Book and a Brew with Ritu – by Val Penny @valeriepenny @spellbound #NewRelease

Looks like this is a Tuesday thing now!!

Today, I am hosting prolific Crime writer and fellow Spellbound author, Val Penny, about her latest release, The First Cut!

Hello, and welcome to But I Smile Anyway, Val! Now, the first thing we do is get the drinks sorted.

Thank you so much for inviting me along, Ritu. It is always lovely to chat with you.

What is your beverage of choice? I know you have a Friday evening drink open on your Facebook page, but since it’s a little early, I was leaning more towards the hot kind!Coffee, tea, hot chocolate? I have green teas, too, or maybe you’d like to sample a masala chai from me?

I agree. I’d love a cup of Earl Grey tea, no milk, I’m a cheap date!

No problem at all!

And of course there will be nibbles. I have shortbread (a nod to your Scottish connection!) or we could do some samosas?

Why not start with the samosas and have shortbread afterwards, if it’s not too much trouble.

Sounds like a plan Val!

I always love to find out more about where a fellow author’s journey started. When did you realise you wanted to write, and how was your journey to becoming a published author?

I have been writing and telling stories all my life. When I was a child, I used to make up stories for my little sister after our Mum put the light out and told us to go to sleep. Later, I wrote documents, contracts, and courses as part of my job, but my time was well accounted for, so I did not create any fiction.

However, I took early retirement when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and there were times when I suffered severe side effects from my treatment. I could not go out, spend time with friends or indulge in many of my favourite hobbies, but watching daytime television got very old very fast, so I turned to reading. It was the only thing I had the energy to do and could do safely.

After a while, I began to feel a little better and I complained to my long-suffering husband about getting bored. It was then he challenged me: ‘If you know so much about what makes a good book, why don’t you write one?’ I did laugh. However, the challenge set, I have been writing police procedural crime thrillers set in Scotland ever since.

At present, you are a new to me author, (I have yet to delve into your books, but they are on my TBR pile!) but you have several other books out there. Could you tell us a little about your interest in crime thrillers?

I read voraciously; I always have. (Me, too!) I particularly enjoy reading crime fiction and thrillers. I indulged this interest with many novels, including those by Peter Robinson, Ian Rankin, Linwood Barclay and Joan Livingston. I decided to write the kind of book that I like to read, and so I write crime thrillers.

And do you have a favourite out of all your published books so far?

I dedicated my first novel, Hunter’s Chase to my mother. It always amused me when she read the second novel, Hunter’s Revenge and said, ‘Your first book was fine dear, but this one is so much better!’ However, for me, my favourite book is always the one I am working on at present. I am writing short stories for a collection to be published towards the end of this year. It is a lot of fun.

Fantastic! I have a set of uncompleted stories that, one day I would love to be made into picture books!

I always ask this one, but could you tell me where you like to write? Do you have a writing room/desk, or are you a writer who likes to take their laptop/notepad out and about?

I have a little writing desk in one of our extra bedrooms. I call it my writing nook. It’s not fancy, but I can really get into my flow there (but if we have visitors, it can revert to a guest bedroom). Do you have a special writing room, Ritu?

Oh, my readers here know this already, but yes, I do have my own writing room ever since we moved into our new home two years ago. In fact, it should have been my Hubby’s home office, and I had a smaller box room pencilled in as my room, but due to technical difficulties, he ended up down there, and I now have this gorgeous L-shaped room, with its own en-suite, too! I have. a little reading nook with an armchair, as well as my desk, and all my bookshelves, as well as a little open space where I can dance around like a loony if I wish!

Have you ever written a book you feel will never see the light of day? I know I have a few half-written ideas, but nothing I finished completely, then set to one side!

No. I have a few pieces of flash fiction, short stories and poems still looking for homes, but I’m quite disciplined with my novels, I write them until they are finished (and then edit the hell out of them!). Do you ever look through your partly finished novels and use them, or part of them?

The pieces I have sketched out or started writing are very different to the current stories I am writing, so I can’t use them as such, but I do continue to jot ideas down for them, too, as one day, they will get completed!

Now, I invited you over to have a little chat about your newest release, The First Cut. The first in a new Scottish crime series. Tell me a bit about your inspiration behind this particular series.

Jane Renwick appears in my original series of crime novels, The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries but the main character is Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson. However, I really liked Jane, so when I decided to write a new series, there was no competition about who my new main character should be. I had created an interesting back story for Jane Renwick. She grew up in care and struggled against the odds to achieve her ambition of joining the police force, but she did manage to do this and is now a respected police detective in the Major Incident Team (MIT).

