Take a sneak peek behind the scenes…

Here’s the Pinterest board for The Sunshine and Biscotti Club. If you’ve read it then enjoy seeing where the inspiration came from. If you haven’t read it, well I hope it will inspire you to dash out as fast as you can to buy a copy! Otherwise, just indulge in all the beautiful images of faded glory hotel rooms, lemon groves and some hot celebrities…

Jenny x

Why I love The Sunshine and Biscotti Club (which is out now, incidentally) …

The Hotel Limoncello, owned by Libby and venue for The Sunshine and Biscotti Club, stands alongside the tranquil blue waters of a stunning Italian lake. Fringed with lemon groves and pine trees, it’s picture perfect and the best place to cool off when the sun gets that little bit too hot.

The inspiration behind it? Well, I have a bit of a love affair with lakes and rivers.

Much of my youth was spent in a rowing boat – going up and down the Thames in the freezing cold early morning. But as I got older, and better at rowing, I went further afield to the winding river of sunny Seville in Spain; a swimming pool turquoise lake in Munich, Germany; the deep, icy mist-laden waters of Switzerland and the picturesque beauty spots of France, Austria and Italy. When we raced in Italy, in the sharp blue water of the mountains, a lake surrounded with tiny villages perched precariously as if they might slip, it was so hot that we would dunk our caps and t-shirts in the lake before we went out for a paddle, water pouring down our arms and legs just to keep cool.

Lake rowing

These lakes and rivers made a map of Europe for me. The towns I never saw, just the water. And now, years later, when I go on holiday, I drag us to a lake nearby – that I once saw only through a mirage of pre-race nerves or the endless laps of a training camp – and see it afresh, with eyes no longer focused only on the boat but instead the trees and the beaches and the cafes.

Lake st croix

Last year we went to the lake in The Sunshine and Biscotti Club. Once one of the regatta lakes in my past. Now a tranquil sea of blue so clear we could spot the fish swimming. White ducks drifted past through air made wobbly from heat. There was music from a cool, hipster café that served hot dogs and beer in condensation covered glasses. We swam in water that was flat and calm and strangely heavy without the buoyant salt of the sea.

Lake coca cola

This time there were no megaphones, no starter guns, no crippling nerves and wild adrenaline. No oars, no racing kit, no spectator stands, no medals. Just the gentle lapping of waves on pebbles, the splash of a dive, the quack of a duck and the thump of the hipster beats.

This is the lake that I dream about when it’s wet and cold and raining in England. This is the lake in The Sunshine and Biscotti Club that forms the backdrop to the lives of Libby, Eve and Jessica as they reignite wary friendships, renovate the dilapidated Hotel Limoncello, dust off forgotten baking skills, and, in the warmth of the sun and under a canopy of lemon trees, re-evaluate what they have, what they had and what they need for a future that is stronger than their pasts.

Quick run to your local bookshop or supermarket to buy a copy or straight to your phone, Kindle or Kobo ereader to download! 😉IMG_5416

The Sunshine and Biscotti Club

It’s one month today until The Sunshine and Biscotti Club hits the shelves. I thought you’d like to  have a peek at the cover and read the blurb…

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I don’t know if the book an author has just finished is always their favourite, but that’s usually the way it is for me and this is no exception. I loved writing this story and getting to know these characters – I’d book a quick return trip to The Sunshine and Biscotti Club in a heartbeat. I’d love to know what you think if you pick up a copy! Will be available in eBook and in the shops May 19th. (You can preorder now if you like!)

Jenny x

Here’s the back cover blurb:

The ovens are pre-heating, the Prosecco is chilling…and The Sunshine and Biscotti Club is nearly ready to open its doors. But the guests have other things on their minds…

Libby: The Blogger
Life is Instagram-perfect for food blogger Libby…until she catches her husband cheating just weeks before her Italian cooking club’s grand opening.

Evie: The Mum
Eve’s marriage isn’t working, but she’s not dared admit it until now. A trip to Italy to help Libby open The Sunshine and Biscotti Club might be the perfect escape…

Jessica: In Love with her Best Friend
Jessica has thrown herself into her work to shut out the memory of the man who never loved her back. The same man who’s just turned up in Tuscany…

Welcome to Tuscany’s newest baking school – where your biscotti is served with a side of love, laughter and ice-cold limoncello!

Sunny Spain

I’ve just come back from two weeks in Spain. We flew to Barcelona and then drove up the coast staying in four different places – a campsite in Tossa de Mar, an apartment in Sa Tuna, a little villa in the middle of nowhere near Cistella and then finally a hotel in Sitges. It was amazing! So many different things to see, beautiful beaches, boiling weather and the most incredible food – from plates of mouthwatering tapas to fish flame-grilled moments after being caught.

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But wow…a holiday with a one and a half year old! Times have definitely changed. Ridiculously (in retrospect) I took four books with me and only read half of one. I know now that I should have used my easyJet luggage allowance for toys rather than reading material.

I’ll admit that I’m used to holidays lying on my towel in the sand reading, maybe having a swim and then perhaps a little snooze followed by a coffee or a cold beer. This did not happen on this holiday! Yet the thing was, once I finally accepted that this type of holiday was to be shelved for a few years at least, I realised that the beach had so much more to offer! I’d forgotten how satisfying it is to make a sandcastle (even if it’s pushed to the ground a moment later), to dig a hole and watch it fill with water, to find shells and sea-glass, hear pebbles plop into the water, splash in puddles left by the sea and sit wrapped in towels after swimming eating cheese and ham sandwiches and sandy crisps.

And there’s nowhere better to be with a babe than Spain! They love them! It was so nice. And there’s a playground on every corner so it’s a toddler’s paradise.

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So while holidays may have changed for a while (and coming home is actually quite a relief!) I am a bucket and spade convert. What I have sacrificed in books I have more than made up for with sand castles, ice creams, chasing butterflies, swings and seesaws and Peppa Pig stickers.

There’s nothing like sticky little ice-cream hands covered in sand and suntan lotion! Bring on the next holiday I say 😉

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