Interview: Jackie Ladbury, author of THE MAGIC OF STARS

The Magic of Stars Banner 1.pngThe Magic of Stars 

by Jackie Ladbury

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Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher – Fabrian Books
Standalone Novel


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Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

It sounds a bit pretentious, but I think the genre chose me. Every single time I wrote a short ditty, a poem, a screenplay (I was rubbish at it and soon gave it up) or a novel, I couldn’t get going until I had a gorgeous hero and a troubled heroine to put some meat on the bones. I gave up trying to write any other genre apart from romance and think that even though I have written historical and contemporary novels, they will always have a happy ever after for the feel-good factor at the end.

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

I’ve no idea although my dad was an English teacher (retired now) so maybe a love of reading and writing came from him. I remember writing lots of angsty poems as a teenager and trying to write a novel in my twenties before realizing I had no clue how to go about it and soon gave up.

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

Soul searching romance but with a sweet overtone – not too heavy.

Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work?

I remember reading The Other Side of Midnight by Sidney Sheldon in my lunch breaks when I worked as a Saturday girl in Martin’s newsagent. I used to sneak a copy off the shelves and take it upstairs to read, before bringing it back down after lunch and memorizing the page I’d reached. (heaven forbid I’d actually buy a copy!) It amazed me that a novel could be so gripping and thrilling and horrifying (the end is too sad!) It was the first grown up novel I’d ever read. Up until then I’d been purely a girly magazine kind of gal. Sometimes I read a book and a turn of phrase is so wonderful I write it down in my ‘stickie’ notes on my laptop, but I have to make a note that it’s not my beautiful turn of phrase, in case I think I can use it in a novel. In the early days of Choc Lit I used to read every single book they bought out as they were my publisher of choice. I still love Jane Lovering’s books and a more recent addition to Choc Lit, Victoria Cornwall’s historicals.

What did you find most useful in learning to write? What was least useful or most destructive?

I seriously believe that there isn’t much point in reading endless ‘how to’ books – just get writing and then get a beta reader or pay a professional to edit your story as otherwise you just repeat the same mistakes. A good editor will highlight rookie mistakes and clunky sentences that you don’t notice along with the repetitive ‘ticks’ that most writers pepper their story with, unknowingly. I wish I’d paid for an editorial sooner rather than later. Get a good editor though, through recommendations and one who edits the genre you write in. For me the most destructive thing I did was to try and follow the market and write in a way that I thought would sell, rather than find my own voice. It’s been a long journey to be honest – I’ve had some great advice along the way and some pretty crap advice.

What do you like to read in your free time?

My reading tastes have changed with my age, but I don’t imagine that’s a rarity. I don’t really read the “shopping and sex” kind of chick- lit as I find them rather trite, although I am aware that people consider my novels to be chick-lit. I tend to read feel-good novels or suspense novels that are not too gory. I don’t want novels to depress me!

What projects are you working on at the present?

I wrote a historical romance/saga, set in The Potteries (The Midlands) a few years ago called The Potter’s Daughter and have finally had it edited and it’s ready to go sometime this year, so that’s a minor project. I started a Christmas novel last summer and unfortunately had to abandon it at 43,000 words as other commitments popped up, so I intend to get that one ready by Christmas 2018. It’s about a broken chef (mentally and financially) and a slightly nutty wannabe actress and is set in St Albans in Hertfordshire and London. Hopefully humour and love will bring them together!  

What do your plans for future projects include?

Writing a sequel to The Potter’s Daughter and another Blue Skies airline book set in Africa and Russia – another novel I started and had to put on the back-burner. I’m sifting through most of my old projects and can usually find something that is re-workable in them.


Say there’s like a whole box of your favorite snack in a room all by themselves. Say I left them there and told you not to eat any until I got back. How long would it take you to disobey my wishes?

