Amazing Kindle Deals in Australia TODAY ONLY

Happy Easter everyone!

Down in Australia, the Easter bunny is delivering a fabulous basket of treats for Kindle readers because a whopping eight of my ebooks … yes, EIGHT of them … are on a very special offer for ONE DAY ONLY.

The four titles in the Welcome to Whitsborough Bay Series, one of my Hedgehog Hollow books, and three more of my Whitsborough Bay books are all reduced to the ridiculously low price of $0.99 for SUNDAY 4th APRIL ONLY:

  • Making Wishes at Bay View (Welcome to Whitsborough Bay book 1)
  • New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms (Welcome to Whitsborough Bay book 2)
  • Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove (Welcome to Whitsborough Bay book 3)
  • Coming Home to Seashell Cottage (Welcome to Whitsborough Bay book 4)
  • The Secret to Happiness
  • Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes
  • Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café
  • New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow (Hedgehog Hollow book 2)

And All You Need Is Love and Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow (book 1 in the Hedgehog Hollow series) are both only $1.89 on offer at the moment too.

So you can get all ten of my Boldwood Books releases for only $11.70!!!

You can find my Amazon Australia books here.

The only book not on offer is Charlee and the Chocolate Shop because that’s due an edit and re-release from Boldwood Books in July so I’d encourage waiting until then to read the fresh version.

Happy Easter and happy reading! Please tell your friends and family and I wish you a fabulous Easter weekend.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

The hedgehogs have just done something unexpected

I like to keep an eye on my reviews. It’s lovely to read kind comments and I like to celebrate milestones like reaching 500 or 1,000 reviews although I still remain astonished that my books have received those sorts of volumes.

This evening, something unexpected happened with the hedgehogs. I’d seen the potential for it happening over the past couple of weeks but wondered if it really would. And it has.

The first book in the Hedgehog Hollow series – Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow – has been really popular and has gathered an amazing number of reviews/ratings (nearly 1,400 now). It was released in July last year. The second book – New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow – has blown me away. Released in January this year, it had already received a whopping 1,000 reviews/ratings on its 2-month anniversary.

And now that second set of hedgehogs have done something else unexpected by overtaking the first set of hedgehogs with their number of reviews.

I’d wondered if this might happen because New Arrivals seemed to be gathering reviews so much quicker than Finding Love. This evening, I noticed there were only 2 reviews in it…

Then only 1…

And then New Arrivals edged ahead!

I hadn’t expected the second book in the series to sell quicker and have more reviews than the first and this certainly isn’t my experience with the Welcome to Whitsborough Bay series where book 1, Making Wishes at Bay View, has the most reviews/ratings out of the four. But the hedgehogs have achieved it.

I find myself wondering why this is the case. It’s doesn’t appear be because readers love New Arrivals more than Finding Love because they both have a 4.7 rating average and the percentage difference is negligible. All I can think is that more readers have dipped in at book 2 and the ‘story so far’ recap at the start has given them sufficient detail about the back story that they haven’t felt the need to go back to the start.

If you can think of another reason why this might have happened, I’d love to hear it!

Well done hedgehogs! If anyone hasn’t yet checked out the series, Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow is still in Prime Reading and both books are 99p but that price won’t last.

Despite the recap in book 2, I do urge readers to start at the beginning as the actions/reactions of the characters in book 2 make so much more sense after meeting them in book 1. Book 3 – Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow – is out on 4th May and available for pre-order now and I definitely wouldn’t recommend that readers dive straight in with that book because they miss out on so much if they do.

Thank you to everyone who has bought/borrowed these books and shared the love. Another month and they should be both past 1,500 reviews. Eek!

Big hugs
Jessica xx

Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow is in UK Prime Reading

Just dropping in to say that book 1 in the Hedgehog Hollow series – Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow – went into UK Prime Reading yesterday so, if you’re a Prime member, you’ll be able to get hold of the ebook. Blurb at the bottom of the page.

For everyone else, you can access it for Kindle here. It’s also available as an ebook for Apple and Kobo and in a huge array of other formats.

The hedgehogs have got off to a great start, jumping up from #729 in the overall chart to #172 and currently sitting at #38 in the Prime Reading chart.

