Today I’m delighted to feature author Jill Steeples who writes fun, flirty, heart-warming romances.
Over to Jill:
I’ve always loved reading, particularly contemporary romances, and always wanted to have a go at writing one of my own, but it was only as I was approaching one of those big scary birthdays, that I thought if I don’t do it now, I never will. I signed up for a creative writing course and my tutor encouraged me to start with short stories – not such a big undertaking as a novel.
Luckily, several of my stories were published in women’s magazines around the world and in several charity anthologies too. I now write feel-good fiction set in the English countryside for Boldwood Books and my series include the Dog and Duck books, and the Primrose Wood books. I’ve recently signed a further contract for another six novels with Boldwood.
When I’m not writing, I love walking my English Pointer, Amber, in the beautiful countryside that I write about, spending time with family and friends, and going to the theatre as often as money and time allow!
Which five pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?
My mum was a huge Tony Bennett fan and I can remember her playing his greatest hits LP on the record player at home. Hearing ‘I left my heart in San Francisco’ takes me back to my childhood and gives me goosebumps. I was lucky enough to see him perform at the Albert Hall a few years ago when he was well into his eighties, and his voice was as velvety and wondrous as it has ever been.
I love the Motown sound, and I have so many favourite artists within the genre. My all-time favourite would be ‘Jimmy Mack’ by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. The opening bars of the song are so joyous and upbeat, that you can’t help singing and toe-tapping along. I love it so much that I named the main character in my novel ‘When We Meet Again’ after the song. It would make a great soundtrack to the film when it’s made (see 5 things you’d like to achieve below!!!)
When I met my husband many moons ago he had two CDs in his car, Imagine by John Lennon, and Bat out of Hell by Meatloaf, and we played them constantly. I adore them both, but it started for me an obsession with the Jim Steinman/Meatloaf collaboration. Jim’s songs are huge operatic-style anthems, emotional and sometimes funny too, and Meatloaf is the supreme showman.
To choose one track is almost impossible, but I’ll plump for ‘Two out of Three Ain’t Bad’
I’ve seen the musical ‘Bat out of Hell’ at least ten times and it’s such a feast for the eyes and soul – if you haven’t seen it, go grab your tickets now.
Phil Collins’ cover of the Motown classic ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’ transports me to the eighties, and fun times bopping away in nightclubs with my friends.
One of my husband’s favourite songs is ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ by Joni Mitchell. He always plays it when he’s cooking a fry-up on a Sunday morning so this reminds me of happy times.
What five things (apart from family and friends) would you find it hard to live without.
My kindle – I love having all that unchartered book territory to delve into.
Amber, my English Pointer. She’s very needy, but she’s my best pal and helps me with all my books – I love our daily walks too.
Cookery books – I have a huge collection and love to flick through them for inspiration.
Cake – coffee and walnut, preferably.
Notebooks – An empty, pristine notebook offers endless possibilities.
Give five pieces of advice to your younger self?
You’re doing okay – stop comparing yourself with others.
You look great – and no, you don’t need to lose weight.
Say yes to new opportunities, even if it takes you out of your comfort zone.
Nurture your friends and make lots of memories.
Be braver, be bolder.
Tell us five things that most people don’t know about you
I once went to Lucy Clayton’s finishing school. If you need to know how to get out of a low-slung sportscar, I’m your gal.
I was lucky enough to fly on Concorde.
I’ve had ham, egg and chips almost every Saturday night for the last 20+ years.
I’m a bit of a home-bird.
I have a huge fear of rodents.
Tell us five things you’d still like to do or achieve.
I’d like a herd of alpacas.
To grow a clematis in my garden. I’ve tried on several occasions in several different spots, but they always end up withering away.
I’d like to spend more time up on the Northumbrian coast. It’s beauty is breath-taking and I always come away feeling centred and energised
The opportunity to write lots more books.
For one of my books to be made into a film (see above!)
Many thanks for joining me today Jill, it was lovely to discover more about you. I suspect we are over a similar vintage given your music choices. I really enjoyed listening to Jimmy Mack again, it takes me back to a Motown obsession we had in the 6th Form at school. I also loved Phil Collins and was lucky to get to see him in concert. I love your description of a Kindle as an unchartered book territory, I have so many unchartered books! Hearing about Lucy Clayton really took me back, I used to dream about getting into her school, though in my case there was never any opportunity, not to mention any remotely credible chance! Good luck with finding a spot for your clematis, we’ve had several disasters with ours in the garden. We thought we’d got it right with one that flowered beautifully for years outside our front door until it died unexpectedly last summer. Maybe alpacas are more reliable? In the meantime here’s to many more books!
(NB This post features Affiliate links from which I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases)
Primrose Woods series
Starting Over at Primrose Woods (Book 1)
Abbey Carter should be feeling on top of the world.
