Thursday, October 22, 2020

What's cooking with Carol M. Cram....plus a book giveaway

We're pleased to welcome Carol M. Cram to CLC today. Her latest novel, Love Among the Recipes, sounds like a real treat. Carol is here to talk more about it and she has TWO e-books to give away!

Carol M. Cram loves the arts, food, travel, and writing novels about people who follow their passions.

Carol writes about women in the arts in her first three award-winning novels of historical fiction, The Towers of Tuscany (Lake Union Publishing, 2014), A Woman of Note (Lake Union Publishing, 2015) and The Muse of Fire (Kindle Press & New Arcadia Publishing, 2018) and matches her travel-inspired vignettes with pastel drawings created by her husband, Canadian artist Gregg Simpson in Pastel & Pen: Travels in Europe (New Arcadia Publishing, 2018). 

Carol expresses her enthusiasm for the written word, the arts, and her love of travel on Artsy Traveler and Art In Fiction, and on the Art In Fiction Podcast in her chats with authors who write novels inspired by the arts. She also teaches writing courses and mentors new authors--one of her favorite things to do.

Carol holds an MA in Drama from the University of Toronto and an MBA from Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh. She lives with her husband, painter Gregg Simpson, on beautiful Bowen Island near Vancouver, BC, where she also teaches Nia, a holistic dance/fitness practice. (Bio adapted from Amazon.)

Visit Carol online:

Synopsis:
Paris may be for lovers, but cookbook author Genna McGraw is definitely not looking for love. She’s looking for escape and she's looking for a good runny Brie to pair with a smooth Bordeaux. Where better than Paris?

In Love Among the Recipes, Genna goes to the City of Light to get away from her philandering husband and write a “crossover cookbook/guidebook” that matches Parisian sights such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre with recipes for bistro-style French dishes. She also dabbles in romance with dishy French lawyer Pierre Leblanc and makes friends at her French class with Colorado transplant Marsha Renfrew and her snooty English boyfriend.

And then there’s big, blunt Bill Turner from Australia. Does he really eat crocodile steaks for tea?

But when Genna’s family crashes her new life in Paris, a crisis forces her to choose how she wants to live. Will she have the courage to embrace an uncertain future and risk losing everything? (Courtesy of Amazon.)

How do you get past writer's block?
Ah, there’s the rub! I once suffered for several years from writer’s block (at least in relation to writing fiction) before I finally had my first novel published (The Towers of Tuscany in 2014). My problem was that I couldn’t get past needing to be perfect. I wanted every word I wrote to be exactly right the first time I wrote it. Of course, that’s impossible! I got over writer’s block when I finally gave myself permission to “be bad”; that is, to just get the words on screen and then to do the editing later. 

Now, I’m able to start writing a scene without worrying whether what I’m writing is “good”. And very often, when I reread the passage I just wrote, I discover that the writing is much better than I expected. 

I think the trick to getting over writer’s block is to just do a lot of writing and to be confident that you’ll correct errors and polish the words during the editing process. As I’ve discovered after completing four published novels, I’ll be reading every word I write countless times before I even let beta readers take a look, and then many more times after that until the book is ready to be published.

Another good way to combat writer’s block is to write every day. I set myself a word limit and make it a priority to meet it before I start any other activities such as marketing, blogging, or consulting.

Has the pandemic changed your writing in any way?  If so, how?
I’ve been writing full time for several years now so the pandemic didn’t have that big an impact on my writing process. However, two interesting things happened to my writing career as a result of the pandemic. First, I had to give up going to cafés to write—something I used to love to do. Now that restrictions are starting to ease here in British Columbia, I’m able to go to my local café again, but I don’t do so nearly as often as I used to. I just got out of the habit and so I do the majority of my writing at home. At least I’m saving a ton of money! 

