I’m delighted to welcome romance author Jessica Redland to my blog today. Jessica is interviewing Angie Swinton from her latest release Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café.
Welcome to The Starfish Café – where you will find stunning views, delicious food and lifelong friendships.
Two broken hearts.
Since she inherited The Starfish Café, Hollie has poured her heart into the business, striving to keep her mother’s traditions and warm-hearted spirit alive. But behind closed doors Hollie is searching for true happiness as she grieves the tragic loss of her family who were once the beating heart of the café…
An unexpected meeting.
Jake lives by two rules: don’t let anyone get close and don’t talk about what happened. Little does he know that a chance meeting at The Starfish Café, facilitated by a fluffy lost dog, is about to turn his world upside down…
The chance to love again.
Can Hollie and Jake break down the barriers that have been holding them back from finding love and happiness, before Christmas comes around? After all, with courage, nothing is impossible…
Join top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for a magical winter at the seaside, where love blossoms and lifelong friendships are made.
Here’s what some reviewers are saying:
‘Heartbreakingly moving and yet beautifully uplifting, I cried for all the right reasons!’ Jo Bartlett
‘Achingly poignant, yet full of hope – You will fall in love with this beautiful Christmas story’ Sandy Barker
‘There is no doubt in my mind that Jessica Redland has a rare gift. To be able to take two separate yet inexorably entwined tales of sorrow and to combine them into such a joyous, intelligent, empathetic novel really does take some truly special skills and I can but thank her for sharing these wonderful skills with us readers’ Eatwell2015
‘Every now and then, a book pulls the proverbial rug from under me, and leaves me moved to tears. This is one of those books. Jessica Redland always delivers wonderful stories, but this is a different league. I went on a rollercoaster ride through every emotion possible from delirious joy to utterly bereft grief’ Book Escapes with Babs W7
What lovely reviews! Now, over to you Jessica. I’m dying to read your interview with Angie Swinton:
Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog, Karen. Much appreciated. Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café is a dual perspective story so my first thought was to interview one of the main characters – Hollie or Jake –but then I decided that one of the key secondary characters might be better to give a different viewpoint, so I’ve chosen Angie Swinton and I’m imagining this interview takes place in early November just before the book starts.
Hi Angie, can you start by giving us a quick introduction?
Hi everyone, my name’s Angie Swinton, I’m sixty-years-young and I live in the beautiful seaside town of Whitsborough Bay in North Yorkshire. I’m the assistant manager at The Starfish Café and have worked here for most of my adult life.
Tell us a bit more about The Starfish Café
It’s amazing. It’s a wooden building which wouldn’t look out of place in the Alps so not quite what you’d expect to find on the Yorkshire Coast but it’s surrounded by pine trees so what probably shouldn’t look right absolutely does. It’s on a cliff top position and a seal colony live on the beach and in the sea below. I love the seals but it’s a bit of a trek back up to the café after visiting them.
The Starfish Café belonged to my childhood best friend, Heather Brooks. Her mum used to have a smaller café on the site in a prefabricated unit which Heather took over when her mum retired. Once Heather’s two children were both settled in school, she knocked it down – literally as she was the one driving the bulldozer! – and built what you see today.
Sadly, she’s no longer with us but her legacy lives on. Her gorgeous daughter Hollie runs The Starfish Café and has kept her mum’s spirit alive, ensuring everyone always feels welcome and part of a community.
The café sounds lovely. Is it busy?
If the sun’s out, it’s heaving. The seals attract loads of visitors who are usually ready for sustenance after walking back up the cliff path. We’re on the route of a popular coastal walk too and we have loads of regular customers who’ve been coming in for years, whatever the weather. Why wouldn’t you want to visit? Stunning setting. Delicious food.
You said Heather who set up The Starfish Café was your childhood best friend…
Yes. We met at primary school when we were four and were inseparable. We went through senior school and catering college together and, as soon as she took over her mum’s café, Norma’s Nook, when we were both twenty-one, she took me on as her assistant manager.
I’d imagine working for your best friend could put a strain on some friendships but not ours. Heather was such a wonderful person – warm, funny, passionate – and we fell into a rhythm from the start where we complimented each other perfectly.
