Lucy Keeling – Just Friends For Now

Like myself Lucy has been writing a series of books that have been loved and enjoyed by many but now the series is coming to an end and I wanted to catch up with Lucy about writing a series and her newest book “Just Friends for Now.”

Did you plan to write a series when you started out?

I absolutely did and I remember when my publisher offered me a three book contract, I mentioned then that in an ideal world there would be a fourth and here we are. Image

I have no idea when or where my series will end, how did you know that it was time for the series to come to an end?

It was always going to be a book for each person within the friendship group. I knew that Sophie would start us off, then we had Polly, Mya and finally it’s Paige’s turn for a happily ever after. I also wanted to make sure that the series was neatly tied up and finished. Early readers have enjoyed the final book and how it completes everyone’s stories looking at what comes next for them all.

Though there is a same sex couple of “Burning Lie” their sexuality isn’t central to the story. What challenges have you faced writing a same sex couple?

Hmm interestingly the most difficult part was pronouns. Ordinarily I might add in a ‘he said’, ‘she said’ for clarity. But in a same sex couple that doesn’t help. It was important to me that my books show the same diversity as the life around us, and so Paige’s story was always going to be written and she was always going to have her own Happily Ever After, I think I did her justice, she certainly met her match with Melanie that’s for sure.

Your books have been set in vegas where else in the world would you like to set one.

347658106_922951675452401_7373668378742118945_nOne of my friends writes books set all over the world and if you fancy reading her work just look out for Leonie Mack, she’s incredible. But I am not that well travelled myself and would worry that I wouldn’t do it justice. However, if you were to tell me that I could travel there for research purposes before writing then I would say either Norway or Mykonos maybe.

We all have our favourite character’s to write for but whose been your favourite character in the series

I love Sophie, Polly, Mya and Paige obviously. But I will say that we get introduced to Connie in the new book and she might just be my most favourite. Without giving too much away she’s Paige’s gran, searching for husband number 5 and she’s a little bit wise and a little bit of a loose cannon.

Whose been your favourite love interest to write?

Polly and Bailey, no wait, Mya and Smithy. Oh maybe Paige and Melanie I love the contrast between them they are very much opposites attract.

If your characters were to all end up in a tv reality show which one would it be

Oh my days. Ok well if we could make a Manchester version of Made in Chelsea then I would go for a slightly funnier version of that.

How would you say you’ve developed as a writer over the series

Well I would say that if you want to write a series make sure you write a cast list. This is essential. I learned this the hard way. I hope that I have developed as a writer but I’m not sure how. Each time I sit down to write a new book I have to Google ‘how to write a book’. And so far each time I have written it’s needed a different approach as to how much I’ve planned out in advance.


What items would you pick off the Barbarellla menu

I want a Mimosa and probably Bacon and French Toast please.

What would your idea brunch memu be, bottomless proseco or bottomless cake

I do like Prosecco but if I could switch that out for bottomless cocktails AND bottomeless cake then I would be incredibly happy!

I need to find somewhere that serves bottomless cake! or afternoon tea but just cake…. Cs

What next for Lucy, will we get to see the characters we’ve fallen in love with again

For now I’m afraid not. But… There are a couple of characters in there that I think would be deserving of their own stories. But for now I have a few ideas that I’d like to have a look into and see if maybe there’s another series waiting to be written.

413b4KqJ59LJust friends for now . . . but what about later?

Bar owner Paige’s mojo is broken. She’s eternally single and there’s a new Instagrammable bottomless brunch spot in town that’s threatening to steal her regulars.
But she can’t deny that there’s just something about competitor Melanie and her prim and proper librarian look.

There’s no denying the chemistry. But Melanie should be her rival, not her friend. And definitely not anything else.

But when they’re thrown together to work on a local art project, Paige might find that being just friends is going to be trickier than she imagined . . .

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Quick Fire Questions with Joanne Boden

Excited to catch up with Joanne again, and fire some quick fire questions at her….

Vodka and Coke or Malibu and Coke

Malibu and coke because I don’t drink vodka. To be honest if I was drinking coke it would be a diet coke with Tia Maria. 

Novella or novelIMG_20210820_114508277_3

I mainly read novels and they are usually over 300 pages. I can’t remember the last novella I read. It might have been a Christmas novella that I listened to via Audible. 

Series or stand alone

If I had to choose then it would be a series. I like it when you are introduced to characters you’ve previously met and when you are sucked back into the same town or wherever the story is set. It brings me such comfort. 

Nestle or Cadburys

Cadbury’s without a shadow of a doubt because I love Dairy Milk. Other chocolates are available 🙂

Rock music or pop music

Rock music. I love rock music, but Claire you should have thrown country into the mix because then I would have opted for that instead. 

Lidl or Aldi

Lidl. I love shopping at Lidl. With the cost of living being the way it is I shop around and Lidl always has some great bargains. 

Reality Tv or Documentary

Documentary because I don’t really watch reality tv anymore. 

Christmas or Easter

Oh this is a tricky one but I love the magic of Christmas and decorating the tree. 

road-g42a4c6d3b_640Snow or Rain

If I had to choose then it would have to be rain. I like looking at snow but I don’t like being out in it and when the snow turns to ice our village becomes an ice rink. 