Second, when the pandemic started, I was writing the sequel to The Towers of Tuscany which is set in medieval Italy. The novel was historical fiction and included all sorts of scenes involving plague, violence, etc., because, of course, 14th-century Italy wasn’t the safest of times. When our own 21st century plague hit, I decided that I wanted to work on something fun and light. As a result, I took out the manuscript for Love Among the Recipes that I’d written a few years ago and decided to get it ready for publication. I figured that if I wanted a break from the grim realities of this year, others may want the same. Love Among the Recipes is intended to be a fun, food-infused romp through Paris that is as crisp, sweet, and smooth as the perfect macaron!
 
What experience has had the greatest impact on your writing career?
I think one of the best things I did to jump start my writing career was to work with a mentor prior to publishing my first novel. I always advise new writers to find a mentor who will help them structure their novel and provide good advice about style and character development. When I worked with a mentor, I took the leap from wannabe writer to “real” writer capable of creating stories that people might actually want to read! I remember being so thrilled after my initial meeting with my first mentor (I’ve had a few) when she told me that I was on the right track. Yes, I had a lot of work to do to get my manuscript into shape, but I was encouraged to know that I wasn’t wasting my time. That was a good day!

The one thing no one would ever guess about me is . . .
I’m really, really good at wasting time! I have developed a reputation over the years as someone who works hard and is pretty productive most of the time. While that is true on the surface, I never really feel like I’m as productive as I could be because I know how much time I don’t spend working. Fortunately, I’m getting much better at not being so hard on myself and on recognizing that downtime isn’t wasted time!

If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, which book would that be?
Emma by Jane Austen (although any of her novels will do!). I frequently re-read Austen’s six novels and never cease to be amazed at how they can still make me laugh out loud. I’ll never tire of reading about Mr. & Mrs. Elton, Miss Bates, and fussy old Mr. Woodhouse. Austen’s characters are so incredibly memorable and yet how did she do it? No matter how many times I read her novels, I can’t quite put my finger on what exactly she did to make them so good. I just wish I could do the same!

What is your favorite "go-to" fall recipe?
Pumpkin pie, of course! As I write this, I’m about to start baking my first pie of the season for Canadian Thanksgiving (second weekend in October). I confess that often I buy my pumpkin pies, but this year I’m baking one from scratch. Since March, I’ve spent a lot more time in the kitchen cooking and baking.

~Interview by Tracey Meyers

Thanks to Carol for visiting with us and for sharing her book with our readers.

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Giveaway ends October 27th at midnight EST.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Sara and Melissa talk about...Being Scared

We've been running a column series to get more personal with our readers. This month, in honor of Halloween, we're talking about the scariest things that have happened to us.

We're always open to topic suggestions, so please don't hesitate to share those in the comments. We'd also love to know if you can relate to anything we've said or hear your own thoughts on the topic. So don't be shy. :) We look forward to getting to know you as much as we're letting you get to know us. You can find our previous columns here, in case you missed them.

Sara Steven:

This year, due to the global pandemic, there won’t be any trick-or-treating going on in my neck of suburban woods. This really doesn’t mean much for my teenager, other than missing out on potential sleepovers with his buddies, but my fourth grader looked forward to dressing up and walking around the neighborhood, ringing doorbells and saying the obligatory “trick-or-treat,” his pumpkin-shaped bag stretched out in anticipation of whatever candy loot he can acquire. 

In lieu of the usual traditions on October 31st, we’re going to have a Halloween night sleepover with our boys, complete with junk food and scary movies. Well, as scary as the youngest child (and his mother) can handle. We’ll each have our pick and roll with it, possibly in sleeping bags, more than likely not making it past midnight, potentially passing out during Beetlejuice or The Nightmare Before Christmas or Poltergeist or some other movie, making the best of a unique situation that has plagued us for most of 2020.

