Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Brook Cottage Books is thrilled to welcome Cathy Bramley to the blog!

Who would want to live in Snottingham?

Hello JB and thank you for inviting the Conditional Love book tour on to your blog!
Conditional Love is my debut novel and launching it is one of the most scary and exciting things I’ve done in my life! The book is set in Nottinghamshire, where I have lived since I enrolled at Trent Polytechnic when I was eighteen.
I love the city for its great shopping and restaurants and the surrounding countryside, where I now live, for its pretty villages and landscape and can’t imagine living anywhere else. ‘Write what you know,’ they say, so Nottingham was the obvious choice as the location for both Conditional Love and my current work in progress, Holding Back.
Although it’s not a huge city, one thing is for certain; wherever I am in the world, when I tell people I’m from Nottingham, everyone has heard if it!
‘Ah Robin Hood!’ is the usual response when I’m abroad.
‘Great shops!’ I sometimes get from people in other parts of the UK. I’ve even had the myth, ‘The city with five women to every man,’ quoted at me!
It seems everyone has heard of Nottingham for one reason or another.
So what don’t you know about Nottingham? I decided to do a bit of digging to find other things that have put this wonderful city on the map:
1. Ibuprofen. Yep. Invented in Nottingham by Stewart Adams in the 1950s. After a night out with my two girlfriends, Lisa and Bobsie, I don’t know what I’d do without old Stew’s invention. Dr Adams is on the right in the picture below:

2. Nottingham was originally called Snottingham when it was ruled by a Saxon Chieftain called Snot. OK maybe this is nothing to boast about, but at least it has great comedy value!

3. Who doesn’t love a dollop of HP sauce on their sausage sandwich? HP sauce was invented by a Nottingham shopkeeper, who named it after the Houses of Parliament, which was one of his first big customers. I bet you didn’t know that, did you?

4. For me, Alan Rickman will always be the Sheriff of Nottingham from his role in Robin Hood Prince of thieves. But we still have a real Sheriff of Nottingham! Here he is his with his fancy chain of office on. With that row of policemen behind him, he’d better not be planning to rob the poor…

5. And finally – because I write romantic comedy and love a happy ending – Robin Hood and Maid Marian are expecting their first baby!
It’s true! Tim Pollard and Sally Chappell have been Nottinghamshire’s official Robin Hood and Maid Marian duo for eight years. They got together as an item two years ago and Sally is now six months pregnant! I’m dying to know what they call the baby!

So, as you see, Nottingham is a very special place to me and I think delivers the perfect setting for Conditional Love. What makes your home town special to you? Come on, what’s your name and where do you come from…?

Thanks to Cathy for a great post!!! Lets find out a little bit more about Cathy and her book Conditional Love.

Conditional Love by Cathy Bramley: Chick lit meets

 Grand Designs in this hilarious debut novel

Meet Sophie Stone, a thirty-something, serial procrastinator. Tesco knickers, Take That, and tea with two sugars is about as exciting as it gets. But when her boyfriend dumps her on Valentine’s Day and a mysterious benefactor leaves her an inheritance, even Sophie has to accept that change is afoot.
There is a catch: a condition in the will that threatens the very foundations of Sophie’s world. What did the old lady want her to discover? Was there more to her parents’ break up than she was led to believe?
With an evil boss, bickering flat mates, manipulative mother and sexy ex-boyfriend, Sophie has plenty to contend with without the brooding architect who puts his foot in it every time he opens his mouth.
She will have to face the past and learn some shocking home truths before she can finally get her own happy-ever-after.
Conditional Love is Cathy Bramley’s debut novel. A coming of age story with a healthy sprinkling of romance, it is a contemporary tale of friendship, family feuds and infatuation, in which our girl-next-door heroine embarks on a journey of self- discovery to build a future on her own terms.

from Chapter four

In the centre of the desk, lay an open file. I shuffled forward to the edge of my seat and managed to read my own name at the top of the page. I inched closer still, squinting to read more.

‘And you are?’

The deep voice made me jump so much that I panicked, slid off the chair and down onto one knee, thus greeting the tall, thin man with dark hair, glasses and a bushy beard in some sort of weird marriage proposal stance.

I scrambled up off the floor, mortified, and sat back down. ‘Nothing! Just waiting for Mr

His lips twitched and he gave his beard a scratch.
‘I’m Thomas Whelan.’ He extended a hand towards me. ‘And you are?’

