During my holiday in Sussex, I managed to meet up with Lottie to discuss her delicious new book, The Little Cottage in the Country. Lottie cycled out to the holiday cottage on a vintage red bicycle. I had spent the morning setting up a temporary Books in Handbag Chat Room. Lottie arrived on a gloriously sunny day wearing cropped jeans, a Gingham shirt and cowboy boots. Her beautiful book was peeking out of a fabulous leopard print handbag. As soon as I opened the door, I was greeted with Lottie’s big smile. She removed a tempting parcel of pastries that she had bought from the local bakers in the village.
The intense summer sun sent us inside the cottage. We drank a beautiful blend of coffee, as we savoured the freshly baked cakes. Eating the cakes delayed our conversation a little. The plump dried fruit enhanced the sweetness of the pastry and the oozing custard was divine. Lottie walked around the holiday cottage and admired each detail. The space, in the tiny holiday cottage, had been designed thoughtfully to create a sense of home.
Lottie handed her beautiful book to me, and we noted how the colours of the cover blended perfectly with the room. The book could have been photographed, in situ, as part of a magazine feature.
Jessie: The book cover looks more delicious than the cakes that we have just eaten. Please tell me what the book is about. I challenge you capture the flavour of the book in a few sentences.
Lottie: Anna Compton thought that moving to the countryside, leaving London and her past firmly behind her was the perfect solution.
But very soon she’s chasing pork pies down hills, disguising her shop-bought cakes at the school bake sale – and trying to resist oh-so-handsome Horatio Spencerville, who just so happens to be the Lord of the Manor…
Jessie: Well, the book sounds like the perfect escape for me. What have other reviewers said about the book?
‘It’s funny, witty and well -paced book that I highly recommend you to select as your summer holiday read! Fabulous debut!’ (Sparkly Word)
‘Highly recommended as the perfect summer read and I guarantee it will have you chuckling in no time!!’ (Karen Mace, Amazon Reviewer)
‘Loved it. I laughed my way through it!’ (Donna Orrock, NetGalley reviewer)
Jessie: The reviews sound brilliant. I’ll open a bottle of wine so that we can toast your success. Come on, read me an extract from the book that will tempt a reader. Lottie’s eyes sparkled with mischief as she started to read the extract.
Lottie: ‘The conversation with Diane did not go according to plan: somehow (and Anna blamed the one bar of signal and not the fact she had polished off most of the Merlot).
Jessie: How did you feel when you had finished writing your book, and did you miss any of the characters?
Lottie: I was bereft! I missed Anna, Linda and Diane more than words can say! They were incredible fun to write and had taken on a life of their own. In fact, between you and me, they’re still here * taps head * so watch this space.
Jessie: Who would you like to read your book and why? This could be another author, someone famous, a friend or a member of your family.
Lottie: Anyone who needs a giggle and a feel-good book! Though if someone is able to put a copy in front of Graham Norton or Miranda Hart then my dreams would come true…
Jessie: Why should I keep your book in my handbag?
Lottie: I’ve had people tell me this book should be available on the NHS. If you are ever feeling a bit down, in need of a pick-me-up, reading even a paragraph of this book should hopefully put the spring back in your step. Call it a handbag-sized natural remedy… And who doesn’t love to read about a hunky Poldark fellow like Horatio?
Jessie: What is the last sentence written in your writer’s notebook?
Lottie: It’s about the novel I’m currently writing and it reads: Tom, Hawaiian shirt, good-looking, makes dinner, OTT
Jessie: What is the biggest challenge for an author?
Lottie: Oh, tough one. I would say the biggest challenge is self-discipline… Twitter is fantastic as I can chat to my readers but, equally, it is amazing how much time I can waste posting GIFs…
Jessie: What is the best advice that you have received as a writer?
Lottie: I’ve had so much advice from so many wonderful people but the best piece is this: don’t ever stop writing (and reading), practice really does make perfect.
…a rubbish baker but still harks after the cosy kitchen scenario where she expertly shows her child how to make the perfect cupcakes (with no mess and not one bead of sweat in sight)…
…obsessed with interior décor…
…in love with Country and Western music and wine (preferably together). One day she will go to Nashville, wear suitable cowgirl attire, swig beer with a sexy nonchalance and be an expert in line dancing (obvs).
Lottie stayed chatting into the evening. It was a great treat to find someone who also admitted that they enjoyed County and Western music. We sat in the garden listening to various tracks on my iPlayer as we finished a couple bottles of wine. Lottie is great fun and that bodes well for any reader of her new novel The Little Cottage in the Country. Who doesn’t want to live in a Little Country Cottage?