My Guest Author today is romantic novelist and fellow Accent Press author, April Hardy. April is Writer in Residence at the Dubai World Trade Club. Sounds fascinating, doesn't it? Lucky, April!
A bit about April
April Hardy grew up on the outskirts of the New Forest. After leaving drama school, her varied career has included touring pantomimes, children’s theatre and a summer season in Llandudno as a Butlins red coat. All interspersed with much waitressing and working in hotel kitchens!
After moving to Greece, she spent many years as a dancer, then choreographer, and did a 7-month stint on a Greek cruise ship before working for a cake designer and then training as a pastry chef in a Swiss hotel school in Athens. Whilst living there, she also helped out at a local animal sanctuary.
Relocating to the UAE with her husband and their deaf, arthritic cat, she has lived in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai, where she is delighted to have found herself so unemployable that she has had plenty of time to devote to writing!
Sitting Pretty is the first of her New Forest-set novels.
April Hardy Author page http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B01LWIRC0X
I asked April to tell us more about herself
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always loved writing, and reading – as a child my nose was invariably stuck in a book and loved making up stories. I came from a theatrical family however, and so I studied drama and went on to theatre school, but the love of books followed me everywhere I went.
Has any author inspired you?
Definitely! Trisha Ashley’s ever so slightly quirky characters have always grabbed me by the arm and made me want to be their friends – if I could move to her fictional village of Sticklepond I would! I think it was those novels which influenced me to set my romantic comedies in a triangle of fictional villages in the New Forest.
What do you like writing most?
While I love writing romantic comedy, I also get an immense amount of pleasure, plotting dark comedies where wronged women get their own back in unconventional ways – remember Lamb to the Slaughter, that 1979 episode of Tales of the Unexpected, where Mary Maloney hit her husband over the head with a frozen leg of lamb and then cooked it and let the policemen eat it while they discussed the possible murder weapon? – that kind of thing. I hope my husband’s not going to read this!
Do you have a special place for writing?
I have a lovely study at home, but it’s so untidy I’ve started closing the door on it! Recently though, I became Writer in Residence at the Dubai World Trade Club, two days a week and that’s a wonderful place to work – elegant rooms, a calm atmosphere, Wi-Fi which works (!) and kindly waiters bringing me pots of Earl Grey!
Is your writing ever inspired by your family or real life incidents?
I grew up on the edge of the New Forest and I’ve been lucky enough to have had a variety of jobs and to have spent much of my adult life in Greece, the Middle East, and Thailand. So the settings of my novels are definitely inspired by places I’ve lived in or visited. I’ve worked in a lot of hotels, and they feature in both Sitting Pretty and my next novel, Kind Hearts & Coriander. There are some hilarious real life incidents which have been slightly rewritten – in an attempt to keep me out of trouble!
What are you writing at the moment?
At the moment I’m working on a couple of things – one is a sequel to my début novel, Sitting Pretty. Its working title is Simone Says ... and it takes up Beth’s story a year on from where Sitting Pretty started.
What inspired you to write this book?
So many friends have told me how much they enjoyed getting to know Beth and some of the other characters – particularly Talisker, the cat – everyone I’ve speak to wants to spend more time with Talisker, and I had such fun writing him!
What time of the day do you write best?
I’ve always been a night time person, and while I’d love to be one of those authors who get up at 6 and write 1000 words before breakfast, that’s never going to be me – it takes my brain too long to wake up! Afternoons are good though – especially if I’ve an endless supply of Earl Grey to keep me going.
What advice would you give to other writers?
Read everything you can get your hands on in the genre you are writing in, and go to every course, workshop, talk, conference, author event etc. that you can. You never know who you might meet, or what you might hear that could spark something amazing.
Great advice, April!
Professional pet-sitter Beth believes her Greek boyfriend, Alex is the one. So when he’s offered a job in Dubai, he and Beth marry so they can move there together. But on the day they’re due to fly to their new life, Alex says their marriage was a mistake and ends it. By phone. Beth is suddenly husbandless and homeless. Distraught, and with her life in turmoil, when her old boss asks a favour she agrees on autopilot, and goes to feed Talisker the cat, whose handsome but dour owner Henry travels one week in three. With nowhere to go and determined not to hear her mother’s “I told you so”, she sleeps on Henry’s sofa. Next day, Beth has her job back and a plan. For the time being, she’ll quietly stay in her clients’ homes until she can convince Alex that this is all a big mistake. She’s pretty sure squatting’s against the law, but if she’s careful, no one need find out … until the mysterious Henry comes home unexpectedly.
You can buy both the ebook and paperback here:
Thanks for dropping by to tell us about your book, April. Wishing you lots of luck with it.