The last story in the fun & flirty #LoveLondon series from exciting new chick lit author Nikki Moore is OUT today! The perfect novel for reading in the sunshine … and falling in love with London. And to celebrate, I have Nikki herself today on the blog. She's gonna answer some bookish questions for us:
Hi Alba, thanks for letting me pop in – it’s lovely to be here.
First of all, tell us a bit about yourself:
Well, I’m a Dorset girl and love living by the beach. I have a day job in Human Resources working in Employee Relations, two energetic kids and a lovely boyfriend (not to mention wonderful friends and family!) I was on the Romantic Novelists Association New Writers Scheme for four years before being offered a publishing contract and becoming a full member. The NWS – where you submit a manuscript and receive a critique report from a published author, editor or agent – was absolutely invaluable in improving my writing and I would highly recommend it to aspiring authors (see this link for details http://www.romanticnovelistsassociation.org/join/new_writers_scheme).
I was a finalist in a few writing competitions between 2010 and 2012, and my first publication contract was for a short story called A Night to Remember in the RNA/Mills & Boon best selling anthology released in February 2014, Truly, madly, Deeply. Since then I have had my debut novel Crazy, Undercover, Love (later shortlisted for the RNA Joan Hessayon Award), two short stories and five novellas (the #LoveLondon series) all published by HarperImpulse, the digital first romance imprint of HarperCollins.
You've had a very busy year, the first short story of your #LoveLondon Series was published in December and after four more short stories, you’re finally about to publish the sixth and last part, Picnics in Hyde Park. How have you lived this year? Any special moments?
Yes, I can hardly believe it - the last eighteen months since first being published have been a real whirlwind J Looking back on it now, writing and releasing five novellas and a novel in nine months was probably a bit ambitious, and it was lots of hard work, but also totally exciting. It’s gone really fast, and when you ask how I’ve lived, the answer is frantically and by the skin of my teeth, with much less sleep than I used to get!
Every release day has been a special moment, especially because of the amount of support I’ve had from readers, reviewers, bloggers and fellow authors, but I must admit that release day for Picnics will probably be the most special given it’s the novel that finishes the series and has a scene where all the characters from the novellas appear together. I think it will probably be a very emotional day too, although I will have to hold the sniffles back as I’ll be at the day job! Other special moments have been when readers or reviewers have emailed me or tracked me down on Twitter to say how much they’ve enjoyed the #LoveLondon books or to chat about the characters or other stories. There’s nothing quite like the feeling when that happens, and it always puts a grin on my face.
How did you come up with the idea for this series?
The #LoveLondon series was born out of me pitching my second full length novel - a romance wholly set in London - to my lovely editor Charlotte at HarperImpulse, and her asking me to write a number of London based short romances leading up to the novel. The idea has evolved a number of times, but we eventually settled on a linked series that would start at Christmas - Skating at Somerset House - with a story to follow roughly once a month to capture key dates or events, with one character in each short related to / friends with one of the main characters, Matt or Zoe, from Picnics. And so New Year at The Ritz, Valentine’s on Primrose Hill, Cocktails in Chelsea and Strawberries at Wimbledon were created to follow on from Skating at Somerset House.
Do you have a favourite story in the series? Or a favourite character?
This might sound big headed but I like all of the #LoveLondon books (for different reasons) – however it’s more of a case of a mum loving all of her babies than thinking I’m the best author out there (which I’m not, by any stretch of the imagination).
If I had to pick favourites it would be Valentine’s on Primrose Hill because of its darker, more serious but deeply romantic edge and Picnics in Hyde Park, which was literally a labour of love and means a lot to me. I’ve ploughed so much energy and emotion into it and it touches on a number of underlying serious issues including recovering from grief, how your childhood shapes your present and what being a good parent means. I really hope that hard work and passion translates to readers.
In terms of favourite characters, I must admit I have a soft spot for Adam from Strawberries at Wimbledon because he’s a good boy who’s now a bit rough around the edges (I have a thing for bad boys) and Rayne from the same story, because of how individual and feisty she is. Of course, I also love Matt and Zoe from Picnics, who feel more like friends than characters I’ve created. That might sound a bit odd, but other authors usually understand what I’m on about ;)
I love how you have matched your stories with special spots in London. Any secret tips for people visiting London?
