#Guestpost: @ZaraStoneley, author of Summer with the Country Village Vet @HarperCollinsUK

By | June 2, 2017

It’s a real pleasure to welcome Zara Stoneley as my guest today, with Summer with the Country Village Vet, the first in a new series, just published by HarperCollins. This book looks thoroughly gorgeous…

When Lucy Jacobs is made redundant from her inner-city teaching job she fears her career is over. Teaching is all Lucy knows and she’s determined to get back in the classroom as fast as she can.

Except the only job on offer is at an idyllic village school in the middle of nowhere – Lucy’s idea of hell. Where are the disadvantaged kids who need saving? Where is the challenge?

But as Lucy finds herself welcomed into the warm-hearted community of Langtry Meadows, she begins to realise new challenges await – like frogs in the classroom, a rather difficult donkey, and a very brooding local vet…

Local boy Charlie Davenport has his own issues about living in the close-knit village of Langtry Meadows. His private life is already fuel for the well-meaning gossips and the very last thing he needs is to get close to the new school teacher…no matter how lovely she is.

But as summer days drift away Langtry Meadows weaves its magic, Charlie and Lucy both get the chance to turn over a new leaf and start anew…maybe with each other?

A fun, romantic story to make you smile and long for your own country escape.

Definitely one I’ll be catching up with later… let me hand over to Zara…

Thank you so much Anne for allowing me to visit your wonderful blog.

I pondered long and hard trying to decide what to chat about today, and then realised it was obvious. All my Tippermere books feature animals, and I’ve just released the first book in a series about a vet, so why not talk a little about why pets have been such an influence on my life and my writing?

I’m one of those people who can’t imagine life without a pet. ‘But dogs are such a tie, so much work’ somebody said to me recently. Which isn’t quite how I see them!

In the foreword of Summer with the Country Village Vet (which features a primary school teacher, and a vet), I mention the quote ‘Never work with children or animals’ by W. C Fields, which seemed very appropriate! But as I go on to say, they enrich our lives and touch our hearts. Young children and animals don’t judge; they give unconditional love, they forgive, teach respect, acceptance, and loyalty. They look to us to do the right thing, to take care of them – and can sometimes give us optimism, and a reason to keep going.

In my life, both have given me hope – and a few tears of laughter and sadness along the way as well. Which is why I wouldn’t want a life without either (despite the grey hairs!).

My first dog was a Shetland Sheepdog, called Timmy, and he arrived on my 6th birthday. He wasn’t an impulse buy, my parents had thought long and hard, and I’d pestered long and hard! But as I grew up, he really was my best friend. I think every teenager should have a dog to talk to. Losing him was hard, but watching him through all the stages of his life was something that taught me a lot.

As a student I had a cat (a four week old abandoned kitten), then after buying my own home I got two dogs, plus added more cats into the mix! My Golden Retriever was a real gem, and the labs and retrievers that find their way into my stories are a tribute to her, and my Samoyed was the prettiest, but daftest dog I’ve ever owned.

After losing my wonderful, spirited little Jack Russell terrier to leukaemia when she was only 5 years old I’ve had several dog-less years, but am beginning to feel that now is the right time to look for another canine companion. Darcy was a big part of my life, my son grew up with her, she used to come to the farm and help out(!) with the horses, and was always with me wherever I went – and that is why in the Tippermere books, Rory just had to have a JRT!

Most of my author friends have a cat or dog by their feet (or on the keyboard) as they work. They’re company, the purrs and cuddles take away some of the stress, they listen to every word without judgement, and if they’re anything like my cat they make you laugh. I could go on for hours about the many animals that I’ve been lucky enough to share time with – but I’ll try not to! I’ve had mice, hamsters, guinea-pigs, chickens, chinchillas, cats, dogs, and horses. They’ve all left a mark, and so how could I not write about them? They’re all in there, whether it’s a cameo role, or something bigger. And yes, I’ve owned a flighty chestnut horse, and there’s more than a smattering of real life in the story of Black Gold (you’ll understand if you’ve read the Tippermere books).

A tie? A lot of work? Yes, pets are a responsibility, but would I be without them? No. If I have the option, never. Some are devoted, some can find it hard to return love, some want cuddles, some want space, but whatever you give them, they all return with added interest.

In Summer with the Country Village Vet I’m branching out – there’s a goose and a pig for starters! I hope you enjoy reading about them as much as I enjoyed the writing.

I’ll look forward to it Zara – wishing you every success with this one, and thank you for such a lovely post…

About the author

Zara Stoneley was born in a small village in Staffordshire and wanted to be James Herriot when she grew up. After completing an IT degree, working as a consultant, running a dog grooming business, teaching, and working at a veterinary practice she decided she had more than enough material to write several books even if she would never qualify as a vet!

 She lives in Cheshire with her family and a very bossy cat, and loves spending time in sunny Barcelona.

Zara is currently writing a new series, the first book Summer with the Country Village Vet, published by HarperCollins is available now – discover a hot vet and the most gorgeous country village ever!

You can find out more about Zara on her website. She also spends far too much time on social media – Twitter and Facebook. You can follow her travels in Barcelona and Cheshire on Instagram, and explore the inspiration behind her books on Pinterest.