Scary movies got me thinking about scary things, in general. When I was a kid it was the zombie pets and children that come back to life in Pet Semetary, or the talon-like claws on the glove that Freddie Krueger wears in A Nightmare on Elm Street, and don’t get me started on not being able to sleep in my bed for a week after seeing The Exorcist. Those things had frightened me back then, but there are still some obvious fears in my life that have only become heightened the older I get. They are realistic and ever present, items that can’t be tucked away by sliding a VHS cassette tape into its case and sticking it onto a shelf.  

In no particular order, although I’m sure my family would disagree with me, given the way I act when having to face my fears head on:

Heights
My children like to show me videos of people walking on scaffolding hundreds of stories up in the air, or dare devils who go rock climbing without any safety gear, and they particularly get a kick out of showing me skydivers, blending two of my fears together, heights and flying, which I’ll get into a bit later. I put myself inside the shoes of those people, and my first instinct is to want to urinate in my pants. In fact, I know that would happen if I did anything of that nature. Which is funny, because I jumped out of a two story window when I was a preschooler because I’d seen friends playing outside while I was forced into taking a nap, and I got it into my head that the best way to accomplish playing with them was to scoot a chair to my bedroom window and jump out of it. Maybe my fear of heights began after that experience, I’m not sure.

Bees
I went hiking with my teenager not too long ago, and afterwards, as we’re getting into our car, a honeybee decides it wants to join us. My son loves to recount my reaction to this, arms flailing about, screams loud and high-pitched, filled with deep terror as I’m scooting over into his side of the passenger seat, trying to get away. He laughed at me the entire time. The bee decided it didn’t want to deal with my theatrics and went on its merry little way, but this experience brought out the intense fear I have of all things bee-related. Honeybees and bumblebees and hoverbees don’t bug me as much, because they do their own thing. But—and just thinking of it makes me sick to my stomach—wasps are just, I can’t even. They’re nasty. If I see one, I run.

Flying 
I don’t have as strong of a fear of flying, so much as being high up in the air inside of a plane and not being able to see the ground while I’m doing it. I knock on the plane before I enter it, a superstitious ritual I learned from an ex who is in the military and would often fly for deployments and training purposes. I figure if he could survive all of his flights after knocking on the plane, I’d pick up on his habit. And that’s where it gets a bit silly. I make my husband do it, and my children, too. Every single time we’re on a plane, I make sure I’m the last one on out of our group, so I can visually see that they really do tap their knuckles to the aluminum siding.

Storms
Bad weather is not my friend. I don’t mind rain or thunder, and a little bit of wind never hurt nobody. But when it escalates into a full-blown storm and we’re told to batten down the hatches, I’m not a big fan of that. There’s not much of that out here in Arizona, not even with the monsoons that sweep up on us during the summer months. In fact, it’s a welcomed break from the intense 115 degree weather that we often see in June, July, and August. But we moved to Arizona from Nebraska and I spent fourteen years of my life there, some of that preparing for tornadoes and high-wind storms that could cause significant damage. No matter what time, usually in the early morning hours, we’d have to wake the boys up and move down to our basement, leaving the television on as long as we were able to if the weather didn’t cut the power, and usually it did, watching the latest news reports to see when it might be safe to go back up to the main level. I think it’s the loss of control I feel in dealing with poor weather. It doesn’t matter what I want, a tornado is going to do whatever a tornado wants to do.

Covid-19
It feels like the more we learn about the pandemic, the less we really know about the pandemic. Having a child with asthma has made me feel a lot more concerned about it, a need to protect and do what I can to keep him from getting sick. This is the kid who ends up with bronchitis after a simple cold, so I can't help but have real fear at the possibility of anyone in my family getting Covid-19. This extends out and into everything we do now, choosing not to go into public restaurants or venues where there might be a lot of people, choosing to do a lot more outdoor activities and at times, vetting those we know to make sure they’re practicing social distance, too. Everyone says it’s the “new normal,” but it doesn’t feel normal, not at all. It makes me miss the simplicity of my younger years, where the biggest fears I had on my plate were the boogeyman or Pinhead, from Hellraiser. 

