Chatting with Lisa Stanbridge, about Lonely in Paris.

It’s a pleasure to welcome author Lisa Stanbridge to talk about her new book, Lonely in Paris. Lisa recently placed third in the Romance Writers of Australia, Sweet Treats contest. This is a highly prestigious award and it attracts many, many entries. Congratulations Lisa!

Lisa Stanbridge, author of Lonely in Paris.

Some getting-to-know-you questions.

Late nights or early mornings? Late nights all the way. My imagination comes alive at night and that’s when I do my best writing. Unfortunately, I also have a full-time job so late nights are not a good idea as I always wake up tired.

What’s for breakfast? Bacon, eggs and hashbrowns. Yum!

Night out or Netflix? Netflix for sure, I’m such a homebody.

G &T or Tea/Coffee? I like tea and coffee, but I’ll always choose coffee first.

Perfect weekend? A weekend at home with hubby, relaxing, writing, watching movies or playing games.

What did you want to be when you grew up? An author! It’s nice to be able to check that off.

What is for dinner tonight? Can you cook? What would you rather be eating? I can cook and do enjoy it, but tonight we’re having spaghetti bolognaise which hubby is cooking!

What brings you joy? Lifts your spirits, and chases away a down mood. Going to the beach. Not to swim, but to walk along the sand. There’s nothing quite like the ocean breeze washing away the worries of the day.

Nothing like a dose of Vitamin Sea.

Your hero? A family friend named Barry. He’d have to be in his 80’s now and I haven’t seen him for years, but he ‘saved’ me twice in my life and I’ll never forget him. The first time was when I was at a wedding and I was probably about 12 years old. I didn’t have anyone to dance with and I desperately wanted to, but he came up and gave me my first dance. I was flying high for the rest of the night!

The second time was about a year later when my Nana died. I loved her so much and I was absolutely devastated. At her funeral, I wasn’t allowed to sit in the front row with my family and instead had to sit by myself in the row behind. There were some other people around me, but no one I knew. I couldn’t stop crying throughout the whole funeral but I had no one to comfort me…until Barry came up and held me while I cried. He is truly my hero.

You don’t have to be a superhero to change someone’s life

Do you have any non-writing-related interests? Is reading considered a writing-related interest? Because I love reading but always struggle to find enough time to do so. I also love gaming, the relaxing type. Animal Crossing, House Flipper, Stardew Valley, and Pokémon…just to name a few.

What would surprise people to know about you? I used to dance when I was younger. All types of dance—tap, highland, jazz, Irish, and ballroom. Never professionally, but I danced for a good few years in my teens. Sadly, I never kept it up.

Life lessons-what do you wish you’d known earlier? That adulthood is hard!

Let’s talk about your new  book Lonely in Paris which was released, today 16th January 2023

Lonely in Paris is a bit of a passion project. Ever since I visited Paris a few years ago I’ve wanted to write a story set there. I did try writing one about three years ago but I wasn’t happy with it so it went into the ‘maybe’ pile.

Then I decided to join a Paris anthology and I wrote a new story, which is how Lonely in Paris was born. I knew it would work better as romantic comedy/chick lit and so that’s what I did, and it pretty much wrote itself. It’s a fun, light-hearted romantic comedy with some serious aspects because you can’t have romance without a little uncertainty.

The eBook is available from the 16th of January and will be Amazon exclusive. Anyone can purchase it from Amazon, but anyone with a Kindle Unlimited subscription can read it for free. A paperback will be available wide but will be delayed by a couple of weeks.

Tell us about it.

Jane’s #1 rule in Paris: Don’t fall in love

After ending a disastrous relationship, Jane accepts a job in the City of Love. The trouble is she speaks very little French, has no friends to enjoy Paris with, and she’s awfully lonely.

Then she meets Jacques DuPont.

Rich, handsome, and the cream of the Parisian crop, Jacques is living the dream. Just not his own. His father wants him to follow in his footsteps, but Jacques wants to earn his success. Trapped in a life chosen by his family, he’s always been alone.

Until he meets Jane.

He’s from money. She’s not.
He’s a planner. She’s impulsive.
He’s serious. She’s definitely not.

They couldn’t be more different, but they will fall. Hard.

Together Jane and Jacques will learn why Paris is the City of Love. But when an expiring visa, a jealous colleague, and a manipulative family threaten their fledgling relationship, their loyalties will be tested to breaking point.

Jane broke her #1 rule, now they must decide what they are willing to sacrifice for love.

Who wouldn’t love Paris?

Are you writing anything else?

