A one-bedroom apartment with creeping damp.
Depressed cat, complete with litter tray.
Neither was part of Claire’s five-year plan.
Nor, for that matter, was divorce.
Left with a comfort eating habit that’s costing her a small fortune in ice-cream, and panic attacks flooring her in front of the supermarket meals-for-one, Claire turns to her mum and Mindfulness in the hope that one of them can help her find real happiness.
She thinks she’s cracked it… but then her past comes creeping back.
Now she has to work out what really makes her happy or risk a life where Ben & Jerry are the only men who matter
– When and where do you prefer to write?
It used to be in the office I have at home – but since Covid came along and forced us all to work from home, I now find its association with my day job stifles my creative juices. I like writing in my lounge, with a lap tray I rest my laptop on. It’s probably terrible for my back and my husband interrupts me a lot, but there you go. Writing is squeezed into evenings and weekends mostly.
– Do you have a certain ritual?
No, no ritual at all. I quite like doing a morning exercise class so that I know if I don’t move for the rest of the day when I’m totally in the zone I don’t need to feel guilty about it, but it’s not a necessity. Coffee at regular intervals helps. I’m what writers call a ‘pantser’. I know where I want my story to go when I start writing it, but how it will get there is not always clear.
– Is there a drink of some food that keeps you company while you write?
Coffee, as I said, and any sweet snacks are always good. Having said that, when I get into a flow, I don’t want to stop for anything – even food.
– What is your favourite book?
I must read about three books a week, sometimes more. I also listen on audible so I usually have one book on my kindle and one audio book on the go at any time. Recently, I loved Where the Crawdad’s Sing by Delia Owens. That stayed in my memory, which is half the battle when you read a lot. I also enjoyed Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library. Mhairi McFarlane’s books usually make me laugh. Oh, and I loved Elinor Oliphant is Completely Fine. I read romance through to thrillers through to just about anything else really. I just love a good story with relatable characters.
– Do you consider writing a different genre in the future?
I already have – I’ve written six contemporary romances. This was my first foray into chick lit and women’s fiction. I also have a YA I want to write. I go with what gives me energy.
– Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
Yes – a lot. Including bits of myself in many characters. Luckily, with That Certain Spark I could take inspiration from the wonderful women I know. The lasagne bit happened to a dear friend of mine. I loved that story so much I always wanted to use it in a book.
– Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
I mostly capture things people say and I use my phone a lot these days – especially if they say something that makes me laugh.
– Which genre do you not like at all?
I lack the attention span for historical fiction. I tried Wolf Hall and gave up, even thought I knew it was probably good for me. Too many Thomas’. I can just about manage them if they have a romantic storyline and are more character driven.
– If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
Ooh – good question. Margaret Attwood probably. I loved Handmaid’s Tale and The Testament. She knows how to write a darn good story and make it literary. I think I could learn a lot from her.
– If you should travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you chose and why?
I grew up in the Middle East and was lucky enough to travel a fair bit when I was young. I’d say the USA is appealing – but not the well-known bits. I’d like to see some of the smaller towns. I just want them to tell me they love my accent.
Thank you, Isobel Hart and Rachel’s Random Resources
About the author
Born in London, Isobel Hart’s childhood was spent in the Middle East before being sent to boarding school. It meant she had a lot of time to read. Now based in the UK, she writes about what she knows – real women, with flaws.
A romantic at heart, happily married for nearly twenty-five years, her novels focus on relationships – good and bad – and the women at the heart of them. She is ever hopeful others will find their happy-ever-afters or Happy-For-Now’s too.
US Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08Y7WKY4R
UK Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08Y7WKY4R
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