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Sunday, 17 December 2017

The Hippo Hands Over . . . . to Katey Lovell

I'm over the moon to welcome author Katey Lovell to The Hippo today! I've known Katey for many years now (although we've never met in real life ☹️ ) through our mutual love of books and a website called Read It Swap It.

Katey is the author of three commercial women's fiction novels published by Harper Collins' imprint HarperImpulse. Her novels are about people overcoming everyday challenges with the support of their friends, family and local community. She has also penned a series of coffee-break romances (also published by HarperImpulse) and a hot romance for Tirgearr's City Nights series.

Originally from South Wales, Katey now lives in Sheffield with her husband and son. When she's not writing she'll most likely be found watching musicals, enjoying live music or reading anything and everything she can lay her hands on.

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Joe and Clara's Christmas Countdown is Katey's latest book and with Christmas fast approaching I couldn't think of a more appropriate time to tell you all about it.

As Christmas approaches Joe Smith knows he should be celebrating with friends and family, making the most of the season. But for Joe, Christmas only holds painful memories. Ones he can feel crushing his heart, a reminder of a time he can never forget.

Clara O'Connell loves Christmas. For her it is the most magical time of the year. And she's determined to make Joe love it too! She knows he's hurting, but maybe she can help to ease his pain. Her plan: One special gift every day to remind Joe just how loved he is.

But the clock is ticking. Will the Christmas magic wear off at midnight or will Clara's Christmas countdown be the perfect gift to heal Joe's broken heart? And in doing so, maybe she will get a gift in return…Joe's love for Christmas and forever…?

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                                     Location, Location, Location

As an author I’ve always enjoyed creating a sense of place in my writing. When I was working on my debut novel The Singalong Society for Singletons it was fairly easy – after all, it was set in Sheffield, the city I’ve spent half my life in.  Although the settings in my second novel The Café in Fir Tree Park were fictional, the park at the centre of the novel was based on parks I regularly visit – however, as it was made up I was free to do whatever I wanted with it, picking and choosing the elements I wanted to make more of a feature of, such as the rose garden and the lake and completely discarding others.  It couldn’t be wrong, which was incredibly freeing (just as well, because writing that book was enough of a challenge). 

With my festive release Joe and Clara’s Christmas Countdown I’ve gone back to an urban backdrop, this time the city of Manchester.  Manchester is a place I’ve visited regularly over the years.  Not only is it just an hour away by train but I also have friends who live there and it’s often the most convenient place for me to travel to see my favourite bands.  It’s a diverse city and I wanted Joe and Clara’s Christmas Countdown to showcase it as the wonderful, lively, friendly city it is, especially after the awful terrorist attack earlier in the year. 

Most places mentioned in the novel are entirely real – you can visit the Christmas Markets in Albert Square, battle against the crowds of Christmas shoppers at the Trafford Centre and enjoy a drink at The Night and Day Café in the popular Northern Quarter.  Manchester Cathedral and The Palace Theatre also feature in the novel.  

However, some of the locations are fictional – most notably The Club on the Corner where Joe and Clara work.  Elements of the building, such as the architectural style, were inspired by Salford Lads’ Club (which I visited during my research visits) but much of it is a figment of my overactive imagination.

Photo courtesy of Katey Lovell

The book I’m currently working on is set in Newcastle, a city I’ve visited but that I’m far less familiar with – it’s proving to be challenging at times as place is so important to me as a writer.  I’d love to hear from readers about how important settings and locations are to their enjoyment of a book, because for me it’s definitely key.

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Thanks for writing such an interesting post Katey. Personally I think that settings and locations are quite a big part of my enjoyment of reading. I recently read a book set partly in Austria in the winter and despite not being a fan of either the cold or snow, the author described it so well that I felt like I was there. I've also been known to put down my book to go and Google a location! Like you, I'd also be interested to hear other people's thoughts on this.

Joe and Clara's Christmas Countdown is available now and is currently only 99p to download.

You can find out more about Katey, her books and connect with her using the links below:

I'd like to thank Katey for taking the time to stop by today and to wish her every success with her latest book. 😉

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