 Lonely in Paris is book 1 in a 3-book series

Confession: Lonely in Paris was meant to be a standalone, but as I wrote it and the characters grew, I just knew it could be a series. Rather than having different characters in the other 2 books, they’ll instead feature Jane and Jacques during their evolving relationship and the many blips along the way. Book 2 is scheduled to be released on 16th May 2023 (pre-orders will be available when Lonely in Paris is released). Book 3 I’m aiming to release on 16th September, but that date isn’t set in concrete yet. I’ll see how much progress I make on it when I release book 2.

The Louvre, Paris.

Questions about Writing.

What is your writing process like? Like my current manuscript…a work in progress. It’s an area I’m still trying to perfect. Juggling writing and working full time is something I still haven’t got right.

Do you have any other projects are in the works? So many, my mind is full of ideas and future series. As I mentioned above, I’m working on books 2 and 3 of this series. I’m also editing manuscripts I finished a few years ago that I plan to publish in 2024.

Have you ever resuscitated a project you’d shelved? What helped it work better the second time around? My debut novel, Abandoned Hearts (published in 2020), was a resuscitated project. It took me 6 years from start to publication because I just couldn’t get it right and I kept sitting on it. In that 6 years, I worked on my writing, perfected my voice, learnt and learnt and learnt, until I finally I got it right.

Writers never know when an idea will strike!

What do you know now that you wish you’d known at the beginning of your writing/publishing journey? Drafts don’t have to be perfect. I often expected perfection first go and sometimes even led myself to believe my first draft was perfect even though it was far from it. There’s nothing wrong with a dirty draft where you just spill the words on the page and then go back and fix it later. I’ve started doing that recently and it’s such a great feeling. The words flow better without the pressure of getting everything right.

What is the most difficult part about writing for you? Actually getting it down on paper. I get the idea in my head and it all sounds so amazing, but then it comes to writing it and I really struggle sometimes. Since I’ve started writing dirty drafts though, it’s made this a little easier.

Did you do any research for your current book? Yes, because it’s been a long time since I went to Paris, so I needed to make sure what I remembered was still relevant (and in some cases, it wasn’t). I also had to make sure I got the French translations correct.

Do you have a favourite character that you have written? If so, who? And what makes them so special? Oh, this is hard, as I have many. 🙂 Michael and Claire in Abandoned Hearts are close firsts, as is Jacques in Lonely in Paris. But there’s also Hamish in my unpublished manuscript, The Final Masquerade, and Gavin in another unpublished manuscript (planned for 2024 release) Oceans Apart. How do I choose?

Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions? I think anyone can be a writer, but if someone doesn’t feel emotions it’s going to be a lot harder for them. But since I’m an over-emotional person, I can’t even comprehend not feeling emotions.

Best money you have spent as a writer? Purchasing Atticus to format my manuscripts and paying an editor to get my manuscript up to scratch.

Do you have a favourite author and why? I’ve got many, but my top two would be Katie Fforde and Sophie Kinsella. They were instrumental in helping me find my writing style and voice.

What are you reading now? Let it Snow by Beth Moran

What books or authors have most influenced your writing? Ha, see above!

What favourite book/story you have read as an adult? It’ll always be Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I agree and the BBC 1995 Adaptation With Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle is about as perfect as you could get.

What favourite book/story you have read as a child? The Tin Can Puppy by Wendy Orr and Brian Kogler

Thank you so much for talking with us and good luck with Lonely In Paris.

I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy of Lonely in Paris and have posted a review on Good Reads and in last month’s blog post.

Buy link for Lonely in Paris: https://books2read.com/LonelyinParis

Buy link for Abandoned Hearts: https://books2read.com/AbandonedHearts

The Books I Read in February 2022.

February was a sunny, sunny month.

February in my part of Australia (Perth)started off hot. I mean frying eggs on the pavement hot, don’t walk out in bare feet hot. We ended up with a climate record-breaking month. Many days reached temperatures of over 40c ( 104F) While it’s not great for much activity, it is perfect for reading under the air-conditioner. It also is a month with a poignant anniversary for me, so most of my reading was light. Additionally, I am hoping to join a Regency romance project, so some of my reading is geared towards that.

Love is in the air! February is the month for romance

It’s in His Kiss by Julia Quinn. (7th Bridgerton Book)

The seventh novel in Julia Quinn’s globally beloved and bestselling Bridgerton Family series, set in Regency times and now a series created by Shonda Rhimes for Netflix. This is Hyacinth’s story: she’s all grown up and ready to cause havoc . . .