However, Jane has not been able to marry. She lives with her civil partner, Rachael Anderson, who is also a detective on the force. The First Cut is set in 2014 and marriage for the LGBTQ community did not become legal in Scotland until 2016. Maybe Jane and Rachael will marry in the future.

It’s great to have a female protagonist, in DS Jane Renwick, and one championing the LGBTQ community, at that!. Have you ever wanted to be involved in investigations like the ones you write about?

Gosh no! I’d run a mile rather than be involved in the day-to-day trials of police work. I don’t think I’m brave enough nor organised enough. I leave all that to Hunter, Jane and their teams.

However, something quite exciting has happened for Jane. I have been contacted by a TV scout who is putting together a list of authors whose books would be suitable for a new crime drama. The difference is that instead of making an executive decision they are having a public vote! Each person who registers with them will have 5 free votes. Voting starts 15 May and I’d really appreciate your and your readers votes.

Now that is exciting! Please Peeps, head on over in a couple days and give Val’s idea a vote!

And, as a sneak preview to my readers, what is coming next from you? Will it be the second in this thriller series?

Just now I am writing the second book in my Jane Renwick Thriller series, A Fighting Chance. It will be published next year, and I hope the readers will enjoy it.

Oh, I am sure all your readers will be chomping at the bit for the next Jane Renwick book!

Thank you so much for visiting, Val. I’ve enjoyed learning a bit more about you!

Thank you for having me, Ritu.

My pleasure 😊 Wishing this, and all your future releases much success, Val!

So, you have a fantastic book to read, my Peeps, and a second one following it, soon, too!

Now here is the blurb to whet your appetites! It sounds pretty good!

The Blurb

It’s hard to escape a brutal past.

A vicious killer is on the loose and victims include an academic and members of Edinburgh’s high society.

DS Jane Renwick is banished to the side-lines of the case and forced to look on impotently when the hunt for the killer ramps up, because the Murder Investigation Team finds out that the killer is her relative.

Has someone from Jane’s birth family returned to haunt her? Is one of her relatives be involved? Where will the killer strike next?

This gripping police procedural is set in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

The exciting novel is the first in Val Penny’s new series of Scottish thrillers.  

Hunter’s Chase –

Hunter’s Revenge –

Hunter’s Force –

The First Cut –

Author Biography

Val Penny has an Llb degree from the University of Edinburgh and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer but has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store.

Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories, nonfiction books, and novels. Her novels are published by SpellBound Books Ltd.

Val is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and their cat.

Twitter: @valeriepenny

Book and a Brew with Ritu – I Love you Always Forever by @CharlieADean #NewRelease #BookReview #Book&ABrew

We’re on a roll with these Book & A Brew posts!

Today, I am extremely excited to welcome Charlie Dean, another author friend who I connected with on Twitter and the Facebook Chick Lit and Prosecco, to chat about her newest release, I Love You Always Forever.

Charlie is an amazingly talented author with several pen names under her belt. Where Charlie Dean writes stories with a bit of a spice level to them, Florence Keeling writes Women’s Fiction, and Lily Mae Walters is her alter-ego who writes children’s books.

Hello, and welcome to But I Smile Anyway, Charlie! Now, the first thing we do is get the drinks sorted.

We’ve got pretty much anything you’d like, from all manner of coffees (from my trusty Tassimo) to hot chocolate, or tea. And I can brew up a proper masala chai, if you feel brave enough.

I was going to fry up some samosas, if you want to sample, or there are always biscuits, and I am known to make a super shortbread cookie…

It’s always tea and biscuits for me, especially a nice shortbread.

Perfect! That means I don’t need to turn on the oil to deep fry!

I always love to find out more about where a fellow author’s journey started. When did you realise you wanted to write, and how was your journey to becoming a published author?

I always wrote from a young age, poetry, short stories etc…used to write lots involving Take That and New Kids when I was a teenager. Then I left school, started work, got married, had children and it took a back seat. Around 2015/6 a story started to whirl in my head about a WW2 soldier and a magic mirror. In March 2016, my father who had dementia was taken into care and writing became a therapy for me and the book now known as Please Remember Me was born. It was picked up by a small American publisher, and I haven’t looked back.

I have this one on my TBR trolley (🙈 I won it in a giveaway from you, but that is one I still haven’t read. I will do, though!) I know what you mean about life getting in the way, though, as I started my first book in 2000, and after marriage, kids, etc., it didn’t get a look in until around 2016 and I didn’t finish that first draft until 2018!

I like to ask this one, because I’m a nosy so and so, but could you tell me where you like to write? Do you have a writing room/desk, or are you a writer who likes to take their laptop/notepad out and about?

