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Meet Roland Moore

Roland Moore is an award-winning series creator and scriptwriter who works in a wide range of genres for film and television in the UK, America, and China. We’re so excited to welcome him to the HaperImpulse team and work together to bring his brilliant series (and personal favourite of ours) Land Girls to the page.

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1. Name

Roland Moore

2. Place and date of birth
Redhill, Surrey. 7th April 1974.

3. What was your first ever job?
I worked Saturdays in a supermarket on produce for a bit. It was great fun until the day I found put my hand in a banana box and found a live Tarantula. The spider ran away and hid in a crack in the warehouse. Worryingly we never found it. Now I try to avoid jobs that involve live Tarantulas.

4. Have you always wanted to be an author? If not, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
I’ve always wanted to write – and always written. Writing consumed all my spare time whenever it could. In fact, in my first ever interview – for a job in a pensions company – I was asked the standard question of “where do you see yourself in five years’ time?” to which I replied “Writing for TV”. It wasn’t the answer they wanted to hear. Unsurprisingly, I didn’t get the job!

5. What inspired you to start writing?
As a child, I happened to watch some re-runs of episodes of “The Twilight Zone” and I loved the idea of a short story set up so that it had a massive twist at the end. So I started writing my own Twilight Zone episodes as prose in an old accounts ledger book (I think it was all that I had to hand). My Nan – the avid reader – would read them, so I felt I had an audience for my work. From there, I started writing comics for my friends and eventually a full-length horror novel. And then more TV.

6.When did you realise your potential as a writer?
Showing my early stories to my Nan and getting her honest feedback about what worked and what didn’t was a massive step forward for me. I think your potential is something that grows and changes with each new piece of writing – and I view the whole process of writing as a learning experience, trying to improve as a story teller with each new project. Anyone who thinks they have nothing else to learn is misguided in my opinion.

7.What was the inspiration for your novel?
Land Girls was inspired by one image – a photograph showing two elderly ladies in their seventies trying to look over a high brick wall. One was standing on the other’s wheelchair to try to see. Beyond the wall were the rectory grounds where they had been billeted as Land Girls during the war – and they’d gone back years and years later, one final time, to see it.
It was this image showing both indomitable spirit and nostalgia that started me on the course of creating the TV series and now the novels.

8.What is the best advice anyone has given you about writing?
Don’t worry about making mistakes as you only have to show the writing to other people when you’re happy with it. If you believe that the process of writing a first draft is for your benefit only, then it will really take the pressure off.

9. Aside from writing, what is your favourite thing to do?
I love country walks, reading, cinema and theatre. I would watch films all the time if I could!

10.What are your top ten favourite books? 
Not all my favourites and not ten, because that’s an ever-changing list, but these ones have left an impression for one reason or another:
Things We Have In Common by Tasha Kavanagh. A creepy and twisting tale of obsession told by an unreliable narrator.
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. It’s a classic – obviously – what more can I add?
The Magic Cottage by James Herbert. One of the first books I read that had a genuine gasp-out-loud twist in it. Before this, I didn’t know that twists could be so effective in written form.
Misery by Stephen King. A beautifully tense two-hander and it’s about a writer too, which gives added interest.
Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding. I liked how this took the diary form and gave it a fresh twist for a new audience.
Till We Meet Again by Judith Krantz. The first time I’d read an epic saga novel – and it covered a huge time period in three women’s lives so it was interesting to see how that all developed and played out.
Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut. I love how this book sets up two stories and interweaves them, until you’re desperate for the characters to meet – and then the meeting is so cursory and thrown away so brilliantly.

11. If you could ride off into the sunset with a fictional character, who would you choose and why?
This isn’t going to cause any problems at home (!) I think Becky Sharp from Vanity Fair would keep me on my toes.

 

The Boy and the Bridesmaid by Katey Lovell

It’s a nice day for a white wedding…at least, it will be on Thursday when the final Meet Cute book The Boy and the Bridesmaid starts landing on ereaders.

