Author, Q&A

Games People Play @OwenMullen6 @Bloodhoundbook #QA

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An utterly gripping crime thriller from ‘a major new force in British crime fiction.’

Thirteen-month-old Lily Hamilton is abducted from Ayr beach in Scotland while her parents are just yards away.

Three days later the distraught father turns up at private investigator Charlie Cameron’s office. Mark Hamilton believes he knows who has stolen his daughter. And why.

Against his better judgment, Charlie gets involved in the case and when more bodies are discovered the awful truth dawns: there is a serial killer whose work has gone undetected for decades.

Is baby Lily the latest victim of a madman?

For Charlie it’s too late, he can’t let go.

His demons won’t let him.

My Q&A with Owen Mullen

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Hi Kelly thanks for asking me here today, I’ll try to give you some insight into The Real Me.
I’ve been many things in my life – my CV looks a bit like Alan Whicker’s passport.  But, one morning ten years ago when I  decided I was going to write a book, was when I finally found what I should have been doing from the beginning. That started me on a journey I couldn’t have imagined and introduced me to many helpful people, some of whom are now friends. 
Writing the book turned out to be the easy bit. I didn’t realise how much energy and commitment it would take to get my work published.  I’d once thought getting a break in the music business was difficult – the book world is the music business on acid! Long story short: I signed a 3 book deal with the very forward-looking Bloodhound Books in September 2016. Games People Play, the first in the Charlie Cameron Glasgow PI series, launched in January and almost immediately achieved both bestseller badge and entry to the Amazon top 100.   
 
Describe yourself using three words?
Creative  Positive  Focussed

 

What inspired you to write your first novel?  
 
The global financial meltdown, and a most unwelcome electricity bill!

 

What time of day do you like to write?      
I pPrefer to start around 8 am although I am not really a morning person. I find if I don’t get to writing straight away then life takes over and the day is lost.

 

What is your favourite book and why?    
 
I have good memories of really enjoying early Stephen King books like Salem’s Lot and The Dead Zone. For me, he captured the essence of story telling 
How did you pick the title of your book?   
The title for Games People Play came from the old Joe South Song, which stuck in my mind and gave me the idea for the multi layered tale that followed. Old Friends And New Enemies really captures what is going on in the book. Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead came from an old Irish toast. So I guess for me it varies, sometimes an idea from a song or a film etc and sometimes the story decides. 

 

Are the characters in your book based on real people?
Some of my characters come from memories I didn’t even know I had stashed away. Others, I create as the need arises in the unfolding story.  

 

What’s your favourite word?     
Obstreperous – a word my grandfather used…not too many opportunities to squeeze it in! 

 

If you were a colour what would it be?      
Midnight blue 

 

Do you plan your story beforehand or go with the flow?      
Always have both beginning and end, then the flow can commence! 

 

Who is your favourite Author?      
Don’t have one but I really like Conan Doyle 

 

If you could give any literary villain a happy ending who would you chose?    
James  Moriarty from the televised Sherlock – I loved his humour.

 

Are you working on a new project?      
Several – 3 days ago I completed the first novel in an American PI series, today I started Charlie Cameron 4. I have begun a London trilogy, and am putting finishing touches to a Pakistan thriller., which I loved writing. 
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You can order you copy today ~ Amazon UK
Thank you, Owen Mullen, for stopping by my blog today.

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Author, Giveaway Prizes, Interveiw

Lizzie’s Daughters ~ Rosie Clarke ~ @Aria_Fiction #QA #Giveaway

 

Lizzie's Daughters cover.jpgFROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF LIZZIE’S SECRET and LIZZIE’S WAR.

LONDON 1958. Lizzie Larch battles to keep her daughters safe and out of harm’s reach. Perfect for the fans of Nadine Dorries and Lyn Andrews.

Lizzie adores her beautiful and clever daughters and will do anything for them. Both possess a wonderful creative flair but have fiercely different characters. Betty, the eldest, is headstrong like Lizzie’s first husband whilst Francie is talented and easily influenced.

When Betty runs away after an argument with Sebastian, heartbreak and worry descend on the family.

At great risk to her health, Lizzie finds herself pregnant but is determined to give Sebastian the son they craved.

Sebastian meanwhile is plunged into a dangerous overseas mission using his old contacts to track Betty to Paris and to the lair of the rogue that seduced her.

Consumed with guilt, can Sebastian right the wrongs of the past and finally unite his family and friends?

My Q&A with Rosie Clarke

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Please tell my readers a little bit about yourself and your publishing journey. 

Rosie Clarke is happily married and lives in a small Cambridgeshire village with her husband.  She has now written well over 150 books under various names, which you can find at www.lindasole.co.uk and news of Rosie Clarke at www.rosieclarke.co.uk

Rosie has been writing for about 30 years now and has been successful with various genres but Lizzie’s Secret was a best seller at amazon and is one of her most successful and these books are what she really enjoys writing these days.  In the past she has written quite a few historical romances as Anne Herries and other sagas as Linda Sole and Cathy Sharp.  The books based in London’s East End that she is now engaged in writing are very close to her heart and evoke memories of a childhood spent with Grandma and Uncle Tom in one of the suburbs and many trips into the city for pantomimes, visits to Petticoat Lane and the Mall after the coronation, Princess Margaret’s wedding and other events. She well remembers seeing the scars of the war, bombed-out sites where the grass was growing through that still needed clearing, and the shortages and rationing that followed.

Describe yourself using three words?

Happy ~ Wife ~ Author

What inspired you to write your first novel?  

I’ve always loved making up stories and was at a stage in my life when I needed something to keep my mind occupied because my beloved dog was unwell.  Being an avid reader of romance at that time I wrote a historical romance that was eventually published as The Witch Child, under the name of Lynn Granville.

What time of day do you like to write?

I prefer mornings because that’s when I am fresher and able to sit at my computer for several hours.  However, I read through what I’ve written in bed so perhaps that’s work too, though it always seems like pleasure.

What is your favourite book and why?

Of my own books I think probably I like Lizzie’s Secret best so far but when it comes to other authors there’s so many to choose from: For years I’ve said that Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell is my favourite book and it still comes high on the list, but there are so many other books I enjoy and recently one of the authors I’ve most enjoyed has been Matthew Harffy.  He writes excellent books on Saxon England.  The Serpent Sword is the first in a wonderful series. I really enjoy this series of books because this author brings the period to life in a way that is easily understood even if like me you only know a smattering of the history.  His hero becomes real as the series progresses and so he is one of the authors I would rate with my favourites.

How did you pick the title of your book?

Lizzie’s Daughters is the third in a series of books set in WW11 and it took a lot of consultations with my agent and publisher to decide what the first book should be.  We tried things like Hats Off for Lizzie Larch!  and Stylish Hats and Broken Hearts, lots of different ones that were liked but not quite right and then I thought of Lizzie’s Secret and everyone approved.  After that it was easy enough to go on with Lizzie’s War and now Lizzie’s Daughters.

Are the characters in your book based on real people?  

No, not in whole, though every character I write has some basis in an observation I’ve made of someone.  A lot of them have my opinions and some have characteristics of people I know.

What’s your favourite word?  

Love

If you were a colour what would it be?  

Yellow

Do you plan your story beforehand or go with the flow?

I know how it starts, how it ends and bits all the way through, but the rest comes as I write.

Who is your favourite Author?  

I have a list of favourites.  Elizabeth Gill in sagas, also Carol Rivers, Nadine Dorries.  In ancient history, Matthew Harffy.  In Regency Georgette Heyer.  In mysteries, Anita Davidson.  They are the books I mainly read, though I try lots of other authors. Often I find a new author when her book is sold for 99p on amazon and then, if I love the book, I go back and buy everything she or he has written.

