Today’s guest is bestselling author, Jessica Redland. Look, I really tried to keep her away but she wasn’t having it, and who am I to argue? She can be very persuasive. No, I’m joking (obviously). I am thrilled to bits to have my lovely best friend on the blog today, chatting books and writing with me.
Welcome to the blog, Jessica. Can you start by telling us a little bit about yourself for anyone who’s been living on Saturn for a few years and doesn’t know about you.
Hello! I’m Jessica and I live in the North Yorkshire seaside town of Scarborough with my husband, our 16-year-old daughter (who is doing her GCSEs right now so our house is full of worksheets, flashcards and stress) and our 7-year-old sprocker Spaniel, Ella (who steals the worksheets and flashcards and causes more stress!) I’ve been a full-time author for nearly three years now – can’t believe it has been that long – and I spent most of my career before that working in HR, specialising in recruitment, training, coaching and mentoring. I still put some of those skills into use today as a trainer with RNA Learning (Romantic Novelists’ Association), running a couple of one-month flexible learning courses.
It’s really great to have you here. Let’s start with an easy one – not. What’s your favourite childhood book and why?
I can’t single out a book but there are three series I can pin down and they’re all by the same author: Enid Blyton. I devoured The Faraway Tree series, the Famous Five and Malory Towers. Her stories were so gripping and I learned what a page-turner was from reading Blyton’s books. I’d read in bed and my dad would come in and tell me to put my light off to go to sleep. He’d then be back shortly after to tell me it again as I was still reading and then, sneakily, I’d dig my torch out and read under the pillow if I’d got to a particularly engaging part!
Haha, I remember pinching my little brother’s night light and burying under the blankets to read Enid Blyton after my parents told me to switch off the light. I’ll be honest, I don’t remember the Faraway Tree series, and I’m not sure if I read them or not. But the Famous Five and Malory Towers were definite favourites. Do you have a favourite among the books you’ve written yourself? Or, knowing you, can you narrow it down to a dozen?
Every book is special to me for different reasons but I do have some favourite stories. I’d struggle to pinpoint just one so I’m going to be greedy here and pick three. I love Coming Home to Seashell Cottage which is the final book of four in the Welcome to Whitsborough Bay series. It’s full of twists and turns and I feel as though I truly found my voice when I was writing that particular book, as well as the type of writer I wanted to be with more emotional stories that tug on the heartstrings.
Another favourite is All You Need is Love which is the first story I wrote as a dual perspective, giving myself a new challenge with my writing. I love that story and it still lingers with me today.
In the Hedgehog Hollow series, my favourite book is the third one – Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow. This is Chloe’s story and, up until this point, she’s been a selfish character who readers love to hate, but we find out about her past and it’s quite a tale. I got such a buzz from working out who Chloe really was and why she acts the way she does.
Having said that, I do have a lot of love for my first release of this year, Healing Hearts at Bumblebee Barn, and the July release I’m currently editing. And… (I think I’d better leave it there!)
Well done on narrowing it down to four! Still, they’re all so good no one can blame you for struggling with that one. Do you read any genres apart from the one you write in?
I read quite a variety of romance books from romcom to book club fiction but my other preferred genre is crime. I don’t read as many but I enjoy cosy crimes, police procedurals and psych thrillers the most.
Do you read books more than once?
I used to when in my childhood and teenage years but I don’t think I’ve ever re-read a book as an adult (except my own, of course, during the writing and editing process). Back then, I loved the familiarity of diving into something I’d already read, knowing it was going to be a brilliant story. I read my Enid Blyton books loads and I read the Flowers in the Attic series by Virginia Andrews so many times that my copies fell apart!
Do you prefer hardback, paperback, e-book, audio, or no preference?
Hardbacks are special and gorgeous on the shelves but a bit heavy to read. I will always love paperbacks but my go-to format is an e-book.
I’ll admit that I was really against e-readers when they first came out. I wasn’t published at the time and I had this fear of the unknown and what that might mean for me as an aspiring writer who would hopefully have a book published in the future.
My sister-in-law told me that her husband, a bus driver and voracious reader, had bought a Kindle and would read between journeys. He particularly loved the days when he knew he was going to finish one book and start the next and having a Kindle meant he didn’t need to take two books to work.
I was commuting to York (an hour away) by train at the time and often had that problem of lugging two books with me. Stuck for Christmas gift ideas, I reluctantly suggested to the husband that I might like a Kindle and I’ve never looked back. I’ve read way more books since having one because it’s nearly always with me and I’ve discovered a lot more authors too.
