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Writer Wednesday: Jennifer Bohnet

Allergic to housework and gardening Jennifer rarely does either but she does enjoy having friends to lunch and also wandering around vide greniers (the French equivalent of flea markets) looking for a bargain or two. Her children currently live in fear of her turning into an ageing hippy and moving to Totnes, Devon.

1. Why did you want to become a writer?
I’ve always loved reading and scribbled my own stories in notebooks from a young age. It took a long time for me to realise I could actually be this thing called a writer. I eventually did a correspondence course and started writing and selling features and lifestyle pieces to various newspapers and magazines. Since living in France I’ve written and had published hundreds of short stories and I’ve just finished writing my tenth book.

2. What's the toughest part of the writing process for you?
Switching off the internet and actually getting down to writing. I try to be very strict with myself - write for an hour = 5 minutes on social media. I often fail and the process is reversed!

3. What's the most enjoyable part of writing?
When everything begins to flow and the characters come to life.

4. Out of all the amazing books out there, which book do you wish you had written and why?

Gosh that’s a hard question. I think it has to be one of Jill Mansell’s early books, Staying at Daisy’s. She is brilliant at weaving different characters and plots into one easy to read storyline - and we all know ‘easy reading’ is the result of difficult writing.

5. If you could only save one of your characters from fictional calamity, which would you pick and why?
I think Eliosa from You Had Me At Bonjour. She’s an older secondary character in that book who’d had some tough times but came through smiling in the end when she got another unexpected chance at love.

6. If you could spend the day with your favourite literary character (not from your books), who would you spend it with and what would you do?
I’m not sure I have a favourite literary character but I would love to be able to chat to F.Scott-Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway about the time they spent down on the Riviera. We’d have champagne and cake in the infamous Hotel de Provence in Juan-les-Pins and they’d tell me all about the parties and the scandals that happened there in the 1930s’ - the so called golden era down there.

7. What can we expect next from you?
My tenth book is with my publishers at the moment - I’m waiting with fingers crossed to hear if they like it. I’ve already started the next book. I’m also writing my 6th serial for The People’s Friend magazine.

8. Is there any particular writing advice you wish you'd been given at the start of your writing career? If so, what is it? If not, what advice would you give to someone starting out?
Dreams come true if you work at them. Also, never give up.

9. Tell us what a typical writing day involves for you.
I’m lucky in that I now write full time. So first thing, I switch the computer on, have a quick check to see if anything urgent or interesting has landed in my e-mail over night and then get breakfast while my husband walks the dog and lets the chickens out. I’m also lucky that my husband likes to cook and has virtually taken over the kitchen so that’s my time done in the kitchen for the day! If it’s a day at home I spend the morning working in my office and after a two hour lunch break (well I do live in France so...) A couple of hours in the office in the afternoon and then we take the dog for a longish walk. A lot of social media surfing also takes place - especially when I hit a block! Housework tends to get left until we have visitors.

10. Finally, what are you reading at the moment?
I’ve just finished The Teashop on the Corner by Milly Johnson - another writer who can write easy to read books with intricate plots. Recommended.

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One summer they’ll never forget…

Meet Sabine, desperately fighting to save her little kiosk from closure whilst turning down her friend Owen’s proposals, time and time again.

Cue Harriet, returning to Dartmouth after thirty years, haunted by the scandal that drove her away and shocked by a legacy that threatens her relationship with her journalist daughter.

Enter Rachel, the mysterious newcomer who has an unexpected chemistry with a local widower, and who sets in motion a chain of events she could never have predicted…

One thing’s for sure, as the autumn tide turns, there’ll be more than one secret laid bare!
Follow Jennifer on Twitter | Buy The Little Kiosk By The Sea on Amazon |
Like her on Facebook | Visit her website

Writer Wednesday: Daisy James

Daisy James is a Yorkshire girl transplanted to the north east of England. She loves writing stories with strong heroines and swift-flowing plotlines. When not scribbling away in her peppermint-and-green summerhouse (garden shed), she spends her time sifting flour and sprinkling sugar and edible glitter. Her husband and young son were willing samplers of her baking creations which were triple-tested for her debut novel, The Runaway Bridesmaid. She loves gossiping with friends over a glass of something pink and fizzy or indulging in a spot of afternoon tea – china plates and teacups are a must.

