Q and A with Author Jessica Redland

Re-blogging the second of two posts today on my own website. This is my Author Q&A with Fiona Jenkins. Thank you for being a fabulous host, Fiona, and for the great questions xx

Inspired by my PMDD

1. Do you ever consider an end to the Hedgehog Hollow Series or will it continue on as the series popularity continues to soar?

Hedgehog Hollow the story so far…

Great question! The end is actually planned and will happen this year with the release of the final three books in the six-book series.

Book 5 is called Chasing Dreams at Hedgehog Hollow and is up for pre-order now and out on 28th June. This is a hot off the press title reveal and I’ve just started writing it. It’s lovely to be back at Hedgehog Hollow after a Starfish Café break.

Book 6 will be Christmas at Hedgehog Hollow (also a hot off the press title reveal) and out in late September, exact date TBC. That will go up for pre-order later in the year.

When I started writing the first book, Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow, I…

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Fionas FactFile with Author Jessica Redland

Thank you to Fiona Jenkins for featuring me on her Fiona’s FactFile and her Author Q&A today. I’m re-blogging both on my own website. Here’s the FactFile first…

Inspired by my PMDD

I totally agree teddybear

Please name 5 facts about you. (Pics if you have any)

  1. Jessica Redland isn’t my real name. It’s Julie but I find it easier to have everyone connected to writing to refer to me as Jessica. I decided to write under a pseudonym for a variety of reasons and chose Jessica because it’s a timeless name that I’ve always loved. I wanted my surname to be something that had a connection to my writing. The idea for my debut novel came to me when I was living on a street called Redlands Road. I ditched the ‘s’ and kept the Redland part

  • I’m an arctophile – a collector/lover of teddy bears. I love them so much that I took a career break from HR in 2003 and set up and ran my own specialist teddy bear shop. I started writing my first book on quiet days…

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The one with some really special Christmas gifts

I know I’ve just posted about New Year but I was just scrolling through my photos and realised that I took several for a blog post, then forgot to write a post, so let’s dip back to Christmas for a moment when the lights were twinkling on the tree (ok, they still are), the gifts were looking gorgeous in their wrapping, and the dog was stealing things she shouldn’t have. Oh wait, Ella does that EVERY day, not just at Christmas…

There wasn’t anything the hubby or I particularly wanted this year so we agreed to treat ourselves to a picture we’d fallen in love with on holiday in the summer and get a few bits and bobs. The hope was to get the picture framed and up on the wall for Christmas but, well, you know how it is!

I find it pretty much impossible to think of anything for him beyond the supply of socks he needs every year after putting holes in them throughout the preceding 12 months, a dark chocolate orange, and his annual Landscape Photographer of the Year book but he usually comes up trumps with a few special gifts for me and this year was no exception.

I love the ‘On Air’ sign so watch out for that in my next Facebook Live on publication day of A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow (6th January). The ‘I’m a Best Selling Author’ colouring book made me laugh. It’s full of positive affirmations about my brilliance ha ha ha! The book has unusual words in it and the fluffy socks are bears. Perfect.

The hedgehogs in the next pic are mittens and they’re so gorgeous and soft. I wore them when we had our wander down to the harbour and they kept me so warm and snug. The munchkin bought me the hedgehog stress ball which I’m sure will be very useful when pondering tricky plot points.

The necklace (shown larger below) is adorable. It’s a hedgehog but its tummy is made from Whitby jet which combines my two worlds of Hedgehog Hollow and Whitsborough Bay in one necklace (as Whitsborough Bay is based on a mix of Scarborough, Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay). What a gorgeous idea!

The lovely hedgehog notepad above was from my friend Liz (who also sent me some delicious mint chocolates) and there’s a Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow key ring from one of the fabulous admins, Marie, at The Friendly Book Community Facebook group (who also sent me a large bar of Galaxy – nom nom). I’ll post a bigger pic of that (the key ring, not the Galaxy!) further down as it’s fabulous. It was very unexpected and extremely kind.

Hubby also bought me the latest Westlife CD (I’m a bit old school and enjoy CDs for my favourites) and a lovely starfish necklace and heart one… although I admit I picked those myself when we visited York Christmas Markets.

The face masks were sent in a care package with some tea and coffee from Fiona, one of the lovely admins in Heidi Swain and Friends – A Facebook Book Club – which was very kind of her and the lovely friendship heart hanger is from my good friend, Write Romantic and Boldwood Buddy Jo Bartlett.

