About author, Samantha Tonge: Samantha Tonge lives in Cheshire, England with her lovely family and two cats who think they are dogs. She spends her days writing, willing cakes to rise and avoiding housework. She has sold over 80 short stories to mainstream women’s magazines. Doubting Abbey is her debut romantic comedy novel, out now from digital-first CarinaUK Harlequin.
Describe your writing style in five words: fun, accessible, fast-paced, readable, punchy
What do you love most about writing? The thrill of making a sentence sound just right and the buzz from getting reader-feedback.
Who or what inspires you? For short stories, everyday life and the tabloids inspires me – just tales of ordinary life that have an unexpected twist to them. For novels, it tends to be bigger issues like society’s obsession with celebrity and looks, or why a show like Downton Abbey has become so popular.
What is your writing/editing/publishing process like? I usually need six months, all-in, to write the first draft and then go over it several times looking at different aspects to improve on, and continuity. I enjoy both processes. My first drafts aren’t really rough, but always need a good polishing.
If you could meet another author, who would it be? Jane Austen – I would love to tell her how much her books still mean to women, all these decades on.
Where did you get the idea for your book, “Doubting Abbey?” The public’s obsession with a period drama, the series Downton Abbey, really intrigued me – it has become massive on both sides of the pond. This made me wonder how a thoroughly modern girl, like my main character Gemma, would cope with suddenly being thrust into a stuffy, aristocratic atmosphere where she would have to reign in her care-free behaviour and emotions…
Hard/paperback or eBooks? E-books – I love my Kindle. The books are cheaper and it is brill being able to read with just one hand and snack with the other! Plus there are some great bargains to be had on e-readers, with free books and heavily reduced ones – at the moment, Doubting Abbey is only 79p/$1.28!
What was the most difficult part to write? The detail of the setting – I wanted to get it just right so did a lot of online research into stately homes and visited one.
What are you reading right now? Mad about the Boy by Helen Fielding – it is brilliant!
What time of day to do you seem to work best? Morning, definitely – if I can keep away from social media!
Every writer must have a…: an online group of fellow writers they can turn to when they need support, eg after getting rejections. I wouldn’t still be writing nowadays, if it wasn’t for my writer friends who’ve picked me up and brushed me down!
Can you tell us about any of your upcoming projects? I have just started a sequel to Doubting Abbey! I can’t say much but in this one Gemma is more bonkers than ever!
“Doubting Abbey” by Samantha Tonge
Blurb of “Doubting Abbey”:
Swapping downstairs for upstairs… How hard can it be!?
Look up the phrase ordinary girl and you’ll see a picture of me, Gemma Goodwin – I only look half-decent after applying the entire contents of my make-up bag, and my dating track-record includes a man who treated me to dinner…at a kebab shop. No joke!
The only extraordinary thing about me is that I look EXACTLY like my BFF, Abbey Croxley. Oh, and that for reasons I can’t explain, I’ve agreed to swap identities and pretend be her to star in the TV show about her aristocratic family’s country estate, Million Dollar Mansion.
So now it’s not just my tan I’m faking – it’s Kate Middleton style demure hemlines and lady-like manners too. And amongst the hundreds of fusty etiquette rules I’m trying to cram into my head, there are two I really must remember; 1) No-one can ever find out that I’m just Gemma, who’d be more at home in the servants quarters. And 2) There can be absolutely no flirting with Abbey’s dishy but buttoned-up cousin, Lord Edward.
Aaargh, this is going to be harder than I thought…