Amelie’s passion for baking drives her forwards

A guest post by Vanessa Curtis (@VanessaCurtis1) author of The Baking Life of Amelie Day, out today. 

It feels a little surreal and very exciting to have The Baking Life of Amelie Day published by Curious Fox today. The book has been on a long journey to get to this stage and has changed a little along the way, so I’m delighted that my book will reach a wider audience from today. The Baking Life of Amelie Day Although the book has a light-hearted theme and contains some mouth-watering recipes, the deeper message behind the book is that it’s possible to achieve anything if you put your mind to it.

Amelie is really quite seriously ill and yet her passion for baking drives her forwards all the time and helps her to plan for a future despite the limitations put on her by Cystic Fibrosis. I’m also pleased that the illness itself will become better known about now that the book is published.

As part of my research I read the blogs of some young adults who live with the illness and I felt a lot of respect for the way in which they pushed on with their lives despite having to take countless pills and do breathing exercises every day just to stay alive. I hope that something of their bravery is shown in the character of Amelie Day.

It feels fantastic to have the book published today by a successful, vibrant publisher like Curious Fox and it also feels important to spread awareness of Cystic Fibrosis too. I’m looking forward to hearing what my readers think of Amelie and her baking obsession.

So, enjoy the read – and hopefully, baking the delicious recipes too! You can learn more about Cystic Fibrosis on the Cystic Fibrosis Trust website.

Hopefully You Will Love Alex Too

A guest post by Alyssa Brugman, author of Alex As Well, out today. 

I’ve never been to the UK before, and I was super excited to be invited. I’m very grateful that Curious Fox are so enthusiastically backing my little book. ‘Alex as Well’ is different to anything I have done before, and I’m quite proud of it.

Alex As Well

It’s been a very busy few months for me. Firstly I graduated from Canberra University. I now have a PhD which I have been working on for a few long years now. There were many times I was ready to give up, and it’s very satisfying to be finally finished. ‘Alex as Well’ was the work that was submitted for examination, along with my thesis. It was tricky at times, but I am confident that it’s made me a better writer. I am finding that there is a lot of space in my brain where the PhD used to be, and I’m not sure what to do with that space now! It’s a bit like a big lumbering machine with cogs that have suddenly ground to a halt. It’s different from the space that has books in it, which is kind of like an overstuffed filing cabinet that refuses to close no matter how hard you slam it.

Alyssa in her PhD hat

After the graduation I went to Outback Queensland to break in some wild horses on a remote two-million acre cattle station. That was a wonderful experience, although it was hard, rough and scary. I was lucky to pick a five year old stallion who ended up being a bit of a softy. As soft as a brumby gets anyway! I learned some terrific horse handling skills. We rode our freshly started horses up and down some mountains. I slept under the stars and watched the moon, drank billy tea and all that good Aussie stuff.

Then it was my fortieth birthday. I put on a frock and a tiara and had a terrific party surrounded by all the people I love the most. Some people travelled a long way, and that was very touching.

The day after my birthday I had a terrible car accident. I was on my way to a book club talk and a motorcycle came flying around a corner and wedged into the bonnet of my car. The rider lived, but has very serious injuries. My three year old daughter was in the car with me, but thankfully we were both unhurt. It really emphasises how arbitrary and chaotic life is and makes me grateful for my good fortune so far.

Alyssa and Brumbies

Meanwhile my normal life still goes on in the background. Sadly I can’t pause it. I run a small business offering hoof care and equine nutrition. We are a growing business and it’s challenging to juggle a growing demand from our clients at the same time as the speaking engagements relating to my writing – not to mention finding opportunities to sit down and write!

There is also the business of writing. Alex is coming out in a few different languages and overseas editions. There is always mail to respond to from readers about the other eleven books also.

When you do a tour like this there is a lot of preparation, interviews, speeches to plan. It also pays to practice the readings that you are going to do. I have always wanted to do the parts of the books that I find the most affecting, but then I worry that I will cry like a big sooky lala, so I usually pick a funny part instead.

And what to wear?

We’ve already had some great reviews for the book in the UK. Georgia, our lovely publicist has been working so hard to make this trip a success, and I am very grateful for that!

I’m really looking forward to meeting you all, and hopefully you will love Alex too.

The Ruby Airship: New characters, new places, and new challenges

A guest post by Sharon Gosling, author of The Diamond Thief and The Ruby Airship.

Isn’t it funny how time seems to move so slowly, and then suddenly speeds up? It’s about a year since I finished writing The Ruby Airship, but so much has happened during that time that it actually feels much longer.

The Ruby Airship is available to buy now!

A little over a year ago, my husband and I decided to change our lives forever. We put our flat in London up for sale and started looking for a house in Cumbria. The plan was to ditch our office-based day jobs and move north to open a second-hand bookshop in Penrith. In between we thought we’d take advantage of the fact that we’d be homeless for a while to do some travelling – but by then I also knew that I would need to finish The Ruby Airship before we moved into our new home.

Thus, the first draft of the book was written while we were staying on La Gomera, one of the smallest islands in the Canaries. It’s a beautiful, quiet place, with the extinct bowl of a volcano housing a rainforest in the centre, edged by jagged peaks that slope down to sandy, calm beaches around its edge.

Every morning I would get up just as the sun was about to tip the horizon, and I’d sit on the balcony that overlooked the ocean and work. My husband would get up a little later and go out walking in the mountains. I’d write until about lunchtime then join him for a walk myself. At the end of the six weeks that we were there, I had a finished manuscript and Adam had a fantastic tan (actually, so did I!). Then we came back and started our new lives.

The bookshop (Withnail Books) opened in July, and I worked on the second draft of The Ruby Airship surrounded by the Pennines. Maybe that’s why the landscape of the book is so mountainous – I wrote what was around me into Remy and Thaddeus’ new adventure!

I really hope readers enjoy The Ruby Airship. I had so much fun writing it, not just because of where I was as I worked, but because I do so love the characters.

It’s funny, but despite the fact I hadn’t written them for quite some time, Remy, Thaddeus and J came back to me very swiftly. It seems that their voices stay in my head even if I’m not writing down what they’re saying. They’ve all grown up a little – and they grow up even more over the course of this particular story. There are new characters for them to meet, new places for them to explore and new challenges for them to overcome – and I hope you have as much following them as their adventure unfolds as I did!

Read more about The Ruby Airship, download a sample chapter, and take advantage of great offers here.