I’m currently on the lookout for one of those old writing bureaus so I can finally make a writing space in the back room. So far all my books have been written sitting on my sofa with my laptop. My phone notes are full of ideas, last lines, first lines etc…

I used to have a writing bureau when I was a teen in my bedroom! It was a mahogany finish (not real antique!) one with a pull-down desk area, lots of nooks and crannies for stationery and a cupboard at the bottom. At the time, I moved out, my parents held on to it, and it was only a couple of years ago that they gave it away. I know it wouldn’t fit the decor of my home, now, but I wish we had found a space for it, here! But many stories were penned, sitting at that desk, as I grew up, dreaming of becoming a writer…

Now, have you ever written a book that you feel will never see the light of day? I know I have a few half-written ideas, but nothing I finished, completely, then set to one side!

Like you, I’ve got many WIPs and half-finished, but all my completed novels have been published either traditionally or self-published. I don’t think I could bear to have a finished story not out in the world.

And, do you have a favourite out of the books you have published so far?

Up until I wrote I Love You, Always, Forever…I would have said Love, Lies and Family Ties, but now it’s I Love You. I enjoyed writing it so much. Going back to my teenage years in the 90s was just an absolute blast.

I loved that, too. Reminiscing about my own teenage years in the 90s…

I’ve read a couple of your books under Florence Keeling, which I loved. Why the change to Charlie Dean?

Because I Love You is written in the first person, plus it’s very different to my usual writing and a little spicier in places, I felt it needed a different name to differentiate from the Florence books.

Now, I invited you over to have a little chat about your latest release under Charlie Dean, I Love You, Aways, Forever. What a gush of nostalgia I felt, reading it, since the main character, Charlie, was in sixth form, around the time I would have been there, listening to the music she was, and being rather shy. Then the parallel storyline of the present, with Charlie as a middle-aged woman. Well, there was plenty there to make me feel seen, too! Tell me more about your inspiration for the book.

It’s a little bit of me and a whole lot of fiction wrapped up in a 90s mix tape. It was written last summer as I came to terms with my mum’s own cancer battle, as does Charlie, and it helped me immensely. Much like Please Remember Me helped me cope with my father’s dementia, this book helped me cope with my mum’s cancer.

Writing can be so therapeutic, I agree. 🤗

What is it about the 90s that brings back such memories?

I’m a 70s baby, 80s kid and 90s teenager. There was just something so wonderful about those eras. The dodgy clothes and haircuts and thankfully no social media to document for the rest of eternity. I was very fortunate to have a loving family and a small close-knit group of friends who I’m still besties with today.

We are of the same ilk, you and me, born in the same era, with similar experiences. (Though mine are peppered with more masala since I have the Indian thing to add, too! 😜)

And, you must tell me, is there more in the pipeline from Charlie Dean? Any little tidbits I can share with my readers?

I’m currently working on a series of Rom-Coms under Charlie Dean, slightly spicy all with some kind of deal or pact going on. Things like jealousy pacts, childhood pacts, fake dating, those kinds of things. There will be one out this September, a lovely autumnal romance and fingers crossed, four next year, one for each season. I’m also hoping to get the third in my children’s fantasy adventure series Josie James and The Trail of Ages out this autumn and the second in my magic academy chapter book.

Harking back to the 90s, I loved Christian Slater, especially in the Heathers film. Hence one of the characters in the book being Christian Sawyer (Veronica Sawyer in the film) and using the surname of Dean as my pen name after the Jason Dean character in the film. I used Charlotte/Charlie as this was what I would have been christened if not my original name.

So much for us to get excited about, Peeps! Watch this space for more mildly spicy rom-com fiction from Charlie!

Thank you so much for inviting me, Ritu xxx

It was a pleasure to have you over. 😊

Peeps, you can read the blurb for I Love You, Always, Forever and my review below!

Purchase links follow.

The Blurb

Life is full of highs and lows, but it’s who helps us through that counts.

Stumbling across her teenage diaries in her childhood home, Charlie is instantly transported to the 1990s.

She relives all the emotions and feelings as memories come flooding back, from first kiss to first love and everything in between.

Back in the present and Charlie discovers that even in the darkest of times, light and laughter can ALWAYS be found.

A heartfelt journey through life, from teenage angst to the trials and tribulations of adulthood. Family, friendship and romance weave throughout but who will love you, always, forever?

BuyI Love You Always Forever HERE!