I’m hoping they’ll scamper higher but it’s a difficult to call. I’ve only had one Prime deal before and it was a very different scenario. When New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms was in Prime Reading last May, it had only been released a couple of months earlier and was already in the Top 100 at that point so it soon reached #14 and loitered in the Top 100 for several months. Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow came out seven months ago and had already peaked in the Top 100 over summer. It had much further to climb when it moved into Prime and, having sold well already, it may not have the same impact on the chart. But here’s hoping. Early days yet!

Happy reading!

Big hugs
Jessica xx

‘I loved my trip to Hedgehog Hollow. An emotional read, full of twists and turns’ Heidi Swain

Can love really be found when you stop looking for it…?


As Samantha Wishaw watches the love of her life marry another woman, she’s ready to give up hope of finding her happy ever after.

But when a chance encounter leads Sam to find friendship in Thomas – a lonely, grumpy elderly widower living at derelict Hedgehog Hollow – her life is about to change forever.

Glad to have a distraction from family feuds and match-making, Sam vows to fulfil Thomas and his wife, Gwendoline’s, dreams of restoring Hedgehog Hollow to its former glory, and to open a hedgehog rescue centre.

Throwing herself into the task at hand, little does Sam realise that the keys to love and happiness may also be found at Hedgehog Hollow, when she least expects it…

Escape to Hedgehog Hollow this summer with top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for the perfect uplifting, feel-good read.


What readers are saying about Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow:

‘This story is really romantic and i am sucker for romance. There are some difficult topics in it too. Loss, Friendships, family fueds and some hard but right decisions. Marvelous!’

‘I’m such a huge fan of cosy, warm, uplifting fiction and this story fit the bill perfectly for me. It had everything from romance and blossoming new friendships, to heartache and toxic family members. It was a joy to read and a wonderful story to lose myself within’

‘This is a book that hooks you on the first page. It has family drama, romance and of course cute little hedgehogs’

‘Such a wonderful story’

’One of the other things that really shined in this book was the characters. I felt like they were well developed, dynamic, and interesting. And of course, the way the hedgehogs tie into the overall story is so beautiful.’

’such a beautiful and engaging read’

’I have no idea where to start in trying to explain how fabulous this book is.’

Would you like to join my Redland’s Readers Facebook group?

I’ve done it. After chatting to my good friend and fellow-author, Sharon Booth, about setting up a reader’s group for the past 18 months (maybe even 2 years), I’ve finally bitten the bullet and done it.

Sharon got her act together way before me and runs a gorgeous, cosy group called Love, Laughter, & Happy Ever After so, if you’re a fan of Sharon’s writing (or even if you’re not), you might want to check out her group. It’s lovely.

I love a bit of alliteration so I’ve called my group:

Why does Redland’s Readers exist? The ‘about’ section sums it up so I thought I’d paste that here:

The purpose of this group is to explore together the world of Whitsborough Bay and Hedgehog Hollow (without any spoilers) where I set my stories. 

WHAT WILL I SHARE WITH YOU? 
I’ll reveal some details before they’re generally available such as titles, release dates and book covers. I’ll talk about the project(s) I’m currently working on and may even ask you for inspiration around names of characters, streets, jobs etc. when my creative well runs dry. I may occasionally talk about books I’ve read, music I love and favourite films and I’d love you to join in those conversations.


WHAT WOULD I LIKE YOU TO SHARE? 
I’d love to hear your feedback on my stories (spoiler-free please) and see pictures/hear about connections with Yorkshire. For example:
Do you live here?
Have you visited the area / would you like to?
Do my settings remind you of other places?
Do any of my characters remind you of yourself or someone you know?
Do you know someone with the same name as one of my characters?


Feel free to ask me questions. If anyone follows me on social media or on my blog, you’ll know I’m always honest. I absolutely love what I do and am so very lucky to be able to do this full-time now but that doesn’t mean it’s all shiny so I’ll hopefully give you some insight into what goes on behind the scenes to get a book/ebook/audio to you.

And I’m sure it will evolve as we go… xx

And that last sentence is key. This will definitely evolve depending on the members and what they want from the group/how they’d like to interact.

I went live late yesterday afternoon and am amazed to have 89 members already. I’m having a few problems setting up notifications for myself so have to keep scrolling through as I’d hate to miss anything.

If this sounds like a group you’d like to join, please do ask on Facebook here. There are a couple of simple entry questions and you’ll be asked to accept the ‘rules’ (straightforward things like no spamming, being kind, no spoilers etc.) and then you’ll be welcomed into the fold with a warm virtual hug.