You are attending a dinner party with four fictitious book characters who would they be and why?

Scarlet O’ Hara, Gone With the Wind, because I admire her guts for doing whatever she has to, to protect her family and the land she loves.

Beobrand, The Serpent Sword, because he is a fierce Saxon warrior but comes over as such a real human being that you can identify with his fears and needs

Arabella, Heyer Regency of the same name, because she taught me to love bold heroines, who were enchanting and mischievous.

Sebastian Winters, from Lizzie’s Secret, because he’s the kind of male guest you need at any dinner party, guaranteed to keep all your female guests happy.

What book are you reading at the moment?

I’ve been reading the third of Anita Davidson’s mystery trilogy:  Knightsbridge Mystery

Where in the world is your happy place?

My home, in particular, my garden and my study.  I also love holidays in Spain.

If you had one superpower what would it be?

I would like to be able to stop all the terrible wars that are hurting people at the moment and restore the destroyed homes to what they were so that there were no refugees.  Unfortunately, only God could do that.

If you could give any literary villain a happy ending who would you chose?  

He wasn’t really a villain, though the Romans thought so.  I would like Spartacus to have taken his people away from the Roman Empire to freedom.

Are you working on a new project?  

Yes, I have a wonderful new series called The Mulberry Lane series.  The first is The Girls of Mulberry Lane and that is available in August we hope.  I am working on the second at the moment, probably title A Wedding at Mulberry Lane, but that is not yet fixed as the book isn’t finished.  After that, there are others planned about this community in London set in WW11.

Do you have any upcoming events our members can attend?  

Not at the moment, I’m afraid.  I was recently on Radio Cambridgeshire and I tweet fairly often but that’s about it. What I can tell you is that the Lizzie books are coming out in mass market paperback over the next few months and Lizzie’s Secret is already in hardback, which means it can be borrowed from the library.

Thank you so much for giving me space on your blog and I hope your readers will enjoy the frank answers to your questions.  Best wishes, Rosie

Thank you, Rosie Clarke and Aria Books for being on my blog today.

Website

http://rosieclarke.co.uk/

Links to buy

Lizzie's Daughters cover

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Win a copy of Lizzie’s Secret 

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LONDON 1938. A gritty, heart-warming and wholesome drama about two girls united in friendship and tested in love. Perfect for the fans of Katie Flynn and Nadine Dorries.

Lizzie Larch is a twenty-year-old hatmaker in London’s East End. She is happy and popular, but she carries a secret. Seven years ago she was viciously attacked and recovered in a private sanatorium where she miscarried a child.

Lizzie has no memory of the night of the attack, but secrets cannot stay secret for long. When she starts courting her boss’s nephew, shocking revelations surface, and threaten to destroy their newfound happiness.

Set in the East End of London at the dawn of World War II, Lizzie’s Secret is about how ordinary people learn to survive – and triumph – through hardship and tragedy.

CLICK TO ENTER ~ GOOD LUCK

 

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Author, Excerpt, Q&A

Lord Of The Sea Castle @ruadhbutler @AccentPress #Extract #QA

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It is 1170  a tumultuous time for the people of Wales, England and Ireland. Raymond de Carew is in love, but the woman he desires is an earl’s daughter and so far above his station that he has no hope of ever winning her.

However, Raymond s lord has a mission for him: one that if it succeeds will put an Irish king back on his throne and prove Raymond worthy for in Norman society, a man can rise as high as his skill with a sword can take him.

With only a hundred men at his side, Raymond must cross the ocean to Ireland ahead of his mercenary lord’s invasion. There he will face the full might of the Viking city of Waterford… and either his deeds will become a legend or he will be trampled into dust.

Ruadh Butler 

A Butler

Ruadh Butler was born in Northern Ireland. He worked in newsrooms, bars and laboratories, and as a security guard, musician and lifeguard before his acclaimed debut novel, Swordland, was published by Accent Press in 2016. Charting the years of the Norman invasion of Ireland Swordland, and its follow-up, Lord of the Sea Castle, published in 2017, are a tribute to his ancestors who carved lands for themselves as part of the conquest in the 12th century.

Q&A with Ruadh Butler

Please tell my readers a little bit about yourself and your publishing journey before the questions that would be super.  Plus anything else you wish to tell the members.

I grew up during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. It seems strange, given that there were daily bombings and shootings, and soldiers on every street, but it really didn’t have a direct effect on me or my family. I put this down to my dad being a bit of a posh ‘blow-in’ from south of the border. No one knew how to deal with our ‘English’ sounding accents and frequent holidays to the Republic! It is probably because of this background that all my work so far has circled the subject of identity and a questioning of nationalism (in all its guises).

It was never an ambition of mine to write a novel. I love reading. I have done for as long as I can remember and as a kid nearly everything I read had the grand backdrop of history; Herge, Goscinny and Uderzo were first, then Morgan Llywelyn, Mary Stewart, Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson, before Bernard Cornwell came along and I became more than a little obsessive, reading and re-reading his books a number of times. It simply never occurred to me to write since all I really wanted was the next book of Sharpe, Starbuck and Derfel’s escapades!

My first attempt at writing was a book called Spearpoint. Told from the perspective of Dermot MacMurrough, an Irish king exiled from his throne by his enemies in 1166, it simply didn’t work, principally, I suppose, because Dermot was a little too unsympathetic as a lead character. So I began again, this time from the angle of one of the real-life Norman mercenaries who Dermot had employed to help him reclaim his kingdom. With a bit of patience – and a number of re-writes – the book once called Spearpoint became The Outpost with the Welsh-Norman knight Robert FitzStephen as the protagonist for the first time. Further work and fine-tuning (mostly during my lunch break at work) saw The Outpost become Vanguard. It was only when I was certain that the book was ready for public view that I sent it to my father’s sailing pal, the late Wallace Clark, a respected (and much missed) travel writer, for his assessment. He loved it but suggested a name change. Thus, Swordland was sent out for the consideration of literary agents. I soon found a good one in London and a little while later it found a home with Accent Press. Swordland was published in paperback in April 2016.

 

Describe yourself using three words?

Talkative, redheaded, upbeat

 

What inspired you to write your first novel?

It was only when I began studying journalism in London in 2007 that the kernel of an idea to write a novel took seed. I was staying with a cousin and came across a whole raft of journals about the Butler family, and, having only the vaguest knowledge of what that meant, I started investigating. They had come to Ireland in the wake of the Norman invasion of 1169 and had won a large estate at the point of a sword. The more I read, the more I wished to find out, and not just about the Butlers, but about all the people who had become embroiled in the invasion. I had found an untapped treasure trove of stories, of intrigue and adventure, of men and women, in a land so alien to modern eyes. They were stories of remarkable deeds and fascinating characters. I had to write about it. I didn’t know how, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me.

 

What time of day do you like to write?

Mornings are for editing and re-reading, evenings are for writing. Although coming up to a deadline that schedule goes out the window! I used to be a journalist and spent a lot of time sitting down at a computer screen. At lunchtime I would work on the novel, my feet up on the desk, sandwich in my hand and laptop on my knees. It wasn’t long before I developed a very sore back. Because of this trouble I began standing up to write when I got home. It’s the best change I have made! It forced me to improve my posture and you would be shocked to learn how many more calories you burn up just by staying upright. Another benefit of standing is that you are forced into taking regular breaks rather than just continuing on working when you really should stop for a bit. It takes a bit of getting used to, but I thoroughly encourage all to stand while writing.

 

 

What is your favourite book and why?

Cripes! That’s a tough question. How does one get it down to just a single book? Under duress – and discounting several novels for the most minor reasons – I think that I can get this impossible task down to two: Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson and The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers.

