Sunday, 15 November 2020

An exciting anniversary

Today is a VERY exciting anniversary in my path to publication journey. It was exactly 6 years ago that I travelled down to London for a special Books and The City writing masterclass event.

I'd already been once, to discuss my Digital Originals submission with Clare Hey and Sara-Jade Virtue. The submission was The Cherry Tree Cafe, and I was waiting to find out if the rest of the Team loved it as much as Clare and S-J.

I wasn't in the building long before Clare took me to one side and said the words I'd been longing to hear - 'We'd like to offer you a two book deal'


Milly Johnson and her fabulous agent were among the speakers that day, but I can't remember much of what they said! 12 books in and I'm still on Cloud 9 and forever grateful that I get to work with such a magnificent Team.

I had very little confidence when I submitted The Cherry Tree Cafe, but I knew, that more than anything else in the world, I wanted to be a published author with books on the shelves, and so I uploaded it and pressed send. 

If you have a burning ambition, I urge you to do the same. Life is too short to put things off and wait for the right time. That time is now so go for it! Be brave! You've nothing to lose and everything to gain!

With love

H xxx


Sunday, 8 November 2020

Welcoming Ella Allbright to the blog!

Today I am delighted to welcome wonderful Ella Allbright to the blog to tell us all about the inspiration behind her beautiful new book, THE LAST CHARM.

Hi Heidi, thanks so much for inviting me on your blog again, and for your support for The Last Charm. It’s been an exciting couple of months since the ebook was released in August - with it hitting several Top 10 Amazons charts both here in the UK and in the US - and I’m super excited that paperback publication is this Thursday. 

Over the last few months, I’ve been delighted to be contacted by readers to tell me they’ve read and loved The Last Charm, and to chat about the characters and themes. There’s no greater privilege as an author to know you’ve created characters people care about, and have been so touched by your book that they reach out to you. 

One of the recurring questions I’m asked is where the inspiration for the book, and writing generally, comes from. In essence, it’s from the world around me. I see a book as being a bit like a jigsaw puzzle, made up of little pieces of myself, my friends and family but also strangers, films, songs, stories, places and  experiences. I start off with a ‘what if?’ question to establish the core of a story, before creating the characters and building a world for them as I plan out the main events to get from beginning to end. 

The inspiration for The Last Charm came from my lovely editor Charlotte Ledger at One More Chapter. She commissioned me to write an epic love story set around a charm bracelet, which I was immediately excited about as thought it was a great concept. When we first met to discuss the idea, I was very passionate about my home county of Dorset being the setting as it’s so beautiful, and I don’t feel it gets the exposure it deserves in terms of books and films etc. Quite a bit of The Last Charm is inspired by my favourite places on the coast, including Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove, and the secondary school in the book is based on the one I attended in Bournemouth. 

Deciding the two main characters would move in and out of each other’s lives in a will-they, won’t-they plot, I used the charms to choose on the significant events that would bring them together, push them apart or bookmark their love story. After a few weeks I’d written a twenty chapter outline which I sent to Charlotte, and we tweaked that slightly before I got my head down and put fingers to keyboard. Even though it took me longer to write than planned, it was a brilliant project to work on and very collaborative, and I still miss Leila and Jake, even though I’ve since written another book!

About the book...

A moving & heartwarming love story perfect for fans of Me Before You, One Day in December & Normal People

Leila’s charm bracelet tells a story of love, a story of loss, a story of hope.
 
This is the story of her … and the story of Jake.

When Leila Jones loses her precious charm bracelet and a stranger finds it, she has to tell the story of how she got the charms to prove she’s the owner. Each and every one is a precious memory of her life with Jake.
 
So Leila starts at the beginning, recounting the charms and experiences that have led her to the present. A present she never could have expected when she met Jake nearly twenty years ago…

Buy Links

eBook

Amazon - https://amzn.to/3a1kroG

Kobo – https://bit.ly/2w0e32r

Google Play - http://bit.ly/3a4wjpQ

Audio book

https://amzn.to/31WjDin 

https://bit.ly/2E4RPAm

Paperback

Bookshop UK - https://uk.bookshop.org/books/the-last-charm (Supporting independent bookshops)

Amazon - https://amzn.to/340NXLz

Waterstones - https://bit.ly/3lcBwSr


All about Ella...


A self-confessed reading addict, Ella Allbright writes commercial women’s fiction set in her beautiful home county of Dorset. Her first novel in this genre, The Last Charm was published in August 2020 with One More Chapter (HarperCollins) and she’s currently hard at work on her next book. Ella is represented by agent Hattie Grünewald at The Blair Partnership.
Ella also writes as Nikki Moore, the author of the popular #LoveLondon romance series. When not writing or reading, she can usually be found working in her HR day job, walking the family’s cute beagle puppy or watching a Netflix series!

