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20 June 2014

Blog Tour: 'A Groom With a View' by Sophie Ranald

When you’re tying the knot, you can end up in a tangle…

Nick and Pippa have been an item since forever, but they’ve always said marriage isn’t for them. That’s until, in a moment of mad romance, they find themselves engaged.

Pippa knows she’s no bridezilla – and she’s definitely not expecting Nick to get swept off his feet by plans for floral centrepieces, vintage cake-stands and colour coordinated everything. Then Nick’s mum gets involved, secrets from Pippa’s past threaten to surface, and planning their perfect day begins to tear Nick and Pippa apart.

Not too long ago I was contacted by author Sophie Ranald about the release of her second novel titled ‘A Groom With a View’ today, the 20th of June. I hadn’t heard of Sophie’s first book, ‘It Would be Wrong to Steal My Sister’s Boyfriend (Wouldn’t It?)’ but I immediately loved the sound of ‘A Groom With a View’ and was really excited to be asked to be part of the blog tour and check out a new chick lit author’s work. Sophie also was so kind to take the time to do a short author interview for this blog, so be sure to scroll down to read more about her inspiration for her new book, her tips for aspiring writers and her future plans!

Pippa is happy with the life she leads; she has a great job as a chef and she has the perfect relationship with her boyfriend Nick. Everyone always mentions how great the two of them are together, and Pippa knows she doesn’t need a ring on her finger as proof of their love for each other. Yet, after a few too many drinks, Pippa suddenly finds herself engaged to Nick and before she knows it she’s answering questions about invitations, cakes and wedding locations. In order to make things as easy as possible for Pippa, Nick decides to do most of the planning and organising himself, but when Nick’s mother appears on the scene and the wedding slowly seems to take over their entire lives,  things between Nick and Pippa only seem to be getting worse instead of better.

Every now and again I come across a great chick lit novel which is thoroughly enjoyable from the first until the very last page, which has an entertaining storyline at its core, combined with a fabulous cast of characters; basically, a book I didn’t want to put down but at the same time didn’t want to end, and one I’ll be recommending to others in the months to come. ‘A Groom With a View’ is definitely one of those novels and I’m so glad Sophie Ranald contacted me for a possible review of her second book. I loved the storyline, not just because it’s about weddings (a topic I have a soft spot for) but because it gives its own original twist to a chick lit wedding story. Pippa is a great heroine; she doesn’t want a big and glamorous wedding, she just wants to be with Nick and no wedding is needed to put a stamp on their love for one another. I really enjoyed reading about a man who takes on all the wedding planning, and the female character who tries to deal with this. 

Pippa and Nick are a fantastic couple, I couldn’t get enough of them. But that also goes for the supporting characters and the various different aspects added to the storyline to make it even more interesting and enjoyable, for example the visit of Nick’s mother, Pippa’s job, and the troubles Callie, Pippa’s best friend, is dealing with. There honestly wasn’t a dull moment in this novel and I loved returning to it at the end of a busy day, keeping my fingers crossed for Pippa and Nick and their wedding. ‘A Groom With a View’ is a simply wonderful, funny, and thoroughly enjoyable read; I can’t recommend it to other chick lit fans enough!

For more information about this book: / / Goodreads
Thanks to the author for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Author interview with Sophie Ranald

I'm delighted to have Sophie Ranald on the blog today to talk more about her new release 'A Groom With a View', her inspiration for the book, and her future plans as an author!

Can you tell us something about your new novel, ‘A Groom With a View’?
A Groom with a View is about planning a wedding – but with a bit of a twist. There are so many clever, funny novels about the “bridezilla” phenomenon, but I wanted to play around with the idea of a man becoming obsessed with wedding planning, while his fiancée isn’t sure she likes the way things are going, and the detrimental effect it could have on their relationship. Of course as my characters developed, so did all sorts of other aspects of their stories, which led the plot in directions that sometimes surprised me. 

Is the book in any way based on personal experiences or is it completely fiction? If so, how did you come up with this idea?
The idea came from a friend’s proposal story. She decided to ask her partner to marry her, but chose a moment to pop the question when they were both really hungover, and his response was so mumbled and sleepy that she wasn’t sure whether he’d actually accepted! Then the next day, she arrived home from work to find him working on a wedding spreadsheet. As soon as she told me that, I thought, “There’s a book in this.”

Can you tell us a bit more about the main protagonist, Pippa?
On the face of it, Pippa’s sorted. She’s got a great job, a gorgeous boyfriend and a shoe collection to die for (although she does struggle with her frizzy hair). But as the novel progresses, I hope my readers will start to see Pippa’s vulnerability – the doubts she has about choices she’s made, the frustration she feels about her life, the complexity of her relationships with other characters. I wanted to make her real, flawed person, but one who my readers would relate to, and I really hope I have cracked it!

There’s a great cast of supporting characters in the novel as well. Which character did you most enjoy writing?
Thank you! I adored writing the scenes with Pippa’s parents. Her Dad is a bit of a shadowy figure, but Justine, Pippa’s Mum, just grew and grew in personality as the novel progressed. Whenever Pippa found herself in a particularly dark place, I knew that I could write a scene with Justine in it to lighten the mood.  

Can you perhaps tell us something about your future plans? Are you perhaps already working on a next novel?
The first foreign language editions of my first novel, It Would Be Wrong to Steal My Sister’s Boyfriend (Wouldn’t it?), are coming out in the next few months in Germany, Italy and Brazil. I am quite giddy with excitement about seeing them, although of course I won’t be able to understand a word of the translations! As far as writing the next book goes, I have an idea which I’ve been turning over in my head for a while now, and hopefully by the end of the year it will be written. 

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
I know many writers say they write because they can’t not write. This isn’t true for me – I was a journalist and copywriter in my previous life, which knocked any starry-eyedness about the process out of me. I’m quite pragmatic about it: I love writing, but I’ll only do it as long as there are people out there who will pay money to read my books (which, by the way, is the most massive accolade and privilege). So my advice would be: be realistic about your chances of being published and making a living as a novelist. Approach it like a business – study your market, read books in your genre, work hard to promote yourself and your book. And be lucky!

What is the last book you read that you’d like to recommend to others?
This is such a hard question! I read a lot but I have the memory of a goldfish. Once I’ve finished most books, I forget them almost immediately, and I’ve been known to get halfway through a novel before realising I have read it before. But I have no hesitation in recommending the book I’m currently reading: Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes. He was a simply masterful writer. 

Which book could you not live without?
I regularly fly long-haul to visit my family in South Africa. The 11-hour flight (not to mention the journey to the airport, the queue before check-in the wait to board…) would be impossible to survive without something to read. But it has to be a particular kind of book: gripping, not too demanding and nice and long. Anything by Philippa Gregory, Elizabeth Jane Howard or Lee Child will do the trick. 

And last but not least, if you had to describe ‘A Groom With a View’ in just three words, which words would you pick?
Don’t get married. (Just kidding!)

Thanks so much, Sophie!

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