She has the home of her dreams – a picturesque cottage just walking distance from her beloved Primrose Woods. She has a job she adores, great friends, and most exciting of all – a wedding dress hanging in her wardrobe ready to be worn. So why does she feel so lonely…
Lizzie Baker loves her job at the Treetops café in Primrose Woods, and she loves being a grandmother even more. If only she could face her fear of flying and see her granddaughter in person rather than on a screen.
Rhianna West is head over heels for her boyfriend Jay. She just wishes he could see her more regularly. His excuses are starting to wear thin, and Rhi’s dreams for the future are beginning to fade.
Can the fun and friendships, the picture-perfect scenery and rolling seasons in Primrose Woods help the women find the happy endings they deserve? After all anything is possible if you dare to dream…
Snowflakes Over Primrose Woods (Book 2)
Winter has arrived in Primrose Woods bringing with it new loves, new adventures and warm hugs on cold days.
Abbey Carter, her boyfriend Sam and their trusty canine companion Lady, relish living in the picturesque village of Wishwell at the edge of their beloved Primrose Woods. The woods and the country park are full of activity as the festive season approaches.
Lizzie Baker is flat out at the Treetops café, serving all sorts of winter warmers, festive goodies and lashings of hot chocolate. And when her daughter and grandchildren arrive to stay, the run up to Christmas is set to be even more magical than she had expected.
Rhianna West has finally found the perfect man to fall in love with – if only Luke wasn’t moving away in the New Year.
As the snow falls on Primrose Woods, and the village of Wishwell sparkles with Christmas lights, could this be the year that every wish comes true for the three friends?
Dreams Come True at Primrose Hall (Book 3)
Pia Temple has always had a soft spot for Jackson Moody following a passionate teenage love affair that burnt out over one long summer, more than ten years ago. First loves can be hard to forget, and the devastatingly gorgeous Jackson, is harder to forget than most.
After putting aside her ambitions while she cared for her parents, it is finally time for Pia to think about herself. So, when she’s offered the perfect job running the social calendar at Primrose Hall, with a dreamy flat included, how can she refuse? There’s only one problem… The new owner of the refurbished seventeenth-century manor house set in the idyllic Primrose Woods, is none other than Jackson, the man she’s thought about every day for years.
In a whirl of weddings and craft fairs, literary festivals and tea parties, Pia blossoms in her new role. But with the delectable Jackson a daily distraction, maybe this isn’t the dream job after all – especially when Jackson’s unfeasibly beautiful ex-girlfriend Tara, comes back to visit the hall…
Starry Skies Over Primrose Woods (Book 4 – coming Oct 2023)
Pia Temple has the job of her dreams organising the social calendar at Primrose Hall. As well as living in the stunningly renovated manor house, she’s rekindled her teenage romance with the owner of the hall, Jackson Moody.
Life for Pia should be perfect, but she discovers that her hopes and dreams are very different to those of Jackson’s. In the midst of organising the literary festival, bonfire night and the Christmas market, Pia is forced to wonder if her future at the hall is as secure as she hoped it might be, especially when Jackson is faced with reminders from his past.
Dog & Duck series
Winter at the Dog & Duck
A perfect feel-good romantic novel to curl up with. This story of new beginnings, love and friendship, and is perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan and Lucy Diamond.
Ellie Browne has left behind her high-flying job in London to return to the charming Buckinghamshire village of Little Leyton. Working shifts at the Dog and Duck pub and running her own doggy-daycare business, Ellie’s looking for a simpler way of life in this idyllic English setting.
But Little Leyton’s landscape is changing: Johnny Tay, Ellie’s ex, wants to pick up where they left off; sultry property developer Max Golding has moved into the village and is ruffling feathers; and rumour has it that the pub, which holds a special place in Ellie’s heart, might be sold. Suddenly, life’s looking a whole lot more complicated…. Can Ellie overcome all the challenges to finally find her one true love?
Previously published in ebook and print as Christmas at the Dog & Duck.
Summer at the Dog & Duck
Ellie has found happiness running the Dog & Duck pub in the idyllic village of Little Leyton, and her blossoming romance with handsome property developer Max Golding is going swimmingly. With her new best friend, Digby the black Labrador, at her side, life couldn’t be sweeter.
But their peace is shattered when Max’s younger sister, Katy, turns up unannounced with a whole heap of attitude. And Max’s loyalties are stretched further when his glamorous ex Sasha reappears with a burgeoning secret.
With the master of the manor preoccupied with the demands of his ‘other women’, Ellie’s forced to consider if she has any role to play in Max’s life or in the village of Little Leyton.
Can Ellie get her life and relationship back on track in time for the summer charity ball at Braithwaite Manor?
