Today I’m delighted to welcome Ella Allbright to the blog. Ella is interviewing Leila Jones from her epic love story The Last Charm, which is being described as perfect for fans of Me Before You and One Day in December. Let’s find out a bit about the book first.
Leila’s charm bracelet tells a story of love, a story of loss, a story of hope.
This is the story of her… and the story of Jake.
When Leila Jones loses her precious charm bracelet and a stranger finds it, she has to tell the story of how she got the charms to prove she’s the owner. Each and every one is a precious memory of her life with Jake.
So Leila starts at the beginning, recounting the charms and experiences that have led her to the present. A present she never could have expected when she met Jake nearly twenty years ago…
Now let’s move onto Ella’s interview with Leila
Tell us about your charm bracelet – it’s beautiful.
Thank you so much. It’s my most precious possession. Mum left it behind as a gift on the evening she left me and Dad, the day before my eleventh birthday. For a long time, I really hated her, but as I grew up it turned into resentment more than anything else, and I suppose a fear of being left again… I definitely have trust issues! Dad’s an amazing single parent, but there have definitely been times I’ve missed having a mum to ask for advice from. Still, at least she sends charms every now and then so I know she thinks of me, at least sometimes. Jake gave me one too when we were in secondary school together for a single day. He hid the tiny book charm in the pages of a Jilly Cooper novel he returned to me, before he left town. We didn’t see each other for quite a while after that.
Which is your favourite charm, and why?
That’s really tough. I have quite a few now, and each one represents a significant memory, with the power to make me laugh, smile or cry. If I really had to pick one, it would be the tiny silver musical note charm. My friends clubbed together and gave it to me for my twenty-second birthday at dinner, after we saw Coldplay in concert in Cardiff. It was an amazing night despite the pouring rain because the atmosphere was electric, and Jake and I made up after a disagreement we’d had. It’s a lovely memory.
What’s your favourite place in the world, and why?
This is an easy one – Durdle Door on the Jurassic Coast. I went to an end of school party there a couple of months before my sixteenth birthday. We’re lucky to live only 45 minutes away, and the limestone archway that curves into the sea is absolutely spectacular, whether you visit day or night. My favourite time to go is dusk; nothing beats sitting on the shingled beach watching the sunset. I just love it when the stars come out too – it feels otherworldly. I go there to paint if I need inspiration or if my mood needs uplifting. It also reminds me of a particular night, when I saved a certain someone’s life…
Who is your favourite person in the world, and why?
Ha! Speaking of a certain person… Jake, although I wouldn’t necessarily tell him that! He’s the most wonderful person, but at the times, the most aggravating. Still, he’s the one of the wisest and supportive people I know, and has always been there for me no matter what, even if at times I haven’t appreciated it. He also writes the most beautiful letters – he has the soul of a poet. We met when he was thirteen and I was eleven, and ever since then we’ve moved in and out of each other’s lives – a bit like Marianne and Connell in Normal People…
How does painting, and sharing your art with people, make you feel?
Truthfully, it makes me shudder. What if they don’t like it, or think it’s no good? Art is so subjective, and what one person might love, another might hate. It’s also the thought of the spotlight being on me that makes it worse – I’m naturally an introvert and happiest when I’m painting in the garden wearing dungarees. Still, Jake’s been encouraging me to paint more and follow my dreams, and I’m slowly starting to believe that I might have talent, thanks to him. We’ll see what happens.
What’s your worst character trait?
I can be quite defensive when I feel vulnerable, like when things take me by surprise or if I’m being pressured to take risks, especially emotional ones. That’s normally when those perky trust issues crop up again.
I can have a quick temper too. It used to get me in trouble a lot when I was a teenager, and though I’ve worked on it and try to be patient, I can sometimes lose my cool with the people I love the most. I hope I have some redeeming qualities too though – Jake has always said that my art helped him get through some really tough things as he was growing up. Apparently my paintings gave him hope, and somewhere to escape to.
And finally, cats or dogs?
Definitely dogs. I have a tri-coloured beagle called Fleur – named after Fleur Delacour from Harry Potter – that Dad bought me the summer I sat my GCSE exams. I’d been campaigning for years for a puppy, and he finally caved in because I’d done well in school (no more skiving for me, though that’s a story for another day!) Fleur is adorable and such a character. She’s a huge part of our family and absolutely loves Jake, sometimes I think more than she does me!
‘A gorgeously romantic love story full of heart and poignancy that lasts long after the beautifully uplifting ending.’ Alex Brown, bestselling author of A Postcard from Italy
‘Magical, heartwarming, charming, heartbreaking, enthralling… really, this book is simply beautiful.’ Sarah L, Netgalley Reviewer
A self-confessed reading addict, Ella Allbright writes commercial women’s fiction set in her beautiful home county of Dorset. Her first novel in this genre, The Last Charm is published in ebook and audiobook format on 21 August 2020 by One More Chapter (HarperCollins) and she’s currently hard at work on her next book. Ella is represented by agent Hattie Grünewald at The Blair Partnership.
Ella also writes as Nikki Moore, the author of the popular #LoveLondon romance series. When not writing or reading, she can usually be found working in her HR day job, walking the family’s cute beagle puppy or watching a Netflix series!
You can contact Ella here:
Thanks for dropping by to tell us about your book, Ella. Wishing you lots of sales!
Sassy, heartwarming romances set in glorious locations: Amazon Author Page