Just the Way You Are was published by UK Carina in May, and author Lynsey James has stopped by to share her inspiration behind the book, in which Ava falls for a mysterious letter-writer that she's never met...

Tell us about your latest novel in 15 words or less.
Ava Clements’ secret admirer starts writing to her again and that’s when things get complicated!

What inspired you to write Just The Way You Are?
I was writing a completely different story and ended up using the love letter element, just in a different way. It caught my imagination and the plot for Just the Way You Are kind of popped up and said hello! I started writing it that night; five drafts and a lot of tears later, here we are!

Where do you do most of your writing?
I do it either on the couch while I snack, cuddle my dog and binge-watch a boxset (Desperate Housewives is the current favourite) or in bed where I do much the same thing.

What is your favourite book?
I Remember You by Harriet Evans. It’s a beautiful story about love and loss, set in a beautiful English village called Langford. If I could live anywhere from a book it would be there. Or Hogwarts.

Which part of Just The Way You Are did you enjoy writing the most?
I enjoyed writing the love letters from Mr Writer to Ava the most. They were really different to the rest of the book and it let me really get into his head.

Who is your favourite literary heroine?
I love Rosie Duncan from Fairytale of New York by Miranda Dickinson. She’s really positive and makes things happen to her instead of waiting for her happy ending to come to her.

Do you have any tips for readers who are looking to become published writers?
I’d say the most important things are to never give up and to write. If you do those two things, it will happen for you one day. I didn’t believe dreams ever came true until mine did. It can happen!

Are you working on anything else at the moment and if so, can you tell us?
I’ve just finished writing my second novel The Broken Hearts Book Club, which will be out on 21st August. Now I’m dreaming up ideas for books 3 and 4!

Thanks, Lynsey!

About Lynsey

Lynsey James was born in Fife in 1991 and has been telling people how to spell her name ever since. She's an incurable bookworm who loves nothing more than getting lost in a good story with memorable characters. She started writing when she was really young and credits her lovely Grandad- and possibly a bump on the head from a Mr Frosty machine- with her love of telling stories. She used to write her own episodes of Friends and act them out in front of her family (in fact she's sure she put Ross and Rachel together first!)

A careers adviser at school once told Lynsey writing wasn't a "good option" and for a few years, she believed her. She tried a little bit of everything, including make-up artistry, teaching and doing admin for a chocolate fountain company. The free chocolate was brilliant. When Lynsey left her job a couple of years ago, she started writing full-time while she looked for another one. As soon as she started working on her story, Lynsey fell in love and decided to finally pursue her dream. She haven't looked back since.

When Lynsey's not writing, eating cake or drinking tea, she's daydreaming about the day Dylan O'Brien FINALLY realises they're meant to be together. It'll happen one day…

Just the Way You Are by Lynsey James

How do you start writing a letter to someone, six years after breaking their heart? 

Ava is unlucky in love as well as in life. The new office bitch has landed the dating column Ava wanted, and she can't remember the last time she had a second date. It's a good thing she has best friends Max and Gwen to pick up the pieces. 

Deep down, Ava knows the reason why one date never turns into two – she's in love with someone else. Someone she's never even met. 

It all started six years ago, with a letter from a secret admirer, Mr Writer... but then they suddenly stopped and Ava was heartbroken. 

Now the letters have started again and Ava knows it could mean winning back the dating column at work. This time she's determined to unmask Mr Writer... and find out once and for all if he's Mr Right or Mr Very Definitely Wrong!

BOOK NEWS: Robin Lockslay by Lana Pecherczyk

Australian author Lana Pecherczyk has just released the first episode of her new action-packed, romantic comedy Robin Lockslay. The novel will be released in bite-sized parts, which will be available every week until 23rd September. Personally, I love the idea of weekly bite-sized episodes and a modern-day Robin Hood? Definitely. Read on for more info...

After Richard Lionhart catches Robin Lockslay, a thief with a heart of gold, stealing his family heirlooms, he hires her to ferret out corporate espionage at his charitable foundation. When two years later Richard goes missing, Robin must revisit her street urchin ways and join forces with some light fingered friends: Scarlett Wilson, Allana Dale, Jonina Little and the gallant Marius Day. Will she solve the mystery in time to save the man with whom she owes her life?

In Robin’s own words ...

Nominative determinism. It’s a real thing, I kid you not. It’s the theory that a person’s name has inevitable power over the choices they make in life. So, when you hear my name is Robin Lockslay and I break locks, well, you can make up your own mind. It’s not like the first moment I understood what slay and lock meant, I gravitated toward a hairpin and shoved it in a padlock. Ha! No. There were a series of unfortunate events that led to the most complicated moment of my year. A moment where I ran for my life down the tarmac toward a private jet with the son of a billionaire and a case of stolen diamonds.