I wish for the days where we can get back to normal.


Melissa Amster:

I am not one for horror movies, and while I used to be a fan of horror books, I mostly just read psychological thrillers now. As far as personal scary experiences, I could mention the time I was watching girls at camp play with a homemade Ouija board and someone made an announcement over the loudspeakers around the same time. Or I could talk about how I thought the house I was babysitting at was possessed, thanks to the baby monitor being on the wrong channel. However, I want to talk about some real life scary experiences....the two times my kids wandered off. 

The first time was at F.A.O. Schwarz in the summer of 2008. My oldest was almost three at the time. We had gone with family to New York City for the day and the famous toy store was one of our stops. While we were walking around, my oldest somehow wandered off. I was freaking out because I didn't see him anywhere! I also was carrying around my (now) middle child when he was a baby. My oldest thankfully went back to the place he had wandered from and we found him right there. I got so mad at him and made him sit in the stroller the rest of the time. He was upset with me over that, but I'd rather him be upset for a little while than gone forever. The experience tainted the rest of my day though.

Fast forward to 2015, when my youngest was four. We were visiting my family in the Chicago suburbs for Independence Day and everyone was walking to this big park to watch the fireworks. My youngest wanted to walk with my sister, which was fine with me. However, when we got to the park, she let go of my sister's hand and just kept walking. I'm not sure exactly what happened, but I'm guessing she was looking for my husband or me. When we realized she wasn't with any of the adults in our group, we were frantic. Fortunately, she was smart enough to realize she was lost and she approached a police officer for help. My cousin was able to find her that way and bring her back to us. Of course, I was really upset with her for doing that and I will admit that I made her cry from my reaction. Going to see fireworks since that time has not been as enjoyable. 

I consider myself lucky that my kids had only wandered off for a short period of time, but thinking about what could have happened makes me feel terrified and panicky. 

What is something scary that has happened to you? We're all ears (or eyes, in this case).

Spotlight and Giveaway: The Cookbook Club

Today we are featuring The Cookbook Club by Beth Harbison, which published this week. The cover is as tantalizing as the synopsis and it even has recipes. Thanks to William Morrow, we have THREE copies to give away!

MUST LOVE BUTTER: The Cookbook Club is now open to members. Foodies come join us! No diets! No skipping dessert!

Margo Everson sees the call out for the cookbook club and knows she’s found her people. Recently dumped by her self-absorbed husband, who frankly isn’t much of a loss, she has little to show for her marriage but his ‘parting gift’—a dilapidated old farm house—and a collection of well-loved cookbooks

Aja Alexander just hopes her new-found friends won’t notice that that every time she looks at food, she gets queasy. It’s hard hiding a pregnancy, especially one she can’t bring herself to share with her wealthy boyfriend and his snooty mother. 

Trista Walker left the cutthroat world of the law behind and decided her fate was to open a restaurant…not the most secure choice ever. But there she could she indulge her passion for creating delectable meals and make money at the same time.

The women bond immediately, but it’s not all popovers with melted brie and blackberry jam.  Margo’s farm house is about to fall down around her ears; Trista’s restaurant needs a makeover and rat-removal fast; and as for Aja, just how long can you hide a baby bump anyway?

In this delightful novel, these women form bonds that go beyond a love grilled garlic and soy sauce shrimp. Because what is more important in life than friendship…and food?

New York Times bestselling author Beth Harbison started cooking when she was eight years old, thanks to the Betty Crocker Boys and Girls Cookbook. After graduating college, she worked full-time as a private chef in the D.C. area, and within three years she sold her first cookbook, The Bread Machine Baker to Random House. She published four cookbooks in total before moving on to writing bestselling women’s fiction, including the runaway bestseller Shoe Addicts Anonymous, and When in Doubt, Add Butter.

