Guest Author Susan Buchanan

Today our guest is Susan Buchanan author of yesterday’s book  The Dating Game. Click here for my book review if you missed it.

Susan Buchanan

Let’s find out more about Susan.

1) Where is your home town?

I now live in Hamilton, just outside Glasgow, but am originally from Kilsyth, a small town on the other side of Glasgow (I have moved around a lot though, living also in France and Spain)

2) How long have you been writing?

Since I was a teenager, but I only seriously took up the task about 12 years ago, when I started writing Sign of the Times – it took me 6 years to write it…

3) What made you decide to write a book about dating?

A friend of mine had joined a dating agency aimed at professional people who were short on time, and I thought ‘now there’s an idea for a novel!’

4) Can you tell readers about some of Gill’s disastrous relationships before she joins the dating agency?

Sure. She was married to Barry – a blip as she terms it now. They should have lived together first. Then she had a bit of a stalker boyfriend in Timothy – a bit too much Sleeping With The Enemy for her. Good old Colin, who unfortunately worked away a lot – wasn’t exactly handy – given that he was in Dubai most of the time. Clive had lied about his occupation…and when the truth came out it had turned Gill’s stomach. Iron-pumping, bore Graham, who was more obsessed with his own body than hers was the final nail in the coffin.

5) Tell us about Gill’s great Girlfriends and how they support her.

Her friends are great. Angela and Lisa are always at loggerheads. Angela is a single mum, relatively serious, but sticks up for her friends.  She’s also a feisty type. Debbie is really Gill’s first port of call. She’s a vet and married with a daughter, but she always finds time to meet up with Gill and be her sounding board. Lisa takes no prisoners and is a bit of a man magnet. She treats them mean and keeps them keen, but she’d do anything for her friends. A beautician, she takes it upon herself to ensure Gill looks her best for her dates.  The girls spend a lot of time together and are always there for each other.

6) The trip to Barcelona chapters were really good, have you ever been to the festival yourself?

Oh yes! Twice. Ironically I didn’t know about it when I lived there in the ‘90s and the first time I went a few years ago, I came across it by chance when I was out for a walk. I was meant to have been three times, actually, but a French air traffic control strike meant my flight was cancelled one year – end of trip. I was seriously piddled off, I can tell you. The festival is fantastic. And there’s a wine festival which ties in with it, too – just saying!

7) Of Gill’s dates which was your favourite and why?

When Anton took her to the concert hall to a classical music concert. It was so thoughtful of him and I love classical music, so if he had taken me there, I would have just about married him!

8) Tell us about your other books.

Well, my first book Sign of the Times, is a zodiac-themed contemporary romantic comedy drama (can I fit in any more descriptive words?!) where the twelve main characters (yes, 12 main characters) are based around the signs of the zodiac. They are, however, all linked. Each character has the traits of the relevant sign of the zodiac.

The Christmas Spirit, which was released in December, is a feel good, festive tale of one very special lady, Natalie Hope, who makes it her mission in life to instil Christmas spirit in those who for whatever reason aren’t looking forward to Christmas.

The story centres around the bakery café where she is temporary manager and charts the lives of the five people she helps. Rebecca has just split from her boyfriend, Jacob is still on the dole, Stanley’s wife died that year, and Meredith is a workaholic who doesn’t make time for family and is more interested in spread sheets and reports. Then, on the periphery, you have Sophie, who is also affected by the events which Natalie sets in motion.

9) What are you working on at the moment?

My fourth novel, What If. It has kind of become two storylines in one. On the one hand, you have Cameron, who starts to think ‘what if’ about several key decisions he has made in his life, but he has also made a startling discovery and this is integral to the novel, the direction it takes and the choices he makes for his future.

10) Do you have an expected publishing date?

I always have these crazy, ambitious targets, but let’s be a little vague and simply say Summer 2014! And on that note, it’s back to writing What If

The Dating Game

Find a copy here from or

Thank you Susan, it’s been great finding out more about you and your work, good luck with the new book.

The Dating Game by Susan Buchanan

The Dating GameThe Dating Game by Susan Buchanan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Dating Game is a wonderful contemporary novel. From the title you know it will be about dating, Gill needs to get a social life and find a man to share it with, a workaholic Gill has been busy setting up her own recruitment agency in Glasgow and putting in long hours to make it a success. She wants more from life than just work, so she makes a bold move to join a dating agency.

The first 3 profiles of men quickly arrives and Gill asks her best girlfriends for their support and advice before agreeing to setting up her dates. Gill soon goes from no social life to a very hectic one as more dates get lined up. Charlie and Anton prove to be great initial first dates and Gill is encouraged to make second dates with them.

