This time last year when I was still flailing around trying to figure out how Twitter worked, one of the first authors I started following was Miranda Dickinson. Her debut novel, Fairytale of New York, had just been published. For an aspiring author, it was fantastic to follow someone whose dream of publication had so recently come true and who was excited enough about that, let alone people’s positive reaction to her book and how incredibly well it was doing. (It was a Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller and shortlisted for the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2010.) Her tweets were fun and optimistic and she was chatty and friendly, whenever we tweeted. And a year on, both Miranda and her tweets are happily unchanged and she remains every bit as lovely.

So in December 2009, when Miranda tweeted that she was offering a copy of her book in a Twitter competition, I entered and, to my surprise, won!

Just before Christmas, Miranda’s parcel with her book, a sparkly Christmas card and some chocolate arrived. I have to admit that while the chocolate didn’t last long (read: anytime at all), I didn’t read Fairytale of New York until after Christmas. At the time, we were snowed in and there was nothing for it but to curl up in front of the fire with a good book. I’d generally resisted picking up a book with pink in or on its cover until then but I was interested to read Miranda’s debut novel, so Fairytale of New York was the first book I read in 2010 and it was the perfect way to start a New Year. You can read my full review of it here but from the outstretched arms of the girl on the cover, who looks as if she’s about to spin around at any moment from sheer exuberance, I was captivated by the uplifting story of eternal optimist, Rosie Duncan, an Englishwoman whose life in New York isn’t quite going to plan. It started the year off on a positive, upbeat note.

Some of the delicious cupcakes made to match the book cover colours for the launch of Welcome to my World

After tweeting each other for almost a year, Miranda and I finally met each other last month at the joint launch for her beautiful debut album, About Time, and her second novel, Welcome to my World. Here’s a little taste of what that’s about…

Close your eyes and imagine the world is your oyster… And now imagine never seeing it. Welcome to Harriet Langton’s world. All her life she’s dreamt of travelling the globe – fate always got in the way. Working as a travel agent, the closest Harri comes to her dream destination of Venice is booking the trip for someone else. But everything changes when travel fanatic Alex drops in. With her boyfriend Rob tied up with work, Harri is persuaded to help Alex in his quest for love. But in her attempts to help, Harri soon discovers that she’s alienating those around her. Desperate to leave her life behind, will her dreams finally come true? Or will Harri’s leap of faith be her biggest mistake yet?

As I’m going to be finishing the year as it began, by reading a Miranda Dickinson novel, I’d like to offer one of my blog readers the chance to do the same. I’ve got signed copies of both of Miranda’s books, Fairytale of New York and Welcome to my World up for grabs, together with an unsigned copy of her CD, About Time.

Welcome to my World is about Harri, a travel agent who’s never travelled anywhere. So, all I would like you to do is to tell me… EITHER where in the world would you most like to spend Christmas and New Year and why? OR if you could only visit one place in the world, where would it be and why? Leave your answer in the comments below, together with a valid email address, by midnight GMT on Sunday, December 19th, 2010, when my mischievous muse, Squizzey, will pick a winner. (As we’re forecast more snow, I can’t guarantee that it will definitely get to you by Christmas but I will post it off to you as soon as possible after the winner’s emailed me their address.)

Miranda Dickinson’s latest book, Welcome to My World, is available in both paperback and Kindle Editions, as is her debut novel Fairytale of New York.
Miranda is also an award-winning songwriter and you can listen to her music at her MySpace page. To find out more about Miranda, check out her Author Website and/or Follow Miranda on Twitter.

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