I'm starting a Friday Reads blog to let you know about some fantastic new releases, just right for your weekend read. Today I'm introducing you to Another Glass of Champagne by Jenny Kane. Following on from the bestselling novel, Another Cup of Coffee, and the seasonal Christmas novella’s Another Cup of Christmas, Christmas in the Cotswolds, and Christmas at the Castle, Jenny Kane brings you the final instalment in the Pickwicks Coffee House adventures.
A warm-hearted, contemporary tale about a group of friends living in a small corner of busy London, by bestselling author Jenny Kane.
Fortysomething Amy is shocked and delighted to discover she's expecting a baby not to mention terrified! Amy wants best friend Jack to be godfather, but he hasn’t been heard from in months. When Jack finally reappears, he's full of good intentions but his new business plan could spell disaster for the beloved Pickwicks Coffee Shop, and ruin a number of old friendships...
Meanwhile his love life is as complicated as ever and yet when he swears off men for good, Jack meets someone who makes him rethink his priorities...but is it too late for a fresh start?
Author Kit has problems of her own: just when her career has started to take off, she finds herself unable to write and there's a deadline looming, plus two headstrong kids to see through their difficult teenage years...will she be able to cope?
A follow-up to the runaway success Another Cup of Coffee.
‘My goodness, woman, you look like the proverbial beached whale!’ Amy grinned at the teasing smile on her former boss’s face.
‘Thanks, Peggy. I know I can rely on you to be ready with a huge compliment!’
‘Huge is the word, and you are more than welcome!’ Taking advantage of a lull in custom, Peggy followed Amy to where Kit was working, and pulled out a chair for her friend before sitting down herself. ‘So how long have you got to go now?’
‘Only two months, which is nothing like as long as I need to get ready, or even get my head around what's happening to me! I have far too much to do before the baby comes, although we’ve almost finished decorating the nursery at last. I haven’t even managed to find anyone to cover my job at Home Hunters yet.’
Amy thanked Megan, Pickwicks’ chief waitress, as she delivered a tray of drinks and half a huge carrot cake for the three friends, before asking Kit, ‘I don’t suppose that lovely husband of yours fancies coming back to the business while I’m on maternity leave?’
Kit shook her head. ‘Not a hope. It did cross my mind after Phil gave up running Home Hunters that he might have withdrawal symptoms and want to go back, but he took to running the bookshop like a duck to water. I can’t see him ever going back. And he wouldn’t have the time, to be honest. Did I tell you that they’re so busy now, he and Rob have employed a guy to help them with their new educational courses at Kew?’
Amy beamed. ‘No, you didn’t. That’s fantastic! I bet Jack would be thrilled for them if he was here.’ Suddenly pensive, she picked up her cup, ‘I don’t suppose either of you have heard from Jack?’
Peggy shook her head as Kit said, ‘Not a word. I thought he’d keep in touch with you though, Amy, even if he went quiet on the rest of us.’
‘Paul says he’ll turn up eventually, but I’d rather like to be able to tell Jack about this bundle,’ Amy patted her stomach, ‘before he or she stops being just a bump in my jumper. I might ask him if he wants to be godfather.’
Kit nodded. ‘Jack is godfather to the twins, and although he’s a dreadful role model on the morals front, both Thomas and Helena have always found him great fun, and say that having a gay godfather is, and I quote, “Well cool”.’
Peggy had never understood the loyalty Jack’s two ex-girlfriends felt for him considering how appallingly he’d treated them both. She certainly wouldn’t want anyone who’d stood her up on her wedding day – albeit only in the role of usher – to be a godparent to her child, but she simply asked, ‘How long has he been AWOL for?’
Amy frowned. ‘It must be more or less four years since I last saw him, and about twelve months since I last spoke to him. It’s not so much being AWOL as missing in action. How about you, Kit?’
Peggy and Amy exchanged glances as they saw Kit staring blankly into her soup bowl-sized cup of black coffee. ‘Kit? You with us?’
‘What? Oh, sorry, guys. I didn’t get much sleep last night, I phased out for a minute. What was the question?’
Peggy had noticed how distracted Kit had been lately, although instinct told her that she shouldn’t ask her friend about it yet. ‘When did you last hear from Jack, honey?’
‘I’m not sure, must be at least a year. That is very Jack though, isn’t it. I bet he’d get a kick out of the fact that we’re all back here wondering where he is and if he’s OK.’
Amy, who’d had similar thoughts herself, grimaced. ‘I wouldn’t be surprised – although I’d like to think that at his age he’s finally grown out of playing those games.’
