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Saturday 30 December 2017


... I'm thrilled to announce that my lovely publisher, Crooked Cat Books, has accepted my latest offering.

Have you ever wondered what might have happened to Heathcliff during the three years when he disappears from Wuthering Heights?  Find out in 2018...

Tuesday 19 December 2017

DULWICH DODGY DEALINGS - an interview with Alice Castle

My guest today is my dear friend and fellow-author Alice Castle, whose second novel The Girl in the Gallery is released today by Crooked Cat Books.  Alice has the same initials as the great Agatha Christie, and having read her first book (Death in Dulwich), I can assure you that the resemblance doesn't end there.

Welcome, Alice!  

What prompted you to first start writing? What was the first thing you wrote?

The first novel-length book I wrote was an early attempt at a whodunit, called Buckle My Shoe, about two young mums trying to solve crimes with toddlers and pushchairs in tow. I soon realized why so few crime fighters take their kids to work!

Can you summarise your latest work in just a few words?
Who is The Girl in the Gallery?

What was the inspiration for this book?

My storyline is inspired by Dulwich Picture Gallery itself – it’s stuffed with amazing art, but the building itself is very unusual, too. At its heart is a mausoleum, containing the dead bodies of the original collectors in marble coffins, on display to the public. Weird and quite creepy! I have always thought it would be a brilliant setting for a murder mystery.

Did you do any research for the book?

I did loads of research. I love Dulwich Picture Gallery so this was no chore! I went to lots of exhibitions and had plenty of lunches in the restaurant, and the café outside. Gosh, it was hard work ;) I also read a lot on the life and times of Sir John Soane, the architect who designed the extraordinary building.

What does a typical writing day involve for you?

I’m not at all a morning person, but for some reason I do my best writing first thing. So I write until I run out of words, then turn to my day jobs – I’m the editor of a lifestyle website, I edit other people’s novels and I write freelance articles for newspapers and other publications.

How do you decide on the names for your characters?

I usually look wildly round the room where I write – the kitchen. It’s a miracle all my characters aren’t called Cadbury’s Dairy Milk.

Do you plot your novels in advance, or allow them to develop as you write?

I tend to have a firm idea in my head about the nature of the crime and about a side issue that will keep intertwining with the main plot. But I like to allow my characters some wiggle-room so they can dash off in unexpected directions if they like.

Which writers have influenced your own writing?

I’ve always been an avid reader and I love crime fiction. My favourites are PD James, Val McDermid, Janet Evanovich, Simon Brett, Margery Allingham, Agatha Christie, Patricia Cornwell, Sue Grafton, Raymond Chandler… the list goes on and on!

What has been the best part of the writing process…and the worst?

The best part of the writing process is always the moment when the plot clicks and you know you are on the right track and the words start to pour. It’s a great feeling. The worst is definitely editing my own work, very slow and painful. I’d much rather do the ironing, and I really hate ironing.

(Er - what's "ironing"...?)

Now the book is published and ‘out there’ how do you feel?

It’s a very special moment when the book is out there, like having a new baby. I feel quite protective of it and only hope people will like it and want to take it home.

Is there a message for the reader?

I try not to be preachy, but there are themes which I hope most parents will already be thinking about. The most important message, in this book and the first in the series, is that there is such a thing as justice.

Do you have any advice for new writers?

Keep going! It’s not always easy, but if you’re really a writer, you won’t have any choice anyway.

What can we expect from you in the future?

My third book in the London Murder Mystery series, Calamity in Camberwell, is due out in 2018. Can’t wait!

Neither can I, Alice!  Thanks for calling by today, and I hope the book flies for you!


Just when you thought it was safe to go back to Dulwich…

It’s a perfect summer’s morning in the plush south London suburb, and thirty-something Beth Haldane has sneaked off to visit one of her favourite places, the world-famous Picture Gallery.

She’s enjoying a few moments’ respite from juggling her job at prestigious private school Wyatt’s and her role as single mum to little boy Ben, when she stumbles across a shocking new exhibit on display. Before she knows it, she’s in the thick of a fresh, and deeply chilling, investigation.

