Author News: Louise Douglas ‘Missing You’ up for second award!

I’m a HUGE fan of author Louise Douglas, whose books The Love Of My Life and Missing You are amongst my favourites.

Louise has had a very exciting year so far in 2010. Missing You was nominated and won RNA Peoples Choice Award 2010 and is now shortlisted for the Brit Writers’ Awards 2010: Published Writer of the Year Award.

If You haven’t read Missing You yet, then I strongly recommend you do. You can check out my review here

And if you’ve read and loved it as much as I did, then please do take a moment to vote for Louise here

Congratulations Louise and the very best of luck!

Louise Douglas wins the RNA Peoples Choice Award 2010!

BIG congratulations to Louise Douglas who won the RNA Peoples Choice Award 2010 for her brilliant novel, Missing You.

I absolutely loved this book (read my review here) and Louise was the first author I interviewed (read the interview here) with 2 lucky people winning signed copies (which are on their way right now!)

Other Award Winners:

Romantic Novel Of The Year: Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts by Lucy Dillon
Romantic Comedy Of The Year: The Nearly Weds by Jane Costello
Love Story Of The Year: Animal Instincts by Nell Dixon

I haven’t read ANY of these other books so I’ve linked to Goodreads for you to check them out!

Congratulations to all!

Author Interview: Louise Douglas plus WIN a signed copy of Missing You!!

I’ve become a big fan of Louise Douglas after loving both her debut novel, The Love Of My Life, and second novel, Missing you (released earlier this month). So when Louise agreed to be my first author interview, I was more than a little bit excited! So without any further ado, let me introduce her!

Louise Douglas is a writer, based in the West Country just outside Bristol.

The paperback version of her first novel, The Love of My Life, was published by Pan Macmillan in January 2009. A love story with a dark twist, it was long-listed for the Romantic Novel of the Year Award and the Waverton Good Read award and has been widely translated.

Her second fiction book, Missing You, has just been published. (taken from Louise’s website

Missing You has been shortlisted for the People’s Choice Award in the 2010 Romantic Novelists’ Association Pure Passion Award. The winner will be chosen by public vote and announced on the 16th March. If you’ve read Missing You and would like to vote, you can do so here

And now on with the interview!

Can you tell us more about your book, Missing You, and where the inspiration came from to write it?

I wanted to write a love story from the point of view of a man who had been badly hurt because mostly, in books, it is the man who lets the woman down, not the other way round. Also, at weekends I’d see young fathers playing with their children in the park but they don’t appear much in literature either, so I’d had Sean and Amy in my mind for probably a couple of years. Fen’s story actually came to me while I was cooking bacon sandwiches at a stall at Glastonbury Festival 2008! I spent most of the festival in my own dream-world thinking about her and after that it wasn’t too difficult to merge the two stories together.

One thing that really stands out to me in both of your books is how believable and real your characters are. Do you base them on people you know or yourself? Who is your favourite character?

Thank you! I don’t consciously base the characters on people I know, but I do try to make them behave like real people. Sometimes that doesn’t work in the context of the story, and then I know the story is wrong. It’s hard to choose a favourite, but I am very fond of Sean, and also Amy.

I loved the character of Sean in Missing You. If the book was ever to hit the TV or big screen, which actor would you like to see portraying him?

That’s a brilliant question! I think it would have to be James McAvoy if he was available…

I read on your website that as well as being a mum to three sons, you also still have your day job. How do you find time to write? What’s a typical day like for you?

I don’t work full time anymore, only three days a week. Even so, I usually write in the evenings, often late into the night when I can be on my own. I really enjoy the day job as it means I get out of the house and talk to different people because writing can be a bit lonely. I’m so lucky to be able to do both really. Every day features at least one dog walk, quite a lot of cooking, time with friends if possible, some work, some reading, some writing and being with the family. My guilty secret is watching Come Dine With Me, sad to say I am completely addicted.

How did you get published and what’s the best thing about being a writer with a published book? Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?

When the first book, the Love of my Life was finished, I sent off three chapters and a synopsis to agents, picking the most likely ‘matches’ for me from The Writers and Artists Yearbook. I was very, very lucky that my wonderful agent Marianne Gunn O’Connor got back to me and asked to see the whole book and soon after agreed to represent me. She secured the publishing deal with Pan Macmillan. I know it’s a cliche, but it was something I’d wanted all my life, and the single happiest moment of my entire career. The best thing is meeting some wonderful people, and learning all the time, from reviews like yours and from taking advice and help from people much more talented and clever than I am.

I’d advise aspiring writers to make their first book as good as they possibly can before sending it off to agents, and to make sure they follow the submission guidelines to the letter. It’s a very competitive world out there and you need to give yourself the best possible chance. And there are some great alternative routes to publication, Pan Macmillan has a new writers’ scheme and the Romantic Novelists’ Association also helps new writers.

Which authors and books do you enjoy reading?

It’s difficult to answer that because I read everything and anything although I’m not keen on horror or anything that features a lot of violence. My favourite book ever is To Kill a Mockingbird. Last year I particularly enjoyed Jenny Downham’s wonderful Before I Die, Milly Johnson’s A Spring Affair and The Elegance of the Hedgehog. I recently reread Wuthering Heights, My Cousin Rachel, The Midwich Cuckoos and three Donna Leon and they’re all as good as I remembered.

Finally, can you tell us what you’re working on next?

