Spotlight & Giveaway: Honeymoon Hotel by Hester Browne

Posted September 16th, 2014 by in Blog, Spotlight / 42 comments

Today it is my pleasure to Welcome New York Times bestselling author Hester Browne to HJ!

Hi Hester and welcome 🙂

What would you say is your motto or maxim as a writer?

hester-browneI love to write books I’d like to read myself – it’s why I started writing, and it’s what I always remind myself as I’m battling a deadline: I need to know how this finishes!

Would you rather…be invisible or be able to read minds? Why?

I’d love to read minds. The temptation to sneak around places I shouldn’t be while being invisible would be too great. Specifically I’d love to be able to read my dogs’ minds – although I suspect it would be a non-stop stream of ‘when’s she going to feed me, feed me, please feed me, she’s fed me! Great! Zzzzzzz Feed me, feed me,’ etc. Repeat on a 20 hour cycle.

Let’s talk about your newest release: Honeymoon Hotel

If you had to summarize the book for the readers here

HHoThe Bonneville Hotel is the best-kept secret in London: its elegant rooms and discreet wood-paneled cocktail lounge were the home-away-from-home for royalty and movie stars alike during the golden age of glamour. Recent years haven’t been kind, but thanks to events manager Rosie, it’s reclaiming some of its old cachet as a wish list wedding venue. While Rosie’s weddings are the ultimate in romance, Rosie herself isn’t; her focus is fixed firmly on the details, not on the dramas. She lives with a professionally furious food critic and works tirelessly toward that coveted promotion. But when the hotel owner appoints his eccentric son Joe to help run Rosie’s department, she’s suddenly butting heads with the free spirit whose predilection for the unconventional threatens to unravel her picture-perfect plans for the most elaborate—not to mention high-profile—wedding the hotel has ever seen, a wedding that could make or break not only the hotel’s reputation, but also Rosie’s career.

Please tell us about the characters in your book?

Rosie is a very organized, very focused young woman. She is not a wedding planner. She is an events manager. She’s very clear about that, because in her opinion, once you lose track of the details, in her opinion, you lose control of the event, and Rosie’s events run like elegant, very romantic clockwork, however crazy the bride. This is in no way a reflection of the fact that Rosie was jilted at the altar by her fiancé Anthony.

Joe, meanwhile, is the son of the owner, Laurence, Rosie’s boss, and he is a believer in trusting in the universe, something Rosie would only do if The Universe was some sort of Events Insurance company. Joe’s spent the last few years running a bespoke experience company in LA, and wants to run the hotel about as much as Rosie wants him to run it, so when Laurence insists that he starts an ‘internship’ with all the departments, prior to taking over a management position, neither of them are thrilled.

Throw in Rosie’s dry food critic boyfriend Dominic, her best mate Helen, Helen’s appalling chef boyfriend Seamus, a supermodel, two film stars and a whole crowd of differently-challenging brides, and it’s not hard to see why Rosie’s to-do lists begin to look more and more necessary.

As you wrote your protagonist was there anything about them that surprised you?

Rosie didn’t surprise me (I felt I knew her pretty well from the outset) but I started to fall for awful Dominic a bit too much – he’s very funny, in a ‘Nooo! You can’t say that!’ way, which is a bit of an Achilles heel for me. Men who are funny and confident and eloquent get away with a lot. I think I may have gone a bit too easy on him for that reason, but he does get his comeuppance.

Please share a few fun facts about this book:

I LOVED researching Honeymoon Hotel, because it gave me a cast-iron excuse to go and sample afternoon teas at some of the hotels in London for inspiration. And then, to pop back later for a cocktail or two in their private bars. As a result of this extensive and dedicated research, I can tell you that the afternoon tea at The Lanesborough and Duke’s is second to none, and that Claridge’s hotel bar is a very smart place to while away a few hours over a French 75 or two. (But no more than three.)

My new favourite cocktail, discovered in the ‘research process’ is one called a Lady Violet: prosecco, grenadine, and elderflower gin, served in a chilled flute. The barman made a beautiful stripe in the middle which I haven’t been able to replicate at home, but that would be the ‘signature cocktail’ Rosie offers to make for her supermodel bride-to-be, Flora Thornbury.

Did any scene have you crying or laughing while writing it?