BOOK NEWS: How to Stuff Up Christmas by Rosie Blake

Even though it's only July, news of upcoming festive releases is always exciting. One of them being How to Stuff Up Christmas by Rosie Blake, author of How to Get a Love Life. Released in November, the novel focuses on Eve, whose break-up takes her to the Isle of Wight...

When Eve's boyfriend cheats on her - just before Christmas - she decides the only thing for it is to escape. Eve seeks solace on the Isle of Wight where she is given the chance to mend her broken heart through the restorative power of cooking. However it turns out Eve is a walking kitchen disaster zone.

But an unexpected encounter under the mistletoe offers Eve the chance to remedy her lack of cooking skills, and move on from her no-good boyfriend. Will Eve have a Christmas to remember after all...?

BOOK NEWS: Please Retweet by Emily Benet

Emily Benet, author of hilarious and wonderful romantic novel The Temp, is back next month with a brand new book, titled Please Retweet.  Focusing on the world of social media, the novel follows May, whose real life is about to change after she lands a job managing online celebrity profiles.

Social media whizz kid, May Sparks has landed her dream job.  Well, not quite, but the salary is great and all May has to do is handle the online profiles of Z C – list celebrities who have the tendency to say inappropriate things.  Easy, right?  #wrong

May’s clients include an ex big brother star (she's definitely not going to sleep with #neversaynever), a disgraced TV presenter (who wants May to sort out his marriage as well as his Twitter account), and a woman who once flashed her boobs on X-factor. They're all relying on her to turn them into stars. But they're not going to make her job easy. 

As May is sucked further into her job she begins to lose her grip on real life.  Her friends don’t ‘like’ her Facebook posts any more and her gorgeous neighbour, who once was on the same wavelength, criticises her career choice. Worse, May’s clients start getting trolled by an annoying tweep, who May happens to agree with. 

Then May’s secret online identity is leaked, causing her to start trending on Twitter.  It looks like the status update is over.  Unless May can leave the superficial social media word behind and find her own voice again…

BLOG TOUR: Nicola May - The SW19 Club

Romantic novelist Nicola May joins us this week as part of her The SW19 Club blog tour! We interviewed her heroine Gracie Davies to find out exactly what it’s all about...

So Gracie, tell us about you and what Nicola’s new book is all about..
I’m 38 and the heroine of Nicola’s book, when I’m faced with the news that I can no longer have children after losing IVF twins I am at an all-time low. Finding the subject is almost taboo, I set up The SW19 Club, where women in similar situations can chat openly about the unspoken issues of fertility in a supportive and fun environment.

Do you think the author writes sensitively about what you are going through?
Very much so, Nicola actually went through the heartbreak of losing twins and having a hysterectomy herself, so is able to write straight from the heart.  She realised not enough is ever said or discussed about losing children or not being able to have children. And, just because those little people are never seen, it doesn’t make the pain of loss any less. In fact, ‘could have beens’ are so much harder. I think the reader will relate to my inner feelings and also route for me to find happiness, peace and understanding.

You have a few love interests in The SW19 Club, can you tell us about them and who is your favourite?
Hmm... so there’s Lewis, the love of my life and adulterous ex. His affair breaks my heart and is obviously not right, but Nicola also makes the reader realise he isn’t a bad person and was going through the grieving process himself.

I have a passionate fling with handsome landscaper Ed - his hidden secret mars my judgement of him and then thank you Nicola May for my fairytale encounter with a Hollywood film star! Getting whisked away to Barcelona by Leo Grant in his private jet was something special.

And, I’m not going to tell you my favourite, they all light my fire in one way or another, but you’ll have to read the book to see what happens!

Do you think women who haven’t been through a similar situation will still enjoy this book?
Oh yes, very much so. Don’t be put off by the base storyline; the novel is in fact a romantic comedy full of love, life lessons and triumph over adversity. Some of the love scenes will make you cry and some will make you wish you were me!

The fact that Milly Johnson has read the book and says it will both twang your funny bone and your heartstrings says it all really.

The SW19 Club launched on July 23rd and is available in both Kindle and paperback versions. You can find out more about Nicola and her books at her website, Facebook (Nicola May) or follow her on Twitter


An Invincible Summer by Lily Rose Graham was released in May. The romantic comedy (and mystery!) follows obituary writer Ria, who runs away to Crete. Lily has stopped by for the weekly Q&A on An Invincible Summer, and what inspired her to write the novel.

Tell us about your latest novel in 15 words or less.
An Invincible Summer is a about a woman who runs away. It’s a story of love, loss and a burnt down vineyard.

What inspired you to write An Invincible Summer?
I’ve always been intrigued by people who run away, especially when they are running towards something like a new life or adventure. Usually it comes at a point of major conflict or heartbreak. I love stories of people who sell up everything to move to a new country or decide to downshift and become smallholders. It’s so brave. In my story Ria Laburinthos, an obituary writer has had enough. Enough of pain and heartache and living her life on the margins. So she decides, on a whim, to run away.

