Hey everyone! Today I have Charlotte Ashby, author of Girls Like Us, talking about her career thus far, and what she has learned from all of her experiences!
A year ago, I found myself in the enviable position of not being the breadwinner for a while – 20 years later I had another gap year to fill. Naturally I had planned all sorts of life enhancing activities like flicking through ‘get the look’ sections of women’s magazines and removing hairballs from the corners of my kitchen.
I have always loved reading and studied English at university but had no serious intention of writing a book, until that is, my best friend came up with a suggestion. Send me one page she said, just one page and I won’t hassle you again. Looking back, that was fiendishly cunning. You can’t write the first page without inventing characters, scenarios, relationships and then once you’ve started, you can’t just abandon them. You’ve got to keep going and find out what happens next. I sent her a chapter a week and waited with baited breadth for a response, which wasn’t always flattering but she was usually right. I was obsessed, for the next 10 months, I would find myself driving with no clue where I was, utterly absorbed and distracted by the characters and how it could all work out.
Of course it helped that I had spent 20 years in a consumer PR agency, one of the most colourful and ludicrous workplaces you could imagine. There were graduate trainees running the marathon dressed as a pot noodle, brainstorms in sandpits, photocalls with abusive celebrities and all manner of harebrained stunts to grab the tabloid headlines. So Emily Brighouse, my hapless, slightly slutty, well meaning heroine, is only a slight exaggeration. Because I have hopped into the offices of the Daily Sport dressed as an Easter Bunny, I have abseiled down the side of a building for some nutty PR stunt and I too have been invited onto the Richard & Judy show to explain my offensive publicity campaign.
Nothing can describe the excitement of seeing the front cover for the first time – knickers on the chandeliers – need I say more! Girls Like Us was described by one newspaper as a ‘heady mix between Bridget Jones and Jilly Cooper’ and the next thing I know, I’m Sun ebook of the week. But the truth is, it was all worth it just to give my friend a laugh and every snigger I get beyond that is a massive bonus.
And what have I learnt from this strange, emotional, maddening experience? For every publisher or agent that turns you down, there is a kind tweet or review that keeps you going. If you can just write the first page, you can write a novel. It’s definitely OK to laugh at your own jokes and there will probably always be hairballs in the corners of my kitchen, because whether I like it or not, I will never stop writing novels.
In keeping with my Sophie Jordan themed weekend, my next post is a book review of the most recent New Adult novel I have read of her’s, Foreplay. The sequel, Tease, is out now.
Scroll down further in the site to check out the cover reveal for her latest Young Adult novel, Unleased.
Foreplay by Sophie Jordan
Published by HarperTeen, HarperCollins
Before she goes after the life she’s always wanted, she’s about to find the one she needs.
Pepper has been hopelessly in love with her best friend’s brother, Hunter, for like ever. He’s the key to everything she’s always craved: security, stability, family. But she needs Hunter to notice her as more than just a friend. Even though she’s kissed exactly one guy, she has just the plan to go from novice to rock star in the bedroom—take a few pointers from someone who knows what he’s doing.
Her college roommates have the perfect teacher in mind. But bartender Reece is nothing like the player Pepper expects. Yes, he’s beyond gorgeous, but he’s also dangerous, deep—with a troubled past. Soon what started as lessons in attraction are turning both their worlds around, and showing just what can happen when you go past foreplay and get to what’s real…
I am a big fan of New Adult books. Those and Young Adult (or Teen as they’re being called these days) have more heart and passion in them than most women’s fiction does. I am happy to day that Foreplay doesn’t not let you know. Besides being extremely well written, Jordan creates a story that you feel like you can step into. A lot of romance novels and very surface based. You can’t really relate to the characters, and they are really more for entertainment than for creating a great story. But Pepper’s character is completely relate-able. She is shy and insecure, yet still strong and intelligent at the same time. She is torn between her heart and her brain and it makes sense that all of this is happening while she is 19 years old.
I really liked this book, and will absolutely be reading the next installment.
What if the worst thing you ever did was unforgivable?
