Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Blog Tour: Saving Saffron Sweeting (Pauline Wiles)

Quarter finalist, 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award
Grace Palmer's British friends all think she's living the American Dream. Buther design business is floundering and when she discovers her husbandis cheating with her best client, she panics and flees home to England.
The tranquil village of Saffron Sweeting appears to be a goodplace for Grace to lick her wounds, but the community is battling itsown changes. Reluctantly, Grace finds herself helping her new neighboursas they struggle to adjust and save their businesses. However, noteveryone has the same opinion on what's good for the village. Thecharismatic new man in her life may have one speculative eye on Grace, but the other is firmly on profit. How will she navigate the tricky pathbetween her home and her happiness?

With gentle humour and generous helpings of British tea and cake, Saving Saffron Sweeting explores one woman’s need to define herself through her career and community, before she can figure out who should be by her side.

Kindle Edition

Published April 2013

British by birth, Pauline Wiles moved to California eight years ago and, apart from a yearning for afternoon tea and historic homes, has never looked back. Her work has been published by House of Fifty, Open Exchange and Alfie Dog Fiction. Saving Saffron Sweeting is her first novel.

Connect with Pauline!

3 Life Lessons Writing Has Taught Me ~ Pauline Wiles

When I set out to write my first novel, I fully expected to have heaps to learn about the worlds of writing and publishing. What I didn’t realize was that I would learn many other lessons, applicable to life in general. It turns out, though, that getting 80,000 good-quality words in the right order and into the hands of readers has far wider implications. 

Here are three great life lessons which crept in while I was busy writing:

1. Get out of your own way
This mantra, from February’s San Francisco Writers Conference, truly resonates with me. Whatever it is you want in life, whether it’s to publish a book or climb Everest, you are more able than you realize to make that happen. We live in an age where technology is a great equalizer: an unknown person with few resources can make significant progress on a big dream. Information is easier and cheaper to access, while social media brings the world closer than ever before. The likelihood is, the biggest obstacle in your path is you.

2. More people are on your side than you think
Most dreams are a little daunting. But whether you want to backpack around China or bake the world’s biggest cupcake, there are more people who want to cheer your success, than sneer when you fail. Yes, there will be nay-sayers, but if you’re serious about your goal and ask for help in a thoughtful, genuine way, you’ll be amazed at who will give you a hand. I’ve been delighted, for example, by the friendliness of (most) book reviewers. Meanwhile, in planning my book launch party, I’ve been boosted by the encouraging messages which even casual acquaintances have sent.

3. Plan ahead, but be flexible
I’m an over-organized neat-freak who considers it a capital crime to forget a friend’s birthday. As you might guess, I did a considerable amount of planning and outlining for the story. Yet I was surprised several times while writing, as plot twists and character developments jumped off my keyboard. While some of these necessitated head-scratching and rewriting, Saving Saffron Sweeting is stronger because of the mid-course changes I adopted. So, by all means, make your plan, but don’t shake your head when serendipity asks you to dance.

1. What gave you the inspiration to write this book?

Firstly, I’ve been fascinated for a while about how people’s actions after infidelity don’t always match what they assumed they would do. Most people (men and women) claim that if their partner cheats, the relationship is immediately over. But that’s not always the choice they make, when actually faced with an affair. I felt that was a theme worth exploring. 

Secondly, I love living in California but miss England too. I wanted to set my novel there so I could write about all those fun British quirks (and baking) which make the country distinctive.

2. Who is your favorite character in the book?

Probably Amelia, the sharp and sassy real estate agent who has been through divorce, had a brush with alcoholism, but has bounced back better than ever. She flaunts her curves, has great shoes and doesn’t take life too seriously.

3. Which came first, the title or the novel?

I was a long way through the book before I settled on a title. I had a long list of possibilities (some really cheesy) but in the end, including the village name seemed natural. And of course, the ‘saving’ in the story applies to more than just the village.

4. What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?

One of the most fun scenes to write was the description of the Halloween celebration in the village, which is the first time the community starts to work together. I also had a wonderful time getting Grace into bed with her new man, with a steamy but restrained description that I hope readers appreciate. But my favorite scene might be the one in Hyde Park, London, where Grace meets her husband for the first time since leaving him. It’s full of mixed emotions, love and pain.

5. Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?

