Book and a Brew with Ritu – Snowfall over Halesmere House by Suzanne Snow@SnowProse @canelo_co @Katrina_Power #NewRelease #BookReview

I’m back with a second edition!

Today, I am hosting a new-to-me author, Suzanne Snow, as I read her most recent release, Snowfall Over Halesmere House, as part of a blog tour!

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

Thank you for hosting me, Ritu, I’m looking forward to answering your questions after our drink!

I do a mean Indian masala chai. However, I noticed that your main character, Ella, enjoyed coffee more, so if that is what you’d like I can offer that, or even a yummy hot chocolate. I have the whipped cream and marshmallows ready.

In the spirit of all things foodie, since Ella was a chef, I have some lovely fresh Indian snacks to go with the tea, samosas and pakoras, but an additional steamed dhokla, which originates from Gujarat, if you fancy a try!

I would love to try all of those, thank you, and I know they’re going to be delicious! I’d be very happy with the masala chai or a turmeric latte. I drink more tea than coffee, and I’m not a big fan of hot chocolate (sorry!).

We have something in common already. I am definitely a tea drinker rather than a coffee one!

Now, 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 know the RNA played a massive part, too.

It really did. I began writing as a child, immersing myself in books which fired my imagination and took me to places I could picture perfectly in my mind. It wasn’t long before I knew I wanted to create my own and I probably have some awful short stories written by ten-year-old me in a box somewhere!

I was always drawn to romance, and I joined the RNA as a new writer in 2018 with two manuscripts already written. My first report was very positive and suggested some edits, which I did, and it also gave me the confidence to approach agents and publishers.

There were of course plenty of rejections along the way. I met my agent Susan Yearwood at the 2019 RNA conference, where I was pitching my second manuscript. In April 2020 I signed a 3-book deal with Canelo and both of those early manuscripts went on to be published as books one and two in the Welcome to Thorndale series.

I think many hours of work and perseverance played their part in getting published, along with opportunities for new writers to learn through the RNA. I can’t overstate the importance of the New Writers Scheme and connecting with people who share your love for the genre through the Association.

At present, you are a new-to-me author, as I mentioned, but you have several other books out there. Could you tell us a little about the inspiration behind your other series?

Welcome to Thorndale is a four-book series set in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. The village of Arncliffe, currently used for filming some scenes in All Creatures Great and Small, was my original inspiration for Thorndale. I visit the Dales quite regularly and I still half expect to see my characters going about their business when I’m there!

My inspiration to write comes from a love of landscape, romance and rural life, and I wanted to bring all of these together in the books. Each is a standalone story, but they are best read in order as characters from the first book return in all four.

I completed the series with A Country Village Christmas last year, but I have an idea for a fifth book at the back of my mind. Books one and four in the series have epilogues on my website, and it was so much fun to return to familiar characters and write them.

It’s funny how some characters don’t want to be put to bed. My first novel, Marriage Unarranged was a stand-alone. Still, the characters wouldn’t be quiet, so I have just finished book 2 and am starting the process for the third in that series, and even then, there are ideas for novellas and possibly sequels coming into my mind!

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

It’s very difficult to answer as they’re a little bit like favourite children! How do you choose! If I had to pick just one, it would be The Cottage of New Beginnings, as it’s the first book I had published, and that’s such a special moment for any author. Annie and Jon’s story was the beginning of my new career, and they’re definitely favourite characters, and I still wonder where they might be in their lives now. Each book was a joy to write, and I’m very grateful to be continuing into a second series with Canelo.

I’d agree with you, there. Our books are always our babies!

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 can write more or less anywhere, and if it’s going well, the noise around me will cease. I do most of my writing from around six am, and I’m at my best first thing. I write for three hours before a walk to work out what’s next. I have a lovely writing nook, and it’s very cosy with lots of books. My husband suggested the colour when we redecorated it as it’s described as a romantic grey-pink. He thought it would suit my room perfectly; he was right, and I love it!

That sounds ideal!

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!

I haven’t got a full-length manuscript in a drawer, but there are probably one or two terrible, unfinished ones from many years ago. They will never see the light of day, I’ll make sure of it! I mainly wrote short stories during my teenage years, and it was a good way to begin. I found some recently during a clear-out and couldn’t bring myself to shred them as they’re part of my own story as an author. I hope you finish yours, Ritu, and they do see the light of day, I’m sure they’re much better than mine!

Oh, gosh, no! We should never get rid of them, should we? You never know where that little fledgeling of an idea may flourish and form a part of a story you write in the future! And I highly doubt they are much better than yours! Probably different, but no less rushed and immature!

Now, I invited you over to have a little chat about your newest release, Snowfall over Halesmere House. Firstly, can I just say, I love that you have a Christmassy book and your surname is Snow! Where did the idea for the story of Ella and Max come from?

