About Samantha Tonge
I live in Cheshire with my lovely family and our cat Mitzie, who is ever-ready with her handbag for my book launches.
When not writing, I’m walking in the Peak District or watching horror and disaster movies – not a lot beats a box of chocolates in front of The Poseidon Adventure! I also love baking, but watch out – one story I sold reflected the time I accidentally slathered puddings with Hollandaise sauce, instead of custard!
My background is in languages, encouraged by a childhood love of holidays in France. In my twenties, I formed part of the Opening Crew at Disneyland Paris, which allowed me to enjoy that wonderful city – surely the most romantic place in the world. I loved writing the sequel to Doubting Abbey – From Paris with Love – and mentally revisited some of my favourite Parisian haunts. In October 2014 I travelled to wonderful Japan. My summer 2015 book, Game of Scones, is set in Greece.
Despite this love of foreign climes, I’m never happier than when holed up, in my spare room, in the UK, tapping away at the keyboard. Unlike many authors, I started off writing novels, before turning to short fiction. I made my first magazine sale in 2011. Since then I’ve sold many dozens of stories to mainstream women’s magazines. My debut novel, Doubting Abbey, from HarperCollins (CarinaUK), was inspired by the hit series Downton Abbey. Its fun, standalone sequel, featuring a spy, is From Paris with Love. Mistletoe Mansion, starring a different set of characters, is a book for fans of cake and Christmas – so I’m guessing that most of us! And Game of Scones, is – yes, you’ve guessed it – another story about food, that won the Love Stories Awards 2015 Best Romantic Ebook category. My festive novel 2015, My Big Fat Christmas Wedding, is out now!
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1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I live in Cheshire, North West England , with my lovely family and a cat that thinks she is a dog! I have sold over 80 short stories to women’s magazines. My debut novel, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction Best Romantic Ebook award 2014. My summer bestselling novel, Game of Scones, got to #5 in the AmazonUK Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook award in 2015. My summer book 2016 is out in July and is called Breakfast at Poldark’s!
2. When I was browsing your website I read that you like horror and disaster movies. I am a big horror fan so please tell us what is your favorite horror movie?
Ooh, it is so hard to choose! I particularly love zombies, so the Dawn of the Dead series and World War Z are favourites. Also I recently saw 10 Cloverfield Lane which is more of a suspense until the end but soooo scary, even though it was only rated a 12a.
3. If you pick up a horror or disaster movie do you have a preference about the topic?
No. It is the characters I find most gripping. I love the old disaster movies The Poseidon Adventure and Towering Inferno and the stories that come out around each character. What I DO NOT like though is the kind of Cabin in the Woods style of horror movie. That really freaks me out and I don’t watch those any more.
4. You have travelled around. What place is still on your wish list to visit?
Top of my bucket list is to try and see the Northern Lights. I would love to return to Japan – I went to Kyoto in 2014 and fell in love with the people and way of life.
5. You have written several books (love your covers by the way). Where do you get your ideas for your stories?
Thank you! Usually from what is current in society or the news at the time. Doubting Abbey was inspired by the popularity of the hit TV show Downton Abbey. It intrigued me as to why a historical series was just so popular with modern viewers and gave me the idea of having a story where a thoroughly modern gal had to live like an aristocrat for two weeks. The title of Game of Scones came from Game of Thrones but the story – and that of its sequel, My Big Fat Christmas Wedding – includes the Greek economic crisis and the plight of the Syrian refugees.
6. If you could go back in time and meet a writer from the past who would that be and why?
I only ever have one answer to this question: Jane Austen. I would love to tell her just how much relevance her story Pride & Prejudice still has today.
7. Do you have a favorite season or holiday?
I adore the autumn months – especially did when the children were small there was so much fun to look forward to.... Halloween then Bonfire Night and Christmas... One party after another! I am not a sunbird and after the summer always look forward to dark evenings.
8. What do you dream about?
Goodness, you don’t want to know – all sorts! I dream vividly every night and always remember them. Recently I dreamt I was drowning at the bottom of a swimming pool slide. I have had several unpleasant recurring dreams over the years – as a young woman about exam deadlines. I have dreams where deceased loved ones make an appearance – people and animals. Also celebrities. Sometimes I wake up laughing as well!
9. Can you tell us how you spend your free time?
Spending time with my family. Going to the cinema. Cycling. And baking.
10. What can we expect from you in the future?
My summer book Breakfast at Poldark’s is out in July 2016 in Kindle version and paperback in the August. It is a little different to my usual very light-hearted style. More emotional – but still with humour. And it is set in beautiful Cornwall.
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Review by Suze
Pippa loved spending her summers in Taxos, a beautiful village on the Greek island Kos. When her life started to become more serious with a university degree and a career in London she stopped going. Now she finally has the time to spend a long holiday there. She needs some space to think about her relationship with her sensible and dependable boyfriend Henrik and is surprised to find out he wants to come with her. Henrik doesn't want to go there to relax though, he has work to do.
Pippa is happy to see all of her friends from Taxos again. She especially missed her childhood sweetheart Niko. Even though they're both in a relationship, their friendship is still as strong as it used to be. It's fantastic to be back, but Taxos itself has shocked Pippa a little. The village is struggling and people are poor. Pippa loves baking and together with everyone else in the village she comes up with a plan that might make things better. This also means she finally has a chance to make her biggest dream come true. It's only temporary though, soon she has to leave everything she loves behind to go back to her sensible life...
Game of Scones is a fun story set on a stunning Greek island. I loved Samantha Tonge's descriptions of the pretty village and its fabulous inhabitants. I wanted to pack my bags and travel there straight away. The people in the village are struggling, but Taxos is in their hearts and they love it more than anything. It's worth fighting for and I enjoyed watching Pippa become one of them again. The amazing atmosphere was the best part of the book for me.
Samantha Tonge has a great sense of humor and her stories always put a smile on my face. Game of Scones is a quick and easy read. If you're looking for something light and enjoyable to relax with this book is a good choice. I really liked the main characters. Pippa has to come to terms with her feelings and she has to make a choice between what her mind tells her and what her heart wants her to do. Taxos changes her and it was wonderful to watch. I loved the ending of the story. Game of Scones is an ideal summer read. It makes you dream about good food, gorgeous locations, handsome men and sweet romance.
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