1. Why did you want to become a writer?
I have been scribbling stories since I was ten years old. I think that was when I realised that my dream was to become a writer. I wrote my first full length novel over twenty years ago, in long-hand, and it's still in a shoe box on the top of my wardrobe gathering dust. It was only whilst I was in New York celebrating a milestone birthday that I thought again about writing another story. Hurricane Sandy meant we were stranded there for six days and everything had shut down. So I grabbed a pen and an exercise book and started to write The Runaway Bridesmaid, which is set in Manhattan before switching to the Devon countryside. This time I made sure I typed it up and sent it out to agents and publishers.

2. What's the toughest part of the writing process for you?
It might sound strange but for me one of the toughest parts is coming up with the characters' names. It takes me days, sometimes weeks to come up with the perfect name. A person's name is so important, it's such an integral part of who they are and how we perceived them. It has to reflect their age, their personality, where they were born and be a perfect fit for the character I'm trying to create for the story.

3. What's the most enjoyable part of writing?
It has to be writing the first draft. I love getting to know the characters I've created as they struggle with the obstacles I've put in their way. Sometimes they surprise me!

4. Out of all the amazing books out there, which book do you wish you had written and why?
I love books written by people who have taken the amazing decision to change their lives by moving to another country. I enjoy reading about their trials of doing up a dilapidated barn or farm, as well as settling into the local community and learning the language. Some of my favourites are Driving Over Lemons by Chris Stewart (love that title), Snowball Oranges by Peter Kerr and of course A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle. I've just read Wild by Cheryl Strayed and loved it. I also thoroughly enjoyed the books written by Karen Wheeler - Tout Sweet: Hanging up my High Heels for a New Life in France.

5. If you could only save one of your characters from fictional calamity, which would you pick and why?
It would have to be Rosie Hamilton in The Runaway Bridesmaid. She was my first heroine. She overcame lots of obstacles to find her Happy Ever After. And I love her attempts at 'baking herself better' from the recipes in her aunt Bernice's journal.

6. If you could spend the day with your favourite literary character (not from your books), who would you spend it with and what would you do?
One of the things I do to relax is archery. So - I'd love to spend the day with Legolas from Lord Of The Rings.

7. What can we expect next from you?
I'm busy working on my fourth book at the moment. I've completed the first draft and now knee deep in edits. It's set in glorious Cornwall so I'm enjoying the research and the dreaming, not to mention the clotted cream teas I have to eat to get myself in the mood. I hope it will be out early Spring 2017. I've also got a story in my mind for book number five, but that's just at the planning stages.

8. Is there any particular writing advice you wish you'd been given at the start of your writing career? If so, what is it? If not, what advice would you give to someone starting out?
The best advice I received from writer friends when I was starting out was to just write. Put your fingers on the keyboard and write, write, write. It doesn't have to be perfect at the beginning - don't fret about punctuation or spelling errors. Just get the story down and then you can spend time editing. You can't edit an empty page.

9. Tell us what a typical writing day involves for you.
I still write in long hand. It's a habit I don't seem to be able to break. So I will scribble in the morning and then type up what I've written in the afternoon. When I'm writing a first draft, I try to aim for around 2,000 words a day, but it's not set in stone - great if I can do more! I have a peppermint-and-cream writer's retreat (garden shed) which I love to work in in the summer months.

10. Finally, what are you reading at the moment?
I'm reading Extra Virgin by Annie Hawes who moved from Shepherd's Bush to the north west of Italy to live in a tiny rustico in the hills. I also have her next book Ripe For The Picking ready for when I finish it.

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When life gives you lemons, make lemon-drizzle cupcakes…

Lucie thought that proposing to her boyfriend in Tiffany’s would be the best day of her life. Until he said no. In just a few seconds, her whole world is turned upside-down! And when she accidentally switches cocoa powder for chilli powder at work, she finds herself out of a job, too…

Baking has always made life better in the past, but can Lucie really bake her way to happiness? Starting her own company, selling cupcakes out of an old ice cream van might just be the second chance that Lucie needs!

Of course, she never expected to find love along the way…

Follow Daisy on Twitter | Buy When Only Cupcakes Will Do on Amazon |
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