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Feature Friday - Interview with Samantha Tonge

13 Dec 2013
Feature Friday is a new item on Bookish Treasures. Every Friday I will be featuring an author through either an interview or a guest post. If you are interested in taking part please send me an email.

This week I am featuring Samantha Tonge who is the author of the recently released Romantic Comedy novel Doubting Abbey.

Doubting Abbey by Samantha Tonge


Swapping downstairs for upstairs… How hard can it be!?

Look up the phrase ordinary girl and you’ll see a picture of me, Gemma Goodwin – I only look half-decent after applying the entire contents of my make-up bag, and my dating track-record includes a man who treated me to dinner…at a kebab shop. No joke!

The only extraordinary thing about me is that I look EXACTLY like my BFF, Abbey Croxley. Oh, and that for reasons I can’t explain, I’ve agreed to swap identities and pretend be her to star in the TV show about her aristocratic family’s country estate, Million Dollar Mansion.

So now it’s not just my tan I’m faking – it’s Kate Middleton style demure hemlines and lady-like manners too. And amongst the hundreds of fusty etiquette rules I’m trying to cram into my head, there are two I really must remember; 1) No-one can ever find out that I’m just Gemma, who’d be more at home in the servants quarters. And 2) There can be absolutely no flirting with Abbey’s dishy but buttoned-up cousin, Lord Edward.

Aaargh, this is going to be harder than I thought…

Try it For Yourself (unbelievably cheap)! Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK 

Interview with Samantha Tonge

Why did you decide to become an author?

It sounds corny, but I always knew I would write. During my twenties I made a half-hearted attempt at writing a novel about EuroDisney, where I used to work. I didn’t settle down seriously to the craft until my youngest started school, when I was in my late thirties. And it just felt right – finally I was doing what I felt I was always meant to.
How do you balance writing with other things in your life?

It’s difficult! I guess I am lucky in that I can write full-time, but having said that, my family are the priority.  So, family first, writing second and everything else I used to do, before my writing took off a little – like sport, socializing – has taken a back seat. For the sake of my health and sanity I need to make a few changes in the New Year!
What is your favourite thing about being an author?

Spending the day doing something I love and getting paid for it. Especially at the moment as I have started a sequel to Doubting Abbey. Gemma is such a fun, totally bonkers character and her latest antics provide me with a lot of giggles during the day.
What are your favourite books?

I love Sophie Kinsella, but have also recently have discovered a plethora of great romcom novellas by Rowan Coleman, Rebecca Raisin, Carole Matthews…  It’s my new favourite genre and one that seems to be expanding, if you look at the Amazon bestselling lists.
Are there any books/authors that inspired you to write?

I’ve always found Sophie Kinsella very inspiring as my aim, as an author, has always been to entertain and make people laugh. If I can achieve that then I’m happy. But, as a child, I loved Enid Blyton and she probably shaped my ambition of wanting to create feel-good fiction.
Describe your book in one sentence.

Pizza waitress Gemma must pass herself off as aristocratic Abbey to help run-down Applebridge Hall win a reality show – without blowing her cover or falling for gorgeous, but impossibly stubborn, Lord Edward.
Where did you get the idea for Doubting Abbey, did anything inspire you to write it?

The TV series Downton Abbey inspired me to write it – I was fascinated by the public’s obsession with a period drama and wondered how a thoroughly modern gal would cope if she was thrust into such a stuffy, aristocratic  environment.
What made you decide to write a romantic comedy?

I’ve written several novels (now sitting under my bed) and the first wasn’t a comedy – but somehow it didn’t flow properly and the next one I started putting humour in and one-liners and it just felt right. As a person I am quite jokey and – on the outside – light-hearted and I think this is my true writing voice. Having said that, I do write more serious, feel-good fiction for the People’s Friend magazine, but there is usually a touch of humour in there.
What would you say makes your book unique and worth reading?

I’d say it’s a fun modern read but with a historical twist – I researched how difficult it is for modern aristocratic families to maintain their family estates and hopefully Doubting Abbey reflects the inner turmoil this leads to for them. There’s a huge pressure not to let the ancestors down and living in a big house, on a fancy estate, isn’t all it appears to be – and hasn’t been, for a while.
Is there any specific message you wanted to convey in the book?

Yes – that it doesn’t matter what people’s backgrounds are, love can conquer all. Plus I wanted to explore the importance of having goals in life and how, as a youngster, it eventually becomes important not to keeping living in the moment – tomorrow does come and you need to look to the future.
What are your plans for future books?

A sequel to Doubting Abbey which I’ve already started and should be huge fun!
Do you have any hobbies and Interests unrelated to books?

I used to swim a lot – must get back to that – and I love baking, plus hiking.
Would you ever consider putting these into any of your books?

Baking and food do seem to regularly feature in my books!

If you could meet any one author (dead or alive) who would it be and why?

Jane Austen, to tell her how significant her work still is, all these decades later.
Tell us one interesting fact about yourself.

I speak French with a Belgian accent!
What is your favourite food?

What is the most adventurous thing you have ever done?

Worked as part of the Opening Crew for EuroDisney in my twenties – it was CRAZY.
If you could be any supernatural creature which would you choose?

I am a huge fan of Twilight and the Vampire Diaries, so it would have to be a super-quick, super-strong vampire who could compel people to fulfil her desires…!


About the Author

Samantha lives in Cheshire with her lovely family and two cats who think they are dogs. Along with writing, her days are spent willing cakes to rise and avoiding housework. Formally trained as a linguist, Samantha now likes nothing more than holing herself up in the spare room, in front of the keyboard. Writing romantic comedy novels is her passion along with creating short stories she has sold over 80 to mainstream women's magazines.

1 comment:

  1. Doubting Abbey looks cute, I just had to pick it up at that price on Amazon! Great interview too :) thank you for sharing!

    - Wattle @ Whimsical Nature


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