Monday, 11 November 2013

Doubting Abbey - Guest post Samantha Tonge

As Samantha was such a delightful guest on my blog in September (anyone who read my article 'Be My Guest' in Writing Magazine this month will know how important this is), that I decided that she deserved to be invited back to tell us about her new book Doubting Abbey which was published yesterday by Carina UK as an e-book.
Firstly, welcome back to my blog, Sam. You must be a sucker for punishment after the burnt flapjacks on your last visit. Thought I'd play safe and buy in this time... digestive?

Aw, I was looking forward to coming back and I feel at home with burnt fayre – reminds me of my own cooking!

That's very kind of you to say. Anyway, it's very exciting news that your novel Doubting Abbey was published yesterday (I love the title by the way). Can you tell me a little about it?

Thank you! Yes, the story revolves around pizza waitress Gemma, who must pass herself off as best mate, posh Abbey, for two weeks, in order to win a reality show and save run-down Applebridge Hall. It is a light read with heart, that also demonstrates the struggle aristocratic families face in maintaining their ancestral homes.

Gemma Goodwin is the heroine of your novel. How would you describe her in three words?

Impulsive, loyal, fun

I'm glad you didn't describe her as 'feisty', Sam - I think the term is becoming rather over used, don't you? I know you are a fan of Downton Abbey. What are the links between the drama and your novel?

It fascinated me how the public became obsessed with a series set in a time so different to ours, where people had to deal with their problems within very conservative restraints. Today we tend to wear our hearts on our sleeves and society is a lot more liberal. I asked myself how a thoroughly modern gal would cope in such an aristocratic setting.

Who do you think would be Gemma's favourite Downton character?

Ooh, good question, Wendy – I think Carson. If she could have got him on-side, he would be a marvellous confidante and father-figure. And I think she would loosen him up a bit and make him chuckle.

Whenever I like a character, they seem to kill them off, Sam! How long did it take to write?

Not long – about five to six months. But I did a large chunk of it in just 6 weeks - my own kind of Nanowrimo!

Wow! Impressive! I believe your novel is e-first. What made you decide to go with a digital deal?

I was just thrilled to be offered a deal by such a big romance publisher, e-first or not. Carina UK is part of the Harlequin house where, I feel, long-term – with luck on my side – there could be the potential to develop my career as a romance writer.

Good luck with that - I've no doubt you'll succeed. Do have a preference yourself for e-readers of paper books? I have to admit to being a paperback girl myself.

I’ve only had a Kindle for a few months and absolutely love it! Holding it in one hand and a coffee in the other, whilst reading, is perfect!

I know there is a reality show in the book. Do you like reality shows yourself and do you have any favourites?

I love the jungle one, ‘I’m a Celebrity’, particularly the eating challenge – which I would be awful at!

A witchetty bug or two never hurt anyone. What are you plans for the future now, Sam? Another novel or are you going to stick with the short stories?

I am thinking about a sequel to Doubting Abbey, but I hope to get back to writing short stories again, soon. Not only do I love writing for the People’s Friend, the reality is I still have to build myself as an author, and selling short stories is the – very enjoyable – way I earn my income.

Thanks for having me Wendy – and, um, sorry, I seem to have eaten all the digestives!

No problem. Thanks for popping over to my blog again, Sam, and good luck with the book.

Here is a little introduction to Doubting Abbey to whet your appetites.

Swapping downstairs for upstairs… How hard can it be!?

Look up the phrase ordinary girl and you’ll see a picture of me, Gemma Goodwin – I only look half-decent after applying the entire contents of my make-up bag, and my dating track-record includes a man who treated me to dinner…at a kebab shop. No joke! 

The only extraordinary thing about me is that I look EXACTLY like my BFF, Abbey Croxley. Oh, and that for reasons I can’t explain, I’ve agreed to swap identities and pretend be her to star in the TV show about her aristocratic family’s country estate, Million Dollar Mansion. 

So now it’s not just my tan I’m faking – it’s Kate Middleton style demure hemlines and lady-like manners too. And amongst the hundreds of fusty etiquette rules I’m trying to cram into my head, there are two I really must remember; 1) No-one can ever find out that I’m just Gemma, who’d be more at home in the servants quarters. And 2) There can be absolutely no flirting with Abbey’s dishy but buttoned-up cousin, Lord Edward.

Aaargh, this is going to be harder than I thought…

You can buy Doubting Abbey here
Samantha's lovely blog can be found here


  1. Thanks very much for having me back Wendy - i read your article in Writing Magazine and it is brill!

    1. You are always very welcome here on my blog, Sam and thanks for the valuable contributions to my article.

  2. Great to read more about Sam and Doubting Abbey :-) Thanks Wendy and Sam! Very disappointed there are no digestives left though ;-) x

    1. I bought an extra large pack but you know what Sam's like, Teresa.

  3. I'm too late for biscuits already?!
    Lots of luck with the book Samantha, it sounds great fun. I'm looking forward to the return of I'm a Celebrity this month - and I'd be rubbish at the eating tasks too!

    1. Funny - I had lots of burnt flapjacks left last time Sam was here. Can't understand it myself. Thanks for popping by, Karen.

  4. Sounds great, Samantha - and definitely one for my TBR list!

    1. Your list is growing by the day, Rosemary - you'll have to take a day off from writing to read them all!

  5. Thanks so much for the good wishes Teresa, Karen and Rosemary - and sorry about the digestives!

    Ooh yes, i am looking forward to i'm a celeb - wonder who the slebs will be this year?

  6. I hadn't realised you'd written it in such a short time, Sam. As Wendy says, that's very impressive.

    1. I think writing a novel at all is impressive, Patsy!

  7. My TBR list is so now, I now have a book full, but this is definitely going to the go to the top of the list.

    1. It's because there are so many good books to read out there, isn't it.

  8. That was meant to say my TBR list is so long now!

  9. Thanks Patsy! - although i'm not sure i'd do it again, i was burnt out afterwards!

    Aw, wannabe a writer - i appreciate that, thanks so much :)

  10. Thank you Wendy and Sam for a lovely, lighthearted interview. Doubting Abbey is definitely on my 'to read' list. Rx

  11. Thanks so much, Rena, appreciate that! x