All the ton agree: there is no one quite like Hyacinth Bridgerton..

Fiendishly smart, devilishly outspoken and – according to some, particularly Gareth St. Clair – probably best in small doses. But there’s something about her – something charming and vexing – that grabs one and won’t quite let go.

Gareth and Hyacinth cross paths at the annual – and annually discordant – Smythe-Smith musicale. To Hyacinth, Gareth’s every word seems a dare, and she offers to help him out with a knotty inheritance problem he’s facing. However, as they delve into the mysterious St Clair history, they discover that the answers they seek lie not in the past – but in each other; and that there is nothing as simple – or as complicated – as a single, perfect kiss.

Find out why readers love Julia Quinn .

Fans cant get enough of Bridgerton.

My Review.

I watched the first Bridgerton series last year, but sadly, had only the vaguest recollections of Hyacinth. As it is the seventh book in the series and I have only read one, Benedict’s story, I expected to have some catching up to do. I wanted to fall in love with the characters and plot, but I didn’t. Eloise has always been the outspoken and witty one and Hyacinth didn’t gel for me. One of Gareth’s actions didn’t sit well with me. One for the fans, I think.

The Long Call by Ann Cleeves

For the first time in 20 years, Ann Cleeves –international bestselling and award-winning author of the Vera and Shetland series, both of which are hit TV shows– embarks on a gripping new series.

In North Devon, where two rivers converge and run into the sea, Detective Matthew Venn stands outside the church as his father’s funeral takes place. Once loved and cherished, the day Matthew left the strict evangelical community he grew up in, he lost his family too.

Now, as he turns and walks away again, he receives a call from one of his team. A body has been found on the beach nearby: a man with a tattoo of an albatross on his neck, stabbed to death.

The case calls Matthew back into the community he thought he had left behind, as deadly secrets hidden at its heart are revealed, and his past and present collide.

An astonishing new novel told with compassion and searing insight, The Long Call will captivate fans of Vera and Shetland, as well as new readers. 

My Review.

I have always been a fan of Ann Cleeves, so I was interested in reading her new series. Matthew Venn is a quiet thoughtful man, one who I am sure will develop as the series progresses. For now, it is his knowledge of the religious community he left behind that informs part of his investigation. They say you can never go back, but sometimes you have to, so you can move forward. There is a TV adaptation of the book, which altered a couple of the plot points. I preferred the book.

Someone to Romance by Mary Balogh

Love comes when you least expect it in this captivating new novel in the Wescott Regency romance series from New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh.

Lady Jessica Archer lost her own interest in the glittering excitement of romance after her cousin and dearest friend, Abigail Westcott, was rejected by the ton when her father was revealed to be a bigamist. Ever practical, however, once she’s twenty-five, she decides it’s time to wed. Though she no longer believes she will find true love, she is still very eligible. She is, after all, the sister of Avery Archer, Duke of Netherby.

Jessica considers the many qualified gentlemen who court her. But when she meets the mysterious Gabriel Thorne, who has returned to England from the New World to claim an equally mysterious inheritance, Jessica considers him completely unsuitable, because he had the audacity, when he first met her, to announce his intention to wed her.

When Jessica guesses who Gabriel really is, however, and watches the lengths to which he will go in order to protect those who rely upon him, she is drawn to his cause—and to the man. 

My Review.

I enjoyed this. Lady Jessica is a character who is strong-willed, independent and finally ready to settle down to marriage. Somehow none of her current suitors’ appeal, too dull, too slavish in their devotion, or only after her money. At twenty -five she really should be married. Gabriel Thorne, piques her interest, although, of course, he is totally unsuitable and totally intriguing.

Our Woman in Moscow by Beatriz Williams

The New York Times bestselling author of Her Last Flight returns with a gripping and profoundly human story of Cold War espionage and family devotion that proves again why Elin Hilderbrand says Beatriz Williams “is writing the best historical fiction out there.”

In the autumn of 1948, Iris Digby vanishes from her London home with her American diplomat husband and their two children. The world is shocked by the family’s sensational disappearance. Were they eliminated by the Soviet intelligence service? Or have the Digby’s defected to Moscow with a trove of the West’s most vital secrets?

Four years later, Ruth Macallister receives a postcard from the twin sister she hasn’t seen since their catastrophic parting in Rome in the summer of 1940, as war engulfed the continent and Iris fell desperately in love with an enigmatic United States Embassy official named Sasha Digby. Within days, Ruth is on her way to Moscow, posing as the wife of counterintelligence agent Sumner Fox in a precarious plot to extract the Digby’s from behind the Iron Curtain.

