This month, MRN puts the spotlight on Author Aidan Willows. Let’s get to know Aidan and her work…
Aidan Willows was born in Malaysia but grew up and currently lives in London, England. She graduated from the University of London with a degree in Psychology.
After spending an absurd amount of time in the company of her e-reader, she finally decided to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and finally let loose all those imaginary friends she has floating around in her head.
She is an avid reader, daydreamer, tea drinker, people watcher, wannabe amateur baker, appreciator of all things whiskey related and hopeless television addict.
Find Aidan on the interwebs:
As a new author, what has been your biggest challenge? Biggest triumph?
The whole process of self-publishing has been a learning experience. From learning how to format an e-book to finding book bloggers willing to read and review my book. I would say the biggest triumph has probably been the mostly positive response to the book. I was worried that people may not get my sense of humour, or that they would hate all my characters, and Caleb and Liya’s story, but thankfully that’s not been the case. There were two big challenges I found as a new author, the first was promoting the book, and the second was me. Self-doubt was a huge factor, I almost didn’t press the publish button once I had uploaded the book to Amazon. I think many times throughout the writing process, I was truly my own worst enemy. I doubted everything from the strength of my story-telling to my ability to produce something that people would want to read. But being brave enough to just take a chance, was the best decision I’ve ever made, and I wish I’d had the courage to start writing sooner.
Do you get writer’s block? How do you overcome it?
I do get writer’s block, and I overcome it by listening to music or watching a TV show (usually comedic), just to get out of my head. I have an eclectic taste is music, from everything ranging from swing music to proper cheesy 90s pop to indie music and old school R&B. I’m not fussy with what I listen to or watch.
What/who inspired you to write Falling Completely? Are the characters based on anyone in your life?
For as long as I can remember I’ve always had problems sleeping, and to put myself to sleep I would create little stories in my head. Falling Completely was one of those stories, that I decided to put on paper. The main characters are not actually based on anyone in my life, though I do draw inspiration from the banter and relationships I have with my cousins and with my friends. People say write what you know, and that’s how Falling Completely came about. I’ve been blessed with an amazing set of loving friends and family who I’m very close with, and I think that comes across in the book with how close the main characters are to their families. The relationships Caleb and Liya (the main characters from Falling Completely) have with their siblings is similar to the relationships I have with my cousins. We may all be in our mid to late twenties, but I don’t think we always act like it. I have a large multi-cultural extended family, and Caleb’s meddling aunt in the book, is essentially made up of all the loving but intrusive aunts that I grew up with. I also have a very multi-cultural friendship group, which is the reason why the characters from Starling Falls have such diverse backgrounds, it’s simply what I’m used to. When it came to the female characters, I wanted to create personalities who were far from perfect, but who I could see myself being friends with in real life. Another factor which inspires my writing is, I’m surrounded by very funny people. I love to laugh and don’t take myself seriously, and I hope that comes across in my book as well.
What is your favorite book of all time?
I truly don’t have one favourite book, so I’m going to cheat a little here and list a couple which inspired me throughout my life. I loved the Secret Garden, Little Women, Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Wishing Chairs series and the Baby-Sitters Club books when I was a young. When I was teenager I discovered a love for fantasy, through the Harry Potter series and The Lord of the Rings. Harlequin books were probably my first introduction into the world of romance, so they will always have a fond place in my heart.
What would readers be surprised to find out about you?
Writing a book is never something which I thought I would do, I fell into it completely accidentally. I have a background in working with children who have special needs, and writing was completely foreign to me. I was in a very sad place in my life when I began writing Falling Completely. I was wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in life, and was in between jobs looking for work. I’d always been an avid reader, and couldn’t find anything to suit the mood I was in, and I thought about what kind of book I would want to read. The kinds of characters who interested me, and I started making little notes, which turned into character profiles. Once I’d started writing the first couple of sentences, the rest just flowed. I fell in love with all the characters, and weird town of Starling Falls, and I was just so relieved that I’d found something that I loved doing which made me so happy. I figured that if it made me smile while writing it, hopefully it could make someone else smile when they were reading it. I am under no impression that my books will in anyway be a life changing experience, but if someone who is having a rubbish day can pick up my book and escape into another world for a couple of hours, and enjoy being in that world, then publishing Falling Completely would have been worth it for that reason alone.
If your life was a book, in what genre would it be? And what would the title be?
Ooh. Good question. It would probably be a general contemporary novel. Definitely not in the romance genre, but would probably be general fiction novel (if that is actually a thing) found in the humour section. It would probably be named something like: The Struggling Eternal Optimist, Who Wings It And Hopes For The Best.
What can readers expect next?
Readers can expect more from the crazy but lovable cast of Starling Falls. They’ll all be back in Falling Sweetly which is the second book in the Starling Falls series and focuses on two of the characters introduced in the first book, Jake and Niki, and them navigating their way through their new relationship. It has a similar feel to the first book, in terms of the humour and closeness of the characters, but Jake and Niki have very different personalities to Caleb and Liya from the first book, and their romance has been a lot of fun to write about.
