7 August 2014

Nothing Life the First Time Blog Tour - Review & Guest Post

Guest Post by Keren Hughes
How and why I became and author!
I have always loved reading, from the moment my Granddad bought me a copy of The Hobbit. He used to get me to read pages aloud to him every day. From there I read things like Black Beauty (I still have the green leather-bound copy my Mom bought me about 20 years ago), What Katy Did and of course Point Horror and Point Romance books.
My family used to love me reading aloud to them and I loved spending my summers in my room with my latest book.
I was fifteen when I first decided to try and write my own book. I had aspirations to be a Point Horror author. ‘The Angel of Death’ was the title of the book I wrote. I drew the cover—although art is definitely not my forte—and I wrote the book by hand because I didn’t have a computer. My Mom was the only person that read it and I remember how she wrote a sheet of minor edits for me.
I was sixteen when I wrote my second book, ‘Skye’s Secret’. This time I didn’t have to write it long hand as my Step-Dad had a computer that he allowed me to use. I don’t remember allowing anyone to read it.
When I was twenty-three, I got pregnant with my son and my fiancé bought me the Harry Potter series to read during the long periods that Calum would sleep. There’s only so much housework you can do before you want to pull your hair out, so reading was a great way to escape for a few hours.
I devoured the HP series and so I began to buy books like the Twilight series, which I could read once my son had gone to bed. After Twilight, came True Blood. Then it was Meredith Gentry by Laurell K Hamilton.
I had once again been bitten by the reading bug.
The next step was becoming a reviewer. I bought a Kindle and started following several indie authors on Twitter after reading their books. My fiancé told me that I should start reviewing books and create a blog. That was when Gothic Angel Book Reviews was born. I was reading and reviewing many indie authors’ books and I was really in my element.
When I had been reviewing for about eighteen months, my author friend Kira Saito asked me if I had ever thought about writing my own book. I said I had thought about it but not in a serious way. I thought no-one would ever want to read something I wrote. But she kept telling me that I should write and one day, I came up with an idea for a book.
The idea for the book stayed in my head a while longer, I kept procrastinating and not even trying to get anything written. Just because I had an idea, didn’t mean it would work out well.
In October 2012, I had an operation on my spine and was left with lots of tie on my hands while I recovered. There was only so much staring at the same four walls that I could do, so I decided it was about time to buy a decent laptop and get on with writing.
Over the next couple of months, I wrote Stolen, a YA Paranormal Romance about a girl whose parents are murdered and their souls are stolen. I planned to self-publish because I was so scared of rejection from publishers. But a few friends coaxed me into submitting to a publisher they were published with, so after months of chickening out, I finally submitted to two publishers.
I was extremely lucky because both publishers offered me contracts within a day of each other. On August 10th 2013, I signed with Limitless Publishing. It had been my dream to be published before I hit the age of thirty and I signed that contract just twelve days before my thirtieth birthday.
Stolen was published in November 2013 and then it was time to work on something new.
I have a passion for music. I can’t play an instrument, except for a couple of songs on the piano, but I love to listen to music and I have very eclectic tastes in what I enjoy. I love a range of artists from The Cure, The Smiths, New Order, to Panic! at the Disco, Pink, Usher and many in between. My favourite two bands couldn’t be more polar opposite to each other, they are Depeche Mode and Lady Antebellum.
My second book idea came to me when I was listening to Lady Antebellum. There was one song that would stick in my head, begging to be written. Of course, no two people’s interpretations of one song will be the same. My book is just my interpretation of it.
The song is called Nothin’ Like The First Time. The lyrics are so beautiful and I couldn’t help but feel that maybe there is some truth to them. Everyone has a first love and for me, no relationship I’ve had since has been the same. I don’t mean that in a negative way, I just mean all relationships are different.
I began to think about a story I could base loosely around the lyrics and what I came up with is my now best-selling novel Nothing Like The First Time, an NA Contemporary Romance. It’s about a couple that were each other’s first kiss, first relationship, first love. Then Grey had the choice between his career and his girl and he chose his career, taking him to the other side of the world. Carly never had another relationship like that of her first love, she chose to focus more on her career and men were the last thing on her mind. Then ten years after leaving, Grey comes back to town. Can they rekindle the love they had? Will there ever be anything like your first love?
At the time of writing NLTFT, I was going through a relationship break-up and writing was my escape. I poured all my grief, my heartache, my loss and my love into writing. This novel became very personal to me. It wasn’t just mere fiction, it was based, in parts, on real life events.
Carly was very much an extension of myself. We have many of the same character traits. I wrote it from her POV because it was so easy to just step into the pages of the book and become her. Grey is a composite of a few of my exes. In the main part, he is modelled on my first real love, Mark. A lot of the things that happen to the couple are events that really happened with me and my exes, sometimes I changed them slightly to fit the story better, but most of the things happened to me at some point.
The ending between Mark and I wasn’t the HEA I wanted, but at the time that we were together, I didn’t realise that there were reasons we weren’t meant to be. One of those reasons was my son. For Carly and Grey, they had a lot of ups and downs, but they have the ending I wish Mark and I had been able to have.
I am so glad I wrote NLTFT. It helped me begin a chapter in my life labelled ‘Closure’.
To see my novel hit the Amazon US best seller list at #27 was amazing and I never thought it could get any better than that but I was wrong. I started ranking on Amazon UK and as of right now, it is at #17 in the Coming of Age list.
I am stunned, pleased, and very proud that my book has done so well. I can’t thank people enough for taking a chance on my book. I hope you’ll all continue to take a chance on my future books.
I have been bitten by the writing bug and now I don’t think I could stop even if I wanted to. But why would I want to? Writing is an escape that even reading can’t top. Reading takes me to another reality for a while, one created by an author for my pleasure. But writing takes me to another reality that I create myself. I love nothing more than getting lost in the characters I create.

