An Interview with Kate Beaufoy


I am delighted to welcome to Bookish Jottings historical novelist Kate Beaufoy for a chat about history, books and her mesmerizing new novel, Another Heartbeat in the House.


Thank you so much for joining us here at Bookish Jottings, Kate! It’s lovely to have you here! Could you please start by telling us something about yourself and the books you write?

Thank you, Julie – it’s a pleasure!

I live in Dublin, Ireland, but spend a lot of time on the west coast where we have a mobile home on  the very edge of the Atlantic. I studied French and English at Trinity College Dublin and was a professional actress for many years before I turned to writing. Another Heartbeat in the House is my  fifteenth novel, but my second under the name Kate Beaufoy. I am a scuba diver, mother and wild swimmer, and proud slave to a beautiful Burmese cat.

Your latest book, Another Heartbeat in the House, has just been published. What originally sparked off the idea for this book?

The novel was inspired by a house that I came across by chance in a remote beauty spot. It’s derelict, but had been built in 1840 as a hunting lodge. As I wandered through the rooms and along the corridors, there was complete silence, apart from the beating of my own heart. And that’s when it struck me that the house needed another heartbeat to make it live again.

You can see images of the house by going to

What is Another Heartbeat in the House about?

It is the story of two independent young women – Edie Chadwick and Eliza Drury. Edie works in a publishing house in London, Eliza is a nineteenth century adventuress.Their lives intertwine when Edie happens upon Eliza’s memoir, and embarks on a literary detective story.

What kind of research did you do for Another Heartbeat in the House?

I sought the help of a local historian who furnished me with archival records and anecdotes relating to the house, and I visited it numerous times to get a sense of its character. I haunted libraries and helped myself to scores of books; anyone can search the internet, but the best historical nuggets are to be found in books – often through happenstance. It was from DJ Taylor’s s fascinating biography of Thackeray, for instance, that I learned the details of his tragic wife’s illness: Isabella Thackeray suffered from postpartum psychosis, and on one occasion attempted suicide by throwing herself overboard the steamship that was conveying her and her family to Ireland. I also read countless eye witness reports of the devastation wrought by the Irish famine; a harrowing, grotesque and heinous event in our history.

What are the challenges of writing books set in the past?

Honestly, I would now find writing a novel set in the present day more difficult! Life moves so fast and so much can change during the course of a year that between typing Chapter One on the first page and The End on the last, a novel can already be out of date.

Prior to writing as Kate Beaufoy, you’d written a long list of highly successful contemporary  women’s fiction titles as Kate Thompson. What prompted this change in writing style?

I had just delivered the final novel in the Lissamore series (That Gallagher Girl) when I got a cancer diagnosis. There followed eighteen months of treatment and recuperation, and during that time I made the decision to reinvent myself. Beaufoy was my grandmother’s name, and since Liberty Silk – my first historical novel – was based on letters written by her in the aftermath of the Great War, it seemed a fortuitous nom de plume.

What is your all-time favourite book?

It has to be Vanity Fair. I have reread it countless times, and each time I am bowled over by its wit, high spirits and the satire that is as pertinent today as when Thackeray wrote it. I modelled my 19th century protagonist, Eliza, on Thackeray’s Becky Sharp: the wickedest,most engaging and most enduring of literary heroines.

Any advice for aspiring writers?

Lots – but too much to list here! One important nugget is: Shhhh! No matter how much you are tempted to, don’t announce to the world that you are writing a novel. Let maybe two or three close friends know, and trust just one or two to read your manuscript. Choose someone you know will be honest but encouraging; nothing is so dispiriting to a writer as brutal candour, and no question quite so unwelcome – once the word is out – as ‘How’s the book going?’ 

What’s next for Kate Beaufoy?

I’ve embarked on a novel featuring a 19th century literary heroine, but that’s all I’m saying! Right now I am on holiday on our western peninsula indulging in some of my favourite pursuits: swimming, hill-walking, exploring abandoned buildings and reading other people’s books!

Kate Beaufoy’s Another Heartbeat in the House has been shortlisted for the Irish Independent Popular Fiction Book of the Year. Vote for Kate and her fabulous book at the following link:

Another Heartbeat in the House – Kate Beaufoy


Fans of Kate Morton and Rachel Hore are going to love Another Heartbeat in the House, the latest spellbinding and compelling page-turner from Kate Beaufoy‘s immensely talented pen!

