Bookends Beach Party | What’s your usual holiday routine?

Bookends Beach Party | What’s your usual holiday routine?

Each week this summer, we’re asking some of our favourite to share their summer essentials. This week, Ruth Hogan, Rosanna Ley and Sheila O’Flanagan share their holiday routine with us and we discovered whether they are city explorers or beach loungers.

Ruth Hogan, author of Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel

I’m not very good at relaxing or sitting still so I need to be reasonably active. We have three rescue dogs we like to take with us, so it’s usually a mutt-friendly beach holiday in this country with lots of long walks, swimming or paddling in the sea (weather permitting!) and, of course, catching up on my TBR pile. I also like poking around in antique, junk and bookshops and exploring cemeteries and graveyards. I’m not particularly bothered about the time of year we go. I’m just as happy reading outside in the sunshine or snuggled up in front of a log burner. Oh – and it’s always nice if there’s a decent pub and a chip shop nearby!

Rosanna Ley, author of The Lemon Tree Hotel

I very much like to do both – but not necessarily on the same trip! I love a city break and the opportunity to soak up some culture but for real relaxation, take me to Italy and let me spend my daytime lounging by the sea with a good book and taking the odd dip in the glorious Med.

Sheila O’Flanagan, author of Her Husband’s Mistake

I do a lounging beach holiday every two years and the rest of the time I prefer city breaks. My favourite beach is in Antigua, in the Carribbean and my favourite city (after Dublin of course) is Madrid.

Make sure you sign up to our Bookends newsletter to keep up-to-date with all Bookends Beach Party posts!

Bookends Beach Party | Top summer reads 2019

Bookends Beach Party | Top summer reads 2019

Each week we’ll be asking some of our favourite authors to share their summer essentials – from holiday routines to travel bucket lists. This week we asked David Nicholls, Deborah Moggach and Beth O’Leary, what are your summer 2019 must-reads?

David Nicholls, author of Sweet Sorrow

My two favourite books this year have been memoirs; Emilie Pine’s Notes to Self and Sinead Gleeson’s Constellations; insightful and startlingly honest and beautifully written, I tore through both of them. 

Deborah Moggach, author of The Carer

Tim Lott: “When We Were Rich”, (pub June), addictively readable novel about a group of London friends, their treacheries, adulteries, and drunken reconciliations, all set against a backdrop of property speculation and political turmoil. Huge fun.

Joseph O’Connor: “Shadowplay” (pub June) marvellously engrossing and atmospheric novel set in Victorian London’s theatreland, featuring Ellen Terry, Henry Irving and Bram Stoker. One of the best historical novels I’ve ever read.

George Eliot: “Middlemarch”. I try to read it every year. Each time it releases new secrets. A masterpiece.

Beth O’Leary, author of The Flatshare

My first is David Nicholls’ new book, Sweet Sorrow. It is a stunningly written, bittersweet story of falling in love in that endless summer after finishing school, and it’ll make you feel all sunny and nostalgic. David’s writing always gives me authorly jealous because it’s so damn beautiful.

My second is Helen Hoang’s The Kiss Quotient, because summer is the perfect time for a romance novel, and this might just be my absolute favourite. Sweet, adorable and very, very hot – you need this in your holiday suitcase. Helen’s next book, The Bride Test, is top of my pile for the summer – I can’t wait to read it.

My third is Half a World Away by Mike Gayle. Warm, cosy and full of love, this book is perfect for summer evenings at home. Brace yourself, though – you may shed a few tears…

Make sure you sign up to our Bookends newsletter to keep up-to-date with all Bookends Beach Party posts!

Bookends Beach Party | Which of your characters would you go on holiday with?

Bookends Beach Party | Which of your characters would you go on holiday with?

Each week we’ll be asking some of our favourite authors to share their summer essentials – from holiday routines to travel bucket lists. This week we asked Deborah Moggach, Ruth Hogan and Rosanna Ley, if you had to holiday with one of the characters from your book, who would it be and where would you go?

Deborah Moggach, author of The Carer

I’d go with Buffy. He’s the boozy, charming and chatty old actor from “the Ex-Wives” and “Heartbreak Hotel”. He adores women and loves talking about relationships. He also has some good jokes. We’d go to Lisbon because I’ve never been.

Ruth Hogan, author of Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel

I’m torn between Queenie and Joseph Geronimo Heathcliffe O’Shea. I fell more than a little in love with Joseph when I was writing about him! But I think it would have to be Queenie – she’d be an absolute riot and we’d get up to all sorts of mischief on an American trip. We would spend a couple of days in New York and then head off to Los Angeles. I think Queenie would very much like to go shopping in Beverley Hills!