Who is The Girl in the Gallery? Join Beth in adventure #2 of the London Murder Mystery series as she tries to discover the truth about a secret eating away at the very heart of Dulwich.


Before turning to crime, Alice Castle was a UK newspaper journalist for The Daily Express, The Times and The Daily Telegraph. Her first book, Hot Chocolate, set in Brussels and London, was a European best-seller which sold out in two weeks.

Alice is currently working on the sequel to Death in Dulwich and The Girl in the Gallery, the third book in the London Murder Mystery series. It will be published by Crooked Cat next year and is entitled The Calamity in Camberwell. Once again, it features Beth Haldane and DI Harry York.

Alice is also a top mummy blogger, writing DD’s Diary at
She lives in south London and is married with two children, two step-children and two cats.

Wednesday 25 October 2017

PURGATORY HOTEL - an interview with Anne-Marie Ormsby

Today I have a new guest - the author Anne-Marie Ormsby, whose fascinating novel Purgatory Hotel will be released by Crooked Cat Books on 7 November 2017.

Welcome, Anne-Marie!  What prompted you to first start writing? What was the first thing you wrote?

I started writing when I was 9 after reading a book of Ray Bradbury short stories. His words were so beautiful all I could think was; “I want to write like that.” The first thing I ever wrote as far as prose is concerned was short story about a day in the desert. After that I wrote short stories for years, then moved on to poetry. I didn’t write my first novel til I was 20, and Ive never done anything with it!

Can you summarise your latest work in just a few words?

A paranormal whodunit.

OOH, sounds intriguing. What was the inspiration for this book?

There’s a Nick Cave song called God’s Hotel. It got me thinking about what if the afterlife was a hotel. Then I was thinking about that in a negative sense and the rest of the story just grew from that.

Did you do any research for the book?

I researched a few things, such as the Babes in the Wood murders which play a part in the story. The rest is just from my brain!

What does a typical writing day involve for you?

It’s rare that I get a writing day as I’m a mum who works full time! Any time I get after my daughter has gone to bed is usually spent chilling out with my husband watching movies.

But I generally write better at night, so when I was writing this book originally, which was twelve years ago, I used to stay up all night with a bottle of wine and write till I needed sleep. These days I tend to write at night still, just with less wine as my child doesn’t care if I’ve been up all night writing – she will still expect me to get up at 6am…

How do you decide on the names for your characters?

Other stories that Im working on have characters with fairly standard names, but this one was a bit different so the names had to be too. But I find the names just come to me and I trust that part of my brain so I just go with it.

Do you plot your novels in advance, or allow them to develop as you write?

This one just kind of developed over time with no planning. I have got another book in the works that I have plotted out meticulously. I don’t know what works best yet!

Which writers have influenced your own writing?

My biggest influences in writing have been Ray Bradbury and Jack Kerouac. Two very different styles, but both have written some of my favourite books. And even though I don’t write in the same style, Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights probably set the level for the kind of romance I write about. Rarely jolly.

What has been the best part of the writing process…and the worst?

The best part is when I get a good flow going and I can just keep writing and it all comes out on the screen exactly how I had it in my head. The worst is when I know what I want to say but the words don’t come.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I have had my next book in my head in various forms for a few years now. The only thing I think people can expect is that it will probably involve ghosts!

Sunday 1 October 2017

I AM A RICARDIAN - A guest post by Jennifer C Wilson

Today I have the great pleasure of welcoming back my dear friend and fellow-scribe Jennifer C Wilson.  I've worked with Jen as editor of two of her novels (Kindred Spirits: Tower of London and Kindred Spirits: Royal Mile, both published by Crooked Cat Books - details below), but tomorrow will see her first venture into self-publishing with the release of her latest book, The Last Plantagenet? And, believe me, it sounds truly amazing.

Welcome, Jen!

Hi Sue, and thanks for inviting me to join you on the blog today.

