Giveaway Prizes, Launch Day, Q&A

Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong – @ginageejay @urbanebooks #Giveaway

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Meet Mavis Upton. As mummy to 7-year old Ella, surrogate to far too many pets and with a failed marriage under her belt, Mavis knows she needs to make some life-changing decisions. It’s time to strike out into the world, to stand on her own two feet … to pursue a lifelong ambition to become a Police Officer. I mean, what could go wrong? Supported by her quirky, malapropism-suffering mum, Mavis throws herself headlong into a world of uncertainty, self-discovery, fearless escapades, laughter and extra-large knickers. And using her newly discovered investigative skills, she reluctantly embarks on a search to find her errant dad who was last seen years before, making off with her mum’s much needed coupon for a fabulous foam cup bra all the way from America. Follow Mavis as she tackles everything life can throw at her, and revel in Gina Kirkham’s humorous, poignant and moving story of an everyday girl who one day followed a dream.

My Q&A with Gina Kirkham

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Describe yourself using three words?

Fun, quirky, caring

What inspired you to write your first novel?

I retired from Merseyside Police in 2012 after having a wonderful career as a front-line Police Officer. Over the years, I found that humour was one of the best coping mechanisms you could have to help you deal with the not so pleasant side of the job. “You couldn’t make it up” or “You could write a book’’ were two very familiar phrases you would hear after dealing with certain situations, so on my retirement I took the opportunity to do just that.

What time of day do you like to write? I tend to produce more words between 10 am and 2pm but I have my most exciting ideas for my characters at 3 am. When my mind is working overtime, sleep is impossible and my hubby’s snoring becomes too much to bear, I creep downstairs for a hot chocolate, a couple of biscuits and a stint in front of the keyboard. Two hours and 1,200 words later with another 2lb added to my already burgeoning derrière from the sneaky biscuits, I crawl back into bed, only to wonder what planet I must have been on when I re-read my nocturnal offerings at 10 am!

What is your favourite book and why?

To Kill A Mocking Bird, Harper Lee. I first read this as part of my English Class curriculum in the early 70’s. I remember being so strongly touched by the subject matter, I felt every emotion there is as I progressed from chapter to chapter. It dealt with such serious and intense issues, but still carried humour and warmth.

How did you pick the title of your book? Originally it was titled Handcuffs, Truncheon & A Primark Thong. The first part, Handcuffs, Truncheon, is a reflection of the police theme of the story and the Primark Thong is a reference to my main character, Mavis Upton’s love of cheap frillies from Primark. Once signed by Urbane Publications and after discussions, it was decided to replace Primark with Polyester to alleviate any potential snags with the trademark. So, my book is now titled Handcuffs, Truncheon & A Polyester Thong. I did wonder how it would all fit on the front of a book, but Matthew my Publisher, has done an amazing job.

Are the characters in your book based on real people?

Yes, absolutely, it made the development of the characters so much easier too, as I could actually hear their voices and see their features, gestures, and mannerisms. I know there will be quite a few people desperately trying to find little traits to identify themselves. I hope I can keep them guessing!

If you were a colour what would it be? Gosh, now that’s a difficult one. I do tend to wear a lot of black or grey, as I feel it helps me to sort of ‘blend in’, but those colours actually belie my personality. I think I would have to say I’m yellow, as I’m very fortunate to be a happy person. I know I must smile a lot because I’ve got the most horrendous crows feet and ‘prinkles’ (as my granddaughters call them) around my eyes!

Do you plan your story beforehand or go with the flow? I draft up an outline with bullet points and ideas on a whiteboard. It’s not set in stone, I have a basic idea of where I am going, but I take each day as it comes. Often I will have a fixed idea of what I want to write that day, and then suddenly one of the characters will become very awkward, like a naughty child, and I have to re-think their progress. I frequently tell them to behave or I might have to kill them off!

Who is your favourite Author?

Peter James. Although I write lighthearted humour, I’m actually a huge crime and supernatural/ghost story reader.

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

Bill Sikes in Olivier Twist. Even though he was Dickens most savage and violent book character, I’d like to think he was really a big softy at heart and just a bit misunderstood. I’d have him marrying Nancy and opening a home for wayward boys and girls after realising the error of his ways. I’m probably slightly biased in my view of Sikes, as I had a juvenile crush on Oliver Reed who played him in the musical Oliver!, so my observations are more likely based on my adoration for him rather than the character itself, if I’m honest.

Are you working on a new project?

Yes, I’m currently 45,000 words into the second book following Mavis’s adventures. I’m having a lot of fun with this one as the storyline I have chosen plays on my own experiences, whilst at the same time allowing me the opportunity to research an unusual aspect of his life for one of the characters.

