Saturday 13 May 2017

Back Catalogue Books - Q&A with Zara Stoneley - Giveaway

Back Catalogue Books is my new regular Saturday feature, focusing on books that are not the latest releases. There is going to be a mix of Q&As and also reviews, depending on what I have the space for. 

If you are an author wanting to take part in Back Catalogue Books then please do email on gilbster at gmail dot com and I'll whizz the questions over to you. 

I hope everyone enjoys this weekly look back at some of the slightly older books that are about but still great, going to aim to read books that have been out for at least 6 months, and that I eventually make a dent in my TBRs as a result of it!

Today I have the wonderful Zara Stoneley talking about her Back Catalogue, although personally I'm just looking forward to having the time to sit and start her new book!

1) Please tell me about your first book, and what started you writing in the first place

I’ve always loved books and have read and been writing stories for as long as I can remember. The first novel I submitted to a publisher was a James Bond style story when I was 12 years old. The very generous and lovely response from an editor encouraged me to try again. In my twenties though as my reading preferences changed I switched from writing thrillers to romance.

The first book that I had published was ‘Forfeit’, an erotic novel, in 2012. At that time I was writing romance that was just a little bit steamy (Jilly Cooper style), and then was persuaded to enter a competition. The prize was a publishing contract, and I needed to write a synopsis and the first three chapters of an erotic novel. There was less than two weeks until the closing date – and I’d never really read (let alone written) erotica, but I’m always up for a challenge! A month later I was offered a publishing contract.

2) How many books have you written and what are they?

I had two erotic novels published by Accent, and then two erotic romance novellas. I then self-published an erotic romance trilogy before being signed with HarperCollins. My first two books with them were erotic romances – ‘Summer of Surrender’ and ‘Love is a Four Letter Word’, and then, following a chat with my editor the Tippermere books were born (Stable Mates, Country Affairs and Country Rivals). These are a bit steamy, with lots of horses, dogs, men and lovely countryside, and a good dash of humour (you have to be able to laugh if you live in the countryside!). 

My editor was a genius to suggest I move in that direction as I was writing about everything I loved (she’s brilliant like that, knows me so well!). 

At the end of last year, ‘The Holiday Swap’ (a story about two friends who swap homes for the festive season – one lives a very trendy life in Barcelona, and the other lives in a cosy cottage in a country village) was published. As you might know my time is split between a village in Cheshire and Barcelona, so once again I could write about the places I know and love. 
I have the first of a new series of books coming out in June – the setting is a new village, Langtry Meadows, and it follows the lives of a vet (my dream job) and a teacher.

3) Which book are you most proud of writing?

That’s a tricky one! I was immensely proud of ‘Forfeit’ when it came out, as it was my first book. But my writing has developed and changed with each book, so I probably have to say the one I’ve just written!

4) Which book was your favourite to write?

Can I pick two? I loved writing ‘Country Rivals’ as it was great to include the bitchy, scheming Pandora – in a lot of my books most of the characters are lovely people, it was nice to write a baddy! ‘The Holiday Swap’ was also great fun as one of my favourite festive films is The Holiday and it was great to take that concept and create a new story.

5) Who are your favourite characters from your books and why?

I have to admit to totally loving Mick from ‘Stable Mates’ and ‘Country Affairs’, he really is my kind of guy – the quiet, deep, strong type who can as good as read your mind, plus he’s totally hot! I love my men tall, dark, slightly rugged, animal-loving, with warm hands and hearts. He’s also Irish and has a voice to die for. Hot men aside I love Lottie (from Tippermere) – she comes across initially as a bit disorganised, but with a heart of gold, but she really is much more than that – she’s determined and loyal, I’d love to have her as a friend.

6) If you could go back and change anything from any of your books, what would it be, and why?

I always half-hoped that Lottie and Mick would make a go of it (so did a lot of readers), but it wasn’t to be. I could quite easily go back and write a quite different story where they do end up together though – but who knows what the future holds for them? Mick has such passion buried inside him, I’d so love to see him with the right woman.

7) Which of your covers if your favourite and why?

That’s a difficult one – it would be easier to say which are my least favourite (but I’m not going to!). I’ve loved so many of them and thought they were the best – then been surprised with the cover for the next book. I think at the moment I have to say ‘The Holiday Swap’ as it’s a great, fun cover.

8) Have you ever thought about changing genres, if so what else would you like to write?

I would love to write a psychological thriller! After writing ‘Summer of Surrender’ I had lots of readers asking if I’d write a romantic suspense story. I’ve got a story bubbling away in the back of my mind – but it is quite shocking, with a lot more suspense than romance.

9) Looking forward can you let us know what you are working on next?

I’m working on a really lovely series about a gorgeous country vet, and a teacher who has her own reasons for living in the city and staying well away from village life – until she loses her job and has no choice. The title is ‘Summer with the Country Village Vet’, it’s available for pre-order now. I’m already working on the second book where the lovely vet, Charlie, has a huge dilemma to solve over his daughter (who he might not be the biological father of) – does he take a DNA test and risk losing everything, or go with his heart and instincts? I’m not going to say any more!

10) I dare not ask for a favourite author, but is there any author’s back catalogue you admire and why?

I was totally astounded when I met the lovely Katherine Garbera to discover she’d written 65 books for Harlequin – plus many more for other publishers. She is such a lovely, generous, unassuming person. I am in awe!! I have a soft spot for Dick Francis – a great backlist, and you always know exactly what you’re going to get. I also admire Jilly Cooper’s back catalogue, she’s done such a brilliant job of developing her characters over the years.

11) Finally, is there anything else you would like to say about your back catalogue of books?

When I was first published I fully intended using a different pen-name for my non-erotic books as my current books are very different to the early ones. But, I hope the covers and titles make it clear exactly what type of story to expect.

Thank you so much Zara for answering my questions. I love all your covers and books, and had no idea you used to write erotic romances in a past life! 

Author Bio

Zara Stoneley was born in a small village in Staffordshire and wanted to be James Herriot when she grew up. After completing an IT degree, working as a consultant, running a dog grooming business, teaching, and working at a veterinary practice she decided she had more than enough material to write several books even if she would never qualify as a vet!

She lives in Cheshire with her family and a very bossy cat, and loves spending time in sunny Barcelona.

Zara is currently writing a new series, the first book ‘Summer with the Country Village Vet’ will be published by HarperCollins in June 2017 – look out for a hot vet and the most gorgeous country village ever!

You can find out more about Zara on her website  She also spends far too much time on social media –  Twitter  Facebook   You can follow her travels in Barcelona and Cheshire on Instagram, and explore the inspiration behind her books on Pinterest.

Buy Links
 Stable Mates   ***   Country Affairs    ***   Country Rivals

Giveaway to Win Country Rivals by Zara Stoneley (Europe Only)

I just happen to have a spare copy of Country Rivals which I am happy to giveaway to one lucky winner. 

Giveaway open to Europe Only, all options are voluntary, but please do what they ask, as I will be verifying the winner. Giveaway closes 23:59 20/05/2017. Winner will be announced on twitter and emailed, and they will need to reply within 7 days, or forfeit the prize, and I will re-draw for a new winner.  Good luck everyone.


  1. Thank you Rachel for sharing great books and authors.

  2. Thank you so much for inviting me over Rachel. I loved answering your questions!
    Zara x


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