Ice Cream Girls
by Dorothy Koomson


As teenagers Poppy Carlisle and Serena Gorringe were the only witnesses to a high-profile murder. Amid heated public debate, the two seemingly glamorous teens were dubbed "The Ice Cream Girls" by the press and were dealt with by the courts-Poppy headed to prison after being convicted for murder and Serena was set free.

Years later, after having led very different lives, Poppy is keen to set the record straight about what really happened. The only problem is she has no one to turn to and no clue where to begin her hunt for Serena.  Meanwhile, Serena is married with children and wants no one in her present to find out about her past. Constantly looking over her shoulder, Serena knows she should come clean to her husband, however, she can't seem to find the words.

With Poppy determined to salvage what's left of her reputation, Serena may not have a choice in reopening a can of worms that may threaten both their lives...again.


Meet the Author
Dorothy Koomson
wrote her first (unpublished) novel when she was 13 - and has been making up stories ever since. As a journalist she has written for several publications including The Guardian, New Woman and Cosmo. Her seven novels have all spent several weeks on the bestseller lists and have been translated into 28 languages across the world.

Dorothy Koomson has always loved the written word. And as she explains "I always had my nose in a book or magazine when I was younger - or had my eyes glued to the TV screen. I wrote my first novel called There's A Thin Line Between Love And Hate when I was 13. I used to write a chapter every night then pass it around to my fellow convent school pupils every morning, and they seemed to love it." Despite her dedication and imagination, her first novel, The Cupid Effect, was published more than 17 years later in 2003.

After that, she didn't look back - The Chocolate Run was published in 2004, and then her "breakthrough" novel, My Best Friend's Girl, was released in 2006. It was picked for the Richard and Judy Summer Reads Book Club and as a result went on to sell over 500,000 copies. Dorothy recently spent two years living in Sydney Australia, but is now back in England, but only for the time being, as she has been "well and truly bitten by the travel bug".

The Ice Cream Girls will be available in April 2012.  For more information on Dorothy, please visit her website at

Order Ice Cream Girls by Dorothy Koomson

ISBN-10: 145550713X
ISBN-13: 978-1455507139
Women's Fiction. Suspense. Psychological Thriller
Barnes & Noble:



Dorothy Koomson's Editorial Book Reviews

Read the first chapter of The Ice Cream Girls

"The Ice Cream Girls...An intricate tragedy of seduction and abuse, the loss of self and family, and the agonizing path to redemption and absolution. I couldn't put it down. Neither will you."
(Antoinette Van Heugten, author of Saving Max on THE ICE CREAM GIRLS )

"A thought-provoking and moving tale about murder, betrayal and life-shattering secrets."
(Kimberla Lawson Roby, New York Times bestselling author of Secret Obsession on THE ICE CREAM GIRLS )

"Goodnight, Beautiful was Cosmo's favourite book of 2008, so we were beyond excited when Dorothy Koomson's latest novel landed on our desk. Another moving and thought-provoking read, this lives up to expectations."
(Cosmopolitan on THE ICE CREAM GIRLS )

"Gritty and realistic, it mixes crime, drama and romance - the best women's fiction of the year so far."

"The Ice Cream Girls is one of the most cleverly crafted novels that I have read for a long time... This is a psychological thriller that gripped me from page one and kept me hooked until the very last page. A compelling and often breathtaking read with a unique storyline and fantastic characters - I can't recommend this highly enough."

"The plot is brilliantly constructed to turn full circle, yet it never seems contrived. The dialogue crackles with tension, with not a syllable out of place. Alice Sebold impressed me with her imaginative realism in the memorable The Lovely Bones; in my view Dorothy Koomson 's imagination and empathy for her characters, trapped into the chilling fall-out of tragic events, is even stronger."  




…Why I Write
By Dorothy Koomson


Many years ago, I had a careers chat at school. I was almost mute with fear as I sat down in front of the careers’ advisor.  She looked like she’d rather be anywhere but sitting in a school talking to a bunch of 13-year-olds about the future. (With adult hindsight, I guess her career didn’t turn out quite how she planned – irony anyone?) I had no idea what to say to her about my plans for the future because beyond a love of reading and television, I was pretty much clueless about what I wanted to ‘be’ when I grew up.