It’s ‘publication eve’ and I’m fretting, as usual. Well, partly fretting, and partly oddly calm. This is the first dip of my toe into self-publishing, and although I’m nervous it’ll all end in failure, I’m also slightly content in that if that is the case, at least I’m not letting anyone down…

The Last Plantagenet? has been several years in the making, having started life as an idea for an (at the time) new Mills & Boon line, Historical Undone, looking for historical fiction with a twist. I decided to explore the idea of being transported back to the court of Richard III, and the idea just expanded from there to a short piece of just under 20,000 words. Below is one of the scenes from early in the story, just as Kate finds herself somewhere, but where, or when…?

“You! Come along now! This is no time to be idle – hurry, now!”

Kate forced herself to focus. She was standing, albeit uncertainly, still in the same kitchen, beside the great fireplace, but now, the flames were a lot more real than they had been minutes earlier. She gradually realised the voice was coming from a young man in front of her, around her age, shouting at her, wearing a smart, colourful livery, emblazoned with the royal crest. A live kitchen demonstration hadn’t been part of the day’s programme, but whatever was going on, this man seemed real enough, she thought, looking him up and down. As he continued to stand in front of her, so did his anger.

“Now! This bread isn’t going to deliver itself!” he barked at her again, pointing to the pewter tray by the side of the fire.

Kate opened her mouth to argue, explain that she wasn’t part of the re-enactment, that there had been some sort of mistake, and that she really was just there to watch, not play along. But the man wasn’t listening. He was staring at her, clearly waiting for her to do something. She looked around her in confusion; how had health and safety allowed a man to stand, half-naked, as he turned the spit in the flames, fat from the roasting pig flying in all directions? Wait. A half-naked man? Kate found her eyes wandering, then, remembering the liveried servant and keen to avoid another blast of his anger, she picked up the tray he had indicated, and followed him from the room. The pig, and the man, would no doubt still be there on her return; she could return later, if it so took her fancy. She thought back to every re-enactment she had ever attended, and tried to pull herself together; she knew enough to get through whatever situation she had found herself in.

As they rushed up the narrow stairs, trays balanced precariously, Kate tried to understand what could have happened to her. Her first thought was that it was all a dream; that the lightning must have dislodged some masonry, and knocked her out. But this was all too real. The smells were so pungent, the blazing heat of the fire so fierce, and the cloth of her dress... Her dress! In her haste to pick up the tray, Kate hadn’t even noticed what she was wearing. Now, she looked down on herself, noting the intricate, albeit relatively shabby lacing on the front of her gown, leading down to the low-heeled clogs on her feet. All her life she had yearned for a dress like this, although, if she were honest, something of higher class than serving clothes would have been nicer. Then a thought stopped her in her tracks. She had been in jeans, t-shirt and ballet pumps at the re-enactment. Who had dressed her up like this? And where were her own clothes? Nervous, and now uncomfortable at the thought of being manhandled when unconscious, Kate looked about her: the lad who had shouted at her earlier, the other ‘servants’, those in a higher quality of dress that they were encountering as they made their way through the stone passages; any of these people could have done anything to her. The day felt a lot darker than it had started out. For a moment, the thought flitted into her mind that somehow, this really was fifteenth century England, and clearly, Kate’s role in this time was that of a serving girl, not a duchess. But still, it couldn’t truly be real, could it? Some sort of concussion, or drug-based stupor, brought on by too strong a medication given to her after she had somehow knocked herself out, or injured herself as she ran in from the rain. That was it. Cobbles did get slippery in the rain, after all.

If you’d like to find out more, then please come and join in the online launch tomorrow evening over on Facebook here, and of course, the book itself is available for pre-order here right now, if you want to make sure it’s on your kindle first thing to get reading…

About Jennifer

Jennifer is a marine biologist by training, who spent much of her childhood stalking Mary, Queen of Scots (initially accidentally, but then with intention). She completed her BSc and MSc at the University of Hull, and has worked as a marine environmental consulting since graduating. Enrolling on an adult education workshop on her return to the north-east reignited Jennifer’s pastime of creative writing, and she has been filling notebooks ever since. In 2014, Jennifer won the Story Tyne short story competition, and also continues to develop her poetic voice, reading at a number of events, and with several pieces available online. She is also part of The Next Page, running workshops and other literary events in North Tyneside.