I’ve always been a sucker for a wedding.  There’s something about seeing two people committing to each other in front of their loved ones that touches my romantic heart.  In all honesty, I’m just as easily swayed by fictional weddings, which is why my guest post today is all about my favourite weddings in books, film and television.

jason-donovan-kylie-minogueLike many people my age, one of the first television weddings that had me swooning was Scott and Charlene’s.  I loved everything about their big day, from the bride’s over-the-top lacy dress to the groom’s mullet and especially ‘Suddenly’, the Angry Anderson song which captured the heart of everyone watching.  I had it on a mix tape and listened to it on my Walkman over and over!

So many of my favourite romance books are either out-and-out wedding themes (Always the Bridesmaid by Lindsey Kelk and Erin Lawless’ new Bridesmaids series, to name but two) or have a wedding in them somewhere so it’s been impossibly hard to pick just one.  However, I’ve decided to plump for Christmas Wedding at the Gingerbread Café by Rebecca Raisin because Lil and Damon were the loveliest couple and I was willing them on as they planned their big day.  It was a fabulous end to the trilogy and a perfect wedding-themed read.

I’ve also got to mention the wedding scene in Love Actually, when Peter and Juliet are startled by the surprise rendition of ‘All You Need is Love’.  It’s so beautifully romantic and the look of absolute joy on their faces can’t help but make me smile (and cry).  It was also a bit of an inspiration for me when writing The Boy and the Bridesmaid, as this final short story brings all the other Meet Cute couples together, much like in Love Actually where it’s revealed how everyone is interlinked.

Love-Actually

I’m excited to hear how readers react to the first Meet Cute wedding – get your hats ready!

The Boy and the Bridesmaid is released on Thursday and available to preorder now.

Lemon & Lime Ginger Lovely and Dorset Apple Cake from the Hive Beach Cafe, Dorset

The Comfort Food Cafe in Debbie Johnson’s new summer romance is entirely fictional – but we would love to go there! As well as the fab location and delicious food, Debbie wanted to create a place where people felt safe and valued and content. A place where everybody knows your name, just like they used to in Cheers!

And while Cherie’s cafe might be made up, the Hive Beach Cafe in Dorset is gorgeously real. It overlooks the beautiful beach at Burton Bradstock, one of the prettiest places on the Jurassic Coast, and has stunning views out across Lyme Bay.

Presentation1

Its location is idyllic, and so is its food. The cafe specialises in fresh fish and seafood, which is sourced locally using sustainable methods, and cooked simply and well. The cafe also has a reputation for friendly and welcoming service, and its creative team in the kitchen.

Now in their 25th year, they’ve produced two cookery books, and have also kindly agreed to share a few of their recipes here with us as well. These are taken from the Hive Beach Cafe Family Cookbook (£16.99, Bristlebird Books). If these tingle your tastebuds, you can find out more at http://www.hivebeachcafe.co.uk/, or follow them on Twitter @HiveBeachCafe.

Lemon and Lime Ginger Lovely

image

Serves 8-10

This is an impressive, refreshing dessert that is super-quick to make. The sharpness of the citrus fruit offsets perfectly the rich combination of double cream and condensed milk. Crushed ginger biscuits make a delicious spicy-sweet base. Don’t forget to get the kids involved in crushing them. Wrap them in a tea-towel and bash them with a rolling pin. They’ll have never had so much fun in the kitchen.

Ingredients

250g ginger biscuits, crushed

115g melted butter

300ml double cream

170g condensed milk

3 lemons, juiced

2 limes, juiced

Combine the ginger biscuits with the melted butter in a bowl and mix. Spoon half of the biscuit mixture into serving glasses and set aside.

Whisk the double cream until it has the consistency of custard. Pour in the condensed milk and whisk again, slowly adding the lemon and lime juice until the mixture if thick and creamy.

Spoon the mixture into the serving glasses and scatter the remaining ginger biscuits over the top. Chill in the fridge for an hour or so until you are ready to serve.

 

Dorset Apple Cake

cake

Serves 4

There is no definitive recipe for Dorset Apple Cake. It’s one of those dishes that provokes fierce arguments between villages throughout the county, as everyone seems to believe that their way is the only way. The constant in all, of course, is wonderful local apples, baked with butter and sugar to produce a deliciously sticky cake that goes perfectly with Dorset clotted cream. Cut yours into generous slices before serving and make a big pot of tea to sit alongside it on the table.

