As an extra treat for all of our readers, we have a Q&A with the lovely Heidi Swain to accompany our earlier Blog Tour post.
Hi Heidi, thank you for agreeing to do a little Q&A with us to celebrate the publication of your second novel, Summer at Skylark Farm.
Hello and thank you for inviting me to feature on your fabulous blog! I’m delighted you signed up to take part in the tour.
- To start with, please can you tell us a little bit about Summer at Skylark Farm and where the idea for the story come from?
Summer at Skylark Farm follows the story of Amber who gives up her high flying city career to move to the East Anglian countryside with her partner Jake and help him turn around the fortunes of his family farm.
I think the idea for the story was initially borne out of my passion for the Great British countryside, farming and rural issues. I’ve wanted to write a ‘farm novel’ for a long time so it felt as if Amber’s story had been with me forever really, just waiting in the wings for the opportune moment!
- How much research went into writing about life on a farm? Is this something you have first-hand knowledge of yourself?
Thinking back I didn’t need to do a great deal of research. I come from an arable farming family who have worked the land in East Anglia for generations and my husband, (who used to be a head gardener with the National Trust for Scotland) and I have always preferred to live rurally. Fortunately his former horticultural career gave us ample opportunity to live in some truly beautiful locations and we’ve also kept hens on and off for the last couple of decades and enjoyed ‘growing our own’. I was keen to share my own experiences in this novel and hope I have successfully drawn on them to help me convey the joys of living in the East Anglian countryside.
- Who was your favourite character to write in the book?
I absolutely adore Jake’s aunt Annie. She might not be much of a cook but when it comes to natural remedies and country lore she certainly knows her onions!
- What’s your writing process? Do you plan/plot the story first and, if so, did the book ever take a different path to what you initially intended?
I do like to have a plan with all the key scenes and turning points plotted out before I put pen to paper because once I start writing a first draft it’s pretty much head down until I type The End. I find it reassuring to know the direction things are heading in however, I’m always prepared to let the characters dictate as the story progresses, which they are quite often keen to do. As a rule things swing back in my favour and end how I planned them to and this was certainly the case with Summer at Skylark Farm.
- Looking back over your experiences of being a published author, what has been your favourite moment to date?
I’m sorry but that’s an impossible question to answer! There have been so many standout moments during the last couple of years that it would be unfair to pick out just one. Being offered a contract was a phenomenal moment in my life and traveling to London to meet with the Books and The City Team and take part in their fantastic events is always exciting as is seeing the book covers for the first time.
But actually you know, I can answer this question. At the very top of the list are the readers. Absolutely nothing beats receiving a review or a tweet from someone who has loved what I’ve written so much that they want to tell the world about it. That’s an amazing feeling and one that I’ll never grow tired of. Knowing that someone has picked my book (my book!) for their holiday read is such a thrill and a privilege. Yes, it’s the fabulous readers who provide the favourite moments and so far I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy lots of them!
- Your two novels to date have been women’s literature/romances. If you were to dabble in a genre that you haven’t ventured into before, which genre would you choose?
At this point in my career I honestly can’t imagine writing anything else. I write stories that I love, about lives I would like to lead and set in places I would love to live. I don’t think I would ever want to write anything else, but don’t hold me to that just in case.
- What are you currently reading?
My current read is The Little Kiosk by The Sea by Jennifer Bohnet. I only started it last night but I’m absolutely hooked! I’m a sucker for a fabulous setting and this novel certainly has one of those.
- If you could recommend just one book to our readers, what would it be?
You simply have to read, in fact you probably already have, Letters to The Lost by Iona Grey.
- What’s your favourite way to relax when you’re not busy writing?
Hang on to your hats folks, here comes the cliché… reading of course. I’m never without a book and I love to garden. Give me a day filled with flowers and words and I’m happy!
- Are you able to say what’s coming next for your readers or is top secret for now?
Next on the agenda is my first Christmas novel, Mince Pies and Mistletoe at the Christmas Market. It’s set in Wynbridge of course, and comes out on October 20th in both paperback and eBook. It’s available to order now and as I’m sure you can imagine holding my very own book is going to be the best Christmas present ever!
And now, here’s a ‘Quick Fire’ round to allow our readers to learn a little more about you:-
- Tea or coffee?
Tea for sure. I adore the smell of coffee but don’t like the taste!
- Beach or sightseeing?
Sightseeing, especially if there’s beautiful countryside to explore.
- Sun or snow?
Snow! I’m a bit of a moaner if it’s too hot. If the summer temperature never got any higher than 23 degrees I’d be a happy bunny.
- Chocolate – in the fridge or not?
I don’t eat chocolate very often but when I do it’s never kept in the fridge.
- Wine – red or white?
White (preferably the fizzy stuff).
- Sweet or savory?
Savoury. Ready salted crisps are my weakness so I never buy them!
- Reading – ebook or physical book?
I’m equally happy with both. As long as it’s fabulous fiction I’ll read it in any format!
Thanks so much for visiting Curious Ginger Cat – it’s been brilliant to find out more about you and your new novel, Summer at Skylark Farm!
Thank you for making me so welcome!
|Available to buy here|