Lat night, Monday 17th June 2019, I was invited by the lovely folk at Harper Collins to their HQ imprint event #DestinationHQ, showcasing their forthcoming fiction from Summer 2019 to Spring 2020 and my goodness what a collection it is. It’s no wonder HQ have been celebrating considerable success with so many recent awards as Publicity Director Sophie Calder described in her introduction to the evening.
Having cleared security where being referred to as ‘Madam’ by the security guard made me feel a little bit ancient until I looked around and realised I probably WAS the oldest person in the room, we were taken to the 17th floor of the News Building where fantastic views are afforded across London.
The first table to greet us held most welcome cocktails and I confess I may have had one or three of those!
A table of water cooling fans was very welcome too!
However, more importantly was a table laden with some of the new and forthcoming releases from HQ. I confess that I collected some of these to take away at the end of the evening.
HQ Debut Authors
Once Sophie had introduced the evening, Senior Press Officer Joe Thomas introduced the HQ debut authors and invited them to tell us about their books in one minute.
Firstly, Alyson Rudd told us about The First Time Lauren Pailing Died which will be published on 11th July 2019 and is available for pre-order here.
Lauren Pailing is born in the sixties, and a child of the seventies. She is thirteen years old the first time she dies.
Lauren Pailing is a teenager in the eighties, becomes a Londoner in the nineties. And each time she dies, new lives begin for the people who loved her – while Lauren enters a brand new life, too.
But in each of Lauren’s lives, a man called Peter Stanning disappears. And, in each of her lives, Lauren sets out to find him.
And so it is that every ending is also a beginning. And so it is that, with each new beginning, Peter Stanning inches closer to finally being found…
Next Luan Goldie introduced her debut Nightingale Point which comes out on 25th July 2019 and is available for pre-order here.
On an ordinary Saturday morning in 1996, the residents of Nightingale Point wake up to their normal lives and worries.
Mary has a secret life that no one knows about, not even Malachi and Tristan, the brothers she vowed to look after.
Malachi had to grow up too quickly. Between looking after Tristan and nursing a broken heart, he feels older than his twenty-one years.
Tristan wishes Malachi would stop pining for Pamela. No wonder he’s falling in with the wrong crowd, without Malachi to keep him straight.
Elvis is trying hard to remember to the instructions his care worker gave him, but sometimes he gets confused and forgets things.
Pamela wants to run back to Malachi but her overprotective father has locked her in and there’s no way out.
It’s a day like any other, until something extraordinary happens. When the sun sets, Nightingale Point is irrevocably changed and somehow, through the darkness, the residents must find a way back to lightness, and back to each other.
Anita Frank (whom I was delighted to chat to during the evening over canapes and more cocktails) described The Lost Ones coming out on 31st October 2019 and available for pre-order here.
Some houses are never at peace.
Reeling from the death of her fiancé, Stella Marcham welcomes the opportunity to stay with her pregnant sister, Madeleine, at her imposing country mansion, Greyswick – but she arrives to discover a house of unease and her sister gripped by fear and suspicion.
Before long, strange incidents begin to trouble Stella – sobbing in the night, little footsteps on the stairs – and as events escalate, she finds herself drawn to the tragic history of the house.
Aided by a wounded war veteran, Stella sets about uncovering Greyswick’s dark and terrible secrets – secrets the dead whisper from the other side…
We were then treated to Sairish Hussain’s explanation of The Family Tree which really intrigues me! It’s so new that I can’t even share the cover or pre-order links with you, but it sounds fantastic and will be out on 20th February 2020!
Our penultimate debut author presentation came from Louise Hare who described This Lovely City coming on 12th March 2020, so again I can’t show you a blurb or cover yet!
Lastly, but by no means least in the debut author category, we heard all about Precious You by Helen Monks-Takhar which will be released on 30th April 2020. As soon as I have further details about pre-ordering I’ll be doing so as it sounds fabulous!
Although all the debut authors had confessed to feeling nervous they did such a brilliant job of introducing their books that I know I’ll be reading them all over the next year!
HQ’s publicity manager Lucy Richardson then stepped up to introduce the forthcoming uplifting fiction and again I was so impressed by the books about to come our way.
We began with Elaine Bedell telling us all About That Night coming out very soon on 11th July 2019 and available through the links here. I may just have sneaked a copy of this one!
Sometimes it only takes one night to change everything…
Elizabeth Place might have been jilted on her wedding day one year ago, but at least she’s still got her brilliant job producing one of the biggest shows on TV!