My Review

I Love You, Always, Forever by Charlie Dean

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, what a rollercoaster of emotion this book put me through!
Not least because there is sensitive subject matter but because of all the reminiscing I could do, thanks to the book’s timeframe.
The story is set in the now as an adult Charlie, the main character, is coming to terms with life as a middle-aged woman, and dealing with all that comes with it, including dealing with loss and illnesses of loved ones, as well as a dual timeline of the 90s when she is a student in 6th form (like me), shy, exploring different elements of her personality, and experimenting with a very special relationship.
I loved it because I lived with so many of these experiences as a teenager. The nostalgia I felt was unreal. And then the additional relatability of life as a middle-aged woman. It was just wonderfully written!
There is romance, budding and established, friendships, family and the awakening of sexual feelings. A bit steamy in places too, but honestly, I got all the feels, in a good way!

Author Bio

I was born in Coventry but now live in Nuneaton. I married the love of my life over 20 years ago and we have two almost grown-up children. We share our lives with two mad dogs as well.

Writing is a great passion of mine. I love creating stories and characters, they help me escape from the world for a while and I hope readers feel the same.

I am a huge fan of All Creatures Great and Small, Call the Midwife and Bridgerton. I love history and romance.

I also write for children as Lily Mae Walters, and women’s fiction as Florence Keeling

Connect with Charlie on Social Media here:

Twitter as Charlie Dean:

Twitter as Florence Keeling:

Twitter as Lily Mae Walters:


Book and a Brew with Ritu – The Bay Of Lost Souls by @KiltieJackson #NewRelease #BookReview #Book&ABrew

On to the next guest!

Today, I am thrilled to welcome Kiltie Jackson, a fellow author at Spellbound Books and a great writerly friend, to chat about her newest release, The Bay Of Lost Souls.

Hello, and welcome to But I Smile Anyway Kiltie! Now, the first thing we do is get the drinks sorted.

Hi, thank you for having me. A drink sounds lovely.

Thanks to that trusty Tassimo, there’s tea and coffee, but I can make you a masala chai if you prefer!

I’m mostly a coffee drinker, but I would love to try a masala chai if it’s not too much trouble. Thank you.

No trouble at all. I love converting people to the magic of masala chai!

And, seeing as your main character Perrie, was such a whizz with her baking, I could offer you some Victoria sponge that Lil Princess made, or I have some delicious Kenyan chevda (it’s like a Bombay mix, but this one is synonymous with the Kenyan Indians!)

I’ve never been able to decline a piece of cake, and today is not that day, either.

A woman after my own heart! Okay, so let’s get started!

I always love to find out more about where a fellow author’s journey started. When did you realise you wanted to write, and how was your journey to becoming a published author?

Unlike many authors, I didn’t grow up with a burning desire to write. I was too busy enjoying the labours of others, although was often asked why I didn’t write a book of my own, to which I’d reply it would impede my reading time, which, I can confirm it absolutely does! Lol Over the years, I dibbled and dabbled with writing bits here and there but never with the intention of doing it seriously. Finally, in October 2016, I had the lightbulb moment to actually put some effort into this writing malarky and in January 2017, I returned to one of the dabbles – it seemed a shame to waste the 17 chapters I’d already written – and it became my debut novel, ‘A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle’.

I like to ask this one, because I’m a nosy so and so, but could you tell me where you like to write? Do you have a writing room/desk, or are you a writer who likes to take their laptop/notepad out and about?

I have a study which is all mine, and it’s where all my creations are created. It needs to be completely quiet when I write so I’d be no use in a café environment which some writers prefer.

What a beautiful space! It is wonderful to have that area that you have cultivated just for your creativity. I love my writing room!

Have you ever written a book that you feel will never see the light of day?

My usual writing genre is ladies’ fiction, but I have written a psychological / revenge thriller. The 2nd draft has been completed, and it’s waiting for the first edit. After that, I will ask a few of my most trusted readers, who also like their thrillers, to read it and to feedback their thoughts. Their opinions will decide what happens to it after that.

Now that sounds rather juicy!

Do you have a favourite out of the books you have written so far?

Of my works currently published, my fourth book, ‘A Timeless Lovestyle’ is my favourite. I love the historical aspect of it and it was quite enlightening trying to view the 21st century through the eyes of a woman from the 19th century. I do, however, have a new publication coming out in July 2023 and that is my overall favourite. I can’t say too much yet but it was a book that wrote itself and took only four weeks to create from start to finish.

Oh, to have a book that writes itself in such a short time… actually I just dream of a solid block of time that is mine, alone, to write!

I have read a couple of your other books too, and each is a slightly different genre. Which do you prefer writing in?