Nothing Like the First Time
By: Keren Hughes
Limitless Publishing
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Released: May 20th, 2014


Carly Summers and Greyston Sterling were each other's first kiss, first sexual experience, first love, first everything...

They were a match made in Heaven, that was, until Grey took a job as a freelance photographer which took him to the other side of the world. When it came down to a choice between his career and his girl - he chose his career.

Now, 10 years later, Grey's back in town and wants to see if they can rekindle what they had all those years ago. Carly has had relationships but nothing that lasted. No one ever compared to Grey.

But how can they if he's engaged to somebody else?

Book Trailer:

Add to Goodreads:

Nothing Like The First Time

Buy Links:

NLTFT Playlist:

Early Reviews:

"This book really makes you believe in love forever and happy endings." -Kay

"This book has everything you need in a romance novel: love, heartbreak and even a little suspense." -Vikki Love

My Review:

As soon as I started this book I was addicted to it as I just couldn't and didn't want to put it down. When I wasn't reading it I was thinking about it. The relationship in this is the kind I would dream of as it was so sweet but it wasn't always perfect which made it feel more real. Even though I was very much drawn into  this book there was times when it felt too real to the point I got a little fed up as there was a lot of mundane things that happened during this book. There was a few dramatic things that happened to make it more interesting which I hadn't expected but it sure did add to the story. The ending was perfect as it went a few years later which is always great to see, and even before the epilogue I fell in love with the last chapter  it was so sweet and romantic.

I loved every single one of the characters as they all seemed so realistic that I could imagine that they where right in front of me. Early was a very strong person that we didn't even realise how much she had gone through until near to the end which kind of broke my heart but I do feel as though that particular part was a bit glossed over and came out of the lie. I could imagine Carly as the kind of person I would like as a friend as she would do anything  anyone she loves. I loved Grey the moment we meet him even though I felt like I shouldn't I just couldn't help myself he was just too selfless not too.

Overall this was a great, real book and I ant wait to read more from Keren.

About the Author:
Keren lives in the UK and is an avid bookworm; she has been since she read things like Black Beauty, What Katy Did and The Hobbit as a child. Her first real memories of reading are the summers she used to lie on her bed and re-read What Katy Did and What Katy Did Next.

Over the years she has come to realise that she is a bit OCD about books. They have to be in perfect condition without the slightest bit of damage.

She is a book reviewer and has been for the past 18 months or so.

The idea for Stolen came to her one day but she never thought she’d actually write it let alone publish it. If it wasn’t for her author friend Kira Saito, the idea would still be stuck in her head not on paper. But constant love and support from Kira is why you are now able to read Stolen.

Stolen is her first novel but now that she’s written one, she knows she needs to write more. There will be one sequel, called Freed which will be from Bodhi’s POV. This will be set a couple of years on.
Then, the plan is for her to write either NA or Adult Contemporary Romances. She has a big crush on Lady Antebellum’s music at the moment and their songs have inspired a few book ideas.

Keren loves hearing from her readers and if you want to contact her, you can do so at any of the following places:

Twitter: @Keren_Hughes
Facebook (review page): www.facebook.com/GothicAngelBookReviews
Facebook (author page): www.facebook.com/kerentshughes