Okay so it looks like I fell off the planet. Promise - I'm still here. The last two years have been ... hard. There's no other word for it. Everything is fine. I'm fine, but I've been the caregiver of my Mother-in-law and now I'm taking care of my mom. Between her needs, work, etc I seem to have lost control of my time. I am still writing and have made a few hard decisions.

I pulled my books from Mundania and have decided to to try to sell them through other publishers. I'm happy to say the 1st three books I sold to HSWF (now owned by Mundania) have been picked up by Melange Books and will be released through their Satin Books imprint. The rest I'm still working on.

I'll probably still be sporadic. Unless I win the lottery and can hire someone to help me I can't avoid it, but know I'm still here still working hard in the background and am hoping to do better at keeping my blog alive.


Tink...tink...tink...anyone out there? Hi! I'm Barbara Donlon Bradley - Author - editor and slightly crazy - ask anyone in my family. I hope to use this blog to talk about writing, editing and whatever pops in my head. Hope you enjoy.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Meet My Latest Guest - Zanna Mackenzie

I want to welcome Zanna Mackenzie. First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

I live in the UK on the Derbyshire/Leicestershire border with my husband, 4 dogs, a vegetable patch that’s home to far too many weeds and an ever expanding library of books waiting to be read.

Being a freelance writer and editor of business publications is my ‘day job’ but, at every opportunity, I can be found scribbling down notes on scenes for whatever novel I’m working on. I love it when the characters in my novels take on minds of their own and start deviating from the original plot!

 Tell us about your latest release.

It’s my third novel and it’s called If You Only Knew.  It’s based in a village in the Peak District National Park in an area which is an extreme sports mecca – climbing, abseiling, white water rafting etc. Faith runs the trendy coffee shop in the village, catering for all the tourists which visit the area. She’s weary of getting involved in another relationship after problems in the past, including getting her heart broken. Zane arrives in the area as one of the new owners of the Carrdale Extreme Sports Centre. He’s not looking to get involved either thanks to a complicated past and a commitment to focus on making Carrdale one of the best activity centers in the UK but he still finds himself drawn to spending time with Faith. By the time Zane’s business partner Matt arrives a few weeks later –from Austria where he’s been trying to sort his life out – Zane and Faith have put aside their various fears and concerns and have started dating. As soon as Zane introduces Matt to Faith it’s clear something is wrong…. Matt just happens to be the guy who broke Faith’s heart years ago!
The book explores how Matt and Faith’s past could destroy Zane and Faith’s relationship.
With Matt out to cause trouble and Zane keeping secrets Faith’s life is about to get very complicated indeed…

Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.

1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?  

 I’d say the character Jason Bourne from the Bourne films. In a way he’s a villain - a trained assassin - but his story and his past portray him, amazingly, in such a way that you have sympathy for him and even find yourself rooting for a happy ever after for him.

2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?

I’d choose Zane from my latest novel If You Only Knew. I should probably confess that when I was writing the book I developed something of a crush on him! He’s outdoorsy, strong and determined but he’s not an arrogant domineering alpha male – far from it. He’s been badly hurt in the past by various people and is scared of falling in love and being vulnerable again. When things get complicated with his new girlfriend Faith he tries his hardest to overcome his fears, do the right thing and make it all work but it isn’t easy and there’s a lot of hurt and confusion for all concerned, which is when he begins to think it might be for the best if he just walks away... I think he’s a total sweetheart and have a special fondness for him.

3.) What genre do you write? What made you pick that one?

I write across a couple of genres at the moment. My first novel The Love Programme is a contemporary romance. My second book How Do you Spell Love? is more chick lit with a magical element to it. My latest book If You Only Knew is romantic comedy / chick lit! I’m also writing a series of comedy romantic mystery novellas at the moment. The idea for a plot just pops into my head and then builds into a book, no matter what the genre!  I guess I just love writing and telling these stories.
4.)What are you working on now?