Ingredients

285g softened butter, plus extra for greasing

6 Bramley apples, peeled, cored and chopped into 1cm pieces

1 lemon, juiced

345g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling

2 tsp cinnamon

4 large eggs

450g self-raising flour

Milk

2tbsp Demerara sugar

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F

Take a deep, 30cm cake tin and grease the inside with butter. Line with greaseproof paper and set aside.

Place the apple pieces in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice. Set aside.

Cream the butter, cinnamon and caster sugar together in a bowl with an electric whisk until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at time, and whisk in a little of the flour after each egg to keep the mixture smooth. Pour in a little milk to thin it if the consistency becomes too thick.

Drain the apple pieces and stir them into the mixture.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin, gently level the top and sprinkle with the Demerara sugar.

Bake the cake in the oven for one hour or until it has risen and browned on the top (if the cake is getting too brown, you can cover it with a sheet of greaseproof paper after 45 minutes or so). The cake is cooked when you insert a skewer into the middle and it comes out clean.

Not got your copy of Debbie’s book yet? Order here: http://bit.ly/1SgJUhF

Photo credits: colin@vertiworks

Pan-fried Scallops with Truffle Mash & Crispy Pancetta from the Hive Beach Cafe, Dorset

The Comfort Food Cafe in Debbie Johnson’s new summer romance is entirely fictional – but we would love to go there! As well as the fab location and delicious food, Debbie wanted to create a place where people felt safe and valued and content. A place where everybody knows your name, just like they used to in Cheers!

And while Cherie’s cafe might be made up, the Hive Beach Cafe in Dorset is gorgeously real. It overlooks the beautiful beach at Burton Bradstock, one of the prettiest places on the Jurassic Coast, and has stunning views out across Lyme Bay.

Presentation1

Its location is idyllic, and so is its food. The cafe specialises in fresh fish and seafood, which is sourced locally using sustainable methods, and cooked simply and well. The cafe also has a reputation for friendly and welcoming service, and its creative team in the kitchen.

Now in their 25th year, they’ve produced two cookery books, and have also kindly agreed to share a few of their recipes here with us as well. These are taken from the Hive Beach Cafe Family Cookbook (£16.99, Bristlebird Books). If these tingle your tastebuds, you can find out more at http://www.hivebeachcafe.co.uk/, or follow them on Twitter @HiveBeachCafe.

Pan-fried Scallops with Truffle Mash & Crispy Pancetta

truffle mash

Serves 4

Wholesome and hearty, with more than a hint of luxury provided by the dash of truffle oil in the mashed potato, this dish makes a fulsome family feast. The saltiness of the pancetta is the perfect contrast to the delicacy of the scallops. Enjoy.

Ingredients

4 large potatoes, peeled

8 slices pancetta

1 clove garlic, crushed

200g butter

Truffle oil

Double cream

Olive oil

16 scallops

½ lemon, juiced

Handful wild rocket

Boil the potatoes until soft then drain. Leave for a couple of minutes then mash until light and fluffy. Set aside in a warm place.

Preheat a hot grill.

Lay the pancetta slices out on a tray and grill until crisp. Set aside in a warm place.

Combine the garlic with 150g butter and set aside.

Preheat two heavy-bottomed frying pans – one of which needs to be very hot. Put the mashed potato into the cooler pan with a knob of butter, a drizzle of truffle oil and a splash of double cream. Keep stirring the mash until it’s piping-hot, then turn the heat right down and season to taste.

Oil and season the scallops, then place them into the other hot frying pan. Arrange them in a clockwise direction, remembering your starting point. After around 90 seconds, turn the scallops over in the same order.

Add the garlic butter and the lemon juice to the scallops pan. Remove the pan from the heat as soon as the butter has melted.

Place the truffle mash in a large serving bowl, arrange the scallops on top and finish with wild rocket and the pancetta slices. Drizzle over the pan juices and serve immediately.

Not got your copy of Debbie’s book yet? Order here: http://bit.ly/1SgJUhF

Photo credits: colin@vertiworks

Down Dorset Way by Debbie Johnson & Visit Dorset

I must admit that when I booked our first holiday in Dorset, I actually secretly wanted to go to Cornwall, one of my favourite places on earth.