I made myself giggle a bit writing some of the unreasonable bride scenes in the novel; I had a stack of wedding magazines next to my desk, and flipped through them constantly for inspiration. I would look at some lovely idea, then think, ‘… but what would make this a NIGHTMARE for a wedding planner?’ Poor Rosie. I had to scale back some of the bridal awfulness; some of the (true) horror stories friends told me about weddings they’d been to didn’t pass the credibility test with my agent, despite being 100% true. Weddings can send people a teeny bit loopy…

There’s nothing very sad in this story, but I did have a bit of a weep over the final scene in the book, because it’s just so heartfelt and real. I can’t tell you what that is, because it would give it all away!

If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters and why?

The scene in which Joe and Rosie first meet. I would probably have to audition all the potential Joes myself. (Clue: he’s not wearing a lot.)

If you could have given your characters one piece of advice before the opening pages of the book, what would it be and why?

I would tell Rosie that Sweet Child O’Mine is a perfectly acceptable first dance, as it will give the entire guest list a memory forever; and I would tell Joe that shorts are only acceptable within 100m of an actual beach.

What are you currently working on? What other releases so you have planned for 2014?

I’m currently playing with ideas for my new book – it’s always the most fun stage, involving lots of reading, and research, and wandering around London with a notebook eavesdropping on conversations in Peter Jones.

Where can readers get in touch with you?

At my website,, or on twitter @hesterbrowne

Thanks for blogging at HJ!

Giveaway: 3 Print copies of Honeymoon Hotel by Hester Browne.

To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: What is the worst possible first dance song you can imagine hearing at a wedding? And would you attempt to talk the bride out of it?

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42 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: Honeymoon Hotel by Hester Browne”

  1. marcyshuler

    I know what songs I wouldn’t like, but everyone has their own music experiences and if a song means something special to someone…who am I to try and talk them out of it.

  2. Annwitch

    I don’t think I could stand anything by Journey, REO Speed Wagon, or STYX. Bad high school memories, lol

  3. Taswmom

    I can think of plenty that I don’t think would be good, and, if I were close friends with the bride, I would ask her why that song, and try to talk her out of it if the reason wasn’t great. I do have a daughter in law who had Another One Bites the Dust by Queen as she and my son walked back down her church aisle after her pastor announced the married couple.

  4. Kristy Petree

    Butterfly Kisses, and yes, had I known, I would have talked a couple of brides out of it. Yes, apparently its popular – blech!

  5. Terri Shortell

    I’m not sure what song to pick. Hit Me With Your Best Shot maybe. I would definitely try and talk them out of it. Maybe Blurred Lines?

  6. Melody Gonser

    I can imagine all the songs mentioned by previous posts.I don’t esp have personal songs to add. When people get divorced the wedding song sure looses it’s appeal.

  7. kateivan

    Anything with lyrics inappropriate for the occasion (e.g., the stalker-ish “Every Breath You Take” by the Police or Dolly Parton/Whitney Houston’s break-up ballad “I Will Always Love You”). If I’m close enough with the bride or groom to know which song they’re planning to use, I would try to dissuade them by having them take a closer look at the lyrics.

  8. Kate S

    Some good ones in earlier posts… I would discourage rap and heavy metal..but to each their own!!

  9. Jessica Alcazar

    Honestly, the song is not for me, it is for them. I would hope no matter what song they chose that it would mean something to them. That being the case, it doesn’t really matter what my opinion is, right?! lol
    But yes, if the bride and I were good friends and it was an ‘odd’ song, I might be inclined to ask why LOL

  10. Amy Rickman

    There are numerous songs I don’t think are wedding appropriate but if the bride or groom wants them and it’s their special day I wouldn’t say anything.

  11. Joye

    I like the ones where the songs cause them to do a waltz or slow dance. These fast songs just don’t seem formal enough for me.

  12. Kim R

    MC Hammer’s Can’t touch this. And maybe I’d try to talk her out of it. Depends on everyone’s sense of humor

  13. Glenda

    Oh Lord, so very many come to mind….. It kinda does depend on the people whether they can pull some of them off though.

  14. Terri Chlapek

    I’m Gonna Miss Her by Brad Paisley. It would probably be the groom that would want it.

  15. donnadurnell2013

    Guess I’m just not that familiar with dance music — nor with first dances at weddings. I’ve been to a few receptions where there was a first dance for the bride and groom, but really most of the weddings I’ve attended haven’t had dancing.
    Guess it would really depend on the song chosen whether I might try to talk the bride out of it.

  16. Krysten M

    I have to agree with rap music, and I would definitely try to talk the bride/couple out of it!

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