The former is one of the best adventures in literature and has one of its greatest heroes – Alan Breck Stewart. Kidnapped is packed full of intrigue and really serious themes including nationalism, loyalty, murder, slavery, love, and, above all else, hope in spite of all the odds. Stevenson also gives the reader a wonderfully evocative journey around the Highlands and Islands of western Scotland, its flora and fauna, its people and their beliefs.

Childers’ book is simply the best spy novel ever produced (although there are a few others that I really love). Two more unlikely heroes you could not hope to find, and I don’t think anyone else would’ve made their setting amidst the mud and shifting sands of the Frisian Islands. Childers’ love and knowledge of sailing in that region is obvious and infectious. If I can do even half the job portraying the Irish coastline as he does the continental, I think I’ll be really happy with the final outcome in my books.

 

How did you pick the title of your book?

My first book, Swordland, went through a number of titles until my father’s great friend, Wallace Clark, a writer himself, suggested the final word of the novel as a better name than the one I was using. I trusted to his judgement and thankfully it worked out very well!

When it came to writing my second, I already had the title before I committed a single word to the page. I wanted something that continued the theme of war as well as signifying my lead character, Raymond’s ambition to rise through Norman society. When I visited Baginbun Point in County Wexford as part of my research, the name came to me. Baginbun is remote and not well known, its importance to the history of Ireland marked only by a small plaque. I found it incredible. I fancied that I could feel the presence of my ancestors on that windswept headland. Better than that, I could stand upon the Norman earthworks and could see why they had elected to make Baginbun their landing site. It was a castle designed by nature and augmented by Raymond’s warcraft. It would be the scene of my climactic battle and Raymond’s glory. The book would be called Lord of the Sea Castle.

 

Are the characters in your book based on real people?

All the characters are lifted from history, but their activities are given a fictionalised twist. The story is based on the writings of a Welsh priest, Gerald de Barri, as well as the 13th century epic chronicle, The Song of Dermot and the Earl. There are a number of inconsistencies between the two accounts and that, to me, gives me licence to embellish and enhance some of the story, but I do admit all my changes at the end of the novel. One instance of this is the back story for my protagonist, Raymond de Carew. Nothing is known about him before he landed in Ireland in the summer of 1170 and so I have attempted to discern what might have been in order to flesh out the character. The same is to be said of Alice of Abergavenny, a woman who comes into Raymond’s life during the book and really drives the entire story. Some writers in my field aim for historical accuracy. My objective is period authenticity.

 

What’s your favourite word?

Converse

 

If you were a colour what would it be?

Burgundy – lovely colour, smashing region, delicious wines

 

Do you plan your story beforehand or go with the flow?

A bit of both actually. As a story set in history there are elements that have to remain the same. However, I tend towards the ‘fiction’ side of the argument and have often found gaps in the historic record which I feel need to be filled (without moving the story too far in the direction of alternative history). This may be as simple as placing a point of view character at a historic event which I know they did not attend, or even combining two people whose stories are similar to streamline the account. In Lord of the Sea Castle I saw an opportunity to give Alice of Abergavenny a much bigger role than the one afforded by history and I leapt at the chance to do so.

 

Who is your favourite author?

Oh no! Another impossible question to answer! My favourite writers include Robert Louis Stevenson, Bernard Cornwell, Joseph Conrad, Simon Scarrow, Ben Kane, Arthur Conan Doyle, David Gilman, H. Rider Haggard, Conn Iggulden, John Buchan, Giles Kristian and Henning Mankell. To choose one over the others is next to impossible.

 

You are attending a dinner party with four fictitious book characters who would they be and why?

That is a stressful undertaking at the best of times! But inviting our literary heroes? My mind immediately goes to what to serve – Argentinian-style steak and Malbec perhaps. The big question, however, is if you choose guests you think might get on, or people with different personalities and backgrounds, hoping that they will find something to talk about? I’ve decided that two ladies and two gents would make for the best night’s craic.

Portia from The Merchant of Venice would be the first to arrive, almost definitely on time and bearing a well-thought out gift. She comes across as intelligent and level-headed, good company with an ability to talk to anyone. If we are playing after-dinner games I definitely want to be on her team.

Alan Breck Stewart from Kidnapped might still believe the Hanoverian fuzz are after him so I’ll leave the back door off the latch so he can slip in as he pleases rather than use the front door. I am certain he will like the food and drink, but might put the pressure on everyone to make a donation towards the cause of the King-over-the-Water. Note to self: do not mention “The Red Fox” around Alan. It will only set him off.

Say what you like about Cersei Lannister, but she will add a bit of class to proceedings. I think she might be difficult at the start. Liberal glasses of wine will loosen her up. A night away from her cadre of court officials and all that intrigue and back-stabbing in King’s Landing will be good for her too. I’m betting she is a hoot if you can keep her off the subject of politics (and her family).

Why do I think that Cersei and Jay Gatsby would get on like a house on fire (if we can prise him away from the Long Island shoreline that is)? I’m not usually a matchmaker, but I think they would make a healthy couple. He could worship her as she wishes to be worshipped. And he could get access to her world of high grandeur and ancient prestige (albeit in Westeros rather than West Egg) that he so desires. If not, well I presume we can still all get a taxi over to Gatsby’s house and see in the wee hours there!

 

What book are you reading at the moment?

Trespass by Anthony J. Quinn, a noir literary crime story set in post-Troubles Northern Ireland. I’ve read the first three in the series and this one is the best yet. They are all beautifully written. I’m very much looking forward to the next which is out in November.

 

Where in the world is your happy place?

I’ve travelled a bit and have been some wonderful places, but few have the impact of Kilkenny. When my family first came to Ireland in 1185 they settled at Nenagh in County Tipperary and it wasn’t until 1391 that they moved into Kilkenny Castle. My branch of the family split off from the senior in the early sixteenth century, and the castle has since been given to the people of the city, but it still evokes strong feelings in me. My last visit was a few years ago. I did a summer research trip all around the south-east with the last stop in Kilkenny before heading back north. Sitting on the parkland in front of the castle in the summer sun, seeing people from the city enjoy the open space was just wonderful. It isn’t home but I do take a great deal of pride in the place. Completely silly!

 

If you had one superpower what would it be?

Consistent good luck, I think. I’ve had a bit of good fortune, of course, but it is not something you can rely upon. Having it on tap would be most welcome! Invisibility is one that a lot of people might choose, but you can’t stay invisible all the time. You might lose control with super-strength and hurt someone. The world would become a bit of a blur if you were constantly moving at Flash-like speeds. Good luck could only improve the experience of life. And some of it has got to rub off on those around you!

If you could give any literary villain a happy ending who would you chose?

I like the thought that somehow Professor James Moriarty managed to survive his tumble over the Reichenbach Falls, just as did Sherlock Holmes. Perhaps he had always wanted the opportunity to retreat into obscurity, leaving his criminal past behind. I actually have a cousin who is called Professor Moriarty, in his case Chris Moriarty, and this no doubt affects my choice. No more pleasant a chap could you hope to meet than my Professor Moriarty. It makes me grin to think of him, a mild-mannered world-renowned expert in eels as an undercover Napoleon of Crime!

 

Are you working on a new project?

My next novel is called The Earl Strongbow and will follow on from the events of Lord of the Sea Castle and the tumultuous events of 1170. It is scheduled to be released in April 2018. I also have an idea for a film script which I would like to try and write. I’ll not say too much about it, but I will require a trip to Sligo for research purposes.

 

Do you have any upcoming events our members can attend?

I will be appearing at the Kildare Town Medieval Festival in August and hope to get a few more events organised too.