But the complex truth behind Iris’s marriage defies Ruth’s understanding, and as the sisters race toward safety, a dogged Soviet agent forces them to make a heartbreaking choice between two irreconcilable loyalties

An intriguing cover.

My Review.

Smart and compelling but you need to pay attention as it moves at a fast pace between places and people. I remember my parents talking about Burgess and Maclean and Philby. The shadowy world of espionage means loyalty is fluid and who knows who a friend or an enemy is. At times I felt impatient with Iris and her devotion to Sasha, a charming but most unsatisfactory husband. The conclusion made it all worth it.

Romancing The Duke by Tessa Dare.

In the first in Tessa Dare’s captivating Castles Ever After series, a mysterious fortress is the setting for an unlikely love . . .

As the daughter of a famed author, Isolde Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens. She never doubted romance would be in her future, too. The storybooks offered endless possibilities.

And as she grew older, Izzy crossed them off. One by one by one.

Ugly duckling turned swan?

Abducted by handsome highwayman?

Rescued from drudgery by charming prince?

No, no, and… Heh.

Now Izzy’s given up yearning for romance. She’ll settle for a roof over her head. What fairy tales are left over for an impoverished twenty-six year-old woman who’s never even been kissed?

This one.

My Review.

A delightful romp of a book. Izzy Goodnight is a unique character, who gained both my sympathy and admiration. She is unfazed by the surly Duke, Ranson Roxbury. He is in turns enraged, baffled and unwilling to admit she may have got through to him. Unless they work together neither will have a home. Surprisingly Izzy’s past is the answer to their present problems.

The Garden House by Marcia Willett.

After the death of her father, El moves into his home just outside Tavistock in Devon. Fresh out of university and dangling on the precipice of adulthood she questions what it is she really wants from life. Although her childhood friend, Will, is there to help her through her grief she soon realises there were things her father was hiding from her…

Jules is also mourning Martin, but they thought it best to keep their relationship secret, she must now grieve entirely alone. All she has to remember her love are the memories of their time spent at a beautiful community garden and teashop nearby. The Garden House is where they met, fell in love and where their secret affair will inevitably be uncovered.

As El and Will begin to piece together her father’s secrets they bring them closer and closer to both Jules and a truth that is difficult to face.

My Review.

I’ve always enjoyed previous Marica Willet books and anticipated an easy and enjoyable read. Unfortunately, I’d say it’s one for the fans as so many characters from previous books make appearances. I did recollect who a couple were but overall, it left me feeling dissatisfied.

Someone to Love by Mary Balogh.

Humphrey Westcott, Earl of Riverdale, has died, leaving behind a fortune that will

forever alter the lives of everyone in his family—including the daughter no one knew he had…

Anna Snow grew up in an orphanage in Bath knowing nothing of the family she came from. Now she discovers that the late Earl of Riverdale was her father and that she has inherited his fortune. She is also overjoyed to learn she has siblings. However, they want nothing to do with her or her attempts to share her new wealth. But the new earl’s guardian is interested in Anna…

Avery Archer, Duke of Netherby, keeps others at a distance. Yet something prompts him to aid Anna in her transition from orphan to lady. As London society and her newfound relatives threaten to overwhelm Anna, Avery steps in to rescue her and finds himself vulnerable to feelings and desires he has hidden so well and for so long. 

My Review

Having read Someone to Romance I was interested to read the story of how Avery and Anna came to be married. It seemed an unlikely pairing. The initial set-up was confusing with so many Dukes, Duchesses, Earls and assorted nobility crowded onto the pages. Anna is perhaps just as a bit too good to be true, while Avery is not as substantial a presence as I would have liked in a romance.

The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles.

Based on the true World War II story of the heroic librarians at the American Library in Paris, this is an unforgettable story of romance, friendship, family, and the power of literature to bring us together, perfect for fans of The Lilac Girls and The Paris Wife.

Paris, 1939: Young and ambitious Odile Souchet has it all: her handsome police officer beau and a dream job at the American Library in Paris. When the Nazis march into Paris, Odile stands to lose everything she holds dear, including her beloved library. Together with her fellow librarians, Odile joins the Resistance with the best weapons she has: books. But when the war finally ends, instead of freedom, Odile tastes the bitter sting of unspeakable betrayal.

Montana, 1983: Lily is a lonely teenager looking for adventure in small-town Montana. Her interest is piqued by her solitary, elderly neighbor. As Lily uncovers more about her neighbor’s mysterious past, she finds that they share a love of language, the same longings, and the same intense jealousy, never suspecting that a dark secret from the past connects them.

