Author Interview: Portia MacIntosh

10:53 Daniel Riding 0 Comments

Today is exciting because not only is it publication day for the new book 'Truth or Dare' by the wonderful Portia MacIntosh, but I have been lucky enough to have an interview with the lady herself. So grab yourself a brew, take a seat and happy reading.
Hello Portia, thank you so much for agreeing to an interview, I am so very excited to have you here.
Hello! It’s very nice to be here.

So tell me a little bit about yourself, where are you from and what do you write?
My name is Portia and, having travelled around a lot during my teens/twenties, I feel like I’m from a bit of everywhere really. Contemporary romance is my thing; my books are kind of funny, kind of dramatic, kind of cheeky – kind of like me really haha.
Your main focus seems to be Romanic fiction, would you ever like to write in any other genre?
Yes! Every time I read/watch an amazing thriller, it makes me want to have a go at something a little darker. Of course, I soon remember my inability to take anything too seriously for too long. One day though!

Where do you find your inspiration for your wonderful books?
Thank you! Oh, from real life. If not what I get up to, then what those around me are going through. I can be like a vulture sometimes, listening to people telling me all about their woes, all the time wondering how subtly I can make notes in my phone… haha. It’s mostly my own adventures that I fictionalise though. Truth or Date was inspired by the few months I spent in the crazy world of online dating.

What can you tell me about your typical writing day and what your process is?
Much to my delight, I don’t really have typical writing days. Very few days play out the same for me. I’m either in a different place, or sometimes I’ll be using my laptop, others I’ll be using an actual pen and paper. I like to listen to music when I write. I also like to write at really antisocial times – I get all my best ideas at 4am.

Do you have your own special Writer's Room?
As much as I fantasise about a huge, corner dress and massive prints of my book covers on the wall… I don’t. I’m like a stray cat of an author, writing wherever I am – or wherever I can. I’ve written on tour buses, in hotel rooms, at boyfriend’s houses, in coffee shops – sometimes, even in my own bed! When I settle, I’ll have the ultimate office.
Can you tell me about your journey to publication? How did that all happen?
It all feels like a blur, like it never really happened haha. I’d been writing books for fun, really. I had two full-length novels and a novelette. I sent them to Carina to ‘see what happened’, fully expecting a rejection, and they said they wanted all three. And I was like: ‘COOL GET ME A PEN SO I CAN SIGN SOMETHING’ before they changed their minds haha.

What can you tell me about your publisher Carina, and what are they like to work with?
I love them. Every single member of the team is amazing, and they all work so hard. They make me a better writer, for sure, and they’re always there to offer support when I need it. They also served the best brownies I’ve ever tasted in my life at their Christmas party, so I’m never leaving them. Ever.
So what’s next for Portia MacIntosh? Can you tell us a little about what you may be working on next?
Truth or Dare is out today (11th April)! I’d like to say I’m taking some time off, but I’ll be straight to work on my sixth book – which just feels unreal. I can’t say too much at this stage…mostly because I’m still undecided on a few aspects.
Maybe it will be a seasonal book… Maybe...

The Fun Stuff:

What is your favourite TV show right now?
Oooh! It’s got to be Girls, I love it. I grew up watching things like Sex and the City, where everyone was rich, and obsessed with shoes, and bachelors were eligible. I just love Girls because it’s nothing like that. It’s cringey, it’s ugly, it’s hilarious – it’s real. We all make bad choices and do stuff we’re not proud of or can’t explain. We’re not all rich. And as for always being able to assemble our group of friends to hang out all the time – come on, that’s the most unbelievable aspect of Sex and the City. Still love it though haha.

Who is your ultimate celebrity crush?
Henry Cavill. My life goal is to become Mrs. Portia Cavill – watch this space.

Who are your favourite authors?
My favourite book in the world is The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, she makes my list for that alone. More in line with my genre… I think Paige Toon is awesome. Carole Matthews is another great one, her books never disappoint. I think Scarlett Bailey is brilliant too.

What are you reading right now?
Right now, showing my dark side a little, I’m about to start American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis. I love the movie, so someone recommended the book – they did precede it with quite the warning though, so we’ll see how it goes…

Which book from another author do you wish you had written?
Ooh! That’s a wonderful question. I imagine this is a question that I’d answer differently every time it was asked, but right now: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I absolutely love it.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions Portia.
You’re very welcome. Thanks for having me.

Get the book now:

About The Author

PORTIA MACINTOSH has been 'making stuff up' for as long as she can remember - or so she says. Whether it was blaming her siblings for that broken vase when she was growing up, blagging her way backstage during her rock chick phase or, most recently, whatever justification she can fabricate to explain away those lunchtime cocktails, Portia just loves telling tales. After years working as a music journalist, Portia decided it was time to use her powers for good and started writing novels. Taking inspiration from her experiences on tour with bands, the real struggle of dating in your twenties and just trying to survive as an adult human female generally, Portia writes about what it's really like for women who don't find this life stuff as easy as it seems.  


