Joining me today is author Anni Rose, whose novel Recipe for Mr Right was published by ChocLit last week. Read on to find out why her first published work was in an accountant’s handbook, how she spent publication day and why Krispy Kreme doughnuts affected her choice of which fictional character she’d like to be!
First of all, would you tell my blog readers a little about yourself?
I was born and raised in Berkshire but emigrated to Wiltshire six years ago and now live there with my husband, sister, two dogs, a cat and Midge, the grey speckled hen.
I write mainly modern romantic stories with a healthy dollop of humour thrown in and always with (sorry – this is a bit of a spoiler alert) happy endings. Away from writing, if not watching “Great British Bake Off” or “Strictly Come Dancing”, I can usually be found behind a camera, walking my dogs, enjoying one of my husband’s curries or my sister’s bakery treats – she’s so much better at sticking to recipes than me.
What inspired you to start writing?
I have always loved both reading and writing. I am at my happiest losing myself in fictional worlds. My mother and aunt were both teachers, so I had a lot of encouragement. My great grandmother was a playwright and although I didn’t know it until much later in life, I have a number of other novelists on my family tree (not closely related, but there none the less), so maybe it was something in the genes. As a child, I turned out numerous stories and recently when we were clearing out my mother’s house some of my earliest works made a reappearance, much to the amusement of my family. “The Attack of the Killer Tomatoes” is something I’m probably not going to live down for a while!
Tell me about your journey to publication
On leaving school, the need to earn a living sort of got in the way of my creative ambitions. I became an accountant and my first published work was my company’s “Employee Handbook”. It was re-published every year and ran to seven editions. It was a writing course in 2000 at our local Arts Centre that re-ignited my passion for creative writing. The course folded when the tutor followed her dream and moved to France, but several of us kept in touch and formed our own writing group “The Clockhouse Writers”. We met once a month and still do, twenty plus years later, although it’s a much smaller group and the venue has changed. We meet and critique each other’s work and I really value hearing their comments, not always kind, but always constructive. I can’t stress the value of being a member of a writing group enough.
I have had a number of short stories published over the years and won or been short-listed in many competitions. But when I got the phone call from Choc Lit offering me a three-book contract I was totally blown away. Even now I have to keep pinching myself to remind me that I’m about to become a published author.
In a nutshell, what is your latest book about?
Ruby Brooks, having lost a boyfriend, a job and a large chunk of money to a kitchen fitter in quick succession, takes luck into her own hands and enters ten competitions a day. But when chef Adam and his dog, Brutus, appear in her life, will she realise true happiness isn’t something she can leave to chance?
How did you come up with the title for your book?
My working title was Recipes for Life and Love, but it never felt entirely right, so I was more than happy when my publishers suggested “Recipe for Mr Right”. I love it.
How do you plan to celebrate publication day?
You’re going to love this! I’m having the second dose of the Covid vaccine. However, I have been promised a meal out in the evening to celebrate publication day properly.
Do you have a work in progress just now?
Oh yes, I have so many ideas swirling around in my head. They are all in various stages of completeness. Book two, is with Choc Lit and due out later in the year. All my books are set in my fictional town of Redford, they are standalone, but some characters do appear in more than one.
Book two is another romantic comedy set around three women – Jess, Maggie and Sarah who work together. When each woman suffers a personal catastrophe, they can’t help but bring their personal problems to work. Are their working relationships strong enough to help each other through their own crises, while having to deal with an office merger that looks set to put them all out of work?
Book 3 combines the heady world of equestrianism and probate research. It is finished but needs a good edit before submission. I’ve put it to one side and am currently working on Book 4 which follows a year in the life of a registrar.
What’s your favourite book you’ve read in the past few months? Or favourite three if you really can’t choose!
That’s a really tricky one, because I have read so many. I try to read at least one a week, it is my way of relaxing. I’d far rather read than watch television. I have so many talented writer friends, but in this case, I am going to stick to my fellow Choc Lit authors’ latest books that I’ve recently read:
Lucy Keeling – Just Friends in Vegas.
Morton S Gray – Summer at Lucerne Lodge
Carol Thomas – A Summer of Second Chances
What are you reading just now?
Lace by Shirley Conran – I’ve just started reading it again. Funnily enough I could have only been a sentence or two into it when I remembered Chapter One’s last line. What a hook!
If you were on Desert Island Discs, what one book would you take with you?
I’m going to assume I will have finished Lace by the time I’m stranded, because I hate not finishing a book and I’m going to go a bit off-piste here and say the Complete Works of Dickens. I have never read all his novels and feel that with all the time on my hands I’m likely to have, it might be a good time to start.
Is there a book you’d love to see made into a film?
That would have to be “Recipe for Mr Right”. I think Cillian Murphy would make a great Adam and Lily James would be brilliant as the feisty and determined Ruby.
How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?
And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?
A book I read regularly, especially if I need cheering up, is “Bet Me” by Jennifer Crusie. I love all her books, but this one is my favourite.
So, I would love to be Min Dobbs because:
1. She wears great shoes.
2. She is wooed by the fabulous Calvin Morrisey, who finds her both interesting and sexy.
3. She might be a little chubby, but Cal encourages her to eat Chicken Marsala and carbs and come to terms with who she is and embrace that. Which, in my book, makes him a perfect hero.
And in case that’s not enough then 4. Krispy Kreme doughnuts and Ice Cream make appearances too. What’s not to like?
From the back of the book
Ruby Brooks is a little sceptical when her horoscope say she’s going to have a fabulous year – especially when she loses a boyfriend and a job in quick succession. Plus, a rogue kitchen fitter has run off and taken everything, including the kitchen sink!
So, Ruby takes luck and fate into her own hands with an unusual resolution – she’ll enter ten competitions a day, whether they’re for her dream Japanese holiday or a year’s supply of dog food (she doesn’t have a dog), and win her way to happiness.
But when a Valentine’s Day prize from a local restaurant results in chef Adam Finder (and his dog, Brutus) appearing in her life, is that luck or fate? And will Ruby ultimately find out that true happiness doesn’t need to be won?
Recipe for Mr Right is available now in ebook and audiobook formats. Paperback available from Amazon
You will find buying option for various ebook platforms on the ChocLit website
Buying link: Recipe for Mr Right