It’s publication day for Meet Me On The Buddy Bench by Hannah Pearl today. Congratulations Hannah – hope you have a great day celebrating. Hannah is stepping into my Author Spotlight to tell us a bit more about herself and her book. I’ll be sharing my review of the book on Thursday so watch out for that.
First of all, would you tell my blog readers a little about yourself?
I am in my early 40s. I’m married and have two children. My first book was published in 2018. I work very part time for a local charity.
I wasn’t sure what else to say so I asked my family.
This is my daughter’s suggestion:
‘I am a person. I am a human being who enjoys breathing oxygen and drinking water.’
My son said I should write:
‘I like chocolate and lots of it. And that’s about it.’
My husband suggested:
‘I am awesome, and I have an awesome husband.’
Clearly, I am not as interesting as I aspire to be if this is all they think I should say about myself!
What inspired you to start writing?
I have always read a lot. As my children started nursery and school and began to sleep occasionally, I had a few minutes here and there and I began trying to write my own stories. When I first got ill, I read hundreds of books and it really inspired me to have a go at writing more. It felt so satisfying when, at a time when I could hardly stand up or do anything else, I could create a whole world on my laptop.
Tell me about your journey to publication
I had a very long spell of being too poorly to do much during the day except write, and so very quickly I had quite a few stories written. I thought that I might try to see if I could get them published but had no idea where to start. I read up on what other writers suggested, and began to follow some of my favourite writers on social media. I looked at who they were published by, found some publishers that I liked and began to research their submission criteria. Getting published can be a long road, but I feel very lucky to have found Choc Lit and to be part of the Choc Lit/ Ruby family. They’re a lovely and very supportive team and that makes such a difference to a new writer.
In a nutshell, what is your book about?
Ava is a teacher. She falls ill and doesn’t recover as she expected to. She meets Sam, a doctor, who has had his own heartbreak. Together, they have to rebuild their lives in ways that they never planned to, but together they find a way be happy and make the most of their new lives.
Like the main character in my newest book, I also experienced labrynthitis and have ME, so I experience a lot of fatigue. I also have problems with my balance, and so am fairly limited in what I can do.
It means so much to me that my publishers have made it possible for me to share this story. I hope that readers enjoy watching Ava and Sam help each other, and that it helps raise awareness of the condition that I, and 250000 other people in the UK alone, live with.
If anyone would like to find out more about ME, they can do so on the ME Association website:
How did you come up with the title for your book?
I am terrible at coming up with titles for my books! I have never once come up with a name that has actually worked. Luckily, my publishers are brilliant at book titles (also covers, blurbs and all of the supporting aspects), and so they really help me out here and I very much appreciate it!
Do you have a work in progress just now?
I really enjoy reading Christmas themed books to help get me feeling festive, and so hope to have my next book out in time for Christmas 2022, all being well! I don’t want to give away too much, but I’ve been working on a romantic comedy with plenty of mishaps and adventures, and of course, a happy ending under the mistletoe.
What are you reading just now?
I love working my way through my fellow Choc Lit and Ruby authors’ books. I’ve been reading a couple of history books by Greg Jenner. I’ve been enjoying Christmas romances until fairly recently to hang on to the festive spirit for as long as possible! I’ve been enjoying the Jana DeLeon swamp series. I thoroughly enjoyed Richard Osman’s books. I will read anything by Harlan Coben. I love Donna Andrews’ books.
If you were on Desert Island Discs, what one book would you take with you?
Can I cheat and take my kindle? It’s smaller than a single book. I’m not sure there is any such thing as too many books, but there is definitely such a thing as not enough book shelves. Having a kindle and not having to worry about running out of books on holiday, or the weight of having to carry them all everywhere, was a revelation! Being able to buy a new book instantly with just a couple of clicks was too, albeit a fairly expensive one.
I’m not sure I could narrow down my choices to just one book. I’ve got an omnibus edition of the first 6 James Herriot books that I read so many times as a teenager that the cover has almost fallen off but suspect that taking that would be cheating too.
Is there a book you’d love to see made into a film?
I’d love to see some films of Choc Lit books. Romance is so uplifting. Who doesn’t feel better after reading a gorgeous book and leaving it filled with the love of falling in love?
How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?
I’m on twitter a lot (too much?) at @HannahPearl_1 and that’s the best way to keep in touch. I’m also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HannahPearlwrites/.
I blog at https://dizzygirlwrites.wordpress.com but not as often as I mean to!
And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?
I’m tempted to say anyone with enough energy to function properly, but to be honest, I wouldn’t swap my life, even though it hasn’t taken the path I thought it would. Sometimes I wish I could be like Doctor Who and regenerate into a new body but keep this life. Otherwise, I’d definitely stick to being in a romance. At least that way I’d be guaranteed to get a happily ever after!
You’ll find buying options for Meet Me on the Buddy Bench on the ChocLit website
Buying Link: Meet Me on the Buddy Bench