Thank you to everyone who has written a review, emailed me, messaged me, contacted me on any form of social media across the past year to say how much you’ve loved my books. It’s quite overwhelming (in a nice way). Without your kindness, I’d never have set up a group like this and I’m looking forward to getting to know you all a bit better.

If you don’t fancy joining the group but you would like to follow my author page on Facebook, you can find it here.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

What an amazing way to end 2020!

Anyone who listened to my Facebook Live ‘in conversation’ last night will have heard the amazing news from my editor, Nia, that I’d just had confirmed earlier in the day.

The figures were in for December’s sales and my books have surpassed 250,000 units sold. That’s quarter of a million! I know you can work that out for yourself but I kind of need to write it down for myself as I can’t quite believe it! Eek!

This is a figure I never dreamed was possible in my days as a struggling indie author when an amazing week would be shifting more than ten copies.

Units mean a sale in any format – eBook purchase, paperback sale, audio, borrow etc. – once released by Boldwood Books so doesn’t include any sales under previous indie titles and, as it is up until the end of December 2020, doesn’t include my latest release – New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow.

The figure does include ‘sales’ when books were on free promotions which both Making Wishes at Bay View and Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes were at some point last year. But even so!

Thank you so very, very much to anyone who has discovered my stories and helped make this happen. I could not be more thrilled.

Wishing you a lovely weekend.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

Happy New Year and a warm welcome to 2021

Has 2020 gone? Can someone triple check?

If you read my 2020 round-up post yesterday, you’ll know that I’ve had mixed feelings about saying goodbye to 2020. For me, it was the most wonderful and astonishing year so far in my writing career. I fulfilled long-held dreams and achieved so many goals, including some that weren’t even on my writing bucket list because I never, ever expected to achieve them. 

But, for so many other reasons, 2020 was pants wasn’t it?

Anyway, it’s behind us now. Welcome to 2021 and a new colour for the blog (previously pale blue). This year sees the start of my first full year as a full-time author and I have plans.

Brand New Releases

New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow – the second book in my Hedgehog Hollow series – is out on Thursday 7th January and is available on Kindle here. Advanced reviews are mainly positive so hopefully the blog tour will go well. 

I’ll try to ignore the two reviewers who were “very disappointed” with it and left feedback that I shouldn’t have extended this into a series, particularly the one who said she’d loved my previous books but “this one was cringeworthy and had nothing to add, just padding”. Ouch! Thankfully there were plenty who loved it and can’t wait for the third instalment. Phew!

Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow – book 3 – is out on 4th May and will be up for pre-order as soon as the cover is ready.

Ooh, is that the first time you’ve heard that title mentioned? Fabulous isn’t it? I’ve been a little vague about the name until now, tending to refer to it as ‘book 3’. We were going to call it Life Begins at Hedgehog Hollow which you may have heard me mention in interviews. It felt like a good title for the end of a series. However, book 3 is no longer the end so it wasn’t as appropriate. 

My editor, Nia, came up with ‘Family Secrets’ and I absolutely love it. It’s possible that ‘Life Begins’ will be used for book 4, or we may come up with something else. It won’t be out until January 2022 so there’s still time to decide.

Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow is written and I’m working on my edits now but I won’t write book 4 until later this year.

Re-releases

The final two books in my back-catalogue acquired by Boldwood as part of my original publishing deal will come out this year:

All You Need Is Love is available for pre-order now (click here) and will be out on 11th March. This was previously available under the title Bear With Me. The original version was only ever available as a Kindle eBook and was taken down from sale just before Christmas. I wrote a blog post about what the changes involve which you can find here.

Charlee and the Chocolate Shop will be re-released in August. I haven’t had edits through for this story yet but I don’t anticipate any major changes. It could be that additional chapters are added in, like with my other two Christmas stories, but the fundamental story and main characters won’t change. I don’t know whether there’ll be a new title or not but watch this space for as and when I have news.

My Writing Plans

I’ll have my edits finished on Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow within a week and may or may not have a second round of edits before it goes through the copy editing and proofreading processes.

Then I get cracking on a brand new book, which I’m really excited about, especially as it’s a return to Whitsborough Bay. This will be my first release from my second Boldwood publishing deal and will be my Christmas release (out in September 2021).

