A woman sitting with books

Meet The Author Joining Our Book Club This Month

Quick, spaces are SUPER limited!

With the huge success of July’s Book Club & Social, which saw the Gaggler ladies get together at the fantastic CMP Bar & Grill to discuss everything from books to life in Dubai. This month, we thought we would up the ante and read a novel written by a world-renowned author based right here in Dubai: Annabel Kantaria. Not only will we be reading her tantalising book The One That Got Away, but Annabel will also be joining us for our monthly book club, so you can ask her anything you want! Keep reading to find out how to join.

Up Close with Annabel Kantaria

We interviewed Annabel to learn all about her and the book we will be reading this month with The Gaggler Book Club!

How did your journey as a published author start?

I worked as a journalist and magazine editor until I had children, then I decided to take a step back from office life and focus on fiction as it had always been my dream to be an author. I started writing a novel that I’ve never shown to anyone – it was truly dire – but the process taught me quite a lot about writing. While I was writing it, I went to as many writing classes and workshops as I could each year at the annual Emirates Airline Festival of Literature (EAFOL) and learned from authors such as Tony Parsons and Louise Doughty. 

How did you get your big break?

When I was about a third of the way into a new manuscript, the EAFOL launched a writing competition for unpublished authors. The competition would be judged by a literary agent from London, Luigi Bonomi, and the winner would get to fly to London to meet him.

I’d spent a lot of time researching how difficult it is to get an agent in London, so I thought it was a golden opportunity. I entered, and I won first prize. Having Luigi on my side really got my foot in the door of the publishing world. He encouraged me to finish the manuscript that I’d started, and then he took me on as a client and managed to secure me my first – and then second – three-book contract.

Can you tell us a little about The One That Got Away ?

This story starts at a school reunion, where ex-lovers George and Stella meet for the first time in 15 years. Things hadn’t ended well when they split up at the end of the sixth form and George is now married, but there’s still an undeniable spark between the two of them. I can’t say too much more about what happens without giving away spoilers, but let’s just say it isn’t pretty. 

The story is told alternately from George and then Stella’s point of view. As the story unfolds, you see how differently they each view the same situations, which gives you a creeping sense of dread: how’s it all going to end? I always ask people who are reading it if they’re Team George or Team Stella. Warning: your loyalty may switch halfway through!

What was the inspiration for The One That Got Away?

I went to a 30-year school reunion myself and had the idea the same night. Nothing so juicy happened at my own reunion – not that I know of, anyway – but it did make me think what a great starting point for a novel a school reunion would be. 

Who is your favourite female author, and why?

I don’t have a single favourite female author – there are way too many amazing ones out there. But at the moment, I’m reading a lot of Lisa Jewell, Louise Candlish, and Ruth Ware. All of them are masters at creating suspense.

What is the process for writing and long does each novel take?

Well, obviously, you start with an idea. It could be a great premise, a twist, an ending, or – more rarely for me – a character. I work this up into how it could become a story, work out the bones of the plot and structure, and decide if I think it will a) work and b) be interesting enough for people to want to read it. As I’m in a contract, I usually run it past my agent and editor before I start writing – just to check they’re on board with the idea, too.

I write five mornings a week and sometimes a bit in the afternoon, too, if after-school activities allow me the headspace. I don’t usually work much in the school holidays. At that pace, it can take anything from three to six months to get the first draft down, and then another three or so months to edit and polish it up ready to send to my agent. He has a read and sends me comments, which I take on board before I submit it to the publisher. Then there’s a whole extra round of edits to go through with my editor before the manuscript is copy-edited for typos and typeset. That whole process – from idea to final manuscript – can take about a year, then there are quite a few more months while the publisher sorts out things like marketing, cover design, and finding a suitable publication slot.

Can you offer some tips for anyone looking to get their work published?

The first thing is to finish writing the book! There’s no point in worrying about how you’re going to get it published until you have something you can potentially publish. That means making time in your life to write every day. Writing really is like exercising: the more you write, the better and more efficient you become, so it’s good to make it a daily habit.

Once you have a manuscript, it’s probably worth hiring an editor or a literary consultant to look through it to make sure it’s as good as it can be before you send it to a publisher. Unless you’re writing something like poetry or non-fiction, you’ll have a better chance of getting published if you have an agent. The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook is a brilliant resource for finding an agent – it lists what each one in the UK is looking for and how to approach them. 

Tell us about your new book, The House of Whispers.

My latest title is written under my new pen name, Anna Kent, and will be out on August 5. It’s a chilling story about guilt and obsession. When Grace returns to Abi’s life years after they fell out at university, Abi can’t help but feel uneasy. Years ago, Grace’s friendship was all-consuming and exhausting and, now, as Grace slips back into her life with all the lethal charm she had before, Abi finds herself falling back under her spell. Just what influence does Grace have over Abi, and why has she come back now?

Welcome to the Gaggler Book Club! We want to read stories that make us think, move us, and open us up to meaningful conversations with each other and build life-long connections. We can’t wait to talk to you about this month’s book. Spaces are limited for our August Book Club featuring dinner & drinks with the author (yes! you can pose your own questions to the author in real-time!). To secure your place please find us on social at Gaggler Facebook Group to sign up and stay updated with our fellow readers!


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Blooming Beauty: A Guide to the Top Florists and Flower Delivery Services in Dubai

Blooms Everywhere

Dubai is known for its luxurious lifestyle and extravagant displays of beauty. And what better way to add a touch of elegance to any occasion than with a stunning bouquet of flowers? Whether you’re looking for a romantic gesture, a thoughtful gift, or simply want to brighten up your home, Dubai has a plethora of florists and flower delivery services to choose from. The top florists and flower delivery services in Dubai, are known for their luxury flower arrangements and exotic blooms.

