Wednesday, 21 April 2021
Wednesday, 14 April 2021
I was fortunate enough to be sent a proof copy of THE READING LIST, by Sara Nisha Adams. It's a stunning debut, publishing on July 22nd and I can't recommend it highly enough. Here's the blurb -
Thursday, 8 April 2021
Wednesday, 7 April 2021
It's my birthday today - a sort of a milestone one - which means it's also just three more weeks until A TASTE OF HOME is published and combined together, the two things have put me in a rather reflective mood.
I know that turning 49 might not mean much to some, but I feel it's important to celebrate the last year of my 40's. It has certainly been one heck of a decade. The highs have been monumental, the lows have been crushing and there's been a lot of in-between stuff too, but today, I'm thinking more about what's happened in my life over the last 49 years to turn me into the writer I am today.
Who and what has been responsible for shaping my writing?
A sense of place...
Until I started to take my writing ambitions seriously and settled down to properly write with intent, I had no idea how formative my early years had been. However, as you may already be aware, a sense of place is a key theme in all of my books. I love my settings every bit as much as my characters and that, I think, was something destined to become embedded from an early age.
The first setting I created was beloved Wynbridge. I made no conscious decision, when I started building that little market town in the Fens, to begin imagining the town nearest to where I grew up and yet that was exactly where my mind set off to. The memory of that place became the building blocks for an integral part of my writing journey and, in turn, my future publishing success.
And my imagination didn't stop there, because as well as places, people have played a major part in shaping me as a writer too.
The influence of my much-loved Nanna and Grandad are sprinkled throughout the pages of each and every book I've written. It might be a brief mention of the joy of the old-fashioned button tin or more detailed descriptions of the trials and tribulations of strawberry picking, but they are always there in some form or another.
As is the family farming tradition, the joy of gardening and precious memories stored up from trips to the seaside. Mum, Dad, grandparents, great-grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins, they're all to be found in Wynbridge, Nightingale Square and more recently, Wynmouth.
My love of fiction has also played its part. There are certain books I read every year, on a sort of seasonal loop -
Spring - The Wind in The Willows, Kenneth Grahame
Summer - The Darling Buds of May, H E Bates
Autumn - Village School, Miss Read
Winter - A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
These four familiar titles herald the arrival of each new season and I can identify elements from them all in my own writing.
My love of family and home, the strong connection to nature and seasonal cycles, the importance of community and kindness can be tracked in all of these books and are prevalent themes in my own writing too.
Here's hoping that the influence of my formative years, family and my love of books will help me create even more magic and enable me to bring to you many more books for decades to come!
With love to all the fabulous Swainettes out there!
Thursday, 1 April 2021
Today I have the very great pleasure of welcoming fellow author, and RNA chum,
Kathleen Whyman to the blog!
She's sharing the inspiration behind, and telling us all about, her fantastic debut -
WIFE SUPPORT SYSTEM
'Stop talking about writing a book and just write one.'
It was these words, delivered by my seven-year-old daughter, that gave me the push I needed to write the novel – Wife Support System – that I’d been thinking about (and clearly talking about!) for a long time.
The inspiration for the book had come on a typically frantic day. I was trying to test spellings, get to an after-school club, cook dinner, book a plumber and meet a work deadline. Oh, and make a gas mask for a school project that was due in the next day! Many of my friends were struggling in the same way and it occurred to me that if we lived together, we could help each other out and life would be much easier.
I’m not as brave as the three women in my book to do this (although I was often as desperate during lockdown!), but thought it’d make a great story, that many women could relate to.
Wife Support System (published by Hera Books and available in paperback, ebook and audiobook) is humorous women's fiction featuring three friends who are frustrated by the lack of support they get in their family homes. They decide they’ve got the balance wrong. Instead of living with their partners and struggling with careers, childcare and housework by themselves, they should live together and help each other out, and date their partners.
At first, life’s easier when the childcare and workload is shared, but over time resentment builds, as they judge each other’s parenting styles and bicker over cleaning, cooking and whose turn it is to buy toilet rolls.