The past year has been an absolute hell for Edie Chadwick. Not only has she had to bury her beloved West Highland terrier, Mac, but she has also been betrayed by her best friend, Hilly, in the most shocking and unexpected of ways. Life in London is getting Edie down, and when she hears that her uncle’s lakeside lodge in Ireland is being sold, she realises that this is the opportunity she has been looking for to get out of the hustle and bustle of city life for a couple of weeks and to put all the anguish and disappointment of the last year behind her. However, little does Edie realise that her quiet sojourn in Ireland is going to be as far removed for the cosy idyll she had imagined as it is possible to get…

As soon as Edie walks through the doors of the old house, she is immediately assailed by memories of the past. However, when she begins to look through the lodge’s rooms to get the house ready for sale, she soon uncovers a shocking story that has lain hidden for a hundred years – the scandalous tale of Eliza Drury, whose handwritten memoir has been gathering dust in a chest in an attic for an entire century. Unable to resist this hidden treasure, Edie settles down and is swept back to the Victorian era and by a tale of secret passions, devastating secrets and ruthless ambition.

Eliza Drury was not a a typical Victorian young lady. A woman ahead of her time who cherished her freedom and her independence, Eliza was determined to become the mistress of her own destiny and not let anyone stand in her way. Beautiful, vivacious and intelligent, Eliza vowed to live life on her own terms and not be any man’s possession, but when she met a handsome aristocrat at a society ball, she found herself falling hopelessly in love – unaware of the difficult road that lay ahead.

Will Eliza and Edie manage to find the happiness they’ve been searching for all their lives? Or are they destined for a lifetime of sadness and regret?

Another Heartbeat in the House is sweeping historical fiction at its most mesmerizing! Wonderfully written, beautifully atmospheric and packed with searing emotional drama, compelling characters, authentic historical descriptions and poignant romantic intrigue, Another Heartbeat in the House is the perfect book to curl with and escape from the daily grind.

Kate Beaufoy is an outstanding storyteller who makes the past come gloriously to live and readers will find themselves unable to put down this engrossing and highly enjoyable historical tale that has got winner written all over it!

A spectacular novel from a writer who gets better with every single book she writes, Another Heartbeat in the House is a first-class tale you will want to read again and again!

Kate Beaufoy’s Another Heartbeat in the House has been shortlisted for the Irish Independent Popular Fiction Book of the Year. Vote for Kate and her fabulous book at the following link:

An Interview with Trisha Ashley


I am delighted to welcome to Bookish Jottings the queen of romantic comedy herself, Trisha Ashley, for a chat about her gorgeous books, Christmas crackers and festive books!


Thank you so much for joining us here at Bookish Jottings, Trisha ! It’s lovely to have you here! Could you please start by telling us something about yourself and the books you write?

I’m delighted to be here – thank you so much for inviting me, Julie! I write romantic comedies and Creature Comforts was my seventh consecutive Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller.  My books have also twice been shortlisted for the Melissa Nathan award for Romantic Comedy and Every Woman for Herself was nominated by readers as one of the top three romantic novels of the last fifty years.

I’m originally from St Helens in west Lancashire and suspect that my typically dark Lancashire sense of humour, crossed with a good dose of Celtic creativity from my Welsh grandmother, has made me what I am today…whatever that is.

You are one of the most-loved and popular writers of romantic comedies.  What originally attracted you to writing in this genre?

Well, that’s very kind of you to say so!

I spent several years writing satirical novels which were all rejected, though with increasingly favourable and helpful comments. One of the editors who rejected me was Diane Pearson at Transworld, but she did personally recommend me to a top London agent called Judith Murdoch. Judith told me to rewrite my current novel with a romantic thread running through it, which I did, and it was published by Piatkus as Good Husband Material. Many years and books later, Judith is still my agent.

I think my experience shows that opening your mind to constructive suggestions can be the key to success. What Judith wanted me to do was not take material out of my novels, but weave in an extra thread. It was a lightbulb moment.

What are the challenges of writing romantic comedy?

I think it is only challenging if you try to be funny.  I’ve never tried to write a funny novel in my life: I just write.

Your latest book, A Christmas Cracker, has just been published.  What inspired it and what is the book about?

I was thinking about the way Victorian Quaker factory owners took a benevolent interest in their workers and also about their involvement in penal reform and prisoner rehabilitation.  The character of Mercy Marwood, the elderly owner of Marwood’s Magical Crackers, was formed in that tradition and when she extends a helping hand to ex-con Tabby Coombs, it is in the hope that Tabby’s artistic input will help save the ailing business.  And Tabby herself, who was wrongly convicted of fraud, is a very positive person who throws herself enthusiastically into doing just that and doesn’t let bitterness and anger cloud her judgement when a fresh new future beckons.

