An Evening with HarperCollins at #DestinationHQ


On Monday I had the good fortune of attending the HarperCollins offices for their HQ imprint event #DestinationHQ.  The purpose of the event was to showcase their future releases for Summer 2019 to Spring 2020.

The event was held at the HarperCollins offices in London, situated next to The Shard. Held on the 17th floor, the room was surrounded by floor to ceiling windows which provided the most amazing views over the Thames.

View from HarperCollins HQ

After negotiating the suffocatingly hot underground to London Bridge, followed by a momentary panic upon seeing the complicated elevators in The News building, I arrived on the 17th floor where I was greeted by a table of very welcome fruity cocktails – vodka, orange and grapefruit. Delicious!

HQ cocktails
Just as welcome were the table of HQ branded water cooling fans available for our use – marvellous idea from those fab HQ folks!

HQ fans

On a third table situated by the window, as we walked into the main event room, were a pile of HQ branded tote bags and a table laden down with some of the future releases from HQ, along with copies some of the authors’ earlier works.  I was very restrained at first, selecting only the two books which I was most keen to read. However, after each author gave their 60 second pitch presentation, I couldn’t resist heading back to the book table to select a few additional books.  The line up coming from HQ sounds, quite simply, wonderful. Every book showcased sounded absolutely fantastic!

books from HarperCollins HQ Stories
Debut Authors
The presentations began with Publicity Director Sophie Calder giving a welcoming speech, before handing over to Senior Press Officer Joe Thomas to introduce the HQ debut authors. We were treated to 60 second pitches from each of the authors to introduce their upcoming publications.

The First Time Lauren Pailing Died by Alyson Rudd

The First Time Lauren Pailing Died by Alyson Rudd
Publication date: 11 July 2019 
Pre-order here
Lauren Pailing is born in the sixties, and a child of the seventies. She is thirteen years old the first time she dies.

Lauren Pailing is a teenager in the eighties, becomes a Londoner n the nineties. And each time she dies, new lives begin for the people who loved her – while Lauren enters a brand new life, too.

But in each of Lauren’s lives, a man called Peter Stanning disappears. And, in each of her lives, Lauren sets out to find him.

And so it is that, with each new beginning, Peter Stanning inches closer to finally being found…

Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie

Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie
Publication date: 25 July 2019
Pre-order here
On an ordinary Saturday morning in 1996, the residents of Nightingale Point wake up to their normal lives and worries.

Mary has a secret life that no one knows about, not even Malachi and Tristan, the brothers she vowed to look after.

Malachi had to grow up too quickly. Between looking after Tristan and nursing a broken heart, he feels older than his twenty-one years.

Tristan wishes Malachi would stop pining for Pamela. No wonder he’s falling in with the wrong crowd, without Malachi to keep him straight.

Elvis is trying hard to remember the instructions his care worker gave him, but sometimes he gets confused and forgets things.

Pamela wants to run back to Malachi but her overprotective father has locked her in and there’s no way out.

But when the sun sets, Nightingale Point is irrevocably changed and somehow, through the darkness, the residents must find a way back to lightness, and back to each other.

The Lost Ones by Anita Frank

The Lost Ones by Anita Frank
Publication date: 31 October 2019
Pre-order here

Some houses are never at peace.

England, 1917.

Reeling from the death of her fiance, Stella Marcham welcomes the opportunity to stay with her pregnant sister, Madeleine, at her imposing country mansion, Greyswick – but she arrives to find a house of unease and her sister gripped by fear and suspicion.

Before long, strange incidents begin to trouble Stella that plague Madeleine – sobbing in the night, little footsteps on the stairs – and as events escalate, she finds herself drawn to the tragic past of the house.

Aided by a wounded war veteran, Stella sets about uncovering Greyswick’s dark and terrible secrets – secrets the dead whisper from the other side…

The Family Tree by Sairish Hussain

The Family Tree by Sairish Hussain
Publication date: 20 Feburary 2020
Pre-order here
Your roots can always lead you home…

Amjad never imagined he’d be a single father. But he must step up for his two children – while his world falls apart.

Saahil dreams of providing for his dad and little sister. But his life is about to take an unexpected turn.

As the baby of the family, Zahra is shielded from the worst the world has to offer. But, as she grows up, she wonders if she can rely on anyone but herself.

There’s no such thing as an easy journey. But when life sends the family in different directions, will they take their own paths – or find their way back to each other?

This Lovely City by Louise Hare

This Lovely City by Louise Hare
Publication date: 12 March 2020
Pre-order here
The drinks are flowing. The music is playing. But the party can’t last.