Can Erica, Louise and Polly keep their friendships and relationships strong, as one has her head turned by a handsome colleague, one resorts to spying on her husband and one fights to keep a dark secret? Or will their perfect mumtopia fall apart?
As I don’t have my own wife support system, it took seven years to write, but, having dreamt of being a published author all my life, it was worth the wait!
My children are a bit older now (12 and 14 – I wasn’t exaggerating when I said Wife Support System took me seven years!), so I have more time to write and have finished my second novel, which was shortlisted for the Comedy Women in Print prize in the unpublished category.
When we’re not in lockdown, I write at the library. It’s the best way of ensuring I don’t get distracted by jobs at home, although I do get distracted by all the books! It’s so important to support libraries. If we don’t use them, we’ll lose them. I’m very glad they’ll be reopening soon and thrilled that Wife Support System will be on their shelves!
How to buy…
Wife support System by Kathleen Whyman is available in paperback, ebook and audiobook.
Your local book shop can also order it in if it’s not in stock (in other words, if my mum got to the shop before you!).
About Kathleen Whyman
Kathleen Whyman is an author, freelance journalist and copywriter.
Kathleen’s debut novel, Wife Support System, was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Joan Hessayon award. Kathleen’s novel Second Wife Syndrome was shortlisted for the Comedy Women in Print prize in the Unpublished Comic Novel category. Although very pleased to have been nominated, Kathleen’s still gutted that both awards evenings were cancelled due to Covid. There were going to be party bags and everything!
Kathleen writes a column for Writers’ Forum and contributes to the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s magazine Romance Matters. She also wrote short stories for Jackie magazine in her teens. These were, thankfully, never printed.
Kathleen lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and two daughters.
Contact Kathleen at
Twitter – @kathleenwhyman1
Instagram – @kathleenwhymanauthor
Facebook – @kathleenwhymanauthor
Photography ©Alexa Loy Photography
Sunday, 28 March 2021
Welcome to the brand new week my loves and it's an exciting one, as today marks the one month countdown to A TASTE OF HOME being published! Woohoo! As April 29th is fast approaching, I thought it might be fun to share a few Wynbridge inspired posts in the run up to the BIG day, and as my rhubarb crumble pics caused quite a stir at the weekend, I thought I'd share the recipe.
Rhubarb is widely available now and my ever so easy crumble is the perfect dish to welcome you to Fliss and Bill's wonderful farm on the outskirts of Wynbridge. I bet Jemma from THE CHERRY TREE CAFE would have this one on the menu too!
What you need -
For the filling -
4 - 6 sticks of rhubarb
4 - 5 apples
For the topping -
200g plain flour
100g margarine - room temperature
A couple of handfuls of oats (optional)
What you do -
Turn the oven to 180
Wash and chop the rhubarb into chunks, about 5cm long. There's no need to be too precise
Wash and cut the apples into similar sized chunks
Add both to the cooking tin, stir in a couple of tablespoons of honey
Put on the bottom shelf of the warmed oven, while you make the crumble
Tip the flour into a large bowl and add the margarine, in a few pieces on top
Rub the margarine into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. This will take a couple of minutes, so be patient
Add the sugar and optional oats to the mix and stir through with a knife
Take the tin out of the oven, sprinkle the crumble mix over the top of the fruit, which will now smell divine and return to the oven for 30 - 35 mins. I generally take it out when the liquid from the fruit starts to bubble around the side of the tin
Allow to cool, then devour -
Preferably with cream, custard or ice cream!
See! I told you it was easy!
Simple bakes are the best in my opinion and the family will absolutely love this one. If you give it a go, I'd love to see your triumphs on social media so please upload your pics, tag me and #ATasteofHome and I'll comment and share.
As always, thank you all for your support. I hope you are as excited about heading back to Wynbridge as I am. See you there!
Monday, 15 March 2021
Hello my loves! How are you all? I hope this post finds you happy, healthy and ready to embrace spring which is finally teetering on the horizon? The sun is shining over my patch of Norfolk today, but the wind has a bit of a bite to it which was more than bracing on my 6am walk this morning!