I have exciting news my loves!
For the next 2 weeks
THE CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION
is available to request on Netgalley!
Click the link for details
Huge thanks to everyone who entered The Summer Fair paperback giveaway here on the blog this week!
I know some of you had problems entering and therefore all future competitions and giveaways will be run via my newsletter so do please subscribe. There's a subscription box to the right of this post.
The lucky recipients on this occasion are -
Congratulations to you both!
If you could please email me you postal address at
Along with who you'd like your book dedicated to and confirming I can give Royal Mail your email address for tracking purposes, that would be great.
As we're now in full holiday season, I thought I'd have a little blog giveaway!
There are 2 signed copies of THE SUMMER FAIR paperbacks up for grabs for UK readers this week and being in with a chance of winning one couldn't be easier.
Simply tell me where this new summer title is set in the comments box below and I'll pick a winner using a random number generator after the closing time of midnight on Wednesday August 3rd.
AND most importantly, leave you name and where on social media I can find you, so I can let you know if you've won!
Super easy and super quick to make sure you have the book in time to read it during the - potentially - sunniest month of the year!
Today I am delighted to welcome another new guest to the blog! Karen Louise Hollis had dropped by to tell us all about the first title in her Whitlock Close series, which is set in the the 1980's.
I love books and especially ones like Heidi’s which have such a strong sense of community and place. My perfect book series are the ones where you look forward to the latest release and finding out what the characters have been up to since you last read about them. All of this was really the inspiration for my debut novel Welcome to Whitlock Close, which came out in May.
It is set in the 1980s, with each book (There will hopefully be five in the series!) following a year of the residents of Whitlock Close. There are eight houses in the cul-de-sac and the books follow the lives of all those that live there. The initial main focus is on the Thorpe family – Robert, Sandra and their daughter Louise. They move from Lincoln to New Barnham - a village seven miles away, just in time for Louise to start at secondary school there. So it’s a big move for her and her mother, who both know no-one in the village and need to find friends. Robert still works in Lincoln as a journalist on the local newspaper, so less has changed for him. Each book follows a year at secondary school for Louise.
But the book doesn’t just focus on the Thorpe family. There’s a whole street full of characters to fall in love with and each one has their own problems to face and their own joys to celebrate. From feedback I have received, one of the characters that readers love is Nora. She starts off as an annoying neighbour, the sort who peers out from behind her curtains to see what’s going on. But things happen to soften her and soon she’s back friends with Mabel. The two of them live next door, and being both widowed women of a similar age, they should be best pals. But they fell out over something neither can recall and the feud continued much longer than it should have. Not that it’ll be plain sailing from now on…
We have a local book club, a Twinning Committee for the village’s annual trip to France and Louise joins the local gymnastics club. There’s a former actor struggling with addiction and depression who moves to the village for anonymity and the first black family to move in! Oh yes, it’s all happening in Whitlock Close!
My aim was to write a novel that reflected real life, but I wanted to set it before all the worries of global warming and the war in Ukraine. It had to be before mobile phones and the internet. I loved the 1980s and had a lovely childhood, growing up in a beautiful village and going to a great school. So I wanted my novel to be realistic and believable, but with a fair sprinkling of nostalgia and escapism.
Being a big lover of animals too, there are plenty of those in the story, including my own pets from childhood – my dog Lady Olga (a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel) and our cats Mitty and Tabina. There is admittedly quite a lot of me in the novel, but hopefully that adds to the story.
I was also very keen to include characters of all ages, because as I’m now 52, I find I am more interested in novels featuring older people. A romcom about a slim, rich, beautiful twenty-something is fine, but I’m much more likely to relate to an overweight, ageing, often skint single mother whose stretchmarks prevent any stomach showing, no matter how hot the weather gets.
I also truly believe that everyone has a story to tell. I find this with my non-fiction books, where I’m interviewing gymnasts who have competed for their country over the years. But it’s true in fiction too – all my characters start at one place and end up somewhere else. Because we all go on a journey and that’s the interesting bit…
Welcome to Whitlock Close is available from Amazon in paperback and e-book
My non-fiction books on gymnastics, Doctor Who and motherhood, plus my poetry collections are available from karenlouisehollis.co.uk
Connect with Karen -
I am delighted to be able to share with you the details of another event which is happening in Norfolk in September!
On Thursday, September 22nd at 5.30pm I will be visiting Great Yarmouth for an evening of bookish chat and answering any questions you may have about me or my writing.
I hope you will be able to join us. Contact the library for any further details.
At long last I have some event news to share with you!
On Tuesday, September 27th at 7pm I will be taking part in 'an evening of romantic fiction' at Waterstones Norwich.
Rachel Hore will be hosting the evening (and asking some wonderful questions) and the other authors on the panel are -
The event was announced last week and so many people have already been in touch to say that they've booked their tickets which makes my heart very happy indeed.
As much as I love the online events, and will continue to do them for as long as there is demand, it does feel wonderful to be heading back out into the world to meet romantic fiction readers in person!
Tickets are just £5.00 each and here's a link if you would like to learn more about the event, the authors or buy a ticket.
I'm hoping to see lots of you there and will be signing books on the night!
Hot on the heels of THE SUMMER FAIR publication day, I am now able to share with you the title, cover and blurb of my Christmas 2022 release. Yay!
On October 13th, A CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION will be published and the story is set at WYNTHORPE HALL which means lots of fabulous seasonal events in wonderful WYNBRIDGE will feature too!
I hope you're as excited about the prospect of that as I am! I know lots of you love Angus and the rest of the Connelly clan, so this will definitely be a Christmas to remember.
When Paige turns up unannounced at Wynthorpe Hall, she discovers the place she knew when she was growing up has changed beyond all recognition. She’s only planning to stay for a short time, but is quickly pulled into local life.
One night while driving home after delivering library books and shopping to residents she stumbles across an isolated cottage and meets Albert, its elderly and rather grumpy owner. She quickly realises there’s more to Albert than meets the eye and the same can be said for the other man she can’t seem to help running into, handsome but brooding Brodie.
All three of them have a secret and a desire to hide away from the world, but with Christmas on the horizon, is that really the best way to celebrate the season?