I am delighted to be one of two bloggers kicking off Anna Mansell’s How To Mend A Broken Heart blog tour 🙂
Happy Publication Day, Anna and Bookouture!
HOW TO MEND A BROKEN HEART by Anna Mansell
Publisher: Bookouture (1st March 2017)
Hello? Rhys Woods? I have a patient here I think you know. Yours is the only number in her diary…
When Rhys is called to the hospital to meet Susan, a woman he barely knows, he is compelled to help her. Still grieving the loss of his brother months earlier, Rhys knows all too well the feeling of loneliness.
There are years between them, but Rhys is the only person Susan will respond to, and when she asks him to bring her her most treasured possession, a book of fairytales, he is intrigued.
Hidden in the book is a clue to Susan’s past, and the painful regrets she carries with her. And as Rhys starts to unearth Susan’s secrets, he finds that his own grief begins to heal too…
Together, Susan and Rhys must learn to live again. Can they help each other to find happiness and finally mend their broken hearts?
How to Mend a Broken Heart is a heart-wrenching and absorbing story about second chances, forgiveness, and making every second count, perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes, Lucy Dillon and Miranda Dickinson.
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
My name is Anna and I’m a crisp-a-holic… oh wait, no, that’s a different Q&A, apologies.
My name is Anna and I’m a writer from Cornwall. But I’m not Cornish, I’m from that there Sheffield originally. My husband, the kids and I, moved down to St Ives in 2009 and were very fortunate to buy a place just on the outskirts last year. How to Mend a Broken Heart is my debut novel, set in Sheffield, about three characters who for one reason or another, have opted out of life, or more specifically, love. The story tells of the kindness of strangers and how forgives in all its forms can heal. It’s also about tea, and bowling, and high maintenance brides… because you know, we all need a bit of balance in our lives!
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
I’ve always been fascinated by the idea that some people don’t feel they deserve to live life to the full. That they don’t deserve love, or can’t allow it in… or for that matter, out. When we’re hurt, self-protection kicks in to survive, sometimes that can last a life time. Sometimes the people you least expect can help you, are the very ones to make everything better. Sometimes you can fix yourself…
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
I think all of my characters are based on all sorts of people I know, and plenty more that I don’t. There’s a tiny piece of me in each of them. There’s a characteristic from someone else. There’s an overheard comment that shapes the next character and in the end, they resemble everyone and nobody at the same time. Ultimately, they grow in to their own people on paper… I hope!
How do you pick your characters names?
So far, it’s been fairly easy in that the names for main characters have come to me as the characters evolve. But maybe when I’ve written a few more books it’ll start to get harder! Then, I guess I’ll be googling baby names like the best of them! The smaller characters, ones we only briefly meet, tend to be named after people I know. The characters are never based on them, I just liberate their names for fun.
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
I take the kids to school, I walk the dog, I make breakfast, then I sit at my laptop. Then I panic and feel a bit sick. Then I check facebook. Then I go back to the WIP and realise it’s awful. Then I go on to twitter. Then I feel guilty and go back to the WIP but hate every word I type. Then I make lunch, walk the dog, realise it’s almost time to fetch the kids and cram a silly word count in to a too short amount of time. Usually to read back the next day and realise it wasn’t as bad as I thought. That, is very much it, in a nutshell!
Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
Well, I’m a massive fan of Alan Bennett, so I’d have to start off with him.. though I guess technically he’s a playwright. I also love Barbara Comyns – Our Spoons came from Woolworths is one of my all time favourite books, and book titles! Mhairi McFarlane never fails for me, I love her way with words and the fact I can do actual swooning at her male protagonists. I love Jo Jo Moyes, and Rowan Coleman’s The Memory Book is one of my all-time favourite books so she has to go in my top five too!
If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
Alan Bennett. And I’d ask him if he could a. write me a talking head, and b. teach me how to write like him. And if I can’t have playwrights, then Barbara Comyns, she’d be a dinner party guest for sure!
Were you a big reader as a child?
I don’t remember being a big reader as such, but when I think about the books I read as a child, compared with those my kids read, I guess I probably was. My favourite book was The BFG when I was small. I read The Diary of Anne Frank when I was a little older and was completely absorbed in it. I can’t read anything and everything, I never have been able to, so I guess there were wilderness years when I’d read all the Adrian Moles and hadn’t yet got old enough for Jilly Cooper… mind you, when I was EVERYTHING CHANGED!
When did you start to write?
I’ve always written in one form or another, but I never finished anything. I’d have ideas, I’d tinker with things but I just didn’t have the staying power until three or four years ago. That’s when I started writing novels, having worked out what it was I wanted to try and say.
If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?
I hate to say it, because I know it was absolutely the right ending for the book, but I will never, EVER, get over the ending of Me Before You. I love Will Traynor to this day. How would I have it end? Surely I can’t say in case I spoiler it for someone who hasn’t read it yet… though I can’t imagine there are many that haven’t by now, right?!
Is there a book you wish you had written?
There are loads! Me Before You. Our Spoons Came from Woolworths. The Miniaturist… I could totally go on!
If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?
Will Traynor. To my house where I’d lock him up and love him so hard he would see a new way to survive… oh, darn it. Hashtag spoilers.
What are you working on right now?
Honestly, I’m working on reducing the size of my writer’s bottom, as it increased exponentially whilst working on book two. It may however be fruitless exercise as book two edits are due back imminently and I suspect any reduction I may have seen, will almost instantly be replaced… and then some!
Do you have a new release due?
My debut How to Mend a Broken Heart comes out on March 1st. Eek, that’s less than two weeks as I type this! Book two, I hope, will be out later this year.
What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?
Well, as I’ve never had one before, I intend to make the most of it. Maybe champagne breakfast, swanky lunch somewhere lovely, dinner with friends and plenty of gin… or, more likely, I’ll get up and do the school run, feel the fear that people are now going to read my book, and indulge in a glass or two of red wine later in the evening hoping it might take the edge off the nerves! I should probably find a better balance, though, right!?
How can readers keep in touch with you?
I’d love it if they did. I’m on Facebook as AnnaMansellAuthor where people can like my page, or twitter on @AnnaMansell
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
Only that as I type this, my rescue greyhound is giving me the evil eye. She has clearly seen the tide clock and knows that now is the best time for her to have a run down our local beach. If looks could drag you from a laptop and in to the car…. I’d be half way to Carbis Bay by now!
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Anna 🙂
Anna spent almost twenty years trying to shoehorn writing in to her career as a marketing manager for dance and theatre companies. Eventually, she did what you are not remotely supposed to do and walked away from an excellent job in order to try and become a published author. Three years, lots of tears and some slightly hairy bank balances later, she met Kirsty Greenwood and the rest, as they say, is history. Anna lives in Cornwall with her husband and two kids. She feels very fortunate!
Don’t forget to follow the rest of the blog tour with these lovely book bloggers…..