Visit Beth online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Pinterest

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Giveaway ends October 26th at midnight EST.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Book Review: The Other Woman


By Cindy Roesel

THE OTHER WOMAN by Amanda Brookfield (BoldwoodBooks) is exactly what comes to mind. A story about two women, each being 'the other woman' in an affair. But THE OTHER WOMAN is also a slick page-turner, you won't put down until the end, about love, marriage, lies, secrets and fate.

"Life must change shape. Sometimes for good and sometimes for bad. And sometimes it takes time for us to know which one it is." ~THE OTHER WOMAN

Fran has had enough of her abusive marriage to husband Pete, so she leaves and gets on an airplane to be with her lover, Jack and freedom. Helena knows her husband is having an affair and she's made up her mind not to let him go. Jack is in the middle of this threesome and determined to leave Helena and be with Fran. They agree to meet at the airport and start their new lives, but it doesn't turn out that way.

Fran and Helena eventually have a showdown, and we realize Jack is not worth it. While reading a book about an affair, its normal to take a side. We readers get to spend a good deal of time with each woman and we get to understand "her side." But THE OTHER WOMAN made me really look at what each was experiencing and it wasn't bliss. I liked the fact that Amanda Brookfield developed these women beyond a bitch-fight. I could connect with Fran who was looking for an escape from abuse and for real love and Helena, an insecure woman only trying to hold on to what she believed was hers. Eventually we realize Jack's not worth it. Well, that's the way I felt. You may have a completely different take after reading THE OTHER WOMAN.

"Nothing, ever, is lost, good or bad." ~THE OTHER WOMAN

Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US * Amazon UK 

Amanda Brookfield is the bestselling author of many novels including Good Girls, Relative Love, and Before I Knew You, and a memoir, For the Love of a Dog, starring her Golden Doodle Mabel. She lives in London.

Visit Amanda online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

Sign up for Amanda's mailing list.


Visit the other stops on the blog tour:



Monday, October 19, 2020

Book Review: The Christmas Swap




By Sara Steven

Chloe, Jules, and Lucy meet at a Maui resort kids' club, aged 11, forging a lifelong friendship spanning two decades and three continents.

Twenty-two years later, they decide to swap Christmases, none of them expecting the hilarity and romantic escapades that will ensue.

Chloe from Melbourne spends her Christmas with Lucy's mum and dad in a sleepy village in Oxfordshire, England, stunned to the core when she discovers who grew up across the road from Lucy.

Lucy, who has jetted off to snowy Colorado for her dream-come-true white Christmas, is taken into the fold of Jules's loud and brash family, discovering more about herself in a few short days than she has in years.

And Jules leaves the cold climes of Colorado to spend a balmy 'Orphan's Christmas' with Chloe's friends in Melbourne, finding that time away from her mundane life is just what she needed.
(Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

I’ve yet to see the movie The Holiday, but I’ve heard it’s about two friends who make a decision to swap homes in order to gain a much-needed change in scenery. The Christmas Swap felt very reminiscent of that, and there’s even mention of The Holiday within the pages of this story, but with three friends in tow there’s an opportunity for three times the fun, and three times the trouble! 

I loved the friendship dynamic between Chloe, Jules, and Lucy. I’ve had my own friendships that have spanned decades, and knowing how tight knit we are, practically family, it makes the decision to swap homes and celebrate the holidays elsewhere all the more believable. As with other novels by Sandy Barker, place becomes another character, so much so that I could feel the intense cold in Colorado, the incessant rain in England, and the sunny beaches of Australia. There is so much contrast for the girls because they’re going from an environment they are used to and completely shifting gears into another climate, even. It was an eye-opening experience, not only for the characters but for the reader, too. It was also fun to step in and see what sort of situations they might potentially get themselves into, particularly where the affairs of the heart are concerned. 