Jennifer’s debut novel, Kindred Spirits: Tower of London, was released by Crooked Cat Books in October 2015, with Kindred Spirits: Royal Mile following in June 2017. She can be found online at her website, on Twitter and Facebook, as well as at The Next Page’s website. Her timeslip historical romance, The Last Plantagenet? is available for pre-order now.

Sunday 24 September 2017

PAVLOVA PALAVER - an interview with Isabella May

Today my guest is fellow-author Isabella May, whose debut novel Oh! What A Pavlova! will be published by Crooked Cat Books on Tuesday 3 October.

Welcome, Isabella!

Thanks for inviting me to appear on your blog today, Sue!

What prompted you to first start writing? What was the first thing you wrote?

I have been scribbling and verbalizing in one way or another for as long as I can remember. As a young child I would invent stories (along with my little sister) about people we knew… as well as fictional characters, who would randomly jump into the mix to spice things up – Worzel Gummidge, Aunt Sally and Emu to name a few. They would usually trail behind us in our hire car on holidays in Portugal and Cyprus – I know; I was a little bit ‘kooky’ to say the least! 

And when I wasn’t doing that I was penning equally random and daft tales about the neighbours on our street, together with very amateur felt-tip illustrations. Thankfully my story-telling abilities have moved up several notches, even if my artistry hasn’t.

English lessons at high school were never creative enough for my liking though; we were usually heads down and glued to Othello, or One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, desperately trying to stay awake; our own creativity hampered by words which felt quite meaningless to us at that age. No wonder I started to entertain my friends by surreptitiously passing around folded paper concertinas of the game Consequences… until that was we got caught.

Can you summarise your latest work in just a few words?

Okay, are you ready? It’s quite a different premise for a novel…
Cake meets domestic violence, travel, spirituality, comedy, and a bid for freedom in the arms of many an unsuitable man… all set against the backdrop of the weird and wonderful characters of the publishing industry.

What was the inspiration for this book?

A burning desire to dispel the misconception that an abusive relationship is abusive all the time: it is not. But I also wanted to portray a very honest picture of the way D.V can splinter the victim’s life. Quite often they are leading a double life, their outer façade so astonishingly different to the unthinkable acts they are tolerating behind closed doors. Ultimately though, I wanted to create a story with a very different message; a message of empowerment for any woman or man who is currently feeling anything but strong.

Did you do any research for the book?

Yes. Although I have been to most of the twenty-two destinations which feature in the book, a couple of locations are brand new to me, so I had to read a fair bit about them to get a feel for them. And then to reinvigorate my memory with the sights, sounds and smells of the more familiar places, I turned to Pinterest, which is fantastic for evoking emotion and atmosphere (as well as procrastination!) 

And of course, there was a lot of reading to do on the subject of abuse – not so pretty, but essential for furthering my own personal understanding, and so I could tell a more comprehensive story.

What does a typical writing day involve for you?

Honestly, with two children whose school days are very short (we live in Spain), and whose holidays are ever longer, it’s impossible to have a standard writing day. So I have learnt to be the Queen of Multitasking. 

Somehow it works. I set myself targets of say 1000 words a day – which has the added bonus of helping me produce *mostly* quality over quantity, and see where the wind takes me. I am also a ‘Dance Mum’ and find I get an inordinate amount of dialogue penned whilst devouring Rhubarb Crujiente Cake at one of the yummy cafes near my daughter’s dance studio.

How do you decide on the names for your characters?

Oh, the character names in this novel have each changed more than half a dozen times. Then again, it is a book that was several years in the making! My second novel (currently being perused by my publishers) was so much easier. The names seemed to magically float into my head from an invisible Idea Cloud and they have stuck ever since.