Sneak Peak ~ Extract 

Extract from Lord of the Sea Castle by Ruadh Butler

Danger lay upriver. That, Raymond could feel in his bones as Waverider glided up the brown waterway where vegetation circled slowly and sank beneath her plunging wooden oars. On each side of the ship, trees hung limply, the longest branches dipping into the river from the bank and blanketing the land beyond from the Norman’s view. The sails had been robbed of wind by the tangle of trees and the summery conditions, and so the men rowed, their dipping oars the loudest sound on the slowly swirling river. It was stifling, this country and the sensation was not helped by the heavy armour which clad each warrior who journeyed north.

‘See anything?’ Fionntán asked. William de Vale hissed at him to quiet down. Everyone aboard, except the smirking Gael, conversed in hushed tones as they floated towards Cluainmín. Those who had been on ship during Amaury de Lyvet’s foraging trips told tales of darts, arrows and stones arcing suddenly from the shore from assailants unknown and striking down men as they toiled. Oddly Raymond had yet to meet anyone who had been wounded whilst sailing on the River Banneew despite the oft-told tales.

‘I can see nothing out there,’ Raymond squawked back at the Gael. His turn rowing was over and so he had taken up a position in the bows of Waverider, keeping watch on the shoreline for dangers unseen in the shallow riverway. Bright sunshine turned still pools of water on deck into vapour and more steam hung from dripping green leaves on shore. Beads of sweat ran down Raymond’s brow and he could feel more beneath his mail. The strong summer sunshine danced off shimmering surfaces and dazzled his eyes. As they rounded another bend in the Banneew, he espied a small homestead and farm carved from the forest. Two shirtless fishermen with long beards paddled coracles in the river, sweeping sculls in small circles to propel the ungainly craft forward. Both men gawped as Waverider swept past and began paddling with all their might for the riverbank. Raymond laughed at the men’s effort, their unwieldy vessels providing no speed for their getaway. The little coracles rocked as the wake from Waverider struck them and the fishermen clung onto the animal hide sheer-strakes as they span towards the reedy shallows.

‘How are we for depth?’ Amaury de Lyvet called from the starboard quarter. The steersman’s question was echoed up the boat by several men at the oars to the warlord’s earshot.

Raymond looked over the side into the brown, sandy river and began swinging the sounding line around his head. The hollowed out lead weight spun as it flew, dragging the thin knotted rope from his hand and forward over the bows of Waverider. As the lead hit the water, Raymond began doubling the line between his outstretched arms. He felt the weight impact with the riverbed and, as the line ran alongside the boat, he began counting the fathoms. He did not get far.

‘Less than three fathoms,’ he shouted back at Amaury, earning another appeal from William de Vale to keep his voice down.

‘Slow oars,’ the steersman shouted to the crew of Waverider. Happy to stop the work, the men complied immediately and sat back on their benches, swiping sweat from their faces.

‘What is her draught?’ Raymond asked Amaury as he walked down the length of the ship.

‘Two yards and a bit,’ the sailor replied. ‘Enough, I hope.’

‘But you have been further up river than here,’ Raymond said. ‘Haven’t you?’

Amaury raised his eyebrows, but did not answer.

‘No time like the present for a bit of exploring,’ Fionntán interjected. ‘The Ostmen can get up the river, so we can too. What is the bottom like?’ he asked.

Raymond swung the wet sounding line and caught the lead weight so that he could study a thick wad of tallow which he had pushed into the space where the rope was tied. As it had been dragged along the bottom the sticky material had picked up debris.

‘Nothing but sand,’ Raymond said as Amaury and Fionntán swapped concerned glances. Raymond had learned that the Gael was also a sailor and knew the waters of Ireland’s south coast as well as any man. The two launched into a conversation about whether or not they should continue upriver on foot or by ship. After a few minutes of discussion between the two, Fionntán sat down at his bench and Lyvet gave the order to continue rowing.

‘And you,’ Amaury added with a finger pointed at Raymond. ‘Keep your bloody eyes open. I don’t want to ground her on this damned sand.’ The journey continued as slowly as before with the noise from the sounding line falling in the water the only thing interrupting the squeak of wooden oars on the rails of the ship. The men continued to toil as the sun shone above them.

‘Two fathoms,’ Raymond shouted as the river began to narrow and sweep westwards. Amaury pulled the tiller into his stomach sending Waverider into deeper water closer to the eastern bank.

‘Keep bloody casting,’ he shouted at Raymond, but the warlord was no longer listening for, over a vast expanse of rushes and mud flats, were the masts of many ships. And beyond that, the Ostman longfort of Cluainmín came into view.

Raymond inhaled sharply as Waverider slid into enemy territory.

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You can pre-order your copy ~ Amazon UK

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Author, Q&A

Block 46 @JoGustawsson @OrendaBooks #QA

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Evil remembers…

Falkenberg, Sweden. The mutilated body of talented young jewellery designer, Linnea Blix, is found in a snow-swept marina.
Hampstead Heath, London. The body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnea’s.
Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1944. In the midst of the hell of the Holocaust, Erich Hebner will do anything to see himself as a human again.

Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald?

Emily Roy, a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, joins up with Linnea’s friend, French true crime writer Alexis Castells, to investigate the puzzling case. They travel between Sweden and London, and then deep into the past, as a startling and terrifying connection comes to light.

Plumbing the darkness and the horrific evidence of the nature of evil, Block 46 is a multi-layered, sweeping and evocative thriller that heralds a stunning new voice in French Noir.

Q&A with Johana Gustawsson

Describe yourself using three words?

Certified totally crazy!

What inspired you to write your first novel?

My paternal grandfather’s life story inspired Block 46: he was a French resistant who was deported to Buchenwald in 1943. He was neither a loving father nor a caring grandfather, and I was always intrigued by the fact that everyone in my city used to praise him and talk about the hero he was. I knew of course about his involvement in the war, but I didn’t really understand what it implicated physically, morally and mentally, until I dived myself into the Nuremberg trials and the testimonies of the survivors, surrounded by the barbarity, the violence, the hunger and the desperation. I then understood that the trauma was so deep, that he could not be a man anymore, he could just be a hero.

What time of day do you like to write?

I write whilst my little one is at pre-school, but my favourite part of the day is early mornings when the city and the house are still quiet… which I won’t have for long as I am expecting twin boys!

What is your favourite book and why?

Ooooh! So hard to choose! But I would say Les Fleurs du Mal, a volume of French poetry by Charles Baudelaire. The writing is sublime and reading it feels like listening to a divine music.

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How did you pick the title of your book?

I originally named Block 46 “Y”, as this novel talks about paternity and transmission, but my French publisher didn’t like it, so I thought that Block 46 was very adequate, as the block 46 in Buchenwald concentration camp is where the story begins.

Are the characters in your book based on real people?

A few years back, I read a book about a South African profiler: Micki Pistorius. I admired her passion, devotion and focus, which inspired me for Emily Roy. About my other female protagonist, Alexis Castells, I have to admit that we share the same European background, between France, London, Spain and Sweden!

Do you plan your story beforehand or go with the flow?

Oh, I definitely am the planner type! As I need to carefully plant clues here and there in order to make it difficult for the readers to find who did it, I set up the skeleton of the book before writing.

Who is your favourite Author?

If I really have to choose one, it would be Agatha Christie. Since my youngest age, her talent has mesmerised me; she shaped crime writing and left us unforgettable plots and characters.

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You are attending a dinner party with four fictitious book characters who would they be and why?