Who is your favourite character in A Christmas Cracker and why?

I love Tabitha and also Mercy…but I think my heart belongs to a certain stroppy and vocal black cat, called Pye.

What is your favourite Christmas tradition?

Decorating the Christmas tree has to be up there with my favourite traditions.  Our tree is the same sparkly gold one my son fell in love with at a garden centre when he was about two and is topped with a papier mache Santa over ninety years old.  His once-red coat has gone a soupy brown colour with age, but at some point my mother has jazzed him up a bit with a white cottonwool beard and glitter glue.  I have lots of very old glass baubles and I load those onto the branches, then add strands of coloured tinsel.

What is your all time favourite Christmas movie?

Love, Actually.  It always makes me cry, though.

Any advice for aspiring writers?

Here’s a practical tip that others could follow: many years ago Leah Fleming, Elizabeth Gill and I banded together to form a little support group which we called the 500 Club, because we decided that we’d email each other when we had written the first five hundred words of every single day.  We set five hundred as an easily attainable target and three people seems to be a good working model.  Over the years we have each in turn had success, been dropped, had success again…the familiar cycle of the novelist who has come up through the traditional route.  We’re all three now well established and successful, with new books hitting the shelves, but we still email every day.

What’s next for Trisha Ashley?

I’m hard at work on a new book, to be published in 2016.

It may be a little early, but I’d just like to wish everyone a very  Happy Christmas!

If you’d like to follow me on twitter, you will find me at and my website is

Thank you so much for chatting to me, Trisha! Trisha’s latest book, A Christmas Cracker, is published by Avon and on sale now from all good bookshops.

The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin blog tour


The Little Bookshop on the Seine

Release day blitz!

La Vie En Rose

Bookshop owner Sarah Smith has been offered the opportunity to exchange bookshops with her new Parisian friend for 6 months! And saying yes is a no-brainer – after all, what kind of a romantic would turn down a trip to Paris…for Christmas?

Even if it does mean leaving the irresistible Ridge Warner behind, Sarah’s sure she’s in for the holiday of a lifetime – complete with all the books she can read!

Imagining days wandering around Shakespeare & Co, munching on croissants, sipping café au laits and watching the snow fall on the Champs-Élysées Sarah boards the plane.

But will her dream of a Parisian Happily-Ever-After come true? Or will Sarah realise that the dream of a Christmas fairytale in the city of love isn’t quite as rosy in reality…

A deliciously feel-good Christmas romance perfect for fans of Debbie Johnson and Julia Williams

The Little Paris Collection:

The Little Bookshop on the Seine

The Little Antique Shop under the Eiffel Tower

The Little Perfume Shop off the Champs-Élysées

Also by Rebecca Raisin

The Gingerbread Café trilogy:
Christmas at the Gingerbread Café
Chocolate Dreams at the Gingerbread Café
Christmas Wedding at the Gingerbread Café

The Bookshop on the Corner
Secrets at the Maple Syrup Farm

Amazon  UK:

Amazon US:







Rebecca Raisin is a bibliophile. This love of books morphed into the desire to write them. She’s been widely published in various short-story anthologies, and in fiction magazines, and is now focusing on writing romance. The only downfall about writing about gorgeous men who have brains as well as brawn is falling in love with them – just as well they’re fictional. Rebecca aims to write characters you can see yourself being friends with. People with big hearts who care about relationships, and, most importantly, believe in true, once-in-a-lifetime love.

Follow her on Twitter: @jaxandwillsmum




The Little Bookshop on the Seine Blog Tour review


A charming contemporary romance that sparkles with warmth, wit and magic, The Little Bookshop on the Seine is the latest irresistible page-turner from the fabulous Rebecca Raisin!

Bookshop owner Sarah Smith has spent most of her life hiding from the world and seeking refuge in her favourite romance novels. When she met dashing journalist Ridge Warner, Sarah had soon realised that real life can be as thrilling and exciting as her favourite sweeping romances, however, the shy book lover has been feeling rather forlorn lately. While all of her friends are getting married, having babies and going on wild adventures, she cannot help but feel that she has been left behind. With her boyfriend on the other side of the world chasing the next big scoop and her business going through a slump, Sarah yearns for some excitement. She is tired of life passing her by and of always being on the outside looking in, so when her friend Sophie asks her whether she’d like to swap places with her and spend a couple of months managing her bookshop, Once Upon a Time, in Paris, she jumps at the chance of leaving her small town behind for the bright lights of the French capital.