I don’t have a preference – I simply write the stories that come into my head. I never think about genre or where they might fit on the bookshelf, I just write them as they present themselves to me.

That is very much my process, too. I don’t write to market so to say, more what my heart wants.

Now, I invited you over to have a little chat about The Bay of Lost Souls. Yet another type of book, with a bit of a serious undertone, when you look at the issues covered in Perrie’s secret. What inspired this story?

In my standalone novel, ‘Radio Haha’ I have a fictional seaside town, Broatiescombe Bay, which I fell in love with. When that novel was completed, I wasn’t ready to let it go and, the next thing I knew, I had a new story brewing in my brain which was based in the Bay. So, in this instance, I was my own inspiration! Lol!

Ha ha! I love it! And I’m glad you did, because it was a great story.

I loved the feline characters, Timothy and George. I know you are a cat lover, like me. Do you have an outdoor run at your place that could rival the one that Perrie has for them in her cottage garden?

We would love to have a cat run for the Moggy Posse but I have a shared access garden which means we are unable to create something attached directly to the house. If we only had a couple of felines, like Perrie, a detached run would be okay, but when you have seven… well, you’ve heard the expression, “like herding cats”!

Seven! Well, I find it hard enough to deal with the two kids, hubby and our one feline, so I don’t know how you cope!

And, since we have bonded over our drinks and snacks, any sneak peaks at what is coming from Kiltie Jackson in the future?

I’ve already touched on the new standalone being released on the 29th July, and which is very different from Bay of Lost Souls – it’s set in London, so no seaside. After that, the second book in my ‘Since Forever…’ series will be launched in January 2024 with another new series being thrust into the world in June 2024. So, it’s a little busy for the next eighteen months.

A lot coming our way from you. Kiltie! You heard it here, Peeps! I highly recommend you go and check out the lovely Kiltie’s books. I have enjoyed all the ones I have read so far!

I hope you enjoyed your masala chai and cake, Kiltie. It’s been lovely having you here. 😊

Thank you for inviting me, Ritu.

My pleasure 😊

Peeps, you can read the blurb for The Bay Of Lost Souls and my review below!

Purchase links follow.

The Blurb

Can you move on from the darkness in your past, or will it always lurk in the shadows?

Perrie Lacey arrives in the quaint seaside town of Broatiescombe Bay laden with luggage, two cats and a desire for six months of solitude. The remote cottage she’s rented up on the cliff-top should guarantee her that.

Morgan Daniels, and his five-year-old daughter, Daisy, have been managing just fine since the death of his wife and her mother two years before. He’s content with being a twosome and has no intention of changing that any time soon.

When Perrie and Morgan bang into each other, quite literally, within an hour of her arrival, the plans she had for a quiet existence go out the window and as the weeks pass, they find themselves drawn to each other despite their efforts to push against the invisible force pulling them together.

Perrie, however, is carrying a secret she cannot share for doing so will put her new-found happiness at risk.

How big can a secret be before it tears you apart?

Find The Bay of Lost Souls and all Kiltie’s other books here!

My Review

The Bay of Lost Souls: A Beautiful, Uplifting, Perfect Summer Read. by Kiltie Jackson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, Kiltie Jackson. Well, you’ve done it again, haven’t you?
This is the third of your books I have read so far, and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Each one I have read has a slightly different genre, and each has its own beauty.
The Bay of Lost Souls centres around Perrie, a woman who is running from something to the isolated Broatiescombe Bay to be alone and come to terms with her life.
Morgan is a single father to one gorgeous little girl, Daisy, who has his own tragedy to overcome.
Fate rolls them into one another (literally), and the beauty of the bay, and a little girl obsessed with Disney princess Merida, try their hardest to seal the deal.
The thing is, nothing is ever what it seems.
I loved the bay and the little cottage Perrie moves into for her stay and her cats, Timothy and George. What a pair of characters!
All the book’s characters are believable, real souls to whom you can relate.
Daisy was a firm favourite, too, as a feisty little pre-schooler who knows what she wants.
The secret Perrie carries is a big twist and causes all manner of drama, as it should, but everything is revealed and handled in an extremely sensitive manner.
A love story with secrets, twists and turns, and adventure, too.
Definitely worth a read.