Davy’s world fell apart after she tested positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome. She was expelled from her school, dumped by her boyfriend, abandoned by friends, and shipped off to a camp that turns HTS carriers into soldiers. Davy may have escaped, but the damage has already been done. The unthinkable has happened. Now, even worse than having everyone else see her as a monster is the knowledge that they may have been right about her all along. Because Davy has killed.
On the run from government agents, Davy is rescued by Caden, the charismatic leader of an underground group of rebels. Despite Caden’s assurances that the Resistance is made up of carriers like her, Davy isn’t sure she can trust them. Then again, she doesn’t even know if she can trust herself . . . or her growing feelings for Caden. But if she doesn’t belong with Caden and his followers, is there anywhere she can call home?
I thought being labeled a killer and losing everything—my future, family, boyfriend, friends—was the worst thing that could ever happen to me. It’s not. Finding out they were right. Finding out that’s exactly what I am?
Hey everyone! Jill Knapp here to announce to you all that the cover reveal for my novel has finally arrived! Originally self-published and called Chase, my book is being re-released on July 24th by HarperImpulse, HarperCollins.
You can follow me on Twitter @JL_Knapp or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jill-Knapp/1488935691330000?ref=hl
When you live in the fastest moving city on earth, how do you decide-
What is worth the chase?
Life in the city gives 23 year old Amalia Hastings a ride she is not expecting… As she tries to find her way on the little island that never sleeps, she discovers she has a harder time navigating through life then she does the streets of Greenwich Village!
Amalia thought she had everything she wanted – a new apartment in Manhattan, a first-rate education at NYU, a group of fabulous friends and Nicholas, a boyfriend who she once believed was her soul-mate. But somehow, it isn’t enough.
Stumbling through her relationships, Amalia encounters Michael. An attractive classmate who quickly moves from being one of her close friends, to an inconsistent friend-with-benefits. After all, the only thing consistent about New York is its beauty.
Amalia is essentially torn between two men, and Michael is torn between two women. Her best friend Cassandra is being strung along by her “boyfriend”, Bryce, and even her friend Olivia is having a secret relationship!
After getting hopelessly lost searching for love in all the wrong places, Amalia finds herself asking – what happens to men when they move to Manhattan?!
HarperImpulse, a division of HarperCollins Publishers, is an exciting new range of romance fiction brought to you from the women’s fiction team at HarperCollins. Their aim is to break new talent from debut authors and import the hottest trends from the US, bringing to market the very best in romance. Whether that is through short reads for your mobile phone or epic sagas that span the generations they want to proudly publish romance fiction that gets everybody talking.
June 26th, 2014 | Category: City Girl | Comments are closed
Harper Impulse author of Secrets In The Shadows, Hannah Emery, offers us an inside look on what inspires her:
The Age of Innocence
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write. I used to read constantly and then try to somehow recreate what I’d just read. I talk about the Sweet Valley series a lot when I’m asked about what started me writing, because these were really the books that inspired me the most. I think it was because I wanted to be a part of the world in those books, and writing my own version of it seemed to get me even closer than reading about it. I could never read a book without wanting to write my own and I’m still the same now.
Brave New World
Once I’d grown up and been to university, I tried writing a full novel. But then I got to the point where I knew it wasn’t good enough and didn’t know how to make it better. So I enrolled on an online writing course. I’d heard about the terrors of giving someone your work to read for the first time: the tears of agony that ensued when the criticism thundered into your inbox. But actually, I quite liked the constructive comments from my tutor, and I got a kick out of someone else discussing my characters. When the course ended, I felt a bit lost. I needed a new goal, and my tutor gave me one: she told me to join the Romantic Novelists’ Association.
The Pursuit of Love
They say the road to love is never smooth. It’s true: the RNA New Writers’ Scheme was full the first time I tried to apply, and I had to wait another year to join. I went to an RNA conference anyway as a non-member, and felt out of my depth but massively inspired and excited too.
A year passed, and I managed to join the RNA. This time, when I went to the annual conference, I booked a short slot with Charlotte Ledger from the new imprint, Harper Impulse. But true love hadn’t conquered all yet. A broken down train, my appalling sense of navigation and a morning so frenzied it actually hurt meant that I almost missed my slot with Charlotte.
