The Golfer and The Writer: A Trip to Anstruthers, Center Parcs and a Lee Child’s novel

SUNDAY 12th OCTOBER 2014

St. Andrews Golf Course

St. Andrews Golf Course

Today is my last day of annual leave sob! After fifteen days off from the real world, I’m back to the day job tomorrow. The last two weeks have been very family orientated; the first week was a holiday to Anstruthers with the in-laws, followed by a week at Center Parcs with my family.

Lt Waters

Damian Lewis at the driving range at Carnoustie

On Sunday 28th September, the hubby and I packed up the car and made the three and a half hour trip to Anstruthers in Scotland, where we joined some close family and stayed at the gorgeous Cairnhill cottage. Anstruthers is an old fashioned fishing village along the Fife coast, located south of St Andrews. It boasts welcoming pubs, an amazing Indian restaurant, quirky little shops and fantastic fish and chips.

The holiday was centred around watching a couple of days of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship golf. We spent the Thursday at St. Andrews Golf Course, where the hubby managed to see some professional golfers and I got to swoon at celebs like Jamie Redknapp and Michael Vaughan.

On the Friday, we visited Carnoustie golf course. We had been very fortunate weather-wise until this day, waking up to heavy rain and blustery winds so I (rather excitedly) put on my waterproofs. Feeling like I was a human duvet all snug and warm against the slanted rain, I was content to celeb-spot with the likes of Hugh Grant (who I just adore! It took me all my might to stop shouting ‘I loved you in Bridget Jones – and Love Actually!), Greg Kinnear (Friends/You’ve Got Mail), Kyle Machlachlan of Desperate Housewives fame, Damian Lewis of Homeland and Band of Brothers aswell as the number one golfer himself – Rory McIlroy.

Rory McIlroy at Carnoustie

Rory McIlroy at Carnoustie

During the stay at Cairnhill, there was the opportunity to really relax as the hubby watched the Ryder Cup and played golf with our future brother-in-law and my father-in-law. On that particular Ryder Cup Sunday, I picked up a copy of Lee Child’s ‘Worth Dying For’ from a shelf in the cottage. I sat out on the patio in the glorious late September sunshine with endless cups of tea and found that I couldn’t put this book down!

I read it in two days.

It’s my first Lee Child’s book – and won’t be my last.

He has an incredible way of writing factual information into the storyline and characters without you even realising it.  I love the structure of the story in this book; a lone guy who is hitch-hiking his way to Virginia, stops at a motel in rural Nebraska. What trouble could he possibly get caught up in from overhearing a drunken doctor’s phone call in a bar?

lee childIt’s a fast paced novel filled with suspense – definitely one of those ‘just one more chapter’ books. Jack Reacher manages to get caught up in a web of criminal activity as a result of the decision he makes that night in the bar. Who knew that accompanying the doctor to tend to a female victim of domestic violence would lead to solving a historic crime?

He could have just gone to bed and continued hitch-hiking the next day.

But that would make for a very boring story indeed.

Another feature I loved was how Lee Child doesn’t use the doctor (or his wife’s) name in the book, referring to them as ‘the doctor’ and ‘the doctor’s wife.’ By leaving them nameless it established the importance of their roles in the story.

sunset walk

Sunset walk to the pub in Anstruthers

An absolute must-read.

nephew nicec

My three little munchkins

The latter part of our holiday was spent in Sherwood Forrest Center Parcs with my dad and his partner, my two sisters, another future brother-in-law, my two nieces and nephew. It was amazing spending time as a family doing activities with the kids. This is the fourth time I’ve been to a Center Parcs; all other three occasions were at the Whinfell Forrest, two were for hen do’s and the other for my father-in-law’s sixtieth birthday. As they were all quite grown up events, it was great to see Center Parcs from the family perspective. We went swimming, walking, played on the park, visited the soft play (which was right next to the sports bar so incredibly handy!) did pottery painting and managed to squeeze in some bowling. There’s still so much more to do so we’ve vowed to make it an annual event.

 

Thanks for reading and have a great Sunday evening.

 

Love Missuswolf xxx

 

 

Cuppa and a Catch-Up – An Author Interview with … Lucy Diamond

WEDNESDAY 08th OCTOBER 2014

Cuppa and a Catch up pic

 

I am delighted to welcome the lovely Lucy Diamond, author to several chick-lit novels including The Beach Café, Me and Mr Jones and Sweet Temptation. Lucy’s new novel ‘Christmas Gifts at The Beach Café’ is available to pre-order on Amazon now. I’ve got my order in – get yours here.

Christmas Beach Cafe

~Author Bio~

First of all, a confession. My name isn’t really Lucy Diamond at all, it’s Sue Mongredien. I’ve used a pen name because Author Pic Lucy Diamond‘Diamond’ is a lot easier to spell and pronounce than ‘Mongredien’ and also because I’ve written lots of children’s books too and wanted to keep the genres separate. (There is actually another Lucy Diamond on Amazon who writes religious children’s books. That isn’t me, though.) I was born in 1970 and grew up in Nottingham. I read English at Leeds University then moved to London and worked for various publishers before I packed it all in to go travelling around the world for a year and a half. When I came back to the UK, I worked in publishing again, then moved to the BBC.