Do you have any upcoming events our members can attend?

Publication date for Handcuffs, Truncheon & A Polyester Thong is the 18th May with a launch at Waterstones Liverpool One at 6.30pm that evening. It will be a fun event with Liverpool Actor Lynne Fitzgerald reading from the book as the main character Mavis Upton and an appearance by Luca Veste (Murphy & Rossi crime series) for a ‘Conversation with’. Complimentary Prosecco and cupcakes will be available and a gift of one of Mavis’s Humongously Large Thongs with each book purchased on the night. There are other events planned but as yet, dates have not been confirmed.

Twitter – @ginageejay (personal) @MavisUpton (book character)

Author Website – http://www.ginakirkham.wordpress.com

Amazon UK

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Giveaway 

Win a copy of Handcuffs, Truncheon, and a Polyester Thong & A THONG!!!

     CLICK TO ENTER ~ BEST OF LUCK

 

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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

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2jvg4rA

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Google Play: http://bit.ly/2jzdalR
Get The Workshop Girls series here: http://amzn.to/2nwLwHT

 

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Sign up to the Aria newsletter: http://bit.ly/2jQxVtV

 

 

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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Giveaway Prizes, Q&A

The Last Days Of Magic @MLTompkins @penguinusa #QA #IntGiveaway

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Aisling, a goddess in human form, and her twin Anya, unite the Celts and the powerful faeries of the Middle Kingdom. But medieval Ireland is deeply divided. Jordan, the Vatican commander, is tasked with vanquishing otherworldly creatures from a disenchanted Europe. But increasingly he finds himself torn between duty and a desire to learn about this magic. As Kings and armies gather, Aisling and Jordan must come together to try and save the deeply divided county. Loyalties are tested, betrays sown; the coming war will have repercussions even into today’s world.

My Q&A with Mark Tompkins 

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Describe yourself using three words?

Obsessed with magic.

What inspired you to write your first novel?  

Faerie is in my blood, or Ireland is, which is the same thing. My ancestors are from the counties of Clare and Meath, so when I resolved to write a novel about magic it had to be set on the Emerald Isle. I discovered a character, inspired by the Celtic legend of Red Mary, who insisted that I write about her. This led me to base the book on the premise that all the old legends, myths, and faerie tales were true, as were the magical beings in them that co-existed with humans during medieval times. In those fables, faeries were depicted as powerful, dangerous, and tall – they could not procreate with humans if they were the size of dragonflies!

What time of day do you like to write?

I prefer to write in the morning but anytime is better than no time.

What is your favourite book and why?

Without question, it is Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. It is an exquisite blend of old and new mythology. Each sentence is so well crafted that I frequently take out my battered copy and study a few pages to inspire my day’s writing.

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How did you pick the title of your book?

It was either going to be The Last Days of Magic or The Goddess, the Exorcist, and the King. Upon reflection, that second one was just a bit too close to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wordrobe.

Are the characters in your book based on real people?  

Many are, which is always fun. There are famous characters like Geoffrey Chaucer and England’s King Richard II, as well as lesser known ones like the English mercenary John Hawkwood, the Vatican’s legate Cosimo de’ Migliorati, and the Celtic high king, Art MacMurrough. All but one of the French witches in the novel are based on accounts of real women tried or accused of witchcraft (including the Queen of France), some of whom were burned at the stake.

In addition, many of the other characters come from mythological or the biblical sources. For example, whenever a demon was called for, I plucked one out of the Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, my favorite thousand-page reference book.

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What’s your favourite word?  

Whatever word the sentence needs to spark emotion in the reader.

If you were a colour what would it be?  

Blood red.

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

Both! The first thing I did was create an outline, which made it feel safe for me to write; however, I was careful not to become too attached to it. When my characters charged off in unexpected directions, I let them and updated the synopsis, which happened every few chapters. That first outline was diagramed on a giant piece of white paper, but the final story does not resemble it – much to the novel’s benefit.

Who is your favourite Author?  

I could never limit myself to just one and I love discovering new favourites, so that is a difficult question. There is a shelf in my study on which I only place books that are good enough to reread. Looking over there now, I see novels by Lev Grossman, Geraldine Brooks, Karen Joy Fowler, Hannah Tinti, Diana Gabaldon, and Neil Gaiman.

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

Sherlock Holmes (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), Mr. Wednesday (Neil Gaiman), Screwtape (C.S. Lewis), and Professor Albus Dumbledore (J. K. Rowling). What would Sherlock deduce about Screwtape? What advice would Dumbledore offer Wednesday? Who would drink the others under the table?