We never had a cross word. Her husband used to say we were like the same person inhabiting two bodies because we were so alike. We always knew what the other was thinking and even finished off each other’s sentences.
We managed fifty years of friendship before she died [voice cracks]. I miss her so much and wish she was here but she can’t be so, instead, I’ll be forever grateful for the millions of happy memories of her.
It must have been hard losing her like that. You say her daughter now manages the café…?
That’s right. Hollie will turn thirty-five on Christmas Eve and she’s as much a part of The Starfish Café as her mum was. She started helping out when she was twelve and has never wanted to work anywhere else.
I love working with her. It’s like having a younger version of Heather around. She has the same kindness and passion as her mum although that poor girl has been through so much tragedy. I sometimes wonder how she manages to hold it all together. She’s always smiling and joking with the customers. The strength she has is incredible.
You mentioned earlier that you have lots of regular customers. Can you tell us about some of them?
We have some amazing regulars. There’s Betty and Tommy who are in their eighties now but were ballroom champs in their twenties. They come in for tea and scones at the same time every weekday morning and they’re so lovely. There are lots of other regulars like them who we know really well but we also have some quirky characters who we don’t know particularly well but who are just as much a part of the furniture. There’s Rodney Ten Sugars. Guess how many sugars he likes in his drinks! And we have Mrs Sultana who orders a fruit scone every time she comes in and then picks out all the fruit. We always have plain scones on the menu but she insists on fruit. I’d love to know her story or even just her name, but we’ve asked and she never tells us.
As I say, Heather’s legacy was a friendly community where everyone is welcome and that’s exactly what we have. If someone wants to come in, pick fruit out of a scone and stare out at the sea without speaking to anyone, that’s fine by us. It’s a privilege that they want to make the café part of their lives.
What’s your favourite item on the menu?
There’s nothing I don’t love but I’ve got a really sweet tooth and anything that’s toffee or caramel-based calls to me and I’m not very good at ignoring that voice! I swear I could eat millionaire’s shortbread for breakfast. Actually [laughs], I have done on many an occasion!
What are your hopes for the future, both personally and for The Starfish Café?
[Laughs] That’s a serious question after talking about caramel for breakfast! For The Starfish Café, it would be that it continues to thrive and I have no doubt it will with Hollie at the helm. She struggled for a while after everything that happened. Who wouldn’t? Far too much tragedy for one person to have to handle. But she picked herself up and she keeps her mum’s legacy alive here while adding fresh ideas. She’s got a good business head on her shoulders, that one.
I know you didn’t specifically ask about hopes for Hollie but she is The Starfish Café so I can’t talk about it and not her. I’d love her to meet someone special. I’m worried that she’s shutting herself off from the world, scared of loving someone and losing them after what happened to her family. Every time I mention it, she closes down and changes the subject. I don’t want to upset her and I’ve never wanted to take over and try to play the mum role as Heather’s irreplaceable, but she needs more than the café in her life.
As for hopes for me, can I have an easier question?
What tragedy, other than her mum passing away, has Hollie experienced? Is Angie right about her shutting herself off from the world and refusing to let love in? And why does Angie want an easier question for herself? You’ll have to read/listen to Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café to find out. It’s available right now as an eBook for all platforms, paperback, hardback, large print, physical audio, download audio and streamed audio.
It sounds a fabulous book, doesn’t it? If you fancy reading it you can purchase a copy here
Available as an eBook (Apple, Kindle and Kobo), paperback, hardback, large print, physical audio, audio download, audio streaming
Jessica Redland is a bestselling author of emotional but uplifting stories of love, friendship, family and community. Her Whitsborough Bay books transport readers to the stunning North Yorkshire Coast where she lives with her husband, daughter and sprocker spaniel. Her Hedgehog Hollow series, set in a hedgehog rescue centre, takes readers into the beautiful rolling countryside of the Yorkshire Wolds.
Redland’s Readers (Facebook group exclusive for fans of Whitsborough Bay and Hedgehog Hollow): https://www.facebook.com/groups/409519133635791
Thanks so much for dropping by to tell us about your book, Jessica. Wishing you many sales!
Karen King – Writing about the light and dark of relationships.
Amazon Author Page: https://tinyurl.com/y2q5audb