Do you plot your novels in advance, or allow them to develop as you write?

With Oh! What a Pavlova, I wrote whatever I felt inspired to write at any given moment. On a day full of elephant grey skies, I’d tackle a dark scene. On a sunny and uplifting day, I’d write something satirical. Often this was whilst feeding my baby. I think the current term for this lack of planning among authors is ‘being a pantser’. But I’m just not a spreadsheet kind of girl. Post-It notes, brainstorming in copious amounts of notebooks, and waking in the night with a sudden idea that I must transfer to paper immediately, are much more my style. And I can rarely write in chapter order. I’m very naughty like that and unintentionally defy all the Writing Rules we are taught from the beginning.

Which writers have influenced your own writing?

Pam Grout, Julian Fellowes, Jonas Jonasson and Marian Keyes in terms of wit and satire coupled with lovely language; Nigella Lawson in terms of writing unnecessarily long but poetic and mouthwatering sentences, and Joanne Harris, just for being all-round excellent at her craft.

What has been the best part of the writing process…and the worst?

Hours of creativity (with coffee and cake to hand) is undoubtedly the best part of the job. I am lucky because I live right on the beach, so add a stunning sea view to that and you really do have the dreamy writers’ life.
But then reality bites… and you have to market that book. Gone are the days when this was solely a publishing house’s responsibility. So out comes the Author Hat and you just get on with it. But I try to make it as fun as possible by focusing on the aspects of marketing that I most enjoy.

Now the book is about to be published, how do you feel?

It’s been so long coming and I’ve visualized it for so many years that it does actually feel quite normal – not in a complacent way, but a good way. My self-belief wouldn’t have been ready before, but now it is, and I think that’s really important, especially in light of the amount of PR we have to engage in. 

Sue, I recall you recently saying something along the lines of ‘Modesty is no friend of an author’. And it really does resonate. You have to have a certain level of confidence (without bragging or shoving your novel down everybody’s throat, of course!). On the other hand, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little excited and nervous in equal measure. I am!

Is there a message for the reader? What do you hope they will get from one of your books?

All of my books have an integral message: you are far more in control of your life than you have ever realized, especially when you let the Universe lead the dance. But hopefully I say this in a subtle way. There is also nothing worse than a Preaching Fairy Godmother…

Do you have any advice for new writers?

Let the unhelpful criticism go in one ear and straight out the other - and you will soon learn the difference between the unnecessary and constructive critique. I recall reading my very unpolished first chapter at a local writers’ group, hands twitching nervously, only for two slightly Older Dears to claim: ‘It’s rubbish… I’d throw it in the bin!’ On the other hand, these kinds of comments will often become rocket fuel to damn well finish and perfect your novel and get it out there!

What can we expect from you in the future?

My second book contains a lot of unconventional cocktails, some more travel – but this time the action centres around Glastonbury, Mexico and Prague, a rather ridiculous love triangle, two sisters who have fallen out over their allegiance to Sting, more jump-off-the-page characters, and another magical thread weaving through it all.

And book three is already swirling nicely in my head. One thing is for sure with that one: there will be Churros!

Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalucia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the sea and the mountains. When she isn’t having her cake and eating it, sampling a new cocktail on the beach, or ferrying her children to and from after-school activities, she can usually be found writing.

As a Co-founder and a former contributing writer for the popular online women’s magazine,
The Glass House Girls, she has also been lucky enough to subject the digital world to her other favourite pastimes, travel, the Law of Attraction, and Prince (The Purple One).

She has recently become a Book Fairy, and is having lots of fun with her imaginative 'drops'!

Oh! What a Pavlova is her debut novel... and her second novel has already been submitted to her publishers: watch this space...
You can follow Isabella May on her website and social media here:
Twitter - @IsabellaMayBks
Instagram - @isabella_may_author

Thursday 10 August 2017

HOW I DISCOVERED WHAT I HAD - a guest post by Miriam Drori

Today I welcome back a dear friend and writing colleague - Miriam Drori.  Our paths first crossed five years ago, in an online workshop which went on to produce Miriam's debut novel (Neither Here Nor There) and my second one (Nice Girls Don't), both of which are published by Crooked Cat Books.

