Five on Friday with Fay Keenan @faykeenan

Today I’m delighted to feature author Fay Keenan. Fay is the author of the #1 bestselling ‘Little Somerby’, ‘Willowbury’ and ‘Roseford’ series of novels, which have been described as ‘moving, funny, thoughtful and romantic’ by her contemporaries and readers. To date she has sold over 180, 000 copies of her novels, and has featured in both the Amazon and iBooks top 100, as well as The Works bookstores. Her most recent release was entered into Amazon Prime Reading worldwide in April.

Fay lives in Somerset with her husband and two children, and draws her inspiration from the stunning West Country scenery and the quirky people and places that make up this very individual area of the UK. When she’s not writing, she’s often to be seen on the end of large Weimaraner dog, being dragged across hill and dale in search of her next story idea, or teaching English to teenagers in a nearby secondary school. She has led workshops for adults and students on the writing process in conjunction with the University of Bristol and has been a visiting speaker in secondary schools. She has also been a judge of creative writing competitions for local events and organisations. She has recently signed a further four book contract with Boldwood, which will see her writing novels until the end of 2023.

Over to Fay :

Which five pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?

That’s a tricky one, but I’ll try to cut it down to five!

Sussudio – Phil Collins – one of the first songs I remember hearing as a child, as it was the first CD my parents bought! I still have a soft spot for ‘No Jacket Required’ the album, of which this is the first track. It takes me back to a very happy childhood.

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons performed by Nigel Kennedy – I wanted the CD of this so much for one of my teenage birthdays (I forget which) and it’s still, to my mind, the definitive recording, which injects new life into such a familiar piece of music

When Love and Hate Collide – Def Leppard. This came out the autumn I met the man who became my husband (and still is!), and I played it non-stop!

Flowers in the Window-Travis – this was played on hospital radio the night my first daughter was born, as a request, and I still can’t listen to it without crying!!

The Mummer’s Dance – Loreena McKennit – I listened to this non-stop when I was writing my debut novel, The Second Chance Tea Shop, and it really felt like the sound track to the novel.

What five things (apart from family and friends) would you find it hard to live without.

Cheese – all and any, the stinkier the better!

The novels of Jilly Cooper

My Tempur pillow – the comfiest one I’ve ever had!

My MacBook Pro – it’s 12 years old, but still going strong!

My Nike Air Force 1 trainers – I’m late to the trainers game, but I have to admit, they’re the comfiest shoes I’ve ever worn.

Give five pieces of advice to your younger self?

Kiss more people!

Stop worrying so much!

Stand up to bullies!

Stop thinking you’re fat!

Be brave!

Tell us five things that most people don’t know about you

I’m left handed so I tick backwards, which amuses my students no end.

I achieved Grade 8 on the flute.

I can’t abide raw tomatoes.

I don’t drink alcohol anymore (best decision of my life!).

I have an enormous crush on James May.

Tell us five things you’d still like to do or achieve.

I’d like to earn enough from my writing to pay off the mortgage one day!

I’d like to be able to run again (I’ve had two knee injuries, unrelated to running, that have rather scuppered that for the past couple of years).

I’d like to see one of my novels turned into a movie or television series.

I’d like to fly in a helicopter one day (I never achieved this when I was writing a book about a pilot, and I feel I missed a trick!).

I’d like to sit back in forty years and know I did as good a job raising my children as my parents did.

Many thanks for joining me today Fay, it’s been a pleasure. I love your music choices, there was a time when I had Phil Collins on constant repeat so it was good to hear that track again. I’ll also be investigating Loreena McKennitt, she has an amazing voice. I think I’ll also have to investigate a Tempur pillow too, I’m still on the search for one that suits me. Great advice to your younger self, and mostly just as relevant to most adults, perhaps the advice to kiss more people might not be so applicable – maybe you could get a ‘pass’ for James May though?! I hope you get to fulfill your ‘to do’ items. A movie/tv series would be brilliant as well as helping to clear that mortgage.

Fay’s Books

(NB This post features Affiliate links from which I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases)

Roseford series

New Beginnings at Roseford Hall (Book 1)

Life in London has lost its sparkle for Stella Simpson.

So when she gets the opportunity to escape to the country for a year, it seems too good a chance to miss. In the beautiful Somerset countryside, the majestic Roseford Hall has been painstakingly restored and is now ready for its grand opening. And as the writer in residence, Stella gets to see it all  – from the rowdy resident peacocks, the hidden secrets of the Hall, to befriending the Lord of the Manor himself.

At the other end of Roseford, single father, Chris Charlton is facing his own refurbishment woes. Rocked by a tragedy two years previously, his plans for crumbling Victorian wreck Halstead House are as stuck as he is.

As Roseford Hall prepares to welcome a new era, and Halstead House’s future is under threat, Chris and Stella find themselves drawn to one another. Can they finally leave their pasts behind, and will Chris and Stella be able to embrace their new beginnings together – or apart…

Winter Kisses at Roseford Cafe (Book 2)

Hollywood comes to Roseford, as Christmas wishes really do come true…

The sleepy Somerset village of Roseford is the temporary home for the cast and crew of the latest Christmas movie, and there’s excitement in the air. When Lucy Cameron, the owner of Roseford Café, is asked to fulfil a last-minute catering order on set, she can’t believe her luck.