‘Oh! Sophie Stone.’ I shook his hand and pulled up the collar of my coat to hide my glowing cheeks.

‘Ah yes,’ he said settling himself at his desk. He glanced at the file that I’d had been trying to read. ‘You’ve come about your aunt’s will.’

I processed this new information, hitherto unaware I had an aunt. Alive or dead.

‘My aunt?’

Mr Whelan blinked furiously, referred back to the manila file and adjusted his glasses.

‘My apologies, Miss Stone, your great aunt.’

Well that was that then. She had to be one of my father’s relations. There were definitely no great aunts in Mum’s family. There was no one at all in her family. I sighed. I had been hoping… well, I wasn’t sure exactly what I’d been hoping. Maybe that she was an old lady I’d done a good deed for once when I was in the Brownies or something. Although, I couldn’t think what I’d done to warrant a mention in anybody’s will.

But any tenuous link would be better than being a relative of Terry Stone’s. Still, I’d better be absolutely sure.

‘Would you mind just running me through the family tree?’

‘Of course not,’ said Mr Whelan, pushing his chair back and standing up abruptly. ‘But first, have you brought your passport?’

I jumped to my feet too.  ‘Why? Where are we going?’ I had been told on the phone to bring my passport when I arranged the appointment and the request had been troubling me ever since.

‘Only to the photocopier,’ he chuckled. ‘Need to verify you are who you say you are before we continue with the reading of the will.’

Thank heavens for small mercies! I had had visions of having to jump on a plane at a moment’s notice to take ownership of some mystery item.

Identity checks complete, we resumed our positions either side of the desk. The solicitor took off his wristwatch, set it to one side and then, elbows on the desk, clasped his hands together and made a steeple with his forefingers, resting his long nose on the tip.
‘This office holds the last will and testament of Mrs Jane Kennedy. She was Terence Stone’s maternal aunt. Your great aunt.’

I stared at him, mesmerised by the end of his nose which was protruding over his fingers.
I should stop him from going any further. There was no point in hearing what he had to say. My father had been absent for all of my thirty- two years. Mum and I had managed perfectly well without his or his family’s help, thank you very much and I knew instinctively that she would resent any intervention at this stage in the game. Besides, why would the old dear leave anything to me? It didn’t make sense, we’d never even met.

‘Long and tedious documents, wills.’

My eyes must have glazed over for a moment. I shook myself and Mr Whelan’s eyes twinkled at me.

‘There’s been a misunderstanding,’ I said, scooping up my bag as I stood. ‘My mother is estranged from her ex-husband. I’ve never met Jane Kennedy; in fact, I’ve never met my father.’

‘I’m aware of all that,’ he said, not unkindly. ‘However, it falls to me to ensure that you are fully informed as to your inheritance. Please sit.’ He flapped a hand at the empty chair. ‘Would you like me to read the whole thing or cut to the chase?’
I blinked my green eyes at him. Was he allowed to say things like that? I sat back down obediently.

‘The main bits, please.’

‘Righto.’ Mr Whelan extracted a document and a small sealed envelope from the file. He pushed his glasses up his nose and cleared his throat. I held my breath.
‘Your great aunt Jane has bequeathed the bulk of her estate to you. You, Miss Stone are the main beneficiary of her will.’

An estate! Visions of strolling through manicured gardens like someone out of Pride and Predjudice, against a backdrop of a Chatsworth-style mansion, on Marc’s arm, were somewhat dimmed with Mr Whelan’s next sentence.

‘There’s a bungalow in Woodby and several thousand pounds. We haven’t finalised the amount yet.’

Woodby? That was a village in the sticks somewhere north of Nottingham. A bungalow and some money. I repeated the words in my head. That was a house and some actual money-in-the-bank type dosh.

My chest had been getting tighter and tighter with lack of oxygen and now I was all panicky. Breathe, Sophie, in out, in out. I probably looked like I was in labour: face all red, and puffing like Ivor the engine.

A house. My great aunt had given me a house. Of my own. And that meant a home. How long had I been dreaming of my own home? Only all my life, that was how long.
Mr Whelan’s lips were moving. He was still speaking and I hadn’t been listening. He was holding an envelope out to me and I took it automatically.