I love my Kindle. I will always love the feel and look of a physical book but e-reading has made things so much easier for me. Do you read series, or do you prefer standalones?
I read both but I’m more strongly drawn to series. I love returning to a familiar setting and seeing how my book friends are developing. I’m a purist with reading series. I don’t like dipping into one partway through so, if I’m going to read a series, I like to read from book 1 and read the full series. It’s the richest reading experience that way.
I absolutely agree with you there. There’s nothing better than reaching the end of a good book knowing there’s more to follow. Like you, it makes me edgy when I think about starting a series midway through! So, what are you reading right now?
I’m currently reading The Girls by Bella Osborne. It’s about four women who used to share a house in the 1970s and, forty years later, reunite. They’re invited to live with the eldest of the group – some company and help during their twilight years. I’ve just got to their first day together and I think there’s going to be drama ahead. It’s the first book of Bella’s I’ve read and the four main characters are so well developed so I’m sure it won’t be the last I read.
What’s your latest book about?
My latest release is out today so happy publication day to me! It’s called Summer Nights at The Starfish Café and is the final book in a trilogy, set in a café just outside the seaside resort of Whitsborough Bay. I’ve loved writing this series and have completely fallen in love with Starfish Point with the café on the cliff and the seal haven on the beach below. I wish it was real!
In the first book, Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café, readers meet Hollie who owns and runs The Starfish Café and is struggling with life after bereavement. Our hero Jake comes into her life after finding a lost dog on the beach and it follows them as their friendship develops, giving Jake’s perspective on the story as well as Hollie’s.
Hollie remains the narrator across the next two books but there’s a guest narrator whose story runs alongside Hollie’s. In book 2, Spring Tides at The Starfish Café, this is Tori who becomes a good friend after the two women meet in unexpected circumstances.
In book 3, the guest is café employee Kerry. She’s a single mum of four primary school age children and her routine is about to be disturbed by someone from the past.
I can’t wait to get started on it. You know I’m a big fan of the Starfish Café books. What’s next for you?
With The Starfish Café series now finished as well as my Hedgehog Hollow series (which ended at the back of last year after six books), it was time for me to get my teeth into a new series and I’m so excited to be moving to a brand new location.
I’ve already got the seaside and countryside and now I’m off to lakes and mountains with a new series set in the stunning Lake District National Park – somewhere that’s so very special to me. The first book The Start of Something Wonderful is out in mid-July. I’m doing the edits at the moment and then it will be a return to Whitsborough Bay for my Christmas book.
I know how much you love the Lakes, and I’m really excited to read your new series. I love the title of Book 1, so roll on July! Happy publication day, and thanks so much for joining me today, Jessica.
Thanks so much for having me xx
About Jessica Redland
Jessica Redland is a bestselling author of emotional but uplifting stories of love, friendship, family, and community. Her Whitsborough Bay books transport readers to the stunning North Yorkshire Coast where she lives with her husband, daughter and sprocker spaniel. Her Hedgehog Hollow series, set in a hedgehog rescue centre, takes readers into the beautiful rolling countryside of the Yorkshire Wolds.
All of Jessica’s books are available in a multitude of formats: eBook, paperback, hardback, large print, and audio. Her eBooks are all available for FREE via Kindle Unlimited and six of her audiobooks can be listened to for FREE as part of the Audible Plus programme for Audible subscribers. Libraries internationally also stock Jessica’s titles in a variety of formats.
She also has a lovely readers’ group on Facebook, Redland’s Readers, which you can join here.
Summer Nights at The Starfish Café
Welcome back to The Starfish Café for a glorious summer, but with a few dark clouds on the horizon…
A new beginning…
As her summer wedding to Jake approaches, Hollie is excited for their new beginning as a family. But when some unexpected news threatens the future she and Jake had hoped for, Hollie will need to find the strength to overcome heartache once more.
A fragile heart….
Single mum, Kerry, loves her job at The Starfish Café, but behind the brave smiles and laughter with customers there is a sadness deep within. So when someone from her past re-appears in her life, Kerry can either hide away or face her demons and try to finally move on from her heartbreak.
A summer to remember…
For Hollie and Kerry it promises to be an emotional rollercoaster of a summer, but the community at The Starfish Café will always be there to help them through – after all, with courage nothing is impossible…
Join top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for a wonderful summer at the seaside, full of love, friendship and community spirit.
Summer Nights at The Starfish Café available at: