Monday, 12 May 2014

Author Interview with Angela Britnell

It gives me great pleasure to bring you an interview withAngela Britnell, thank you very much to Holly at Choclit for this opportunity.  But, first a bit about herself and her latest novel.

About the book...
The Way to a Hero’s Heart…
Fiery, workaholic Lily Redman is sure of two things: that she knows good food and that she always gets what she wants. And what she wants more than anything is to make a success of her new American TV show, Celebrity Chef Swap – without the help of her cheating ex-fiancé and producer, Patrick O’Brien. So when she arrives in Cornwall, she’s determined to do just that.

Kenan Rowse is definitely not looking for love. Back from a military stint in Afghanistan and recovering from a messy divorce and an even messier past, the last thing he needs is another complication. So when he lands a temporary job as Luscious Lily’s driver, he’s none too pleased to find that they can’t keep their hands off each other!

But trudging around Cornish farms, knee deep in mud, and meetings with egotistical chefs was never going to be the perfect recipe for love – was it? And Lily could never fall for a man so disinterested in food – could she?


About the author...
I was born in the beautiful county of Cornwall in southwestern England and grew up in a small village there. I return frequently to visit family and friends but especially to savour the cool rainy weather and hot tea. After school I joined the Royal Navy and served for nearly six years. I held varying jobs from being the only woman in the staff of a sports centre to arranging social engagements for the Captain of the base. My last assignment was to Denmark where I thought I would spend a wild two years in Copenhagen only to discover I was being sent to a NATO Headquarters in a quiet town on the Jutland Peninsula. I was only disappointed for a while as I met my own tall, dark, handsome stranger there - a US Naval Officer named Richard who became my husband.
That was the beginning of an itinerant life as from Denmark we went to Sicily where we had our first son. Then it was on to Monterey, California and the birth of our second son. From there we headed to Patuxent River, Maryland where we had our third son. Richard's last assignment was to London where we spent a wonderful three years. Retiring from the Navy he took a job in Brentwood, Tennessee near where he grew up. Since 2008 we are empty nesters which allows more time for my writing.
I have always been a voracious reader, even at 5 years old my school reports show a keen interest in English and very little in math - some things never change! Although I enjoyed writing in school it wasn't until 2001 that I was tempted to take a creative writing class at a local recreation centre which has sparked my new career.
When I'm not busy writing I enjoy spending time with family and friends. I try to grow English flowers in the Tennessee heat and succeed some of the time. I belong to the wonderful Red Bandanas Writing Group, Jubilee Readers Book Club, and volunteer at my local library so you can see that words are important to me.
I hope you enjoy reading my work as much as I enjoy writing it so sit back, make yourself a cup of tea and enjoy a break from everyday life.
Questions I asked Angela Britnell about 'Sugar & Spice' & her writing in general

Some authors carry their characters through each of their novels.  Is Sugar and Spice a stand alone book or are there any links/characters that have crossed over between your other books?

‘Sugar and Spice’ is a stand-alone book. I’ve never written any sort of series – that would take too much in the way of plotting which isn’t my forte to say the least!

How much research into a location or field of knowledge was required to give realism to the story?

This book is set mainly in Cornwall where I grew up which didn’t take any research! When my characters travel around the UK they go to Cardiff, Edinburgh, Oxford, London and the Lake District – I’ve visited all of those places in the past which helped tremendously. As far as the food side of the book was concerned I’m not sure if my obsession with the Food Network counts as research but we’ll say it does! I did trawl the internet for ideas on menus/specialties for the various chefs Lily visits and wove some of that information into the story. As far as Kenan’s side of the story is concerned the aspects of his character connected to being in the military are very familiar to me because my own husband is a retired US Naval officer and I was in the Royal Navy myself many years ago.

When the book concluded, did you have trouble saying goodbye to the characters especially as Sugar and Spice is set in Cornwall where you grew up?

It’s always hard to let go of people who have been such a big part of your life – even if they are imaginary - but then the next idea comes and I get sucked into that story and those new characters. Cornwall has often featured in my books and so I never quite say goodbye to it!

Where did you get your inspiration for this story line - is it part fact or all complete fiction?

It’s complete fiction from the point of view that I’m not, and never will be a gourmet chef! Like most people I tend to stick to the same recipes although I do enjoy baking when I’m in the mood. The idea for ‘Sugar and Spice’ came from the inordinate amount of cooking shows I watch on The  Food Network. I have my favourite chefs and the inspiration for Luscious Lily and her new show Celebrity Chef Swap came from too many hours glued to the television!

What do you hope for when your readers have finished reading your novels?

I hope they’ve fallen in love with my characters and been so drawn into the story that they’ve burnt dinner, ignored their children and stayed up far too late reading because they had to know what happened next. I’d like to think the characters stay with them and that they go back and re-read the book. Also I’d love them to tell other people about the book and encourage them to read it too!

Describe a typical day for you writing?

First thing in the morning I usually catch up with the business/social media side of writing. I check email, Twitter, and Facebook and do what’s needed on that particular day. The rest of the morning I normally spend on non-writing related things like my water aerobics class, shopping, volunteering at my local library or household chores (the latter will be as little as I can get away with). After an early lunch I settle down in my office and start by editing the previous day’s work before I carry on with the story. On a good day I might get 2,000 words done but I don’t stick to a rigid schedule. I usually write straight through the afternoon, except for a mandatory tea break, until I’m forced to stop and cook dinner. Luckily my husband enjoys cooking so can often be persuaded to take over that task! I rarely write in the evenings, and weekends depend on what else we have planned or whether my dear husband is engrossed watching sports so won’t notice if I’m there or not!

Do all of your friends expect free copies of your books?

Not really, although I try to give  copies to anyone who helps me out in some way. My good friend who came up with name ‘Sugar and Spice’ definitely received one!

Do you read and write in the same genre and who is your favourite author?

I do read some contemporary romance but probably read more mysteries and women’s fiction. I think Nora Roberts is an amazing storyteller and am a huge fan of anything Kristin Hannah writes. I’ll pick Joanna Trollope as my favourite as I’ve read several of her books multiple times.

If you were to be granted one writing wish what would that be?

To make the New York Times bestseller list – a girl has to dream!

What is the best/worse thing about being a writer?

The best thing is that I’m fortunate enough to have discovered something I have such a passion for so that it rarely feels like proper work. That same aspect is also the worst because I sometimes resent being forced to put my writing to one side to do other things and then feel guilty!