Sunday, July 1, 2012


This giveaway is now CLOSED!  Congratulations to Bridget O'Neill, the lucky winner of HAPPY HOUR!

Authorpalooza has been such a blast that I decided to drag it out one more day!  My final guest for this wonderful event is British author, Anne Mitchell.  Her debut novel is called "HAPPY HOUR." Don't you love a fun, alliterative title?  Read on to learn more about Anne and her work and many thanks to all of the amazing authors who've guested on Books by Banister this month and all of the amazing blog readers who've dropped by and participated in the various giveaways.

Take it away, Anne . . .

1) Can you give us a brief overview of HAPPY HOUR?

Shy English rose Jane Anderson has always been happy for her husband Paul, a handsome garden designer, to take the spotlight while she looks after their son Jeremy. But when Paul wins a gold medal at the famous Chelsea Flower Show, he catches the eye of glamour-puss Elizabeth – and it’s not just his horticultural skills she’s interested in.  Jane’s oldest friend Susie invites her to New York for a little therapeutic shopping and sightseeing, but in Manhattan Jane finds she bears an amazing likeness to Rosie Reynolds, ultra-glamorous host of the popular news and talk show HAPPY HOUR, and it’s not long before Rosie makes the same discovery.  After Rosie’s botched face-lift Jane is offered the job of emergency stand-in on  HAPPY HOUR - but here she meets Lou, a dangerously charming man who also happens to be Rosie’s husband. For Jane, it’s the hour of truth... 

2) What's your favorite quality about your hero/heroine?

It doesn’t sound a very exciting quality, but I think it’s Jane’s strong sense of fairness – she always tries to see both sides of the argument, even when the awful Elizabeth is part of the equation!  She is also an extremely loyal friend, which is a quality I value.

3) What made you want to write this book?

I love gardening and I love New York, but to be absolutely honest I didn’t spend ages working out the story – it just came into my head one day, and kind of insisted on being told.  It was almost as though I was watching a film, and just had to describe what I was seeing as it happened.  One day when I was writing HAPPY HOUR I sat at my computer from early in the morning until five in the afternoon – I hadn’t eaten anything or even got dressed!

4) What are you working on now?

My next novel is called DAYDREAM BELIEVER.  It’s heroine is a successful chick lit writer who seems to lead a gilded life – until her long-term boyfriend leaves her for a young actress, and her books stop selling.  She decides she’s going pick herself up, dust herself down, win her boyfriend back and carve out a new career – and that’s when her troubles really begin!

5) What comes first for you -- character idea, plot idea?

That’s a difficult one.  Probably plot idea first, but quickly followed by character.  If you don’t have characters readers care about, they won’t care about the plot either!

6) How do you think of titles?

Titles are really hard!  HAPPY HOUR suggested itself to me as the ideal name for an early evening ‘soft news’ kind of TV programme – and luckily it alliterated too (which, sad geek that I am, I really love).  DAYDREAM BELIEVER obviously references the Monkees song, but it also says something important about the character of the heroine.

7) What are your thoughts on love scenes in books?  Do you prefer to read/write sweet/romantic encounters between your hero and heroine or spicy ones?

Sweet/romantic every time.  I think it’s fine to hint at more, but as a writer I don’t really go much beyond the bedroom door.  Readers have great imaginations and can fill in the rest!

8) Who are the authors who inspire you?

Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Helen Fielding (author of BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY) and Nancy Mitford, author of the utterly brilliant THE PURSUIT OF LOVE and LOVE IN A COLD CLIMATE.

9) What genres do you like to read?  Do you stick to one or are you eclectic in your reading tastes?

Very eclectic! I love chick lit (of course!) but also mysteries, thrillers, YA – anything that grabs you from the beginning and won’t let you go!

10) What was the last book you read that really WOWed you?

There’s a lovely, light-as-the-foam-on-a-capuccino book by Michael Tonello called BRINGING HOME THE BIRKIN.  It’s funny, fabulous and I re-read it whenever I need cheering up. 

11) Do you prefer a series or stand alone novels?

If you’ve enjoyed a novel it’s always nice to find out what happens to the characters afterwards – though quite often sequels can be a bit of a let-down.  So on balance, stand-alone.

12) If you could be plopped down in the middle of any book, which one would it be?

Definitely PERSUASION, by Jane Austen.  And please could I be the heroine, Anne Elliot?  I absolutely adore the hero, Captain Wentworth!

13) If you could invite any five people (living or dead) over for a dinner party, who would they be and why?

I would invite Dorothy Parker and Jane Austen (would love to see how they got on), George Clooney (I might just sit him next to me), Sir Winston Churchill and Emmeline Pankhurst. I'd anticipate a lively evening!

Fast and Flirty 

Favorite scent?  Givenchy III (but sadly, I don’t think they make it any more).
Favorite color?  A very pale turquoise/aqua.  It’s a very elegant colour.
Favorite food?   English roast beef and all the trimmings.
Favorite word?  Concatenation.
Dream vacation spot? 
New York, New York!
Favorite time period in history?  Late eighteenth/early nineteenth century (Jane Austen’s era).
Favorite girl's night out drink?  A bellini (prosecco and peach juice).
Favorite date night activity?  Seeing a film (I love the cinema!)
Coffee or tea or soda?  Tea every time.
Strong but lean or built and burly?  Either – it’s character than counts!
Scruffy or clean-shaven?  Clean-shaven (but a little stubble is fine).
Dark-haired or blond?  Either.
Celebrity hottie on your laminated list?  George Clooney or Colin Firth – either would be very acceptable.  Or possibly Daniel Craig...
Novel hero crush?  Either Captain Wentworth (see above) or Mr Rochester from JANE EYRE.

Thanks for being a part of Authorpalooza, Anne!  Good luck with HAPPY HOUR and all your future writing endeavors.

Leave a comment below telling me what your favorite flower is and you'll be entered to win a Kindle copy of HAPPY HOUR.  Don't forget to leave your e-mail address so that I can contact you if you win!  Drawing will take place on Sunday, July 8th, so get your comments in by midnight on Saturday, July 7th.

Purchase HAPPY HOUR at:

Visit author Anne Mitchell at:


  1. Thanks for the Q&A, Anne, and the giveaway. Sounds like a delightful read!

    I work for a florist so it's tough to choose just one of the many flowers out there, especially when I get to see how beautifully combined they can be and used in designs. But I'm a real sucker for orchids, especially Dendrobium Orchids.

    -Savannah Page

  2. Nice interview. I like lilies.


  3. Bridget O'NeillJuly 5, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    I love Gerbera Daisies-so happy and colorful!