My Friday Read this week is the romcom Gigi’s Island Dream written by Rosie Dean. The book is set on the beautiful Isle of Wight, where Rosie used to teach, and where she likes to go as often as possible.
Gabriella Gill-Martin – Gigi to her friends – ditches her privileged life in London’s fast lane, to live on an island, in her dream house, where she will build beautiful sculptures and grow vegetables. But she soon learns life in the fast lane is not all she has to give up.
When dreams become nightmares – what’s a girl to do?
It sounds a fun story, doesn't it? If you fancy a read then you can buy it here:
Grab a cup of coffee, Rosie, and tell us a bit about yourself.
Thanks, Karen. I'll have a mug, please!
So how did you get started writing, Rosie?
I’ve been writing stories since I was a little girl, when I was especially industrious and produced dolly-dressing books, complete with a typed story, a dolly to cut out on the back cover, and paper clothing with tabs on. I even sold a couple.
After growing up, I studied ceramic design – gaining a ‘degree in crockery’ as the man-in-my-life likes to call it, which I once put to good use as an Art & Pottery teacher.
Deciding I didn’t want to spend my entire life in the classroom, covered in clay and paint, I escaped to the world of corporate communication, where I wrote training courses and marketing copy.
Now I’ve given it all up to write, full-time. When not writing, I love to cook and to read, I even read in the car (talking books) and have notched up countless unnecessary miles as a result.
Not one to spend hours in the gym or pounding the pavement, I prefer Yoga and Pilates, which means I can tone and tighten whilst watching TV.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Yes – or an actress. When I was at junior school, I used to write plays for my friends to perform. I started writing my first novel when I was teaching, it’s a Young Adult novel, still lurking in a drawer.
My first novel is still lurking in the drawer too. :)
Has any author inspired you?
When I first read Jilly Cooper’s romantic series – Harriet, Prudence, Emily, etc. I was doing my finals at Uni, and I thought, ‘This is what I want to write.’
What do you like writing most?
Uplifting stories, with plenty of humour in them and the occasional eccentric character.
Do you have a special place for writing?
No. I often write best at the library or in a café. So long as there’s fresh coffee available, I’m fine. It’s too easy to be distracted at home.
Are you a pantster or a plotter?
I used to be a pantster but I’ve learned the benefits of plotting. Mind you, I can go a bit ‘off-piste’ even when I have a plan. I love the alchemy of writing – where I suddenly discover a new and interesting route for my heroine to follow.
Is your writing ever inspired by your family or real life incidents?
All the time! Lots of little incidents have popped up in my writing. My first book, Millie’s Game Plan, is loosely based on a story a friend told me about a woman who was fed up not meeting Mr Right, so decided to draw up an Action Plan to find him. She thought the type of man she was looking for would probably play cricket, so she plotted a map of local cricket clubs and spent her weekends visiting them, hoping to meet him. And she did!
What are you writing at the moment?
My fifth book is another romantic comedy, this time about a girl who steps in at the last minute on a dating game show. Unbeknown to her, the guy she’s matched with has been deliberately set up by the producer to make the date as romantic as possible, in return for a professional contract. Since it’s her father who is producing the show, they both have something to hide. Their romantic trip, skiing in Vermont, opens up a whole can of worms.
What inspired you to write this book?
I once had a fabulous skiing holiday at Stowe, and knew I wanted it to be a location in a book. I also love TV dating shows, but often wonder how likely the candidates are to find lasting love together, which seemed like a great vehicle for a rom-com.
What time of the day do you write best?
Afternoons – unless I’m on a writing retreat. I need to clear through my emails, tidy the kitchen and shift all the clutter before I can settle down to write. I’m also pretty good at writing in the evening too – then reward myself by watching something like ‘I’m A Celebrity’ or ‘First Dates’.
What are your hobbies?
I love cooking, and have booked a Thai cookery day with my other half. I bought it as a birthday gift, for him, but thought he’d enjoy it more if we went together! Last year, I took up Adult Ballet – and absolutely love it, although I have no plans to don a tutu in the near future.
What advice would you give to other writers?
Do it! There’s no time like the present. PLUS, join a local writing group. I wrote for years on my own – it was only when I joined a writing group that my work developed and I became more prolific. The Romantic Novelists’ Association has a New Writers’ Scheme for budding romance writers; once I joined that, I was even more focused.
Yes, great advice.
Thanks for dropping by to talk to us, Rosie!
Bring a little sunshine into your life!
Sassy, feel good romance by Karen King. Just right to cosy up with on cold winter nights. Published by Accent Press