Today's guest: Belinda Jones Why we love her: Her books (she's written 11!) are so much fun!
Her latest: Winter Wonderland
The scoop on it: Imagine waking up in a snow globe...That's how travel journalist Krista feels when she arrives in magical Quebec to report on Canada's glittering Winter Carnival. Over ten sub-zero days Krista's formerly frozen heart begins to melt as she discovers an enchanting world of ice palaces, husky dog-sledding and maple-syrup treats galore. And then she meets Jacques, a man as handsome and rugged as he is mysterious...The two share a secret that could bond them forever, but can they find a way to break through the protective layers around their hearts to warm up this winter wonderland? ...let the snow-spangled adventure begin The irresistibly gorgeous new novel from Belinda Jones will completely melt your heart, perfect for those looking to escape in an exhilarating, romantic story with a little extra magic. Fans of Lindsey Kelk, Milly Johnson and Carole Matthews will love Belinda Jones's unique blend of humour, adventure and delectable romance.
Our thoughts: The perfect love story to warm your heart on a cold winter day! It's no surprise that her book has been shortlisted for Romantic Comedy novel of the year by the Romantic Novelists' Association! (Congrats, Belinda!)
Giveway: FIVE *signed* COPIES of the UK version (same book, slightly different, but just as fabulous cover). Just leave a comment & be entered to win. We'll select the winners on Sunday, January
Fun fact: You can read the first chapter of Winter Wonderland.
CHICK LIT IS NOT DEAD PRESENTS...BELINDA JONES' 5 BEST EVERS
BEST SONG: I'm typically a fan of the smoothie retro-crooners - Frank, Doris, Dean et al. I have my car radio station constantly tuned to the music of the Forties. And yet... my favourite song is Jump by Van Halen!! It's very much about the associated memory and how it makes me feel: My best friend Emily and I were in Paris on vacation and ended up in some dark'n'divey basement club. The song came on, we climbed up onto a platform, danced wildly and then joined hands and decided to take the chorus literally. Only Emily jumped a lot higher than me, hit her head on the ceiling and fell unconscious to the floor. Now of course this is a fonder memory for me than her, but what it is symbolic of to me is that daring leap you take when you are young. I felt a cautious side in me developing as I got older and I don't like it! Whenever I have a big decision coming up or I have to do something that makes me quake in my boots I crank up that song and tell myself, 'Might as well jump!'
BEST BOOK: The Lost Continent - Travels in Small Town America by Bill Bryson. For me if you have Travel and Humour in a book, I'm in heaven. And nobody does that better than Bill Bryson. This book inspired my own pilgrimage - On The Road To Mr Right - A Search for the American Dream Guy - which is my only non-fiction title. The freakiest aspect - it made the Sunday Times Top 10 list the same week Bill Bryson had another hit book out so I was actually in the same chart as my hero for a brief pinch-me moment. Still can't believe it!
BEST MOVIE: Thelma & Louise. This movie, for me, has everything - humour, drama, love, action, two redheads and a great soundtrack. I remember coming out of the movie theatre in Brighton on a high - I went straight to the nearest liquor store to buy a Wild Turkey miniature so I could feel like Thelma and then sat on the pebble beach, looking out to sea and promising myself I would one day take a road trip across that dusty red terrain. I actually visited Canyonlands, Utah on the 10th Anniversary of the movie for a magazine article and then drove through again, coincidentally, on the 20th Anniversary when I was relocating from California to be with my new husband in Virginia. We're getting to favourite advice in a minute but I have to quote Louise's sage drawl here: 'You get what you settle for!' Wise words!
BEST LIFE MOMENT: The first time I took my dog Bodie to the beach. He was picked up as a stray in South Central and when I rescued him from Pryor's Planet (run by Richard Pryor's wife Jennifer who does a fantastic job!) I was told, 'He loves to run!' So we drove from LA to Hendry's Beach in Santa Barbara and I let him loose. The pure joy I got from seeing him bound and frolic and then startle at the waves, and then give swimming a go - little chin up in the air, slightly panicked look on his face - and then shake it off and do it all again, was THE BEST. His eyes were so bright, his grin so enormous, my heart nearly burst! And every time we go, now to a beach in Virginia, it's THE BEST all over again.
'Better to regret the things you've done than the things you haven't!' My life may be peppered with shameful, cringe-making moments that turn my cheeks pomegranate pink just to think of them but I am unburdened with a list of things I wish I'd tried but didn't have the nerve. As Sophia Loren confirms, 'Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life.' Never let potential embarrassment stand in your way. She who dares wins! You get the idea!! The other quote I reference most frequently is Edmund Burke's, 'The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.' I think this is true in every day life. It's important to speak up and stand up for what is right. It may palpitate your heart but it's very empowering!
Thanks, Belinda! xoxo, Liz & Lisa