Lucy’s erstwhile teenage crush, Finn Sanderson, is the star of the film, alongside his glamorous co-star, Montana de Santo, with whom he has been linked on and off the screen, and their sprinkle of stardust around the village is intoxicating.

With Christmas approaching and the snow starting to fall, Lucy’s path keeps crossing with Finn’s, and she starts to get to know the man behind the movie star. As her feelings grow, so too do Lucy’s reservations about even considering becoming involved with someone so well-known. And when Lucy finds herself at the centre of a social media storm, her fears seem to be justified.

Are happy-ever-afters just the preserve of Christmas movies, or could Lucy and Finn star in their very own festive love story…

Finding Love at Roseford Blooms (Book 3)

Coming in March 2023

Willowbury series

A Place to Call Home (Book 1)

When Charlie Thorpe met Holly Renton, they were not a match made in heaven…

Holly lives and works in the beautiful town of Willowbury in Somerset. An incorrigible optimist, she is determined to change the world for the better.

Charlie Thorpe on the other hand, is the ultimate pragmatist. With responsibility for so many people, he has to be.

But when their paths cross again, it’s clear they’ve got more in common than they think. Can Holly and Charlie overcome their differences and work together, or are they destined to be forever on opposite sides? And why does Holly have a funny feeling she has met Charlie before…

Snowflakes Over Bay Tree Terrace (Book 2)

As the snowflakes fall, new love blossoms…

When teacher Florence Ashton receives a surprise inheritance, she decides to make the life-changing decision to up sticks to the charming town of Willowbury in Somerset. With a new house and a new job, she’s too busy putting down roots to think about love.

Air Ambulance pilot Sam Ellis is definitely not looking for romance either, especially not on his doorstep. When Florence, his new neighbour, complains about his noisy housemate, he feels more cross than star-crossed.

But as the nights draw in and both find themselves thrown together in Willowbury’s seasonal drama production, will they overcome their differences and allow a little bit of winter magic to fall along with the snow? And what secrets will be revealed by the box of memories Florence finds in the attic at Bay Tree Terrace?

Just for the Summer (Book 3)

When Kate Harris accepts the job of redecorating her brother Aidan’s house in the picturesque town of Willowbury, she knows it’s just a stop gap before she has to decide what to do with the rest of her life. While her three sons spend the summer holiday with their father, Kate has an opportunity to prove to herself that there is a new life, after her divorce.

Harry Sinclair is the owner of Vale Volumes book shop on Willowbury High Street. Content, if a little bored with his lot, his shop, as well as his life, could do with freshening up. When Kate offers to spruce up Vale Volumes ready for the visit of a famous author, they find they have a lot more in common than colour schemes.

But both have secrets and responsibilities, and when the trials of family life threaten their burgeoning friendship, can they overcome the experiences of their pasts? Will Somerset’s most magical town cast its spell on them? Or will Kate and Harry have to concede that their friendship really is just for the summer?

Little Somerby series

The Second Chance Tea Shop (Book 1)

Following the tragic death of her beloved husband, Anna Hemingway decides it’s time for a fresh start. So Anna and her three-year-old daughter Ellie move to a picture-perfect cottage in the beautiful village of Little Somerby, and when she takes over the running of the village tea shop, Ellie and Anna start to find happiness again.

But things get complicated when Matthew Carter, the owner of the local cider farm, enters their lives. Throughout a whirlwind year of village fetes and ancient wassails, love, laughter, apple pie and new memories, life slowly blossoms again. But when tragedy strikes and history seems to be repeating itself, Anna must find the strength to hold onto the new life she has built.

Springtime at the Cider Kitchen (Book 2)

Caroline Hemingway can’t help but feel a little strange watching her ex sister-in-law marrying the owner of Carter’s Cider Farm, but she’s delighted Anna’s found happiness after the death of her late husband, and Caroline’s brother, James. If only Caroline could find her own love story…

Desperate to escape the rat race, Caroline decides to take the plunge and move to the idyllic village of Little Somerby, where she is given the task of opening and running a restaurant in one of the forgotten barns on the Cider Farm.

Opening and running The Cider Kitchen is no easy task, and there are many challenges on the way, but slowly Caroline feels she’s being accepted into the local community, and starts to believe she may have found her forever home. But secrets from her past seem destined to haunt her, and not even the attentions of the very dishy Jonathan Carter can distract her from all she’s left behind…

Summer in the Orchard (Book 3)

Sophie Henderson loves her job at Carter’s Cider in the picturesque Somerset village of Little Somerby, but with summer dawning before yet another picking and pressing season, and her boss David showing no signs of wanting to hang up his cider jug, perhaps it is time to move on.

She’s all set to hand in her notice when Alex Fraser, an intern from Vancouver, comes to Little Somerby to learn everything he can about the cider business. With Sophie as his mentor, attraction between them starts to grow alongside the apples.

For Alex, however, being in Little Somerby is about more than cider, and as the summer grows warmer, and his relationship with Sophie blossoms, can he find the courage to tell her the truth before it’s too late?

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