My bestie, Sharon Booth, and I always exchange Christmas gifts and she is so much better than me at buying them. This lovely selection were so fabulous that I have to up my game next year as mine for her weren’t anywhere near as good.

I’ve added a larger picture of the wooden shop below. Isn’t it gorgeous? In All You Need is Love, part of the story is centred around a specialist teddy bear shop on Castle Street called Bear With Me. Main character Jemma and her mum make artist bears under the brand name of Ju-Sea Bears for her mum and Ju-Sea Jem bears for the smaller ones Jemma makes. The shop was inspired by my own teddy bear shop called Bear’s Pad and Ju-Sea Bears was the brand I used for the handful of bears I made.

Sharon has been building up a collection of these wooden businesses for a new series she’s working on for release next year and I’ve been admiring the photos on her Insta account but nothing quite beats seeing one up close. They’re amazing. I may need to start a Castle Street collection!

A huge thank you to everyone for these gorgeous gifts. I feel you all know me so well as these are simply perfect.

Tomorrow I will place my first entry in my ‘Happy Jar’ from Sharon. Absolutely love that idea and, as I’m celebrating a very big birthday in 4 months’ time, I hope that I have a lot to celebrate in 2022.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

Meet the Characters – Angie Swinton from Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café by Jessica Redland

I’m the guest over on Karen King’s blog today on a ‘Meet the Characters’ slot. I’ve interviewed Angie Swinton, Assistant Manager at The Starfish Cafe. The interview takes place just before the story starts in Snowflakes Over The Starfish Cafe. I had such fun setting and answering the questions. A huge thank you to Karen for inviting me to her blog. Hope you enjoy Angie’s interview xx

Karen King: Author

I’m delighted to welcome romance author Jessica Redland to my blog today. Jessica is interviewing Angie Swinton from her latest release Snowflakes OverThe Starfish Café.

Blurb

Welcome to The Starfish Café – where you will find stunning views, delicious food and lifelong friendships.

Two broken hearts.

Since she inherited The Starfish Café, Hollie has poured her heart into the business, striving to keep her mother’s traditions and warm-hearted spirit alive. But behind closed doors Hollie is searching for true happiness as she grieves the tragic loss of her family who were once the beating heart of the café…

An unexpected meeting.

Jake lives by two rules: don’t let anyone get close and don’t talk about what happened. Little does he know that a chance meeting at The Starfish Café, facilitated by a fluffy lost dog, is about to turn his world upside down…

The chance to love again.

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How amazing to see live theatre again but boo to the ‘great’ British weather

I’m sure we have all experienced cancelled holidays, events and weekends away during the past 18 months. Some may have been cancelled altogether and some may have been rescheduled. Last weekend, the munchkin and I went away to Leeds to see Six the musical – a theatre trip rescheduled from last June. But even the rescheduled trip nearly didn’t happen.

We’d decided to make a weekend of it when I discovered I could book two nights in a chain hotel using loyalty points I’d gained from when I used to travel a lot with my day job. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the deal again for the rescheduled dates but I’d promised my daughter a weekend away and didn’t want to pull out of that after such a tough 18 months just because I now had to pay for accommodation.

The train journey is usually a smooth no-change one but, when we went to book the train tickets, we discovered there were disruptions both ways so travelling was not going to go as planned either. 

And the delay in restrictions being lifted meant a reduced audience at the theatre. If we hadn’t got our tickets for this year, I’d have lost my hotel money (as it was on a non-refundable deal) and most of my train fare. Thankfully it transpired that we’d booked really early so we had priority over keeping our seats.

Then the munchkin had to isolate after positive Covid cases in her school. Thankfully she tested negative in a PCR and subsequent lateral flow tests and the isolation ended just in time to travel.

I felt a little apprehensive about the trip as was so many firsts for me since before the pandemic began – first train journey, first night in a hotel, first visit to a city and first peopley event, even though it would be reduced capacity – but I was determined we’d have a good time after being stuck at home for so long.

The show itself was phenomenal and, if you have a chance to see it, definitely do. I have to give huge thanks and praise to the staff of Leeds Heritage Theatres, specifically the Leeds Grand Theatre, as it was a really smooth process getting in (via temperature check and track & trace logging) and all the staff were really friendly.