Hercule Poirot, my dear Belgian detective, who I met at 7 reading The Mysterious affair at Styles; I have been utterly devoted to him ever since; Miss Marple, another of the unforgettable characters created by the Queen of crime; Sherlock Holmes and his brilliant deductive mind; and finally, Tom Ripley who would be killed during the pre-dinner drinks. The perfect occasion to witness Hercule, Sherlock and Jane Marple at work, don’t you think?

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What book are you reading at the moment?

A Darker domain by Val McDermid, but in French… as I need not lose touch with the language I write with! A gripping read.

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Where in the world is your happy place?

Anywhere, as long as I am with my family.

If you could give any literary villain a happy ending who would you chose?

I am hesitating between Mr Hyde and Dr Hannibal Lecter…

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Are you working on a new project?

I am currently working on Roy & Castells 3, as number 2 was published in March in France and will arrive in the UK in May 2018. This time, I am diving in the Franco dictatorship years, in Spain: terrifying times…

Do you have any upcoming events our members can attend?

Oh yes! I will be at Waterstones Piccadilly in London on the 17th of May with fourteen wonderful Orenda authors who are travelling from all over the world for the occasion; I will also attend Crimefest, in Bristol, from the 18th until the 20th of May, and I have been invited to The Felixstowe book Festival the Sunday 2nd of July. Hope to see you at one of those events!

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Thank you, Johana Gustawsson and Orenda Books for allowing me on this fabulous tour!

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FINAL block 46 blog tour poster

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Author, Book Reviews, Kelly Talk

Not Your Average Nurse Maggie Groff @TransworldBooks #Review #FavFive

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‘Over time, I nursed victims of war, the posh, the poor, the famous and the infamous… Oh, the stories I can tell!’

To a young girl the life of a nurse sounds exciting, but with long hours and short shrift, it’s never easy. So when Maggie Groff embarks on her training at London’s King’s College Hospital she must quickly get to grips with a demanding career. It’s sink or swim.

From the watchful gaze of stern sisters and the trials of nursing on a poor south-east London housing estate to the explosive dramas of staff health checks at sophisticated Selfridges, Maggie shares warm and witty stories of mistakes and mayhem, tea and sympathy, and the life-affirming moments that make it all worthwhile.

Played out against the march of feminism and fashion, IRA bombings and the iconic music and movies of almost half a century ago, Not Your Average Nurse is a delightful romp through time.

My Review

I always have the attitude that I try not to judge a book by its cover. But when I saw the title included ‘Nurse’ I was a little nervous. I am not a fan of medical dramas on tv. I am squeamish so I was worried.  I shouldn’t have been. Maggie Groff writes in such a comfortable style. I was happily shocked that the book was so funny. With one-liners that had me laughing out loud.

 My favourite quote from the book is on page one ‘The god of bright young things has always had a custard tart ready to smack in the face of a girl like me’.

The only thing I didn’t love about the book was the cover and somewhat the title, I don’t feel either connects with the book. I found the cover very bland.  It’s not something I would pick up in a store. Which is a shame as the content is such a fun, emotional journey.

 Maggie Groff is a super storyteller.  I fell in love with Margaret in the book. I loved her attitude and I hated the hard life lessons she had to experience.  The book is a memoir of Maggie’s life, which she was inspired to write for her daughter. Who had no knowledge of her mums working life before she became an author. What a fabulous gift to give your daughter! Wow!

Not Your Average Nurse by Maggie Groff is released on the 18th May 2017 @TransworldBooks.

You can order your copy here: Amazon UK

#FavFive with Maggie Groff 

What’s your favourite book cover by another author and why?

Not sure that I have a favourite, but the best book cover relating to a book’s content that I have ever seen was the 1966 Faber and Faber (UK) cover of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. Ever diminishing black and white circles, it screamed of a trapped life spiralling out of control. It was intensely disturbing, like the book.

What is your favourite time to read?

In the afternoon when it’s raining. And in the afternoon when it isn’t raining.

Do you have a favourite snack to nibble whilst reading?

Feet up, a cup of tea and a bar of chocolate, and nibble isn’t the right word for the chocolate. Scoff is more accurate. Then I have a second cup of tea. I sip the tea.

Who is your favourite book character that has stayed with you long after the book ended?

There are quite a few, but today I’m leaning towards Sir Percy Blakeney in The Scarlett Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy.

What is your favourite book quote?

Ha! Sir Percy Blakeney…

‘We seek him here, we seek him there

Those Frenchies seek him everywhere!

Is he in heaven? Or is he in hell?

That demmed Elusive Pimpernel?

You can pre order your copy of Not Your Average Nurse today! : Amazon UK

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Huge thanks to Maggie Groff and @TransworldBooks for my ARC of the book.

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Author, Q&A

The Teachers Secret @suzanne_leal @Legend_Press #QA

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Things aren’t always as they seem…

A small town can be a refuge, but while its secrets are held, it’s hard to know who to trust and what to believe.

The Teacher’s Secret is a tender and compelling story of scandal, rumour and dislocation, and the search for grace and dignity in the midst of dishonour and humiliation.

Perfect for fans of The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas, Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty and A Song for Issy Bradley by Carys Bray.

Suzanne Lea

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SUZANNE LEAL is a lawyer experienced in child protection, criminal law and refugee law.  A former legal commentator on ABC Radio, Suzanne is a regular interviewer at Sydney Writers’ Festival and other literary functions.  She is the senior judge for the 2017 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.  The Teacher’s Secret is her first novel published in the UK.

Suzanne lives in Sydney with her husband, David, and her four children, Alex, Dominic, Xavier and Miranda.

Visit Suzanne at suzanneleal.com or on Twitter @suzanne_leal or on her Facebook page @suzannelealauthor.

Q&A with Suzanne Leal 

Please tell my readers a little bit about yourself and your publishing journey before the questions that would be super. Plus anything else you wish to tell the members. 

I’m a lawyer and a writer and I have four children who range between five and twenty.  I often don’t manage the juggle as well as I’d like.

My first novel, BORDER STREET, was inspired by the wartime experiences of my Czech-Jewish neighbour, Fred Perger.  It’s a story both about a young couple living in Australia and life in Prague during the Nazi occupation.

My second novel, THE TEACHER’S SECRET, was inspired by the small coastal village where I live in Sydney.  Over the years, I have watched with interest and affection the daily intrigues of this community which, bordered as it is by its row of shops, the golf course, the ocean and a jail, is almost a cul-de-sac in itself.

THE TEACHER’S SECRET centres on Terry Pritchard, assistant principal at Brindle primary school, who is accused of inappropriate behaviour towards his students.  In writing the novel, I drew upon my legal experience to consider how issues of trust and suspicion can arise when considering the behaviour of a male teacher working in a small school.

THE TEACHER’S SECRET is also the story of Nina Foreman, who struggles with managing a career as a single parent, and that of Rebecca Chuma, who finds herself in Brindle having fled her homeland.

Although I wanted to consider these serious issues – what happens when a marriage ends when a career ends, when a family is forced to relocate –  I also wanted to keep humour, kindness and lightness in the book.  In the end, the book is about the strength of the community.

THE TEACHER’S SECRET was first published in Australia last year.  I am so excited that it is now being published in the UK, too, and I can’t wait to be in London for the launch.  I’ve loved working with Legend Press and I’m delighted with the jacket cover for the book’s hardcover edition.

Describe yourself using three words?

Curious, hopeful, compelled

What inspired you to write your first novel?

THE TEACHER’S SECRET is my second novel.  My first novel BORDER STREET was inspired by the wartime story of my Czech-Jewish neighbour, Fred Perger.

What time of day do you like to write?

I like to write whenever I can get the time to do it.  First thing in the morning is my preference.