When she arrives in Paris, Sarah is immediately overwhelmed by the romance and majesty of Paris, but her fantasy of sitting in a cosy cafe by the Seine, drinking red wine and reading her favourite books are soon dashed when she realises that Once Upon a Time is a thriving concern that is always heaving with book lovers, which requires her constant time and attention. Having given her word to Sophie, Sarah is not about to let her down, so she rolls up her sleeves and throws herself body and soul into managing Once Upon a Time to the best of her abilities.

Sarah might be busy running Paris’ most popular bookshop, but even her crazy work schedule doesn’t stop her from missing her handsome boyfriend. As their professional commitments force Sarah and Ridge to spend even more time apart, will they end up having to pay the ultimate price for their career aspirations? Or will their love manage to triumph over all the obstacles standing in their way?

I devoured The Little Bookshop on the Seine in a single sitting! Rebecca Raisin has got this wonderful ability of drawing you into her captivating stories from the very first sentence and keeping you engrossed and enthralled until the very last page. The Little Bookshop on the Seine is a spellbinding tale of taking chances, having the courage to step out of your comfort zone and living life on your own terms that is sure to strike a chord with readers everywhere.

Sarah is a terrific heroine I just adored. She’s strong, resourceful, believable and the kind of girl you’d love to have as a best friend. Her love of reading and her passion for romantic novels is sure to endear her to every single person who picks up this book.  I also loved all the other supporting characters in The Little Bookshop on the Seine, especially Lil, CeeCee and TJ.

Rebecca Raisin’s books are an absolute joy to read and if you haven’t discovered her magical stories, then what on earth are you waiting for?

An Interview with Saga Writer June Tate


I am delighted to welcome best-selling saga writer June Tate for a chat about her life, her writing and her wonderful new saga, Brides of War.


Thank you so much for joining me here at Bookish Jottings, June. It’s lovely to have you here. Could you please start by telling me something about yourself and the books you write?

I was born in Southampton into a seafaring family. My grandfather, my father and uncles all went to sea on Cunard liners. Dad eventually came ashore and he and my mother trained as hoteliers and we ended up living in the Cotswolds until the outbreak of WW2 when we returned to Southampton to be bombed out during the Blitz!

From the age of five, I wanted to be a hairdresser and when I left school I served my apprenticeship and worked for several years in a local salon, but I had itchy feet and wanted to leave home, so I wrote to Cunard and asked for an interview with the idea of working on board one of the great liners in my chosen career. I was more than fortunate as there was an opening and I sailed on the Queen Mary two weeks later!

I spent three and a half years working in the Beauty Parlour on this beautiful ship. It was in the 1950’s before there were transatlantic flights so we carried many movie stars and VIP’s.

I married an airline pilot and had two daughters. When they were in their teens I joined a class for Creative Writing which fuelled my love of the written word. It was here I realised I wanted the larger canvas of the novel. After writing five books for Mills and Boon and being turned down, I wrote my first saga, which after several rewrites my agent sent to two publishers and they held an auction for the manuscript.

You’re a writer of historical sagas set in the first part of the 20th Century. What originally attracted you to writing sagas?

I love writing about the past. There are so many untold stories there. It is nostalgic for readers who have lived during this time and a social lesson for younger readers. The era you cover is so very different from the present day and I’m intrigued by what has been.

What kind of research do you do for your sagas?

There is an enormous amount of research behind every story and I am meticulous about the detail being correct. The names of the time, the clothes, the hair styles, the goods for sale and the correct price. Writing about either WW1 or WW2 in particular is daunting. I have an encyclopedia of WW2 which gives me a lot of detail as does the many reference books on my shelves.

What are the challenges of writing sagas?

The challenge is to get it right!

Your latest book, Brides of War, has just been published. What is the book about?

Brides of War is the tale of two GI brides who sail from Southampton to live with their American husbands in a new land and the trials and tribulations that they meet. In many cases the reality was quite different from what they had been told and this is how my two brides coped with this.

What inspired Brides of War?

My inspiration for the story? Just another theme caused by WW2. War time changes peoples lives entirely and this was yet another to be told.

Who is your favourite character in Brides of War?

My favourite character from the book? I’m torn between Nick the brother of Gracie’s husband who has fallen in love with his brother’s new wife and Valerie, a well educated woman whose lawyer husband is obsessed with success and money so she takes lessons in watercolours to fuel her talent and becomes involved with an artist. I like both.

