I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for The Magic of Stars by Jackie Ladbury today with a Q&A.
Jackie Ladbury chats to us about the inspiration for her novel, the advice she would give her characters, the best part of her writing journey and much more.
First, here’s more about The Magic of Stars:
Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 1020.0 KB
Print Length: 261 pages
Publisher: Fabrian books (1 Jan. 2018)
Sapphire Montrose always felt like a loser in the struggle of life, but when she becomes the airline manager of a run-down airline she starts to believe she is a winner – until she unwittingly propositions her new boss and all her hard work is undone.
In a moment of recklessness air stewardess, Sapphire Montrose throws caution and her dress to the wind by propositioning a handsome stranger in a hotel in Florence, only to find herself waking up alone and embarrassed in her hotel room.
Unfortunately for Sapphire, it turns out that her new boss, Marco Cavarelli, is the man she failed to seduce and she is now fighting for her job and her self-respect when he tells her there is no place in his revamped airline for an alcoholic woman with lascivious tendencies. To make matters worse she is increasingly attracted to him and he seems to be giving out the same vibes. Or is he simply testing her? One wrong move could be the end of her career. But what if he really is offering love – and is he worth the risk?
Welcome to Jera’s Jamboree.
Please summarise The Magic of Stars in 20 words or less.
Cute romance with a touch of humour and a lot of love – and a bit of sex for good measure!
What was the idea/inspiration for your novel?
The beginning was taken from a real-life situation when one of our pilots was caught in flagrante by his girlfriend (basically she found him in bed with another woman at a hotel) That was the catalyst for Sapphire’s behaviour and the turning point of the novel, not the main story. Because it initially started off as a Mills and Boon book, the hero was an Italian Billionaire – and because I’d grown to love his personality, he stayed, even though the book changed quite considerably.
If you could choose to be one of your characters, who would you be Jackie?
I actually think there’s a little part of me in most of them. Because I was an air-stewardess for so long, a good few of the scenes in the Blue Skies series are things that have either happened to me, or someone I knew from my airline days. Even the tie cutting part was true, although it was a woman who did the tie cutting not Finbar the gay steward.
Please tell us about the characters in The Magic of Stars.
Uptight Italian businessman, Marco Cavarelli is a shrewd, no-nonsense businessman from a wealthy Italian family. Air-stewardess Sapphire Montrose had a troubled upbringing and still hasn’t found her place on this earth. There are a few minor characters that I love: Betty the cleaner, who thinks her rightful place is anywhere she pleases, and the fabulous (if admittedly clichéd, gay best friend- who is also taken from real life.) Finbar, the steward.
If you could have given your characters one piece of advice before the opening pages of the book, what would it be …
Don’t be a dick, Marco. Am I allowed to say that? I would advise Sapphire to get a life and a few lovers, but easier said than done and the book would have been a different one if she had!
What scene did you enjoy writing the most Jackie?
I love the first few chapters, which I think sums up the characters of Marco and Sapphire brilliantly. He is dour and disapproving while she is uncharacteristically funny and sweet – if drunk and disorderly.
… and the hardest scene?
The end. I always have trouble writing the last few paragraphs because, unless you have a Titanic kind of ending it can seem like a damp squib. Over and over the ending went in my mind, when I was swimming, ironing, driving – I just wasn’t happy with it. And then one day it came to me. I mean, I know it’s not a ‘cymbals crashing’ kind of ending, but it at least had a sense of humour and romance. Without sounding pretentious, anyone who has not been a writer will have NO clue as to how hard it is to wrap up a story successfully.
Who would you cast if your novel was optioned for a movie?
Oh, someone dark and moody for Marco, I guess and someone a bit ‘alternative’ for Sapphire. Actually, I think they’ve already been cast together – in Poldark. Aiden Turner as Ross Poldark and Eleanor Tomlinson as Demelza would be perfect as Marco and Sapphire. Their romance smoulders so well in Poldark, they wouldn’t fail to do so much better given my settings!
Did you travel to any places? Undergo any new experiences?
I flew as a stewardess for many years in corporate and commercial aviation, but the biggest eye opener was when I worked ‘on the ground’ as the parlance goes, for a private aviation company. To see aircraft done out like apartments with showers and bedrooms, cream carpets and vases of flowers and sofas was a new one for me. We had to take our shoes off at the door or put plastic protectors on our feet. At the other end of the spectrum I once boarded a huge Russian aircraft that was loaded to the gills with – well everything you could imagine. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see a goat or two roaming around. The emergency exits were stacked high with televisions – no one could have used them in an emergency,but because it was a private aircraft, there was nothing we could do about it.
If your novel is part of a series, what is in the future?
More airline books although the next one has a serious undertone and I’m really not sure whether to go with it or lighten it up. It’s weird but when I can envisage my characters I know whether I can give them a sense of humour and the two characters for the next Blue Skies don’t seem to lighten up the way they should. it’s a problem that I need to address.
Do you have a most creative time of day Jackie?
No, I carry my MacBook Air around with me all of the time –I’m never without it. It doesn’t bother me but I think my husband gets a bit fed up of me always ‘multi-tasking’ ie: being on the laptop while pretending to watch a film with him, or typing away while I’m in the passenger seat on the motorway.
What are your thoughts on movie adaptations? Do you have a favourite?
Outlander, although I know it’s a series, not a movie. I don’t think adaptations tended to do the books justice years ago and there was always that snobby sniff. ‘The book was soo much better than the movie!’ Netflix and Amazon video have changed the whole ball game and I think series will be the future rather than a movie.
What has been the worst part of your writing journey so far?
There was one particular day that sticks in my mind. I attended a writing course in London and was asked ‘who I was’ far too many times. I was a nobody and it certainly showed in my answers! I ate lunch all on my own and, on trying to spear a prawn, upended my plate which was balanced on my knee. It clattered to the floor breaking into smithereens and making a huge mess. Everyone stared at me and I vowed I would never go to any writing course on my own again. Of course, I happily do, now – I’m brave again!
We’re ending on a positive 🙂 What has been the best part of your writing journey so far?
Being shortlisted for two novel competitions, one by Harper Collins and one by Choc Lit, and finally knowing that, yes, my stories weren’t rubbish and I was finally on track to be a big girl, proper writer.
Thank you for being my guest.
Wishing you success with all your writing projects Jackie.
Jackie Ladbury was desperate to become a journalist when she left school but was ousted within minutes on the day of the exam at her local rag because she’d forgotten to bring a pen.
Short and sharp lesson learned.
Her budding writing career was not on hold for long, though, as Jackie found herself scribbling love stories of pilots and ‘hosties’ while she flew in aeroplanes of various shapes and sizes as a flight attendant herself.
Fast forward a good few years and, after being short-listed in a couple of prestigious romantic writing competitions, Jackie decided it was time to discard her stilettos, say goodbye to the skies and concentrate on writing romantic novels, where the only given is a guaranteed ‘happy ever after.’
Connect with Jackie Ladbury
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/jackie.ladbury
Website – https://jackieladbury.com/
The Write Romantics – https://thewriteromantics.com/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/JackieLadbury
Don’t forget to check out the other hosts on tour.