What is your favourite book and why?download

I have different favourite books for different times of my life.   I love THE DARK ROOM by Rachel Seiffert.  I was blown away by the originality of THE LESSER BOHEMIANS by Eimear McBride.  PRIDE AND PREJUDICE continually remind me of the importance of wit and humour and observation in writing.

 

 

 

How did you pick the title of your book?

I didn’t pick the title of THE TEACHER’S SECRET.  My Australian publisher, Jane Palfreyman, came up with it.  The working title for the book was BRINDLE, which is the name of the fictional village where the book is set.

Are the characters in your book based on real people?

The coastal village where I live in Sydney is geographically very similar to the fictional town of Brindle in my book.  The characters in THE TEACHER’S SECRET are, however, fictional.

Having said that, I have known men with the characteristics of Terry Pritchard, who is the assistant principal at Brindle primary school and who hates management speak and just wants to get on with the job of teaching.  In writing about Terry, I drew upon my legal experience to consider how issues of trust and suspicion can arise when considering the behaviour of a male teacher working in a small school.

There is something of me in the character of the teacher Nina Foreman and also something of the many other women I know who have juggled single parenthood with the demands of a career.

Rebecca Chuma, who has fled her homeland, is inspired by the many women who appeared before me when I presided over legal hearings for people claiming refugee status.  Many of them were strong, articulate and impressive women who had experienced great hardship.  I often wondered how women like this – women who were well known in their country, who might even have been activists – would manage their relocation to a country that was foreign to them and where their experience and qualifications might count for nothing.

The character of Rebecca Chuma emerged from my experience of these women and my imaginings of their subsequent lives.

What’s your favourite word?

Serendipity

If you were a colour what would it be?

Burnished orange

Do you plan your story beforehand or go with the flow?

I like to at least roughly plan my story beforehand.  When I write, I write to answer a question that has consumed me so much I need to explore it in my writing.  In my first novel BORDER STREET, I wanted to consider whether it is fair to demand extraordinary things of people simply because they have suffered through extraordinary times.

In THE TEACHER’S SECRET I wanted to consider the position of male teachers in a time of increased suspicion.  I also wanted to look at the nature of community through the eyes of the residents of a small coastal village.

I develop my scenes and my characters as a way of exploring the questions that fascinate me.  To help me organise my thoughts and the structure of my work, I use a software package called Scrivener.

Who is your favourite author?

That’s a very big question!  I don’t think I can pick just one.  I love Jane Austen’s wit and Charlotte Bronte’s passion.  I love the wisdom of Viktor Frankl and the humour of Roald Dahl.  I love the dry, loving writing of E.B White.   I thank J.K. Rowling for imbuing my children with a love of reading.

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You are attending a dinner party with four fictitious book characters who would they be and why? 

Elizabeth Bennett from PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen because she’s fun and clever and witty and impulsive and doesn’t hold back.

Anne Shirley from ANNE OF GREEN GABLES by L.M. Montgomery because she kept me company throughout my childhood and I’d love to catch up with her.

Willy Wonka from CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY by Roald Dahl because he is forthright and funny.

Aslan from THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE by C.S. Lewis because he is wise and good and caring.

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What book are you reading at the moment?

At the moment I’m reading SONGS OF A WAR BOY by Deng Thiak Adut with Ben McKelvey.  Deng is a former child soldier in South Sudan who is now an Australian lawyer.  I’ll be interviewing him at the Sydney Writers’ Festival.

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Where in the world is your happy place?

When I’m running, when I’m reading, when I’m writing, when I’m at the movies.

If you had one superpower what would it be? 

The power to be super-organised and to banish household chaos instantaneously.

If you could give any literary villain a happy ending who would you choose? 

Mrs Agatha Trunchbull in MATILDA by Roald Dahl.

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Are you working on a new project?

I’ve just completed a time travel book for older children.  I’m now working on a novel for adults about family secrets that emerge in the lead up to a wedding.

Do you have any upcoming events our members can attend? 

I’ll be part of an author panel with Winnie Li at 7pm on 1 June 2017 at the Big Green Bookshop, Unit 1, Brampton Park Rd, Wood Green, London N22 6BG

I’ll be giving an author talk at 12.30pm on 7 June 2017 at Barbican Library at Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS (2nd Floor)

I’ll be giving an author talk at 6.30pm on 8 June 2017 at Fulham Library at 6 Friern Barnet Ln, London N11 3LX

If you would like to purchase your own copy today, head over to Amazon UK

Published on the 14th May 2017, By Legend Press

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Thank you Suzanne Leal and Legend Press for having me on your tour.

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Author, Interveiw, Q&A, Sneak Peak

My Husbands Wives @gerhogan @Aria_Fiction #Q&A #SneakPeak

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Better to have loved and lost, than never loved.

Paul Starr, Irelands leading cardiologist dies in a car crash with pregnant young women by his side.

United in their grief and the love of one man, four women are thrown together in an attempt to come to terms with life after Paul. They soon realise they never really knew him at all.

The love they shared for Paul in his life and which incensed a feeling of mistrust and dislike for each other, in his death turns into the very thing that bonds them and their children to each other forever.

As they begin to form unlikely friendships, Paul’s death proves to be the catalyst that enables them to become the people they always wanted to be.

My Q&A with Faith Hogan

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Faith Hogan was born in Ireland.  She gained an Honours Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate Degree from University College, Galway.  She has worked as a fashion model, an event’s organiser and in the intellectual disability and mental health sector. She lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, children and a very fat cat called Norris.

She was a winner in the 2014 Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair – an international competition for emerging writers.

Her debut novel, ‘My Husband’s Wives,’ is a contemporary women’s fiction novel set in Dublin. It will be published by Head of Zeus on 4th of May 2017 in Ireland and is available in all good book shops. She is currently working on her next novel.  

Faith Hogan Contact:

Follow Faith on Twitter at @gerhogan or like her on Facebook.comFaithhoganauthor/ or, if you’re really interested, you can catch up with her on www.faithhogan.com

Describe yourself using three words?

Just three?  Mammy, Wife, Writer-Reader!

What inspired you to write your first novel?  

I’ve always written, but getting around to writing a novel took time – in the end a forced stay in bed when I was pregnant with my twins meant I no longer had an excuse not to! And once I started, there was no stopping me!

What time of day do you like to write?

I tend to write in the mornings – but any time is good, so long as the WiFi is switched off!

What is your favorite book and why?

It’s probably Ivanhoe – because it has everything and I think no matter how many times you read it – there’s always something new in there!

How did you pick the title of your book?

Full credit goes to my publisher on that one – she had the title before I even signed the contract!

Are the characters in your book based on real people?  

No – I think books are much too tame! Seriously, most characters develop on the page, they grow as I write, they can start off as one thing, but evolve into very different people as their journey continues – a bit like us, really.

What’s your favourite word?  

‘Friday’ is pretty nice!

If you were a colour what would it be?  

It would probably be something earthy, creative and positive – I do like green – so maybe India Green?

Do you plan your story beforehand or go with the flow?

I tend to have an outline before I start – that involves sitting for a while staring in to space – oh yes, and making cups of coffee and eating biscuits!

Who is your favourite Author?  

Gosh – again, just one???  At the moment I’m reading the Chilbury Ladies Choir and enjoying that so this week, it’s Jennifer Ryan! But honestly, there are too many to narrow down.

You are attending a dinner party with four fictitious book characters who would they be and why?

Lizzy Bennet (Pride & Prejudice) Gloria Hatter (One Good Turn – Kate Atkinson) Bridget Jones and Miss Marple – I’d imagine that you’d either laugh with them or at them!

What book are you reading at the moment?

The Chilbury Ladies Choir by Jennifer Ryan.

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Where in the world is your happy place?