I’d love to say she coaxed out of me my true passion, what would eventually be my true calling – instead she just looked at me until I mumbled something about wanting to be a librarian (because of the books) or to ‘help people’.   I vividly remember her face as she barely stopped herself rolling her eyes at that – she’d obviously heard it all before, several times, and it’s likely very few people actually did go on to ‘help people’.

So, I left her company still as clueless as I was when I went in about what I wanted to do. It wasn’t until I discovered grown-up magazines about a year later that I decided this was the job for me. I wasn’t sure what job exactly, but I wanted to work on magazines (not become a solicitor as my parents hoped I would). It never occurred to me that the stories I’d been writing every evening in my exercise books and passing around every morning to my convent classmates could – or indeed would – become a proper career.

Fast forward a few years, I’ve finished uni, I’ve finished my masters (in journalism), I’m working in magazines while still writing my stories in the evenings.

Why? Why did I continue to put pen to paper and finger to keyboard even though I wasn’t getting paid or had no hope of getting published? Because I had to, is the short answer. And that answer is true today – even after being published. I can’t not write; I can’t not create characters and situations and stories – even if no one is going to read them.

Before The Cupid Effect was accepted for publication, I was having a crisis of confidence about the fact that no one seemed to want to make my stuff into a proper book. I said to my friend, Janet (who played Jess in The Cupid Effect) that I was probably going to give it all up. And she reminded me that I couldn’t do that because I couldn’t not write. It wasn’t a simple case of me deciding to do something else – there was nothing else.

I write because I have to. It’s a compulsion and a passion. A passion I throw myself into doing. I tell a story with all my heart and all my abilities. Writing is a huge, huge part of my life and who I am. Which is why it is so rewarding to hear from readers who have loved my books. And from readers who have been deeply touched by my books. And readers who have changed their lives because of my books. And readers who have been able to make sense of something that has happened to them or what they are feeling because of my books. It’s the icing on the cake of something I love deeply.

Writing is heaven (and often hell) for me, but from the reactions I receive from readers, I have, it seems, unintentionally done what I said to the careers advisor what I wanted to do: I have helped people.

So, that’s why I write. It’s probably not the reason other people write. But for me, I have the best career in the world because I get to help people, I get to tell stories and I get to go to bed at night knowing that every day, I do something that I love.

© Dorothy Koomson 2010.  Borrowed from Dorothy Koomson's blog for her latest online book tour with EDC Creations Media Group

About Dorothy Koomson  
Dorothy Koomson
is the author of seven novels, including, The Woman He Loved Before, The Ice Cream Girls, Goodnight, Beautiful, Marshmallows for Breakfast, My Best Friend's Girl, The Chocolate Run and The Cupid Effect. Her books have been translated into more than 28 languages across the world.   Dorothy Koomson has two degrees, is a journalist and has written for numerous women's magazines and newspapers, including the Guardian, New Woman and Cosmo. Her first novel for Sphere, My Best Friend's Girl, was picked as a Richard & Judy Summer Read.   You can visit her website at




Intimate Conversation with Dorothy Koomson
Hosted by Ella Curry, Black Pearls Magazine

Dorothy Koomson wrote her first (unpublished) novel when she was 13 - and has been making up stories ever since. As a journalist she has written for several publications including The Guardian, New Woman and Cosmo. Her seven novels have all spent several weeks on the bestseller lists and have been translated into 28 languages across the world.
For more information on Dorothy, please visit her website at:

BPM:  When did you get your first inkling to write, and how did you advance the call for writing? Success leaves clues, whose clues did you follow on your journey?
I’ve always had a deep love of stories and would voraciously watch television dramas and read storybooks when I was younger. I used to go to the library on the way home from school to read books. My love of telling stories grew from there. One set of books that inspired me to start writing were The Garden Gang stories by Jayne Fisher. She started writing and illustrating them when she was nine back in the late seventies. I remember thinking that if someone my age could write books, then so could I. When I was 13 I gave it a try: I would write a chapter of my novel every night and then pass it around my school friends to read the next morning. They all seemed to like it. However, I was in my thirties before I signed my first publishing deal with a small, independent publisher.

