Jera’s Jamboree : (Life in the fun lane) From Paris with Love by Samantha Tonge

JJ is delighted to be welcoming Sam today.

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Samantha Tonge lives in Cheshire with her lovely family, and two cats who think they are dogs. When not writing, she spends her days cycling and willing cakes to rise. She has sold over 80 short stories to women’s magazines. Her bestselling debut novel, Doubting Abbey, came out in November 2013.




Doubting abbey Blog:


Life in the Fun Lane

The tagline on my Facebook author page and Twitter profile is “Samantha Tonge – writing about life in the fun lane”. And that’s what I hope I do. My main goal with novel writing has ALWAYS been to entertain and put a smile on someone’s face. With my debut Doubting Abbey I was lucky enough to receive a good number of lovely reviews, and the ones that really made me glow inside, said how the book made them giggle. If I can help make someone’s bad day a bit more bearable, then I have done my job. And I hope I achieve this too, with the standalone sequel, From Paris with Love, a story that revolves around romance, food, a mystery guy called Joe Bloggs (yes really!) and Blade, a hot French rockstar.

So, does this mean I’m a fun person? Am I anything like my main character bonkers Gemma? Er… It’s possible! In my youth. I always seemed to be getting myself into embarrassing scrapes – like the time I hadn’t noticed my wraparound skirt had fallen off, or when I nearly got caught skinny-dipping by a deep sea diver! Plus I had lots of fun times in various jobs, including working in the Christmas decorations department of Harrods and a riotous few months employed by Disneyland Paris. And out with friends, or people I don’t know, I laugh a lot. People would probably call me outgoing. I like to see the humorous side of life and encourage funny banter with anyone who’ll participate, be that a cashier, bartender or person standing behind me in a queue.

I remember my grandfather – who often larked around – saying “if you can’t laugh, what’s the point?” I guess that has stuck with me, ever since he passed on. Of course, as I’ve matured – like Gemma now is, in From Paris with Love – I’ve taken life more seriously. I now have responsibilities like a mortgage and kids to look after. I’ve faced illness myself, and lost dear relatives. And yet… perhaps it’s that ‘Britishness’ people have talked about since the war, or just human nature, but humour, albeit dark at times, has always played an important part in me coping with life’s trials.

As time passes, I truly believe, more than ever, in my grandfather’s words. You need to be able to laugh at life, because if not, at times you really would feel like giving up. I may be older and wiser but lots of element of life – even the ageing process! – still hold the fun-factor for me. And the day that changes, is the day I’ll stop putting finger to keyboard.

Laughter is universal isn’t it!  No matter the language we speak, we all understand what laughter means (in all its different shades).

Thank you for sharing Sam.

From Paris With Love coverEvery girl dreams of hearing those four magical words Will you marry me? But no-one tells you what’s supposed to happen next…

Fun-loving Gemma Goodwin knows she should be revelling in her happy-ever-after. Except when her boyfriend Lord Edward popped the question, after a whirlwind romance, although she didn’t say no….she didn’t exactly say yes either!

A month-long cookery course in Paris could be just the place to make sure her heart and her head are on the same page… And however disenchanted with romance Gemma is feeling, the City of Love has plenty to keep her busy; the champagne is decadently quaffable, the croissants almost too delicious, and shopping is a national past-time! In fact, everything in Paris makes her want to say Je t’aime… Except Edward!

But whilst Paris might offer plenty of distractions from wedding planning – including her new friends, mysterious Joe and hot French rockstar Blade – there’s no reason she couldn’t just try one or two couture dresses is there? Just for fun…

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Jera’s Jamboree : Author Interview Samantha Tonge

I’m delighted to be welcoming Samantha Tonge to Jera’s Jamboree today:

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Samantha Tonge lives in Cheshire, England, with her lovely family and two cats. When not writing, she spends the day telling herself to go swimming and willing cakes to rise. She has sold over 80 short stories to women’s magazines and is thrilled with the release of Doubting Abbey, her debut novel, published by CarinaUK Harlequin.


Novel website


Twitter @SamTongeWriter


Hi Samantha,

Please summarise Doubting Abbey in 20 words or less.

Pizza waitress Gemma must pass as posh pal Abbey, in order to win a reality show and save Applebridge Hall.

What was the idea/inspiration for your novel?

The TV series Downton Abbey was the inspiration – it fascinates me how such a show has gripped the nation, at a time where we are far removed from the era of women having to behave in a ladylike manner, men being emotionally restrained (in public, anyway) and class being of the utmost importance. I wanted to play with the idea of putting a modern gal into a similar, aristocratic scenario.

Did you do any research for your book?  What resources did you use?  

I needed to do a lot of research into stately homes matching the style of Applebridge Hall. The internet was a great source for finding out about furnishings and architecture. I also visited LymePark near me which isn’t of the exact same era but gave me ideas for describing the various rooms. I also needed to research aristocratic titles to find out exactly how one would address an earl, his wife, his son etc. It was very interesting!

Are you a panster or a plotter?

I am a plotter – I learnt my lesson from my very first novel which was 95,000 long and only had 4 chapters and never really got finished! I roughly plan out each chapter before I start the novel.

What are you reading now? 

I am currently reading the 3rd Bridget Jones book and absolutely love it! The diary format is so direct and easy to read, after a hard day in front of the screen. I am also a similar age to Bridget, so can relate to a lot of her thoughts! I recently saw Helen Fielding give a talk and she is a lovely, very funny lady.

Being a writer can be lonely.  Do you have a support network?

When I first began writing I joined an online forum called WriteWords, and made some very good friends, who gave me lots of advice about writing technique, agents, publishers… And since I started selling short stories to women’s magazines I have also made a lot of online friends from that community. It is so important, for the moral support.

What has been the worst part of your writing journey so far?

The worst part of my writing journey, so far, was, funnily enough, the last year before I got my publishing deal. On paper, it should have been one of the best – I’d finally got an agent and was earning money from selling short stories. But I had built myself up over many years of writing, to thinking that once I got an agent, a publishing deal would fall into my lap. It didn’t and this was stressful – and my own fault entirely for making such an assumption. So any writer reading this… Getting an agent is brilliant, I wouldn’t be without mine, but just remember signing that contract is just another step along the long road to publication, and for some authors it still might be a while before your work gets into print.

How have you launched your debut? 

It is exhausting and I need to put the extra effort in as it is a digital-first book and won’t be physically sitting on shop bookshelves! I was already on Facebook and Twitter and had a website. I also created a website just for the book. Then I joined GoodReads, Pinterest and Tumblr and arranged this blog tour. I’ve approached magazines to plug my book. I am also placing an advert in a romance magazine. And, ahem… I’ve had a car magnet made advertising the book. I still can’t decide if that is a step too far!

🙂  Thank you for being in my hot seat today.

I’m sure my readers will join in wishing you heaps of success for Doubting Abbey and all your writing projects.

Doubting Abbey Xmas CoverPizza waitress, Gemma, must pass herself off as aristocratic Abbey Croxley for two weeks, in order to help struggling Applebridge Hall win the reality show Million Dollar Mansion. With the right clothes and accent, anyone could pull that off, right? Except that she wasn’t counting on arrogant Lord Edward pulling her heartstrings – nor a most unexpected person unravelling her web of lies… Will the truth be revealed before the show’s final and destroy Applebridge Hall’s future, along with a secret romance?

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