But when larger-than-life TV host, Ricky Clough, dies live on air, her life is sent spinning out of control. And with foul play suspected, the spotlight is turned firmly on his colleagues – especially Hutch, the man desperate for Ricky’s job and whom Elizabeth is secretly dating.
As her world comes crashing down around her, Elizabeth realises that perhaps the only person she can really trust, is herself…
One of the books I’ve had my eye on since it’s hardback release in January is Seni Glaister‘s Mr Doubler Begins Again and so I was thrilled to pick up a copy and hear all about it. It is available through these links.
Baked, mashed, boiled or fried, Mr Doubler knows his potatoes. But the same can’t be said for people. Since he lost his wife, he’s been on his own at Mirth Farm – and that suits Doubler just fine. Crowds are for other people; the only company he needs are his potato plants and his housekeeper, Mrs Millwood, who visits every day.
So when Mrs Millwood is taken ill, it ruins everything – and Mr Doubler begins to worry that he might have lost his way. But could the kindness of strangers be enough to bring him down from the hill?
Sara Alexander then described The Last Concerto which will be released on 22nd August and is available for pre-order here. This was another I simply had to put in my bag!
Famed for its natural beauty and rich history, Sardinia in 1968 is notorious, too, for the bandits who kidnap wealthy landowners for ransom.
Famed for its natural beauty and rich history, Sardinia in 1968 is notorious, too, for the bandits who kidnap wealthy landowners for ransom. Eleven-year-old Alba Fresu’s brother, and her father, Bruno, are abducted by criminals who mistake Bruno for a rich man. After a grueling journey through the countryside, the two are eventually released—but the experience leaves Alba shaken and unable to readjust to normal life, or to give voice to her inner turmoil.
Accompanying her mother to cleaning jobs, Alba visits the villa of an eccentric Signora and touches the keys of a piano for the first time. The instrument’s spell is immediate. During secret lessons, forbidden by her mother, Alba is at last able to express emotions too powerful for words alone. Ignoring her parents’ insistence that she work in the family’s car dealership and marry a local boy, Alba accepts a scholarship to the Rome conservatoire. There she immerses herself in a vibrant world of art and a passionate affair.
But her path will lead her to a crossroads, and Alba will have to decide how to reconcile her talent with her longing for love and family, and convey the music of her heart …
Sophia Money-Coutts was the next to present her ‘elevator pitch’ for What Happens Now? which is another 22nd August release available through these links and one I’ll be adding to my TBR.
‘I was pregnant with the baby of a man I had met once.
What was one normally left with after a first date? A bad case of thrush?’
After eight years together, Lil Bailey thought she’d already found ‘the one’ – that is, until he dumped her for a blonde twenty-something colleague. So she does what any self-respecting singleton would do: swipes right, puts on her best bra and finds herself on a first date with a handsome mountaineer called Max. What’s the worst that can happen?
Well it’s pretty bad actually. First Max ghosts her and then, after weeing on a stick (but mostly her hands), a few weeks later Lil discovers she’s pregnant. She’s single, thirty-one and living in a thimble-sized flat in London, it’s hardly the happily-ever-after she was looking for.
Lil’s ready to do the baby-thing on her own – it can’t be that hard, right? But she should probably tell Max, if she can track him down. Surely he’s not that Max, the highly eligible, headline-grabbing son of Lord and Lady Rushbrooke, currently trekking up a mountain in South Asia? Oh, maybe he wasn’t ignoring Lil after all…
Miranda Dickenson (whom initially I didn’t recognise without a hat!) stepped up to tell us all about The Day We Meet Again which will be released on 5th September 2019 and is available for pre-order here.
Their love story started with goodbye…
The brand-new novel from The Sunday Times bestselling author, Miranda Dickinson.
‘We’ll meet again at St Pancras station, a year from today. If we’re meant to be together, we’ll both be there. If we’re not, it was never meant to be . . .’
Phoebe and Sam meet by chance at St Pancras station. Heading in opposite directions, both seeking their own adventures, meeting the love of their lives wasn’t part of the plan. So they make a promise: to meet again in the same place in twelve months’ time if they still want to be together.
But is life ever as simple as that?
This is a story of what-ifs and maybes – and how one decision can change your life forever…
Finally in this group of authors, Sarah Morgan introduced her new book A Wedding in December which will be available through these links on 31st October 2019. The final cover is still to come but I do have the blurb for you.