Rosanna Ley, author of The Lemon Tree Hotel

It would have to be Dante from The Lemon Tree Hotel because he’s passionate, interesting and funny and he makes the best gelato in Italy. We’d go to the Italian Riviera, maybe down to Tellaro in the romantic Bay of Poets. I wouldn’t want to come home…

Make sure you sign up to our Bookends newsletter to keep up-to-date with all Bookends Beach Party posts!

Kathryn Hughes, Annabelle Thorpe, Andy Jones and Rosanna Ley tell us which of their characters they’d take on holiday – and why!

Kathryn Hughes, Annabelle Thorpe, Andy Jones and Rosanna Ley tell us which of their characters they’d take on holiday – and why!

From exploring Marrakech, to relaxing by Lake Bled – four more of our fabulous authors tell us which of their characters they would take on holiday, and why!

 

Andy Jones, author of FOUR

Certainly none of the characters from my new book FOUR. They’re trouble. And there’s no way on earth I’d trust Mike or Alistair around Mrs Jones. Then again, Sally is an experienced GP which might come in handy. Have you seen the size of the bag I’ve got to carry? If I don’t pop a hernia lugging that to and from the beach it will be a miracle.

Annabelle Thorpe, author of What Lies Within

I’d LOVE to go away with Dame Edith.  She’s an 84-year-old famous travel writer who lives in Marrakech and is something of a schemer.  She’s also grandmother to one of my three main characters, Hamad.  She’s had quite the life – I’d go anywhere with her, but first choice would probably be Egypt.  I’ve never been, and she would know it intimately.  It would be quite the adventure.

Kathryn Hughes, author of The Key

The Key is mainly set in a mental hospital so there are many characters in the book who are deserving of a holiday, but I would take the main protagonist, Amy.  She’s a troubled young girl but is she really mad, bad or just sad? I’ve recently returned from Lake Bled in Slovenia and I can’t think of a better place to re-energise the soul.  Clear mountain air, turquoise lakes, secluded hiking trails and even a splendid castle clinging onto a cliff edge.  Absolute bliss.

Rosanna Ley, author of Her Mother’s Secret

I would take Étienne from Her Mother’s Secret. He writes thrillers – among other things – so maybe we could go to an idyllic writing retreat (like Finca el Cerrillo in Andalucia which I visit every year) to exchange notes.

A new guest to the Bookends Beach Party

A new guest to the Bookends Beach Party

We have a new guest at the Bookends Beach Party! Phoebe Locke, author of the gripping thriller The Tall Man, is here to reveal her guilty holiday pleasures and more in the Bookends Beach Party!

What will be in your beach bag for 2018?

Definitely mostly books… I’ve got Darling by Rachel Edwards, The Missing Girl by Jenny Quintana, Three Little Lies by Laura Marshall and Lying To You by Amanda Reynolds at the top of my reading pile. But I’ll also be packing plenty of suncream as I’m pretty pale and burn really easily, plus big sunglasses to hide behind for a sneaky snooze mid-afternoon.

What are your guilty holiday pleasures?

I do love a good lie-in, and I never do that at home – I find I write best if I get up early. So that’s always a nice treat. Also room service! And reading a book from cover to cover in one sitting (I actually don’t feel guilty about that in the slightest – it’s a brilliantly indulgent way to spend a day). Oh and an afternoon cocktail (or two)! I love holidays.

If you got to take one of your characters on holiday, who would it be and where would you go?

Probably Greta, the documentary filmmaker who is researching the Banner family in The Tall Man – I think she’d be good fun and always up for hunting down the best little restaurants and bars, but she’d also know never to interrupt someone when they’re reading. She’d probably also have a great stack of books so we could swap once we were done. And I don’t think I’d be able to turn my back for a second if I took either Amber or Sadie… I’m picturing Greta and me in Corfu or possibly Provence but she’s pretty well-travelled so maybe I’d have to let her do the planning.

Do you have a favourite writing getaway spot?

I actually love to write on trains or planes so it’s often the journey that’s the most productive part of a holiday for me! But also anywhere beside water, whether that’s in a beautiful hotel overlooking the sea or next to the pond in my parents’ garden – I find something about it very soothing.

 

Kathryn Hughes, Katie Marsh, Annabelle Thorpe and Jo Thomas confess their holiday guilty pleasures!

Kathryn Hughes, Katie Marsh, Annabelle Thorpe and Jo Thomas confess their holiday guilty pleasures!

Summer holidays are a time for serious indulgence: cocktails, lounging in the sun, and a limitless supply of ice creams!

This year, we’ll be embracing our guilty pleasures – along with some of our lovely authors, who are here to share all the ways they’ll be treating themselves this summer…

 

Kathryn Hughes, author of The Key

I like a drink as much as the next person, but there’s something about being on holiday that makes me think it’s okay to order pints! It’s the same with cocktails.  I wouldn’t touch them at home, yet on holiday I can go through the entire cocktail menu in one evening.  Also, it’s been a long tradition since my kids were small, to have a packet of Percy Pigs in our flight bags.  At no other time did I buy them sweets, so it was a huge treat for them.  They were supposed to keep them quiet during the flight but in reality they’d eaten them all before we left the departure lounge.