I now live in Bath with my husband and three young children and divide my time between writing and looking after them. You can have a look at my children’s books here.

I would love to hear from you so do say hello if you’re on Twitter. You can find me @LDiamondAuthor. Otherwise you can email me via the Contact Me page.

Grab that cuppa and get snug as we catch-up with the lovely Lucy Diamond.

Cuppa and fire

Hi Lucy and welcome!

 The below are questions asked by my Aunt, Tracy Wilford, who is a huge fan and has introduced me to your books.

In Sweet Temptation your main characters, Maddie, Lauren and Jess meet at their local Fatbusters. I Sweet Temptationreally enjoyed their struggles with food and the reactions of those close to them to their weight issues. Why did you decide to write about a weight loss club?

First of all, thank you for having me here – and for reading my books. It’s much appreciated!

Sweet Temptation is a book that’s very close to my heart. Although I have never been to a weight loss club myself, I was quite insecure and self-conscious through my twenties – and it was only when my body produced three beautiful babies in my thirties that my attitude changed, and I started to feel proud of what my body had achieved, rather than fretting about wobbly thighs!

But then I joined a gym and the instructor did that horrible fat-pinching test and told me I was ‘verging on obesity’ (I was a size 10-12!) and all the old insecurities rushed back. In tears, I went home and wrote a blog about how upset I felt, and had the most amazing outpouring of support from readers, most of whom I didn’t know. And even in the depths of despair and angst, I thought – There might be a book in this…

 

In ‘Me and Mr Jones’ the character Alicia is married to dependable Hugh and as she approaches her 40thMe and Mr Jones birthday she becomes restless and yearns for time to herself. This storyline resonated with me, who was your inspiration for this character?

The inspiration was me! I found turning 40 quite difficult. I had enjoyed my thirties so much that I felt somewhat apprehensive about leaving them behind. I think there’s a tendency to assume that life will suddenly change quite dramatically once you pass these milestone birthdays… funnily enough, it doesn’t. I am happy to say I am enjoying my 40s enormously – I’m sure Alicia is too!

Why did you decide to include recipes for beauty products, breakfasts, summer cocktails, and other plot related information at the end of your books? Have you tested all of the recipes yourself?  

I think it’s nice to add a few extras at the end of a novel – and yes, I always test the recipes. I had particularly good feedback regarding the extra material at the end of Summer With My Sister – one lady wrote to tell me she had enjoyed making the beauty products so much, she’d actually started her own business (which has been a great success, and is still going from strength to strength!)

The below questions are from myself, I’d love to hear more about how you work …

The Beach CafeHow do you manage your writing time? 

I tend to write while my children are at school. I warm up by reading through and editing my previous day’s work, then push on with new pages. I write fairly quickly but edit many times before anyone is allowed to see a single page. My favourite part of the process is when I have completed a first draft – I’ve actually made it to the end! – and I have the pages printed out, ready for me to read the book through in its entirety. I do a HUGE edit at this point – whole chapters cut out, whole characters sometimes, I am absolutely ruthless. For me, it’s only when I’ve got to the end that I can see how the book needs to be balanced, and how it’ll ‘work’ as a whole.

How did you start writing? Was there a particular book or moment in your life that spurned you on? summer with my sister

I have always written: diaries, short stories, bad sixth-form love poetry… but it wasn’t until I was working at my first job in publishing that I fell in love with the idea of actually becoming an author myself. Until then, I’d kind of assumed that ‘people like me’ didn’t get to do things like that – but then I started meeting ‘real’ authors and realised that they didn’t conform to a type whatsoever, and most of them were very nice (and quite ordinary!) people. It was really only then that a little daydream became a possibility in my mind, and I thought, Why not?

Where is your best ‘writing space’; the place where you feel comfortably locked away from the world and able to let your creative juices flow? 

Hens ReunitedI have a lovely little office at home, which is full of books and nice things my children have made me, and a very comfortable armchair for reading page proofs. However, at the start of this year, I began working a day or two a week at a shared office in town. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to write with music playing, and other people around me, but I actually love being back in a proper office and feeling as if I have ‘colleagues’ again. (Plus it’s right in the middle of town and I kind of love a bit of lunchtime shopping too…)

And finally, tell us an interesting fact about yourself that not many people know.

I can’t resist a bit of karaoke… Don’t judge me!        

Thank you for being here today Lucy

~Where to find the author~

Facebook

Twitter: @LDiamondAuthor

Email: Lucy@lucydiamond.co.uk

Website: http://www.lucydiamond.co.uk/

Blog

Love Missuswolf xxx

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