Staying in with Christina Jones

My enormous thanks to Rosanna Hildyard from Headline Accent for inviting me to participate in the blog tour for Summer at Sandcastle Cottage by Christina Jones and for making sure I got to stay in with Christina to chat all about the book. I’m devastated I didn’t have chance to squeeze in reading Summer at Sandcastle Cottage too as I’ve been hearing wonderful things about it.

Staying in with Christina Jones

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Christina and thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.

Thank you so much for inviting me, Linda – it’s great to be here – and this is all lovely and cosy.

Thank you! I rather think I know, but tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?

I’ve brought Summer at Sandcastle Cottage, my latest and only-just-published, romantic comedy novel – and I’ve chosen it because it’s my first full-length book for quite some time and it (or rather the characters, the village and the cottage) finally dragged me kicking and screaming out of my “can’t write/won’t write” doldrums, and I love it for that.

I think many authors have been struggling to write of late Christina and will understand what you mean. So what can we expect from an evening in with Summer at Sandcastle Cottage?

Well, hopefully some lovely sunny summer days by the sea in Firefly Common, catching up with the lives, loves and laughter, as well as the mishaps and mayhem, of Kitty, Jemini and Apollo. They – along with their rescue dogs and Jemini’s toddler daughter, Teddy – had been through some very tough times and had eventually found their sanctuary and moved into Sandcastle Cottage in my e-book novella, Christmas at Sandcastle Cottage – which should have been The End.

Why did you decide to continue the story?

But I knew I couldn’t just leave them there. I had to know what happened to them – I loved them (as I’ve mentioned previously, I hadn’t fallen in love with characters or writing for a few years – so this was a bit of a revelation!). I knew Sandcastle Cottage was only a short-term rental home for them – and I wanted to know what was going to happen to them when the 6 months lease was up. Would they be homeless again? They’d all settled so well into the village, had found work, made friends – and there were now people in their lives they really didn’t want to leave behind.

However, after so long of only writing short stories and e-book novellas, I wasn’t really sure if I’d still got my writing mojo, and was a bit scared about putting the book out there for an early review – and then I got this back from my reader –  and it was ok… it was more than ok. I cried.

“I have just finished the book!! Absolutely adored it – so you, at your brilliant best. I wanted to finish it to see what happened but now I am bereft at leaving everyone behind. What a tonic when we are all feeling so down and dreary. I am sure it will be a huge success.”

How absolutely wonderful. You must be thrilled with that response. I’m desperate to read Summer at Sandcastle Cottage too as I keep hearing wonderful things about it.

What else have you brought along and why have you brought it?

I’ve brought fish and chips!

Oo. You can come again. Delicious!

I love fish and chips, but also fish and chips – or rather The Silver Fish Bar on Firefly Common’s High Street – play a huge part in the lives of the residents of Sandcastle Cottage. The Silver Fish Bar is an old-fashioned eat-in or take-out chippie – with a back-of-the-shop restaurant with gingham tablecloths, plates of white sliced bread and butter, and Brown Betty teapots. It is always packed with Firefly Common residents and holidaymakers alike.

I cannot think of anywhere I’d rather be. The Silver Fish Bar sounds my kind of establishment Christina.

Oh, and I’ve brought a picture of “the common” too – I took this last year when I visited in between lockdowns. This is the real life common in the real life seaside village that forms the basis for Firefly Common.

I think we might need to take a walk there after the fish and chips to shed a few calories!

And I’ve also brought a photo of the steps down to the beach where I used to play and swim and where Kitty now sits and daydreams in my book.

That’s gorgeous. Why is it so important?

The village is where my great-aunts lived and where I spent practically all my childhood summers – and where I go back as often as possible. My great-aunts are long gone – but their houses that I stayed in are still there, unchanged… they had beach huts and beach chalets too – also gone. The common where they lived has been tamed, and a lot of the village has changed with time – but it’s still my favourite place in the entire world – and now, as Firefly Common, it’s been reborn as the sleepy beach café and bucket and spade seaside village it used to be.

It sounds utterly wonderful Christina – as does Summer at Sandcastle Cottage. Thank you so much for staying in with me to chat about it. You dish up those chips and I’ll give Linda’s Book Bag readers a few more details about Summer at Sandcastle Cottage:

Summer at Sandcastle Cottage

After trials, tears and a torturous break-up, Kitty Appleby has finally found where she’s meant to be. Tumbledown Sandcastle Cottage, in the delightful seaside village of Firefly Common, is home, and Kitty’s eccentric band of friends and neighbours are enjoying a glorious summer.

There’s just one tiny little problem. Sandcastle Cottage doesn’t belong to them. And Mavis Mullholland, Kitty’s landlord, is on her way home from her round-the-world cruise . . .

Kitty can’t bear to lose the community that’s welcomed her in. But secretly, she can’t bear to leave Sandcastle Cottage without finding out more about the mysterious and enigmatic Vinny . . . Why can’t she stop thinking about him, when she’s faced with losing everything?

Published by Headline Accent, Summer at Sandcastle Cottage is available for purchase here.

About Christina Jones

Christina Jones, the only child of a schoolteacher and a circus clown, has been writing all her life. As well as writing romantic comedy novels, she also contributes short stories and articles to many national magazines and newspapers.

She has won several awards for her writing: Dancing in the Moonlight won the Romantic Novelist’s association New Writer’s Award; Going the Distance was a WH Smith Fresh Talent Winner; Nothing to Lose, was shortlisted and runner-up for the Thumping Good Read Award with film and television rights sold; Heaven Sent was shortlisted in The Melissa Nathan Comedy Romance Awards and won a Category Award; Love Potions won the Pure Passion Award; The Way to a Woman’s Heart was short-listed for the Rom-Com of the Year; and An Enormously English Monsoon Wedding won The Reviewer’s Choice Award.

Summer at Sandcastle Cottage is Christina’s 22nd full-length romantic comedy novel.

All Christina Jones’ novels are currently available, either in paperback or e-book format, and after years of travelling, she now lives in rural Oxfordshire with her husband and several rescued cats.

You can follow Christina on Twitter @ChristinaJ2021. You’ll also find Christina on Facebook.

There’s more with these other bloggers too:

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