What is your all-time favourite historical novel?

My favourite historical novel is Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. It worked so well as a movie too with Vivian Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara and Clark Gable as Rhett Butler.

Any advice for aspiring saga writers?

My advice to Saga writers? Get your facts right or someone will pick out an error and your editor will not be happy, and read, especially about the era you are covering.

What’s next for June Tate?

What’s next? I’m going back towards the end of World War One. A story of forbidden love and betrayal and the war as a background, leading on to the twenties, an exciting era.

Thank you so much for chatting to me, June! If you want to find out more about June and her books, visit her website at  June’s latest saga, Brides of War, is published by Allison and Busby and available from Amazon and other online retailers and bookshops.

Sarah Morgan’s Christmas Ever After Blog Tour


Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without a book by Sarah Morgan and this talented author of fun, flirty and sensational contemporary romance has outdone herself once again with this year’s stunning offering – Christmas Ever After!

After spending most of her life feeling like the odd one out, jewellery designer Skylar Tempest finally feels like she’s found somewhere where she belongs. With a gorgeous boyfriend, great friends and her star on the rise, life couldn’t possibly get any better for her. Sure, she’s got to spend Christmas with her high-achieving social-climbing parents who never lose an opportunity to tell her what a disappointment she is – not to mention her boyfriend Richard who seems to be more focused on his political career than on their relationship – but Skylar cannot remember a time where she felt so happy and secure. However, when an unexpected turn of events sheds some startling light on her relationship with Richard, Skylar is shocked when she realises that the only person who can help her out of the tight spot she has found herself in is Alec Hunter, a jaded, cynical and arrogant historian who seems intent on always thinking the worst of her!

Alec has never had much time for Skylar. Although they’ve many friends in common, Alec has always thought that she’s a vapid, vacuous and immature airhead unable to take anything seriously. Having been forced to attend Skylar’s jewellery launch by one of their mutual friends, Alec had only meant to stay at the event for five minutes – he certainly never imagined that he’d end up rescuing her from danger and taking her to his hotel room to look after her after an altercation with her boyfriend leaves her with a head injury! With Skylar needing his care and attention and a planned get-together with his family looming, Alec realises that he’s got no other choice but to take her with him to his parents’ house! But little does he realise that the woman he’s spent the last couple of years dismissing as a brainless bimbo is about to turn his entire life upside down…

Skylar wasn’t looking forward to spending Christmas with her parents, but she certainly had never expected to spend the run-up to the festive season with a man she cannot stand and his family! However, Skylar soon realises that not every family is as buttoned-up or as serious as hers and she quickly throws herself into the fun and frolics of a proper family Christmas – and finds herself forced to admit that Alec is not the stuffy and grumpy academic she had initially thought him to be!

Falling in love is certainly not on the agenda for either of them. After dodging a bullet with Richard, Skylar is adamant to keep her heart strictly under lock and key and Alec has already had his heart broken once before by a beautiful woman and had vowed never to go through all that anguish ever again. But when they find themselves spending Christmas on Puffin Island together, cold days quickly give way to hot passionate nights….

A Christmas miracle has brought Skylar and Alec together, but are they ready to take another chance at love and grab this unexpected chance at happiness with both hands?

A fantastic page turner that tickles the funny bone, touches the heart and keeps you eagerly turning the pages late into the night, Christmas Ever After is a gorgeous Yuletide treat that should be on everyone’s shopping list this holiday season. Full of warmth, magic and heart, Christmas Ever After is an outstanding tale of second chances, the power of friendship and learning to love again that I found absolutely impossible to resist!

I adored Skylar who was strong, sassy, fun and believable and Alec was a gorgeous Alpha hero you’d just love to find under the mistletoe this Christmas. Their relationship is steamy, romantic and poignant and the witty repartee between them is simply sublime!

A stunning Yuletide romance from a writer who just keeps getting better and better, Christmas Ever After is another triumph for the fabulous Sarah Morgan!


SARAH MORGAN writes warm contemporary romantic fiction with her trademark humour which has gained her fans across the globe. Described as ‘full of sparkle’ by Lovereading, she has been nominated three years in succession for the prestigious RITA© Award from the Romance Writers of America and won the award twice; in 2012 and 2013.
Sarah lives near London with her husband and children, and when she isn’t reading or writing she loves being outdoors, preferably on vacation so she can forget the house needs tidying.
Visit Sarah online at, on Facebook at and on Twitter @SarahMorgan_

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