So Rebecca, what inspired you to write a book in the first place?
I don’t think it was anything in particular that sparked the idea. I suppose, in a way, it had always been there, right at the very back of my mind. I’ve always been an avid reader and I’ve always been surrounded by books. I never thought I’d be able to write anything that compared to the books I’d read. I have numerous stories saved on my laptop that I twiddled and tweaked, but never took seriously. Return to Bluebell Hill was the first story I managed to complete. It meant something to me, became extra-special, and I cared about my characters immeasurably. The decision to submit my manuscript to Carina bounced about in my mind for a while, until I finally took that step. Not in a million years did I ever, ever, ever expect anything to come from it. It’s safe to say that my jaw hit the floor when I received ‘the call’…
Where did the idea for Return to Bluebell Hill come from?
Completely from my imagination. I’ve always found bluebells and the myths/stories behind them enchanting, mainly because I have a very whimsical mind that clings to anything slightly romantic and fairy-tale like. I’m a complete sucker for romance, too, but I’m also a huge family girl. I think I included a smattering of the things that I love in Return to Bluebell Hill. Whether I liked it or not, they would have crept out of me and into the book anyway. It’s just how my mind works.
Describe your writing style in 10 words or less?
A sprinkle of cosiness with a dash of magic!
Do you have any strange writing habits?
I know that I can definitely get carried away with the descriptions of settings when writing, so much so that the whole book could be dedicated to the place where my stories are set! ;) I also find it hard to get started without first having a nice cup of coffee. I’ll sometimes sit with the TV on but switched onto mute, no idea why. And I really can’t cope with interruptions once I’m really in the swing of things!
Did you plot out the whole book before you started or just started writing to see where it would lead you?
I’m not organised in the slightest, meaning when an idea comes to me, I much prefer to tap away rather than make notes etc. I’ve tried, don’t get me wrong, to organise myself and make things easier so that I don’t hit that black hole later on, all because I didn’t make a plan, but it just doesn’t work for me. Once I have an idea, I just have to get it out and get involved in it. I guess every writer is different, and chaotic bursts of inspiration are what work best for me!
What have you found to be the hardest part of your writing?
Ensuring the pace of my story is enough to keep readers turning the pages. If you’ve read any of the book reviews on Becca’s Books, you’ll see that sometimes, I will ramble on and on and on, and I think I can end up doing this when writing, too. As I mentioned above in the question about writing habits, I get seriously carried away when it comes to descriptions… What should probably be a quick mention can easily turn into a three-paragraph long description of some trees. Oops!
Has your life changed since getting your publishing deal? If so, how?
It’s definitely more exciting! That’s not to say I didn’t love my life beforehand. I’m incredibly blessed to have such wonderful and loving people surrounding me. I had and still have everything that I need and I’ve never expected to have more than that, because I know that people have less. Since being offered my publishing deal, I feel like I’ve found my purpose, does that sound ridiculous? All of a sudden, things that I never dreamt of happening, even having this chat with you, are happening, and it’s completely surreal. I’d also like to say that being offered my publishing deal has reinforced the fact that dreams do come true. I couldn’t wait to tell my younger brothers and sisters about it because I wanted them to know that you can achieve your dreams in life. I hope that’s what they think, that their big sister wasn’t afraid to go after what she wanted, so they won’t be afraid either. Finally, my publishing deal has made me realise that maybe, my writing isn’t so bad after all… It’s upped my confidence and I feel brave and capable. I going at my writing harder than ever and I absolutely LOVE IT!
Yes, definitely! I 100% believe that my love of reading has built the foundations for what I hope will become a writing ‘career’. I’ve read so many books, seen the way other authors write and create their stories, and it’s solidified it in my head. I think the books that I’ve read have paved the way to becoming an author myself.
Who are your favourite authors?
Oh, wow. How long have you got? I have nearly all of Jill Mansell’s books because I adore her style so much. I love Miranda Dickinson, Sophie Kinsella, Holly Martin, Rebecca Raisin, Rosanna Ley is another firm favourite. But then, I also love Stephen King for his incredible imagination. I have a bit of a ‘thing’ for R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books, too. Honestly, this list doesn’t even touch the surface.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would be the title?
This is a fabulous question! I think I’d call it, ‘The Girl Who Did,’ and it would be about having the courage to go after what you want, no matter how unachievable you may think it is at the time.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Same as above, I reckon! I cannot even begin to tell you how important I think it is to just try. No matter who you are, where you’re from, what you do for a living, whether you drink coffee or tea, have a dog or a cat, are ambitious or not, do it. Just bloody DO IT! I saw a quote once, and I can’t for the life of me think who said it now, but it went something along the lines of this, ‘It’s not fear of failure that holds us back. It’s fear of how big our success might turn out to be.’ I love it, because it’s true, for me anyway. The fear of actually having to step out and bring some attention to myself scared me much more than the idea of failing. That’s not to say that I didn’t think I would fail, because I most definitely did. But if I failed, life would go on as normal and at least I could say that I’d tried. If I succeeded, it wouldn’t.
And lastly, why should people read your book?
I guess my debut Return to Bluebell Hill will make or break me. It will either be the beginning of a much dreamt-about career in writing, or the end of a very quick burst of excitement! ;) I sincerely hope that it’s the former. Return to Bluebell Hill is the only story out of about 578529583 that made it to the finish line. To see it make it past that line? Well… *exhales shakily* It’ll be a little bit crazy. Okay, A LOT crazy.
About Rebecca Pugh
Rebecca Pugh grew up in the green county of Shropshire, with a mind full of fairy-tales 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 fairy-tale 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?
Find Rebecca Pugh's book reviews blog here and follow Rebecca on Twitter - @BeccasBoooks.
Return to Bluebell Hill
Published by Carina UK (18 June 2015)
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 home? 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 Reuben - 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 Reuben 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?
Read my review here
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