In the snowy perfection of Aspen, the White family gathers for youngest daughter Rosie’s whirlwind Christmas wedding.
First to arrive are the bride’s parents, Maggie and Nick. Their daughter’s marriage is a milestone they are determined to celebrate wholeheartedly, but they are hiding a huge secret about their own: they are on the brink of divorce. After living apart for the last six months, the last thing they need is to be trapped together in an irresistibly romantic winter wonderland.
Rosie’s older sister Katie is also dreading the wedding. Worried that impulsive, sweet-hearted Rosie is making a mistake, Katie is determined to save her sister from herself. If only the irritatingly good-looking best man, Jordan, would stop interfering with her plans…
Bride-to-be Rosie loves her fiance but is having serious second thoughts. Except everyone has arrived – how can she tell them she’s not sure? As the big day gets closer, and emotions run even higher, this is one White family Christmas none of them will ever forget.
The final set of fantastic authors was introduced by Izzy Smith. This time we found out all about the new domestic suspense books coming our way.
It was a bit of a fangirl moment for me as Adele Parks told us all about Lies Lies Lies which is out on 19th September 2019 and available for pre-order here. I didn’t manage to grab a copy of Lies Lies Lies so I know what I’ll be ordering …
Daisy and Simon’s marriage is great, isn’t it?
After years together, the arrival of longed-for daughter Millie sealed everything in place. A happy little family of three.
And so what if Simon drinks a bit too much sometimes – Daisy’s used to it, she knows he’s letting off steam. Until one night at a party things spiral horribly out of control. And that happy little family of three will never be the same again.
In Lies Lies Lies Sunday Times bestseller Adele Parks explores the darkest corners of a relationship in freefall in a mesmerising tale of marriage and secrets.
The Move, described by author Felicity Everett sounds a cracker and will be out on 26th December 2019. You can pre-order a copy here.
Karen is driving through a strange landscape into a new life. Always a city girl, now she is on her way to an idyllic country cottage, refurbished for her with impeccable taste by her husband Nick. They’re making a fresh start.
But something is awry in the new house – it’s not just the fact that Karen and Nick are ill at ease in one another’s company – that their recent history is far from picture perfect, it’s the whole vibe. The landscape is breathtaking by day, eerie by night. If the countryside is supposed to be a place of peace, far away from curtain-twitchers, who is the person watching them from the hill? And who are their new neighbours?
With Karen only recently emerging from a dark place in her life, can she find the trust in her husband Nick to let go of events that have followed them to their new house?
Our penultimate author of the evening was the incredible B. A. Paris who introduced The Dilemma coming on 9th January 2020 and available for pre-order here. (The cover here is an international one and may well be different in the UK and I must confess I was somewhat in awe of being in the same room as B A Paris.)
It’s Livia’s fortieth birthday and tonight she’s having a party, a party she’s been planning for a long time. The only person missing will be her daughter, Marnie.
But Livia has a secret, a secret she’s been keeping from Adam, her husband, until the party is over. Because how can she tell him that although she loves Marnie, she’s glad their daughter won’t be there to celebrate with her?
Adam is determined everything will be just right for Livia and the party is going to be perfect… until he learns something that will leave him facing an unbearable decision.
Our final author of the evening was H C Warner who closed the presentations in style with her account of She, coming out on 9th January 2020 and available for early pre-order here.
She’s everything he dreamed of. Isn’t she?
Ben can’t believe his luck when the beautiful Bella walks into his life, just when he needs her most.
Still bruised and vulnerable since breaking-up with long-term girlfriend, Charlotte, he falls head over heels in love.
But Bella isn’t quite the ideal partner that Ben believes her to be. She quickly decides that everything is better when it is just the two of them – making it harder for friend and family to stay in touch. And then a sudden death triggers a chain of events that throws Ben headlong into a nightmare…
Secrets, lies, vengeance and betrayal are at the heart of this story about a family that is destroyed when their son brings home the perfect girl…
Once the formal presentations were over there was time to mingle, eat canapes, drink and chat with fellow bloggers, publicists and authors. I had meant to dash away to another event, but time passed so quickly I didn’t have chance to do that and instead left #DestinationsHQ with my head buzzing with the absolutely brilliant sounding books I definitely need in my life as I dashed across London to get my train back to Lincolnshire. HQ definitely have something for every reader in their new catalogue so do check them out on Twitter @HQstories or sign up to their newsletter here.