Hi Mandy, come on in. I’m glad you’re here as after The Romaniacs’ kitchen party at the RNA Conference last year, I wasn’t sure you’d want to spend time with us again. It’s perfectly safe, the others are all out and I’m the quiet one 🙂
I am glad to be here, Sue. Thank goodness the others are out as I was severely traumatised from being at that kitchen party. As you know I am very quiet, reserved, tea total and react badly to lots of singing, shouting and the swigging wine.
How are you? All ready for your book launch? The cover looks great, you must be really chuffed with it.
I am great thanks and so chuffed with the cover! Berni Stevens designs all Choc Lit’s covers and is a bloomin’ genius. I am convinced that the look of the cover will draw the eye. It’s so striking isn’t it? And yes, so looking forward to the launch! It is out on kindle now and the 7th of April in paperback. Also if anyone is in Cabot Circus on Wednesday the 10th of April between 6.30-8pm, they are very welcome to pop into Foyles bookstore where I will be having my launch/signing. There will be chocolates, nibbles and drinks too 🙂
Can you tell us a bit about A Stitch in Time, please?
A Stitch in Time is essentially about Sarah Yates, a time-travelling history teacher. (Yes, really!) It has more than a touch of romantic comedy, but serious issues are touched on also. Sarah is disillusioned with her job and recently divorced. Her husband left her for her best friend and as a consequence she is very wary of committing to anyone else as she was broken apart by their betrayal. However, when mysterious and very lovely John Needler arrives on the scene and asks her to travel through time to save the lives of others, she is more than a little attracted to him. Sarah finds new purpose in trying to help people in the past find their happy endings. The big question is – will she ever be able to find hers?
It’s a great concept, is it something you had been toying with for a while as it is quite different to your previously published novel, Righteous Exposure.
Yes it is very different, and no, I hadn’t thought of it before the day I decided on a title! I always start with a title – can’t write without one. As far as I remember I was thinking of catchy phrases or sayings that would grab a person’s attention while browsing book shelves. Then once I had plumped for A Stitch in Time, the story just came into my head. I had completed the first draft in 6 weeks -the fastest book I have ever written.
Righteous Exposure is about a kidnapping and quite dark in places. At the time it wasn’t published and I could see that romantic comedies were always at the top of best seller lists. So, I decided to have a bash at one.
Was there lots of plotting involved on your behalf or did you just let the idea evolve as you wrote it?
I didn’t plan, I never do. I just have the bare bones of an idea and the characters and jot them down in a few paragraphs. Then I refer to them as I am writing. So yes, my ideas evolve as I go along. My characters have a mind of their own and don’t listen to a word I say anyway. They just do their own thing and can be quite rude when I try to force them to do something.
As a qualified teacher, what was your subject and how has your subject area impacted on your writing, if at all?
My subject was history and sociology too, but I only taught that at A’ level. History was obviously very useful when writing about the past and Sarah’s jaunts back in time. I really enjoyed teaching the American West and used that knowledge to inform Sarah’s mission to Kansas in 1874. And when she goes back to 1940, I borrowed my parent’s experiences and memories of the Sheffield Blitz alongside my research. There is a bit in the book where Violet says that she needs to change her vest because if she is to be killed, she wants to die clean. My Nan actually said that!
John is your hero in A Stitch in Time, who is your hero in real life and are there any similarities?
That is a tricky one. I have lots of heroes but not particularly gorgeous ones like, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and a guy called Korczac Ziolkowski who started the carving of Crazy Horse Mountain in South Dakota. All really strong, inspirational men who never gave up on their dreams. But if I had to pick a dishy one it would have to be someone like Johnny Depp or Aidan Turner. My John is somewhere between the two. J
And just some random questions we like to throw in now and again …
What is the food you couldn’t possibly live without?
Curry. No question, I am addicted.
If you were stranded on a desert island and could have one book, which would it be?
Only one! That’s impossible. Okay a random one…er…Watchers by Dean Koontz.
What has been your proudest moment?
Apart from personal family things, it has to be signing my publishing contract with Choc Lit. I couldn’t keep the huge smile off my face. In the end I had to have it surgically removed after a few weeks because my face began to crack in half.
What’s best about being a ChocLit author?
Choc Lit are a great team and really respected within the genre, not least because of the many awards won and the unique tasting panel. Also I love being part of a fantastic ‘family’ of authors, who really are some of the most supportive people I have ever met. Some girls I have yet still to meet, but I feel I know them already as we chat online.
Which Dr Who has been your favourite?
The first one I remember was Patrick Troughton and for a while couldn’t get used to anyone else. I did like Christopher Eccleston too, even though he was only Dr for a short time. But I think my favourite has to be Tom Baker because he was so off the wall and flamboyant.
Thanks for dropping by Mandy, it’s been nice to chat in a bit of peace and quiet without the others bursting into song, along with Sue Moorcroft – maybe she was the bad influence?