And speaking of, the three ladies all find themselves in potential romances, but the one that drew me in the most had been Lucy. The man she is interested in presents a bit of a conflict within the group, and there’s a particular scene that really had me fired up because of the way she’d been treated over it.  There is mention how Chloe, Jules and Lucy have rarely had a fight in the entire time they’ve been friends, and even then it would ordinarily become a disagreement. So, it was interesting to see where that would lead. 

Having read other books by Barker, I knew I would be in for a holiday treat, and I wasn’t disappointed. I know the holidays are still a couple of months away, but given the kind of year most of us have had, this felt like the perfect escape, a much needed respite. A definite five-star read!

Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources for the book in exchange for an honest review. 

Purchase Links:
Amazon US * Amazon UK * Kobo * Apple * Foyles * Waterstones

Sandy Barker is a writer, traveller and hopeful romantic with a lengthy bucket list. She loves exploring new places, outdoor adventures, and eating and drinking like a local when she travels, and many of her travel adventures have found homes in her novels. She’s also an avid reader, film buff, wine lover and coffee snob.


Visit Sandy online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram


Visit the other stops on the blog tour:


Friday, October 16, 2020

Book Review: The Exit Strategy

By Jami Denison


A lot of the domestic thrillers I read center around a love triangle among a wife, her husband, and his mistress. Generally the wife is the pampered stay-at-home mom type, while the mistress is much younger and grasping and clever but not necessarily educated. When the women discover each other, they fight over which one the man in the middle truly loves. 

Lainey Cameron’s debut novel, The Exit Strategy, is a refreshing change from this pattern. When the two female protagonists discover they are involved with a cheater, they both dump him to the curb and work together to make him pay. Then they get on with their lives. 

When Ryn Brennan discovers text messages that prove her husband Todd is cheating on her, it’s only the beginning. For Todd’s girlfriend is Carly Santos, lead scientist of the biotech firm that Ryn, a venture capitalist, will be investing in. It’s her first major investment since being offered a partnership. Not surprisingly, Ryn and Carly’s initial meeting doesn’t go well. But as soon as Ryn tells Carly the truth about Todd, the women see that he is the true villain of the piece. 

Ryn and Carly are both highly intelligent women who are dedicated to their careers, and much of the book is dedicated to their teamwork in positioning Carly’s company. Author Cameron, who describes herself as a “recovering tech industry executive,” brings her detailed knowledge of the venture capitalism industry to bear, but never does the reader feel lost in the weeds of insider jargon. Their quest to launch Carly’s product is just as engrossing as their mission to rid themselves of Todd.

Cameron says that The Exit Strategy was inspired by “a decade of being the only woman in the corporate boardroom,” and the sexism that is so pervasive there. Her personal experience is invaluable, but may have led the book to feel too heavy-handed. With Todd being not only a cheater but a master-level manipulator, the subplot concerning the sexism that Ryn and Carly face at work feels like too much of a bad thing, and the message was muddied rather than amplified. And for me, the coincidence of Carly and Ryn’s business connection would have been more palatable had Todd also worked in venture capitalism or biotechnology. 

These quibbles are only minor irritants in what is overall a very enjoyable story. Usually in this scenario the reader roots for one woman over another; Cameron lets us root for both to be victorious. In a genre that often hints that the most important thing a woman can do in her life is choose the right man, it’s a relief to read a book where the women put themselves first.

Thanks to Lainey Cameron for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

We're all about Tom Ellen....plus a book giveaway

We're pleased to welcome Tom Ellen to CLC today, to talk about his debut adult novel, All About Us. Thanks to Harper360, we have one copy to give away!

Tom Ellen is an author and journalist from London, England. He is the co-writer of three critically acclaimed Young Adult novels: LOBSTERS (which was shortlisted for The Bookseller's inaugural YA Book Prize), NEVER EVERS and FRESHERS. His solo adult debut novel is the romantic comedy ALL ABOUT US (HQ/HarperCollins, published October 2020). His books have been widely translated and are published in 20 countries. He is a regular contributor to Viz magazine, and has also written for Cosmopolitan, Empire, Evening Standard Magazine, The Daily Mash, Glamour, NME, ESPN, ShortList, Time Out London, Vice, Stylist, and many more. (Bio courtesy of Amazon.)