Summer or autumn

I love summer. I love the sun and sitting out in the garden and the heat. I miss the heat during these cold winter months. I do enjoy autumn, but summer is magical. 

Santa or the Easter bunny

Santa. I’m still a big kid at heart and honestly, I think there’s something a bit creepy about the Easter Bunny. 🙂

Six weeks holiday or end of term holidays

Six week holiday without a shadow of a doubt. My husband is a teacher so we always look forward to spending time together with the boys during the summer holidays. 

Staycation or abroad 

Staycation as it is difficult for us to go abroad as a family. There are also many beautiful places to visit in this country. We are also very lucky in that we live in a beautiful part of the world with the Lake District only a short drive away. 

Sunset or sunrise 

I love watching the sunrise, there’s something magical about it, about that promise of a brand new day when anything is possible. 

Fly or drive (on holiday)

Drive because that way you can take your time. 

Brown paper or shiny wrapping paper

There is just something about brown paper that I find so lovely. I ordered a blind date with a book from Etsy the other week and it arrived beautifully wrapped in brown paper with a simple red ribbon. 

Early morning or late at night

Early morning, although I don’t really have a choice as my youngest wakes me up at six every morning. I’m used to it now though and make the most of those precious early hours by getting in some reading time. 

Freeview or cable channelsUntitled

Freeview as we don’t have cable. To be honest though, I don’t really watch that much television. 

Home and Away or Neighbours

Neighbours because I will always have a soft spot for Harold Bishop. 


Can two lost souls find themselves in Little Bluewater Bay?
In the space of a single day, Harry Taylor achieves the impressive feat of losing a girlfriend, his London flat and his bookshop job. So, when his cousin Lucas invites him to his home in the seaside village of Little Bluewater Bay to recuperate, Harry jumps at the chance.
Beth Smith works at a diner and is quickly overstaying her welcome sleeping on her friend’s sofa. Overhearing a conversation about Little Bluewater Bay reminds her of better times, and she decides to throw caution to the wind and try her luck for happier memories in the coastal village.
Could a bookish business proposal and oldest new bookshop in Little Bluewater Bay lead to the new beginnings Beth and Harry so desperately need?



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Quick Fire Questions with Anni Rose

My favoutie Ikea DYI NIGHTMARE Cooker buyer has a new book coming out and as she’s one of my favoutie Choc-lit authors (cooker incident) I wanted to make sure I got on this blog tour 🙂


Vodka and Coke or Malibu and Coke

Terribly boring I know, but I don’t drink alcohol, so I’d prefer a cup of builders’ tea every time.

Nothing wrong with a good cuppa tea


Novella or novel

Novel, I like something to get my teeth into. 

Ruby Lit or Choc-lit

Difficult one, I write romantic comedies with lovely heroes, so Choc lit is perfect for my novels, although I’ve read some great Ruby Lit books including yours Claire. I think both imprints have some really super authors and I always look forward to seeing the new releases..

Series or stand alone

Recipe for Mr Ideal is book 4 in my Recipes for Life series. They are all stand alone novels, but are set in the same town and sometimes characters turn up in more than one book. Redford is a fictional town, but feels very real to me. I’m enjoying writing the series, because there are various things that I know stay the same in each book, like the local paper, the pub and the bistro in the High Street. So I don’t need to invent everything every time, although in my WIP at the moment, I’ve just had to send two characters off on a world-cruise, because they’ve similar sounding names to two characters in one of my previous books. 

Nestle or Cadburys

Cadburys – Wispa, Twirl and Chocolate Fingers. None of them would last long in my house. Having said that, I do hate Cadbury Creme Eggs. I find them far too sweet.

Rock music or pop music

Rock of course!

Lidl or Aldi

Both for different things. I seem to have turned shopping into a part-time job these days, because I shop around for bargains far more than I ever used to and we have both within easy reach. 

Reality Tv or Documentary cake

I would have said documentary – I love the real life crime stories, especially the unsolved murder ones. Except I am a Strictly and Great British Bake Off superfan. And in Recipe for Mr Ideal my main character, Maddie, in Recipe for Mr Ideal, is a registrar who watches endless episodes of “Say Yes to the Dress”. You can probably imagine that required a fair amount of research! And my sister’s hospital is being featured in Emergency First Time Medics at the moment, so we have to watch that too. Talking of Great British Bake Off, I went on a dough making course recently – what do you think of my cinnamon buns?

Christmas or Easter

Easter is my favourite day of the year. It comes at the right time, I love spring, the days are getting longer and hopefully it is a bit warmer, and somehow  it always feels so new and full of promise.

Snow or Rain

I was a summer baby, so assume this is why Winter is my very least favourite time of the year. And I don’t drive in the snow, so rain – I guess, but in moderation and provided I’m dressed appropriately. We took the dogs out for a walk on Christmas Day and got caught in the rain, by the time we reached the car, my wellies were full of water and my trousers completely soaked, and my coat was leaking too. But at least the beach was empty and it was an amazing walk!

Summer or autumn

Tricky question. I love them both – Summer for the light evenings  and Autumn for the amazing colours of trees on the turn.

Santa or the Easter bunny

Easter bunny, providing he brings hot cross buns rather than chocolate eggs! They’re my absolute favourite, warm with butter and served with a large mug of tea.