Thanks so much for having me, Sue. It has been lovely hasn’t it? And Sue Moorcroft is a terrible influence along with Laura James. They are just SO rowdy and raucous – scared the hell out of a little mouse like me I can tell you…
23 thoughts on “Author Mandy James is our Tuesday Chit-Chat Guest today”
Great interview, Romaniacs and Mandy. Thank you for it. The book sounds as if it’ll be a terrific read.
Another great post Romaniacs. Its great to see so many current and former members of the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme having success in the present climate. Can’twait to read Mandy’s book. Fantastic cover and a great plot to pull in the reader. best of luck.
Me? Why does no one believe me when I say I’m shy and retiring? Looking forward to reading the book, Mandy. Congratulations 🙂 xx
Fab interview ladies. I’m so with you there, Mandy on that moment Choc Lit said ‘yes.’ Quite a moment. Wonderful to have your quiet, well behaved self in the family. I’ve A Stich in Time on my kindle and can’t wait to read it. Just need Nate to start behaving himself first #readingban
ASIT sounds so up my street. Congratulations on the fab reviews coming in – may there be many many more. X
Like Sarah, I am in reading purdah because I’m wrestling the WIP into submission, but Mandy’s ASIT is on there trying to tempt me into reading it early… and with a hero like that it just got even harder to resist….
Fabulous post! So glad to find a fellow Dean Koontz fan, Mandy! XX Loved finding out about the ChocLit moment and can’t wait to get reading ASIT! Rock on…. 🙂
Great interview ladies! I so regret not going to that kitchen party now – being shy and retiring myself, I could have done with being pulled out of my shell 🙂 Looking forward to reading ASIT! xx
There’s always Sheffield…
Choc Lit has given the reading public some great heroes and heroines. Mandy’s are wonderful creations. Fabulous cover and presentation, too.
It’s so interesting hearing about the writing process, especially when this book is so different from the last one. The story sounds great and I love the cover, too!
Huge Congrats, Margaret. I do sooo totally adore that cover. Absolute best of luck! 🙂 xx
Yaay another cracking interview! Mandy, you were one of my first Twitter friends, and I am so thrilled that your new book is out!! I remember when you did the cover reveal on your blog! I loved it then – can so relate to the excitement of signing with the lovely Choclit. Their books and writers seem fab.
I’m another one with ASIT on my Kindle, just beckoning me…but have to wait for a holiday first! Many congratulations on the release, Mandy, and becoming part of the Choc Lit family.
Thanks for all the lovely comments! You really are a lovely lot. And I was never part of the RNA NWS, Lizzie. I think I’m about the only one! And yes, Carol, the covers and Choc Lit girls are just fantastic. Laura – shy and retiring my..er…eye 🙂 xx
How lovely to see a twitter friend follow me into the the seat I was sitting on last week. It has been fun all week watching Mandy’s book come alive to the world. What a week she has had riding high in the Amazon charts, an interview on the radio and now Chit-Chatting to The Romaniacs.
All the very best with A Stitch in Time x
Thank you! Sorry I missed yours, Ian. I just popped over and commented! 🙂
Lovely interview, ladies. ASIT is a winner for sure – great cover, great publisher, great story, and of course, great author. (And great website to promote it on.)
Great interview ladies, thanks.
I’m looking forward to reading A Stitch in Time – Choc Lit books are fab, so I’m always delighted to see a new release *goes off to find her Kindle* All the best with it Mandy.
I was one of the rowdy bunch in the kitchen – sorry Mandy! – and look forward to many more kitchen parties like it.
And I am made up to find a fellow Dean Koontz fan – I grew up reading his books in the 90’s and loved Watchers, but also Strangers and Dark Rivers of the Heart. I do prefer his older books, which were written over the 70’s – 90’s but have enjoyed a few of his recent ones too, mostly the Odd Thomas series.
Anyway… All the best, Nikki.
I loved the excerpt for A Stitch in Time, and I’m really looking forward to reading it. It’s on my Kindle at the moment, ready for when I can take some time off. Not sure when that’ll be though 🙂
Thanks, Liv, so kind! I remember you at the party, Nikki. You are the very gorgeous one! And yes Koontz is my favourite. He is a master of words. It would take me half a page to say what he can in a sentence. I love his spiritual/alien type books too like From The Corner of His Eye and One Door Away From Heaven. Not sure about the Odd Thomas series. I liked The Husband too. In fact there aren’t many I don’t like. His sense of humour is fantastic. I wrote to him a few times and he wrote back ( in his own handwriting – not typed!) telling me to not give up my dream of becoming a writer. I treasure those letters.
And thanks, Henri. I imagine you are up to your eyes in edits still? You have my sympathy. Hugs xx
Meant to say this earlier – I love Dean Koontz. First one I read was Lightning, but the one that had the most effect on me was Strangers. Watchers was the one with the dog, wasn’t it? Ages since I’ve read the books – might need to have a re-run.
I love the sound of your new novel. Will be getting a copy. Enjoyed the interview ladies.
Also I will be seeing you at the conference, It will be great to catch up with everyone.
Yes, Liv, Watchers was with the dog.Just brilliant. And thank you, Lorraine 🙂 x