Book Review: The Art of Being Normal | Lisa Williamson

17:47 Daniel Riding 0 Comments

Winner of the Waterstones Best Older Fiction Children's Book Prize

Shortlisted for the YA Book Prize

Two boys. Two secrets.

David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he’s gay. The school bully thinks he’s a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth – David wants to be a girl.

On the first day at his new school Leo Denton has one goal – to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in Year 11 is definitely not part of that plan. When Leo stands up for David in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms. But things are about to get messy. Because at Eden Park School secrets have a funny habit of not staying secret for long . . .

I am a fan of Young Adult books but normally I tend to gravitate towards books that have a fantasy or science fiction element to them. This book however is a contemporary YA novel and I must say one of the best books I have read in a long time. I think it is incredibly brave and inspiring of the author to write something that tackles issues that are only really just being brought to the attention of the masses.

What this book does is highlight these issues in such a wonderful way that the story in my opinion isn’t immediately or directly about transgender issues, it is about 2 boys and their friendship and there just happens to be the added dynamic of gender identity.

The subject is tackled wonderful and with sensitivity, and what this book has been doing and will continue to do is to allow teens to feel ok in who they are and who they want to be. I myself am not transgender but what this book gave me was a faith in my own identity and this idea that your life should be lived as your most authentic self.

The writing and the story is just wonderful and it is evocative in its realism and portrayal of the world today. The characters of Leo and David are wonderfully heart-warming and endearing and seeing how their friendship progresses is simply wonderful.

A triumph of a book, and hopefully it will inspire many more like it. 

Buy it Here:

I also had the pleasure of meeting Lisa at an event recently in Waterstones Liverpool, where I was lucky enough to get a signed copy of the book and have a lovely little chat with the lady herself. She is lovely.

About The Author:

Lisa Williamson was born and grew up in Nottingham. She studied drama at Middlesex University and since graduating has worked as an actor on stage and TV. Between acting jobs Lisa temped in offices across London, typing stories when no one was looking, one of which eventually became The Art of Being Normal.

Lisa now lives in North London with her boyfriend.

Find Lisa Here:



Book Review: Cupcakes at Carrington’s | Alexandra Brown

16:52 Daniel Riding 0 Comments

Sometimes you just need a nice, charming read that you can lose yourself in and be utterly absorbed and entertained by the story and the characters. Romantic fiction is one of my favourite genres, particularly the type that makes you feel warm and magical inside. As you can imagine, I have many authors on my shelves so there is a regularity to my indecisiveness. I was lucky enough at one of the many author events I go to, to have the pleasure of meeting and talking to Alexandra Brown. She is a lovely person and we had a lovely chat and it was this meeting that inspired me to finally pick up one of her books that were on my shelves.

So I chose to read her first novel ‘Cupcakes at Carrington’s’ which was released in 2013 with Harper an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers. This was as expected, a wonderful read and I found it incredible easy to lose myself in the story from the beginning. The way Alexandra writes is warm and familiar that is wonderfully absorbing and entertaining.

Our leading lady is Georgie Hart who works at a department store, running the luxury handbag department. Georgie has her issues and things from her past that seem to be constantly biting at her heels but somehow she manages (for the most part) to remain optimistic. When Carrington’s is threatened by the recession a complete over haul of staff and store procedure which as you can imagine shakes up everything and everyone. There a couple of new additions to the staff, including a potential love interest who is deliciously yummy. Then we have Maxine, the femme fatale who has been recruiting to whip Carrington’s in to shape, and let’s just say her methods aren’t exactly fair or for the most part, above board. She is a nasty piece of work, and as I always say it is just wonderful when a character we love to hate gets what is coming to them. So brace yourself for some wonderful scenes when this happens.

What also gives this book more heart is the relationship Georgie has with her father. There issues are central to Georgie and the way she perceives herself and those around her, and it is a wonderful part of the book when we see their relationship slowly begin to repair. 

The incredible cast of characters as so likeable and entertaining, and even the ones we don’t like have their own entertaining moments. This is such a magical book that is one of the warmest books I have ever read. I am so pleased that I started this series and look forward to finding out what happens to Georgie and her friends in the rest of the Cupcakes at Carrington’s books. 
 A warm and magical treat of a book. 10/10

Buy it here: 

About the author:

Alex Brown is the bestselling author of five books and launched her career with the hugely popular Carrington's series set in a seaside town department store. Alex now writes warm, witty and heartfelt novels centred on the cosy community spirit of village life.

Alex began her writing career as a weekly columnist for The London Paper, before trading in the rat race for the good life. The Secret of Orchard Cottage is Alex's sixth book.

When she isn't writing Alex enjoys knitting, watching Disney films with her daughter and going to Northern Soul nights, and is passionate about supporting charities working with care leavers, adoption and vulnerable young people. Alex lives in a rural village in Sussex, with her husband, daughter and a very shiny black Labrador.

She loves hearing from her readers, so please visit her website - or join her for chats on Facebook at and Twitter @alexbrownbooks 

Keep an eye out for Alex's latest book 'The Secret of Orchard Cottage' out 2nd June 2016
Pre-Order it HERE