‘As I say, there is a condition to the inheritance, but I think it would be better if you read Mrs Kennedy’s letter yourself. I’ll leave you in private for a moment. Can I get you some coffee?’

‘Tea please, two sugars.’

Condition? I wasn’t sure I could take any more surprises. Life was so much gentler without them. My heart rate was already registering at least a seven on the Richter scale.

‘Actually, make it three!’


After growing up in Birmingham, Cathy went to Nottingham Trent University at the ripe old age of eighteen and five days to study European Business. Upon graduating she spent the next few years in the corporate world of marketing working on high-powered projects such as testing the firing range of SuperSoaker waterguns, adding hair extensions to Girls’ World styling heads and perfecting the weeing action of Tiny Tears. After making it onto Timmy Mallet’s Christmas card list, she realised it was time to move on and so in 1995 set up her own agency, Apples & Pears Marketing.
Avid fans of the TV series, Cathy and her husband realised their Grand Designs’ dream of building their own house in 2011. They now live in rural Nottinghamshire with their two daughters and a cockerpoo called Pearl.
This project provided the inspiration for Cathy’s debut novel Conditional Love, although it is by no means autobiographical, apart from the unfortunate incident in the boardroom! She shares her time between her marketing agency, writing and taxiing the girls endlessly from one activity to the next.
Cathy is a fan of Masterchef, strong coffee, chocolate brazils and Marian Keyes books. She is addicted to her Kindle and has an irrational fear of bananas.
Conditional Love by Cathy Bramley is available as a paperback or e-book from Amazon, published by Apples and Pears Marketing in October 2013 ISBN-13: 978-1490923765. 
 She can be contacted on her blog http://www.cathybramleyauthor.com/ on Twitter @cathybramley or on https://www.facebook.com/CathyBramleyAuthor

The giveaway on this tour is a gorgeous heart necklace and an ecopy of Conditional Love (all International).

a Rafflecopter giveaway


7 Responses so far.

  1. Unknown says:

    Thank you JB for inviting the Conditional Love Tour onto your blog today!
    I'm so glad I chose to write a guest post about why I love Nottingham. Since launching my book 10 days ago, I've had such support from my hometown that I love it even more now! From radio and press interviews to tweets from local people, every bit of coverage has been so positive!
    But the beauty of blogs and social media is that we have the world at our fingertips, I've had such lovely messages from all sorts of places, Africa, Canada, Spain and even BIRMINGHAM!
    So for those of you old enough to remember, in Cilla Black style, tell me: 'What's your name and where do you come from?' What do you love about your hometown?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Awesome blog
    I am Toni. I come from Toronto Ontario, Canada what I like best about my hometown was all the memories of childhood,the CN tour,the EX, Center Island which loved the boat ride over, the shopping. I moved from the Toronto area 16 years ago so it wasn't a small home town but it is where I grew up in.
    Thanks Toni

  3. Anonymous says:

    Toni again here wanted to mention the interesting facts too about the HP etc..thanks:))

  4. Hmmmm, Bournemouth. I love it out of season when the beach is deserted :) Christmas is great too with all the entertainment in the square. The upper and lower gardens are great too (out of season) and my favourite building is the Town Hall. So much history there (and a ghost). The architecture is beautiful.

    JB, thank you for hosting Cathy on tour today.


  5. Unknown says:

    Hi Toni, thank you for sharing your memories of Toronto. I have actually been to Toronto and loved it! It was 18 years ago so you would have been there somewhere!My memories include the CN tower and standing on the glass floor, buying Calvin Klein jeans at half the price they were in the UK and ordering Fisherman's platter in a restaurant. A huge oval plate arrived with the biggest mountain of breaded seafood you've seen on it. We were killing ourselves laughing during the entire dinner, because it was just as if they had cleared out the freezer and dumped all their fish onto one plate!
    thanks for commenting Toni!
    Cathy x

  6. Unknown says:

    Hi Shaz
    great reasons for loving Bournemouth. I haven't been for years, but I remember driving down a wide road near the see with palmtrees either side of it. Coincidentally, yesterday we booked a weekend in Bournemouth for next July as our daughters are in a cheerleading event so we're staying in a Haven Holiday park!
    Cathy x

  7. Hi Cathy,
    Snottingham! That's so cool :) Loved your facts, and I'm entering the competition right now. Now get on with your next book, will you? I loved Conditional Love so much - can't wait for the next one!
    Love Jo x

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