With the Blitz over and London reeling from war, jazz musician Lawrie Matthews has answered England’s call for help. Fresh off the Empire Windrush, he’s taken a tiny room in South London lodgings, and has fallen in love with the girl next door.

Touring Soho’s music halls by night, pacing the streets as a postman by day, Lawrie has poured his heart into his new home and it’s alive with possibility. Until, one morning, he makes a discovery that will send shockwaves through the community. And the city’s newest inhabitants will be the first to feel them.

Precious You by Helen Monks-Takhar

Precious You by Helen Monks-Takhar
Publication date: 30 April 2020
Pre-order here
Twenty-four-year-old Lily Lunt is a privileged, politically correct millennial, a ‘fucking Snowflake’: soft, entitled, earnest. She’s got it easy.

Katherine Ross is a career woman in her early forties, a self-assured London homeowner with a loving partner, childless by choice. She’s got it all her own way.

But when their professional and personal lives collide, Katherine finds herself obsessively drawn to Lily. as the stages mount in their cat-and-mouse game, a deeply disturbing picture emerges of two women who are not what they seem – and who are desperate enough to do anything to come out on top.


Uplifting Fiction

Lucy Richardson, HQ’s Publicity Manager, then introduced HQ’s ‘uplifting’ fiction releases and we were treated to a further set of pitches from those authors.

About That Night by Elaine Bedell

About That Night by Elaine Bedell
Publication date: 11 July 2019
Pre-order here
Elizabeth Place might have been jilted on her wedding day one year ago, but at least she’s still got her brilliant job producing one of the biggest shows on TV!

But when larger-than-life TV host, Ricky Clough, dies live on air, her life is sent spinning out of control. And with foul play suspected, the spotlight is turned firmly on his colleagues – especially Hutch, the man desperate for Ricky’s job and whom Elizabeth is secretly dating.

As her world comes crashing down around her, Elizabeth realises that perhaps the only person she can really trust, is herself.

The Last Concerto by Sara Alexander

The Last Concerto by Sara Alexander
Publication date: 22 August 2019

Pre-order here

Famed for its natural beauty and rich history, Sardinia in 1968 is notorious, too, for the bandits who kidnap wealthy landowners for ransom.

Eleven-year-old Alba Fresu’s brother, and her father, Bruno, are abducted by criminals who mistake Bruno for a rich man. After a grueling journey through the countryside, the two are eventually released – but the experience leaves Alba shaken and unable to readjust to normal life.

Accompanying her mother to cleaning jobs, Alba visits the villa of an eccentric Signora and touches the keys of a piano for the first time. The instrument’s spell is immediate. During secret lessons, forbidden by her mother, Alba is at last able to express emotions too powerful for words alone.

But her path will lead her to a crossroads, and Alba will have to decide how to reconcile her talent with her longing for love and family, and convey the music of her heart…

Mr Doubler Begins Again by Seni Glaister

Mr Doubler Begins Again by Seni Glaister
Publication date: 22 August 2019
Pre-order here
Baked, mashed, boiled or fried, Mr Doubler knows his potatoes. But the same can’t be said for people. Since he lost his wife, he’s been on his own at Mirth Farm – and that suits Doubler just fine. Crowds are for other people; the only company he needs are his potato plants and his housekeeper, Mrs Millwood, who visits every day.

So when Mrs Millwood is taken ill, it ruins everything – and Mr Doubler begins to worry that he might have lost his way. But could the kindness of strangers be enough to bring him down from the hill?

What Happens Now? by Sophia Money-Coutts

What Happens Now? by Sophia Money-Coutts
Publication date: 22 August 2019
Pre-order here
After eight years together, Lil Bailey thought she’d already found ‘the one’ – that is, until he dumped her for a blonde twenty-something colleague. So she does what any self-respecting singleton would do: swips right, puts on her best bra and finds herself on a first date with a handsome mountaineer called Max. What’s the worst that can happen?

Well it’s pretty bad actually. First Max ghosts her and then, after weeing on a stick (but mostly on her hands), a few weeks later Lil discovers she’s pregnant. She’s single, thirty-one and living in a thimblesized flat in London, it’s hardly the happily-ever-after she was looking for.

Lil’s ready to do the baby-thing on her own – it can’t be that hard, right? But she should probably tell Max, if she can track him down.

Surely he’s not that Max, the highly eligible, headline-grabbing son of Lord and Lady Rushbrooke, currently trekking up a mountain in South Asia? Oh, maybe he wasn’t ignoring Lil after all…

The Day We Meet Again by Miranda Dickinson

The Day We Meet Again by Miranda Dickinson
Publication date: 5 September 2019
Pre-order here
“We’ll meet again at St Pancras station, a year from today. If we’re meant to be together, we’ll both be there. If we’re not, it was never meant to be…”

Phoebe and Sam meet by chance at St Pancras station. Heading in opposite directions, both seeking their own adventures, meeting the love of their lives wasn’t part of the plan. So they make a promise: to meet again in the same place in twelve months’ time if they still want to be together.