Six weeks holiday or end of term holidays

I’m not sure where I’d go if someone said to me take six weeks’ holiday. Although, providing money was no object I have always wanted to go to Rarotonga, Easter Island, New Zealand and Japan, so would probably head in that direction.

Staycation or abroad 

For anything other than my dream holiday it would have to be a staycation. We live in a beautiful area and there is always so much to see or do. sky

Sunset or sunrise 

Sunrise especially this time of year, when it’s not silly o’clock.

Fly or drive (on holiday)

Drive. I hate spending endless hours at an airport or on a plane. Driving means if I find something of interest along the way, I can stop. I prefer not to use motorways, I’d rather go cross country providing it doesn’t take me too far out of my way. And I like to have an audio book to listen to en route.

Brown paper or shiny wrapping paper

Brown paper.  Shiny wrapping paper promises so much and can often be disappointing. Brown paper, is more anonymous, less ostentatious and far more useful if the contents aren’t unto scratch.

Early morning or late at night

I am of an age where nine o’clock is the new midnight, so early morning for me.

Freeview or cable channels

I’d say Freeview, but having recently had three months AppleTV to try out, I loved Slow Horses with Gary Oldman and binge watched the whole of the first two series. 

Home and Away or Neighbours

Absolutely neither! I’m not a soap fan, well not, since they took El Dorado off the television!


book cover

Would you settle for Mr Less-Than-Ideal for a chance at happily-ever-after?
Registrar Maddie Winter has overseen enough weddings to know that marriage is not just for Christmas (or Valentine’s Day) – it’s for life, and regardless of whether the ceremony involves specially trained owls, dinosaurs or the police, it should be only the beginning of a story that will end in happily-ever-after.

Saying that, Maddie’s own married life is far from perfect – her husband, David, is more interested in his phone than in her, and when he suddenly walks out, Maddie’s long-held beliefs are put to the test.

Except Maddie knows David was never really her ‘Mr Ideal’; that was sweet, funny, motorbike-riding Josh Diamond – although obviously not that ideal, as he did dump her to move to the States. Even so, when Josh unexpectedly rides back into town, Maddie begins to wonder whether her happily-ever-after could still be to come …


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Quick Fire Questions with Helen Bridgett

With her third book in the Professor Maxie Reddick Files recently released I thought it would be the ideal for us to catch up. Helen was new to Ruby Fiction around the time I joined and has gone from strength to strength since. 

Vodka and Coke or Malibu and Coke

Yuk Malibu!!  Although I’m sure we tried it as teenagers! Neither thanks – though I will take a G&T

Novella or novel

Novel please

Ruby Lit or Choc-lit

Ruby have brought my heroine Maxie Reddick to life and I will be forever grateful!

Series or stand alone

Really don’t mind – I’ve certainly enjoyed writing the series as Maxie is my best friend now!

Nestle or Cadbury’s Cadbury-to-launch-dark-milk-chocolate-bars-in-the-UK

Cadbury please – specifically the Dark Milk

Aldi or Lidl

Either and Both!

Rock music or pop music

Always rock ! My dog Angus is named after Angus Young!

Reality TV or Documentary

Generally documentary although I’ve been addicted to Traitors recently

Christmas or Easter

Easter – more likelihood that I can get out hiking

Snow or Rain

Snow – deep and crisp and even please!







Summer or autumn

Autumn – I’m not good in sunshine

Santa or the Easter Bunny

Hmmm – who brings more chocolate?

Six weeks holiday or end of term holidays

Six weeks – the longer the better!

Staycation or abroad

I live in Northumberland which really is very beautiful and hard to beat. However after the past few years, I am venturing abroad soon and looking forward to it.

Sunset or sunrise

Has to be sunset – I’m never up early enough for sunrise.

Fly or drive (on holiday)

I hate flying and love driving so no contest!

Brown paper or shiny wrapping paper cardboard-gb2d4df92a_640

Brown paper packages tied up with string….

Early morning or late at night

Night owl every time

Freeview or cable channels

Can I say BBC iplayer?

Neighbours or Home and Away

Alas – never watched either 



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Quick Fire Questions with Marie Laval

Decided to catch up with my fellow author on the other side of the Atlantic, for some quick fire questions….

Vodka and Coke or Malibu and Coke?

Neither! I am a red wine or Prosecco girl!

Novella or novel?

Novel. I love to take the time to get to know the characters and be involved in the plot. Having said that, I really enjoy writing short stories.

Series or stand alone?

I don’t mind either, as long as the series actually ends and doesn’t leave me all confused and wondering if there’s going to be another book…

indexNestle or Cadburys?

Hotel Chocolat.

Rock music or pop music?

 both, depending on the mood. I actually enjoy all kinds of music, from Pink to Dire Straits, from Ella Fitzgerald to Elvis Presley, from The Rolling Stones to Bach or Madonna… And then of course there are all the French songs I sing to when I’m driving!


Lidl or Aldi

Lidl is great for delicious bread, Portuguese tarts and continental cheeses.

Christmas or Easter?

I love both. Christmas is lovely and cosy and a great time to hibernate with the people I love, but Easter is the beginning of spring when the days are getting longer and the daffodils and bluebells are everywhere.

Snow or Rain?

I am a very nervous driver so driving in snow petrifies me completely. Having said that the hills where I live look beautiful in the snow.