Author Bio

Kiltie Jackson spent her childhood years growing up in Scotland. Most of these early years were spent
in and around Glasgow, although for a short period of time, she wreaked havoc at a boarding school in
the Highlands.
By the age of seventeen, she had her own flat, which she shared with a couple of cats for a few years
while working as a waitress in a cocktail bar (she’s sure there’s a song in there somewhere!) and
serving customers in a fashionable clothing outlet before moving down to London to chalk up a
plethora of experience which is now finding its way into her writing.
Once she’d wrung the last bit of fun out of the smoky capital, she moved up to the Midlands and now
lives in Staffordshire with one grumpy husband and another six feisty felines.
Her little home is known as Moggy Towers even though, despite having plenty of moggies, there are
no towers! The cats kindly allow her and Mr Mogs to share their home as long as the mortgage
continues to be paid.
Since the age of three, Kiltie has been an avid reader, although it was many years later before she
decided to put pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard – to begin giving life to the stories in her head.
Her debut novel was released in September 2017, and her fourth book was a US Amazon bestseller in
Time Travel Romance.
Kiltie loves to write fiery and feisty female characters and puts the blame for this firmly on the
doorsteps of Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables and George Kirrin from The Famous Five.
When asked what her best memories are, Kiltie will tell you:

  1. Queuing up overnight outside the Glasgow Apollo to buy her Live-Aid ticket.
  2. Being at Live-Aid.
  3. Winning an MTV competition to meet Bon Jovi in Sweden.
    (Although, if Mr Mogs is in earshot, the latter is changed to her wedding day.)
    Her main motto in life used to be “Old enough to know better, young enough not

Connect with Kiltie on Social Media here:


Book and a Brew with Ritu – Hopeful Hearts at the Cornish Cove by @KimTheBookworm #NewRelease #BookReview @BoldwoodBooks

Loving this series!

Today, I am thrilled to welcome Kim Nash, a fantastic author, and writer friend of mine, to chat about her latest release, Hopeful Hearts at the Cornish Cove.

Today, I am thrilled to welcome amazing author Kim Nash to my blog for a cuppa and a bit of a chat about all things writerly, especially her latest release, Hopeful Hearts at the Cornish Cove.

Hello, and welcome to But I Smile Anyway, Kim! Let’s get you set with a drink, first. Now would you prefer a coffee of some sort? Or maybe a cup of tea, or would you like to be brave and have a traditional homemade Indian masala tea?

If we’re going masala tea, then I can bust out the samosas and pakoras (fried potato and vegetable fritters), but I do have biscuits, and cake. (Might not be as delicious as Gemma’s offerings, but I can try!

Let’s go with masala tea then. I’ve never tried it, but hey, life is about trying new things – yes? I do love a coffee, but you got me with samosas and pakoras.  Although I’m a sucker for biscuits and cake, too (especially lemon drizzle!)

I promise I’ll ease you in gently, with a mild masala chai, then!

Right. So, let’s get started! You’ve been a busy bee, over the last few years, with your writing. No less than six published novels under your belt! And all pretty much amazing books, from what I have read. (Three down, three on my Kindle waiting for me to read!) I know you have a love for Women’s Fiction. What drove you to write in that direction?

Women’s Fiction is my favourite genre.  Those books with humour, too, even more so.  I grew up reading Shirley Conran’s Lace (I’ve never looked at goldfish in the same way!), (Oh my goodness, me too! 😳 ) Jilly Cooper books (wow!) and Danielle Steele which were a lot less racy but so very emotional. My mom often came into me in the middle of the night to tell me off for reading late and then ended up having to give me a hug because I was sobbing my heart out.  Then I really found my place with books by Carole Matthews, Jill Mansell, Katie Fforde, Jane Green, Lisa Jewell, Isabel Wolfe etc. That was when I realised that was the sort of book that, if ever got round to writing one, would be what I would choose to write. 

How bout you Ritu?

Well, for a start, I think I grew up with a lot of the same authors as you. My mum was a Barbara Taylor Bradford and Virginia Andrews fan, too, and an aunt who lived with us was a Danielle Steele fan, who left many of her books with us! And I carried on reading, many of those same authors as you, as I grew up, too. As for my writing genre, I struggle to pigeon hole it, to be honest, as there is contemporary there, rom com, cultural, or desi fiction, issues that would be more women’s fiction, as well as moral issues that a writer friend of mine described as literary. All I know is that there is lots to find, in my stories, but why I write them? Because I wanted to be able to read stories with more characterss like me, too. Stories that I could relate to, as a British Indian woman, but something that anyone could read, as entertainment, and also maybe a little educational, too.

Have you ever wanted to try and write in a different genre? I know it scares the bejesus out of me! (Even though I seem to be stretching myself in single books, instead!)