Katie Marsh, author of The Rest of Me

I give up feeling guilty on holiday – I spend far too much of the rest of the year doing that – but in terms of holiday indulgences, I have the odd glass of wine with lunch on holiday, I read for at least an hour a day (I have two young kids, so this feels like the ultimate treat), and occasionally I even aim really high and actually have a long conversation with my husband about something that isn’t child-related, like who our favourite character on ‘The Wire’ is (yes, we’re that behind on box sets…).

Annabelle Thorpe, author of What Lies Within

This year’s guilty holiday pleasure was floating around a swimming pool, in an inflatable swan, drinking prosecco.  It felt ridiculously indulgent, and also highly silly – always a good mix.  I also tend to listen to Club Tropicana by Wham! On a loop, and ignore the worthy books I’ve bought for something glossy and fun – anything by Penny Vincenzi is ideal.

Jo Thomas, author of Sunset Over the Cherry Orchard 

Oh it’s definitely books and a lunch time glass of rose wine and if I’m really lucky, a rom com film in the evening. I love catching up on books I’ve been meaning to read and losing myself in a film where a happy ending is guaranteed. I remember being away with Katie Fforde on a research trip to Andalusia where I wrote Sunset over the Cherry Orchard, and after the sun had set we introduced each other to favourite films and I watched The Devil Wears Prada for the first time.

If you could take one of your characters on holiday, who would it be and where would you go?

If you could take one of your characters on holiday, who would it be and where would you go?

With the school holidays already in full swing, we can bet anything you’re fantasising about a scorching getaway with a handsome stranger… In this latest chapter in the Bookends Beach Party, four fantastic authors tell us which of their own fictional characters they would take on holiday, and where they would go.

Annabelle Thorpe, author of What Lies Within

I’d LOVE to go away with Dame Edith.  She’s an 84-year-old famous travel writer who lives in Marrakech and is something of a schemer.  She’s also grandmother to one of my three main characters, Hamad.  She’s had quite the life – I’d go anywhere with her, but first choice would probably be Egypt.  I’ve never been, and she would know it intimately.  It would be quite the adventure.

Joanna Bolouri, author of Relight My Fire

It would be Oliver and we’d go to somewhere fun like New York although there would be a lot of walking and sometimes my dodgy leg prohibits this. I’ve never been to New York but I’d totally take an imaginary Irishman with me.

Chrissie Manby, author of Once in a Lifetime

I’d take Ronnie the middle sister from the Proper Family Series.  She’s a hard-working mum of two who deserves a decent break.  We’d go to Puerto Pollensa in Majorca, for the perfect mixture of bling and laid-back charm. Of course there would be cocktails.

Beth Good, author of The Oddest Little Chocolate Shop

Easy. I would choose the taciturn but drop-dead gorgeous Gideon Petherick, the hero in The Oddest Little Cornish Tea Shop, for company on a holiday somewhere hot and full of ancient ruins like Crete. He’s not much given to chatter, so I can hold forth for hours while he sits and nods sagely, and then in the long evenings … *blushes*

Katie Marsh, Joanna Bolouri, Kathryn Hughes and Chrissie Manby tell us about their beach bag must-haves!

Katie Marsh, Joanna Bolouri, Kathryn Hughes and Chrissie Manby tell us about their beach bag must-haves!

If you’re enjoying the heatwave by the sea, or gearing up for a trip abroad, you’ll no doubt be planning what to bring (and more importantly, what to read!) on the beach this summer.

Find out what some of our favourite authors are packing in their beach bags…

 

Katie Marsh, author of The Rest of Me

I’d rather no one ever saw inside my beach bag, aka a battered tote bag which has been with me since the dawn of time, but… lip gloss, suncream (I burn at the mildest ray), some books – this year ‘A Thousand Stars and You’ by the wonderful Isabelle Broom and some historical fiction too as this is my ultimate relaxation reading. There’ll also be chewing gum and cash for the many ice creams that I will ‘need’ during the day plus very cheap sunglasses (my daughter likes to ‘borrow’ them, aka bury them in the sand and forget where they are).

Joanna Bolouri, author of Relight My Fire

The first things in my beach bag will be sunscreen. As the daughter of a redhead, I’ve inherited the power of burning spectacularly within six minutes of being in the sunshine. I use factor fifty but it doesn’t work.  I’ll also have my phone, at least two paperbacks and some chewing gum so I can be minty fresh while I get sunstroke.

