess Anne. It was at a reception at The Skinners Hall in the City. She had a terrific presence, but chatted in a very straightforward and kind manner. She made you feel as if you were the only person in the room that she had come to see that evening,

Where is your favourite place in the world? France! The Pont du Gard, Lascaux Caves, Rocamadour, Orange, Nimes, the Loire – where do I stop? But my trip to Rome and Pompeii last year was very special – such atmosphere in both places.

Who is your real life hero? Naturally, my dear husband, Steve.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be? Frustrated and annoying

Five things you might not know about  Alison

She jumped “voluntarily” into a deep pond of freezing water in the Artic Circle - it was called NATO training – an act that may appear to contradict her membership of Mensa.

She hates wasps, loves spiders and despises ants.

Thirty years after her first degree in modern languages and economics, she went back and bagged an MA in history (with distinction!) at the Open University.

She is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists.

She has shocking handwriting and not much better typing.

Find out more about Alison’s writing life, Romans and alternate history at her blog

You can order Inceptio in paperback by clicking here.

Say hello on Twitter @alison_morton

Catch up with her at

Thank you, Alison, for being my author in the headlights!