Miriam has now branched into the world of non-fiction with her new book Social Anxiety Revealed (due for publication on 22 August 2017).  I had the great pleasure of working with Miriam as editor of Social Anxiety Revealed - and, believe me, it is a book which everyone should read.

Welcome, Miriam!  Please tell us more about Social Anxiety Revealed.

Thank you, Sue!

It was over thirty years after I left school (US: grade school) vowing never to connect again with any of the girls I’d spent the past seven years with. I put my name on a social media site, a forerunner to Facebook, that reunited school friends. Friends! I thought with a humph. The only schoolfriend I remembered wasn’t on the list. Still, I added my name, not expecting anyone to contact me. Perhaps I wanted them to know that I’d done all right for myself, despite them.

Yet, one of them contacted me and I came to a decision. There was no point in continuing to communicate with her without mentioning our joint past. Surprisingly, she didn’t disappear when I brought it up. She even apologised for her past behaviour and also introduced me to another of the gang: Gill.

Gill had more time to write. We wrote every day. She asked the right questions and I was ready to open up. After a few months she told me, hesitantly because she wasn’t sure I was ready to hear it, about social anxiety. I probably wasn’t ready then, because it took a few more months for me to look up the term. That was when I realised that social anxiety was a thing, and that it included everything I’d been writing to her about. I joined a forum for people with social anxiety and took a group therapy course.

Then the tables were turned, somewhat. I realised Gill carried a lot of guilt for the way she’d treated me all those years before. I tried to assure her that I didn’t blame her at all. I told her she was only a girl who didn’t know any better at the time, and that I didn’t see the lovely, kind woman she had become as the same person as the girl I knew once. I don’t think I succeeded.

My new book, Social Anxiety Revealed, released on August 22, explains all the aspects of social anxiety. It has been created by a lot of people who know much more than they’d like to about social anxiety. It is dedicated to Gill, someone I’m now proud to be able to call my friend.

In a later guest post, on Jennifer Wilson’s blog, I write about the process of coming out about social anxiety.  In the meantime, you can find out a little more about me - and the book - on YouTube, by clicking here.

About Miriam

Miriam Drori is the author of a romance, Neither Here Nor There, and co-author of The Women Friends: Selina, the first in a series of novellas based on a painting by Gustav Klimt. She is married with three adult children and enjoys folk dancing, hiking, touring and reading.

Miriam sees the publication of Social Anxiety Revealed as an important step in fulfilling an ambition that began in about 2003: to raise awareness of a condition that’s very common yet little known.
Miriam has struggled with social anxiety for the past fifty years, although for thirty-five of those years, she didn’t even know the name of it or that a name existed. Only recently has she come to the conclusion that she shouldn’t have been struggling at all, but rather making friends with it.

In order to introduce this book and as a place for discussions with readers, Miriam has begun a blog that’s devoted solely to the topic of social anxiety: Everyone is welcome to visit and comment.

Miriam Drori can be found all over the Internet, including Miriam’s website and blog, a blog devoted to social anxiety, Facebook author page and Twitter.

Social Anxiety Revealed will be available from Amazon from August 22 in paperback and ebook formats.

Wednesday 2 August 2017

SHADES OF GRAY - An interview with Aimee Brown

Today's guest is the fabulous Aimee Brown, whose debut novel Little Gray Dress is published today by Crooked Cat Books.  I had the pleasure of working with Aimee as editor of this  book - and believe me, it is an amazing story.

Welcome, Aimee!

What prompted you to first start writing? What was the first thing you wrote?
I decided to do NaNoWriMo in November of 2016. That really pushed me forward. I got the idea for a bad bridesmaid dress in my head one night and sat down to start writing. I promised myself I’d write 2500-5000 words a day and somehow, I did!