I’m constantly learning and improving my writing technique: there are so many things I would do differently now than when I began. So, I think the most important lesson is to just keep going: otherwise, I would have sunk into endless re-writes and the book would never have been finished. 

6. What do you like most about the cover of the book?

I’m totally smitten with the spaniel. I’d adopt him tomorrow if he came scratching at my door.

7. What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2013?

I recently had the pleasure of hearing Ellen Sussman speak at a Writers’ Conference. I’ll definitely be picking up her new novel, The Paradise Guest House. And if the rumors of a 2013 release are true, I won’t be able to resist poking my nose into the next installment of Bridget Jones.

8. What was your favorite book in 2012?

I don’t read a huge amount of historical fiction, but I was totally swept away by eighteenth-century Russia in Deborah Dean’s The Mirrored World. Her writing was elegant but easy to read, with a can’t-put-down mix of shock and sadness.

9. What’s up next for you?

I’m outlining my second novel, and trying to decide whether the action takes place in south-west London, where I used to live, or in the fictional setting of Saffron Sweeting. I think Saffron Sweeting might win the day!

10. Is there anything that you would like to add?

Thanks so much for taking time to read the book, and for hosting me on your blog.

‘I’m not sleeping with her. It was just one time. One stupid bloody time. I’m so sorry.’

‘I don’t believe you. You knew about that goddamn purple wall.’ I was looking around wildly, seeking my escape route. I didn’t want to be in the same room with him.

‘All right, so I happened to see her bedroom! That doesn’t mean anything.’

‘No, it means everything.’ I was sobbing now. ‘It means I’ll never trust you again.’

I wish I’d had the panache to storm out of our apartment in an expensive cloud of Chanel perfume. I wish I’d owned a Louis Vuitton bag to grab on my way to check into a luxury hotel, where I’d instigate a passionate revenge fling with a nineteen-year-old bellboy. Unfortunately, I clambered off the sofa with pins and needles in my legs and tripped over my blankie instead. Then I trailed soggy tissues across the floor and locked myself in the bathroom, where my only company was a dog-eared copy of National Geographic.

I had followed my British husband – and his job – from London to California, but my own attempt at the American dream had flopped. I’d been working crazily, had failed to see my marriage falling apart, and felt like a total fool.

I certainly couldn’t afford to kick James out and stay in our apartment on my own. My so-called business was barely breathing. I had no idea how many months or years of scraping by might be ahead of me, if I attempted to build a list of design clients who weren’t going to thank me by stealing my husband. Did I have the energy to move out, find a job, and rebuild my life in the fast-moving world of Silicon Valley? What the heck was I doing in this country, anyway? All I wanted was to crawl under the bed covers and hide, preferably with a packet of imported Cadbury’s biscuits.

In the small, mocking hours of the next morning, I found myself unearthing a suitcase from the closet. With safety, seclusion and comfort food as my primary motives, I booked a flight home to England.


Buy the Book!

Amazon book purchase: http://amzn.to/12hYZTQ

Tour Schedule

April 22- Chick Lit Plus – Review

April 23- Curling Up with a Good Book – Guest Post, Q&A & Excerpt

April 24 – The 21st Century Housewife – Review & Q&A

April 26 – Storm Goddess Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt

April 29- Chick Lit Chit Chat – Review & Excerpt

April 30 – Samantha March – Q&A & Excerpt

May 1 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt

May 2 – Book Reviews by Dee – Excerpt

May 3 – Casa de Berry – Review, Guest Post, Q&A & Excerpt

May 6 – Karma For Life- Review

May 6 – Lavender & Camomile Press – Review & Excerpt


  1. Thanks so much for having me as a guest here today, Beth!

  2. Thanks for being in the tour!

  3. Awesome guest post & interview. Not to mention a really great excerpt.

    1. Thanks, Shane! That's a favorite passage of mine and because it's so near the beginning of the book, it doesn't give too much away :)

  4. Great write-up ! I also thoroughly enjoyed the book! And Pauline, I wondered about the spaniel!

    1. Thank you for stopping by :)
      I'm busy wondering what kind of dog (or other animal?) should steal the show in my next novel.

  5. Great interview, excellent choice of excerpt and I especially like the three life lessons you learnt, Pauline! Am coming late to this, as I have been away and offline, but hope second week of blog hopping went well too!