If it was wrapped chocolates I would probably unwrap them very carefully eat the chocolate and rewrap the wrapper to look as if they were still full of chocolate – and you would never know I’d tricked you until you went to eat them yourself. Trust me on this one, I am an expert at it!

If I gave you a pencil and piece of paper and told you to draw something funny, what would you draw?

A Mickey mouse car and a very wonky seahorse. It was the only thing my mother ever drew for me and I seem to acquired her total lack of talent in the drawing department as that’s about all I can draw too.

How many times does it take for you to listen to a song that you love before you actually hate it instead?

I have every single One Direction song on my iPod courtesy of my daughter and I must have listened to them for about three years in total in the car. Surprisingly I grew to like most of them (I even went to one of their concerts with my daughter) Most of the songs I still like, but sometimes my fingers just itch to fast-forward them. I love the idea of Christmas songs but most of them annoy me because the same ones are churned out year after year.

Finally, and this one is important, so please pay attention What do you think cats dream about?

My two cats live the dream! They get fed whenever they mew- even the tiniest of mews will produce something from me, they sit on my duvet all day, even though they know they are not allowed and they get petted all evening when they sneak on to my lap. I’d like to live a life like that.

This or That?

Dogs or Cats?

Cats although I am allergic to them. Pushkins our ‘big cat’ just turned up in our garden one day and refused to leave.

Tea or Coffee?

I can drink gallons of tea but one strong coffee can give me the shakes and a serious coffee headache.

Winter or Summer?

Hmm, love winter for sprawling on the sofa at 4.30 because it’s dark and I feel that I can cozy up, but I love summer for the feel-good factor and wearing less clothes.

Vintage or New?

New. I hate anything dusty or chipped or worn. Think it’s because my husband has a kitchen company and the slightest of blemishes on one of their kitchen’s will be picked up and the paintbrush or sander will be wielded until it’s perfect again.

Fried or Scrambled?

Scrambled with smoked salmon strips or crispy bacon, please!

Roller Coaster or Ferris Wheel?

I once cried on the children’s Ferris wheel while sitting on Dumbo cos he flapped his ears and I wasn’t expecting it. (I was quite young at the time) but as an adult the Roller Coaster would terrify me. I once had a bit of an ‘incident’ on an aircraft and have since totally lost my bottle. What a wuss!


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Jackie Ladbury was desperate to become a journalist when she left school but was ousted within minutes on the day of the exam at her local rag because she’d forgotten to bring a pen.

Short and sharp lesson learned.

Her budding writing career was not on hold for long, though, as Jackie found herself scribbling love stories of pilots and ‘hosties’ while she flew in aeroplanes of various shapes and sizes as a flight attendant herself.

Fast forward a good few years and, after being short-listed in a couple of prestigious romantic writing competitions, Jackie decided it was time to discard her stilettos, say goodbye to the skies and concentrate on writing romantic novels, where the only given is a guaranteed ‘happy ever after.’

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To find out more about Jackie Ladbury, check out these pages:

Facebook –

Website –

The Write Romantics –

Twitter –

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The Magic of Stars Cover

The Magic of Stars

Sapphire Montrose always felt like a loser in the struggle of life, but when she becomes the airline manager of a run-down airline she starts to believe she is a winner – until she unwittingly propositions her new boss and all her hard work is undone.

In a moment of recklessness air stewardess, Sapphire Montrose throws caution and her dress to the wind by propositioning a handsome stranger in a hotel in Florence, only to find herself waking up alone and embarrassed in her hotel room.

Unfortunately for Sapphire, it turns out that her new boss, Marco Cavarelli, is the man she failed to seduce and she is now fighting for her job and her self-respect when he tells her there is no place in his revamped airline for an alcoholic woman with lascivious tendencies. To make matters worse she is increasingly attracted to him and he seems to be giving out the same vibes. Or is he simply testing her? One wrong move could be the end of her career. But what if he really is offering love – and is he worth the risk?

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