Can you summarise your latest work in just a few words?
Weddings, Engagements, and Mean Girls (… oh my!)

What was the inspiration for this book?
I have always been obsessed with weddings which are what inspired all the weddings. But I also am a huge fan of quick moving romantic comedies. It’s just what comes out when I sit to write so it was pretty expected when that was the direction the story went.

Did you do any research for the book?
I did! Most of the research was done on areas of Portland that I needed quick reminders of as I wrote. I did some research on a few of the ‘Romanian’ aspects of the story. I did research weddings, bridesmaids dresses, and similar things. Mostly, though, I wrote what I already knew, the things in life that are familiar to me.

What does a typical writing day involve for you?
No day is the same for me. I have 3 teenagers, 3 dogs, 3 cats, a tank full of fish, a husband, house, small business and SO much to do that I really just sit and write whenever I find the time or when the mood strikes. Sometimes that’s first thing in the morning and sometimes it’s the middle of the night when insomnia strikes.

How do you decide on the names for your characters?
I love doing name searches and I seem to always fall in love with the older names. The ones you don’t hear every day. Esmeralda is a name that I’ve always actually liked but knew it was a tad too long to use throughout the book so, Emi was born (although in hindsight I kind of wish I’d spelled it as Esme). I also have always loved the name, Jack. It seems modern yet is so old school. And had I thought of it when I had my last son that would probably be his name. It’s funny that I didn’t even put two and two together that I have a paternal grandfather named Jack (short for Jackie) because I always just called him ‘Grandpa’! Sadly, he passed recently so now it’s kind of become a tribute to him. Besides those two, I just went with a name and created a character based on what that name portrayed personality wise in my head.

Do you plot your novels in advance, or allow them to develop as you write?
There is definitely no plotting going on in advance. I’m a total panster. I try to come up with a good opening and from there the characters seem to write the story for me. Which is good and bad as they often don’t go in the direction I think they may go. LOL

Which writers have influenced your own writing?
So many, especially the chick-lit legends! Sophie Kinsella, Meg Cabot, Janet Evanovich, Emily Giffin, Candace Bushnell, and so many indie authors that I’d hate to list them out and forget someone!

What has been the best part of the writing process…and the worst?
The best is definitely getting to know my characters while creating their story. It’s like I’ve created my own group of friends and now that I don’t spend every day with them, I miss them! To me, Emi, Lily, Jack, Liam, Evan, Hannah, Amelia and even Greta are a part of my everyday life. I constantly wonder what they’re up to, before realizing they can be ‘up to’ whatever I want!

Now the book is published and ‘out there’ how do you feel?
It’s a little nervewracking! LOL, As much as I love all the amazing feedback from readers it’s still so odd to me that they’re talking about MY book! I mean, I knew I loved it, but I wasn’t prepared to have others love it as much as I do. I’m kind of looking forward to that first terrible review to feel as though I’ve really ‘made it’. (if I keep telling myself that maybe that’s how I’ll actually feel! LOL) I truly want everyone to love it though as I think being my first book it will always be really close to my heart.

Is there a message for the reader? 
Nobody is perfect. We all have body issues and self-esteem issues. We aren’t all a perfect size 2 who always says the right thing. We all overthink things and have major life-altering misunderstandings in life. We are stubborn and very rarely do the right thing at the right time. I really don’t have a ‘lesson’ for readers besides to bring them realistically flawed, loveable characters and a story that hopefully will leave them with that ‘I’ll miss these guys’ kind of feeling after they’ve closed the book.

Do you have any advice for new writers?
UGH! So many! Even though I’m a brand new author I feel like I’ve learned SO much throughout this process. It’s taken me 10 years to get a complete story finished. The one thing that really sticks out to me though is to just write. Who cares if the first draft is total shit. Mine was! (even my second, if I'm completely honest, had a lot of flaws – as you know, you were my editor!) It’s much easier to ‘fix’ a story that has issues than to create a new story while trying to be perfect from the starting gate.

What can we expect from you in the future?
I am working on a couple of things right now- both I hope to be released in 2018.

