I’m pleased to feature a Q&A session with Poppy Blake author of the Windmill Café series. I had Summer Breeze, the first book of this series, sitting in my “To Be read” pile having bought it some months ago. When I saw that Autumn Leaves was due out, I thought I’d better get on and read it quick smart.
Now I will admit to buying this on the strength of the cover and the title without reading the description. I’m a sucker for anything café, shop or beach related but this was not my usual read at all. What you get here is not your typical chick lit but a fictional rom-com with a little cosy mystery added in to the mix. I feel it is suited to a younger reader, from a teen to someone in their early twenties. Having no sex or bad language in it, which is rather refreshing, there is an innocence that reminded me of being curled up on the sofa my parents watching Sunday evening tv in a bygone era when life was simpler. It made me think of Angela Lansbury mixed with Darling Buds of May. Both books are now available at a budget price on Amazon Kindle.
Poppy: A huge thank you for having me as a guest on your lovely blog. It’s great to be here.
- Tell us a little about your new book The Windmill Café – Autumn Leaves?Autumn Leaves is the second book in the Windmill Café series, but all the stories are standalones so you don’t have to have read Summer Breeze. We meet up with Rosie Barnes again, the manager of the cute little cafe in a windmill in the Norfolk countryside, along with her friend, Mia Williams, who has a penchant for quirky, if not down-right risqué aprons! Having moved on from the ice-cold fizz and strawberry-and-cream scones of summer, they are now getting stuck into pumpkin-spiced lattes and chocolate fudge brownies. However, as always, all is not as it seems at the Windmill Café. After the food-poisoning mystery of Summer Breeze, Rosie and her friends are faced with another mystery to solve, this time when one of their guest gets shot by a stray archery arrow!
- What was your inspiration for the Windmill Café series?
My two favourite genres are romantic comedy and cozy mysteries, so when I sat down to create the community surrounding the Windmill Café I knew it had to have both these elements – an uplifting, fun-filled story with a twist of surprise thrown in for good measure. I’d had a fabulous holiday in Norfolk, visited a couple of windmills and the idea sprang from that – although I didn’t find one with peppermint coloured sails!
- What did you enjoy most about writing The Windmill Café?
Oh, that definitely has to be doing the research into the recipes that Rosie and Mia create. One of Rosie’s signature bakes is Stilton and grape scones, and Mia loves to make a batch of pineapple and coconut cookies – all of which were devoured when I made a few test-batches at home! The Autumn Leaves story is set at Hallowe’en so there were lots of gingerbread and treacle-based goodies to try out, including a great recipe for Boston Scream pie!
- How did you research the archery incident?
My son is a member of our local archery club so there were lots of people who were happy to answer any questions I had about the technicalities of the sport. I spent several very interesting afternoons studying their various bows – longbows, recurve bows and compound bows – as well as the quivers and the arrows they use.
- What inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve been scribbling stories ever since I could hold a pen. I would draw the character first, and then make up a story for them. In my teens, I wrote several short stories, which I loved writing but which ended up in a shoe box on the top of my wardrobe, along with my very first novel. As you can probably imagine, when Harper Impulse said they loved the Windmill Café books and wanted to publish them I was absolutely over the moon! It’s a dream come true.
- Are you a plotter or do you write by the seat of your pants?
I’m definitely a plotter. I usually start my writing process by creating a group of characters, spending time on their quirks and personalities, their likes and dislikes, their hobbies, what music they like to listen to, what films they enjoy, whether they are allergic to anything, what was their favourite holiday etc. However, what I really struggle with is choosing their names – it’s so difficult to get them right. I spend hours scrolling through the Baby Names websites for the perfect name for every person in the story. Then there’s their last names, and the names of their pets…!
- What’s next?
Well, there’s the third book in the Windmill Café series, due out in September which centres around a Christmas Tree decorating competition. Of course, something happens to one of the participants and Rosie, Mia, Matt and Freddie have to don their metaphorical deerstalkers and solve the mystery before their friends’ wedding is ruined. It’s also filled with humour, as well as great festive bakes, and I loved doing the test-bakes, especially when the house filled with the fragrance of Christmas – even though it was May! Warm cinnamon and nutmeg is one of my favourite aromas, although I’m not sure my family appreciated the dozens of mince pies on offer when the sun was bleaching down!
A huge thank you for having me as a guest on your blog. I hope your readers enjoyed their trip to the Norfolk countryside, and joining in with the Hallowe’en fun of Autumn Leaves!
If anyone wants to enter their name in the giveaway, please pop over to my Twitter page and retweet the pinned tweet. A winner will be chosen at random on 29th June. (sorry UK only)
Poppy Blake is an avid scribbler of contemporary romance and romcoms. When not writing she loves indulging in the odd cocktail or two – accompanied by a tower of cupcakes. The Windmill Cafe series follows the life and loves of Rosie and Matt in the glorious countryside of Norfolk and will be opening its doors in March 2018 with Summer Breeze. Why not pop in for a visit?
Your support, as always is gratefully received, and shares and reposts are most welcome. Thanks for looking.