Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Dorothy Koomson - That Girl From Nowhere Blog Tour

That Girl From Nowhere 

Review, Q&A and Fujufilm Instax 8 Mini Giveaway

Top 5 Book Characters

Dorothy Koomson is the author of ten published novels (number 11 is out May 2016). Here, she undertakes the very difficult task of choosing her five favourite characters from the books she has written.

5. Clemency Smittson from That Girl From Nowhere
Clemency is a woman in her late thirties who was adopted as a baby and unknowingly sets herself on the path to meeting her birth family when she moves from Leeds to Brighton during a turbulent period in her life. Clemency is a new entry on the list, obviously because she’s my last published character. She arrives here, though, because she is probably one of my most complicated characters to date. She is so incredibly flawed, it was great to create her. With all that she faces in her life, she tries to do the right thing but often gets it wrong, while being a bit of a people pleaser. She’s also strong minded, selfish, big-hearted and loving. I hope that comes across in the telling of her story.

4. Serena Gorringe & Poppy Carlisle from The Ice Cream Girls
Cheating, I know, to have two of them but I couldn’t separate them. I love these two characters because they were the first two I wrote when I penned my first ‘emotional thriller’ – a book with a crime at the heart of it that focuses mostly on the impact that crime has on the people involved. Poppy and Serena are both sexually involved with their violent teacher as teenagers and when he winds up dead they’re both accused of it but only one of them goes to prison. Serena and Poppy are both products of their involvement with a violent, manipulative man and I based my characters on the real-life experiences of the people I spoke to. I felt a real responsibility when writing the book to accurately portray those experiences and not descend into sensationalist stereotypes about seductive young girls who lead grown men astray.

3. Kamryn Matika from My Best Friend’s Girl
She was my first ‘complicated’ (read: slightly unsympathetic) character. Kamryn she has been hurt by her best friend - Adele - and fiancé, Nate, when they have a one-night stand and Adele goes on to have Nate’s child. Kamryn cuts them both off but years later, Adele gets in touch to ask her to look after her daughter because she’s dying. When I first wrote her I thought I had to make her more ‘perfect’ and likeable but as the story unfolded, I realised that she had every right to be prickly and slightly stand-offish – she’d been wronged many times over. That realisation, I think, allowed me the freedom to be more realistic with all the characters in the book and I had a lot of fun creating someone who wouldn’t normally be the main character/hero of a story.

2. Greg Walterson from The Chocolate Run
He is the bad-boy of my second novel and probably my most favourite male character out of all the men I’ve created. People tell me all the time they like my male characters, but when I ran a survey on my website, Greg was the winning lead man. There is something delicious and dangerous but also comforting and kind about him. Yup, still my favourite male character.

1. Ceri D’Altroy from The Cupid Effect
Ceri, who in The Cupid Effect discovers she’s modern-day Cupid, is the character out of all of my books who is most like me. She finds the same things funny as me, she has the same taste in TV heroes and people used to tell her their problems all the time (people used to do that to me, too). She’s the character who secured me my first publishing deal so I’ll always love her just that bit more for that. (Don’t tell my other characters.)

Thanks, Donna, that was fun. Dorothy x

That Girl From Nowhere by Dorothy Koomson is published on 24th March by Arrow, price £7.99 in paperback. 


Share your favourite photo and its story to #ThatGirlMemories to win a Fujifilm Instax 8 camera.


Clemency (Smitty), was adopted not long after birth with nothing other that a box decorated with butterflies to link her to her birth mother (the tradition/tale behind this box is captivating). After a painful breakup and while still grieving the death of her adoptive father, who throughout the book we see was a wonderful, caring man, she decides to pack up her life and move to the town she was born, Brighton, with the view of carrying on her jewellery making business. Her somewhat domineering mother decides, without invitation, to move with her. Clemency is certain the agenda behind this is to make sure she does not try to trace her birth family, which she has promised her adoptive mother she will never do. But a chance meeting sees that the decision is taken from Smitty's hands, and this starts a chain of events which changes everything in Smitty's life.

True to form Koomson tackles a variety of sensitive issues with care, making them as believable as they are hard hitting. I found looking deeply into Smitty's life and feelings interesting, how she perceived herself and the world around her, the feeling of being unwanted, not finding a place she belonged. The family dynamics of both her natural and adoptive family were especially fascinating, although I'm not sure I cared for any of her family members much - especially the deplorable cousin Nancy. So much jealousy, betrayal and deception goes on behind closed doors.

As always Koomson has a fabulous knack of writing an engaging tale with interesting twists and natural and in parts humorous dialogue, so many times I had to remind myself I was not reading someone's memoirs. I particularly enjoyed the vivid description of Smitty's many photographs on her wall (a collection of her most important life memories), and it has inspired me to get a 'real' camera to take photos over the summer and be able to have them in my hands instantly. 

Fans of Dorothy Koomson will devour this and it will make fans of new readers.


Share your favourite photo and its story to #ThatGirlMemories to win a Fujifilm Instax 8 camera.

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