Today’s featured ChocLit author is Rhoda Baxter and she is answering my Author in the Spotlight questions. Her book Please Release Me was released in paperback last week and is also available as an e-book. You have the chance to win a copy below but if you’re not the lucky one, you can order a copy here: Please Release Me
Thanks to the publishers I have a paperback copy of the book to giveaway so make sure you click the link below to find out how to enter. This giveaway is UK only. All giveaways this week are open until midnight (UK time) on Sunday 19th June.
Hello Rhoda and thanks for joining me on the blog. First of all, would you tell me a little about yourself? What inspired you to start writing?
I’ve always wanted to write. I remember, when I was about eight, looking at my bookshelves and realising that Enid Blyton, who had written all those books on my shelf, was dead, but her books were still there. I knew then that I wanted to be a writer and have the stories in my head (there were always stories in my head) live on inside other people’s imaginations long after I was gone.
Tell me about your journey to publication
It took me three years to write my first book. I sent it to the RNA (Romantic Novelists Association) New Writers Scheme for assessment and the report came back with a comment saying ‘you’ve got a naturally comedic voice that’s trying really hard to get out, have you thought about writing comedy?’ I gave it a shot and the book that became Girl On The Run just poured out. I wrote it in nine months and sent it off to agents. I had a few ‘nice’ rejections – you know the type. Mostly, they said they couldn’t sell a book that had so many emails in it.
I saw a call for submissions from an independent publisher (Uncial Press) shortly after I had my second child. I sent off the submission and forgot about it. I was hard pressed to remember anything for more than a few minutes back then! Uncial took the book. Later, when it came off contract, Choc Lit edited and republished it as Girl On The Run.
A couple of years later, I submitted Doctor January to Choc Lit and I’ve been writing for Choc Lit ever since!
In a nutshell, what is your latest book about?
Please Release Me is about Sally, who is very determined to get what she wants – and not even being in a coma will stop her.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
Until nearly the end, I’d been calling the book ‘the ghost book’. One day, I heard the song Please Release Me (Engelbert Humperdink) on the radio. The lyrics matched the themes of the story so well that it was the perfect title.
How do you plan to celebrate/did you celebrate publication day?
Cake. Always cake. I might have a nice cup of tea to go with it.
Do you have a work in progress just now?
I’m in between projects right now and trying to decide which of my two ideas to work up next. When I was starting out, I used to worry about running out of ideas. Now I struggle to choose which one to write. I’m not complaining though.
What’s your favourite book you’ve read in the past few months? Or favourite three if you really can’t choose!
I read A Slip Of the Keyboard, which is a collection of Terry Pratchett’s non-fiction. I finished the book and cried big tears of proper grief that he was gone and there would be no more. After that there was only one thing to do – I’m re reading my Pratchett collection in descending order of favourites. I started with Nation, then Nightwatch.
What are you reading just now?
I’ve just finished reading Nightwatch (Terry Pratchett). I’m dithering about what to read next. It’s either Mort or Reaper Man. I’m also reading an unpublished manuscript for critique for someone at the moment. I consider critiquing to be work, so I read the Terry Pratchett for fun.
Tell me about your reading habits: book or kindle, bed or bath, morning or evening?
Kindle. I love my Paperwhite with its backlight. Bed. I do most of my reading and writing in bed – at night, once the kids are asleep.
How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?
I have a website with a blog: www.rhodabaxter.com
And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?
This is such a difficult question. Whichever character I think of, I immediately think ‘oh, but then I’d have to X’… ooh, ooh, actually, I’d like to be Teddy Robinson from the books by Joan G. Robinson. He gets to sit around daydreaming and making up songs, he has a lovely purple party dress and he’s MEANT to be fat, so he can eat as much cake as he likes. And the adventures! He has amazing adventures. No matter what happens though, he always gets to go home to Deborah, who loves him most of all. Yes, I think I’d like that.
Blurb for Please Release Me
What if you could only watch as your bright future slipped away from you?
Sally Cummings has had it tougher than most but, if nothing else, it’s taught her to grab opportunity with both hands. And, when she stands looking into the eyes of her new husband Peter on her perfect wedding day, it seems her life is finally on the up.
That is until the car crash that puts her in a coma and throws her entire future into question.
In the following months, a small part of Sally’s consciousness begins to return, allowing her to listen in on the world around her – although she has no way to communicate.
But Sally was never going to let a little thing like a coma get in the way of her happily ever after …