BPM:  How do you find the time to write?  
I make the time. I’ve had two jobs (full-time journalist and novelist) for so long that I had to find whatever little time I could to write. I used to write on thetrain to work, in front of the television, in the middle of the nightwhen everyone on my side of the globe was asleep. It was what I had to do to write my books and pay my bills. In my experience, you have to do a lot of non-novel work to be able to write books. The idea that you get a huge advance on the first go is wonderful…and mostly the stuff of fiction. If it happens to you, then fabulous. If it doesn’t happen to you, then try not to feel discouraged, keep going. Also, having another job is great for researching stories to write about.

BPM:  Do you have anyone in your life that was heavily influential in your deciding to become an author?
There isn’t one person who was heavily influential, but my mother taught me to read and write when I was in nursery, and my older brother used to read to me a lot before I started school so I think this is probably where my love of stories came from. I think my love of hearing and watching stories then grew into me wanting to tell stories. Writers who I admired and read a lot of when I was younger and in the years before I was published include Judy Blume, Jackie Collins, Alice Walker, Maya Angelou, J G Ballard and Terry McMillan.

I think, for me, no one influenced me because I couldn’t NOT write. Once I had written my first book at 13, I didn’t ever stop writing: I wrote short stories and novels even though I knew they weren’t going to be published. I don’t think I’d have been able to stop writing even if I hadn’t been published.

BPM:  Where do you get your writing ideas from?  
y ideas come from life, from talking to people, from overhearing conversations in public, from wondering how I’d handle myself in certain situations. Like I say, I write fiction so I make up plots and characters but the original situations that I draw my ‘what ifs’ from are based on real life.

BPM:  Where do you get your knowledge of children from – the ones you write about are nothing like the ones I know?  
I’m very lucky because I know lots of different children – I have a very big family and spend a lot of time with them. I also spend a lot of time with my friends’ children and if there’s one thing I’ve learnt over the last 14 years of watching them grow up is that their personalities are formed at a very early age and they are often far more clever and clued-up than people who don’t know children give them credit for. If you’ve ever tried to talk your way out of being punished by a two-year-old, you’ll know what I mean.

BPM:  Introduce us to your book and the main characters. What makes each one special? Do you have any favorites?
The Ice Cream Girls is about two women who were brought together in their teens through their inappropriate relationship with an older man. When he is killed they are both put on trial, but one of them, Poppy, is sent to prison for the murder, while the other one, Serena, is set “free”. Twenty years later, Poppy is released from prison and is determined to clear her name, while Serena, who is now a married mother of two, is just as determined to keep her past hidden from everyone she loves. The novel is about the secrets we keep and how our past can completely change our future.

I don’t have a favourite of the two of them, but I do remember when I was writing Serena’s story I hated Poppy, and when I was telling Poppy’s part, I hated Serena!   Poppy and Serena are both special in their own ways because they were very similar girls as teenagers. That’s in part why the older man, Marcus, targeted them. He could see what the vulnerabilities were and used that to his advantage. In another lifetime Poppy and Serena would have been friends but unfortunately for them, they meet through Marcus who rather cleverly sets them against each other.

BPM:  Are any scenes from the book borrowed from your world or your experiences?
Some scenes in the book might be borrowed from my world or experiences, but I’m unaware if they are. Apart from setting my books in places where I have lived, I don’t consciously put myself or my life into my books. Although, I’ve had so many experiences, I’m sure some of them find their way into all of my books without me realising. I must say, though, that I’m not that interested in telling stories about me, I want to tell stories about other people’s lives.