But with three kids and two dogs in the car, and the prospect of a lengthy drive from Liverpool, it seemed like a good compromise – a similar vibe, but with less time swearing on the motorway.

We headed off to our cottages near the village of Maiden Newton half expecting it to be a poor man’s Poldark country.

We couldn’t have been more wrong. Instead, we found a rich and varied county full of rolling hills, stunning countryside and of course a world-renowned coastline. We found pretty villages and wonderful pubs and gorgeous food. We found welcoming people, friendly faces, and heaven on earth for both the children and the dogs.

This is the land of Thomas Hardy and Tess of the d’Urbervilles; it’s Far from the Madding Crowd and it’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman and it’s Broadchurch. It’s absolutely bloody gorgeous, and I deny anybody looking down at Durdle Door in the morning not to fall in love with it.

We stay at Lancombe Country Cottages, a dog-friendly, family-friendly haven set between coast and country. Like Cherie’s properties at the Rockery, they’re wonderfully located – but unlike the Rockery, they are beautifully decorated inside as well!

Just a short drive away from there, you can find the resorts of Weymouth and Poole; Lyme Regis and West Bay, the Jurassic Coast and areas of outstanding natural beauty. Like Laura and her family, we never want to leave – but real life isn’t fiction, so we always have to!

It’s been wonderful creating a whole Dorset world for my characters to inhabit, and I hope you have enjoyed sharing their stories.

Sadly, the Comfort Food Cafe is entirely fictional – but the kind of beautiful view from its clifftop location are not. If you’re tempted to go and see for yourself, my friends at Visit Dorset have provided us with their list of the area’s Top Ten Views to Fall in Love With – and seeing is believing! 

1) Gold Hill, Shaftesbury – this steep cobbled street is famous for its picturesque appearance; the view looking down from the top of the street has been described as “one of the most romantic sights in England” and was made famous in the 1970s Hovis advert.

Gold_Hill,_Shaftsbury,_Dorset,_England

2) Hengistbury Head – this headland south-east of Christchurch was an important trading port even from the Iron Age but is now a Nature Reserve; stand on top of the plateau and you will see views of Christchurch Harbour, Mudeford, Isle of Wight and Bournemouth beach

hengistbury-head

3) Hambledon Hill – standing on top of this prehistoric hillfort situated near Blandford Forum gives glorious views across the Blackmore Vale. Nearby Fontmell Down offers similarly spectacular views.

Hambledon Hill, Dorset, UK, in late afternoon sunlight. Image shot 1997. Exact date unknown.

4) Ballard Down – One of Dorset’s most attractive hills, Ballard Down offers fantastic views of the Dorset heaths, Poole Harbour and Old Harry Rocks.


5) Chesil Beach view near Abbotsbury – the coastal road from from Bridport to Abbotsbury (the B3157) offers wonderful views along the Jurassic Coast and just before you arrive in the picturesque village of Abbotsbury, Chesil Beach stretches before you with views to Portland.

 

6) Golden Cap –this is the highest point along the south coast of England and on a clear day, you can see to Dartmoor in Devon.

GOLDEN CAP

7) Hardy’s Monument, Portesham – erected in 1844, a monument to Sir Thomas Masterman Hardy who captained Nelson’s ship HMS Victory at the battle of Trafalgar and was born in Dorset; views across both heathland and the coast.

DSCF2755-Hardy-Monument

8) Swyre Head – the highest spot in the Purbeck hills near Swanage; the hill commands extensive views from the Isle of Wight to Portland.

9) Pilsdon Pen – Pilsdon Pen is an Iron Age Hillfort on the highest hill in Dorset and is only 30 metres short of a mountain! The hill offers sweeping views across the hedged landscape of the Marshwood Vale and is a perfect spot for a picnic.

You can find out more at www.visit-dorset.com, or connect with them via twitter @dorsettourism, https://www.facebook.com/VisitDorset/, or https://www.instagram.com/visitdorsetofficial/

Not got your copy of Debbie’s book yet? Order here: http://bit.ly/1SgJUhF

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