A powerful novel that explores the consequences of our choices and the relationships that make us who we are–family, friends, and favorite authors–The Paris Library shows that extraordinary heroism can sometimes be found in the quietest of places.

My Review.

At times a book just speaks to you and for me, The Paris Library was one of those books. It is so obviously a library and book lovers’ book. To some of us, a place without a library is soulless. Libraries bring communities together and none more so during WW2 than the American Library in Paris. This dual timeline story focuses on two women and how their lives become connected. Odile in wartime France and Lily in Montana in 1983.

Odile has memories she’d rather forget, while Lily has longings she can’t even begin to explain.

During the Nazi occupation, even books became dangerous, many were banned and confiscated. And of course, the doctrine of ‘racial purity ‘ meant people were no longer permitted in some areas. The library had welcomed everyone, French, Russian,  American, English, Jewish. But now Jews were disappearing, rounded up by the French police.

Long-time library regular Professor Cohen has entrusted her novel to Odile and the first section reads, ‘ The Afterlife is filed with the heavenly scent of musty books. Its walls are lined with tall bookcases full of forgotten tomes. In this cozy mezzanine between worlds, there are no window nor clocks, though an occasional echo of children’s laughter or whiff of  chocolate croissant wafts in from the ground floor.’

I stopped reading and held the book close at such a beautiful description. A book for bibliophiles and anyone else who enjoys a good story.

Summer Kisses at Mermaids Point by Sarah Bennett

Laurie Morgan runs a café in the small seaside community of Mermaids Point, named after the beauties rumoured to live in the waters a few miles off the top of the point. When a hazy image is posted online of what appears to be a mermaid, the café and the village are soon full to bursting with curious sightseers.

The most eye-catching of the new arrivals is handsome author, Jake Smith, who has rented a cottage for the summer while he works on his new book. Or so he says. In fact, he is a journalist, burned out and disillusioned with life, whose editor has sent him on a crack-pot hunt for mermaids…
Jake quickly finds himself drawn to village life, and to the gorgeous woman who runs the local café. But he soon suspects there’s trouble lurking beneath the idyllic façade, and when it looks like Laurie’s family might be involved, Jake faces a difficult choice. Pursue the truth, or protect the woman he’s beginning to fall in love with…

Warm, escapist, feel-good and altogether brilliant story-telling from bestselling author Sarah Bennett. Perfect for all fans of Trisha Ashley and Milly Johnson.

A cute cover, but I would have loved to see a mermaid.

My Review.

A fun escapist read. Café owner Laurie has a contented life in Mermaid Point, but something is missing. Life is predictable, and her past has left her unwilling to trust men.

Jake Smith is undercover on what he regards as a stupid assignment, the mermaid hunt. He suspects that some in the village may be involved in what he thinks is an elaborate scam.

Laurie thaws to Jake while he is increasingly holding his cynicism at bay until events take an unexpected turn.

Romancing Mr Bridgerton: Penelope & Colin’s Story by Julia Quinn.

Everyone knows that Colin Bridgerton is the most charming man in London. Penelope Featherington has secretly adored her best friend’s brother for…well, it feels like forever. After half a lifetime of watching Colin Bridgerton from afar, she thinks she knows everything about him, until she stumbles across his deepest secret…and fears she doesn’t know him at all.

Colin Bridgerton is tired of being thought nothing but an empty-headed charmer, tired of everyone’s preoccupation with the notorious gossip columnist Lady Whistledown, who can’t seem to publish an edition without mentioning him in the first paragraph. But when Colin returns to London from a trip abroad he discovers nothing in his life is quite the same – especially Penelope Featherington! The girl haunting his dreams. But when he discovers that Penelope has secrets of her own, this elusive bachelor must decide…is she his biggest threat – or his promise of a happy ending? 

My Review.

Like many of us, I have a soft spot for the overlooked Penelope, who has loved Colin from afar. Now he has returned from abroad and she finds him as charming as ever. But, for the first time, he’s noticing her. They share banter and after resigning herself to spinsterhood, a ray of hope grows in Penelope’s heart. Until her secret, threatens to derail the budding love affair. Can he look past it, does he care enough, is she worth it? Will they face the future together?


Most of my reading was escapist reading this month, interspersed with a few more serious choices. For me, reading is about enjoyment and entertainment. Maybe I ‘should ‘ read more serious literary works, but I am content with what I read and I don’t think anyone should shame you for your reading choices.

Still, the sun blazes down.


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