Summer or autumn?

Summer, definitely…I do enjoy spending time in my small garden and looking at all the colourful flowers.

Brown paper or shiny wrapping paper?

Brown paper because it reminds me of receiving parcels from my family in France, with all kinds of goodies inside!

Early morning or late at night?

I always get up early, even at weekends, as it’s when I get the most done. I love the feeling that I have the whole day ahead of me…


ScottishFINALCan a Desert Rose survive a Scottish winter?

The wild Scottish landscape is a far cry from Rose Saintclair’s Saharan oasis, although she’ll endure it for Lord Cameron McRae, the man she married after a whirlwind romance in Algiers. But when stormy weather leads to Rose’s Scotland-bound ship docking on Cape Wrath – the land of Cameron’s enemy, Bruce McGunn – could her new life already be in jeopardy?

Lord McGunn was a fearless soldier, but his experiences have made him as unforgiving as the land he presides over. He knows McRae won’t rest until he owns Wrath, and the man is willing to use brutal tactics. Bruce decides that he’ll play McRae at his own game, take the ship and its precious occupant, and hold them hostage.

Rose is determined to escape, but whilst captured she learns that there’s another side to her new husband – and could her supposedly cold and ruthless kidnapper also be concealing hidden depths?



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Meet The Family – Victoria Cornwall

I’m back with another long termer when it comes to this next issue of Meet The Family. She has published SIX!? novels with Choc-lit and she’s back with her Seventh! Waiting for Our Rainbow!

What inspired you to write “Waiting for our Rainbow

I’ve always had an interest in WW1 and WW2. As I’ve written a novel about WW1 (A Daughter’s Christmas Wish), it was Victoria Cornwall picinevitable that I would write a story set during WW2. Memories of American G.I.s arriving in Cornwall and American tanks being hidden in a local wood inspired me to research this time in Cornwall’s history. Waiting For Our Rainbow is the result.

If you could go back to when you first started writing what one piece advice would you give yourself?

It used to advise to edit on paper. However, technology and environmental concerns have moved on since I started writing, so my advice would be to edit on the laptop and then activate your Read Aloud tab to listen to your manuscript. You will be surprised how many errors your eyes have missed but your hearing picks up.

What would you say to someone who wants to write?

I would say don’t give up the day job. Some writers earn a good income, the majority do not. It’s best to go into this profession because you love to write and not because you want to be rich and famous. If you do earn enough to support yourself, then that’s a bonus.

If you weren’t writing what would you be doing?

Playing with my grandchildren. I have three all under the age of 2 ½ so it gets quite bus

What made you decide to submit with ChocLit?

One of my self-published novels was a finalist in the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romantic Fiction. I’d decided to self-publish at that time as I was finding it difficult to secure an agent for a historical romance. I became aware of Choc Lit Publishing at the event and was encouraged to submit my next book to them. They liked it so much that they took on my self-published novels too – and every book I’ve written since!

How did you deal with rejections when you started out?

Any type of rejection is painful. Rejections of manuscripts are no different. At the time I did not realise that even the most successful authors have a past littered with rejections. I found the experience crushing and almost gave up writing and submitting. If it was not for the event I mentioned earlier, I probably would have given up. I still find it hard to understand why some books are published and others are not. I suspect there are some brilliant authors who have not had the opportunity to shine. It is no wonder self-publishing has become so popular in recent years.

Which authors inspired you to write?

I would have to say Winston Graham, Catherine Cookson, E.V.Thompson and Daphne Du Maurier


Who would you want to play the main characters in your book if your novel was optioned for tv / film?

I would rather they were brilliant unknown actors rather than famous stars who steal the limelight from the main story. Waiting For Our Rainbow is about an ordinary American soldier meeting an ordinary young woman in extraordinary times. I would rather the viewer felt it was happening than they were watching a star play a role. However, if Kathryn Bigelow, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese or Francis Ford Coppola was available to direct/produce it, that would be amazing! I can dream, can’t I?


Do you have any writing routines or rituals, if so what are they?

I do need a morning or an afternoon to be set aside for writing before I can begin to write. I can’t just grab thirty minutes here or an hour there. Writing is a slow process for me and I need to get into the scene before I begin to write. I do plan/plot my books, which is very useful as it helps me to pick up the story where I last left it.

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

I have more WW2 stories to tell and one day I hope to share them with you..

More About Victoria Cornwall

Victoria grew up on a farm in Cornwall and is married with two grown up children and three grandchildren. She likes to read and write historical romance with a strong background story, but at its heart is the unmistakable emotion, even pain, of loving someone.

Her books have subsequently reached the finals of the NEW TALENT AWARD at the Festival of Romantic Fiction, the RNA’s JOAN HESSAYON AWARD, the 2021 RNA’s Goldsboro Books HISTORICAL ROMANTIC NOVEL AWARD. Her books have also been twice nominated for the RONE Best Indie or Small Published Book Award by InD’tale magazine.

She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association

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Waiting for Our Rainbow original


Would you give your heart away if you knew it could only end in goodbye?

It should have been a time of romance and excitement for Anne – but it’s 1941 and the war is raging. So instead, she spends her days repairing spitfire wings and reminding herself that the real sacrifice is going on far away from her Cornish village.