♦♦♦ SYOPSIS ♦♦♦
Falling in love is not for me. I don’t do relationships, they never end well.
I don’t believe in fate, soul mates or happy, fairy tale endings. I’m definitely not a sweet little princess in search of her prince.
I have a plan to follow and falling in love is not part of that plan.
Nothing is going to change my mind.
Not even a domineering, gorgeous, blue-eyed firefighter who seems to be everywhere I go.
The moment I saw her, I knew.
I knew the funny, curvy, raven haired beauty was supposed to be mine.
She may not agree with me at the moment, but I’m a patient man.
I’m not afraid to play dirty to get what I want.
And I want Maliya Abbott.
When her sister decides to move from London, across the Atlantic Ocean to Starling Falls to run an estranged relative’s bakery, Maliya Abbott is pretty sure her sister has lost her ever-loving mind.
Not wanting to be separated from the only family she has left, Maliya goes with her, a move that was only supposed to last a year. After all, training to be a doctor at the same University her parents did had always been her goal.
What she hadn’t planned on, was meeting Caleb Jameson. A man who is adamant they are destined to be together. That would be great, if she actually believed in any of that crap.
She also hadn’t planned on his insane, lovable, meddling family trying to derail her plans.
Maliya is a smart girl. She knows what she wants and what she doesn’t want. She definitely wants to go to Oxford University and train to become a doctor. She definitely does NOT want anything to do with Caleb Jameson.
Now, if only she could get her stupid heart to listen to her head.
Authors Note: 18+ For mature readers only. Book contains graphic language, scenes of a very sexual nature, a dirty-talking and determined alpha male, a sassy and food obsessed heroine who talks to herself far too much, a cynical and suspicious geriatric aunt, a meddlesome family, some very unhelpful friends, a mind controlling goldfish and a possibly cannibalistic cat…
Read an excerpt from Falling Completely (Starling Falls #1)
“We need to talk.” I told him, pulling on his arm.
“Sure thing, Angel.” he said taking a gulp of his hot coffee. I frowned at his use of a pet name in front of other people, knowing that it would give them the wrong impression of what happened between us.
Oh, I think the hickeys didn’t really leave any room for doubt.
I dragged him behind the counter, through the kitchen area to the small office at the back of the bakery. Opening the door, I switched on the light and pulled Caleb into the room.
Before I knew what was happening, he had me pinned to the wall and was kissing me intensely and once again I sank into the kiss.
I woke from the kiss induced haze when he pressed his already hard cock against me. Pulling away, I jumped to the other side of the room, the furthest point away from the man and his magical mouth.
“No! No more kissing!” I told him whilst still panting.
“But we’re so damn good at it.” he replied with a wink.
Yes, we are. We really, really are… No! Remain on task, Maliya!
“Be that as it may, we can’t do it anymore. Firstly, last night was a mistake. I should have stopped what we did before we got so carried away. I’m sorry if I led you on, but I’m not looking for a relationship or anything. So all the pet names, touching and kissing need to stop.” I looked him directly in those devastatingly blue eyes.
I took a deep breath and continued “Secondly, I can’t believe you gave me fucking hickeys, where everyone can see! What are we? Teenagers? Thirdly, I think it’s probably for the best if we don’t see each other at all anymore. I wouldn’t want things to get confusing. I don’t really do friendships either. So please don’t suggest wanting to hang out.”
His eyes narrowed on me and he asked “You about done now, babe?” I nodded at him.
He pushed himself off the wall he’d been leaning on and stalked towards me.
“Firstly, last night was in no way a mistake and it will be happening again. Secondly, I could say I’m sorry about the hickeys, but that would be a lie and I don’t do lying. I had to let all the other assholes eyeing you know that you’re taken now. Thirdly, it’s a small town. You can’t avoid me forever, Angel.”
He had reached where I was standing, and he lifted a hand to cup my face and ran his thumb over the apple of my cheek.
“I don’t mind a chase, baby. Whether it’s a sprint or a marathon makes no difference to me. I’ll reach the finish line eventually. I don’t know what you’re running from, but I don’t give up easy. I’ll be seeing you soon.” he said with another wink and planted a firm, brief, kiss on my mouth.
My body jumped again as he gave my bottom a sharp smack before leaving the room.
“Did he just spank me?” I said incredulously to the empty room.
I think the question you need to ask yourself is, why did you like it so much?
“Shut up evil voice! You are not wanted right now!” I huffed as I left the room, thinking about how the hell I was going to about avoiding Caleb Jameson.
Read my review of Falling Completely here.
I’m so happy Aidan stopped by MRN! It was truly a pleasure to read her first book and get to know her better. I’m eagerly awaiting Falling Sweetly and more from the Starling Falls crew. I hope you’ve found your next favorite read!
Coco 💋 💋 💋