Interview

Crooked Cat Publishing

 

Published on:  February 7th 2014

Faith owns The Coffee Pot in the outdoor adventure sports mecca of Derbyshire’s Peak District. She hasn’t had a man in her life for a while, as she’s been too busy serving cakes to weary rock climbers and mountain bikers to find time for the complications of a relationship with the male of the species.

At least, that’s what she tells herself. The truth is that since she got her heart broken she’s had problems trusting men.

When she meets Zane, one of the new owners at the Carrdale Extreme Sports Centre, Faith finds herself enjoying his company even though part of her can’t help wondering why he’s so reluctant to talk about himself.

Then the past comes back to haunt her in the shape of Zane’s business partner Matt, who just happens to be the guy who broke Faith’s heart all those years ago.

With Matt out to cause trouble and Zane keeping secrets Faith’s life is about to get very complicated indeed…

Main buy links for book:

*Amazon UK

*Amazon USA

 

Excerpt

 

This couldn’t be happening.

Zane had said his business partner was called Matt. She was sure of it. Yes, he’d definitely just introduced him as Matt. But the man standing before her wasn’t Matt.

It was Aaron.

Faith wiped her hands on a tea–towel. She wanted to speak, but couldn’t get her brain into gear enough to make her mouth form the words.

She’d thought Aaron was gone from her life.

It looked as though she was wrong.

She took a step back, wrapping her arms around herself. Suddenly she felt cold and shaky. Aaron was back? This was impossible.

Yet here he was, standing in her kitchen. She felt dizzy and light-headed.

How should she react? Should she admit they knew each other? Why had Aaron changed his name to Matt anyway? Would he prefer it if the fact they knew each other was kept quiet?

But she knew she couldn’t keep something like that from Zane.

As she debated what to say and do next, the room remained awkwardly silent. Zane was looking at her questioningly.

What should she say?

Come on, think, woman. Think.

Too late. Aaron spoke first.

“Faith, it’s amazing to see you again after all these years.”

OK. So he didn’t want to keep it a secret that they already knew each other.

“Aaron,” she managed to say. “This is a bit of a shock.”

“That’s an understatement,” Matt said, stepping forward to pull her into a hug.

“Hang on a second,” Zane said, pushing into the room. “Aaron? That’s your proper name isn’t it?” He raised enquiring eyebrows at Matt. “What’s going on? You two already know each other?”

 

 

   Fun, Flirty Facts With The Guys

 

Do you prefer your book heroes to be mean and moody or sensitive and vulnerable? Zanna Mackenzie’s new book, If You Only Knew, has both, with bad boy Matt and emotionally wounded Zane….


 

 

 

Facts for Zane:

*Celebrity you've been told you look like:  Apparently the actor Kieren Hutchison, though I think I’m probably taller.

 *Naughty food you like to indulge in: Triple choc muffins. Especially the ones from Faith’s coffee shop in the village. She makes the best muffins going.

 *What you wear to bed: It varies, sometimes a t-shirt, sometimes nothing.

 *How many people you've said "I love you" to: Only one.  Until I arrived in Carleton I honestly thought I’d never say those words again. Now I’ve met Faith and our relationship is taking me way outside my emotional comfort zone and I’m started to wonder…

*Relationship deal-breaker:  A woman who is unfaithful. When I’m involved with someone I am one hundred per cent committed to that relationship; I need the woman I’m involved with to feel the same way.

 *Your first kiss - How old were you? Did you instigate it? I think I was about thirteen or fourteen. It was on one of those joint Boy Scouts and Girl Guides camping trips. Her name was Anna, we went  off into the woods. I was planning how to make a move when she pushed me up against a tree and kissed me. She was quite a forthright girl!

 

Facts for Matt:

*Celebrity you've been told you look like: Ryan Gosling but I’m better looking.

*Naughty food you like to indulge in: Cakes, pizza and a fried breakfast of eggs, bacon and sausages. I’m an active guy; I run an outdoor extreme sports centre so I burn off all those calories anyway.

 *What you wear to bed: Nothing!