It was really good to be back in the theatre and especially lovely that we’d booked a box which we’ve never done before. With social distancing, we had the box to ourselves!

I’d wondered how they’d manage the social distancing but it was fairly straightforward: every other seat had a covering over it and boxes only had people from the same booking in them with every other box empty.

If you’re not familiar with Six, it’s a musical about the six wives of Henry VIII. I didn’t know what to expect. I’d seen some of the cast performing as an interval act on Britain’s Got Talent years ago which is what prompted us to want tickets, but I hadn’t heard anything about it. 

It’s different to any musical I’ve seen before in that it’s just the six wives on stage throughout the whole show (1 hour 20 mins) alongside a four-piece all-female band (keyboard, lead guitar, bass guitar, drums). They sing and there’s a bit of talk but no set changes/costume changes/long acted segments which was different to any musical I’ve ever seen but it absolutely worked. The songs were amazing with funny/clever lyrics and oh my goodness those voices! Wow, those actors could belt out a tune!

I was on the verge of tears all the way through the first song. It felt so emotional being back in live theatre and thinking about all the struggles that those involved in the arts have faced during the pandemic. Actors, producers, musicians and so on are mainly freelance and would have fallen through the gaps in financial support. The theatres – usually beautiful old buildings with expensive upkeep costs – have struggled so much with the lost income and the staff have had all the extra work of cancelling and rescheduling then rescheduling again and probably some very angry customers to deal with for something the theatre couldn’t control. Add to that the amazing voices and how resounding music can stir the soul, I had to give myself a stern talking-to not to turn into a gibbering wreck!

The audience were wearing masks and I wondered how that would feel from the stage, not able to see the smiling faces, but there was plenty of audience engagement with laughter, cheers, clapping and dancing in the seats. The cast and band absolutely deserved the standing ovation at the end.

If you have a chance to see this, do grab a ticket as it is interesting, funny, and fabulous. I have learned a lot more about history and I now don’t just know the rhyme we all know – divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived – without being able to tell you which wife was which. I now know which is which and why they met their fates. If you’re interested, check out my list under my signature for a little slice of history.

So the show was definitely worth seeing, but the rest of the weekend was a bit of a wash-out – literally. Yes, the great British weather did a number on us. We had steady rain, torrential rain, and thunderstorms. So we got wet. A lot.

I don’t like shopping but was happy to traipse around with the munchkin knowing I’d be able to treat myself in my favourite shop in Leeds – specialist teddy bear shop Mary Shortle. Only it has closed. No!!!!!!

Stuck for what to do in the bad weather on Sunday, we went to the cinema to see Peter Rabbit 2. We’d loved the first one but I felt that this one lacked the same humour and charm so was, for me, pretty disappointing. I’m sure plenty will love it, though, so please don’t be put off by my verdict.

We had an unpleasant run-in with a frazzled server in a famous doughnut chain who told me off, gave me filthy looks and was extremely rude. I understand that retail staff have very unfairly had abuse from customers about masks and social distancing but I’m not one of those customers so there was no need to direct the anger at me. To top it all, the doughnut bags got wet because the rain soaked through the bag I had them in, and they got squashed, so the eating pleasure wasn’t quite the same and didn’t make up for the experience. 

The stress of all the arrangement changes, the horrendous weather, the bear shop closure, the disappointing film, the transport problems, the doughnut incident, and the Covid restrictions made everything about this weekend so difficult. I loved the show and the time with the munchkin but I kind of wished we hadn’t booked our tickets early and had had to defer until next year instead. I’d rather have stayed at home where it’s safe and dry and there are no angry doughnut sellers! Hopefully our next trip out will be more successful.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

Wife 1 – Catherine of Aragon – divorced for not bearing a son as Henry VIII was obsessed with keeping the tudor line going. The Roman Catholic Church wouldn’t grant a divorce so the monarch broke away and formed the Church of England

Wife 2 – Anne Boleyn – beheaded. Henry lost interest in her when she didn’t give him a male heir. She was accused of adultery and treason and their marriage was annulled two days before her execution although the exact legal reasons surrounding the execution remain a mystery

Wife 3 – Jane Seymour – died. Finally Henry had the male heir he wanted (Edward VI) but she died from birth complications a few weeks later 