Although it’s a brand new book for readers, it’s not completely new to me. I’ll be returning to a story I started but abandoned three years ago. I wanted to release a Christmas novella in 2017. I had the idea, the setting, the main character and even did a stack of research. As soon as I started writing it and my male main character arrived on the scene, I realised it was definitely not a novella. It needed to be a dual perspective full-length novel so I parked it after 10k words. I absolutely love the story and it has been nudging at me all that time so I can’t wait to return to it.

After that, I’ll be back to Hedgehog Hollow for the fourth (and final???) instalment.

I had originally talked with my editor about a new series for 2022 – which I’d start writing this year – but I’ve thrown a spanner in the works with my fourth Hedgehog Hollow book so I’m not sure whether I’ll still be starting work on that new series this year (for a spring 2022 release) or working on some of my standalone ideas with a view to the series being out in 2023 instead. 

I also want to return to The Chocolate Pot at some point soon. It’s been lovely seeing reviews and comments on social media hoping for a follow-up. I have mixed opinions on exactly how I want this to work. For those asking about Zoe, who appears at the end of Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café, we will find out what happens to her. I have big plans for her which will ultimately impact on another business in Castle Street. I haven’t decided yet how I want that to work and whether that business will come into play in the Starry Skies follow-up or as a third book further down the line. Hmm. Decisions decisions!

Writing-Related Plans, Hopes & Dreams

I’m hoping to set up a reader’s group on my Facebook page but want to think some more about how I best do this in a way that engages with my readers who are keen to know more about Whitsborough Bay and Hedgehog Hollow without me taking too much focus away from novel-writing. It’s a delicate balance.

I’m also working on some writing tips and plan to share these on my blog and You Tube simultaneously. To ensure regularity of posts, I want to have most of these prepared pre-launch so I’ve written the first few blog posts this week.

Other hopes and dreams include:

  • At least one more book in The Works. I have been spoilt by having three in the space of six months last year so I’m kind of hoping for more than one
  • Appearing on the Books by the Beach Festival programme (Scarborough’s literary festival in June). I keep pestering the poor organiser and hoping!
  • A UK Kindle Top 10. Not hopeful of this one but you’ve got to have dreams!
  • Foreign rights for any of my books
  • A film or TV deal. Come on, Netflix! Christmas on Castle Street? Hedgehog Hollow? Gorgeous!!!!
  • Not letting imposter syndrome spoil my enjoyment of achieving my dream to become a full-time author
  • Not letting negative reviews upset me. I thankfully don’t get many but those I do get can knock me back for days and I shouldn’t let them
  • Getting more of a work:life balance and accepting I don’t need to work evenings and weekends
  • Reading more and not feeling guilty if I spend a day reading instead of writing

And other hopes and dreams…

Personally, I’m looking forward to a return to some form of normality and being able to see friends and family again. Roll on vaccination time!

I have developed a very bad case of lockdown-lard-arse which I absolutely must address. I start every New Year saying I’m going to lose weight and get fit to the point where it has become a standing joke because I know I have no intention of putting in the effort. A distinct lack of movement in 2020 alongside some understandable comfort eating has definitely exacerbated an already large problem. I’m not a vain person and my size doesn’t bother me that much because I’m used to it, but the potential impact on my health does bother me and 2020 was scary, knowing that my food demons had made me more susceptible to the virus. I turn 50 next year and I don’t want to be fifty and fat.

I have tickets booked for a number of gigs at our local outdoor concert venue – Scarborough Outdoor Theatre – across the summer and hope all will go ahead. Our tickets for Six at Leeds Grand Theatre were rescheduled for July so hopefully that will go ahead too but Sister Act has been completely cancelled. I’m just praying our poor theatres will have survived a horrendous year for many of The Arts. Still can’t get my head around why it was okay to fill aeroplanes but not theatres when restrictions were lifted in the summer but let’s not go there!

What are your plans for 2021? Hope it treats you more kindly than 2020 has.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

The one where Making Wishes at Bay View has been nominated for the Not The Booker Prize and needs your votes

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I’ve been nominated for the Not The Booker Prize. Eek!!!!!!

What is it?

You’ve probably heard of The Booker Prize but were you aware of the existence of the Not The Booker Prize?

It was launched by The Guardian in 2009 so this year is its twelfth year. Whereas The Booker Prize is judged by a panel of experts, the Not The Booker Prize invites public participation and the aim is therefore to have a wider commercial appeal.