Where do you do most of your writing?
It depends, generally I write in the morning at work before my workday begins – I try get there an hour earlier, I also write during lunchtime and on weekends at home.

What is your favourite book?
That’s a tough one. I have so many – it depends on my mood! A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle is like my equivalent of hot chocolate, also Harry Potter. For pure poetry though, Chocolat, by Joanne Harris.

Which part of An Invincible Summer did you enjoy writing the most?
Great question! I loved writing the beginning – I love the start of writing a book, but I think the most fun I had was towards the end when the mystery of the vineyard is being solved – I got so into that, that around 11 hours passed and I didn’t look up one Saturday.

Who is your favourite literary heroine?
Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables.  I think she is the most endearing character, I just love her. Also she offers such a beautiful lesson of hope – despite being an orphan who until she is 11 lives in various homes she has this indomitable spirit, where imagination rules. She’s the type pf character that stays with you forever.

Do you have any tips for readers who are looking to become published writers?
Write the story you want to read. Don’t try writing what is trendy or what is popular – unless that’s what you really want to write. Get the first draft done, make that the priority: finished book, not perfect book. You can always make it better when it’s finished. But you’ll waste years trying to make it perfect if that’s your first priority.  Then keep writing.

Are you working on anything else at the moment and if so, can you tell us?
I’m working on a children’s book under a pen name at the moment, and after that I’ll start on my third book for Lily Graham, called Dreaming of Elephants – a story of a man who is given the literal heart of a woman during his heart transplant, and how this affects him and he begins to see the world with a women’s heart. I’m really excited to get that one done – it’s got a ghostly/ magical realism element to it too that I can’t wait to write about, like my previous novel The Postcard. 

Thanks, Lily!

You can find out more about Lily Rose Graham on her website, and on Twitter.

An Invincible Summer by Lily Rose Graham
Ria Laburinthos has had enough. 

So on an ordinary Tuesday she decides to run away. There is nothing ordinary about her decision though. It’s been coming for years. Years of grief and her dreaded job as an obituary writer. Then when her boss asks her to share her story, about how the best day of her life turned into the unequivocal worst, she decides enough is enough. 

Which is how she finds herself on a plane to Crete bound by the tales she heard growing up from her beloved Yaya. Stories of sun-drenched olive groves, plum-coloured wine sipped out of short glasses on cobbled sea-front tavernas, honey drizzled over thick, creamy-white Greek yoghurt, and wild, pink-tinged peaches warm from the sun. 

What she doesn’t expect to find though is Elysium a thousand-year-old family vineyard that burnt down amidst a sea of controversy, and the enigmatic son who is trying to resurrect it. Or to uncover the ten year mystery that someone has gone to a lot of trouble to keep buried. Someone who will do anything to see that it remains that way ... 

Part romantic comedy, part mystery An Invincible Summer is a light-hearted story about having the courage to start over, follow your heart, and fall in love again. 

COVER NEWS: Daphne du Maurier novels re-issued with YA covers

Novels by Daphne du Maurier are to be given a new look by publishers Little Brown, who are re-issuing the books with beautiful new covers.

Jamaica Inn, Frenchman's Creek and Rebecca will be released on July 16th with stunning new jackets that will appeal to both an older audience and young adult readers. Daphne du Maurier is considered to be one of the most accomplished novelists of the twentieth century. Having spent most of her life in Cornwall, it has become the setting of many of her books.

What do you think? Personally, I'm in love with my copy of Rebecca, and as a fan of Daphne du Maurier's work, I'm going to have to collect the others, too!

NEW RELEASES: Total Eclipse of the Harriet by Fiona Jane Collins

The Anti-Ageing of Harmony Richards, the first book by Fiona Jane Collins, was a wonderful and witty read, so I was very, VERY pleased to find out that Fiona has released a new novel! Total Eclipse of the Harriet, in which a perfectly normal mum meets an 80s pop icon on the school run, is available now, and looks like a whole lot of fun...

When Harriet Met Patti…  

Harriet Martin has had a very dull life. Not much has happened to her, except having her daughter, Tabby and being left by Tabby’s father, Adam. She works in a non-charming, cupcake-free coffee shop, has a pathetic social life and pines for Adam, who went off with a more exciting woman.  

So, when she meets Patti Jax - former 80s rock star and cool, feisty icon - on the school run, things can only get more interesting.  

Patti is new in town and has a ‘situation vacant’ for a friend. Before she knows it, Harriet is thrown into a rock star world of booze, parties and a highly attractive manager who may rapidly disprove her theory that love at first sight can only strike once.  

Is Harriet about to step into the spotlight of her own life for the very first time?