Visit Tom on Twitter.

Synopsis:
If you could turn back the clock, would you choose a different life?

Ben’s always loved the month of December, but this year, with his relationship with Daphne on the rocks, it’s missing its usual magic. And then his old friend Alice gets back in touch. Ben’s always thought of Alice as the one that got away, and he can’t help but wonder: what if he’d done things differently all those years ago?

He never imagines he might get to find out… but when a stranger sells Ben a mysterious watch one freezing winter’s night, he’s astonished to wake up the next morning on 5th December 2005: the day he first kissed Daphne, leaving Alice behind.

Now Ben must make the biggest decision of his life, all over again. But this time around, will he finally find the courage to follow his heart?

All About Us is a captivating novel of heartbreak and loss, friendship and hope – and how the choices we make throughout our lives will shape our destiny. (Courtesy of Amazon.)

‘Magical and beautiful’ -Josie Silver, author of One Day in December

What was it like going from writing young adult novels to writing your first adult novel? 
The actual style of writing and the way of telling a story didn't differ very much, to be honest. I think people often imagine that YA books - or books for younger readers - are somehow easier to write, but that's definitely not the case. I think young readers want their stories just as grippingly told and well written as 'adult' books. The really big difference between the two, for me, was that I wrote all my YA books with my co-author (Lucy Ivison), and All About Us was the first novel I've ever written alone. So, that was a big jump to make - it's so much easier writing with a partner, because you can bounce ideas off one another, and if one of you is lacking in motivation, then the other will boost them up. Writing with Lucy, I would finish a chapter and then think: 'Brilliant - I can relax now until she sends me her chapter back'. But writing by yourself, the pressure is always on you! You definitely need a lot more confidence and will power. In the end, though, I really enjoyed it - but I'd still love to write more co-authored stuff in future. And more YA!
 
How are you similar to or different from Ben? 
I'm afraid to say I probably share quite a few of Ben's bad traits! Like him, I can definitely be prone to self-doubt, self-pity and just general anxiety and grumpiness. We also went to the same university - York - and acted in plays during our first term, so we're quite similar in that way too. However, I have never bought or owned a time travelling watch. So that's one major difference between us.  
 
If All About Us were made into a movie, who would you cast in the leading roles? 
Well, definitely Bill Nighy as the watch-seller! Bill, if you're reading this: call me. In terms of Ben, I reckon someone like Nicholas Hoult or Domhnall Gleeson could be quite good. And my dream casting for Daphne would probably be either Phoebe Waller-Bridge or Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Oh, and Kate Bush for Ben's mum. I realise that's pretty unlikely, but you've got to shoot for the stars, haven't you? 
 
What TV series are you currently binge watching? 
I've just finished I May Destroy You by Michaela Coel, which is ridiculously good. During lockdown, I did a lot of bingeing, and very much enjoyed Normal People, Succession, Sharp Objects, and the Hip-Hop Evolution series on Netflix. Next up is I Hate Suzie, which I've heard great things about.  
 
What is your favorite thing about the month of October? 

For me, the best thing about October is that it's usually the month that brings my favourite type of weather - crisp, cold, but very sunny. So I've got my fingers crossed for some of that this year - although judging by 2020's record so far, it'll probably just rain non-stop for 31 days.
 
What song is currently playing in your head? 
For some reason it's the song "Bullion" by the Swedish punk band Millencolin. I haven't listened to it since I was about 16, so I've got no idea why.  

Thanks to Tom for chatting with us and to Harper360 for sharing his book with our readers.

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Giveaway ends October 21st at midnight EST.