The longlist is derived purely from public nominations. Launched on 20th July, the public had until 1st August to nominate a book which met certain eligibility criteria (e.g. had to be written in English and published between certain dates). You can read about this stage here.

Making Wishes at Bay ViewWhich book was nominated?

Yesterday, the longlist was announced (you can read the article here) and I am thrilled to say that one of my books was included. An enormous thank you to the person or persons who nominated Making Wishes at Bay View.

There are a whopping 211 books on the longlist representing a vast array of genres and publishers and there are some HUGE names on there such as David Mitchell, Phillip Pullman, Dorothy Koomson, Marian Keyes and Hilary Mantel. Wow! Just to be in company like that is thrilling … and super-duper overwhelming!

What happens next?

The next stage is to whittle down the longlist to a much more manageable shortlist of three. Yes, three out of 211! The public are needed again here as they’ll be the ones to help whittle it down.

And this is where I need you…

Have you read and loved Making Wishes at Bay View? Would you be willing to write at least 100 words on why you loved it?

Voting is via the comments section on the longlist article so your starting point is to access the article here and scroll down to the bottom of the page where it says ‘comments’ (see bottom left of screen shot). This is below the longlist itself, below the bit about subscribing, and below all the adverts. You do need to register but there’s no cost.

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Some rules:

  1. You can only vote once but you need to vote for two books. These MUST be by 2 x different publishers but I’m the only Boldwood Books author on the list so this won’t be an issue
  2. You need to put the word ‘vote’ in your comments box
  3. You need to name the book, author, publisher for each book
  4. You need to write 100 words + for at least one of the books you’ve chosen, showing your passion and love for this book/why you care about it. This means you do not have to write reviews for both the books

So, in your comments box, it would look something like this:

Vote 1: Making Wishes at Bay View by Jessica Redland (Boldwood Books)

Reasons: [insert 100+ words e.g. brief outline of story (use the blurb for help – pasted at the bottom of this blog post) but the main focus would be what you loved about it which could draw on the style of writing, the plot, the setting, the main characters and their relationships, the secondary characters, sensitivity of how difficult subjects are handled, humour v emotions, how it made you feel and so on]

Vote 2: [Name of book] by [Author] [Publisher]

Reasons: These do not have to be provided for the 2nd vote but can be

Please do follow these rules carefully as a scroll through the comments boxes so far reveals so many that are not going to count because they have only given one vote and/or there’s not a proper review of at least 100 words. It would be such a shame to go to the effort then have the vote disqualified for not meeting the criteria.

Not The Booker Prize Jessica Redland

What’s the deadline?

Voting is already coming in thick and fast. At the time of writing this on the morning after the shortlist was released, there are already 201 comments (although not 201 votes as there are some comments among them and some double-comments where the voter has forgotten to add in their second vote – oops).

The deadline is end of the day on 16th August 2020 with the shortlist announced the following day. Why not act now while it’s in your mind?

Why do I need you?

The romance genre is often over-looked and dismissed as ‘fluff’ yet is one of the most widely read genres, more so recently when escapism from the worldwide pandemic is needed by so many. Ironically, very few books I’ve read don’t contain romances – romantic relationships are, after all, a huge part of our lives – but they simply aren’t packaged as romances. It would be amazing for our genre to have a book that has provided pure escapism during such a challenging time to be represented in the shortlist. Of course, I would be personally thrilled but I feel there’s a bigger picture here.

And, of course, looking at those HUGE names on the list, I’m a tadpole in an enormous lake so any support would be so very much appreciated. So far, a quick scan has suggested I don’t have any votes… yet. But I’m hoping that will change! Or I might cry. A lot!

Thank you in advance. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this. If you haven’t already read Making Wishes at Bay View, it’s available on eBook on AppleBooks, Kindle and Kobo and there’s time to squeeze it in. The blurb is below.

Big hugs

Jessica xx

Bay View Review Twitter 8

Never give up on a wish for a happy ever after…

Callie Derbyshire has it all: her dream job as a carer at Bay View, finally she has found the love of her life. Everything is perfect.

Well, almost.

Ex-partners are insistent on stirring up trouble, and Callie’s favourite resident, Ruby, hasn’t been her usual self.

But after discovering the truth about Ruby’s lost love, Callie is determined to give Ruby’s romantic story the happy ending it deserves. After all, it’s never too late to let love in again. Or is it?