Meanwhile the recruitment agency business is so busy that Gill decides to look for more staff herself to help out, so she is in a loop of interviewing new dates, new recruits for herself and new recruits for clients.

Gill and her girlfriends have booked a short trip to Barcelona for the Merce Festival which takes place in September. This is a famous event in Spain celebrating wine and cava from the Catalan vineyards, the girls plan to include sightseeing, shopping, the beach and plenty of wine tasting. The trip comes at a time when Gill’s relationship with Anton looks about to get more serious, but Anton is busy too, he must go to Russia on business.

The Barcelona trip adds lots of great descriptions of events, people and places, Gill is saved from a mugging by a fellow Scot, who she literally bumps into upon their return. She picks up the fast pace of her life once more and is busy with more dates, but what happened to Anton?

I really enjoyed this book and happily wanted to shout at Gill that she chose the wrong man, but that was my opinion I wonder who you would choose in her place?

Find a copy here from or

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Author Susan Buchanan will be our guest of the blog tomorrow, come back and find out more about her writing.

Digital Fortress by Dan Brown

Digital FortressDigital Fortress by Dan Brown

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fast paced story with several intense build ups to speedy action. This book saw action in Spain and America. Plenty of trails to suspects for the reader to follow. Some complex mathematical sequences and problems to solve. Codes and code breaking being at the heart of the storyline. A huge computer gets a code to break and threatens national security. The key to abort the worm which penetrates the system outwits the top encrypting brains and the suspense goes to the wire. Fewer links to ancient texts and secrets than some of Dan’s other books, but still enjoyable.

Look out for a copy from or

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Sleeping Arrangements by Madeleine Wickham ( Sophie Kinsella)

This book review is by one of my assistants, Louise, thank you for reviewing this book.

‘‘Sleeping Arrangements’ – by Sophie Kinsella (writing as Madeleine Wickham) Sleeping Arrangements

Rating: 3/5 

Chloe is fed up with making wedding dresses every day of the week, and her partner is struggling with his work too; both are in dire need of a holiday. So when her wealthy friend Gerard offers them a free break in his luxury Spanish villa, how can they refuse? 

Whilst Hugh’s job is going strong, it’s his family life that is pulling him apart: his children won’t even speak to him, and his wife seems more interested in fabric swatches than in him, even though he works so hard to fund it all – he’s not a happy man. But his old school friend Gerard has lent them a luxury villa in Spain out of the blue – perfect. 

When both families arrive at the villa at the same time, these two worlds are forced to collide. But there’s a secret history between certain family members, and as past passions resurface, secrets reveal themselves, and tensions mount until we can’t be sure who’s sleeping with whom. 

It was the plot of this book that really enticed me; it seemed like such a simple, even obvious storyline, but as soon as I started reading, it was clear that this book did have its surprises. For instance, nowhere on the blurb is there a reference to any children, so I was almost shocked when I found that both Chloe and Hugh had a family; this added innocence to the otherwise very adult themes, and I liked this sweet, young edge. Kinsella again uses a light and witty style to entertain us female readers, but there were aspects of this book that I didn’t like as much. For example, there is lots of strong language, and the plot really takes a while to develop: I found the first few chapters quite uneventful and predictable, and it wasn’t until the end of the fourth chapter that I became more intrigued. Maybe it’s because I’m a fan of Sophie Kinsella that I was somewhat disappointed by this novel, as it’s so different from her others, but even though this book wasn’t my favourite, I still became very attached to the characters in a way that only Kinsella can seem to do. Overall, it is a light-hearted and entertaining, if a little predictable, novel that would make a perfect holiday read, but if you’re looking for more depth, I would recommend Kinsella’s other books instead.’  

Get a copy of this book here from Amazon

Or The Bull Kills You by Jason Webster

Or the Bull Kills YouOr the Bull Kills You by Jason Webster

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is a mystery set in Valencia, Spain and follows the police as they hunt for the killer of a famous bull fighter. The subject of bull fighting is quite controversial both in the book and across the world. There are several types of Spanish police forces to get you head around and the hunt for the killer is hampered by festivities and local elections, while Chief Inspector Camara has his own personal issues to deal with aswell as solving the case.

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Finding yourself in Seville by Steve Carter

Finding Yourself in SevilleFinding Yourself in Seville by Steve Carter

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve not read his first book which has good reviews. This was a refreshing setting with some funny characters. Failed attempts at romance and lots of drinking. Not sure if the ending was a bit too predictable? I’m still thinking about it! Hmm

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