Thursday, 30 March 2017

Blog Guest Fay Keenan

Today I have Fay Keenan on my blog talking about writing and her debut novel, The Second Chance Tea Shop. 

Fay and I met on Twitter, and living locally to one another meet regularly to discuss the voices in our heads. It's great to have someone close by to talk writing with over a Costa. 

Fay, have you always wanted to be a writer?

Always – from the moment I could pick up a pen.

Did you manage to get the first book you wrote published, or is it tucked in a drawer somewhere?

My first ‘book’ was 70,000 words of Quantum Leap fanfiction, written in the summer after my A Levels! Other people went on holiday; I wrote a book! The only copy I still have (signed by Dean ‘Al Calavicci’ Stockwell) is in the attic.

My Twitter style question: Describe your hero in 140 characters.

Tall, dark, brooding, cautious Somerset cider maker with a huge heart and a lovely daughter.

My Twitter style question: Describe your heroine in 140 characters.

Kind, widowed cake maker with a three-year-old daughter and a weakness for cider.

What’s so special about your hero that makes your heroine fall in love with him?

He represents the safety of home but also the excitement of a new love. Once won, his heart is yours forever, and she adores that. He’s also tall, dark and handsome (of course!!).

Why do you like writing romance?

Because I love not just happy endings but the journey to the happy ending. There’s something wonderful about how characters get to the point where they’ll live happily ever after.

Which of your characters is your favourite, and why?

Meredith, my hero’s daughter, without a doubt. She’s a lovely teenager who’s remarkably undamaged by her experiences.

What do you read while you write, or don’t you?

I read constantly; old favourites and new novels. Anything from Stephen King to Elizabeth Gaskell.

Do you have a favourite author? Jilly Cooper!

What’s the best bit of writing advice you’ve ever received or read?

Don’t force it. Let your characters speak for themselves.

What things inspire you to write? Location, music, film or even in a book?

I’m inspired by places (my books are set in Somerset) but music can get me thinking of scenes I’d like to write, and films and books have always inspired me, too. In short, anything!

Are you nervous about friends reading your book?

A lot of them read it at the drafting stage, so not as nervous as I could be!

How would your best friend describe you in 140 characters? (Another Twitter question).

Dreamy, forgetful and mostly good natured. But terrible in the mornings!

Do you love or hate Facebook?  I like it, within reason! I see it as a good place to write comedy.

Tea or coffee? Tea first thing, coffee after.

Starbucks or Costa? Costa – it’s where Teresa and I first met in real life!

I remember it well, Fay :D

The Second Chance Tea Shop Blurb: 

Following the tragic death of her beloved husband, Anna Hemingway decides it's time for a fresh start. So Anna and her three-year-old daughter Ellie move to a picture-perfect cottage in the beautiful village of Little Somerby, and when she takes over the running of the village tea shop, Ellie and Anna start to find happiness again. 

But things get complicated when Matthew Carter, the owner of the local cider farm, enters their lives. Throughout a whirlwind year of village fetes and ancient wassails, love, laughter, apple pie and new memories, life slowly blossoms again. But when tragedy strikes and history seems to be repeating itself, Anna must find the strength to hold onto the new life she has built.

This beautiful, life-affirming debut novel marks the beginning of the Little Somerby series, and promises to make you smile, cry, reach for a cream tea, and long for a life in the perfect English countryside.


Fay Keenan was born in Surrey and raised in Hampshire, before finally settling in the West Country. When Fay is not chasing her children around or writing, she teaches English at a local secondary school. She lives with her husband of fourteen years, two daughters, a cat, two chickens and a Weimaraner called Bertie in a village in Somerset, which may or may not have provided the inspiration for Little Somerby.


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Twitter: @faykeenan

Friday, 24 March 2017

Happy 10th Birthday, Cheeky Monkey

I can't believe my youngest is now also into double figures!

Where did my baby go?

My mischievous, comical, cheeky yet helpful monkey has transformed into this:

Happy 10th birthday, Kieran! Keep your spirit, laughter and cheekiness - unless I'm telling you to do as you're told. Love you, even when cross x x x

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Sainsbury's To Stock Wisteria Cottage

I received some fantastic news on Monday - Meet Me At Wisteria Cottage paperback is going into Sainsbury's! 500 of their stores!

This mean the release date for the paperback has been pushed back to the 20th April 2017 now. But this is just such exciting news.

However, my excitement was squashed (just a little) by the fact that I'd thought I'd lost my current work in progress which is 30,000 words in. I have never felt so sick. Amazingly I didn't cry. But I didn't feel like celebrating Monday night :'(

Luckily, a friend's husband, who I will forever thankful for, managed to retrieve the documents off the memory stick (which meant today I could continue working on it).

It's been one hard lesson, but my MS is now filed in all sorts of places, including Amazon Drive and MS OneDrive. I have decided I will save my royalties to upgrade my PC as it's getting antiquated now, and I could do with the latest version of Office etc.

Anyway, back to Sainsbury's! I would love to see 'Shelfies' of my book and I am considering running a competition, but more on that later.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Wise Words

Lately, I've been really struggling with life. I'm not suicidal, but I just feel I haven't been coping with the mundane and the repetitiveness of nagging my kids.

It's the shitty little things in life that will frustrate me the most sometimes, and try my patience, or lack of it, when I feel I only want to do something once... not twice, or three times, because it wouldn't happen the first time.

It all feels like it's deterring me from doing the thing I most enjoy: writing.

I saw this meme on Facebook today and did share it on my personal profile, but I wanted to put it on my blog too. For those also suffering with that feeling of 'life's got to be better than pairing socks' moments we need to breathe.

We should be thankful for our health, and our lives. I know that. And most of the time life treats me pretty well. But I suppose it makes us human if we get frustrated, saddened, or angry at times. We can't always be happy. It can't always be easy. Sometimes we're allowed to have that bad day, and handle it badly. Xx

Monday, 6 March 2017

Walking 10,000 Steps For Cancer Research

6th March Steps
I've been posting pictures like this daily to my Instagram (which shares to Facebook and Twitter) my steps - as proof - that I'm walking 10,000 steps a day.

I've signed myself up to walk 10,000 steps a day, for the whole of March, in the Walk All Over Cancer campaign by Cancer Research. 

The days I work are the hardest as I'm cooped up in a very small office. But instead of sitting down in those quiet periods, I've been standing up and pacing the minuscule office. I felt like a polar bear in a zoo, pacing that office!

Why am I doing this?

Ever since my sister was diagnosed with Leukaemia in 2010, and with everything she's been through, I've wanted to do things to give back - to Cancer Research and CLIC sargent. I'm not going to run marathons (I would epic fail!) so I give blood regularly and try to be a Dryathelete in January, but this year, I thought I'd take on the challenge of walking 10,000 steps a day instead.

She's been amazingly brave, and is happy and healthy to this day! We have a lot to be thankful for.

This is my fundraising page if you would like to sponsor me: Cancer Research Fundraising Page