Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Monday, 19 May 2014

Janey Fraser - Author Guest Post

Today I'm pleased to feature a guest post by author JANEY FRASER, whose latest novel is called AFTER THE HONEYMOON. Plus, see the end of Janey's post for the chance to win some goodies!

Vanessa Calls! by Janey Fraser

The email popped up unexpectedly in my Inbox. It was from my PR at Random House. Would I do an interview for Vanessa Feltz on her radio show. Would I? Just try to stop me!
As a journalist (before becoming a novelist), I’d interviewed Vanessa on a couple of occasions for various women’s magazines. I’d always found her to be warm, bubbly and generous. At the time, I was freelancing from home with three small children and she was very understanding when I had to pause the telephone interview for a few minutes while I sorted out yet another squabble.

However, there was only one catch with this radio interview. It was on a Bank Holiday Monday.  I moved to Devon some years ago so it’s not always easy to get into London on high days and holidays. I also had to be there for 9.30am. I’m not a motorway driver (for some reason, it brings me out in a cold sweat to approach the Entry lane) so I took the sleeper. So exciting! In fact, it would make a story all of its own but I want to tell you about Vanessa.

The BBC is a sprawling mass of buildings nowadays. I was heading for the bit behind Top Shop (an important landmark for my daughter) but even my taxi driver wasn’t sure of the exact spot. Eventually, I made my way to the right building where – wow! – there was actually a uniformed BBC man at the door.

‘Are you a guest?’ he asked.

To be honest, I almost felt like an intruder. At this time of the morning, I am normally running my dog along the beach and thinking of the next plot.  Still, my name was on the list so they must have been expecting me.

Not surprisingly, there’s a lot of security at the Beeb. I wasn’t exactly frisked but you have to sign things and get a badge. After that, because I was so early (thanks to the sleeper), I had to wait a bit on the ‘state of the art’ sofa in the lobby in front of a giant TV. It was so comfortable that I almost forgot why I was there!

Suddenly, Vanessa’s lovely assistant breezed in and whisked me off for a coffee. Honestly, I could get used to this. Yet at the back of my mind was the thought that in a few minutes, I was going to be chatting on air. From previous experience, I know that the strange thing about live radio is that you are lulled into a false sense of security. It feels as though you are talking to a mate because the presenter is normally friendly (unless you’re on some horrible political programme which I would never be on because I’m  hopeless at that sort of thing). So it’s very easy to say something you don’t mean or stumble over words – and then you can’t take it back.

Vanessa wanted to talk to me about honeymoons because that’s what my new novel is about. So I’d made a few notes. But when I found myself being ushered into a smallish room with THE Vanessa on the other side of the desk, all my ideas went out of my head. Vanessa in the flesh is just like the kind of woman you’d want to have a chat with. She looked very glamorous with that lovely hair of hers but don’t be fooled. She was also very professional.
We kicked off with the fact that – according to a recent survey by the travel firm Kuoni – 12 per cent of brides would like to ring their mums when on honeymoon. ‘Don’t most girls want to do that?’ asked Vanessa who has two grown up daughters.

I agreed. When I got married the first time, I queued up for hours in Greece to ring my mum/ ‘No mobile phones then,’ said Vanessa chattily.

Too true. Then we had a good old natter about some of the brides I’d interviewed – including a couple whose damp confetti fell out of their clothes on their wedding  night. It stained the marble floor and they spent hours trying to get the marks out of the floor so they didn’t get billed. It rather put paid to any newly-wed intimacy if you get what I mean...

In between chats, Vanessa played tracks but to be honest, I couldn’t have told you what they were. We were too busy having little chats ourselves. ‘Look at this,’ said Vanessa, proudly holding up a shopping bag which had a picture of her first grandchild on it.   It was really heartening to see a normal proud granny behind a public face.

Another interesting bit were the number of emails which came in from listeners who wanted to describe their own honeymoon experiences.. They were handed to Vanessa swiftly over the desk by another assistant and she read them out on air. It just goes to show that it IS worth getting in touch!

I was on for nearly half an hour but it felt much shorter. In fact, I was sad to go. ‘Would you like to come to my launch party?’ I asked Vanessa boldly as I left.

‘Send me the invitation,’ she replied chummily.

I don’t know if she’ll turn up – but I’ll let you know......


Please send me (Janey) your honeymoon stories – and you could win a bag of books or a Champneys goodies parcel. Email them to me at


About the novel...


One honeymoon destination. Three couples. Six secrets.

Emma never wanted to marry Tom, let alone go away without the children. But then the girls at work give her a honeymoon voucher. Enter Yannis, the local lothario...

Winston is the nation’s Keep Fit bachelor darling. Newspapers are agog when he marries Melissa, newly-divorced mother of two. But when her teenagers disrupt their honeymoon, his past is revealed....

Rosie was homeless and pregnant when she arrived at the Villa Rosa, sixteen years ago, but now she’s the owner. Winston might not remember her, but she’s never forgotten him…

By the end of the week, none of their lives are the same.  But what happens after the honeymoon?

Published by Arrow (Random House) on May 22.

Amazon UK link


About the author... (in her own words)

Janey Fraser is the pen name for journalist Jane Bidder who also writes as Sophie King. You might have read some of my previous novels such as THE SCHOOL RUN and THE WEDDING PARTY which was short listed for Love Story of the Year 2010.

For many years, I was a journalist on women’s magazines and until recently, edited the family page of Woman. Now I write ‘ MUM LIT’ novels about the ups and downs of family life.

I have plenty of experience with my own three – remind me to tell you, one day, about the time that my youngest gave his friend a pudding-basin haircut while my back was turned for three minutes or when my eldest bashed me on the head with an empty lemonade bottle while driving because of an over-heated car game.


  1. Oh my goodness, the interview with Vanessa sounds exciting and nerve racking all at the same time.

    Intrigued by the sound of what happens After The Honeymoon I'll be sure to keep a look out for it.

  2. Very captivating post. The experience of this interview sounds like it was such fun.

    I am surprised that a higher percentage of Brides do not want to call their mothers.

  3. Mum lit is a new term to me, but it does fit a lot of current books. Love it!
    Book Dilettante


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