Today I am lucky enough to be part of the Blog Tour for the Bluebell Bunting Society by Poppy Dolan-how wonderfully springlike does the cover of this one look?
Poppy was gracious enough to answer my interview questions and so I'll give you a few details about the book and then hand you over to her so you can read the answers to my probing questions. All the buy links and links to Poppy on social media are below and don't forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour for more exclusive content and reviews!
When the going gets tough, the tough get sewing…
Welcome to Bluebell Hall. Pull up a wonky chair, grab a cream bun and settle into a story about a little village, a determined caretaker – and bunting…
At twenty-nine, Connie isn’t quite where she thought she’d be. When her beloved gran died Connie returned to Hazelhurst, the village she grew up in, and took over her gran’s old job as caretaker at the village hall. It might not be the stuff of dreams, but Connie loves working at Bluebell Hall – the heart of the community.
So when Bluebell Hall is threatened with closure, Connie is determined not to let greedy property developers get their hands on it. She hatches a plan bonkers enough that it just might work. All it takes is a needle and thread, scraps of old material and willing hands. Can Connie convince the people of Hazelhurst that their village hall is worth saving? And will she save herself in the process…?
How did you get into writing?
I fell head over heels with romantic comedies when I was in my twenties - the swoony bits, the laughs, they lovely upbeat feeling you'd get by the last page. And having always loved creative things - and writing very bad poetry at university - I thought I'd see if I could write a rom com like the ones I've loved. Still trying...
Do you write full time?
I wish! I write around my full time job and family commitments so for me writing feels like my escape as much as my second job. I can disappear into worlds all of my own. I usually write on my lunch break or very early in the morning, before work starts, and strangely having very limited time seems to keep me on track. I've not got time to overanalyse, just write like the clappers!
Do you have a particular writing style?
Well, no one could accuse me of being too heavy or serious, that's for sure. My books have issues that affect us all at different times of our lives - relationship woes, job losses, ill health - but I always try and keep my approach light, accessible and fun. My aim to give someone a little lift in their day. Time is precious so I want to provide some feel-good entertainment if I can.
How do you develop your characters as you write or are any of them based on real people?
My other half claims he can't read my books any more as they're like reliving conversations we've had. It's true! I do take inspiration from my own life sometimes. And I very often put her male characters in clothes my husband wears... But mostly I write characters that I'd like to meet, or work in a villain that I'd like to see get their comeuppance. There are a lot of scenarios I wish I'd lived in my novels; I get to be very playful with reality, which is one of the best bits of the job.
What was the inspiration for the novel?
I have always LOVED bunting and I've wanted to work it into a story for a long time now. I made 100s of metres of the stuff when I got married and then it's come out for family parties and even been leant to countless other weddings since. There's something about the colours and cheery patterns in bunting that brings a flash of energy to a room or marquee, and I suppose that's what I aim my books to do in general - bring a bit of cheer into normal life. I live in a village much like Connie's where there's local history everywhere you look and it made me think, "Who's job is it to look after this? It must be tough, thankless work...' And so poor Connie gets a job along those lines in The Bluebell Bunting Society.
What is your writing process?
I used to be a 'Start with half an idea, see where it goes' kind of girl but then my mate Kirsty Greenwood (of Yours Truly fame) put me on to some really great methods of structuring your novel and making sure it has plenty of twists and turns at the right moments. I haven't looked back! And now I plot quite a bit before I even write the first line. I've found it helps me keep focus and not do a wobbly a third of the way through.
How much attention to you pay to the reviews you get?
Reviews mean a LOT. When a story has lived just in your head for so long, you start to panic it's all nonsense (or, in some of my nightmares, that's it's just a lot of swear words strung together!). So if you hear from anyone - friend, colleague, Amazon reviewer, blogger - to say they've read and enjoyed something about your novel, it's an incredible boost of confidence. And with bloggers, you know they've read everything going, so I get pretty nervous about those reviews! Eeeek.
Which other authors inspire you?
The authors I fell in love with in my 20s were Wendy Holden, Marian Keyes and of course the legend that is Helen Fielding! As well as loving to read the books of other authors publishing right now, I'm also inspired by how incredibly hard working and productive they are - Cressida McLaughlin and Cathy Bradley for starters. These ladies are dynamos!
What are you working on right now?
Right now I'm working on a novel for this autumn, called The Wooly Hat Knitting Club. The heroine is so different from Connie, so that's been really refreshing. Also, it features another one of my crafty hobbies, knitting!
Thanks so much to Poppy for stopping by today and answering my questions! Here's some more information about her and The Bluebell Bunting Society!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Poppy Dolan lives in Berkshire with her husband. She's a near-obsessive baker and a keen crafter, so on a typical weekend can be found moving between the haberdashery and kitchenware floors of a department store, adding to her birthday wish list. She has written three novels: The Bad Boyfriends Bootcamp, There's More to Life than Cupcakes and most recently The Bluebell Bunting Society. The Bad Boyfriends Bootcamp made it into the Amazon top 100 bestseller chart, so clearly someone other than her mum must have read it. She's currently working on her fourth novel – it's about friends, siblings and crafty things – and drinking far too much tea.
The Bluebell Bunting Society by Poppy Dolan is published on 27th March by Canelo,
price £1.99 as an ebook
Website and buy links: http://www.canelo.co/books/bluebell-bunting-society/
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