And the winners are:
Thanks, everybody, for playing!
Hey, kids! Happy Sunday (to those of you who actually are still in Sunday) —
Today, award-winning author Clare Ashton joins us to chat about her brand spankin’ new book, Poppy Jenkins.
Not only is Clare going to be doing that, she’s also DOING A GIVEAWAY. Holy new releases, Batman. 2 FREE EBOOKS!
Here’s Clare with the deets:
I’m giving away two copies – ebook or paperback – of Poppy Jenkins. As in all of my books, food, in particular cakes, feature prominently. So to enter the draw, leave a comment telling me your favourite pud [British puddings, y’all, but if you don’t indulge in such, tell Clare your fave cake] so I can expand my culinary horizons.
Oh, myyyyyyy. I do love me some food. And some dessert-ish food at that. So readers, turn it LOOSE and let Clare know. We’ll draw winners on Thursday, 30 June, at 10 PM EST.
Speaking of Clare, back to her and Poppy Jenkins.
I grew up in Mid-Wales, a beautiful green country of rolling hills and picturesque castles with fresh air a plenty. It drove me bonkers. As a teenager I thought it the most frustrating place on the planet. So did all my friends and we sat on the common room sofa at school dreaming of places we’d rather be. And we did all leave, but just a few years later, one after another of my friends was tempted back, and suddenly we all looked at the country with fresh eyes and realised what an incredible place it was.
So finally, I too have made it home in my new book, Poppy Jenkins, set in those gorgeous rolling hills.
Instead of choosing the perspective of prodigal daughter returning, I chose to tell the tale through the eyes of Poppy Jenkins, the one who stayed behind and who always saw the beauty of the place, and I think that is what made writing the book so wonderful for me.
Poppy is an uplifting character with a kind thought and word for everyone – someone whose smile brightens the day. Life is fine and cosy at Poppy’s ramshackle family home with everyone from her naughty sister to her tempestuous nain. She lives in the idyllic fictional town of Wells – inspired by the real-life beauty of places such as Montgomery and Berriew, with their bucolic timber-framed houses, a ruined castle and the meandering river Rhiw.
But in walks Rosalyn Thorn, her old best friend who spurned Poppy and the village a few years before. Her presence shakes up the lives of both Poppy and the villagers, stirring up all kinds of prejudices. But Rosalyn is not without appeal — quite the opposite with Poppy in thrall to the beautiful woman her former friend has become, and Rosalyn has some useful home truths if only people would listen.
To these two sparkling heroines I’ve added a whole load of personalities from my youth – formidable Welsh matriarchs, tenacious wiry spinsters, and kind souls who make life glorious.
I’ve had a ball mixing up the vivid characters from my youth and running around my favourite places in the type of long hot summer you remember from being a kid. I’m actually quite teary to leave. So if you pick up Poppy Jenkins and stay a while in Mid-Wales, I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.
Clare Ashton’s first novel, Pennance, was long-listed for the Polari Prize and After Mrs Hamilton is a Golden Crown Literary Society (Goldie) award winner. Her first foray into romantic comedy, That Certain Something, was a Goldie and Lambda Literary Award finalist.
Clare grew up in Mid-Wales and having a brain stuck somewhere not particularly useful between the arts and science, ended up studying History and Philosophy of Science at Cambridge University. After college, and still at a loss as to what to do with such a brain, she bimbled around the UK from London to Sheffield being everything from Little Chef waitress to software engineer. On the way she met a wife, had two children, and recently came to a rest in the Midlands with the vocation of lesbian romance writer – nothing like the career they suggested back at school.
There you have it, friends. Clare Ashton on this fabulous Sunday. Cheers, all.