It has to be my own comfy chair, with a cuppa at my elbow and a book in my hand – bliss.

If you had one superpower what would it be?

I wouldn’t mind borrowing Hermione Grangers Time Turner now and again, just to fit a bit more into the week!

If you could give any literary villain a happy ending who would you chose?

Do you know, I think most of them get their just deserts – in real life, I’d be looking for the good, but don’t we read to escape? To live for a while in situations where everything is tied up neatly at the end?  

Are you working on a new project?  

Always….

Do you have any upcoming events our members can attend?  

I’m looking forward to launching my debut paperback in Ireland in May this year – down in dear old county Mayo – details should be all over Facebook as they’re more concrete and everyone is welcome!

My Husbands Wives ~ Sneak Peak ~ Extract 

Grace Kennedy was not what Evie had imagined. Of course, she’d seen pictures of her in the Sunday papers; she always struck her as a bon vivant, glass in hand, glamourous type. She was smaller, more delicate in the flesh. Evie had imagined her taller, stronger, more garrulous, but this woman was not much over five foot, with long dark hair that gave her the appearance of a student. Her eyes were emerald sensitive orbs that seemed to reflect more than most eyes capture. They sat in dark hollows, the legacy of losing Paul; Evie knew what it was to cry over that. Her voice, low and even, was cool and compassionate at a time when others would be crazy with a mixture of grief and rage. Evie couldn’t help taking in the house. The smell of heavy dark coffee, perforated by the sea breeze and fat exotic candles lingered in the air. The hall with warm honey walls was an eclectic mix of old and new, antiques and modern pieces, sitting harmoniously together. She couldn’t stop noticing things, like Paul’s umbrella still standing to attention in a large ceramic crock in the hall or the picture above the fireplace, the Kennedy–Starrs. They seemed the perfect family, smiling for the camera in what was obviously a posed sitting, taken less than six months earlier. Evie peered up at the portrait, tried to hide her obvious interest. She stifled a pang of something she would not acknowledge as jealousy; Paul was wearing the tie she’d bought him just last Christmas. It was wrong, it was all wrong. Perhaps Grace Kennedy was confused? The way she spoke, she called him her husband, but what about that picture? They all looked so… happy. Evie would be glad to leave the place. She knew that if she had to wait another minute she might lose the tenuous grip she had on her composure. That would be the next worst thing that could happen today. The very worst had already happened.

‘What about Delilah?’ she asked Grace. Evie caught her breath when she saw Delilah. She was a striking mix of Paul and her mother; she had his height and his way of bending forward when she spoke and listened, but her hair was dark and her eyes held you far longer than you could account for. She had wanted to meet her for so long, and now today, well… anything but this. ‘You can’t just leave her.’ Evie dropped her voice, sensing that her familiarity with the child had thrown Grace somewhat. She lowered her eyes. There was no point having a fight. It was too late to make a lot of difference at this stage. ‘It could be on the news. You don’t want her to hear it when you’re not here.’ Evie shook her head. No child should have to lose a father like this, especially not a man like Paul. She was sure he would have been such a good father; if only they’d had that chance.

Grace stared at her as though there was something more to say. Evie had a feeling she wasn’t keen on her even referring to the child by name. For a moment, Evie wondered what exactly Grace believed her relationship with Paul to be. She quickly put the thought out of her head. Of course, Paul would have explained to Grace. He would have told her exactly how things were – why not, they were soulmates after all, Paul and Evie. Grace pulled a phone from her oversized soft leather bag. Evie listened as she spoke to a woman she called Una; a neighbour, she presumed. She quickly filled the woman in, nodding thoughtfully over the expressed sympathies as though they were her due and asked the woman to keep an eye on Delilah until she returned.

‘Okay, we may as well get this over with,’ Grace said after she left Delilah in the kitchen with Una, a tall blonde woman who had appeared, it seemed to Evie, before she had time to hang up the phone, giving Grace a swift hug, and then nodding silently to her.

Grace marched down the tiled path to the waiting car opposite. The officer who had already broken the news to Evie was charged with bringing them to identify Paul. The car was unmarked, the detective in plain clothes; that at least was something to be thankful for.

The drive from Howth to Dublin seemed to go too fast and, still, it felt to Evie as if this day would never end. The journey was silent. Evie’s mind was a muddled warren; she remembered glimpsing great hulking bridges turned to bulky stone dragons, forever crossing black water, never getting to the other side. She couldn’t remember if she had breakfast, dinner or tea. She couldn’t remember if she heard the radio news, or sat and considered life while the bells rang out above the village from the Church of the Assumption. All she was aware of was the sound of the gulls, jeering her from across the bay. She’d changed into her tweed suit. It was light grey, probably too warm for today. But it deepened the colour of her eyes, straightened her stride and made her feel there was purpose to her movements.

‘Well, we’re here,’ the officer said with a forced geniality neither of the women could feel. It felt as though they were in the hospital’s belly, though they hadn’t descended any stairs that Evie could remember. There were no views here, none worth hacking out a window for, it seemed. They made their way to what passed for a chapel of prayer, but Evie suspected that it was a place kept only for the dead. The youngster who showed them through had been respectful. She asked them to wait. They needed someone else, someone more official for this business. In a small room, an antechamber more than a waiting room, Evie sat with Grace while a clock ticked noisily overhead.

‘This is going to be hard,’ Grace said needlessly and Evie thought, for just a fleeting moment, that she was glad she was not alone. They walked together, stood composed above the long and narrow form that lay beneath the heavy starched sheet.

‘He looks…’ Evie sought the word, but it eluded her.

‘Peaceful?’ Grace twirled a strand of her long dark hair between nervous fingers. There were no prayers, no sign of the cross from either woman. Evie did not believe in that mumbo jumbo. ‘Maybe, he’s gone to somewhere better?’

‘Maybe.’ Evie stopped herself from adding that, in her opinion, it could not have got much better for him than what they had all those years ago, and he knew it too. They stood for a while, taking in his face. He had transformed into a younger version of himself, the lines and cares and stresses waxed away from his brow. Hard to imagine, one sharp blow and it was all over. She almost envied him. The life he chose, the life she pushed him into, had led to this, where at least he seemed to get some peace. She turned on her soft kitten heels, nodded to the official summoned to take her signature. ‘Yes. It’s him; it’s my husband. Paul Starr.’

My Husband's Wives - PB blog tour (4)

 

Huge thanks to Faith Hogan and Yasmin T ~ @Aria_Fiction

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Author, Favourite Five

You Can’t Make Old Friends @tjtrott #FavFive

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Blacklisted by the police. Being sued by a client. And broke. Things can’t get any worse for Brighton’s No.1 Private Detective, Joe Grabarz, in this blistering debut novel from award-winning writer Tom Trott.

That’s when his best friend’s body washes up on the beach.

Could it really have been ten years? What happened? How could his life have ended like this? He needs answers.

But with the city in the grips of organised crime, and struggling to deal with an influx of legal highs, who cares about just another dead drug dealer? Joe, that’s who. After all, you can’t

#FavFive with Tom Trott 

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What’s your favourite book cover by another author and why?

I’m a huge fan of “dime store novels” and their covers; the brazen designs often using the image of a barely clothed woman or a man with a gun to foist everything from The Hound of the Baskervilles to Wuthering Heights on unsuspecting readers, (the ultimate version is, of course, a barely clothed woman holding a gun herself, such as the ones used for many paperback editions of The Thin Man). But my favourite cover has to be a popular choice: the first edition of The Great Gatsby. It’s a work of art in itself, something I would hang on my wall. It encapsulates the feel of the novel in a way that many covers fail to do. Most have to focus, like the dime store novels, on selling the book above aesthetically complimenting it. I think all authors dream of a cover that captures their story as a work of art, and The Great Gatsby is a book you really can judge by its cover.