A heartwarming and uplifting novel of finding love and friendship in the least expected places from top 10 bestselling author, Jessica Redland.

This book was previously published as two novellas – Raving About Rhys and Callie’s Christmas Wish.

What readers are saying about Making Wishes at Bay View:

‘I really enjoyed this book and the characters and most of all I am happy that it will be a series’

‘This book did not disappoint in the slightest’

‘It is written really beautifully’

‘Absolutely adored the charming storyline’

‘This book exceeded my expectations’

‘From start to finish, I was hooked’

‘It is totally heart-warming’

‘What a sweet, charming, and enjoyable read about finding love and discovering who you are yourself’

 

 

 

The one where my Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow paperbacks arrived

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I love it when a delivery arrives in the post but, as an author, the most exciting deliveries are book ones. There’s something so thrilling about opening a parcel and seeing my book baby in paperback form for the first time. I adore stroking the cover and having a quick flick through (while ensuring I don’t bend the cover or break the spine).

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Sunday morning was dry and bright so we took one of my paperbacks on a walk with the dog around a quiet local village and found a few countryside photo opportunities.

I’d like to go into the Yorkshire Wolds at some point and take some pictures in the place that inspired the setting for Hedgehog Hollow but, for now, the village of Brompton-by-Sawdon, just under ten miles from Scarborough, will do nicely.

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We saw another perfect opportunity with a curious horse looking up at us but he decided he was a bit camera shy when we got the book out so we didn’t get that shot.

As I write this, I’m very excited to report that Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow is:

  • Loitering just outside the Top 200 on the UK overall Kindle chart at #204
  • A Best Seller in two categories
  • A mover and shaker on the Kindle chart
  • #60 in the overall AppleBooks chart
  • #14 in the Apple Romance chart

Woo hoo! A very good start to the week. Happy author 🙂

Wishing you all an amazing week.

Big hugs

Jessica xx

 

 

 

The one where it’s #NationalNorthernAuthorsDay

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The Angel of the North

Today – 1st July – is #NationalNorthernAuthorsDay. I’m northern. I’m an author. It’s therefore a special day for me and what’s even more special is that this year is the very first year for #NationalNorthernAuthorsDay.

Set up by northern authors, Trisha Ashley and Milly Johnson, it’s about celebrating northern authors past and present. Northern authors have an opportunity to promote their own work over on Twitter and celebrate their favourite northern authors.

I’m northern born and bred. My parents are from the area around Bishop Auckland in Co Durham but I was born in Middlesbrough in Teesside. Shortly before my fourth birthday, we moved to the market town of Guisborough, still in Teesside (although it was known as Cleveland back then). I left home when I went away to university in Loughborough, Leicestershire, and lived all over the country after that, as far north as Edinburgh and as far south as Reading. But the north always felt like home and I settled in North Yorkshire seventeen years ago, moving to Scarborough a year later where I’ve been ever since.

(The beautiful north: Dunstanburgh Castle in Northumberland, a view over Lake Windermere and Hardraw Force Waterfall in the Yorkshire Dales)

I’m immensely proud of being northern but have experienced a lot of prejudice about my roots over the years. It always astonishes me how many people believe the phrase “it’s grim up north” and think of it as dark, dirty and industrial. And don’t get me started on the stereotypes of all northerners wearing flat caps, eating fish and chips, walking whippets and still having outside toilets. Rude! Yes, there are parts of the north that are industrial but this is part of our heritage and essential for the economy. There are also parts of the south that are industrial. In the same way, both the north and the south boast exceptional beauty. If you’ve never been, just Google any of the following: Yorkshire Dales, Northumberland, Lake District National Park, Yorkshire Coast. Wow!

(The beautiful north: Castle Howard, Scarborough Castle and Ribblehead Viaduct)

As well as boasting stunning scenery, the north is proud to present a plethora of writing talent, past and present. From poets such as Wordsworth, Ted Hughes and W H Auden (remember that gorgeous poem read at the funeral in Four Weddings and a Funeral?) to playwrights such as Alan Ayckbourn and Alan Bennett to authors such as the Brontë sisters, Catherine Cookson and Beatrix Potter, the north has demonstrated impressive writing credentials across the years.