Oh me too! I couldn’t write historical fiction because I don’t have the time or the patience for all the research, although I LOVE to read them.  I couldn’t write a crime or psychological thriller because I’d scare myself to death. I couldn’t write erotic stories because when I read them I find myself pulling funny faces and concentrating too much about what body bits are going where (like a game of Twister!)  I have considered writing a cosy crime which I might try at some point but I’m rubbish at working out a whodunnit so maybe the crime would never get solved. I do like uplifting feel-good fiction that I write now, so I’m not planning to move out of my comfort zone yet.  I’m trying masala tea, that’s enough of something new for me. LOL!

Well, that’s a start, at least, Kim!

Where do you like to write?  Do you have a writing room at home, or are you a nomadic writer, taking your notebook and pen, or laptop to different places?

I’m a bit rubbish at writing from home.  There’s always something else to do that distracts me and I’m the Queen of Procrastination! I do have a writing area set up in my garden room.  (That sounds posher than it is but it does overlook the garden!) I have candles and fairy lights and try to make it feel different from my working space.  I work from home too, so it’s quite difficult to separate the two for me.  And when your fifteen-year-old is standing next to you trying really hard to do as many keepy-uppies as possible and the dog launching himself at the window because he’s seen a squirrel or barking excessively when someone has the audacity to walk down the street, it’s not easy when you are trying to be creative.

I love to get away from home (wonder why! See above!)  For instance, as I write this, I’m staying in my friend’s house in Wales and I’m looking over the bay and am actually drifting off quite a bit just staring into the distance.  I love a writing retreat with writing pals.  A lodge in the countryside, overlooking water if possible, is perfect for me.

Where’s your favourite writing spot?

The writing retreat sounds idyllic, Kim! But, right now, it is tough for me to be away from home, due to more personal reasons. Thaat being said, I have my own writing room/reading nook in our house, which is so cosy, and in the summer, I can set up in the conservatorywhere I get a lovely view of our garden, as long as the sun is out! I’m blessed to be in the heart of a village in Kent, so the peace is wonderful.

Is there any one of your books that has a special place in your heart? I know that is a toughie as they are all our book babies, aren’t they?

It is really tough.  Amazing Grace, my debut, I suppose is the most special because I wrote it after my Mom died so there’s a lot of me in it.  It’s about a woman who is grieving the loss of her Mom.  Can you see where the inspiration came from? LOL! Mom was a huge reader and I would have loved her to see her daughter become an author. I hope she’d be proud.  (I didn’t know your mum, Kim, but I can guarantee she would bee proud of all you have achieved. 🤗)

I have loved all my books in their own way though.  The two Muddleford books because they’re based on Mudeford where I spent a lot of my childhood holidays, and Sunshine and Second Chances because it’s about women of a *ahem* certain age going on holiday together and inspiring each other to be the best versions of themselves that they can be and finding their own happy.  And finally Escape to Giddywell Grange which is about redundancy and how it can affect you both mentally as well as physically. 

I always think that those ‘hard to talk about’ issues, are great to use in our books, because there are plenty of people ot there probably in similar situations, and even if they cannot talk about it, they can read, and recognise situations, making them feel less alone. And the book can be a great vehicle for opening conversations about difficult topics.

Let’s get back to your latest release, Hopeful Hearts at the Cornish Cove. Meredith, your main character is someone I feel many women could relate to. A certain age, with some responsibilities diminishing, and other problems raising their heads. But her impromptu purchase… now, that was a biggie! Have you ever done something like that?

Not really anything like that, but I am quite impulsive. I’m very black and white in my thinking.  You either want something or you don’t, so I not really a ditherer.  My ex for instance used to spend hours and hours researching for a new car.  I’d ask what colour they were and pick the one that was my favourite colour. That’s my sort of decision making.

Oh, my goodness. Kim, were we cut from the same cloth? My decision process iss pretty much like that, too, while my husband can take three months to decide which restaurant he wants to go to! 😂

Many of your books are set in beautifully picturesque settings. Are they all places you have visited yourself?

They are although I haven’t been to Cornwall for years.  It’s just so flipping far from where I live (Staffordshire) and the thought of wasting, I mean spending five hours at least in a car driving somewhere gives me the heebie-jeebies.  Think of how much other stuff I could do in that time. Sunshine and Second Chances is set in The Algarve which is somewhere I adore.  And Mudeford, where Muddleford is based on, has a very special place in my heart from childhood.  

In this book we had Gladys, the gorgeous Labrador belonging to Vi. I do love a pet in a book. Do you have a furry muse at home, who helps you with your writing?

I do have a hairy hound at home, but I’m not sure he’s my muse! But he is gorgeous and I adore him.  Roni is an English Setter who was rescued from Greece by a charity and we adopted him about 5 years ago.  He just sighs a lot when I ask him to help me with a plot hole and he’s not really that up for helping with promotion either, as you can see from the photo here!