Wedding Bells at the Dog & Duck
Ellie Browne, landlady of the Dog & Duck, is looking forward to a relaxing Christmas Day before the arrival of her and Max’s baby in the new year. But with a snowstorm brewing outside, it seems that things might not go quite to plan. After the dramatic events of the holiday season, Ellie settles into her new life at Max’s huge country mansion, Braithwaite Manor, juggling work and family as best she can.
When she’s asked to help organise a summer wedding for one of her best friends it’s only natural that her mind turns to her own nonexistent wedding plans! But with Max decidedly lukewarm on the subject and other family complications threatening to disrupt life further, Ellie fears there’ll never be wedding bells at the Dog & Duck after all.
Happily Ever After at the Dog & Duck
Life in Little Leyton is never quiet, and when handsome developer Max and his bride-to-be Ellie receive some sad news, he decides to whisk her away for a romantic break. The time away gives Ellie a new perspective, and she’s eager to get home to get on with planning their wedding.
But a devastating incident at the pub she runs, the Dog & Duck, puts everything in jeopardy. And at their home, tensions are heightened when Ellie’s future mother-in-law turns up with all her worldly belongings, much to Max’s sister Katy’s despair.
With Max preoccupied with problems at work, Ellie’s left literally holding the baby while dealing with a seemingly endless list of dramas. And as Christmas approaches, Ellie begins to wonder if she’ll ever get her happily ever after….
Maybe This Christmas?
When Beth Brown loses her job and her boyfriend in the space of twenty-four hours, she thinks life can’t get any worse. That’s until she finds herself in the depths of the English countryside working for chef, Rocco di Castri. Not only does she have to deal with his legendary moods, but she’s also expected to get his chaotic schedule and workload in check, all while she’s nursing a broken heart.
It’s not long before Rocco’s idyllic home starts to work its magic and soon she sees a softer side to her boss too. And as the festive season approaches, Beth dares to look forward to everything the perfect country Christmas has to offer – and perhaps some romance of her own. Until news of an unexpected proposal threatens to put pay to all Beth’s plans. Will Beth get her happily-ever-after? Maybe, this Christmas…
Your Marriage Awaits
Previously published as Molly Matthews Meddles in Marriage
Molly Matthews knows everything there is to know about love. She should do, she runs the most exclusive marriage bureau in town. So why, then, is her own love life a complete disaster area?
When Rory Campbell, the international film star and hell-raising playboy, turns up at Molly’s office, she can’t believe he’s looking for a wife. Despite her better judgment, Molly agrees to help Rory in his quest, but all her attempts at finding him the perfect woman are met with disdain from her trickiest customer to date.
Molly is furious that her professional integrity has been compromised and she’s allowed her personal feelings to get in the way of a business relationship.
When photos of Rory appear in the press with Emma D’Santi, a beautiful pinup and the only woman Molly suspects Rory has ever loved, she wonders if Rory is wasting her time and playing with her heart.
Can Molly still find Rory the woman of his dreams while putting her own burgeoning emotions to one side and hanging on to what’s left of her frazzled heart?
When We Meet Again
Alice Fletcher doesn’t like to take chances and she certainly doesn’t believe in fate. Three years after the end of her last long-term relationship, she’s in no hurry to risk another heartbreak.
But fate has other plans. One day, on her drive home, Alice comes across a man, dazed and lost, by the side of a wrecked car. And with no one else around, Alice goes to help.
TV star Jimmy Mack is riding the crest of the career wave one minute, and the next he’s staring at his crashed car. But when Alice comes to rescue him, things start to look up.
What Alice and Jimmy discover next changes everything. Fate might have marked them out for each other, but somehow their destinies have got tangled. Will they get their happily-ever-after, or might their time together be shorter than either of them would hope…
Join Jill Steeples for this truly ‘out of this world’ romance and a love story to remember. Perfect for fans of Jessica Redland, Cathy Bramley and Miranda Dickinson.
Please note that this book was previously published as Desperately Seeking Heaven.
Thank you, Jill. It’s such a pleasure to be on your blog today and to share my music choices and other snippets. I’m glad you enjoyed hearing Jimmy Mack again, it’s such an underrated song, and I’m glad too we share such good taste in music! I will keep trying with the clematis, but you’re right, I think caring for alpacas might be easier! Thanks again. Jill xx
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My pleasure Jill. I always feel guilty when I think of alpacas because when I was on a charity challenge in Peru, we were (unknowingly) given alapaca meat to eat. We were told afterwards, presumably on the basis we wouldn’t have eaten it. The following day when I was trekking past a group I couldn’t look them in the eye. They seemed quite passive creatures, a bit less flighty & spitty than llamas – but I’m no expert. I’m on safer ground with music xx