When the news breaks that America has entered the war, it brings cautious hope to Anne and her family. And eventually, as the Jeeps filled with GIs roll in, it seems their little community is to play a pivotal role in the next stage of the fight.

But the Americans don’t just bring Hollywood glamour and optimism, they also bring something more tantalising – so when Anne meets handsome Joe Mallory, she has to remind herself of exactly why he’s there; that any relationship between them could only end in goodbye.

But is the inevitability of ‘goodbye’ powerful enough to stop what has already begun to blossom?

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Meet The Family – Juliet Archer

Unbeknown to a lot of people Juliet has been a choc-lit author for quite sometime…. Though she has been lurking in the background she is back with a new book in time for CHRISTMAS and I kinda feel like I should be asking a different set of questions to a Choc-lit pro

Welcome to my blog “A Story About A Girl” Juliet

What inspired you to write “Hope, Mistletoe and a Christmas Promise

Hong Kong itself. For me, it embodies the ultimate East-West culture clash – an idea that inspired the first meeting between Ryan Hawke and Pip Smith, the hero and heroine of my book. Juliet Archer

I’ve wanted to set a story in Hong Kong for a long time. My husband spent the first part of his life in Kowloon, and I felt as though I knew the place – or his version of it! – long before we went there in 2018 and 2019.

If you could go back to when you first started writing what one piece advice would you give yourself?

I’d say to myself: ‘Obviously, you care what happens to your characters – just make sure your readers do too!’
What I mean is, I can get so invested in my story that I forget to stand back and get inside the mind of a reader – e.g. ask myself what would make a reader care (or not) about a particular character, or what a particular scene is delivering in terms of their development.

I find it a challenge to be objective and that’s why, at the editing stage, the feedback from Choc Lit/Ruby Fiction’s Tasting Panel is invaluable.

What would you say to someone who wants to write?

‘Go for it!’

Writing is one of the best forms of self-expression I know. However, it is worth thinking about who you’re writing for. Is it yourself, your friends and family – or do you want to reach a wider audience?

9780062720467-ukIf you want to reach a wider audience, then you need to do your research about how best to do that. It’s as much about what you write – that is, what is likely to sell – as it is about the marketing of the finished product. Writing for yourself, or friends and family, brings greater flexibility. And who knows? You might also reach a wider audience with something that you wrote just for you.

Finally, I’d recommend Self-editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King. Over the years, I’ve found this an excellent source of wisdom.


If you weren’t writing what would you be doing?

My day job is full-on, which means that my non-working hours are precious and tend to get filled with family and friends. So, as with many authors, writing is very much fitted around other things – I just wish there were more hours in the day!

But writing is ‘me’ time and I love it. If I wasn’t doing it, I’d go to the gym more. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!)

How did you deal with rejections when you started out?

It wasn’t easy, but I just kept working at improving my writing – and my ‘sales pitch’.

And these days there’s so much information out there about different people’s experiences – you know you’re not alone!

What made you decide to submit with ChocLit?

I was Choc Lit’s first author!

My first book, The Importance of Being Emma, was their debut title. It was lucky enough to be shortlisted for the 2009 Melissa Nathan for Comedy Romance, and to win the Big Red Read Book of the Year 2011 Fiction Award.

Since then Choc Lit and Ruby Fiction have gone from strength to strength. They have a wonderful team – it was a no-brainer to send them Hope, Mistletoe and a Christmas Promise!

Which authors inspired you to write?

First and foremost, Jane Austen. She was the inspiration behind my first two books, The Importance of Being Emma and Persuade Me, which are updates of two of her novels. I love her witty insights into the human heart.

Another inspiration is Lee Child. Even though he’s writing a different genre, his books are real page-turners with impressive plotting.

The stories I wrote as a child were usually inspired by Enid Blyton, Lorna Hill and Elinor M. Brent-Dyer (Chalet School series) – and are best forgotten!

Who would you want to play the main characters in your book if your novel was optioned for tv / film?

Ooh, lovely question! I’m going with an American to play Ryan and a Brit to play Pip – even though these days many actors can put on either accent.

Matthew McConaughey – at least the younger version! – has the same ‘look’ as Ryan, images


I’d go for Vanessa Kirby or  to play Pip. They both have the right height and build – Vanessa would just need to dye her hair, like she did for her Princess Margaret role in The Crown.


As for Jack, Pip’s brother and hero of my first book about the Smith family, One Summer Weekend, the only possible choice is Richard Armitage. Preferably at the age he was when he played John Thornton in the BBC’s North & South, as that was my inspiration for One Summer Weekend!



Do you have any writing routines or rituals, if so what are they?

I get up very early, and that’s often my writing time – although I need endless cups of tea to keep me going! If I’m writing later in the day, a glass of wine (or two) has been known to help.

As I mentioned earlier, I don’t get as much time as I’d like for writing. When I do, I’m sure I’ll develop lots of routines and rituals!

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

Shorter gaps between books, as I wind down the day job?!

My next book will be my third about the Smith family, the long-promised sequel to One Summer Weekend. This time the focus will be on Jack …


More About Juliet Archer

Juliet Archer writes award-winning romantic comedy for Choc Lit and Ruby Fiction. She has been known to spend many happy hours matching irresistible heroes with their equally irresistible chocolate counterparts – watch out for the dark nutty ones!

