Happy publication day to me, happy publication day to me… Yay! I’m so thrilled that my first of four releases in 2023 is OUT NOW.
Healing Hearts at Bumblebee Barn is a brand new standalone story but, for fans of Hedgehog Hollow – and particularly those who were so disappointed about the series ending with book six last year – there’s are some special treats in store. The main character in this story is young farmer Barney Kinsella who is the brother of Fizz – one of the Hedgehog Hollow team. We therefore get to see Fizz again and a couple of the other characters from the rescue centre. It’s set a year later so readers get some insights into how things at Hedgehog Hollow have moved along since Christmas Miracles at Hedgehog Hollow. However, please do NOT be put off if you haven’t read the Hedgehog Hollow series because you don’t need to have for this book to make sense.
I say it’s a standalone book but there have been so many lovely comments in early reviews about how much readers would love it to be the start of a series. Yesterday, I pitched an idea to my editor for a sequel and she loved it. My releases for 2023 are already planned so it wouldn’t be out until 2024 if I do write one, but it’s looking good for a sequel at the moment. I’m not going to give any spoilers for what it would be about other than to reassure those who prefer standalone books that Healing Hearts at Bumblebee Barn is a complete story with no cliffhangers and any sequel will also be a complete story which could be read as a standalone too.
In my acknowledgements at the back of Healing Hearts at Bumblebee Barn, I talk about this being a difficult book to write. There were a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, I’ve been living with the concept of the story – a farmer entering a reality TV show to find love – for a couple of years, ever since Fizz first mentioned her brother in the Hedgehog Hollow books. I don’t like ‘brewing’ my stories for this long because my writing style is pantser, meaning I ‘fly by the seat of my pants’, letting the story unfold as it goes. Having a story develop in my head for so long goes against this and, when I started writing, the characters didn’t want to do what I’d planned for them so my first draft was a bit of a mess!
Secondly – and actually a much bigger issue – was the immense pressure I felt after the success of the Hedgehog Hollow series. I absolutely love this series and I’m so touched by the way readers have taken it to their hearts. It was incredibly flattering that readers didn’t want the series to end. Some readers expressed disappointment but also excitement for what was to come next, which was a huge relief, but others seemed genuinely annoyed with me and I feared losing them as readers. It would probably have been ‘safer’ to make my next book a Whitsborough Bay one as, even though there isn’t the same buzz about the Whitsborough Bay books as there is about the Hedgehog Hollow ones, they have been really popular too. In fact, although my best-seller so far is Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow, the next two best are Whitsborough Bay books – Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café followed by The Secret to Happiness. Barney’s story burned to be told, though, so I took that risk and I think it might have paid off. I’ve even had comments from early readers saying they didn’t think I could surpass Hedgehog Hollow… until they read Healing Hearts at Bumblebee Barn.
It’s actually one of my favourite stories out of the nineteen books I’ve written so far. (This is book eighteen but I’ve already finished the nineteenth one). I love the setting and the characters so much and writing it just gave me the warm and fuzzies.
When I first announced that it was included a reality TV show, some readers expressed surprise as that was a very different subject matter for me, but I’d like to think that all my books have something different about them. I’d say that my “thing” is my setting and this book has an amazing setting in Bumblebee Barn, but I need to mix it up as to how a story comes together and reality TV gave me another different scenario to explore. I know there’ll be readers out there who aren’t fans of reality TV, but please don’t let it put you off because that’s merely the scenario which brings the story together. I haven’t changed genre and written a romcom. This is still the type of book readers would expect from me – emotional but uplifting with a strong setting and relatable characters.
Healing Hearts at Bumblebee Barn embarks on a whopping blog tour this morning. With 16 days at 3 stops a day, this 48-review strong blog tour must be my biggest yet. A huge thank you to Rachel Gilbey from Rachel’s Random Resources for organising it on behalf of Boldwood Books and to all the wonderful bloggers/reviewers who have signed up. Thank you also to those who aren’t on the tour but will share their reviews independently. I’m excited to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for taking the time to read and review Healing Hearts at Bumblebee Barn.
It’s out in ALL formats today – large print, hardback, paperback, audio, and all eBook formats. It was exciting to see it at #3 in the Apple Fiction & Literature chart first thing this morning (#17 in the overall paid chart).
The impact of pre-orders and on-the-day purchases on the Amazon and Audible charts won’t kick in until later today but Kindle Australia, being way ahead of us time-wise, is showing #143 in the overall chart already which is amazing. I don’t know if that will be the peak or if there’s one more rise in there. Go Australia! Thank you for your support!
Right, that’s enough from me for now. Thank you to everyone who has pre-ordered Healing Hearts at Bumblebee Barn in any format and to those who get their copy today. I hope you love your visit to the farm.
If you haven’t already dived in, here’s the blurb to hopefully whet your appetite and you can get it from Kindle UK here:
A brand new standalone novel from the bestselling author of the Hedgehog Hollow and Starfish Cafe series!
Welcome to Bumblebee Barn, home to wonderful animals, stunning views and spectacular sunsets – and resident young farmer, Barney.
While Barney loves his life at Bumblebee Barn – a farm that has been in his family for generations – he’s struggling to find someone to share it with. The early mornings quad biking through muddy fields and the long hours looking after the crops and animals are proving to be a deterrent to finding love.
So when his sister, Fizz – desperate for Barney to find his soulmate – sees an advert for Love on the Farm, a new reality TV show to help farmers find love, he has nothing to lose by applying. After all, he isn’t meeting anyone suitable down the traditional route and surely he won’t be picked anyway…?
Thrown into the chaos of reality TV, Barney could never have expected that his whole life would be turned upside down, with buried secrets to be uncovered and his heart on the line. With his family and friends rooting for him, could the magic of Bumblebee Barn heal his broken heart and help him find love on the farm?
Join top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for a brand new standalone novel of love, family and second chances.