Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Review of A Gift From Tiffany's and Q&A with Melissa Hill

Q&A With Melissa Hill
A Gift From Tiffany’s

Melissa, welcome to the B& General Fiction forum.

Debbie - Tell us a little about A Gift From Tiffany’s.
Melissa - I’ve been in love with the little blue box and its related allure since my UK publisher very kindly gave me a gorgeous Tiffany’s charm bracelet (much like the one Gary buys in the novel) when one of my previous novels went to No 1.  After that, every time I went to New York I visited the Fifth Avenue store for a charm to add to the bracelet, and one time my husband and I went to take a look around the diamond floor, where we saw all these happy couples choosing their engagement rings and walking away swinging bags containing that little blue box.
Each Tiffany’s shopping bag looks the same, irrespective of what’s inside, and there and then the thought struck me - imagine the mayhem if a couple of identical bags, but with very different contents somehow got mixed up?
This is what happens in A Gift From Tiffanys – on Christmas Eve one man is buying an engagement ring, the other a last-minute Christmas gift, and when those two very different gifts get mixed up, mayhem ensues!

You also co-write a forensic thriller series with your husband (congratulations on the series being optioned for TV).
Tell us the ups and downs of writing with your spouse?
Thank you! They say that when you find a job you love doing you never work a day in your life again, and this is especially true of writing. But it must be doubly true when you get to share it with your partner and best friend.
It’s not all a bed of roses, and we argue like cats and dogs over plot points and character development, but ultimately it’s great fun, and we feel very lucky to be working together in this way.

Between women’s fiction and thrillers. Do you have a favorite to write?
When I first began writing, I knew absolutely nothing about genres, and just wanted to write stories that I myself liked to read. I particularly enjoy novels in which there are underlying mysteries to be solved and are full of shocks and surprises, so I used these aspects in my women’s fiction right from the beginning.
Much of these same elements are used in crime writing and the aim is still the same; to create a story with strong identifiable characters and a compelling plot that hopefully readers won’t be able to put down.
I don’t have a favorite and even though both genres have their own challenges, the wonderful escapism of women’s fiction is for me, the perfect antidote to writing a more realistic gritty thriller.

Are you a reader?
Yes, I read absolutely everything I can get my hands on, and have been known to read the back of a milk carton if I don’t have a book to hand!

Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction?
I primarily prefer fiction – usually women’s fiction and thrillers (surprise) but do enjoy reading travel-related non-fiction, usually while travelling.

What’s the best thing about being an author?
There are so many great things, it’s almost impossible to choose just one, but if I have to, I think it’s connecting with readers. I’m always hugely humbled by the letters and emails I receive from people who tell me how much they enjoy reading about the hopes, desires and challenges the characters in my books face, and that it helps them better understand their own lives and what they might do if similar situations present themselves. I feel so honored and very grateful to think that something I’ve written could affect people in this way.

What’s one of your favorite Christmas traditions?
I live in Dublin near the sea, and every Christmas morning (despite the Irish cold!) my family and I go for a bracing dip in the freezing waters of Dublin bay. It’s a bit of local tradition, and an energetic way to start the day! 

Do you ever get over to this side of the pond, if so do you have any events planned at a Barnes & Noble location?
I adore the US and try to visit New York at least once a year for research (and shopping!) purposes. I also adore Clearwater Beach, Florida where I’m currently working on my next book while hiding out from the cold Irish weather. Nothing planned yet, but I would be delighted to visit a Barnes & Noble store anytime!

Melissa, thank you for taking time to answer a few quick questions.
Nollaig Shona Duit !
Thank you so much! Have a wonderful Christmas!

My Review of A Gift From Tiffany's

A Gift From Tiffany’s
Melissa Hill
St. Martin’s Griffin
404 pages

It’s Christmas Eve in New York city, visiting from London professor Ethan Greene along with his daughter, Daisy has one special purchase to pick up before his holiday is complete. Unfortunately while being a good Samaritan his package is mixed up, when his girlfriend, Vanessa opens the gift on Christmas morning he’s at a loss, instead of a brilliant Tiffany’s Marquise engagement ring inside the iconic blue box is a simple charm bracelet.
Dubliner Gary Knowles has almost finished his Christmas shopping and with a last thought that he should get his girlfriend, Rachel something because after all she did gift him with this trip to the big apple for Christmas, he stops at Tiffany’s to get her a little something special. Unfortunately before they can celebrate he’s struck by a New York taxi and ends up in the hospital. When they do finally get to exchange presents he’s astounded to find that instead of a charm bracelet his girlfriend removes a beautiful and expensive diamond engagement ring from the little blue box.
What happens next is a comedy and tragedy of errors, mistakes, lies and betrayals and perhaps a little fateful magic all brought about by a little blue box.

Melissa Hill’s beautifully penned Christmas novel is rich with scenes from both sides of the pond. With characters that are both naughty and nice who play their roles to perfection and one little girl who believes in magic. Her plot takes twists and turns so sharp you might think you’re clinging to the side of a cliff and just when you think there’s a straight-a-way ahead it’s only a mirage as you plunge down another steep dip in the story. It’s rife with humor and heartache, with both comedy and tragedy and it reminds us that fate is indeed a force to be reckoned with.
If you’re looking for a holiday tale to get the spirit started, a perfect gift for a friend or maybe, just maybe that perfect accompaniment to a certain special gift in a little blue box.
Melissa, thank you for a novel I will cherish for years to come that will definitely come off the shelf to be re-read every Christmas season. I can’t wait to see where you take me on our next journey together.
Buy the book here, visit the author's website here.

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