Happy Thursday!!!! I hope you are all having a good week! I haven’t done a Q&A for a little while so I am super excited to be joined by the lovely Holly Hepburn today!
Hi Holly, can you tell us a little about you?
I’m Holly Hepburn and I write stories about perfect village pubs, glorious Art Deco cinemas on the Cornish coast, and hidden food courts tucked away behind the hustle and bustle of Chester’s famous Rows. My books often focus on food, which is no coincidence as I love to eat and take my research very seriously – cocktails crop up a lot too!
Can you tell us about Last Orders at the Star and Sixpence?
Last Orders at the Star and Sixpence is a sequel to A Year at the Star and Sixpence and follows the story of Sam and Nessie Chapman as they move into their second year as the owners of a sixteenth-century Cotswolds pub. There’s laughter, love and loss ahead, as well as several new arrivals in the village of Little Monkham, including delicious new chef, Gabe Santiago. But not everyone has the sisters’ best interests at heart and, when tragedy strikes, Sam and Nessie have to face up to some painful truths. Can they find a way to be the inseparable team they’ve always been, or will it be last orders at the Star and Sixpence?
Can you tell us about the characters in this book?
All the regulars from the first Star and Sixpence story are here, including frosty Franny, irrepressible Ruby and the gorgeous Nick Borrowdale (of smash-hit TV show Smugglers’ Inn fame). Sam and Nessie have the toughest times in this book – the bonds of sisterhood are tested almost to the point of destruction. But like many strong women, their troubles eventually lend them both courage and power and I think they really shine as a result. Nessie’s boyfriend, the blacksmith Owen Rhys, also has a struggle to face up to and it was really important to me that he react to that in a realistic way – I think the moment when he admits the truth of his feelings to Nessie is really poignant. And even though Sam’s old flame, Joss, isn’t part of her life any more, he’s still very much in her thoughts; she might think she wants Gabe Santiago but Joss isn’t giving up without a fight…
What was the hardest part of writing this book?
Nessie’s storyline in the first half of the book was based on personal experience and I found that hard to write as a result. But it was very much worth the difficulty; there’s a moment that follows between Nessie and Luke (Owen’s son) that I absolutely love.
What are your 3 desert island books?
Good Omens, by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett – I can quote so much of this book!
The Memory Book, by Rowan Coleman – even though it broke my heart.
Beauty, by Robin McKinley – the most beautiful retelling of Beauty and the Beast; I’ve adored it since I was fourteen years old.
What is your favourite place to read?
This depends a little bit on the weather – if the sun is shining, I love reading on a sun lounger in the garden. But on rainy days, I like to be snuggled up somewhere I can hear the rain pattering against the window, with lots of cushions, a warm blanket and a mug of steaming hot chocolate – if you really forced me to choose, that’s probably what I’d pick.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Uh, go to the pub for cocktails? This is actually true; I’m likely to be found anywhere with live music – I’ve got a real love for sitting in a bar with a drink in my hand, listening to someone sing. Just as long as it’s not old Henry Fitzwilliam on the karaoke machine…
You have a free flight and accommodation to anywhere in the world where would you go?
I’m going to cheat and pick two – for total heavenly relaxation, I’d go to the Maldives and bask on the beautiful beaches for as long as they’d let me. And for fun, I’d head to New York, which is up there with London, Paris and Rome as my favourite cities. There’s just something about NYC – the bars are amazing, the people are great and the shopping is to die for. It’s definitely been too long since I visited.
What is your favourite season?
Ooh, this is a tough one! I love summer – there’s nothing better than sitting in a pub garden in the sun, sipping a perfectly chilled Pimm’s. But I love autumn too – when the evenings are just that tiny bit cooler, the leaves are turning and there’s a hint of smoke in the air; that’s when I reach for a warming glass of Merlot and take up residence in front of the fireplace. And winter is always special – Christmas really is the best time to hang out in your favourite pub, especially if there’s mistletoe and mulled cider on the menu. Then there’s spring, when I love nothing more than a gin and tonic on plenty of ice, with a fat wedge of lime; oh, who am I kidding? I drink gin all year round and I think we’ve established that I don’t actually have a favourite season – I love them all!
You have a day off – no children/work/responsibilities…what do you do?
I’d switch my phone off and head to the coast; watch the waves roll in, walk along the shore, soak up some sun and find somewhere secluded for lunch. Then, in the evening, I’d go for dinner and drinks, followed by some fantastic live music that I can’t resist dancing to. That’s pretty much my perfect day!
Thank you, Holly, for joining me. You can check out a little bit more about Holly’s new book, Last Orders at the Star and Sixpence below. Also, look out for my review later today!Last Orders at the Star and Sixpence by Holly Hepburn
Also by this author: Snowdrops at the Star and Sixpence, Valentine's Day at the Star and Sixpence, Summer at the Star and Sixpence, Autumn at the Star and Sixpence
Published by Simon & Schuster UK on 8th August 2019
The brand new novel from Holly Hepburn, author of A Year at the Star and Sixpence, perfect for all fans of Cathy Bramley and Jenny Colgan.
Roaring fires, cosy nooks and friendly locals, welcome back to the perfect village pub…
It’s September and the new season is bringing change to the village of Little Monkham. Nessie has moved in with the lovely Owen and his son Luke, leaving her sister Sam next door in their renovated pub, the Star and Sixpence. But is all change for the good? Sam and Joss have gone their separate ways and he’s left Little Monkham for good.
New chef Gabriel Santiago is causing a flutter among the women of the village but Sam is determined not to make the same mistake again and keeps things strictly business between them. But an inconvenient attraction to Gabe is the least of Sam’s worries when an unexpected visitor arrives at the Star and Sixpence. Who is Laurie Marsh and what does he want from the sisters?
If you loved A Year at the Star and Sixpence, you will adore Last Orders at the Star and Sixpence! It is like being reunited with old friends (in a pub!)