Her debut novel, The Importance of Being Emma, won the Big Red Read Book of the Year 2011 Fiction Award and was shortlisted for the 2009 Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance. Her second novel, Persuade Me, was shortlisted for the 2011 Festival of Romance Best Romantic Read Award.

She has written two books about the Smith family: One Summer Weekend and Hope, Mistletoe & a Christmas Promise. You can also read her short stories: Incense & Insensibility in the Love Match anthology, and Love Rules in the Kisses & Cupcakes anthology (both Choc Lit).

Juliet was born and bred in North-East England, and now lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and temperamental cat. She has two grown-up children, one in London and one in the USA, and has recently discovered the joys of grandchildren. Her non-writing career has spanned IT, company acquisitions, marketing and project management.

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Hope Mistletoe and a Christmas Promise by Juliet ArcherWhen a Christmas promise becomes hard to keep …

Pip Smith knows she owes it to her family to hold on to the festive traditions that have been a comfort since the year everything changed – but this Christmas she’s going to need a miracle to keep everyone in her life happy.

After she’s dumped by her fiancé, an invitation to visit a friend in Hong Kong in the run-up to the festive season seems to offer Pip the perfect escape – and she’ll be home for Christmas, of course. Except her escape ends up becoming far more complex than she intended, when she becomes involved with arrogant American Ryan Hawke and his niece, Shelby – a little girl whose most heartfelt Christmas wish is for a proper family.

Will Pip keep her Christmas promise – or will it be more of a compromise, with the help of a little hope and mistletoe?

Linked to One Summer Weekend but can be read as a standalone story. This is Pip’s story.



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Quick Fire Questions with Angela Britnell

Decided to catch up with my fellow author on the other side of the Atlantic, for some quick fire questions….

Vodka and Coke or Malibu and Coke?

Neither! I hate Coke and Malibu is too sweet for my taste. Is it all right if I please have a nice, cold glass of white wine, a G&T or a margarita (on the rocks with no salt) instead?

Novella or novel?

It depends what I’m in the mood for – sometimes a shorter story hits the spot and on other occasions I want to dive into something longer.

Series or stand alone?

I read a lot of mysteries and am working my way through two different several detective series at the moment – Kate Ellis and her DI Wesley Peterson series, and Elly Griffiths with the Ruth Galloway stories. I’m also perfectly happy with stand alone books by either new or favourite authors.

Nestle or Cadburys?

It has to be Cadburys – I’m a big fan of Crunchy bars their Fruit and Nut. Also I could eat Galaxy Minstrels by the ton!


A friend once told me to heat Minstrels over a bowl of warm water and it makes their inside go all running CS

Rock music or pop music?

Generally speaking I’m more of pop music fan – Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Lewis Capaldi are all on my playlists.

Reality TV or Documentary?

I do watch some reality shows, but I’ve never seen the Kardashians, the Bachelor or any shows along those lines. I don’t think you have the show in the UK but I love The Amazing Race, mainly for the travel aspect. I do enjoy programmes that you could maybe call light documentaries – like Tony Robinson’s walks around the UK, so ones that show what life was like in say a medieval village or Victorian farm.

Christmas or Easter?

That’s a tricky one but I think I’ll go for Easter because the weather is usually better, it involves plenty of chocolate and there’s less cooking and decorating the house involved!

Snow or Rain?

Snow is pretty to look out at but I’m not a fan of actually having to go out in it! Rain I’m far more used to, growing up in Cornwall we rarely saw much of the white stuff but there was never a shortage of rain.

Summer or autumn?

Here in Tennessee it has to be autumn. The colour of the changing leaves and usually perfect temperatures make it hard to beat. On the other hand the long, hot and humid summer weather turns me practically into a hermit!road-gbb742b226_640

Staycation or abroad?

There are plenty of interesting places in the US I’ve yet to see, but I’m not sure I’d call it a staycation as many are as far away, or further, than anyone living in the UK would go when travelling ‘abroad’. We usually come to Cornwall twice a year and have just booked our next trip for the spring.

Sunset or sunrise?


Fly or drive (on holiday)?

I’m not a fan of long car trips, although I’ve learned to tolerate them as the distances you need to travel here to see new places are often a lot further than they would be in the UK. Flying isn’t much fun these days but at least most of the time it gets you there faster.

Brown paper or shiny wrapping paper?

Shiny wrapping paper every time! I might not be as good for the planet but it’s so much prettier.

Early morning or late at night?

I’m a complete morning person and getting more so with age! My days of staying up late and partying are long gone 😊

Neighbours or Home and Away?

I’ve never watched either show. I grew up watching Coronation Street, my mum was a devoted follower and never missed an episode.

A Little Christmas Panto cover

Can a little Cornish village panto convince a troubled Hollywood heart throb to act again?

Oh no it won’t! At least that’s what Zach Broussard initially thinks when the eccentric Anna Teague tries to railroad him into helping out with her community pantomime production in the run-up to Christmas. Zach has his reasons for leaving Hollywood behind, and his retreat to the remote village of Polcarne in Cornwall signals the start of a new acting free life for him.

But when Zach meets Anna’s daughter, Rosey – an ex concert pianist who has swapped Mozart for panto tunes – he starts to wonder whether he could change his mind, and not just about acting.

