Mavis Cheek blog tour

As you all know, bookshops are my first love, but every now and then a book catches my attention too.

Mavis Cheek is an author I'm often told I should read but haven't quite managed to yet, so when I was given the opportunity to welcome her as part of her blog tour I jumped at the chance: What better way to decide about reading a book than by finding out how they feel about bookshops?

Please tell me about you as a bookshopper. Do you have a favourite section to browse in when you are in a bookshop? And are you a one-book buyer or someone who comes away over-laden?
I'm an eye-rover – just letting my gaze wander over the shelves – pretty well always contemporary fiction – and picking out things that interest me – often by title, sometimes by jacket, and, of course, by writers I've enjoyed before. I LOVE the process and generally I'll buy two or three – no more than that – and one sometimes. I'm so aware of books sitting stacked up next to the bedside lamp so I try to keep it reasonable.

How did you feel when you saw your own first book in a bookshop? Can you remember which bookshop it was? Did you buy the book?The biggest thrill in the whole wide world for an author is that moment when they see their first baby sitting up in a bookshop and in my case it was right in the bookshop window – my dear friend Fred Engel (ex-South African, now back in Cape Town with the best bookshop over there) who ran Fountain Bookshop in Chiswick – gave it pride of place. But it was also there in pretty well every bookshop I went into and I couldn't believe it. I used to slip in and just gaze at it.

No – I've never bought one of my own books, not even from a charity shop. Though I have volunteered to sign them which is always accepted – it's nice to do it.

If one of your characters was to open a bookshop, who would it be and what would their bookshop be like? 
In Getting Back Brahms you'll find the heroine, Diana, runs a bookshop – which one of the characters calls 'dinky' and 'sells everything', but I'm not sure it's an ideal bookshop it just fitted the story. I hope you enjoy it.

What was the inspiration for the character and/or book featuring a bookshop? Please tell me a little more.
Well - it's quite hard to find jobs for heroines, I find I don't know enough about things like banking or media support or technology to make it seems convincing – and so many women work in these jobs – but I do know a fair few women who have their own small businesses so I've done that a few times – a framers, a bookshop, a beauty parlour. 

I suppose life in a call centre would feature as one of the jobs (young) women do – and teaching, of course. I had an architected in the background in Patrick Parker's Progress but it is important to find a life for your main character -– after all she has to pay the bills, clothe and feed herself, her family if she has one – and I'm keen to keep my heroines authentically like the women I know, who are teachers, and all of the above.

You've written a lot of books, and most bookshops need to prioritise their shelf space. Which one of your earlier titles would you particularly like to see bookshops paying more attention to and why?Without a doubt it would be number three Dog Days, or number four Janice Gentle Gets Sexy.

DogDays because by the third novel I had learned how to do what the Americans call 'English screwball comedy' pretty well and applied it to something very difficult – divorce – and made it work. And number four because that was the transition novel where I wrote my first more serious (though comedic) novel – with subplots and fleshed out characters (as opposed to what E M Forster called 'flat characters') and satire all combined – and, mark you, had a heroine who was a good size sixteen at the start of the novel and hadn't shed a pound by the end of it, and she was still the romantic heroine. So those two, please.

Generally – because we are re-issuing some of my earlier titles in e-books – I've re-read them and I have to say that though I was nervous at first thinking I might cringe a bit, I enjoyed going back to them. I think dare I say it (yes, yes) they have stood the test of time quite well. I hope you agree when you try out your first.

Thank you Mavis, for stopping by The bookshop around the corner. Obviously I'm very biased towards real-world bookshops, so – while I wish them every success – I won't be linking to the newly released ebooks, however you can support a bookshop and buy copies of Mavis' books on Hive or you can find out more at

As part of her blog tour, Mavis yesterday stopped at The Writes of Woman, where you can find out more about the re-released Dog Days. She'll also be visiting Debra's Book Cafe, Annabel's House of Books and Nut Press over the coming days.

Posted: 16th May, 2016


  1. I love how restrained Mavis is when she goes book browsing... I need to start restricting myself to 1 - 3 purchases before the house gets even more overwhelmed by books than it already is!


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