*How many people you've said "I love you" to:   Do you mean said it to, or said it to and actually meant it? If it’s the latter, then the answer is two.

 *Relationship deal-breaker: A woman who cheats on me.

 *Your first kiss - How old were you? Did you instigate it? I was thirteen. Yes, of course, I instigated it. Her name was Kathy and it was at the school disco. We had a fun time.

 

 

About the author

Zanna Mackenzie lives on the Derbyshire/Leicestershire border with her husband, 4 dogs, a vegetable patch that’s home to far too many weeds and an ever expanding library of books waiting to be read.

 

Being a freelance writer and editor of business publications is her ‘day job’ but, at every opportunity, she can be found scribbling down notes on scenes for whatever novel she’s working on. She loves it when the characters in her novels take on minds of their own and start deviating from the original plot!

If You Only Knew is Zanna’s third novel; her previous books The Love Programme, and How Do You Spell Love? were both published in 2013.

Find out more about Zanna on her blog www.zannamackenzie.blogspot.co.uk, on Twitter via @ZannaMacKenzie or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/zanna.mackenzie

 

Author Links

 

Amazon Author Page - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Zanna-Mackenzie/e/B00BKY1A18/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0   

 

 

Welcome to the hotseat Zanna.

 

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

Girl meets new love then, confusingly, first love comes back into her life.

 

What was the inspiration for this book?

As a starting point I’m inspired by locations. I used to be a travel agent and also researched and wrote UK tourism brochures for a while too. I enjoy setting my books in some of my favourite locations in the UK and have written novels set in the Scottish Highlands, North Yorkshire and now, in my latest book If You Only Knew, the Peak District of Derbyshire.

 

The fictitious village in If You Only Knew was inspired by the real village of Castleton in the Peaks. I was fascinated by the area around Castleton with all the caves and hills, it’s a real outdoor and extreme sports mecca, and the book grew from that.  Once I had the ‘where’ in place and the key settings of the coffee shop and extreme sports centre, the characters and ideas just popped into my head. The original outline plot idea and the eventual plot do share some similarities but there were lots of changes along the way as the book unfolded!

 

I also discovered the joys of PInterest and set up a mood board for If You Only Knew which contains pictures of the village, the scenery, how Faith’s coffee shop might look and photos of the famous people who visually inspired the characters of Zane, Faith and Matt.

 

The If You Only Knew PInterest board can be viewed via this link: http://www.pinterest.com/zannamac/if-you-only-knew/

 

 

What are you working on next? Do you have a WIP?

I have 4 WIPs but I really need to pick one and just focus on that otherwise I’ll never get my next book written!  I think the book I’ll aim to complete next is the one about the down side of dating a famous actor.

 

 

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

I love creating the characters for a book. I have the plot outlined and then start to build a detailed bio for each character including how they look, their star sign, age, jobs, where they grew up, family background, their issues and worries, what they like, what they dislike, their romantic history and much, much more.  I probably get far too excited about creating a character than I should!

 

The worst part of writing for me is trying to be patient – not a natural state for me unfortunately! I have all the ingredients of the book in place and want to just write the first draft as quickly as possible. I’m always so impatient to get it all down on the page. After the first draft is complete then I manage to calm down a bit and take lots of time on the editing and fine tuning side of things.

 

 

 

Tell us about your travels.

I studied travel and tourism at college and used to be travel agent. I’m still fascinated by travel and love to watch TV programmes about countries where I can learn all about scenery, food, culture, traditions and lifestyle. Countries I’ve visited? Romania, Sweden, Greece, Italy (Venice was stunning), Austria (loved Salzburg), Portugal, France (Paris), Spain, Greece. A little further afield, instead of a birthday party for my 21st my old school friend Elaine and I booked a trip to Florida. Elaine was 21 a week before me so she did the same, ditched having a party and asked for money from relatives instead of birthday gifts to fund her trip. We spent two weeks visiting all the theme parks and had an amazing time. My favourite country? Canada. I spent a couple of weeks travelling around Eastern Canada when I was younger. We visited Toronto, Montreal, Quebec, Niagara Falls and Ottawa. Many years later I visited Canada again, this time with my husband. He has relatives who live in the suburbs of Vancouver so we stayed with them and did all the tourist spots in and around the city plus we packed a rucksack each and caught the ferry over to Vancouver Island and toured around on there. The relatives were kind (and brave!) enough to lend us a car and we travelled inland to the Okanagan Valley to visit some other relatives too. The scenery is just spectacular.

