Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Belinda Jones takes us to a winter wonderland...plus a book giveaway


**Giveaway is now closed**

Is there anything more cozy than hugging a cute dog outside on a snowy day? If not, then Belinda Jones surely has it made! And better yet, her birthday is tomorrow! She's here today to talk about her latest novel, Winter Wonderland (reviewed here), which takes place at the winter carnival in Quebec.

Belinda is the author of 11 chick lit novels and is researching her 12th (if you like cake, you'll want to read it when it's published)! She was born in the UK but has lived on the west coast of the US for a few years and now resides on the east coast! Given she's such a traveler, she even has a Travel Club on Facebook! You can also find her at her website and on Twitter.

She's here to keep the holiday mood going strong and has
THREE books to share with some lucky readers! (Two paperbacks, worldwide and one e-book, US only.)


How did you decide to write chick lit?
It wasn't the most direct route! I worked for women's magazines for ten years before I ever had a notion about writing a book and then it wasn't chick lit I had in mind but a travel memoir - specifically ON THE ROAD TO MR RIGHT - A Search For The American Dream Guy. The agent I pitched it to basically said, 'Thanks but no thanks!' and 'How about chick lit?' I told her that I wouldn't know where to begin, I'd only ever written factual-but-funny journalism, nothing creative since school. But she was insistent and I had to admit that I did have a passion for romantic comedies so I fictionalised a series of escapades with my best friend in Vegas and that became DIVAS LAS VEGAS - A Tale of Love, Friendship & Sequinned Underpants! I had no idea what a blast it would be to come up with characters and get them into all sorts of pickles and heart-soaring scenarios! It's been a revelation! (And after I had written 3 novels, Random House agreed to publish ON THE ROAD TO MR RIGHT and it became my first Sunday Times Top 10 bestseller, all thanks to my chick lit readers!)


Advice to future writers?
I think the most important thing is to really lose yourself in the story, totally submerge and surrender! This is so hard with the 'real world' always niggling and tugging at you, so many distractions! So I think a few sacrifices have to be made along the way, from a time point of view as much as anything. There will rarely be the 'perfect' moment to write. You might have to let your chores mount up for a couple of weeks, disengage from Social Media and basically become a temporary hermit! I always let my friends know 'I'm going under!' and not to expect to hear from me for a while. Winter Wonderland was the quickest book I've ever written because I moved to Virginia (my husband is in the US Navy) and I didn't know a soul! It sounds a bit lonesome but as a writer you have lots of imaginary friends to keep you company!!


How do you approach your writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?
I'm a go with the flow kinda gal! Sometimes I wish I could be clean and methodical in my approach because it's quite a messy, anxiety-inducing business for me in the beginning. But I'm on my 12th book now so it's time I came to terms with the 'fumbling in the dark' aspect of my writing! One of the greatest pleasures for me is when the characters take over and I just type what they tell me!


If Winter Wonderland were made into a movie, who would you cast in the lead roles?
Jacques the dog-sledder with the bi-coloured Husky eyes is easy - I had Nick Wechsler (aka Jack from Revenge) in mind as I was writing every scene! He just seemed to be the perfect combination of ruggedly tousled and a quality heart! I could see Canadian hottie Ryan Reynolds playing the mischievous Malhomme - I think he'd make a dashing playboy with just the right amount of knowing humour! His missus Blake Lively certainly has the hair and model looks to play tour guide Annique. But as for the leading lady Krista... I would love to go with Emily Blunt - she'd be great at the physical comedy as well as the close-up emotional stuff - loved her tender moments in Salmon Fishing in the Yemen! I was having a little cry as I wrote a few particular lines and I can just see her eyes welling up now...!!


What is your idea of a "winter wonderland?"
In a word, Quebec! It's basically already a fairy-tale kingdom inside a snowglobe and then you add the Winter Carnival attractions - Ice Palaces, snow-sculpting, sleigh rides, dog-sledding, tobogganing and some mad sport called ski-joring which involves a skiier being dragged around a slalom track by a man on horseback! I didn't try that but I did enjoy the Maple Taffy experience - molten maple syrup is poured onto fresh snow and you roll your stick in it to create a gloopy golden lollypop! Delicious!


What is your favorite thing to eat during the holiday season?
My thoughts immediately go to my Auntie Gilly's festive spread - she always has the works: Christmas cake, Christmas pudding, brandy butter, Yule log, big tin of Quality Street chocolates... but it's the mince pies I miss most of all now I live in the US. (Mincemeat is sweet, not an animal product, honestly you'd love it..!) I did find an imported box last year though. It's just the jolly relatives that are missing now!