Screenshot 2020-07-01 at 10.25.12One of my northern writing heroes is Catherine Cookson. What a writer! Born into extreme poverty in Tyneside, Cookson channelled her experiences into over 100 books. My mum has read all her books and I have probably read about a quarter to a third of them, borrowing from my mum’s collection in my teens and early 20s. My favourites include the Tilly Trotter series, The Dwelling Place and A Dinner of Herbs. I would certainly cite Catherine Cookson as an early inspiration for me becoming an author as, along with Virginia Andrews, she was the first author of adult books I read prolifically. They both taught me what a page-turner was. You can find Catherine Cookson’s author page on Amazon here.

Moving into the present day, I am now a northern author myself. Certainly never imagined that when I was reading Catherine Cookson’s novels! All my books are set in North Yorkshire, on the coast or in the countryside in the Yorkshire Wolds. I can see me writing books in other settings but I don’t anticipate moving away from the north. It’s what I know and it’s what I love. My readers seem to love my setting too. Phew!

I’m very lucky to class some super talented northern writers as good friends so want to take this opportunity to give a shout-out to three of them:

Screenshot 2020-07-01 at 10.18.26Yorkshire-based Sharon Booth writes stories that include “love, laughter and happy ever after” and they’re simply gorgeous. I’ve read and loved every single one. With Yorkshire settings inspired by the Dales, Robin Hood’s Bay and Knaresborough, you can find her Amazon author page here.

Screenshot 2020-07-01 at 10.19.37Helen Phifer is based in Cumbria and writes crime and horror books. I absolutely love her Annie Graham series which are crime with a supernatural/horror book but her pure crime are superb too. On Amazon, you can find Helen’s author page here.

Screenshot 2020-07-01 at 10.18.52Alys West is also Yorkshire-based and she has a couple of different genres in her writing toolkit with contemporary fantasy and steampunk. Both are genres I’d never explored before but Aly’s work is fabulous and I’m a convert! Alys’s author page can be found here.

And, of course, you can visit the fictional North Yorkshire Coast town of Whitsborough Bay through my books, and take a trip to Hedgehog Hollow in the Yorkshire Wolds with my brand new series set in a hedgehog rescue centre. Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow is out tomorrow.  My author page is right here.

Wishing all northern writers a happy #NationalNorthernAuthorsDay. Are you doing anything special to celebrate? As for me, I’m about to nip to the toilet (outside of course), put my flat cap on and take my whippet out for a walk. Then I think I’ll enjoy a fish and chip supper 😉

Please do join in with the fun over on Twitter but don’t forget to use the hashtag #NationalNorthernAuthorsDay to join in the conversation. Thanks Trisha and Milly for setting this up 🙂

Big hugs

Jessica xx

Welcome to Whitsborough Bay 4 Books

 

 

The one where I have 9 bestseller flags on Amazon – Eeeeekkkk!!!!

Good morning and welcome to a beautiful Friday. The sun is shining, the birds are singing and it’s nearly the weekend. Yay!

I have just had the most delicious start to the day. I’m sure I’m not the only author who logs into Amazon and AppleBooks first thing to have a quick check chart positions and I was astonished and thrilled to see the most #1 Best Seller flags I’ve ever had on Amazon. Ooh, I love that little orange flag. When books are uploaded for sale, they are allocated to 2-3 categories based on the content of the book and the flag appears when the book makes it to #1 in that particular category.

Don’t they look pretty? (The 9th one is further down the page)

Out of all my books, only Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes and Charlee and the Chocolate Shop haven’t got best seller flags first thing but the only reason for that is that they’re in the same categories as Christmas at the Chocolate Pot Cafe which does so they can’t all have one! They are, however, numbers 2 and 3 in that chart and therefore would be #1 if one of my books wasn’t already in that slot. So can I pretend that’s 11 flags? Hmm. Maybe pushing it a bit far with that.

Screenshot 2020-06-26 at 09.43.42

Screenshot 2020-06-26 at 09.46.37I’m particularly thrilled to see Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow displaying an orange flag as it’s only on pre-order, out next week on 2nd July. And I’m even more thrilled to see Starry Skies Over the Chocolate Pot Cafe with a flag. This is a re-edited and much longer version of Christmas at the Chocolate Pot Cafe and is also available for pre-order now, out on 8th September. The original version will disappear from sale on 1st July.

Thank you so very, very much to anyone who has bought or borrowed any of my books, left a review, recommended them to friends/family and to anyone in the blogging community who has loved them and spread the word. This could not happen without you all and I’m so incredibly grateful.

Big hugs

Jessica xx