It's publication day for Tilly Tennant's latest book The Little Village Bakery and also our stop on her blog tour, first up I'm chatting to Tilly about her writing and the new series, then later this afternoon Emma will be reviewing The Little Village Bakery so make sure you check back to see her thoughts.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your writing journey?
I’m married with two teenage daughters. I was born in Dorset but now live in Staffordshire and until recently worked at the local hospital. I’m writing full time now, after ten years of juggling it with the day job, which I’m really enjoying. I’d always dabbled, but I really started writing properly while I was doing an English degree as a mature student, and on that course was where I really learned my craft. I had the best time ever during those three years and wrote two novels during my breaks from classes. I used to read my stuff out loud at creative writing events, which was nerve wracking to say the least, but there’s nothing like a bit of abject fear to focus you on creating the best story you can!
You have recently been announced as the latest signing into the Bookouture camp, how does it feel to be part of such a tour-de-force in the digital publishing market?
In a word – unbelievable! I never imagined I would be lucky enough to land a three book deal, let alone one with the hottest new publisher around! I’m so excited to be part of their team and so far I’m having the time of my life working with them.
Describe Millie in three words.
Kind, loyal and brave.
The first book in your new series is set in a bakery, how much research did you do to ensure that you had the right cakes and pastries to tantalise your readers?
If I’m perfectly honest, in the first book Millie doesn’t do a great deal of baking because she’s busy renovating the bakery for most of the story. Of course, I did have to taste a lot of cake as part of the research for what she was going to bake once the place was up and running. It was very tough but you have to suffer for your art, don’t you?
What was your favourite scene to write?
Probably a scene which I can’t divulge the nature of at this point because it’s so pivotal to the climax and eventual resolution of the story. All I can say is that it’s high drama, and I don’t know about anyone else, but my heart was in my mouth for the characters, even though I knew what was going to happen!
What can we expect from you next?
I’ve just sent in the edits for a second Honeybourne book, Christmas at the Little Village Bakery. I have one more book to write for that series which will be released early next year. There may be more, but it’s too early to tell yet.
Did you always want to be a writer?
Yes, but for a long time I thought it was an impossible dream. It wasn’t until about ten years ago that I started to share stories I’d written with people and found that they liked them. That was the encouragement I needed to consider that it might be a possibility after all.
Out of all of your books written so far, which character did you have the most fun creating?
This is such a tough question! There are so many I’ve loved writing. If we’re talking sass then it would have to be Midnight from Mishaps in Millrise or Ruth from The Little Village Bakery. For cheeky charm it’s got to be Patrick in The Man Who Can’t Be Moved. Quirky and lovable gets Hugh from Mishaps in Millrise or Jasmine from The Little Village Bakery. I particularly enjoyed creating my ideal boyfriend, Max from Hopelessly Devoted to Holden Finn, though I do have quite a soft spot for Holden too!
What is the best writing advice you have ever received?
Don’t sit and stare at an empty page wondering where to start, just write something, anything, even if you don’t feel like it and even if you think it’s rubbish. As long as you’re putting words on the page, the rest will come.
Are you a plotter or a pantster?
Probably half and half. Before I begin I have a first scene in my head, a premise, a vague idea of where I want to end up and points I want to touch on along the way, but then the rest will evolve organically from there. I know the start and I know the end, but the way I’m going to get there is as much a surprise to me as it is to anyone else!
What writers inspire you?
This is also a tough question. I’m inspired by so many fantastic authors that I wouldn’t know where to start listing them. But I do owe a huge debt to Mel Sherratt, who is not only a talented and tenacious writer who has achieved huge success for herself in the face of some fierce odds, but has also been a massive support to me and many other writers over the years. It’s fair to say that if it wasn’t for her, my own career might have been a very different story.
If you could write in a collaboration with another author, who would you like to write with?
You are doing your best to bamboozle me with these questions! I actually think it’s quite hard to write a novel with somebody else, so I’m not sure I would choose anyone at all to collaborate on a book with. However, I would happily do something like a screenplay with another writer, and in that case I’d choose Russell T Davies. I love the pace of his screenplays, the heart and soul in them, and the sense of humour that shines out even from the most dramatic moments.
Meet Millie. Heartbreak has forced her to make a new start and when she arrives at the old bakery in the little village of Honeybourne she is determined that this will be her home sweet home. Her imagination has been captured by the tumbledown bakery but with no running water and dust everywhere, her cosy idea of making cakes in a rural idyll quickly crumbles.
Luckily the locals are a friendly bunch and step in to help Millie. One in particular, Dylan, a laid-back lothario, soon captures her attention.
But just as Millie is beginning to settle in, an unexpected visitor from her past suddenly turns up determined to ruin everything for her. It’s time for Millie to face the skeletons in her closet if she’s going to live the dream of running her little village bakery, and her blossoming romance with Dylan.