Title: Return to Bluebell Hill
Author: Rebecca Pugh
Publisher: Carina UK
Publication Date: 18th June 2015
Morning all! Today is my stop on the blog tour for Rebecca Pugh’s debut novel, Return to Bluebell Hill (you may recall that I was involved in the cover reveal a few weeks ago). If you’ve missed any of the tour stops so far, then check out the blog sites listed below!
For the purpose of keeping this post reasonably short, I’ve chosen not to include my review of REturn to Bluebell Hill, however I will make sure I post that asap!
As sweet and satisfying as strawberries and cream! This British summertime, get out in the garden with Rebecca Pugh’s sparkling debut novel.
Home is where the heart is…
Jessica McAdams has never belonged anywhere; never truly felt at home. Of course, what did she expect from parents who never made her feel welcome in her own house? Leaving her life in London to return home to the charming country village of Bluebell Hill is harder than she thought. Espectially as she never considered she’d be returning under such heart wrenching circumstances…
Clearing out the stunning and imposing Bluebell House after her parents’ death is difficult for Jessica – they never had the best relationship and now it’s too late. Yet spending time in the house that was never a home, having afternoon tea with dear old friend Esme – and sharing hot, sizzling kisses with delectable gardener Rueben! – opens Jessica’s eyes to the potential of Bluebell House… Could this big old, beautiful manor really be her forever home? Is Bluebell Hill where her heart is, has always been?
Jessica soon dares to dream of her very own home with delicious Reuben by her side. But when a deep dark secret of Bluebell House is unearthed, Jessica’s world is turned upside down…
Will Jessica ever find where her heart truly lies?
An emotional tale of self-discovery, taking changes and romance! Rebecca’s unique British voice feels like coming home again and again.
Hi Becca! Thank you for taking the time to do a little Q&A for our readers.
1. To start with, please can you tell us a little bit about your debut novel, Return to Bluebell Hill?
Of course I can! Return to Bluebell Hill follows Jessica McAdams as she returns to the place she grew up after almost ten years of forcing the memory of it to the back of her mind. The funeral of her parents is what takes her back, and soon she finds herself responsible for Bluebell House, the home that was never really a home, truth be told. She is, of course, determined to sell it and hurry back to London. The place may be beautiful but it’s riddled with bad memories, reminding her of a time that she’d rather forget. As she packs up the rooms, she stumbles upon a few things that soon have her questioning her past in Bluebell House, and it isn’t long before the long-kept secrets begin to unravel.
2. Where did the idea for the story come from?
I really wish I had a fabulous answer for your question, Kirsty, but the honest answer is that it came completely from my imagination. I’ve always been fascinated by bluebells because of the myths/stories behind them, some associated with fairies, would you believe? I’ve got such a whimsical, romantic mind, and I suppose this whole world and story began to grow from and around that.
3. From the title of Return to Bluebell Hill, it sounds as though the setting is an important part of the story. Are you able to tell us where the story is set? If so, where did your inspiration for the setting come from?
You’re right! The setting is a very important part of Jessica’s story. She never planned to go back. As soon as she was able to, Jessica left and pushed everyone and everything associated with Bluebell Hill to the furthest, darkest corners of her mind. Going back, almost ten years later, takes a lot of strength and courage on Jessica’s part. The story isn’t set in any particular place that actually exists. Again, completely from my imagination. It’s surrounded by thick woodland, full of fields and dusty lanes. It’s just a quiet little place with some pretty explosive secrets hidden beneath the idyllic surface.
4. Who was your favourite character to write in the book and why?
Oh, I had such fun with all of them! Jessica, first and foremost, because she is the one who goes on this unforeseen adventure. I put her through a lot during the writing of this book, but for a very good reason. Esme was very enjoyable, she’s so cosy and adorable, and her cottage is somewhere I’d very much like to visit if it were real. Rueben? Well, he’s just delicious! I keep having to remind myself that he’s fictional.
5. If you were casting Return to Bluebell Hill for a movie, who would you cast for the main character(s)?
I think Anne Hathaway would play Jessica pretty well! Julie Andrews for Esme, because who doesn’t love that woman?! And *ahem* Channing Tatum as Rueben J
6. How did you want readers to feel whilst reading Return to Bluebell Hill? Were there any particular feelings or emotions that you wanted to conjure up your readers?
I really hoped that they’d care about Jessica, and be cheering her on throughout her journey! She goes through a tough time, experiences a ton of emotions, and I wanted readers to stick with her all the way through, to make sure she came out the other end in one piece.
7. What did you find the most challenging about writing Return to Bluebell Hill?
Definitely ensuring that the pace was kept up throughout the entire novel! I tend to ramble, quite a lot, and my rambling wouldn’t have kept readers turning the pages, sadly! Ensuring readers remained hooked right the way through was something that I wanted to achieve so desperately, and I hope that I have done that!
8. This is your debut novel, how have you found the writing & publishing experience so far? Does it differ to how you imagined the process would be?
Scary! Definitely scary. At the same time, absolutely, utterly completely thrilling. Knowing that people will be reading my book sets a million butterflies fluttering about in my stomach each time I sit down and force myself to truly realise what being a published author involves. I knew that behind the scenes a huge amount of work went on, but I’d say that I didn’t realise quite how much, but I think I’m getting the hang of it. It’s all completely new to me and every step along the way, I’m learning something new!