Thank you, I love the snow on the covers of my Christmas books. It’s very apt! I think I’ll have to keep on writing about Christmas!

I wanted to write a series set in the Lake District and had the idea for a holiday home and group of artists’ studios with characters coming and going. I love Cumbria and have spent lots of time there visiting studios and different areas of the county for inspiration.

Ella and Max are both familiar with loss in their lives, and I hope their story is an uplifting one rooted in a sense of place that helps them move on and look to the future. Prim, the English Pointer dog, was inspired by our own, and wonderful to write. Max’s children Lily and Arlo, and his mother Noelle all play their own part in a story of family and finding love.

Ella is a chef, as I mentioned earlier. Are you a dab hand in the kitchen? If so, what is your speciality? If not, who is the cook in your house?

I’m a good home cook, and we like to try new things along with the old favourites. I love making meals for family and friends, and a few years ago I made hundreds of individual portions of soup to sell for charity. My husband enjoys baking, and he makes a fabulous black cherry cheesecake.

I love that your husband bakes! I do love a bit of baking. My Hubby Dearest well, he is a dab hand at ordering takeaway, if you catch my drift! He can microwave meals like no one else, and can boil an egg…

My speciality would probably be a roast dinner, as my dad taught me and he still makes the best gravy. My son is also a good cook and always willing to help out if we’re busy. He’s more experimental than me and likes to create his own recipes.

Oh. I love roast dinners! Your son sounds like my brother. He’s a great cook and always knocking up different dishes!

I understand that Snowfall Over Halesmere House is the beginning of a new series for you called Love In The Lakes. Any sneaky clues as to who the next story may centre around?

The next book is due out in February, and it’s Lizzie and Cal’s second chance at first love. Until this one, I hadn’t written about a couple who’d known each other before, and I loved creating that first connection and writing about the summer they spent together twelve years earlier. They’re back at Halesmere for different reasons and creating their story, as they go in search of family and maybe a future, was brilliant.

That sounds fantastic, and. I can’t wait for book two in the series!

Thank you so much for visiting, Suzanne. It’s been a pleasure.

Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog, Ritu, I’ve loved answering your questions. I hope one day I’ll get to try those amazing samosas, pakoras and steamed dhokla. I wish you all the best with your unfinished work too, I look forward to them seeing daylight!

My pleasure 😊 And thank you for the good vibes! May we bring many books out between us!

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

Now, as I mentioned before, I was lucky enough to read an ARC of Snowfall At Halesmere House, so let me share the blurb and my review.

The Blurb

Welcome to Halesmere House, where romance might be just around the corner…

After years of living in the past, Ella is ready to start building a future. The perfect opportunity presents itself when she is offered a short-term role at Halesmere House in the Lake District, and tasked with kick-starting its artists’ residence. She can’t wait to start and explore a new career in an inspiring location.

But when Ella arrives at Halesmere, she wonders if she’s made a huge mistake after she clashes with Max, the new owner. Max has his own reasons to be unsettled by her presence, but despite his misgivings it seems everyone else loves having Ella around. As a single dad, it’s his children’s attachment to her that bothers him most. Who will pick up the pieces when Ella leaves?

What Max doesn’t know is that Ella is falling for more than just the Lake District and the community around her. Can her temporary job lead to a permanent happy ending?

A tender and uplifting Christmas romance for fans of Heidi Swain, Karen Swan and Sue Moorcroft.

My Review

I was lucky enough to be sent an ARC of Snowfall at Halesmere House to participate in a blog tour.
A lovely story about our main character, Ella, who has spent her whole life chasing a dream that wasn’t hers. She’s ready for a chance to think about what she wants in life.
A spot of a post on Instagram brings her to an idyllic but small village a fair distance from her home, where she encounters some interesting characters and plenty of challenges of her own.
I loved it.
Noelle, the woman who brought Elle to the Lake District, is a hoot, and her son, Max, and his children get under the skin of our MC pretty quickly.
There is an excellent cast of supporting characters and a certain woman who is the thorn in Ella’s side, but I don’t think she realises until quite far along in the story!
And the slow-burn romance that builds among the Christmas cheer is as welcome as a log fire on a cold winter’s night!
A great read!

Author Biography

Suzanne writes contemporary and uplifting fiction with a vibrant sense of setting and community connecting the lives of her characters. A horticulturist who lives with her family in Lancashire, her books are inspired by a love of landscape, romance and rural life. 

Her first novel in the Thorndale series, The Cottage of New Beginnings, was a contender for the 2021 RNA Joan Hessayon Award and she is currently writing the Love in the Lakes series for Canelo. Suzanne is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors.

Check out Suzanne’s Website: https://www.suzannesnowauthor.com/

Follow Suzanne on Twitter

Follow Suzanne on Instagram

My interactive peeps!

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