Jaffareadstoo is delighted to be hosting today's stop on the Puzzle Girl Blog Tour
Hi Rachael, welcome to Jaffareadstoo. Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a very happy and proud new mummy, and recently turned 30. I love period dramas and Disney films (which I now have an excuse to re-watch with my daughter!). I enjoy reading romance novels, psychological thrillers and am taking a crash course in the wonderfully colourful world of baby board books. I am currently adapting to reading novels on my iPhone Kindle app in the rare me-moments I have when my daughter is napping – it’s amazing how a great book can still provide pure escapism on a tiny screen, even when you’re sitting in yesterday’s tee-shirt with baby-food smeared on the sleeve.
How long have you been writing and what got you started?
I started writing back in 2012 after my mum was diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer. Seeing how bravely she fought her cancer, by living her life to the full, going travelling, making new friends and fundraising, inspired me to make my dream of becoming an author a reality.
What inspired you to write Puzzle Girl and what can you tell us about it that won’t give too much away?
One afternoon sat in a hospital waiting room with my mum, I stared at the pile of magazines left for patients to read. I found myself wondering, if I wrote a note in one of them, would anyone ever find it? In my novel, Puzzle Girl, Cassy does just that. After a disastrous turn of events, Cassy scribbles a note in a magazine while sat in a doctor’s surgery and when she returns for a check-up she finds someone has replied. She becomes obsessed with finding out who this mystery person is, but her mission might just cost her everything she holds dear, and then some.
Are you a plotter... or... a start writing and see where it takes you sort of writer?
Plotter, plotter, plotter. I am a plotter-nutter. I have post-it note timelines, Excel story arc graphs, countless notebooks full of plans with crazy flow diagrams. It all culminates in a Word document plot outline that is longer than most short stories. In fact, my outline, often turns into the novella that forms the backbone of my first draft.
What were the challenges you faced whilst writing Puzzle Girl?
Well, there were many… but one that had me stumped for quite a while was the dynamic between Cassy and the mystery Puzzle-man. In a fair number of romantic novels, you know pretty early on who the love interest is, but in Puzzle Girl, Cassy has nothing to go on other than a short message in a magazine. It was this dynamic that drove me - and challenged me - to write Puzzle Girl.
When do you find the time to write, and do you have a favourite place to do your writing?
Well… Before my daughter was born, I had it all figured out. I’d start writing around 9am at my dining room table, looking out at my lovely garden. Now my garden is rather wild and my dining room chair has been replaced with a highchair. I write in the evenings in bed, with the baby monitor by my side, so on those nights when I feel too tired to keep going, I can look at my little buddle of joy and remember it’s all worth it.
Can you tell us if you have another novel planned?
I do! My agent and I have been working together to fine-tune my second novella-style plot outline and I’m knee-deep in editing my first draft. I won’t give too much away at this stage but I will say that it’s another romantic comedy and – driven by my love of period dramas – set in an English country manor house. Watch this space!
I'm delighted to be able to share my review of Puzzle Girl..
When the world gets too tough for Cassy Brooks she takes refuge in doing puzzles so when she meets with an accident on her way to an important meeting at work, she passes the time in the NHS walk in clinic by doing a 'make up your own' puzzle she finds in a magazine. When she returns later to the clinic she finds that someone has been leaving messages within the puzzle.
What then follows is a light-hearted and entertaining read about Cassy's search for the mystery puzzle person which not only means that she has to keep returning to the clinic under a number of excuses but also that this distraction starts to impact on her, already busy, time at work.
Puzzle Girl has all the hallmarks of a lighthearted summer read. It's really easy to get immersed in the convoluted chaos that is Cassy's life, and as we experience with her all the problems she has,first with a relationship break-up, and then with an over ambitious colleague at work, so we get to know, and understand, just what makes her act in the slightly loopy way that she does.
I really enjoyed reading Puzzle Girl. It's warm and funny, witty and slightly daft in places however, throughout the whole of the story I had a smile on my face and was thoroughly entertained from start to finish.
Rachael Featherstone was born and raised in Woodford. Her path to writing was a little unorthodox. After reading Mathematics at Oxford University, New College, Rachael went to work in research. When Rachael’s mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2012, Rachael decided to take a chance, quit her job, and fulfill a lifetime ambition to write a novel. She went back to university and completed a Masters in English Literature and had several short stories published. Rachael now lives in Hampshire with her husband and daughter.
Twitter: @WRITERachael #PuzzleGirl
Instagram : @rachael_featherstone
Facebook : @RachaelFeatherstoneAuthor