Today is my stop on HOW TO MEND A BROKEN HEART by Anna Mansell Blog Tour. I am delighted that Anna has joined me to take part in my Q&A Interview  

Can you tell us a little about yourself and background?
I’m a northerner living in Cornwall, grateful every day for both these things! I’ve spent most of my career doing marketing for dance and theatre companies, which meant that making the decision to get creative myself, was just a little bit intimidating. I’ve worked with and for some amazingly talented people, it was daunting to tell them I was going to give it a go myself. I live in a 17th century cottage, in the middle of a working dairy farm, something else I’m grateful for daily. My husband and I have two children, who are brilliantly funny and clever and beautiful. And Olive Dog is my right hand woman(dog). She’s a rescue greyhound who came to us last November and who I’d now be lost without! I’ll be forty this year, and can’t quite believe where the time has gone… this new chapter is pretty exciting though!
When did you know that you wanted to become a writer? and how did you go about it?
I’ve always written, but I don’t think I really knew it was what I wanted to do until quite recently. I would write books as a kid and dream of what it might be like, but I suppose it was something other people did. Besides, I was a great starter but had never worked out how to finish anything. Then, about 5 years ago, I realised I really did want to write and – in a fit of early on set mid life crisis – jacked my job in to make it happen. Thank god for my very supportive and patient husband, and a slight stubborn streak in my nature.
Can you tell us what genre your books are and the audience you write for?
I find genre difficult. Some might say women’s fiction, some literary fiction… I don’t know really. I write books for people who are interested in people, maybe? I write the kind of book I like to read. I find reading hard, I’m not able to sit down and just read anything and everything, though gosh I wish I could. So I wanted to write something that had pace and lightness to it, but that explored subjects that matter to me, that had depth. I don’t know if I’ve achieved it by everyone’s standards, but that was the aim, and continues to be my driver as I write book two.
What is your writing process? and how long does it take?
When I get into it, I can write quite quickly, but getting into it takes the time. I am – as all writers are – a procrastinator. I can get my bum in the chair, but then I have to really make myself work. It’s got harder actually, as I’ve got closer to achieving my dream of publication. When I first started, I’d just sit down at 9am and write until I had to pick up the kids. Now? Now, I have to switch the world off to get those first few words down, then hope the rest follow suit! I’m part pantser, part planner. The main thing I’ve learned is not to panic… something I usually forget when I’m mid panic. And that whatever I’m feeling at the time of writing, is probably what people will feel at the time of reading. Including, when I’m bored!
Are your characters based on anyone you know or are they just fictional?
All my characters are fictional, but each are made up of tiny pieces of me, you, a neighbour, a friend. A stranger from across the street, someone on the telly, the radio, someone in a magazine. They are a mix of many, which ultimately, is what we all are!
Have you wrote about a personal experience in your novels?
I write about life, so that bleeds into my own experiences or those I’ve watched people go through. But they are fictional, so it can go in any number of directions. In How to Mend a Broken Heart, I was inspired by someone who felt life was too much for them. Someone who I felt was one of the most brilliant, brave and generous people I’d ever met. And other people, who emotionally opt out of life, I’ve met lots of those kinds of people. The ones who don’t feel they deserve to live life to its fullest. Those two ideas brought the novel to life and, I guess, I do have personal experience of them… but as an observer, for the most part.
What research do you do?
It depends. There are certain things I need to understand, processes and so on. Like with adoption, or hospital processes. But so far, it’s been loose information as opposed to detailed facts. I’m writing from my own truths at this point, but that may change down the line. I have an idea for a story that would require a lot of research, and some more life experience, so maybe that one – if it ever sees the light of day – will give you a different answer to this question!
Who would you like to co-write with and why?
One of my best mates and I have long talked about writing a sitcom. And god, I’d love to do it. So far, life has interrupted our achieving it but one day it’ll happen. Whether anyone else will find it funny, I don’t know. But she and I will laugh like drains whilst writing it, that much I do know!
What’s your favorite book?
Ooh, that’s a tricky one! I think it may be Our Spoons Came From Woolworths, by Barbara Comyns. But it could be any of Alan Bennetts books. Or The BFG, my favourite book as a kid.
What’s your favorite food?
Roast dinner, all the way! I’m from Yorkshire. A Yorkshire pudding with proper gravy is the food of gods. Mmmmm, roast dinner…….
What’s your favorite film?
I’m terrible at these sorts of questions, cos I’m quite fickle. It might be the last thing I watched, or the thing I watched when I was with someone special. Or the thing I remember today, the day you ask me. But I can tell you, that my Rocky box set is one of my most treasured possessions. I haven’t watched them for years, but there is something about those films that I love, yet can’t quite put my finger on.
What’s your favorite song?
I have too many, but one song that I remember I loved from being a kid, that has never changed, is Yesterday, by The Beatles. It’s not even their best, but I’ve always loved it.
How can readers find out more information about yourself and your books?
I’m on Facebook as AnnaMansellAuthor, or Twitter at @annamansell I can be found posting pictures of the dog or the kids on Instagram as mrsannam I’d love people to say hi!

Hello? Rhys Woods? I have a patient here I think you know. Yours is the only number in her diary…

When Rhys is called to the hospital to meet Susan, a woman he barely knows, he is compelled to help her. Still grieving the loss of his brother months earlier, Rhys knows all too well the feeling of loneliness.

There are years between them, but Rhys is the only person Susan will respond to, and when she asks him to bring her her most treasured possession, a book of fairytales, he is intrigued.

Hidden in the book is a clue to Susan’s past, and the painful regrets she carries with her. And as Rhys starts to unearth Susan’s secrets, he finds that his own grief begins to heal too…

Together, Susan and Rhys must learn to live again. Can they help each other to find happiness and finally mend their broken hearts?

How to Mend a Broken Heart is a heart-wrenching and absorbing story about second chances, forgiveness, and making every second count, perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes, Lucy Dillon and Miranda Dickinson.


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