Welcome to da hammock man. Okay, bad welcome. Let me try again. Happy Monday! My guest in the hammock today is Zanna Mackenzie. Before we get started, Zanna, can my sexy cabana boy offer you a cocktail?

Cocktail – I don’t know any cocktails!! Can I be cheeky and ask for an orange brandy instead?

You’re in the islands (virtually speaking), so you can be as cheeky as you want, Zanna. So, drinks – check, introduction – check. Let’s start the interview by learning a little about Zanna before she spills her dirty secrets…I mean answers some questions. 😉

Zanna Mackenzie lives in the East Midlands in the UK with her husband, 4 dogs, a vegetable patch that’s home to far too many weeds and an ever-expanding library of books waiting to be read. Being a freelance writer and editor of business publications is her ‘day job’ but, at every opportunity, she can be found scribbling down notes on scenes for whatever novel she’s working on. She loves it when the characters in her novels take on minds of their own and start deviating from the original plot! Formerly a travel agent and therapist (she has qualifications in clinical aromatherapy, crystal healing, naturopathic nutrition and herbalism) she loves walking the dogs and gardening – that’s when she’s not writing or reading!

Zanna has written two novels, The Love Programme and How Do You Spell Love, both are available to purchase on Amazon.

Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk
Amazon US – http://www.amazon.com

Okay, on with the questions. What is your favorite book and author?

This varies depending on which books I have recently finished and totally loved. At the moment I would say my favourite books I have read in 2013 have been:
Martina Reilly’s Even Better Than The Real Thing
Roisin Meaney’s One Summer
Mhairi Mcfarlane’s You Had Me At Hello (how brilliant a title for a book is that?)

If you could be a character in any book, movie or TV show, who would it be and why?

Oooh, tricky one. So much choice. I’d love to be somebody who is the total opposite of me, just for a change. So it would be somebody who is super confident, carefree, flirty, very cheeky – so I would choose the character of Elise Sellas the contemporary ballet dancer (played by the superb Emily Blunt) in the movie The Adjustment Burea , which, in my humble opinion, is the best-film-ever.

If your significant other gave you permission to have a fling with a famous person, what five people would be at the top of your list?

This varies because I can be prone to getting crushes on actors/personalities in my favorite TV programmes or films. At the moment I would say the list would be:

*American actor Josh Dallas who plays Prince Charming in TV’s excellent Once Upon A Time

*British actor David Leon, who plays DS Joe Ashworth in the ITV crime drama Vera

* Award winning Saville Row tailor and the deliciously dapper Patrick Grant, currently one of the judges on the BBC TV programme The Great British Sewing Bee (and no, he isn’t gay, even though he works in fashion!)

* New Zealand actor Kieren Hutchison (One Tree Hill, WildFire, The Flower Girl) who is the ‘visual inspiration’ for the character of extreme sports instructor Zane in my current work in progress novel.

* Scottish actor Emun Elliott (Prometheus, The Paradise) who has the sexiest Scottish accent imaginable and is the ‘visual inspiration’ for the character of heart-throb actor Noah in my other current work in progress novel. (I’m currently editing one book, revamping one book, writing another, and planning the next – so many ideas, not enough hours in the day!)

I have guests from all genres, what genre(s) do you write?


What was your favorite scene to write or research?

In which of my books?! I love the emotion and chemistry from writing the romantic bits and pieces. I love the tears-in-your-eyes and big smile I get from writing the endings. If I had to choose one particular scene from my novel How Do You Spell Love? then I’d probably say it would be the one in the allotment shed between Summer and Tom – are you intrigued now? (For non Brits reading this, do you have allotments overseas? An allotment is, basically, a large vegetable patch which you rent from the local council in case you were wondering!)

What book(s) are you currently promoting? (include the book blurb and a short excerpt)

How Do You Spell Love? which is a romcom with a magical theme.

frontBook blurb

Make A Wish…

Kat can’t help wishing there was more to life than this. What happened to her dream job? What happened with Nathan?

Summer is wondering where her life is going too… battling the developers of a controversial housing estate and working out why boyfriend Rob is increasingly distant.

When the developers win the battle and move into town everyone’s life is turned upside down.

Kat meets building site project manager Alex. She enjoys his company far too much, even though he’s on the town’s most hated list.

Summer meets Tom who has plenty of relationship troubles of his own, so things could get really complicated.