If nothing else, will the residents of Polcarne ensure Zach has a Christmas he never forgets?

Oh yes they will!




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Quick Fire Questions with Kirsty Ferry

This girl is on fire as the song goes… She has an amazing back catalogue of books with Choc-Lit so I decided to shake things up abit and do some quick fire questions…

Vodka and Coke or Malibu and Coke

Vodka and coke – malibu is for summer and pina coladas!

Novella or novel

I like writing them both – sometimes my novellas increase into novels after edits. I’ll read either, so long as it’s a good story.

Ruby Lit or Choc-lit

Ha ha! Both! Choc Lit is the home of my timeslips and most of my other series, but Ruby is the home of my Padcock series. I’ve really enjoyed writing the Padcock books. They’re a little bit different from my Choc Lit books and I can have fun with first person point of view by really getting into the main characters of Cerys, Edie and now Flora.

Series or stand alone

Again, I love both. I like picking up a book and really enjoying it, then realising there are other books in the series. Sometimes a book has to be stand alone, though, and I think it spoils it if they do a follow on. I particularly hate where the author spends a novel getting a couple together then splits them up in a sequel. It’s almost like it’s been a waste of a book. This happened to one I was really looking forward to reading last Christmas and when I found out what had happened from my mum who’d read it first, I didn’t bother. It was as if the author didn’t have a way of continuing the story happily and had to completely rejig the spirit of the first one. If I write a series, all my couples will stay together, and I’ll just concentrate on getting another couple together instead.

Nestle or Cadbury’s cadbury_dairy_milk_giant_buttons_chocolate_bag_240g_70421_T596

Hard one – anything chocolatey will find its way into my tummy. I’d maybe have to plump for Cadbury’s if I was pushed, as I love Dairy Milk and I especially love giant chocolate buttons.


Aldi or Lidl

Probably Aldi. We have both nearby but Aldi sometimes has great craft supplies in like fat quarters or lovely art sets so I’d probably gravitate there. One a few miles down the road has a lovely artisan coffee shop next to it so that’s another good reason to shop there.

Rock music or pop music

I do like rock music – some poppy stuff is fine too, but I grew up in the 80s when Stock, Aitken and Waterman flooded the market and it all got a bit samey so I preferred the power ballads that were around then and I still love singing along to them!

Reality TV or Documentary

Of the two I prefer documentaries, unless it’s Strictly or The Real Dirty Dancing which was great. I hate the celebrity culture that goes along with people in things like TOWIE and Big Brother and I do make a couple of references to non-entity celebs in the Padcock books. They just irritate me so much.

Christmas or Easter

I love Christmas, but I also love Easter – lots of chocolate to be had and the nights are getting lighter, and I need sunshine, chocolate and light to thrive! Christmas is lovely and Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are so special – plus they are after the December solstice, so I can kid myself the darkest days of winter are over by then.

Snow or Rain

Probably rain. Rain doesn’t necessarily stop me from driving or doing anything unless it’s really ridiculous, and although snow looks pretty it can be awful to drive in and makes my anxiety hit the roof. It’s nice if I don’t have to go anywhere. The perfect thing would be snow at teatime on Christmas Eve, and it melting by lunchtime on 25th. My birthday is in February and in 2021 in the middle of lockdown I had a big birthday. It was blizzarding all day, but so many of my friends made me part of their essential travel and stood shivering in my porch to see me on my birthday, and it was so special.

Summer or autumn

Summer. I can tolerate autumn until around Halloween but then no thank you, forget it. I don’t like the months from November until March or thereabouts (except of course Christmas and my birthday!)

Santa-Claus-DRAWING-–-STEP-10Santa or the Easter Bunny

I love Santa – the whole thing is magical. We still put a mince pie and a carrot out for him and Rudolph, and a drink of choice. Sometimes, he likes prosecco. However, the Easter Bunny is extremely cute and I love to think of him hopping around delivering eggs.

Six weeks holiday or end of term holidays

End of term. My son is almost 22 so we don’t have to think about the six weeks holiday, and it’s great as he doesn’t need looking after or amusing any more! I go to work and leave him in bed, and he can get up and make his own breakfast and jump in his car and do stuff without us, rather than me stressing about getting him up and ready and getting him to my parents to be looked after. He still gets Easter and Christmas hols from Uni, but he can stay away and be with his friends if he has plans, rather than the accommodation closing and them all scattering over summer. He does like to be home at Christmas, though.

Staycation or abroad

Staycation I think. There are so many lovely places to holiday in the UK that there is loads for us to still explore. I would like to go back to Amsterdam and do Prague and the Greek Islands amongst other places, so maybe one day we’ll go to somewhere like that.

Sunset or sunrise

Sunrise I think. I made sure I got up and watched the summer solstice at 4am in June from a deckchair in my back garden, but you can get some beautiful sunsets too and I can often be found dashing outside with my camera to try and capture them!

Fly or drive (on holiday)

Drive as we tend not to go abroad and can please ourselves if we have the car. If we go somewhere like Glasgow, though, we’ll get the train. I’d like to fly to Exeter and rent a car to travel around down there as it’s a long way to the south west coast and it’s an area I love and want to visit again and I don’t have a lot of patience with holiday traffic on the motorways!