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What is your favourite time to read? Like a lot of people, reading is the last thing I do before I go to sleep. I’ve always found that I start reading with a messy head and finish with a clean one; there is something about the level of concentration required, about the private universe you enter, that is conducive to relaxation and clarity. However, when I had a day job that I really hated, I used to get up twenty minutes early and give myself time after breakfast to relax with a coffee and read a chapter before I had to leave for work. I always found this helped me get out of bed, and improved my mood, because I wasn’t getting up for that miserable job, I was getting up to enjoy a book. It allowed me to own my mornings, and not feel I had surrendered them to someone else. Do you have a favourite snack to nibble whilst reading? Never. That would leave crumbs in the book, and I couldn’t stand that. I do like to theme a drink though, preferably a cocktail. Maybe a Martini or just cocoa with Poirot, or a whisky and soda with Marlowe, but that would only be on special

Do you have a favourite snack to nibble whilst reading?

Never. That would leave crumbs in the book, and I couldn’t stand that. I do like to theme a drink though, preferably a cocktail. Maybe a Martini or just cocoa with Poirot, or a whisky and soda with Marlowe, but that would only be on special occasions, of course, otherwise my liver would be in a terrible state.

Who is your favourite character that has stayed with you long after the book ended?

I’m going to be controversial here and choose a character from a graphic novel because the character of Rorschach from Watchmen has always stuck with me. He sees morality in black and white and judges any compromise as an unforgivable betrayal of principle. But what fascinates me the most is that Alan Moore refuses to have the character ultimately break this rule, as many writers would do, and instead keeps Rorschach committed to his view of the world, even when the alternative to compromise is not just his own destruction, but the devastation of the entire planet.

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What is your favourite book quote?

I think the opening of The Big Sleep has to be my favourite quote. It’s character, atmosphere, plot, and personality, all wrapped up into a few sentences. “It was about eleven o’clock in the morning, mid-October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills. I was wearing my powder-blue suit, with dark blue shirt, tie and display handkerchief, black brogues, black wool socks with dark blue clocks on them. I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn’t care who knew it. I was everything the well-dressed private detective ought to be. I was calling on four million dollars.”

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You can purchase Tom Trott’s ‘You Can’t Make Old Friend’s’ here: Amazon UK

Thank you, Tom, for being on the blog today. Come back again soon.

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Author, Interveiw, Q&A

Last Witness @CarysJAuthor @Aria_Fiction #QA

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The page-turning sequel to the best-selling psychological thriller Wrong Number. With her husband gone and his legacy in her hands, Amanda Thorne is hell-bent on revenge. Amanda Thorne is on a mission to avenge her husband. Restoring his honour and protecting his legacy will be dangerous, but she will not rest until all those who have hurt her loved-ones have been dealt with. Her only option is to go undercover in the murky world of the gang kingpin McAllister. So, with her loyal companion Shane by her side, she heads back to Scotland to finish what they started. McAllister’s world is one of seedy nightclubs, drug deals, and beautiful women, but he is a hard man to get close to. As Amanda gets deeper and deeper into his dangerous world, what secrets from the past will come back to haunt her, and will she be able to protect the last witness to the truth? A compelling, heart-stopping thriller which you won’t be able to put down. . .

My Q&A with Carys Jones

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Carys Jones loves nothing more than to write and create stories which ignite the reader’s imagination. Based in Shropshire, England, Carys lives with her husband, two guinea pigs and her adored canine companion Rollo.

Describe yourself using three words?

Small, crazy, caring.

What inspired you to write your first novel?  

I wanted to write a story with heart. I’d spent years saying I would and then at 23 I was really well, due to a surgical complication I was on long term leave from work so suddenly had all this free time and writing was a welcome distraction from what was going on with my body.

What time of day do you like to write?

In the morning after breakfast.

What is your favourite book and why?

The Little House on the Prairie. My Mum gave me her copy of it to read when I was a little girl. I loved the connection of us both turning the same pages and also the way the story transported me away from rain soaked England to the wide open prairies of America. It felt magical.

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How did you pick the title of your book?

With Last Witness I can take no credit, the awesome team at Aria came up with it.

Are the characters in your book based on real people?  

No, never. I think that’s a dangerous game to play.

What’s your favourite word?  

Cellar Door. It’s two words, I know. Blame my love of the movie Donnie Darko (from which I’ve stolen my selection).

If you were a colour what would it be?  

The brightest shade of pink.

Do you plan your story beforehand or go with the flow?

I plan out absolutely everything.

Who is your favourite Author?  

I’m a huge fan of Jodi Picoult and John Green. I love stories that pack an emotional punch.

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You are attending a dinner party with four fictitious book characters who would they be and why?

Dracula so that he’d turn me into a vampire and I can become immortal. Yay. Shane from Last Witness to see if he lives up to how I’d imagined him to be. Fiver from Watership Down so that I could adopt him and give him a nice, comfortable life like he deserves and finally Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights as I’ve always had a bit of a literary crush on him.pic_detail52dc13e6ea8cf

What book are you reading at the moment?

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and its so much fun. If you love anything 80s related you need to read it.

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Where in the world is your happy place?

Disneyland. When I can’t get there my pink writing room. It’s crammed full of Disney stuff.

If you had one superpower what would it be?

Teleportation. Think of all the time I could save and the places I could go!

If you could give any literary villain a happy ending who would you chose?  

Ooh. Tough one. I think most villains tend to deserve the endings they get… If Dracula counts as villain I’d let him have a happy ending since at the aforementioned dinner party he did give me eternal life so I feel like I owe him.

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Are you working on a new project?  

I am. I’m working on two really exciting projects at the moment. I can’t really say anymore at this point sadly.

Do you have any upcoming events our members can attend?  

Not that I can think of but I always update my social media sites with news of any events I’m involved in.

You can purchase your copy of Last Witness here: Amazon UK

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Twitter: @tiny_dancer85

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Website: http://www.carys-jones.com/

 

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Author, Favourite Five

He’s Gone @_AlexandraClare @ImpressBooks1 #FavFive

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How do you find a missing child when his mother doesn’t believe you have the right to even exist? When Detective Inspector Roger Bailley returns to work as Robyn, all she wants is to get on with the job she loves while finally being herself. When toddler Ben Chivers is snatched from a shopping centre on her first day back at work, Robyn has to find Ben and herself as she deals with the reactions of her police colleagues, the media, and her own daughter.

#Favourite Five with Alex Clare 

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What’s your favourite book cover by another author and why?

Can I cheat and pick a category? I have a real weakness for golden age crime and love the new British Library series of books, with their wonderful, vibrant covers. They are instantly recognisable and put you straight into the mood of the story before you even open the book.

Where is your favourite place to read? 

The prospect of a long journey with a new book is always a very exciting one. I do treasure times when I can get really immersed in a story.

What is your favourite snack to nibble, whilst reading?

I don’t snack and read (too high a risk of marking the book) but I do sometimes try drink-matching, so coffee with a contemporary, city novel or a glass of port with a golden age detective story.

What is your favourite book and why?

My favourite book is Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy largely because my favourite character is Bathsheba Everdene. She was feisty before the word was invented, clever but sometimes did some idiotic things and I think would be right at home in the 21st century.

 Who is your least favourite book character?

Waldo is one of those people who would be enormously improved by death.’ Saki (HH Munro) The Feast of Nemesis

Thank you to Alex Clare for taking part on the blog today and for the team @ImpressBooks1

You can purchase your own copy of ‘He’s Gone’ here: Amazon UK

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