What is your favorite holiday themed TV program/movie? (Or holiday episode of a TV series.)
My favourite Christmas movie is It's A Wonderful Life. I first watched this lovely film about ten years ago while sitting in a hot-tub in a converted train caboose in a US trailer park town about 2.5 hours hours from San Francisco! My friend Emily and I were so freaked out to discover we were vacationing in the Meth Capital of Northern California (research for the aforementioned ON THE ROAD TO MR RIGHT book!) we wanted to lose ourselves in a heart-warming family tale and this was one of the DVD options at the B&B. I was surprised how deep the movie gets! It really makes you think about the impact of your life on others and certainly makes you extremely grateful for what you have right now!


What is your favorite New Year's Eve memory?
I actually met my husband on New Year's Eve four years ago at a Los Angeles bar called The Dresden - you may know it from the movie Swingers, it's very retro-kitsch with lounge singers crooning Fly Me To The Moon et al. I've probably only been out on NYE three times in my life but my best friend Sam was visiting so we went along for a few Kir Royales and ended up having one of the best night's of our life, lasting all the way until 10pm on New Year's Day! One of the freakiest things is that I was wearing a silver ring that had a heart and a key charm on it and it broke while I was talking to Jonathan - and he literally ended up holding the key to my heart!

Thanks to Belinda for a lovely chat and for sharing her book with our readers!


How to win Winter Wonderland:
Please comment below with your e-mail address. (Please note: Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted. You can use AT and DOT to avoid spam. Or provide a link to your facebook page or blog if you can receive messages there.) Also, please indicate which country you are located in. If you are in the USA and do not indicate, you will NOT be eligible for the e-book.


Bonus entries (can be listed all in one post):
1. Please tell us: What is your idea of a winter wonderland?
2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
4. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. Edit settings if you don't want to receive a lot of messages at your e-mail account. Please read our posting guidelines as well. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)

5. Follow us on Twitter and/or Pinterest.
6. Add a friend to our Facebook group. (Tell us who you added.) Be sure to remind them to edit their settings.


Paperbacks-worldwide; e-book-US only. Giveaway ends December 25th at midnight EST. 





33 comments:

BCT said...

bridgett_gx@yahoo.com (USA)
Happy Holidays!

Trish Hills said...

GarthsmojoAThotmailDOTcom
I follow on twitter @tishylou (UK)

Merry Christmas! Xxxx

Sheena said...

Thanks for the giveaway, this looks like a great book to check out!

I follow the webpage and through twitter and am also a member on the facebook page:)

wapneski@yahoo.com
USA

Na said...

It's snowing today! My idea of a winter wonderland is when everything is snow-covered and there is enough snow to go sledding.

Non-USA
Cambonified(at)yahoo(dot)com

Margaret Literary Chanteuse said...

We are having a snow day here today! After walking my kids to school and watching the all the kids playing when we got there is definitely a winter wonderland to me.

-blog follower
-tweeted
-member of CLC group on fb
-twitter & pinterest follower

Margaret (Canada)
singitm(at)hotmail(dot)com

Nova said...

sparkle40175@hotmail.com
U.S.A.

winter wonderland is when it snows and no one has went out and made any tracks or footprints in the snow.

i follow CLC on facebook.
i follow CLC on pinterest.
i follow CLC by email.
i follow CLC with google.

Jessica said...

I loveee Belinda Jones!!

1. Somewhere with lots of snow and Christmas decorations!
2. I follow the blog through GFC.
3. I posted this on twitter.
https://twitter.com/xxpaperhearts/status/281503960647491585
4. I'm a member of Chick Lit Central on facebook.
5. I follow through twitter and pinterest. @xxpaperhearts

I'm located in the USA.

Thanks!
-Jessica M
walkingcorpse11@hotmail.com

The Every Free Chance Reader said...

My idea of a winter wonderland would be a blanket of snow covering the trees and our backyard, with big snowflakes falling down. With me and my family inside watching it snow and reading books.

everyfreechance@gmail.com

I follow the blog, facebook, twitter, and pinterest!

Kaley @ Books Etc. said...

My idea of a winter wonderland...hmm. I grew up in Northern-ish Ontario so winter always meant snow. I always like checking out at least one winter carnival - some day I'll make it to Quebec to meet Bonhomme!

I'm a follower here, on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest and I'll post it on both Facebook and Twitter.

I live in Canada.
books.etc.blogger AT gmail DOT com

Thanks for the giveaway!

Sharon Jones said...

My idea of a winter wonderland is Christmas at Lake Tahoe, NV.
I follow on Twitter.
I was lucky enough to meet Belinda when she was writing her book set in Las Vegas.
Sharon Jones
sharonjo29@hotmail.com
I reside in the USA

Anonymous said...

I am a HUGE Belinda Jones fan and love all her books! Kate x
Starlet989AThotmailDOTcom (UK)

Anonymous said...

I'm in the US! Huge fan and I'd love to win this wonderland love.
sudhamalee AT hotmail DOT com

Crystal said...

Great interview--would love to win a book!

capatenaude (at) yahoo (dot) com
I'm in the USA

I also follow CLC on Twitter :)

karenk said...

winter wonderland...sitting in front of a fireplace watching it snow outside.

thanks for the chance to read this story

i'm a follower, too

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Linda Kish said...