Brown paper or shiny wrapping paper

I know brown paper is more ecologically sound, but I do love pretty wrapping paper. However, the danger is that super-shiny stuff doesn’t stick with Sellotape and all my Christmas gifts sprung open the other year after I’d wrapped them which made me cross!

Early morning or late at night

Once I’m up and had my first coffee of the day I’m usually ok in a morning. Late nights depend on why I’m late. If I’ve been out at the theatre or been to a friend’s it’s nice to come home after enjoying myself and flop straight into bed. I don’t like lying in bed and staring at the clock until it’s really late if I can’t sleep, though, and have been known to wander downstairs at 2am and either do edits or finish my homework from art class.

Freeview or cable channels

Probably cable. I don’t know how to work Freeview on my TV, but from what I understand, a lot of the channels are the same anyway.

Neighbours or Home and Away

Neither I’m afraid. I don’t like soap operas of any description, and have never watched these beyond the first episode of Home and Away which I remember watching at my aunt and uncles house while we were visiting one day!




Flora coverIt was meant to be a romantic Christmas getaway …
Except Flora’s boyfriend Paul is more interested in whether there’s WiFi in their holiday cottage than he is in the pretty village of Padcock where it’s located. It seems he’s incapable of taking time out from his work for gossip mag darling Maxine Marling – or Maxine Marmoset as Flora not so secretly calls her (well, she does look like a marmoset!) – to spend time with his actual girlfriend.

But as Flora discovers the friendly and festive community of Padcock with its eccentric but lovable locals – including dreamy musician Geraint Davies – she begins to question her London life and lots more besides. Especially as a certain marmoset becomes ever more present on her Christmas break for two …

But luckily Padcock is a village where fresh starts happen – and maybe Flora is in line for her own Christmas of new beginnings.


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Mistletoe Mistletoe and Mayhem at the Little Shopping Mall – Hannah Pearl

Did someone say it’s nearly Christmas? There are only 83 to go!!!!


Welcome back Hannah, I’m looking forward to catching up it feels like it was only days ago we were welcoming you as part of the Choc-lit family and now we’re here talking about all things Christmas and of course your new book.


han 4 (1) (1)Are you a lover or hater of Christmas Hannah?

I LOVE it!!!!!

What do you love about Christmas?

I love having time together when we’re lucky to all have a break from work/ school. I love seeing my children’s faces when they open their presents.

Do you have any Christmas traditions, if so what are they are they carried on from your childhood or have you created your own?

We’re not massively traditional so nothing much, apart from trying to get together. We did start doing an enormous family Secret Santa a few years ago for nearly thirty of us. I think that’ll be something my children will always remember, so hopefully we can pick that up again this year.


Do you think we’ll have a white Christmas this year?

I doubt it. It’s been so hot this year, far too hot for me to cope well! I know in a few weeks time that’ll seem like a distant memory but I can’t yet get my head around it actually feeling cold soon!

What is your earliest Christmas memory?

Playing together with all my cousins at my grandparents’ house. I’m really lucky to have a big family and it was always a special treat in the holidays to be able to get together. I’ve really missed that for the last few years and hope to see everyone more soon.

What was the best present you received as a child?

I can’t remember! Is that awful? We’re not hugely traditional really and so though we always got lovely gifts, it was always more about being together.

What is the one thing you always wanted but never got?

A Mr Frosty slushie maker. Actually, thinking back, I think we did get one in the end and it never worked well after all that waiting!


Favourite Christmas song pop or carol?

Slade. It doesn’t feel like Christmas until you’ve heard Noddy Holder telling you that it is Christmas 🙂

What would you buy your main characters in “Mistletoe Mistletoe and Mayhem at the Little Shopping Mall” as a Christmas present?

I’d get Caroline some nice chocolates. Actually, anything sweet or food related to save her from cooking!

doughnuts-1868573_640 And for Damian, something simple  but classy, a nice aftershave maybe. Or a hat that isn’t a Stetson 😉


If you were asked to guest DJ on a national radio station on Christmas day what would you play?


Slade of course, Wizzard (I Wish it could be Christmas Every Day), Mariah Carey and Wham , just in case anyone nearly made it through Whamageddon in one piece. Is that mean?  But surely it wouldn’t be Christmas without it!



Count down to Christmas with mistletoe, mayhem, meddling friends and mystery men …
There’s a saying about all work and no play – but there’s never a dull moment for Caroline working at Holly Walk Mall, especially at Christmas.

When she’s not dealing with orders from Ian, ‘the manager who can’t manage’ as her friend Rachel puts it, she’s overseeing the usual late-night shopping sessions, Santa’s grotto construction and, most importantly, the sampling of many delicious festive treats at the Italian café her friends Nina and Marco own.

But when a new jewellery shop moves in and brings ‘mysterious guy with the cute bottom’ to Holly Walk, Caro isn’t yet aware just how much mayhem she’s in for in the countdown to Christmas. With strategically placed mistletoe, revealing cowboy outfits and even a bit of sleuthing, could this festive season turn out to be the liveliest yet for both Caro and her beloved Mall?


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RUBY-LOGO-RD-NSFor all Hannah’s other books check out the Ruby Fiction Website


Read my interview with Hannah as part of the welcome to the family series HERE