Secrets and Tea at Rosie Lee’s by Jane Lacey-Crane
Welcome to Rosie Lee’s cafe in the heart of the East End – where there’s not an avocado, slice of sourdough or double-shot no-foam soy milk caramel latte on the menu!
Rosie-Lee’s owner Abby is a woman without a plan… and her beloved little cafe is a business with a serious lack of customers. The Rosie Lee’s fry-up is legendary, but cooked breakfasts alone – however perfectly sizzled the bacon – aren’t going to pay the bills.
Fast approaching forty and fighting a serious case of empty nest syndrome, Abby realises it’s not just her menu that needs a makeover. And when Jack Chance, her The One That Got Away, saunters through the cafe doors and back into her life things definitely look set to change…
Abby has always believed a cup of strong builders tea makes everything better, but Jack’s reappearance is a complication even the trusty sausage sarnie can’t resolve…
| Interview |
Born in London, Jane’s writing career began in cable TV, writing true crime documentaries. More recently, Jane has contributed to an anthology of short stories and written two weekly crime serials. When she’s not writing, Jane loves to read good books, binge watch TV boxsets and drink tea. And wine.
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What book truly inspired your life and why?
Jane Eyre was, and still is, one of the most inspirational books for me, both as a person and as a writer. I’ve always been inspired by the romance of the story but also by the idea of an ordinary girl overcoming the hurdles life throws in her path. The fact that I share a name with her might also have something to do with why this book had such an impact on me. As a writer, I am in awe of how Charlotte Bronte managed to convey the complicated feelings and frustrations of her lead characters. It’s a masterclass in building sexual tension without having them tearing each other’s clothes off!
How did you pick who you dedicated your book too?
That’s an easy one. My book is dedicated to my husband and my two children. When I was struggling to find the time to write, look after the family, and do a part-time job, my husband told me that I could give up working outside the home and concentrate on finishing my book. He took on the role of the main breadwinner and let me have the time I needed to write. It’s a luxury that most first time authors in my position don’t have and I will be forever grateful to him for doing that for me.
My two children are my favourite human beings in the whole world. If I was ever finding it hard to write, or doubting my abilities, they would sense it and I would often go to my desk to find little notes from them that said ‘Your book is going to be amazing’, ‘Keep going, we believe in you’ or my particular favorite ‘You are the best writer in the whole wide world!’ They might be a bit biased, but it kept me going!!
Did you do a lot of research for your book?
My book is a contemporary story, set in the areas of East London where I grew up, so I didn’t need to do much research. There are some scenes in the book that I needed some technical advice with to get right but luckily I have some very helpful friends and family that let me pick their brains in return for a mention in the acknowledgements at the end of the book!
What was your favourite read of 2017?
Ooh, that’s a hard one! I think probably it would have to be The Keeper of Lost Things. I enjoyed that book so much I read it in two days! The different interwoven stories featuring so many different characters was fantastic.
If you had to take three books on a desert island what would they be?
Jane Eyre, obviously! The first Discworld book, The Colour of Magic, by Terry Pratchett (these books stopped me from dying of interminable boredom at my first proper job!) and anything by Nora Roberts – the woman is a genius of romantic fiction!
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?
My journey to publication really began seriously when I joined the Romantic Novelists Association New Writer’s Scheme in January 2017. I had a manuscript that I thought was good enough to show someone but up until that point, I didn’t know who to show it to or how to get it in front of them. Joining the scheme gave me the opportunity to have my manuscript read and critiqued by a professional. Their comments helped me rewrite and shape the book into a manuscript that was fit to be sent out into the world.
I did plenty of research into who was publishing stories like mine and worked hard on my synopsis and cover letter. I made sure I sent each publisher exactly what they asked for – whether that was a two-page synopsis or one page, the first three chapters or the first 10,000 words. You have to get it right – each publisher or agent might ask for something different and you have to do them the courtesy of finding out what their requirements are and sticking to them!
I submitted the manuscript to agents – some asked to see more, others didn’t – but ultimately I didn’t have any luck with that route. I then decided to send my book to publishers that didn’t require you to have an agent. That resulted in quite a few requests to see the full manuscript, and eventually offers from TWO publishers! I couldn’t believe my luck – still can’t if the truth be told! – and I signed a 3-book contract with Aria Fiction at the end of October 2017.
Can you share with us a photo that tells a story?
This is a picture of my grandparent’s greengrocers shop and it was the inspiration for the locations that feature in my book. Although it isn’t a café, the little row of shops it used to sit in in the middle of was where I knew Rosie Lee’s had to go.
It’s also quite fitting since one of the characters in the book, the character of Flo, the 70-year-old whirlwind with the quick tongue and no-nonsense attitude, is totally based on my Nan, Betty. Sadly she’s no longer with us but I know she’d have been over the moon to have a character in a book based on her!
What would you like your readers to know before starting your book?
Just that I hope they enjoy spending time with my characters and that they enjoy reading the book as much as I enjoyed writing it!
Do you have any questions that you would like to ask your readers?
Only that if they enjoyed the book, that they share the love with all their family and friends! And me! Come and follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook – I’d love to hear from them.
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Thank you to Jane Lacey-Crane and Melanie at Aria Fiction for the opportunity to be on the blog tour.
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