BPM:  Is this the book you intended on writing or did it take on a life of its own as you were writing? How do you stay focused on these characters?
When I originally had the idea for the Ice Cream Girls I wanted to tell the tale of two people who had very similar lives but were separated for a huge chunk of time, led very different lives, and then who were brought back together. I then thought about their lives been extremely different because one of them went to prison. And why would the person go to prison for so long? For murder. Then I decided to have them both accused of murder but one go to prison while the other was set free, but only free physically, in her mind she isn’t free. As I thought the idea through, more elements of the story and themes that had to be explored cropped up. It wasn’t exactly the book I set out to write, but I very rarely set out to write a specific book because as I research the book and as the story unfolds, the story and the characters change.

I’ve always been pretty disciplined when it comes to work and staying focused. I literally sit down and write it. I think that not only comes from being a journalist, but from writing short stories and novels that were never going to be published. I wrote them for myself so I only had me pushing me to finish them. Now that I have proper deadlines set by someone else, I try to stick to them as much as possible. If that means writing all night or setting the alarm to wake up at 3am when I’ve gone to sleep at 1am that’s generally what I’ll do.

BPM:  Share with us a brief excerpt from one of the most powerful chapters.
I stop outside number thirty-four, stare at the sage-green door with its shiny brass knocker and black and white rectangular doorbell.  I am terrified of what is behind the green door. About what will happen when I knock and the door is opened. I am terrified, but I have to do this.   There are thirteen steps from the pavement to the door.   I raise the knocker and hit it. ?It takes sixty-seven seconds for the door to be answered.  And it takes one second for the look of recognition to appear. 

‘Poppy,’ she says.

‘Hello, Mom,’ I reply.

BPM:  Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
Apart from a good reading experience that touches their hearts, I would like readers to have an understanding of what it’s like to be a person in the situation that Poppy and Serena find themselves in. If you haven’t been in an abusive relationship you find it very hard to understand why a person would stay in one, I hope this book will explain the dynamics of such a relationship. And if you have been or are in an abusive relationship, I hope the book will encourage you to seek help because you deserve the best in life.

BPM:  Finish this sentence- “My writing offers the following legacy to future readers... ”
“My writing offers the following legacy to future readers...An insight into the lives of the people around you who you may never meet.”

Order Ice Cream Girls by Dorothy Koomson
ISBN-10: 145550713X
ISBN-13: 978-1455507139
Women's Fiction. Suspense. Psychological Thriller 

Barnes & Noble:




Dorothy Koomson’s Top 5 Writing Tips

1.  Keep going.  It’s a lot harder to keep going than to give up. You’ll get a lot of knock backs, but if you believe in yourself and keep writing you’ll get there. Obviously that’s hard to do after your sixth rejection letter of the day – but just think of all those other people out there who don’t even try because they’re scared of rejection. You’ve got a lot further than them.

2. Stop talking and do it!   I’m always saying this, but it’s very easy to get into the cycle of talking about a story but never committing it to paper. And, because you’ve talked about it already, part of you will feel there’s no need to write it. Let your writing do the talking.

3. Write what interests you.  If you don’t write about things that you’re likely to read you’re far less likely to put your heart into the story. I think the best stories are the ones that you can feel the author believes in what they’re writing. Technically competent books are all very well, but I’ve often got to the end and felt there was nothing beyond clever language to them. And, enjoy yourself, there’s nowt worse than not loving what you’re writing.

4. Read – lots.  Don’t just read what interests you, read what sells, read what doesn’t sell. Read the trade press, read other authors’ websites, read anything you can that’ll help you along the road to being published.

5. Remember . . . Opinions are like butts – everyone’s got one.  In other words, don’t be tempted to do something you don’t believe in and if you have an uneasy feeling about something or someone, think twice before committing yourself. It’ll save you a lot of tears, tantrums and money later on.

Bonus Tip!
Join The Society of Authors. If you do one thing to help yourself it’s to join this society. They’ll give you the best impartial advice available.

About the Author
Dorothy Koomson
is the author of seven novels, including, The Woman He Loved Before, The Ice Cream Girls, Goodnight, Beautiful, Marshmallows for Breakfast, My Best Friend's Girl, The Chocolate Run and The Cupid Effect.  Her books have been translated into more than 28 languages across the world.   For more information on Dorothy, please visit her website at



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