Today I have an interview with Zara Stoneley, author of ‘Stable Mates’ and ‘Country Affairs’ for you. Zara’s new book (the third in the Tippermere Trilogy) is coming out soon and I wanted to know more about it.
Can you tell me a bit about the type of books you write please?
One reviewer said ‘Think Bridget Jones in the Country’ which is pretty accurate! I like to think they’re a more modern take on Jilly Cooper books – less intense, with a lot more humour and strong independent women – but still lots of sexy men! I hope they make you laugh, cry, and cross your fingers for the perfect romantic ending. They’re set in the Cheshire countryside so there are stately mansions, dashingly handsome men, horses and dogs, but also footballer’s wives, celebrities and a good dollop of sex, secrets and scandals!
What’s your new book, ‘Country Rivals’ about?
Country Rivals is the third Tippermere book (but you don’t need to read the other books in the series to enjoy it – they are all standalone). After a fire at her ancestral home, Lottie’s wedding business has to be put on hold, and she desperately needs to find a new source of income – but she’s got bride-to-be’s on the warpath, a film crew causing mayhem, scandalous reports in the press, marital problems and family tragedy – so life is far from straightforward. The race is on to see if she can see through all the deceptions, come up with a plan, and work out what she really wants before it’s too late – and she loses her husband as well as her home.
When is it due out?
The ebook is out on 26th May 2016 (you can order it now), and the paperback on 11th August.
How long did it take you to write and was any research involved?
It’s taken about 6 months to write. I live in a village, and have always had horses and dogs, and know lots of wonderful characters ranging from competitive horse riders to farmers, and a nearby village is home to lots of celebs including footballers, so I didn’t need to do too much research! A friend of mine is involved with the Cheshire Polo Club, so I did go along to a few matches and chatted to some of the players.
Where did you get your ideas from for this book?
The initial idea for Country Rivals came from a real-life event – when a disgruntled guest at a function set fire to a country house hotel (which happened to be a castle) near here. In the second Tippermere book, Country Affairs, my heroine Lottie had set up a wedding business in her stately home (Tipping House) – I wondered what she’d do if this happened to her, if her business, and the means of keeping the family estate going, went up in flames? I then threw in a film crew (because there is so much filming goes on around here – check out the gorgeous Lyne Hall which was used for Pride and Prejudice for example), a man from Lottie’s past, some scandal (there is always lots of gossip in villages), and some emotional turmoil… and there you go!
What’s next for you writing wise?
My next book is a bit of a departure from my Tippermere books, its set in two locations – a UK country village and Barcelona in Spain. If you loved the film ‘The Holiday’, this could be the book for you! It’s already up for pre-order on Amazon and you can find it here.
Have you got any pearls of wisdom for anyone thinking of writing a book?
Know your characters before you start, set yourself deadlines and targets (even if it’s only 100 words a day), believe in your story.
Will you be doing any book signings?
I will – but I’m afraid dates aren’t finalised yet. I will be updating my Facebook page and website soon!
Describe a day in your life.
Coffee. Sit down and write at least 500 words. Breakfast. Write until lunchtime. Jog (this is new for me and I’m trying hard to keep it up!). Have a snack, catch up with emails and social media. Write any blog posts I’ve promised. Then mid-afternoon onwards I get back to my story and write until I run out of steam (which can be 6pm or late into the night!). At some point I fit in an evening meal and a TV break – which is when I tend to get more inspiration, so end up grabbing my laptop again.
If my son is home from Uni, or I’m in Barcelona with my husband, then mealtimes tend to be more rigid and I quit my desk mid-afternoon. We usually then go for a nice long walk along the beach.
Who are your favourite authors?
I’d hate to try and single out one or two as I do like to discover new authors. I love reading, my TBR pile is a dangerous thing, and I read all kinds – whatever suits my mood, sometimes a thriller, another day something light and funny, one day a full blown romance, the next a bonkbuster…
What three things could you not live without?
My family, coffee and something to write with.
A hilarious, sexy rom com for fans of Jilly Cooper and Fiona Walker!
Dashing eventer Rory is ready to button up his breeches and settle down. His gorgeous wife, Lottie, wants a bank balance in the black so she can protect the beautiful family estate for future generations.
But with the wedding business at Tipping House going up in flames, and rumours that it was arson not accident, Lottie begins to wonder who she can trust with her future.
Tranquil Tippermere is under siege as movies moguls and insurance investigators invade the countryside, and as events gather pace rescue plans start to look too good to be true, and intentions may not be as honourable as they seem.
As a moody, but definitely marvellous, polo player enters the fray and squares up to the eventing hero of Tippermere, does Lottie stand to lose her husband as well as her home?
‘A great treat for readers…jam-packed with sexy men and horses.’ Bestselling author Fiona Walker
Zara was born in a small village in Staffordshire, educated in Cheshire, and went on to study at Liverpool University. After a successful career as an IT consultant, she decided to follow her heart and ran a dog grooming business for several years before becoming a full-time writer.
Her fun, romantic, romps draw on her experiences of village life, and her various love affairs with dogs, cats and horses. These days if she’s not at her laptop, you can usually find her trudging across fields on foot, or sat on the back of a horse.
Zara divides her time between a country cottage in Cheshire and an apartment in Barcelona. Her most recent novels include the popular Stable Mates, Country Affairs and Country Rivals.
You can buy ‘Country Rivals’ from Amazon or visit Zara’s website to see all buy links.
And you can grab the other Tippermere books (all the books can be read independently) here –
‘Stable Mates’ – ‘Country Affairs’ – ‘A Very Country Christmas’ (FREE!)
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