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The Vintage Village Bake Off by Judy Leigh #Review

  Here we are with another amusing romcom by Judy Leigh . The Vintage Village Bake Off was published by Boldwood Books on December 4th. Now in his seventies, Robert Parkin is stunned to find himself the unlikely sex symbol of the village gardening club. Living in happy solitude with his cat Isaac Mewton in the Devon village of Millbrook, entertained by his mischievous chickens and goats, Robert has never figured out the rules of romance. But as the local ladies vie for his company, it soon becomes clear that Robert's Victoria Sponge cake is the lure, and as his baking prowess grows, so does his confidence. Cheesecakes, meringues, puddings, Robert can do it all, but his real masterpieces are his scones - ginger, rosemary, coconut, fruit, his recipes are inspired and soon come to the attention of the local media. Which county does the best cream tea - Devon or Cornwall? It's time for an age-old debate to be settled with a competition. Robert's sisters Bunty and Ha

Meet the Author ** Finn Og**

Today on Meet the Author, we have Finn Og who is letting us in on some of his thoughts about his writing life. 

His latest thriller, Charlie, is about the relationship between a father and daughter, as he extracts from the Navy following the death of his wife. In providing for his little girl, the lead character, Sam, creates a clandestine company, which lands them in a lot of trouble.

Welcome to Books, Life and Everything, Finn! 

Would you like to start by telling us a little about yourself and how you started as a writer?

I hesitate to call myself a writer, yet anyway. I have one book on the market, another being edited, and while I have written others, at least one of them cannot be published for reasons I won’t go into. However, it is something that for some reason i need to do, rather than want to. It is hard to explain. There must be something in me, some restlessness, and writing, for the moment, has taken the edge off that. 

When did you first realise you were going to be a writer?

At school I think. Then I took a long slow trajectory away from that notion, but it feels like I have landed in the target area. I have spent a lot of time building the experiences from which to draw stories onto the page, if that makes sense. 

 If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?

Good question. I do work at other things currently. If I ever manage to make a living from scribbling, I’ll get back to you on what I would do otherwise. 

What are your interests apart from writing?

Family, then the sea, for sure. I make stuff, with timber. 

 What is your favourite childhood book?

Swallows and Amazons.
Tell us about your latest book without giving the plot away.

It’s fundamentally about the relationship between a father and daughter, but they are grieving the loss of his wife, and her mother. The main character, Sam, returns from active service as a Royal Marine Commando following the death. He’s skilled in all sorts of ways, and he uses those skills to exact a certain amount of revenge, and as a means to help him recover from some of the questionable things he’s seen and done.

What are your writing routines and where do you do most of your writing?

I write early in the morning, as that’s the main time life will allow. I don’t sleep well, so anytime from 0430 gives me a few hours before routine kicks in. 

How many hours a day do you write?

At least one, on a good day three. 

How do you go about researching detail and ensuring your books are realistic?
I don’t need to do a lot of research to be honest. I’m happy that they are realistic, and thankfully the feedback and reviews reflect that. 
Which aspects of your writing do you find easiest and most difficult?

Getting the time, marketing, and social media I find difficult. I’d rather be under a boat working at it than trying to work out what a Facebook pixel is or how to use it. I still haven’t cracked that, yet I can strip a water pump from a diesel engine with one hand. Different strokes for different folks.
How difficult was writing your second book- did having one published change how you went about it?

Easier, for sure. I had a rhythm, and the second poured out of me like a story in a pub.

Were there any scenes which you had to edit out of your book which you still hanker after?

Lots, for reasons I can’t go into, but lots. 

How do you select the names of your characters? Are they based on anyone you know?

Unusually I struggle with this. I mull over it for a long time, and often change my mind pre-publication. It’s tricky, but important to get right. I don’t base them on people I know.

How long on average does it take you to write your first draft?

About six months so far, but I have too few to say with accuracy yet.

Are there any secret references hidden in your books?

Someone once asked me if I was expecting any surprises. Yours is a good question, posed by a smart person, I like it but I won’t answer it! 
Do you have any guilty pleasures which stop/ help you write? 

I occasionally drink alcohol. I enjoy it. I don’t recommend it, and I’m not an alcoholic or anything, but sometimes memories are triggered through a drop of rum, and I scribble down a note, and often incorporate that experience into a scene.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Marketing exhausts me. Writing a lot in a day gives me an excuse to go sailing.

Do you or have you ever considered writing under a pseudonym?

I do, and will continue to do so. It is important to me, and that anonymity is vital.

Do you have any other writers as friends and how do they influence your writing?

Not a single one. 

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Keep calm, keep quiet, don’t smoke and look at what you’re trying to achieve from a distance - work out how the whole thing is moving and sometimes it’s ok to take the easier road.

Do you believe in writer’s block? What do you do to break its spell? 

I believe in it, but other than the aforementioned rum, I don’t have any decent suggestions - other than get outside, preferably in bad weather, and get physical - ideally in or on the sea. 

Can you give any hints about any upcoming books you have planned? 

Sure. The next book gets more into the psychology of Sam and Isla, and is based on current events. Again, Ireland is a hinge, but it is global, and Sam is trying hard to be less impetuous and more calm. It doesn’t always work, but he’s working on it!

Do you have any unfinished or unpublished books hidden away?

I do, and at the moment I imagine they will remain like that for a long time. Some stuff just can’t be put in print!

Thanks, Finn. You can follow Finn here: Website   |  Twitter  
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