Soon everyone is keeping secrets, lives change and hearts are broken. Is everything falling apart, or does life just work in mysterious ways…

Book extract

Kat pushed the last of the cottage cheese and shrimp sandwiches into the cool box and slammed the van door shut. As if her life wasn’t enough of a disaster zone as it was – no money, lousy job, losing Nathan, having to move back home to live with her parents – now this had to go and happen. Cringing as a van full of builders stopped at the nearby traffic lights, Kat braced herself for the inevitable. After the standard-issue wolf whistles had drifted across from their van, next came the leered, “Wouldn’t argue with that, love!” as one of them nodded towards her sparkling clean van, parked neatly at the curb. The words “A Bit of Crumpet on the Road” emblazoned down the side in deep purple, glittery lettering. Not for the first time Kat cursed her boss Janice for calling her bakery-cum-deli that name.

Kat sighed, well it certainly drew comments from the public and from their customers, not always welcome ones, but as Janice was always keen to point out, any kind of publicity and attention was, in her eyes, good publicity and attention.

Pulling her navy and white striped apron more tightly around her T-shirt and shorts, Kat ignored the builders and climbed into her van to begin that morning’s deliveries. As she indicated to pull out into the busy street in Luisborough, she mulled over the bad news – that she was to add the controversial Netherton Meadows housing development to her daily sandwich round.

Netherton Meadows. Yippee. If Summer found out, she’d surely be ostracised for fraternising with the environmental enemy. This was a development that pretty much everyone in Luisborough had fought against for getting on towards a year. Everyone hated the Netherton Meadows developers. Except, it seemed, Janice, who was perfectly happy to, in her words, ‘supply yummy builders with yummy sandwiches.’

Two hours later Kat had visited all her usual drops, was extremely hot and bothered, and could put off going to Netherton Meadows no longer.

Driving through the assorted vans, machinery and portacabins Kat parked next to a building marked as being the Site Office and hit the button on the dashboard. Tinkling chimes filled the air as Kat climbed from the driver’s seat and made to open the back doors of the vehicle. It was embarrassing enough that the van had the company name in large lettering along its side but, just to make sure that it received maximum exposure – and achieved maximum embarrassment – Janice had had some irritating chimes fitted to the vehicle too. Kat was under strict instructions to sound the chimes when she called at all of the sites where people came out to the van; such as they were about to at Netherton Meadows.

A man came down the steps of the office with a grin on his face and walked towards her. “Hi, you must be Kat.” He wedged a clipboard under his left arm and offered a hand to shake. “I’m Alex. Project manager for the site.”

“Hi,” mumbled Kat, spotting a group of hard-hat-clad builders advancing towards her with hungry expressions on their faces.

“Right, lads,” Alex turned towards the men. “This is Kat and she’s very kindly agreed to venture onto this site to bring you all your lunch. Don’t give her any hassle, OK?”

The men laughed and then nodded. “Sure, Alex. You’re the boss.”

Fifteen minutes later it seemed that all of the team at the development had made their sandwich, crisp and drink selections and sloped off to devour them in the sunshine. Only one of the builders, a portly man who must have been twenty years Kat’s senior, had pushed the boundaries a little, despite Alex’s earlier warning. As he’d selected a smoked salmon and cream cheese roll – a choice that had surprised Kat somewhat, having pegged him as a ham and cheese kind of guy – he’d asked Kat if she’d fancy joining him for a drink sometime. She’d politely declined his offer, saying that she had a boyfriend. No need to tell him that, technically, she and Nathan were no longer an item. No need to tell him why either.

What is your idea of the most romantic date?

I’m not a girly girl so don’t go for dressing up in heels and finery, candlelit dinners in posh restaurants etc. I would say a picnic in the great outdoors on a spring day – either on top of a fell in the English Lake District, by the shores of a Scottish loch or on the coast in Yorkshire.

What is your dream vacation?

A cottage right on a private beach, log fires, me and my husband, nobody else around. Days spent walking in the hills, supper on the beach, evenings watching a DVD in front of a log fire with a glass of orange brandy to share. In fact, we had just this holiday a few years back in South West Scotland. Bliss!

If you were stranded on an island with only one item, what would you want it to be? (What’s the one thing in life that you just can’t live without?) A book – I have to have something to read!

Favorite joke?

I recently did a guest blog post for the author Julie Valerie and she wanted everyone to contribute a cheesy joke, I came across the following and it made me giggle something terrible –

Two antennas met on a roof, fell in love and got married.

The ceremony wasn’t much, but the reception was excellent.

(Joke courtesy of http://board.jokeroo.com/funny-jokes/92199-20-really-cheesy-jokes.html)

LOL! I love cheesy jokes. My son will love that one. Thanks for swinging in the hammock, Zanna, sharing about you and your lastest release. All the best!

Find out more about Zanna at:



Twitter: @ZannaMacKenzie