Monday, 29 June 2015

Debut Spotlight: Rebecca Pugh

Who knew when I did the Reader Spotlight with Rebecca Pugh last September that in less than a year I would be welcoming her back to the blog as a published author, her debut novel Return to Bluebell Hill was published earlier this month.

I have been following fellow blogger Becca's writing progress via Twitter, almost like a proud mum... well I am old enough to be her mum, and think that what she has achieved at such a young age is a massive achievement.  Congratulations Becca xxx

Rebecca Pugh grew up in the green county of Shropshire, with a mind full of fairytales 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 fairytale-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?

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. Especially 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 Rueben 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?

Can you tell us a little bit about your debut novel Return to Bluebell Hill? 
Of course! Return to Bluebell Hill is about Jessica McAdams. She hasn’t been back to Bluebell Hill for almost a decade, and is called back to attend her parents’ funeral. Whilst there, she’s landed with the responsibility of Bluebell House, her childhood home, which of course she wants rid of ASAP. It’s nothing but bad memories for Jessica, things she’d much rather forget about. As she begins to pack up Bluebell House, with Esme beside her, she stumbles upon a few things that eventually lead to the unravelling of Jessica’s past. It really is FULL of secrets, despite its charming exterior! 

The village name of Bluebell Hill is cute, what inspired you to choose this name?  Were there other options?  
I just LOVE bluebells! I’ve always been fascinated by the stories and myths behind them, how they can transform a forest floor into a sea of blue. They really captivate me and seem almost fairy-tale like. There were other options, but Bluebell Hill seemed to fit the feel of Jessica’s story perfectly. You’ll have to let me know if you think so, too. Also, it describes the setting of the place beautifully!

Did you know where the story was going to go before you started writing or did it take on a life of its own? 
It definitely took on a life of its own. I had a faint idea of what the story would be about when I was at the very first stretches of writing. It’s changed a lot since that first draft, but for the better, I think! 

Can you describe Jessica in three words?
Brave, determined, and honest. 

Which character was your favourite to create?
I loved creating Jessica as this is her story, but Esme was a lot of fun to bring to life and play with, too! She’s such a cosy, old woman, and her cottage is to die for. She plays an important part in Jessica’s story. She’s always had Jessica’s best interests at heart. 

Were there parts of the writing/editing/publishing process that took you by surprise? Something us readers know nothing about.
Well, I can say that writing to deadlines was a bit of surprise! I mean I knew it was coming, but once it happened I was a bit like, ‘Okay, this is serious now.’ Ensuring the pace within Return to Bluebell Hill remained the same right the way through was a bit tough for me because I tend to go off on one when it comes to descriptions. I could have spent pages and pages describing the setting of Bluebell Hill, but quickly realised that perhaps I shouldn’t spend so much time talking about fields, trees and flowers ;) 

The publishing part of this experience is the one thing I still can’t get my head around. It hasn’t sunk in at all, despite having had months now to realise that this IS happening. Maybe it’ll finally happen on publication day? It’s been equally exciting and terrifying, but slowly, I’m beginning to realise what this actually means, and I’m loving every single step!

Had you much input into designing the cover of your book?  
Just as much was needed really. Carina are absolutely fantastic with their covers so I had complete faith in them, and when I saw my final cover I almost died! I just love, love, LOVE IT! 

What can we expect from you next?
As of right now, nothing has been set in concrete, but there are a handful of ideas buzzing about in my mind and I’m super excited about all of them! But, once I know, then you’ll know. You know how excited I get, hahaha!

Did you always want to write and become a published author? 
I’ve always wanted to write, but becoming a published author? That bit never really occurred to me. Or, it did, but I just never thought it possible. It was a dream of mine, definitely, but I never actually considered the possibility of it happening! Now here we are, EEEEK!

Do you think blogging & reviewing has helped with your writing?  
Yes, definitely. I think reviewing other people’s writing has definitely helped me to take note of every author’s unique style, and how their novels are structured. Authors have always amazed me with what they do, surreal to think that I’m now on the other end of it. I think my love of reading has definitely led the way towards eventually writing my own novel. 

Can you recall the exact moment when you got THE CALL from Carina UK saying that they wanted to publish your book?
Yes! I’d been in my bedroom, doing some random bits and bobs, nothing exciting if I recall. Then my phone had rung, I’d answered, and… It all seems like a bit of a blur after that. Being offered a two-book deal? On a random week night? I think I almost died. 

Do you set yourself a daily/weekly writing target?
No, I’m not the most organised of people. I just write when it calls to me, which is probably most of the time. I’m a fast typer so can manage quite a lot of words in a day, but whether they’re actually needed is another matter entirely! ;)

Now that your dreams are about to come true, what advice would you give to anyone else who would like to write?  
Never dismiss your dreams! No matter who you are, where you’re from, what you do, it’s completely and utterly possible! 

Are you going to treat yourself to anything nice for publishing your debut novel?
Probably lots and lots of new books! ;) 

Did you do anything exciting to celebrate publication day?
Publication day was the same day as my much-loved mother bear’s birthday, so it was a double celebration, wahoo! 

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