Saturday, 18 April 2015

Author Interview: Samantha Tonge

 I'm so excited to welcome the wonderful Samantha Tonge to Little Northern Soul! Samantha is the genius behind best-sellers Doubting Abbey and Mistletoe Mansion and her latest book, Game of Scones is released on Monday. Prior to the release of Game of Scones Samantha kindly agreed to answer some questions about her latest book and her writing career so far. So grab a cuppa, sit back and enjoy!  

Q) Welcome to Little Northern Soul Samantha! Game of Scones is set in Taxos, a small village in Greece. Why did you choose this setting?
A) Because for me, a quaint fishing village on a Greek island is the perfect romantic setting – shortbread coloured sands, a slight breeze, sultry sunsets, cosy tavenas... And, of course, hot, musclebound fishermen... What more could you want?!
Q) This book includes lots of delicious scones, as well as some other wonderful-sounding foods. Are you a foodie? Where did you get the ideas for the alternative scone recipes?
A) I am an absolute foodie. My mother used to bake amazing puddings and bring home recipes from her midday supervisor job. I did GCSE cookery and loved baking with my own children when they were small. The alternative recipes came from my imagination mostly. I just thought of what was grown and eaten locally in Greece.
Q) Pippa is a great, realistic main character. She is conflicted in her emotions and relationship with Henrik. She has her flaws but despite this, she is relatable and interesting. Did you enjoy writing Pippa?
A) I LOVED writing Pippa. I think her problems are very relatable – a lot of us have to choose between our head and hearts, especially when it comes to the big stuff like choosing a career. We all get caught up in the hamster wheel of trying to earn more and improve our lifestyles... How refreshing it would be just to give all that up and move to somewhere like Taxos for the simple life. A holiday there reminds Pippa of all the childhood breaks she spent in Greece and an inner conflict looms...
Q) Who's your favourite character in the book and why? 
A) Urgh, that is a very hard question as I love Pippa, Henrik and Niko the three main characters, mainly because they are very appealing yet all face an inner battle and have flaws.  I think Pippa wins, though. I’d like her as a best friend. Her heart is in the right place, she is a loyal friend... And, of course, she bakes great scones!
Q) Are you team Niko or team Henrik? 
A) Ooh, ooh, another hard question!  I tip towards Henrik because I understand his motivations and admire his tenacity. Also I based him on a Dutch flight attendant I met last year, who is a very lovely man! Um, but Niko has an huge dollop of integrity and a touch of the dangerous and I like that. I can’t choose!
Q) Your debut novel Doubting Abbey was a best-seller and was shortlisted for the Best Ebook award by Festival of Romantic Fiction - were you expecting such a big hit with your debut?
A) No, I was astounded and thrilled. Of course, I always dream about awards and Hollywood deals but never actually think it is going to happen. To be shortlisted meant such a lot, after years of trying to get a novel deal.
Q) What spurred you on to start your writing, and publishing, journey? 
A) It sounds corny, but I always knew I would write. Life got busy with university, work and marriage. The opportunity arose when my youngest started school.

Q) You always get fantastic feedback on your books - and I can see why! Have there been any stand-out comments for you? 

A) Thank you! The stand-out comments are where people hint that they’ve had a bad day and needed cheering up, and that that my book did that for them. This means everything to me and is one reason I love writing chick lit.
Q) Are there any big highlights in your writing career so far?
A) The award shortlisting and reaching #1 in the AmazonUK romantic comedy category with Doubting Abbey and Mistletoe Mansion. There was a rather exciting moment when a film director contacted me to read Doubting Abbey. It came to nothing but I’ll never forget dancing around my bedroom – um, to the embarrassment of my children!
Q) Do you have any 'top tips' for other aspiring authors? 
A) Don’t give up, keep going, however despondent you sometimes feel. And don’t write in a vacuum  - interact with other writers online and join writing groups.
Q) Foreign destinations clearly play a big part of your personal and writing life, what's your favourite holiday location? 
I recently went to Japan and would move there tomorrow if I could. No crime, no litter or graffiti, exceptionally pleasant and polite people and amazing sights to visit.  Oh, and heated toilet seats!
Q) Describe your perfect relaxing day off
A) Spending it out and about with the family – perhaps a walk in the Peak District, or a shopping trip, followed by lunch. I’m not fussy, as long as we are together.
Q) Have you planned your next novel? Anything you can let us know about? 
A) I am currently writing my Christmas novel. It has an absolutely bonkers storyline that, fortunately,  my editor has approved!

Well I can't wait for that - the more bonkers, the better! Thanks for stopping by Samantha! 

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