 

 

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

A bit of both. I have an overall idea for the plot and the key characters then I do a step by step plot point plan to work out what happens at each stage of the book. When I actually start writing though I find that  inevitably the characters start getting minds of their own and the plot starts to deviate somewhat!

 

 Have you taken any creative writing courses and would you recommend them?

 

Yes, I did the Comprehensive Writing course with the Writer’s Bureau – it taught me a huge amount. The course covered nonfiction and fiction writing and it pretty much launched my writing career - because of the course I got my first articles published in a variety of magazine and my first short story published in Peoples’ Friend magazine. After that I started trying my hand at writing novels and was thrilled when I was offered contracts from publishers for my books.

 

What book(s) are you reading at the moment?

 

Every so often I get the urge to re-read a book by one of my favourite authors and I’m doing just that at the moment. I’m reading, for what must be about the fourth time, Jill Mansell’s Sheer Mischief. I love Jill’s books, they have everything – laughter, romance, great settings, likeable characters, and an intriguing plot.

 

 If you were stranded on a desert island and could only take three books with you, what would they be and why?

 

The three books I would choose would be:

 

Roisin Meaney’s One Summer

This is a book by an Irish author set on a beautiful little island off the west coast of Ireland. When I read it I feel as though I’m there with the characters. I can taste the sea air, feel the breeze, the setting is just superb. The story is quite a page turner too and keeps you guessing right to the end. There’s a sequel out this year and I’m looking forward to dipping back into life on Roone.

 

 

Martina Reilly’s Even Better Than The Real Thing

This book is also from an Irish author. It’s wonderfully written and has an unusual plot involving forged art. It’s a romantic mystery suspense and a gripping read.

 

 

Paige Toon’s Pictures of Lily

Set in Australia, the beautifully drawn characters and a classic will-they-won’t-they plot made this a can’t-read-fast-enough book for me. I did something I never do and ended up skipping to the last page when I was half way through because I was so desperate to know how things ended up. Once I knew the ending I could relax and read and enjoy the rest of the book at leisure rather than trying to read it faster than humanly possible to see what happened!

 

 

Do you have any advice for new writers?

Do not give up. I have become disillusioned and given up on writing several times and my books only got to see the light of day because my husband nagged me to start sending them out to publishers back in 2012. I sent one book to a publisher in America and another to a UK publisher and told myself to forget about them whilst mentally preparing myself for the rejection emails. Within one month the American publisher came back and said they loved the book and offered me a contract. I couldn’t believe it, I was stunned. I cried. I danced around the room. One week later an email arrived from the UK publisher about the other book and they offered me a contract too. Cue more crying and dancing around the room! In Feb 2013 the first book, The Love Programme, was launched, closely followed in March 2013 by the second book, How Do You Spell Love? My third book, If You Only Knew, was launched in Feb 2014, by the same UK publisher who launched my second book. 


Thankyou so much for taking part

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Shaz Goodwin | Reply 26.03.2014 20.21

Great interview ladies.

Thank you for taking part today Julie.

Shaz

Zanna | Reply 26.03.2014 17.33

Thanks so much for letting me visit All Things Bookie - I've loved being in that hotseat and answering all your questions!

Julie Ryan 26.03.2014 18.28

Always a pleasure Zanna

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10.05 | 20:40

Mary reading this is fabulous and it will also give help to other people trying to write I love your books roll on 18th may can't wait you are an inspiration x

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10.05 | 11:34

Mary Wood is a fabulous author and definitely one of my favourites. She is a born storyteller, whose characters will live in your mind and heart.

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10.05 | 10:05

Thanks so much Mary x

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10.05 | 09:58

Thank you, Bev, and Julie. Julie, this is a lovely page, so beautifully presented, thank you so much. Much love, Mary x

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