Kathryn Hughes, author of The Key

If I am doing a beach holiday, which is not often as I prefer to be more active, then I take the opportunity to catch up on my reading.  I hate squinting into the sun, so I download a few books and listen instead.  It’s a different experience to reading a book yourself as the actors really bring the book to life.  Joanne Froggatt narrated The Key and even though I knew what she was going to say next, she made very every line sound so fresh. The rest of my bag will be filled with the usual clutter; towel, suncream, sunglasses and a mushy banana taken from the breakfast buffet to save me buying lunch.

Chrissie Manby, author of Once in a Lifetime

I’m not much of a beach bunny.  My skin goes from milk to beetroot at the first hint of sun, therefore, super-high SPF sun-cream is my only beach-bag must. I need a beach shopping-trolley for all the books I’d like to take.  This year I have already read and loved Christina Patterson’s The Art of Not Falling Apart, Kamin Mohammadi’s La Bella Figura, Mike Gayle’s The Man I Think I Know and Lucy Dillon’s Where The Light Gets In.  I’m looking forward to reading Fiona Walker’s The Country Set next.

What are your guilty holiday pleasures? Beth Good, Chrissie Manby, Andy Jones and Rosanna Ley spill all!

What are your guilty holiday pleasures? Beth Good, Chrissie Manby, Andy Jones and Rosanna Ley spill all!

As the heat encroaches further and further, aren’t we all dreaming of a holiday? Not only can you escape with a brilliant read, but our lovely authors are here to tell you about all their guilty holiday pleasures!

Beth Good, author of The Oddest Little Beach Shop

Definitely sleeping in. I have five kids, the three youngest of whom are still at school, so any chance of a lie-in in haevenly. I’m not a big ice cream fan like the kids, but I do love to linger over a latte. I enjoy wandering about museums and old churches too, especially when it’s hot outside, and just soaking up that echoing atmosphere.

Chrissie Manby, author of Once in a Lifetime

I think you have to ditch the guilt on holiday. One of the things I look forward to most is drinking a negroni sbagliato (vermouth, Campari and prosecco) while people watching in an Italian square.

Andy Jones, author of Four

I have none. I mean, I sleep late, open the wine early, and eat enough ice-cream to send a child into a coma. But guilty? No, there’s no guilt.

Rosanna Ley, author of Her Mother’s Secret

All food and drink related in my case! An Italian croissant with crema in the mornings, an Italian gelato in the afternoon and an Aperol Spritz in early evening – I think I will have to go to Italy…

 

If you enjoyed this post, check out which characters four of our fab authors would take on holiday with them!

Jill Mansell, Rosanna Ley, Katie Marsh and Jo Thomas tell us which character they would take on holiday…

Jill Mansell, Rosanna Ley, Katie Marsh and Jo Thomas tell us which character they would take on holiday…

Ever read a book and thought the character could be one of your best friends? Our authors have! Find out which one of their characters they would choose to go on holiday with…

Jill Mansell, author of This Could Change Everything 

OK, this is a lovely question and I now really wish it could come true! In This Could Change Everything, one of the main characters is Zillah, aged eighty three. She’s funny and glamorous, her make-up is always immaculate and she dresses with style. She is everything I would love to be at her age (but know I will never manage!) and is also brilliant company, loved by everyone who meets her. (In the book, ashamed of a bad thing she once did many decades earlier, she is driven by guilt to try and make amends by helping to fulfit the last wishes of others.) Anyway, Zillah would be wonderful to go on holiday with, and she wouldn’t force me to do stuff I’m not keen on, like trekking for miles through mountains.

(Can I also say, my own glamorous grandmother’s name was Zillah and I’ve always wanted to use the name in a book but was never able to find the right character to go with it…until now. If she were still with us, I like to think my Grandma Zillah would be thrilled!)

Rosanna Ley, author of Her Mother’s Secret

I would take Étienne from Her Mother’s Secret. He writes thrillers – among other things – so maybe we could go to an idyllic writing retreat (like finca el cerrillo in Andalucia which I visit every year) to exchange notes.

Katie Marsh, author of The Rest of Me

I would take Alex, the lead character from The Rest of Me, my new novel. She is a working mum who lives her life in lists and targets, and she starts the book with no ability whatsoever to be kind to herself. I’d take her to a remote yoga retreat in Ibiza, take away her phone and force her to breathe deeply and stare at sunsets until even she had to relax. She’d love it. Eventually.

Jo Thomas, author of Sunset Over the Cherry Orchard

I think I’d like to go and visit Emmy in Petit Frere in Late Summer in the Vineyard. I’d like to go out and join in with the grape harvest and join the other pickers for a long slow lunch in a shady corner of the vineyard, washed down with a glass of wine made from the grapes grown in the soil beneath our feet. There’s a lot about Petit Frere I’d like to go back and revisit, the chateau and the hilltop restaurant there.