9. Can you tell us about the moment you found out you had secured a book deal? Where were you and what was the first thing you did after hearing the news?
I definitely can. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of telling people about this moment! I was in my bedroom, just bobbing about really, doing odd bits and bobs. When I answered the call and realised who was calling and why, I honestly felt as if my world had shifted. I had a strange sort of walk down the stairs and back up again, not entirely sure of what I was doing or why. Then, I called my mum and my partner. I cried both times I announced the news. It was all very messy and surreal and out of the blue. To tell you the truth, I’m not sure I still believe it now… My partner came home and handed me a bunch of flowers and hugged me. He knew how much it meant to me. I walked around in a daze for a good few weeks afterwards. Still am now!
10. Was there a moment when you just knew you wanted to be an author, or was it more of a gradual thing? What made you decide that you could and would write your first novel?
In regards to becoming an author, it was always something that I’d dreamed of, but never truly taken seriously, because it felt so out of reach! Imagine if I hadn’t tried? I’m so pleased that I did.
I don’t think there was any particular moment where I decided I would write my first novel. I had countless stories saved on my laptop, none which I’d actually finished, which is why Return to Bluebell Hill felt special to me. I did finish it. It was the furthest I’d ever managed to get.
11. Are there any particular authors who inspired you to write and publish your own novel?
All of them! Every book that I read added to my own desire to write.
12. Do you have any tips for aspiring authors who may be reading this?
Yes! Don’t, whatever you do, dismiss your dreams, no matter what they may be. Do you think I sat there in my pyjamas on a Tuesday night and thought, ‘I’m definitely going to be a published author one day’? Hahaha, no way! Honestly, this is the most surreal thing in the world. You never know until you try! Keep going. Don’t give up. Life is full of surprises, and they usually come when you least expect them!
13. What was your writing process for Return to Bluebell Hill? Did you plan/plot the story or just start writing and see where it took you?
No, I’m too disorganised to be a planner. I wrote and watched where it took me. It was so much fun, and the direction took me completely by surprise!
14. I know that you are a huge book fan, being a book blogger before becoming a published author. Do you still get much time to read yourself? If so, what are some of your recent favourite books?
When I’m in the process of editing, I can only read when I climb into bed. Editing takes more time than I realised, but I’ll always make sure that I have time for reading! A few recent favourites are:
Truly, Madly, Greeklyby Mandy Baggot
Evil Gamesby Angela Marsons
A Good Catchby Fern Britton
To tell you the truth, my most recent reads have all been fantastic! Check them out on Becca’s Books if you have the time!
15. What’s your favourite way to relax when you’re not busy writing?
Visiting my family. Honestly, nothing relaxes and grounds me like being amid my huge, chaotic family. I’m the eldest of seven children and spending time with them, and my lovely Mum, is my favourite thing to do. My partner and I have been together since we were sixteen years old, and he knows me inside out. He can tell when I’m stressing about something just from looking at me and always knows the right thing to do or say to bring me back down to earth! I love spending time with him, too, whether that be a trip to the cinema or out to eat, he really is the other half of me. I love him tremendously.
16. I have a short list of Quick Fire questions for you:-
· Tea or coffee? Coffee, coffee, coffee!
· Beach or sightseeing? Oh, beach, definitely! I find the sea so soothing and peaceful to watch.
· Sun or snow? It used to be snow, but just lately I’ve found myself seriously looking forward to some summer sun.
· Chocolate – in the fridge or not? Hahah, don’t kill me but I’m not much of a chocolate lover. I have to be in the mood to enjoy it, but if I had to choose, I’d say yes, pop it in the fridge! Makes it even nicer when it melts in your mouth!
· Red or white wine? Eeeek, none! I’m much more of an Archers and lemonade type of girl! 😉
· Sweet or savoury? Savoury, all day every day!
· Ebook or physical book? Ebook at bedtime, physical in the day!
17. Finally, what’s coming next for your readers or is it top secret for now?
I can’t say too much yet as it’s not concrete, but you’ll hear me squealing about it once I have news! You know what I’m like, way too over-excitable! 😉
18. Any parting comments?
Kirsty, I can’t thank you enough for having me here today! Yourself, as well as many others, have all made this journey absolutely beautiful. Your support blows me away and it is something that I will remember and treasure ALWAYS! Seriously, I adore you. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!
Thanks so much for visiting Curious Ginger Cat – it’s been brilliant to find out more about you and your debut novel Return to Bluebell Hill.
About the Author
Rebecca Pugh grew up in the green county of Shropshire, with a mind full of fairy-takes and happy endings. Enchanted by true love and Disney Princesses, she decided that no matter what life threw her way, she’d continue to see the world through a child’s eyes. Through the pages of countless books, her adoration of reading blossomed, and it didn’t take long for her to fall under the spell of hundreds of authors’ words.
Now, Rebecca’s own story has taken a fairy-tale like turn, and at 22, her dream has come true. With her faithful companions: Bonnie the dog, her partner, and her gigantic family by her side, Rebecca is ready to share her stories with readers who enjoy falling in love and losing themselves within beautiful, fictional worlds.
Rebecca Pugh is the author of women’s fiction and romance, her all-time favourite genres. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a good swoon?
Her debut novel, Return to Bluebell Hill, is due to be published June 18th 2015 by Carina UK.