But is life ever as simple as that?

This is a story of what-ifs and maybes – and how one decision can change your life forever…

A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan

A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan
Publication date: 31 October 2019
Pre-order here

First to arrive are the bride’s parents, Maggie and Nick. Their daughter’s marriage is a milestone they are determined to celebrate wholeheartedly, but they are hiding a huge secret about their own: they are on the brink of divorce.

Rosie’s older sister Katie is also dreading the wedding. worried that impulsive, sweet-hearted Rosie is making a mistake, Katie is determined to save her sister fro herself. If only the irritatingly good-looking best man, Jordan, would stop interfering with her plans…

Bride-to-be Rosie loves her fiance but is having serious second thoughts. As the big day gets closer, and emotions run even higher, this is one White family Christmas none of them will ever forget.
Domestic Suspense

The final set of presentations, HQ’s forthcoming domestic suspense releases, were introduced by HQ’s Publicity Assistant, Izzy Smith.

Lies Lies Lies by Adele Parks

Lies Lies Lies by Adele Parks
Publication date: 19 September 2019
Pre-order here

Daisy and Simon’s marriage is great, isn’t it?

After years together, the arrival of longed-for daughter Millie sealed everything in place. A happy little family of three.

And so what if Simon drinks a bit too much sometimes – Daisy’s used to it, she knows he’s letting off steam. Until one night at a party things spiral horribly out of control. And that happy little family of three will never be the same again.

The Move by Felicity Everett

The Move by Felicity Everett
Publication date: 26 December 2019
Pre-order here

Karen is driving through a strange landscape into a new life. Always a city girl, now she is on her way to an idyllic country cottage, refurbished for her with impeccable taste by her husband Nick. They’re making a fresh start.

But something is awry in the new house. It’s not just the fact that Karen and Nick are ill at ease in one another’s company – that their recent history is far from picture perfect, it’s the whole vibe. The landscape is breathtaking by day, eerie by night. If the countryside is supposed to be a place of peace, far away from curtain-twitchers, who is the person watching them from the hill? And who are their new neighbours?

The Dilemma by B.A. Paris

The Dilemma by B.A. Paris
Publication date: 9 January 2020
Pre-order here
It’s Livia’s fortieth birthday and tonight she’s having a party, a party she’s been planning for a long time. The only person missing will be her daughter, Marnie.

But Livia has a secret, a secret she’s been keeping from Adam, her husband, until the party is over. Because how can she tell him that although she loves Marnie, she’s glad their daughter won’t be there to celebrate with her?

Adam is determined everything will be just right for Livia and the party is going to be perfect… until he learns something that will leave him facing an unbearable decision.

She by H C Warner

She by H C Warner
Publication date:  9 January 2020
Pre-order here
She’s everything he dreamed of. Isn’t she?

Ben can’t believe his luck when the beautiful Bella walks into his life, just when he needs her most.

Still bruised and vulnerable since breaking-up with long-term girlfriend, Charlotte, he falls head over heels in love.

But Bella isn’t quite the ideal partner that Ben believes her to be. She quickly decides that everything is better when it is just the two of them – making it harder for friend and family to stay in touch.

And then a sudden death triggers a chain of events that throws Ben headlong into a nightmare…


What an incredible line-up for HQ over the next 6 months!
Once the presentations concluded, more drinks were served, canapes were circulated and it was time to mingle and chat with the authors, publicists and some fellow bloggers.  I was very happy to see some friendly faces and had a lovely time catching up with some blogger friends, including Zarina (@zarinatweets), Linda (@Lindahill50Hill), Rachel (@gilbster1000) and Sharon (@ShazsBookBlog). I was also fortunate enough to have the opportunity to discuss haunted houses with Anita Frank, unappetising cookbooks with Adele Parks and awkward sex scenes with Sophia Money-Coutts!
I was fortunate enough to be accompanied by Adele on my trek back to the station which made for a very pleasant journey, although I last saw her walking the wrong way down the platform at Waterloo underground station….! 🙂 
A huge thanks to the lovely folk at HQ for an absolutely wonderful evening, albeit I’ve been left with a sore shoulder from carrying my book haul across London to catch my train and a significantly longer wishlist on Amazon now that I’ve heard the great pitches from HQ’s wonderful authors!
If you want to hear more from HQ, then you can visit them on Twitter at @HQstories.

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