Why Choose a Professional Florist?

While it may be tempting to pick up a bouquet of flowers from the local grocery store, there are many benefits to choosing a professional florist. Professional florists have a deep understanding of different types of flowers, their meanings, and how to arrange them in a way that creates a stunning display. They also have access to a wider variety of flowers, including exotic blooms that may not be available at your local store. Additionally, professional florists have the skills and tools to create intricate and unique arrangements that will truly make a statement.

Luxury Flower Arrangements for Special Occasions

When it comes to special occasions, such as weddings, anniversaries, or birthdays, a professional florist can help you create a truly memorable experience with their luxury flower arrangements. These arrangements often feature high-end flowers, such as orchids, peonies, and roses, and are designed to make a statement.

Exotic Flower Arrangements for a Touch of Glamour

For those looking for something truly unique and eye-catching, exotic flower arrangements are the way to go. These arrangements often feature rare and exotic blooms, such as protea, bird of paradise, and anthurium, that are not commonly found in traditional bouquets. Professional florists have the knowledge and expertise to create stunning arrangements with these exotic flowers, adding a touch of glamour and sophistication to any occasion.

Top Florists and Flower Delivery Services in Dubai

Now that we’ve established the importance of choosing a professional florist, let’s take a look at some of the top florists and flower delivery services in Dubai.

Bliss Flower Boutique

Located in the heart of Dubai, Bliss Flower Boutique is known for its luxurious and elegant flower arrangements. Their team of skilled florists creates stunning bouquets and arrangements using high-quality flowers sourced from around the world. They offer a wide range of services, including wedding and event floral design, corporate arrangements, and flower delivery. Their luxury flower arrangements are perfect for special occasions or as a gift for a loved one.

Upscale and Posh

Upscale and Posh is a luxury flower boutique that specializes in creating unique and extravagant floral arrangements. Their team of experienced florists uses only the freshest and most beautiful flowers to create stunning displays that are sure to impress. They offer a variety of services, including wedding and event floral design, corporate arrangements, and flower delivery. Their exotic flower arrangements are perfect for those looking to add a touch of glamour to any occasion.

Black Tulip Flowers

Black Tulip Flowers is a renowned florist in Dubai, known for their exquisite and creative floral designs. Their team of talented florists creates stunning arrangements using a variety of flowers, including rare and exotic blooms. They offer a range of services, including wedding and event floral design, corporate arrangements, and flower delivery. Their luxury flower arrangements are perfect for those looking for a touch of elegance and sophistication.

Flower Station Dubai

Flower Station Dubai is a popular flower delivery service in Dubai, known for their prompt and reliable service. They offer a wide range of flowers, including luxury and exotic blooms, and provide same-day delivery for orders placed before 6 pm. Their team of skilled florists can create custom arrangements for any occasion, making them a go-to choice for many in Dubai.

Bliss Flowers and Design

Bliss Flowers and Design is a luxury flower boutique that offers a wide range of floral services, including wedding and event floral design, corporate arrangements, and flower delivery. Their team of experienced florists creates stunning arrangements using high-quality flowers sourced from around the world. They also offer a subscription service, where customers can receive a weekly or monthly delivery of fresh flowers to brighten up their home or office.

How to Choose the Right Florist for You

With so many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to find the right florist for your needs. We’ve got some recommendations and tips to help you make the right choice:

Consider Your Budget

Before you start looking for a florist, it’s important to have a budget in mind. It’s always best to narrow down your options and ensure that you don’t overspend.

Look at Their Portfolio

When choosing a florist, it’s important to look at their portfolio to get an idea of their style and the quality of their work. Most florists will have a portfolio on their website or social media pages, so be sure to take a look before making a decision. You can ask them to send you their PDF file or photographs of their work to get a sense of their work and style.

Read Reviews

Reading reviews from previous customers absolutely gives you valuable insights into a florist’s service and the quality of their arrangements. Look for reviews on their website, google reviews, social media pages, or consumer review sites. Dubai has plenty of community websites that offer reviews and recommendations.

Consider Their Specialties

Some florists may specialize in certain types of arrangements, such as luxury or exotic flower arrangements, while others may offer a wider range of services. Some might be great at setting up flowers for a bachelorette party while another may be great at sending flowers for the new mum.

Flowers are a beautiful and timeless way to express love, gratitude, and appreciation. With the help of a professional florist, let your creative juices flow to put together stunning arrangements that will make a lasting impression. Whether you’re looking for luxury flower arrangements, exotic blooms, or reliable flower delivery services, Dubai brings you all of it!

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I choose the right florist in Dubai for a specific occasion or floral arrangement?

Consider the florist’s specialty, customer reviews, and the style of their arrangements. Some florists excel in weddings, while others are renowned for their unique bouquets. Our guide provides insights to help you make an informed choice based on your needs.

What are the advantages of using flower delivery services in Dubai and how do I ensure the freshness of the blooms upon arrival?

Flower delivery services in Dubai offer convenience and the assurance that your blooms will arrive in pristine condition. Select florists with efficient delivery systems and consider same-day delivery options for maximum freshness. Our guide highlights services that prioritize the quality and freshness of their floral arrangements.

Are these florists and flower delivery services suitable for various budgets, and do they offer customization options?

Yes, the featured florists cater to a range of budgets, and many offer customization options to suit your preferences. Whether you’re looking for an elaborate arrangement or a simpler bouquet, our guide provides details on the pricing and customization possibilities offered by each florist.


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