A snowy mountain hamlet.

I am a GFC follower (US)

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Heather said...

My winter wonderland is a weekend with a blizzard happening outside, no one has to go anywhere, I am cuddled up on my couch under my soft blankie with a warm cup of coffee and a stack of books.

goweezie AT aol DOT com

I follow on FB, Twitter, and the blog

Thanks for the great giveaway.

Heather

Erica said...

Winter wonderland = snow on the mountains! Just beautiful.

wordywon at gmail dot com --- USA

Am a blog follower, also thru GFC, twitter, FB and email

bn100 said...

My idea is a place with a lot of snow and trees.

I follow the blog

USA

bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

Tia Dalley said...

My idea of a winter wonderland is a lot of snow!
I follow on GFC as Tia
videoclimber(at)yahoo(dot)com

holdenj said...

My idea of a winter wonderland is that kind of snow that is wet enough to stick on all the trees and fences. Thanks for the chance to win!

I am a follower.

JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

Jilleen said...

My idea of a winter wonderland...a warm sandy beach! Oh sorry, a beautiful log cabin with a fire in the fire place in many rooms, hot chocolate and cookies and great book to snuggle down with!

I follow via email
Fan on FB
Follow on Twitter
Follow on Piniterest

Thanks for the giveaway.

Jill at Seaside Book Nook

seasidebooknook at yahoo dot com

Margie said...

Sounds like a great book for the Holidays.
-on Christmas Eve, all the roads around our house are edged with candle bags. Reminds me of a Winter Wonderland.
-email subscriber
-GFC follower
-Facebook fan
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Cayce said...

1. Honestly? I kind of picture my winter wonderland as it's illustrated on the cover of Winter Wonderland: a place with lots of snow, a huge Ferris wheel (I love them!), a lake to ice-skate and mountains to ski with my friends. And huge cups of free hot coffee, because coffee is a must, preferably hazelnut coffee :)

2. GFC - Cayce (new follower!)
3. tweet: https://twitter.com/Cayce_23/status/282224771545055233
4. Facebook: Cayce Fdreamer
5. Twitter: Cayce_23
Pinterest: Cayce

non USA

Thanks for the giveaway!
Happy holidays! :)

cayce006 at yahoo dot com

Ananda said...

OMG I WANT this book sooooo bad!!!!
Ok, my idea of wonderland would probably visit New York during Christmas time. I don't know, just there's something magical about The Big Apple and I would sure love to visit it someday with my family (though, on second thought.. any place where my family is, is actually a wonderland).
I'm from Europe, does this actually make me eligible for the paperback???AWESOMEEEE!!!

I'm following via GFC and twitter.
e-mail: love2slim(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

Many thanks to Belinda and to YOU fab fab girls from chicklit central for this awesome giveaway!!

Bridget O'Neill said...

My idea of a winter wonderland is fresh snow on the ground and watching my daughter play in the snow :)

I follow the blog
I'm a member of CLC on Facebook
I follow on twitter

I'm in the US

Bjoneill@hotmail.com

BRN2SHOP9 said...

My idea of a winter wonderland is to be in the house with hot chocolate, movies and books.

i follow via gfc, twitter and facebook.

susieqlaw said...

My idea of a winter wonderland is lots of snow enough for sleigh rides, starry nights, hot chocolate, and smiles!

sendsusanmail AT gmail DOTCOM

I follow CLC blog, twitter, and Facebook.

I tweet the #giveaway at susieqlaw.

susieqlaw said...

I am in the USA!

Chanpreet said...

My idea of a winter wonderland is lots of snow that doesn't make the air too cold. I tolerate the cold poorly. :p

I'm in the US!

kaur_chanpreet(At)hotmail(Dot_com

I follow via:

e-mail
twitter
facebook

and I've tweeted about this contest.

Kat said...

My idea of a winter wonderland is reading a good book by a fire, seeing the snow outside falling.

I already follow this blog

Posted on facebook

Joined already on facebook

Already follow on twitter

k_duncan21@yahoo.com
I'm in the UK

Lauren McCormick said...

My Winter Wonderland would be a White Christmas and we don't always get that in TX. So my favorite memory was waking up with my husband in our travel RV on year on our wedding anniversary and all around us in the middle of a state park, it had snowed!! All was white and simply beautiful. Our anniversary is Valentine's Day so it truly was magical.
I follow the CLC blog and share on FB
itzhunicAThotmailDOTcom

Jeryl M. said...

My idea of a Winter Wonderland is me sitting my house drinking hot chocolate looking out my window at a snow covered land.

I am a subscriber.

I am a Facebook fan.

I am a Twitter follower.

I am a Pinterest follower.

rubynreba said...

My idea of a winter wonderland is a sparkly snowy cottage in the country with wildlife.

I am a GFC follower

Like you on facebook.

pbclark(at)netins(dot)net