Four women, linked by blood ties, friendship, betrayal, loss and hope, struggle with the choices they’ve made and the hand that life’s dealt them.
All Pippa’s ever wanted is marriage and kids, but at thirty-four and about to embark on IVF, her dream of having a family is far from certain. Her younger sister Georgie has the opposite problem, juggling her career, her lover, a young daughter and a husband who wants baby number two.
Pippa’s best friend Sienna has a successful career in the film world, and despite her boyfriend pressurising her to settle down, a baby is the last thing she wants. Happily married Connie shares the trauma of fertility treatment with Pippa, but underestimates the impact being unable to conceive will have on her and her marriage.
As their lives collide in a way they could never have predicted, will any of them get to see their hopes realised?
It’s always rather exciting to be able to join in with the excitement of a release day – thanks Brook Cottage Books! Beneath the Apple Blossom by Kate Frost is published today (4th August) by Lemon Tree Press, and is available in paperback from Amazon in the UK and US.
I’m offering the chance to win a paperback copy, and have an extract to give you a taster – but first I’m delighted to welcome author Kate Frost to Being Anne, with a great guest post about writing a novel while raising a toddler…
In many ways I’ve found it easier writing a book since having a baby – yes, really. Okay, so the first few months went by in a haze of feeding, nappy changes and no sleep, and I could have been really productive and cracked on with my novel during countless hours spent sitting on the sofa breastfeeding my son (aka the milk monster), but Netflix and copious box sets seemed more appealing to my sleep-deprived brain than attempting to be the least bit creative.
But a novel was brewing. I did, after all, have plenty of quiet time in the middle of the night to figure out the characters and plot for Beneath the Apple Blossom, while keeping myself awake during night feeds or pacing up and down our landing with a baby who wouldn’t sleep unless he was being cuddled.
Toddlers get things done. Not a minute goes by in their day when they’re not doing something, learning something new, being fascinated by the least fascinating thing (from an adult’s point of view anyway). They’re constantly in role-play mode – I’ve stood out in our garden with my son holding the garden hose pretending to put out a fire in his bedroom, while telling my parents and me, in no uncertain terms to, ‘stand back, children!’. I’m creating stories all the time too, it’s just once you leave your childhood behind, make-believe ends up being regulated to writing, reading, art, acting (in a play rather than your own front room) and other creative pursuits, rather than being able to race down the street pretending to be a horse.
Having a toddler most definitely helps kick-start creativity but then there’s the issue of actually finding the time to write. I’ve always found having very little free time a great motivator in getting things done. I can do more now in an hour than I might have done in a whole day pre-baby. I wrote Beneath the Apple Blossom, a novel about infertility and pregnancy amongst other subjects, in nine months, starting it just before my son turned one and finishing it when he was twenty-one months old. You can grow a baby in that time, so maybe it’s not so strange that I managed to write a first draft of a novel in that time too.
Writing time was snatched during nap times and often that was sitting on a bench in the park or in the car with a notebook and pen, as I had a baby who fought sleep and who would only nod off during the day if he was in his pushchair or car seat.
The editing of the book and getting it ready for publication took almost as long as actually writing it. Finally, after two years and three months of my son refusing to nap in his room during the day (he’s now two and a half), he decided his bed wasn’t so bad after all and I at last gained a peaceful hour or two in the middle of the day – prime time to edit, approach reviewers and arrange cover design. Writing and publishing is possible with a toddler, however, finding motivation when I’ve been up from 4.30am with a ridiculously energetic two year-old who just ‘wants to play’, can be tough, but writing and planning a novel always trumps doing the housework.
Kate, writing about novels usually trumps doing the housework too! Wishing you every success with Beneath The Apple Blossom…
Here’s an extract from Kate’s book to give you a taster…
Connie stopped and looked around. She had wandered a little way off the path and was in a small grassy clearing surrounded by trees heavy with spring leaves and blossom. Not in the mood for making small talk with a stranger, she chose a spot in semi-shade out of sight of the path, leant back against the slender tree trunk and closed her eyes. A slight breeze caressed her face and every so often she got the wonderful sensation of sunlight on her.
She took a deep breath and drank in the scent of damp grass and spring flowers – fresh, sweet and alive – then opened her eyes to the canopy of white against the blue sky. The apple tree was bursting with blossom like masses of white teardrops.
She had everything to live for even if it didn’t feel like it right now. Life was a journey, and the best journeys were the ones that couldn’t be predicted before setting off, or that weren’t an easy ride to reach the destination. Right then, on a perfect spring day beneath the apple blossom, she made a pact with herself to keep loving life whatever was thrown at her. She may have suffered yet more disappointment but she could still see beauty in the world and feel at peace.
Fancy winning a paperback copy? Here’s the rafflecopter – and the giveaway is open internationally:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Kate Frost is a writer and author with a MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University where she has also taught the lifewriting course to Creative Writing undergraduates. Alongside writing articles and short stories for magazines such as New Welsh Review, The London Magazine and QWF, Kate has worked in a bookshop, a cinema, as ground staff at Edgebaston Tennis Tournament and as a Supporting Artist in the films Vanity Fair, King Arthur and The Duchess.
Kate’s debut novel, The Butterfly Storm, was published in 2013 and featured on Amazon’s Movers and Shakers chart. Beneath the Apple Blossom is the first book in a series and Kate also plans to release the first in a time travel adventure trilogy for children by the end of 2016.
Kate lives in Bristol with her husband, her young son and their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and fits in writing and publishing books around looking after – and being amused by – an energetic toddler.
Follow Kate on Facebook, Twitter or Goodreads – you’ll also find her on Instagram and Google+.