Wife 4 – Anne of Cleves – divorced. This was a strategic European alliance to marry one of the daughters of Germany’s Duke of Cleves. Henry wanted to see a portrait of each to decide which one to marry and he choose the best-looking. Except the portrait was super flattering and he was shocked at the lack of likeness when he met Anne. It was too late to halt the wedding (he tried!) and his “ugly wife” (isn’t that awful?) agreed to a divorce and generous settlement after six months. She lived in luxury on the back of that

Wife 5 – Catherine Howard – beheaded. She was only 19 and he was 48 (if I’ve done my maths correctly) when they married but he was overweight and unable to walk by this point. Rumours of infidelity on her part surfaced after less than a year of marriage and she was executed for adultery and treason

Wife 6 – Katherine Parr – survived. She was known as a peacemaker and had great influence on so many aspects of court and European relationships. She outlived Henry by a year.

Images courtesy of the programme.

An Interview With: Jessica Redland

Hannah from This Hannah Reads has interviewed me about the Hedgehog Hollow series. Here’s the interview and some gorgeous pics of hedgehogs. Thank you so much, Hannah xx

This Hannah Reads

The other week I posted my first interview post with Heidi Swain and it went down a storm! If you’ve not seen it yet you can check it out here but today I’m spending some time with the lovely Jessica Redland, another of my auto-buy authors and I’m so excited to share this with you all!

She is now working with Boldwood and has written a number of different books, but all with a little touch of magic. I’ll pop some links to all of my reviews for her books at the end so you can check them out if you want to know more!

Let’s getstarted

Hi Jessica, first off can I just say a massive thank you for letting me interview you and appear on my blog. I’ve discovered your books over lockdown, starting with Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes but I’ve recently been reading the Hedgehog…

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My Favourite Reads of 2020

Delighted to see Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow on the EchoesInAnEmptyRoom blog. Thank you so much Hannah for including this book. So very kind of you xx

Echoes In An Empty Room

I think most of us have found solace in books this year, I certainly have. These are my favourite reads of this year in no particular order. It was hard to whittle them down to just 26. There have just been some brilliant books out this year.

Hunting Abigail By Jeremy Costello

Six idiots witness a murder By Rob Hickman

Mainely Fear By Matt Cost

The Boy Between Us By Amanda Prowse and Josiah Hartley

The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside By Jessica Ryn

Your Life for Mine By Karen Clarke

Hungry By Grace Dent

Silent Night By Nell Pattison

The Silent House By Nell Pattison

The Chalet By Catherine Cooper

Remember Me? By Shobna Gulati

Too scared to tell By Cathy Glass

One More For Christmas By Sarah Morgan

A patchwork Family By Cathy Bramley

The Lonely Fajita By Abigail Mann

The Minute I saw you By Paige Toon

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Romancing The Romance Authors… with Jessica Redland

I’m the guest on ‘Romancing The Romance Authors’ over on A Little Book Problem’s blog today so I thought I’d share the interview here x

A Little Book Problem

Romancing The Romance Authors

Tell me a bit about the type of books you write and where you are in your publishing journey.

I write uplifting stories of love and friendship set in Yorkshire. There’s always a romance in them but I place a lot of emphasis on exploring friendships and family relationships too. Friendships in particularly fascinate me in the way they can change with time and circumstance.

I went through the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme and secured a publishing deal with the book I put through that but, after releasing four books with that company, they ceased trading. I republished those titles as an indie author and released several more but decided in 2018 that I wanted to try for a traditional publishing deal again. I was one of the first twenty authors to join the newly-formed Boldwood Books last year and my first book with them, The Secret to Happiness,

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Introducing Jessica

As a little break in the imposter syndrome series, I couldn’t resist re-blogging this absolutely gorgeous post from Eloise about my books. It has given me the warm and fuzzies. Thank you so much, Eloise x

This is Sixty ... at the weekend

Aside from reading the distinctly un-joyful newspaper, and I no longer even do that every day, I rarely read anything nowadays other than that which is intended to bring pleasure. I regularly reject recommendations (usually by one of those people who admit only to picking up something they consider highbrow rather than what most of us actually read), I’ve put aside the research books which supported the writing of my novel*, and abandoned altogether the hard-going canon of so-called literary masterpieces.One of life’s best little luxuries is to find a new-to-me author whose writing I like. And it’s a bigger luxury to find that she’s written not only the book I’m reading, but several others too. Shortly before our recent holiday in Devon and whilst partaking of one of my favourite activities – drinking coffee with a good friend – the conversation turned to books and knowing that friend L…

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