Oh, such a cutie!

I must tell you I devoured your latest offering in pretty much a day, because it was a story filled with hope and positivity. Will there be any more from Meredith and the gang, or is your next project something totally different?

I’m currently away editing Book 2 in the Driftwood Bay series, which follows Hopeful Hearts in the Cornish Cove.  It will be out in October and will be Gemma’s story.  Then Book 3 will be out next Spring and will be the story from someone else that you’ve already met, but I’m not ready to divulge who yet! 

Care to guess Ritu?  Or is there anyone you’d like to read more about?

Meredith’s mother, possibly? Well, now I am all excited at the thought of two more books to follow this!

Now, I hope you enjoyed the masala chai, and pakoras, Kim! And, thank you for popping over for a chat with me, it’s been a blast!

Thank you for inviting me, Ritu.

My pleasure 😊

Peeps, you can read the blurb for Hopeful Hearts at the Cornish Cove, and my review, below!

Purchase links follow.

The Blurb

A perfect new start in Cornwall…

Meredith’s life is at a standstill. She’s stuck in a dead-end job, approaching fifty, and her dating life is a string of disasters. But one evening, while browsing the internet, she sees an ad for a lighthouse, and in a moment of impulsiveness, she makes a ridiculous bid for it.

With the help of local handyman Clem, she sets about renovating. And as they work together, a bond begins to form. But when Meredith finds out that Clem is keeping a secret from her, it changes everything. Will they find a way to build something more meaningful together?

A delightful story about community, friendship and having the courage to start over, perfect for fans of Carole Matthews, Milly Johnson and Lucy Dillon

Available in ebook, paperback and audiobook



My Review

Hopeful Hearts at the Cornish Cove by Kim Nash
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s been a while since I stepped into the gorgeous worlds created by Kim Nash and her characters, and I truly enjoyed this foray to the Cornish coast!
Meredith made a bit of a drunken decision to purchase a lighthouse, miles away from the rest of her life, to have a fresh start, a project, and to put some distance between her and her old life that, apart from her best friend, seemed to have begun to stagnate.
Well, what can I say? There are always dubious purchases made with the aid of alcohol when you aren’t feeling yourself, and when she arrives at her new, unviewed, apart from some stylised photos, home, she is in for a shock.
And the shocks don’t start there, but at the local supermarket, where she encounters rude locals that get her back up from the off.
I will not go into the story, as what would be the point of you reading it if I was just to regurgitate it here, but I will say that you won’t want to put it down once you start reading!
Meredith is a character who will resonate with many women, especially those of a certain age. She had a fire in her belly that was dampened by her previous life, but the sea and sea air might have just reignited it rather than put it out completely!
There are many characters to keep you wanting to read, not least Vi, who I think is an amazing woman. What a character! And her dog, Gladys, is just adorable!
Meredith has old friends, but the new ones she makes as she begins what feels like a thankless task of renovating and restoring her purchase are a choice bunch.
But there are always that core of locals who ‘hate’ newcomers. She has her work cut out, I’ll tell you.
And, of course, there’s Clem… A brooding, moody man who ends up rather helpful in many ways. But will he be the one who helps her realise she is not just a middle-aged woman undeserving of a fresh start romantically as well as generally?
The restoration of the lighthouse was fascinating to read about, too, and just reading the descriptions makes me want to go and stay in one right now!
A wonderful read from start to finish!

CANNOCK COPYRIGHT SHROPSHIRE STAR STEVE LEATH 23/03/2023 Heather feature with author: Kim Nash, from Hednesford. Kim is pictured with her new book, with a selection of her books, and at her writing desk with a card featuring a Lighthouse that was given to her. The card sits on her writing desk and ended up being an inspiration for her book.

Author Bio

Kim Nash is an author of uplifting, funny, heartwarming, romantic, feel-good fiction and has wanted to write books since she was a little girl. She has recently signed a 3-book deal with Boldwood Books and Hopeful Hearts at the Cornish Cove is the first book in a series of books set in the fictional seaside village of Driftwood Bay in Cornwall.

She lives in Staffordshire with her son Ollie and English Setter rescue dog Roni, is Digital Publicity Director for publisher Bookouture (a division of Hachette UK) and is a book blogger at

When she’s not working or writing, Kim can be found walking her dog at Cannock Chase, reading, writing and binge-watching box sets on the TV. She’s also quite partial to a spa day and a gin and tonic (not at the same time!) Kim also runs a book club in Staffordshire and organises local and national reader/author events.

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