I’ve just finished the final draft of my third book and it’s with Marianne so I’m waiting to hear whether she thinks it’s any good or not. It’s very nerve-wracking as I don’t know if she’ll come back with the thumbs-up or if it’ll be back to the drawing board for me. I’m sorry but daren’t tell you what it’s about yet in case I have to start again from scratch.

Thank you Louise for agreeing to be interviewed and the very best of luck in the Pure Passion Awards!!

Now Your Chance To Win!!!
Would you like a chance to win a copy of Missing You by Louise Douglas? I have not one, but TWO signed copies to giveaway, kindly given to me by Louise herself.

Fen works in a bookshop and is devoted to her young son, Connor, but she keeps herself to herself. Haunted by guilt and a terrible secret, Fen lives a compromised life, isolated from her family, far from home and too afraid of the past to risk becoming close to anyone. She is constantly looking over her shoulder, knowing that one day the truth will catch up with her.

Sean, on the other hand, is enjoying a seemingly perfect life. He has a successful career, lives in his dream home and adores his beautiful wife, Belle, and their six-year-old daughter, Amy. That is until the day Belle announces she has found someone else and wants Sean to move out.

Circumstance throws Fen and Sean together. Slowly their quiet friendship turns into something much deeper and the joy they find in one another eventually gives them the confidence to trust and love again. But will the past tear them apart just as they find happiness?

You can read my review of Missing You here

All you need to do to enter is leave a comment at the end of this post before midnight (Uk) Thursday 25th February. You don’t need to be a follower and this giveaway is open internationally.

The two winners will be chosen at random and announced on Friday 26th February both here and on my twitter page (and by email if you leave one) You will have 48 hrs to contact me with postal details and after that the prize will be offered to someone else.

Want extra entries?

+1 follow my blog
+1 follow me on twitter
+2 Tweet about this give away (provide link)

That’s a possible 5 entries! Good luck!

Review: Missing You by Louise Douglas

Sean thought he had a perfect life. He is successful and lives in a beautiful house with his wife Belle and young daughter Amy. That is until Belle reveals she has met someone else and wants Sean to leave.

Fen is a single mother to Connor and leads a quiet and isolated life, caring for her son and working in a bookstore. Estranged from her family, Fen is guarding a terrible secret.

When fate throws them together, a gentle and beautiful relationship develops. However with the past always lingering around the edges, will they ever be able to find peace and happiness?

I read and adored Louise Douglas’ debut novel, The Love Of My Life and so when I saw she had a new book coming out this month, it went straight to the top of my wish list. I wasn’t disappointed, as again Douglas delivers a story that will take you on an emotional roller coaster and keep you completely absorbed.

Sean, whose break-up begins the book, immediately captured me. He arrives home to find his wife has packed up his belongings and has decided to end the relationship. The shock and despair he felt was described so perfectly I could feel it myself and straight away he gained my sympathy.

Fen is even more complex. She is quiet, gentle and very intense. At first I wasn’t sure I really got her, as there’s something almost ethereal about her, but as her life and feelings are explored she also really grew on me. What I love about the characters in Louise Douglas’ books is how absolutely real they are. She never tries to dress them up, and writes them with all the complexities and flaws humans have, so they become completely believable and easy to relate too.

The development of the relationship between Fen and Sean is stunning, but what I really loved reading was the relationship between Sean and his daughter Amy. She is only six when her parents separate and struggles to understand it. Sean also struggles to adapt to the new relationship with his daughter, fighting against the resentment and anger he feels for his wife and his determination to protect his child. I’ve read countless books on relationship break ups from a woman’s perspective, but can’t think of many that are from a man’s. I think Louise Douglas handled this beautifully and sensitively; the feelings and emotions Sean goes through are so vivid. I admit to feeling that I wanted to protect him myself, maybe even falling a little bit in love with him.

Throughout the book, Fen’s secret is a shadow, and I had no idea where this was going. It is hinted at from quite early on, but it’s not until the final quarter of the book that it begins to be revealed. By the time it was I was completely engrossed, and there is a scene where Fen confronts the past that had me holding my breath, being unexpected and incredibly sad. If I have one tiny criticism of the book it would be that after Fen’s guilt is exposed, the other characters seem a little blasé about it, as if it really didn’t matter that much. This didn’t really strike me as a true reaction. I didn’t mind too much and I don’t think it spoils the book, but it is in contrast to the realism of the rest of the book

Missing You is written in the third person, and so we are given the story from both Fen and Sean and this works really well. I was willing them together and groaning when things conspired against them, such as a missed opportunity to say something or a misinterpreted action. Louise Douglas describes emotions so beautifully it is impossible not to become entranced with the characters. Both her first novel and this one feature the loss of a loved one and I wonder how much she draws from personal experience, as it is so convincing. I think what makes Missing You so absorbing is the way Sean and Fen are so easy to relate too and recognise, that as a reader I had to know what happens to them.

This isn’t a fluffy read. While it’s not heavy going and is easy to read, it’s more serious than light chick-lit. That’s not to say it doesn’t have some lighter moments. A chapter that saw Sean getting as drunk as he could after a particularly messy meeting with his ex wife made me laugh. It’s a disgustingly accurate portrayal of drunkenness that is both cringe worthy and funny. The book is very emotion driven and I felt all the ups and downs along with the characters. Louise Douglas writes relationships so very well and isn’t afraid to show their bitter, jealous and manipulative sides while still showing the characters to be good people. Another hit for me from this author and I’ll be watching out eagerly for a third book.

My Rating: 5/5