Kit and Peggy laughed in unison. ‘No chance!’ ‘I assume he’s either still travelling around the world – or working in someone’s garden, using that horticultural qualification he got after Paul and I got married.’
‘Sounds possible, and of course,’ Kit let her inner storyteller go in a way she wished she could on paper, ‘if Jack has spent all the inheritance his grandfather left him, he could have got a job in the grounds of some posh house, had a torrid affair with the heir to the manor, and be in the middle of a society scandal.’
Amy smiled as Peggy divided the carrot cake into mountainous slices. ‘That sounds entirely possible, and I sort of hope it’s true! The boyfriend bit, I mean, rather than the scandal bit.’
Pulling her cake plate closer, Kit shrugged. ‘I’m not sure he’d risk another relationship, not after Toby hurt him like that. I suspect he’s reverted to full-on sleeping around mode.’ Realising she had sounded rather curt, she added, ‘I’d like to be wrong though. If he settled down a bit, he might come home...’
Your book sounds fun, Jenny. I believe the series was inspired by your student friends at university?
The entire Another Cup of...series has been inspired by my student friends from university. We are all still friends, and I asked their permission to embellish their lives in fiction before the first novel in the collection, Another Cup of Coffee, was published.
Now, five years after Another Cup of Coffee was published, the last in the series, Another Glass of Champagne, has been published. This final novel in the collection brings you up to date with what my real life friends might be doing if we’d all made slightly different decisions in our real lives!
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
When I was at school I disliked English with a passion. I disliked being told what I was supposed to think about particular novels. Nor did I like being told how to write my stories. Not that I would have said anything, I was far too shy!
I was in my thirties before the idea of picking up a pen to do more than fill in a crossword or compose a letter ever crossed my mind. On that fateful day, not long after my 33rd birthday, I was sat alone in a cafe in Scotland, day dreaming out of the window, when an idea came to me for a story. The form was so strong in my head that I had no choice but to write it down. I’ve been writing ever since.
Has any author inspired you?
I adore the writing of Kate Griffin and Colin Dexter- neither of them waste a single word in their novels. Every single sentence needs to be there. I strive to do the same- although not always successfully!
What do you like writing most?
That’s a really difficult question as I write four different genres and I adore them all! As Kay Jaybee I write erotica, and as Jenny Kane I write children’s picture books, contemporary women’s fiction, and (most recently), medieval historical crime.
I enjoy all of them; it would be impossible to pick a favourite.
Do you have a special place for writing?
I do indeed. Every day I can be found at my corner table in my local Costa. I am there so often I have a special desk for my laptop, and a plaque on the wall declaring the spot to be Jenny Kane’s Corner!
I should stress I didn’t put the plaque up myself- it was a surprise for me on the launch of my very first JK book a few years ago.
Are you a pantster or a plotter?
Definitely a fly by the seat of my pants girl.
What are you writing at the moment?
I am currently in the finishing stages of two novellas. One is an erotica story called Wednesday, under my Kay Jaybee pen name, the other is going to be called The Outlaw’s Ransom, and will be published this coming Christmas by Accent Press.
The Outlaws’ Ransom first saw life as part of my novel, Romancing Robin Hood. Now it is to be available as a standalone mini novel- my very first medieval murder mystery.
What inspired you to write this book?
My love of Robin Hood- I’m a little bit obsessed!
What time of the day do you write best?
First thing in the morning; from 7am until about 11am
What are your hobbies?
I live to write.
What advice would you give to other writers?
Only write because you love to write – and edit a lot!
Jenny spends a large part of her time in the cafe’s of Mid Devon, where she creates her stories, including the novels Another Glass of Champagne, (Accent Press, 2016), Abi’s House (Accent Press, June 2015), Romancing Robin Hood (Accent Press, 2014), the best selling contemporary romance Another Cup of Coffee (Accent Press, 2013), and the novella length sequels Another Cup of Christmas (Accent Press, 2013), Christmas in the Cotswolds, (Accent Press, 2014), and Christmas at the Castle, (Accent Press, 2015).
Her next full length novel, Abi’s Neighbour, will be published by Accent Press in Summer 2017. She is also working on a short historical novel called The Outlaw’s Ransom, which will be published in November 2016.
Jenny Kane is also the author of quirky children’s picture books There’s a Cow in the Flat (Hushpuppy, 2014) and Ben’s Biscuit Tin (Hushpuppy, 2015). You can read about them here.
Keep your eye on Jenny’s blog at www.jennykane.co.uk for more details.
Thank you ever so much for inviting me over to chat today Karen.
It's been a pleasure talking to you Jenny. :)