Several things. I can be a bit of an impatient person and tend to have several projects on the go at once. I have two full length novels with the first draft of the manuscript written but waiting for my editing process to start. One is a romantic comedy with a mystery element and the other is more chick lit. I’m also working on book 2 of my comedy romantic mystery series of novellas. I’m also working on a non-fiction book. Phew!

5.) What got you to start writing?

I’ve always wanted to write. In school I wanted to be a journalist but thought I wasn’t outgoing enough for that job so ended up working in travel. Eventually I got into writing tourism publications and that resurrected by love of writing. I started a distance learning comprehensive writing course and then tried my hand at short stories, non-fiction and eventually novels.

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

Anywhere and everywhere! Bits of dialogue in a TV programme or movie, snippets of real life conversation, magazines and newspapers – all sorts.  Sometimes they appear out of nowhere – just popping into my head whilst I’m making dinner or walking the dogs.

7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?

Ooooh, tricky one. Perhaps …that I’m a bit of a tomboy in some ways? Maybe this does come across if you read my novels though– I’m not sure! The lead female characters in my books are often a bit outdoorsy like myself! I feel most at home out in the garden in scruffy clothes and wellington boots tending to the vegetable patch, or out in the countryside walking the dogs with my husband.  Some of my characters share a few of these traits with me - Summer in How Do You Spell Love? has her own allotment and grows all her own fruit and vegetables, and Faith in If You Only Knew is a keen countryside rambler when she gets time away from running her coffee shop.

8.) Do you have any special talents?

No, I don’t think I do! My parents say I’ve inherited ‘green fingers’ from my grandfathers on both sides of the family if that counts!

9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?

To write books you would want to read yourself and to enjoy the writing process.

10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?

I’d probably choose somebody like Jane Austen. I love her books and have watched the TV and movie adaptations of them too. I think it would be fascinating to be able to talk about books and writing with her - plus it seems like she was quite a fun person too!

11.) What song would you say describes your life?

Something like ‘Hall of Fame’ by The Script. It’s a very inspiring, motivational song about having faith in yourself and what you can achieve in life. I’ve always had low confidence and poor self-esteem issues, right through childhood and on into my adult life. My books would never have been published if it wasn’t for my husband who nagged me to start sending them off to publishers for consideration. I was convinced I didn’t stand a chance of getting published but I loved to write so I kept on writing and eventually found the nerve to send my books out to publishers.

12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?

As we have four rather spoilt Labrador dogs in our house I would probably have to say a Labrador dog! Going on long country walks, relaxing on the rug by the fire… can’t be bad can it?

   “I guess that’s the man you’ve been waiting for.” Sophie nudged Faith, almost knocking the fresh-from-the-oven apple pie from her hands, and pointed towards the door.
   Faith chose to ignore the double meaning behind her friend’s words. She wasn’t waiting for any man, not in the romantic sense anyway, and certainly not a guy who reminded her of Aaron. Her café, which she had created from scratch six years ago, was hosting the meeting of the local Tourism Association. And the guy currently making his way towards her was Zane Ferguson, one half of the new ownership team of the Carrdale Outdoor Activity & Extreme Sports Centre. She’d reluctantly phoned him a few days ago when he’d arrived in the UK and invited him to the meeting to give everyone an update on the Centre.
   “Faith, right?” he said, extending his hand and hopping onto one of the stools in front of the café’s counter. The hand was firm, slightly rough to the touch and warm. It was strangely comforting. “I’m Zane. Good to get to put a face to your name at last.”
   Faith nodded, even though she was anything but pleased to put a face to the name of Zane Ferguson. What kind of a name was Zane anyway? It sounded all-American, as though he should be something like a baseball player, a superhero, or a cowboy – certainly not an English extreme sports instructor. Out of the corner of her eye she could see Sophie giving Zane the once-over. Sophie knew all about Aaron, knew every detail of what had happened…

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  1. I cant imagine living in the Uk. It sounds very primative. It was a great excerpt though. Good luck with sale.

  2. great job Barb and Zanna. Thanks to both!