A PERFECT bank holiday read…


The Queen of romantic fiction herself!
Summer Nights at the Moonlight Hotel by Jane Costello 

Lauren Scott lives in 'The most romantic place in Britain', but her love life is about as successful as her mountain climbing skills. The man she's obsessed over for two years has proposed to someone else - and her only solution is to save up for six months to go travelling, so she never has to set eyes on him again. 

But when her friends sign her up for a dance class - in the same historic hotel where her beloved dad worked and her most precious childhood memories were formed - Lauren makes a horrifying discovery. It's been sold to a faceless budget chain, which has depressing plans in store. Worse, the entrepreneur behind it all turns out to be among a group of guys her friend Cate roped in to join the very same salsa class they've signed up for.... 

Jane Costello is the QUEEN of the romance novel – and this is her best book yet. 
Funny and full of charm with super likeable characters, the moment you pick up Summer Nights at the Moonlight Hotel you'll want to cancel all your plans and turn off your phone so you can finish it in one sitting. 
I learnt two things when reading Jane's latest novel - 
1) That I REALLY need to go to the Lake District ASAP 
2) I absolutely won't be signing up for salsa lessons… 
But what did Jane learn while writing Summer Nights at the Moonlight Hotel? She reveals her six things below…

1. Salsa dancing is a lot harder than it looks
Salsa is for everyone, right? Wrong, as I discovered when I dragged my husband to a class with me for ten weeks to research the dance scenes in the book. In fairness, our enthusiasm was hopelessly ill-matched; I had dreams of us as the next Baby and Johnny, burning up every dance floor we’d grace forever more. And he . . . well he didn’t. We quickly discovered that salsa far from easy, that dislocating both knees once a week doesn’t look especially pretty – and that if you don’t take any of it seriously it’s extremely good fun.

2. The Lake District is heaven on earth.

I kind of knew this already if I’m honest. I bought a little holiday home between Bowness and Ambleside a few years ago, which means I’m now lucky enough to visit at least 10 times a year. But the book only served to underline just how much I adore the place. It was the perfect setting to write a novel – sweeping mountains, sparkling lakes and lots of men in climbing gear.

3. Writing doesn’t always have to be hard.

Contrary to popular belief that the authors of popular fiction ‘churn them out’, the reality is that most authors, including very successful ones, find writing a novel extremely difficult. As Dorothy Parker said, ‘I hate writing. I love having written.’ That’s me all over – there are times, especially when I’m completing a first draft, when I’m an anxious, perfectionist wreck of a human being who’ll have sleepless nights because I just can’t find a decent resolution to one of my story lines. Well, writing Summer Nights at the Moonlight Hotel wasn’t like that AT ALL. It was a revelation, a joy from start to finish, and possibly the most enjoyable writing experiences I’ve ever had. I think it’s wishful thinking to hope they’ll all be like that from now on.

4. Good friends are wondrous things.

I reflected a lot on friendship when I was writing the book. I love my friends and just can’t imagine life without the handful of women I’ve been closest to in my adult life. They’ve been just as brilliant partying on a Saturday night during the good times as they have been when things have got tough. I won’t say too much, but there’s a dilemma in the book in which one of our heroine’s friendships is really is tested to the limit. It really made me wonder what decision I would make in that position (and I like to think it’d be the right one!)

5. Outdoor pursuits are not for the faint-hearted.

The Lake District is famous for lots of things – beautiful old inns, Beatrix Potter,  rambling towns with limewashed cottages and breath-taking views. But I just couldn’t write a book set in a place best known for its lakes and mountains without getting up close and personal with nature.  Like many people who live within the national park, a number of my characters either have jobs that involve regularly being up on the fells, or simply spend a lot of time exploring them  because there’s nothing like the feeling of being up at the top of a mountain, breathing in the clean air.  I did a fair bit of exploring while I was writing this book – and even had a go at something called ‘ghyll scrambling’, which involves climbing a mountain, then scrambling and sliding down via a waterfall, sometimes ending up fully submerged in freezing water. My kids had a whale of a time. I, on the other hand, have only just regained the feeling in my toes.

6. You can write a sex scene that’s also funny.
Writers love a challenge, and I did wonder whether this one could ever hope to work. Could you really have a heroine getting it on with someone she’s been crazy about for years . . . and still make it hilarious? I’ll await my readers’ verdict on this one, but I really do hope I managed it in what turned out to be my favourite scene in the book.  Of course, it helps if you throw in a pair of Marigolds, a urine sample and a cartwheeling dog in the background on Britain’s Got Talent . . .

So if you have some downtime this rainy bank holiday weekend, grab yourself a copy and lock yourself away with an Easter egg or two. 

And I can confirm the sex scene is LOL… 

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