Mandy Baggot is with me today to talk about her latest novel, Taking Charge. My review of which can be found here. Although this is Mandy’s fifth novel to be released, it is her first with American publishers, Sapphire Star Publishing. Today, I wanted to ask Mandy a bit about the American influence of Taking Charge.
Hi Mandy, first of all many congratulations on your publishing deal with Sapphire Star Publishing, it’s great news. How do you feel, now you’ve had time to get used to the idea?
Taking Charge is set in Portage, Michigan – what made you choose that town?
Portage is the town where my Dad lives! He moved there in 2000 and we went to visit him for the first time in 2010. It was my first trip to America and I just fell in love with the area and the people that live there. We were supposed to stay for ten nights but when that volcano in Iceland erupted the day we were meant to return, it meant we couldn’t get home for another eleven nights. When we got back to England I spent a long time pining for Portage. I had the idea for Taking Charge about three days into the holiday and it started to grow from there.
Is the roadhouse in Taking charge based on a real one in Portage and do they have an ice hockey team?
Eddie’s Roadhouse in the book is very loosely based on a roadhouse I went to in Portage called Logan’s Roadhouse on Shaver Road, Portage. Mr Big and I went there and LOVED it! It was a traditional roadhouse like you see in the films with beer, food, sports on the TV and bands. We saw two great bands while we were there called Special Guest (who are featured in the book) and LTD (Living the Dream).
Logan’s doesn’t have an ice hockey team connected with it but Kalamazoo (the county Portage is in) does have an ice hockey team. They are called the Kalamazoo Wings (K Wings).
Did you ever go to any ice hockey games when you were over in the States?
Of course! It would have been rude not to! Lots of hot men, going really fast on skates, smashing into each other and scoring goals – it’s Lady Baggot’s idea of Heaven! We went to watch the K Wings as the stadium was just down the road from my dad’s house. The atmosphere there was amazing! I loved it – the thrill of the game, the music they play (a mix of strange fairground style organ and Van Halen), the fights and the fluorescent green duck called Slappy who is the mascot! I think he’s a duck!
Was it difficult for you to give your characters an American voice?
I thought I’d done an excellent job with that until Sapphire Star Publishing took me on. Then I realised how little I knew about American terminology. I had some of it down but it’s those little UK expressions we take for granted that kept sneaking in there! There must have been something realistic about the setting and my writing to make them take me on though!
Have you got any plans to write more novels set in America?
Ooo that’s a toughy. I don’t know and in a way I guess it depends on the success of Taking Charge. I have a few books at the beginnings of their lives at the moment and I’m just weighing up my options to decide which one to concentrate my efforts on. One is set predominately in the UK with flashbacks to France, the other is set in the UK and then moves to Cyprus and the third one is set in Spain so, who knows? Maybe I should have another America based novel on the backburner!
Do you think you’ll do a book signing in Portage?
I would love to do a book signing in Portage. There is a big Barnes & Noble store just down the road from my dad’s house. How cool would it be to sign there? HELLO! Barnes & Noble? Want to host Lady Baggot?
Thanks for dropping by Mandy, as always, it’s a pleasure chatting to you. Very best of luck with Taking Charge.
Mandy has her own website and blog at http://mandybaggot.webs.com/
Mandy is on Twitter @MandyBaggot and Facebook