For my first ever Author Interview I was lucky enough to speak to the wonderful Belinda Jones. With the launch of her New book Winter Wonderland Out on Thursday 8th November, Belinda was very kind and came for a quick chat about her new book!
Could you describe your new book in 10 words or less?
Snow-globe love in a land of huskies and maple-syrup pie! (Had to hyphenate to keep to the word count!!)
How did you decide Quebec and Montreal were going to be the best places for the new book?
It just shows the power of the internet - as soon as I saw the website for the Quebec Winter Carnival (http://www.carnaval.qc.ca/en) my brain started fizzing with ideas for the storyline - snow sculptures, ice palaces, dog-sledding!! - and I knew I had to get there asap and discover more! I also liked the idea that Quebec and Montreal are French-speaking and very different to the rest of Canada - I love anywhere that is a unique world unto itself.
Out of all your books, which did you love writing and researching for the most and why?
I've enjoyed researching all of them, that really is the best part of my job - scribbling notes in random courtyards, casinos, bull rings, grottoes, beach huts, tango halls, tavernas, lavender fields, palazzos and rainforests around the world! Havana, Cuba (for Living La Vida Loca) may have been the most fun as a trip but in terms of writing, WINTER WONDERLAND wins by a mile. It was one of those rare (for me) times when the words were coming faster than I could type! Quebec proved to be the ultimate muse - the city is so stunning and varied it gave my imagination a super-boost and the story just told itself. (Wish that would happen more often - current one is like pulling teeth!!)
When did you think "Oh I want to be a writer" and follow the dream?
When I realised it was the most direct and legit way to meet popstars! That was my initial motivation! I worked as a magazine journalist for 10 years which is a fantastic job and offers great practice at writing every day and having your work edited. Plus I'm still best friends with all the people I met on more! magazine. But I wanted to go more in depth and specialise in travel so I decided to give books a whirl. I was just looking through all my initial rejection letters the other day! It's certainly tough to get into (less so these days with the opportunities for Ebooks!) but I have to say: it is absolutely essential to follow your dream! You have to go all-out, be prepared to do whatever it takes and not listen to people who tell you how hard it is to break into a certain field. Someone has to succeed, why not you?
What book are you currently reading and is it worth to be recommend?
I've just started reading Charlotte Au Chocolat - Memories of a Restaurant Girlhood by Charlotte Silver. Her mum ran Upstairs at the Pudding in Harvard Square, just across the river from Boston, where I was learning how to make Boston Creme Pie this summer! It has the cutest cover ever (will send a pic) and her writing is charming: 'My life was not a child's life of jungle gyms and Velcro sneakers, but of soft lighting, stiff petticoats, rolling pins smothered in flour and candied violets on wax paper.' Can't wait to read more!
How will you be celebrating when Winter Wonderland is being published?
Usually I like to have some kind of themed party (all readers and bloggers welcome!) - for Out of the Blue we had traditional Greek dancers, blue cocktails and a handsome man dressed in Officer whites! - but this year I'm unable to be back in UK so we're having a Facebook party at Belinda Jones Travel Club on Thursday 8th from 6-8pm UK time which will be a hoot. At the weekend my treat is going to see Skyfall at one of those cinemas that serves yummy food while you watch - heaven!
If you could live in any country, where would it be?
Italy! I'd Winter in Cortina D'Ampezzo (ski resort where The Pink Panther was filmed, not that I ski but the mountaintop vistas are stunning and hot chocolate divine!), spend Spring in Venice and Florence, Summer in Sardinia so I could stay submerged in the sea when I wasn't eating in some shady trattoria, and Autumn in Capri, when the crowds and heat have subsided! Plus I love the notion that all the other European countries are just a hop, skip and a jump away - that's the biggest downside to living in America - everywhere else is so darn far!!
With Christmas just around the corner Belinda, how will you be spending your perfect Christmas this year?
At the moment, I'm just hoping that my sailor husband won't be at sea as his schedule is so topsy-turvy! The perfect thing would be to take him home to UK and have him experience a proper English Xmas with mince pies, mum's roast potatoes, Strictly Christmas Special and my surprisingly fantastic relatives who I miss most at this time of year!
Have you started writing your next novel and if so,could you tell us a little bit about it?
I have! It's called THE TRAVELLING TEA SHOP and it features Laurie, who is the heroine's best friend in WINTER WONDERLAND. It begins in Manhattan and then we go on a cake-themed caper around New England trading traditional British recipes for Battenburg, Victoria Sponge etc for American faves like Red Velvet Cake and Whoopie Pie! It covers seven states but my favourite was Rhode Island, specifically the city of Newport. That's where I discovered my new favourite cocktail - the Dark & Stormy which is spiced dark rum and real ginger beer - fantastic! (Now if we can just make that into a cupcake recipe!)
What season do you love the most? Spring? Summer? Autumn? Winter?
Despite writing predominantly beach reads, I wilt (and burn!) in blazing heat so I would have to say Autumn - at least the Californian version of Autumn when it's still warm and sunny but you get to wear big knit scarves with a glittery thread running through them!! I like being able to sit outside at pavement cafes with a steamy drink and an engrossing book and then walking home scrunching on the fallen leaves!
Ooo Such wonderful answers! Thank You again Belinda for dropping by and I for one cannot wait for Winter Wonderland to be out! Make sure you all join in with the Winter Wonderland Publication Party On Thursday 8th November between 6pm - 8pm UK time! Where Belinda Jones will be joining live and will be chatting and answering questions. This is the Christmas Gift for the 10 best/interesting questions. Get your thinking caps on quickly! See you all Thursday! xx
Click Here to Join The Party!!!Winter Wonderland Publication Day Party!!