Take a map, wear flat shoes because you should be prepared to walk a lot, have a camera at the ready and be ready to soak up the atmosphere! It’s a thriving, diverse city and when I went back there for a meeting earlier in the week, I fell in love with it all over again when I walked along Notting Gate Hill and meandered through Hyde Park and had strawberries and cream by the lake.
How do you celebrate your publication days?
Sometimes I’m lucky enough to be off work, but most of the time I’m at the day job from nine to five so I get up early and spend a few hours on social media before work, dip in and out of twitter during my breaks, and then spend the evening catching up with everyone while the kids occupy themselves once I’ve thrown a quick dinner at them. I usually have a bottle of wine or cocktails to hand, along with some themed cakes.
I already have a bottle of champagne chilling in the fridge to celebrate the release of Picnics and the end of the series, although we’ll be drinking it on the weekend rather than Thursday night, because I have work on Friday!
Are you already working on a new book or series?
I’m taking a short break from writing for a couple of months to concentrate on promoting the #LoveLondon series and to find an agent, but I have a half written women’s commercial fiction book in the works, along with ideas for three or four more novels, so watch this space!
Tell us, who is your ultimate book boyfriend?
Oh no, there are far too many to choose from! I’ve been reading a lot of crime thrillers lately too, so haven’t had crushes on many heroes from books recently either. One that springs to mind is Jack from The Story of Us by Dani Atkins. He is gorgeous, capable, complicated and kind. What’s not to love?
Your covers are so bright and colourful. Time to confess, do you judge a book by its cover?
Thank you – I was really lucky with the covers for the #LoveLondon series, which were designed by the very talented Steve Panton (on Twitter via @StevePanton). It shouldn’t be the case, but yes, I guess I do judge a book by its cover somewhat, but I also read the blurb and the opening scene to see what I think of the writing. If the cover isn’t that good but the writing is magical, I read the book!
What are you reading at the moment? Any summer reads recommendations?
As I said, I’m reading a lot of crime / thrillers and I’ve just discovered Amanda Brooke (her latest is The Missing Husband and was fantastic but Yesterday’s Sun was brilliant too) and Angie Marsons (the Kim Stone series) but I also love anything by C.L. Taylor (The Accident or The Lie) or Lucy Clarke (The Sea Sisters, A Single Breath and The Blue). I’ve just started reading a lot of romance novels for the HarperImpulse #HIReadathon (reading and reviewing as many HI titles as possible from 1 – 14 Aug) and have enjoyed it immensely. For summer reads I would recommend The Vintage Cinema Club by Jane Linfoot, and from what I’ve read so far, Somewhere Only We Know by Erin Lawless – a romance set in London, just like Picnics in Hyde Park.
Thanks so much, Alba – it’s been fun!
I hope people have enjoyed getting to know me and my books a bit better, and I’d love readers/reviewers/bloggers/aspiring authors to get in touch via Twitter @NikkiMoore_Auth or on Fb https://www.facebook.com/NikkiMooreWrites
About the book:
Blurb: Hot summer romance…or cold revenge?
Super nanny, Zoe Harper is mad! It was bad enough discovering her ex-fiancé Greg cheating on her just weeks before their wedding. But now she’s returned home to London to find her younger sister Melody has been left jobless, homeless, broke and dumped.
Zoe is determined to get revenge on the infamous Reilly brothers for her sister’s heartbreak. So when an unexpected opportunity gives Zoe a way in to uncaring—and dizzyingly gorgeous!—successful music producer Matt Reilly’s world, she jumps at the chance to make him pay.
But living with Matt as nanny to his two adorable, but complicated children, Zoe soon begins to suspect that not everything is as it seems… Matt insists on pushing everyone away including his children, but why? And if his delicious summer kisses are anything to go by, he can’t be that bad surely?
Can Zoe convince Matt to open up a little and help fix this family before she leaves…or worse, before Matt learns who she really is?
Out on 13th August as an ebook, paperback to follow. Get it from only £2.99!
Amazon UK http://amzn.to/1PJBlfi
Kobo at https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/picnics-in-hyde-park-love-london-series
Nook at http://www.nook.com/gb/ebooks/picnics-in-hyde-park-love-london-series-by-nikki-moore/9780007583249.