One is an equally funny, fast moving, romantic comedy novel, that may or may not include a character from Little Gray Dress.  It’s being written as a stand alone so the main character is brand new and I think you’ll LOVE her! I know she keeps me in giggles most of the time I’m writing her scenes.

The second is a chick-lit/cozy mystery that takes place in a vintage Tiki Bar. It’s fun, romantic and has a mystery that even Nancy Drew would love.

Little Gray Dress 

Emi Harrison has avoided her ex-fiancé, Jack Cabot, for nearly two years.  Her twin brother Evan's wedding is about to end that streak.

From bad bridesmaids' dresses, a hyperactive sister-in-law, a mean girl with even meaner secrets, and too much to drink, nothing seems to go right for Emi, except when she's wearing her little gray dress.

When she speed-walks into Liam Jaxon's bar, things get more complicated.  He's gorgeous, southern, and has no past with Emi.  He may be exactly what she needs to prove for the last time that she doesn't need or want Jack!

Her favorite little gray dress has made an appearance at nearly every major event in Emi's adult life.  Will it make another grand appearance when she least expects it?

Buy the Book:

Amazon US: ebook $2.99  print $9.99
Amazon UK: ebook £1.99  print £6.99
Barnes & Noble: print $9.99
BookPeople: print $9.99
Ingram: print
Baker & Taylor: print $9.99


Aimee Brown is a writer and an avid reader.  Little Gray Dress is her first published novel.  Her second novel is in the works now.  She's currently studying for her Bachelor's degree in English Writing.  She spends much of her time writing, doing homework, raising three teenagers, binge-watchng shows on Netflix, and obsessively cleaning and redecorating her house.  She's fluent in sarcasm and has been known to utter profanities like she's competing for a medal.

Aimee grew up in Oregon but is now a transplant living in cold Montana with her husband of twenty years, three teenage children, and far too many pets.

She would love to hear your thoughts on Little Gray Dress!  If you'd like to chat with her she's very active on social media.  You can find her at any of the networks below.  Stop by and say hello!

Find her here:

What reviewers are saying:

"A sparkling debut from an author to be watched." - USA Today Bestselling author S.E.Babin

"Delightful debut novel!  This book has all the earmarks of a fabulous rom-com!  I'm looking forward to much more from this author.! - Whitney Dineen, Bestselling author of The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan

"Wow!  It's Dynasty for the Chick Lit set.  It's Mean Girls in a little gray dress.  It's just so fun!" - Geralyn Corcillo, Bestselling chick lit author

"Little Gray Dress by Aimee Brown is simply a fun read to escape with while spending a day at the beach or cozying up on the couch on a rainy afternoon." - Effie Kammenou, women's fiction author & food blogger

"Little Gray Dress is a must read for any lover of Chick Lit!  Clear your schedule, put the kids to bed and pour yourself a nice glass of wine..." - Nikki LeClair, author of The Haunting Me series

"Witty & full of heart... a total gem!" - Camilla Isley, chick lit author

"Blogger turned author Aimee Brown debuts with a read that puts the romance into romantic comedy.  A cleverly told tale with a few surprising twists that make Little Gray Dress a standout winner." - KJ Farnham, author of the Click Date Repeat series

"Little Gray Dress is a fabulous romantic comedy debut by Aimee Brown.  She'll have you laughing & enjoying every moment of this book." - Tracy Krimmer, author of Dating For Decades and Lipstick & Lattes

"We've all been there: bridesmaid hell.  Aimee Brown perfectly captures the ups, downs, and drama of weddings, exes, rivalries and dating in her witting debut novel.  Little Gray Dress is one of this summer's must-reads!" - Holly Tierney-Bedord, author of Bellamy's Redemption and Right Under Your Nose

"A wonderful debut novel!  The author is a master of conflict, both small and big, and I'm a big fan of that.  The characters were likeable, except for when we were supposed to hate them (Greta!)." - Meredith Schorr, author of Blogger Girl Series