Contact Ella...

ellaallbrightwrites@gmail.com

Saturday, 7 November 2020

My chat with Catriona!

 I had a great time chatting with Catriona (aka Fab Book Fiend) last week! We talked about THE WINTER GARDEN, diversity, writing routine, festive fun and all things bookish.

Here's the link in case you missed it - 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-EnFK5OwkI&feature=youtu.be

I hope you enjoy it!

H x

Saturday, 31 October 2020

Living the #amwriting life - October

 So, here we are again! Another four weeks have somehow slipped by and I'm writing up the #amwriting monthly round-up! I don't think it will come as a surprise to anyone that the month of October has been about two big writing projects for me.

Firstly, 

THE WINTER GARDEN 

publication day on October 3rd

What a truly memorable day that was and the celebrations have carried on all month thanks to everyone who has read and kindly posted a fabulous review AND the incredible blogging community who have kept the tour train running for four whole weeks! Thank you all so, so much! Your incredible support is always appreciated.

The second thing I've been working on, is the second draft of my 12th book, 

A TASTE OF HOME 

which will be released next April.

I'm not going to lie, this has been incredibly hard work. A close family bereavement and Covid finding its unwanted way into my darling daughter's university flat, have made maintaining focus more than difficult. I don't think I've ever taken so long to work through something but do you know what, in these difficult times, we have to occasionally cut ourselves a bit of slack, don't we? 

I'm most fortunate in that I have a hugely supportive agent and publishing Team, so thank you for your kindness and the extended deadline.

Now I'm through the other side of the write I can relax a little, and I'm absolutely in love with the book and I think you will be too. It's a real pleasure to be back in wonderful Wynbridge again and especially for the summer! 

We haven't visited in the sunnier months since COMING HOME TO CUCKOO COTTAGE was published and I've written seven books since then. There are wonderful new characters to get to know as well as lots old friends to catch up with. Click the link to the right of this post if you want to find out more!

So, that was October. Filled with long days, sadness and stress, but that's life sometimes, isn't it? Tomorrow the calendar flips to November and the countdown to Christmas will really be on. I daresay, it's going to be very different for all of us, but we're all in it together and we have fabulous fiction to fall into so let's take comfort in that!

Love and hugs

H xxx









Wednesday, 21 October 2020

E-BOOK BARGAIN ALERT!

 Just letting you know that right now both SNOWFLAKES AND CINNAMON SWIRLS and THE CHRISTMAS WISH LIST are just 99p each to download on Amazon and Apple books!

Amazon

Happy festive reading, my loves!

H xxx











Saturday, 17 October 2020

Are you a winner?

 Huge and heartfelt thanks to everyone who took part in THE WINTER GARDEN giveaway! I thought a food based answer would be a good idea, but your answers have got my belly rumbling! I haven't counted exact numbers but I think MINCE PIES were the most popular choice, closely followed by CHRISTMAS DINNER with all the trimmings.

As always I've used the random number generator to pick the winners for me.

First prizes go to -

Sam Peacock 

Angelli Joyce Santiago

Runner up prizes go to -

Hannah - wrote with coffee 

Emma Rice


Massive congratulations to you all!

Please send your postal addresses to my inbox and I'll get your prizes in the post

heidijo.swain@gmail.com 

Again, massive thanks to everyone who took part and don't worry if you missed out this time, I'll be running another giveaway very soon.

Love and hugs

H xxx

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

A TASTE OF HOME

Today I am absolutely delighted to be able to share with you the gorgeous holding cover for A TASTE OF HOME which will be published next April and which gives us a glimpse of just how beautiful the final cover will be! Isn't it pretty? 


I'm so excited to be heading back to WYNBRIDGE for the summer! We haven't been there in the warm months since Cuckoo Cottage was published.

Here's the updated blurb...

Fliss Brown has grown up living with her mother on the Rossi family’s Italian fruit farm. But when her mother dies, Fliss finds out she has a family of her own, and heads back to England with Nonna Rossi’s recipe for cherry and almond tart and a piece of advice: connect with your family before it is too late…

Fliss discovers that her estranged grandfather owns a fruit farm himself, on the outskirts of Wynbridge, and she arrives to find a farm that has fallen into disrepair. Using her knowledge gleaned from working on the Rossi farm and her desire to find out more about her past, Fliss rolls her sleeves up and gets stuck in. But what will she discover, and can she resurrect the farm’s glory days and find a taste of home…?

I really hope you like the sound of it! 

Buy the book...

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1471195821/ref=cm_sw_r_fm_apa_i_z1tHFbCW0G4Z6