Ah, but I didn’t miss the slot! I ran a lot, was way too hot, went the wrong way and paid an extortionate taxi fare, but I made it on time! Charlotte loved the chapters I’d sent, and wanted more. I tried not to scream in excitement, preened my final draft, emailed it off, waited and, if I’m completely honest, secretly stalked Charlotte on Twitter a little. Then I finally got an email asking if I’d like to chat about my submission…
When Charlotte called me, she offered me a two book deal with Harper Impulse. Since then, there’s been a lot of champagne, a lot of writing and a lot of amazing online excitement such as this: blogging, tweeting, and chatting about all things writerly with fabulous people who I didn’t even know existed a year ago.
I always saw being published as an end goal, when really it’s clearly only the beginning. It’s probably not quite Utopia, because I can’t drink champagne all day, and I sometimes struggle to fit everything in that I want to do.
But it’s pretty close.
More about Hannah-
I love writing about how fragile the present is and how so much of it depends on chance events that took place years ago. I studied English at the University of Chester, England and I now work in a College where I mentor degree students.
My favourite things in life are my family, my friends, books, exciting makeup products, champagne and dinner dates, zoo trips with my little girl, cosy weekends away and watching things like Gossip Girl and Sex and the City.
June 18th, 2014 | Category: British Lit | Comments are closed
You know the Saybrooks. Everyone does. Perhaps you’ve read a profile of them in People or have seen their pictures in the society pages of Vogue. Perhaps while walking along that choice block on Fifth Avenue, you’ve been tempted to enter the ornate limestone building with their family name etched into the pediment above the door.
The only thing more flawless than a Saybrook’s diamond solitaire is the family behind the jewelry empire. Beauties, entrepreneurs, debutantes, and style mavens, they are the epitome of New York City’s high society. But being a Saybrook comes at a price—they are heirs not only to a dizzying fortune but also to a decades-old family curse.
Tragedy strikes the prominent family yet again when thirty-four-year-old Poppy, the most exquisite Saybrook of them all, flings herself from the window of her TriBeCa office. Everyone is shocked that a woman who had it all would end her own life. Then her cousins receive an ominous threat: one heiress down, four to go.
Was it suicide… or murder? In the aftermath of the tragedy, the remaining heiresses—Corinne, the perfectionist; Rowan, the workaholic; Aster, the hedonist; and Natasha, the enigma—wrestle with feelings of sadness, guilt, and, most of all, fear. Now they must uncover the truth about their family before they lose the only thing money can’t buy: their lives.
A fantastic read! Gossip Girl meets Pretty Little Liars. I seriously could not put this book down. Sara Shepard never disappoints with her well rounded, relatable characters and spooky murder mystery plot lines. Exactly what I was hoping for from her latest novel. I really hope she turns it into a series because the ending sets it up for one. At least a sequel, please!
I recommend this book for Young Adult and New Adult lovers, although those who enjoy Women’s Fiction will probably like it also.
After graduating high school, Olivia “Ollie” McKenna leaves her small town roots in Summerville, Georgia, to pursue her dream of becoming a professional singer. With her best friend and older sister in tow, wholesome Ollie travels to the big city to compete in singing contest Atlanta Idol.
There she meets nineteen-year-old Jack Bradley, a fellow country singer who quickly becomes a close friend. The connection between them is magnetic and an opportunity to sing together
could change their lives forever. But what about Ollie’s mama’s fear of the music business? She’s been burned by the lures of the bright lights before and doesn’t want Ollie anywhere near that world. And Ollie’s growing feelings for Jack as more than just a pal could ruin everything. Despite her own doubts, Ollie is determined to win. Can she make her dream come true or will she return to her hometown empty-handed and brokenhearted?
Review: Nancy Scrafano has written an adorable book! American Honey is a quick and easy read with a like-able main character (not to mention the title is named after an awesome song). A lot of the book took place in the next town over from where I live, so i was interested to see how Nancy described the area of North Carolina.
I would, recommend this book to readers of Young Adult and New Adult.
For more on Nancy, you can check out her Twitter page @NancyScrofano or check out her Goodreads page https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5784909.Nancy_Scrofano
June 12th, 2014 | Category: 5 Star | Comments are closed