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What book are you reading at the moment?

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti. I have been waiting for a new novel from her ever since her magnificent The Good Thief.

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Where in the world is your happy place?

At the end of a great book.

If you had one superpower what would it be?

Perfect spelling!

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

Screwtape from The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis. I have a soft spot for demons.

Are you working on a new project?  

As I prefer novels not to leave me hanging, I resolved all of the major plot lines of The Last Days of Magic. That said, I am busy expanding the magical/historical hybrid world into additional countries, each with their own mythos. When I learned that European witch hunters were paid per witch, it was a discipline I had to investigate. A witch hunter villain has emerged and she is determined to go up against some of the survivors of the first book so I will have to let her out to play.

Do you have any upcoming events our members can attend?  

I will be at Worldcon in Helsinki, Finland, August 9-13. Also, they can catch two podcasts on Writer’s Bone:

http://bit.ly/WB_Tompkins

http://bit.ly/WB_Tompkins1

If you want to find out more from Mark Tompkins here’s how:~

Facebook   Twitter    Website

Giveaway ~ Signed Copy & Tarot Deck ~ Last Days Of Magic 

CLICK TO ENTER ~ GOOD LUCK

 

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Huge thanks to Mr. Mark Tompkins for being on my blog today and for the lovely prizes, my review of The Last Days of Magic will be on the blog very soon. Also thanks to @penguinusa

Giveaway Prizes, Q&A

As Weekends Go @janbrigden @ChocLitUK #QA #Giveaway

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When Rebecca’s friend Abi convinces her to get away from it all at the fabulous Hawksley Manor hotel in York, it seems too good to be true. Pampering and relaxation is just what Rebecca needs to distract herself from the creeping suspicion that her husband, Greg, is hiding something from her.

She never imagined that by the end of the weekend she would have dined with celebrities or danced the night away in exclusive clubs. Nor could she have predicted she would meet famous footballer, Alex Heath, or that he would be the one to show her that she deserved so much more …

But no matter how amazing a weekend is, it’s always back to reality come Monday morning – isn’t it?

My Q&A with Jan Brigden

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Describe yourself using three words?

 Loving, loyal, reliable

 

What inspired you to write your first novel? 

A creative writing course assignment. I’d invented a scenario involving a jealous husband and his wife’s best friend. He was questioning her about what the two women had got up to during a recent weekend trip away together they’d taken. I received top marks from my mentor for it and it left me thinking of my characters, “Hmmm … What exactly did happen to the girls  that weekend?”

 What time of day do you like to write? 

I prefer mornings – more alert – my post-lunch brain fog kicks in during the afternoons.

 What is your favourite book and why? 

I don’t have a single favourite. I have a few in different genres, including Tara Road by Maeve Binchy and Bill Bryson’s hilarious travelogues.

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 How did you pick the title of your book?

It came to me straight away as it perfectly summed up what the book is about – an eventful life-changing weekend for all parties.

 

Are the characters in your book based on real people?

 In part. Alex Heath my fictional footballer is  loosely based on a player I once met who was nothing like the stereotype we so often read about. One or two other characters have a blend of personality traits of people I’ve known over the years, mixed up with pure fiction.

 

What’s your favourite word?

 Love (followed closely by chocolate!)

 

If you were a colour what would it be?

 Orange. I have no idea why I just love the colour – it always makes me smile.

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

As Weekends Go is my debut and was plotted to within an inch of its life but I did try to keep an open mind as I wrote it as sometimes the characters wanted to veer off in another direction, or as they revealed more of themselves to me, I’d sometimes think, “Actually, Alex, or Rebecca, or whoever it was, wouldn’t say/do that …” I also spent far too much time editing as I went along and learned a valuable lesson from this to take with me into writing book 2.

 Who is your favourite Author?

It’d be a close call between Lisa Jewell and Maggie O’Farrell.

 Are you working on a new project?

 I’m writing the sequel to As Weekends Go. Although it follows the story of my main character (Rebecca) going forward and all her fresh dramas and dilemmas, it is also a standalone novel.

Do you have any upcoming events our members can attend?

On 20th May 2017, I will be at Southampton Library with some of my fellow Choc Lit authors as part of our Choc Lit on Tour events. There will be author talks/Q&As/a fun quiz and for any budding authors out there, a chance to pitch your manuscript to our editors in attendance. If you’d like more details of the events, please take a look here ~  choc lit on tour  I’m really looking forward to the day and hope to see some of you there.

Buy your copy of the book today:

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Amazon UK

Giveaway ~ As Weekends Go By Jan Brigden

CLICK TO ENTER ~ GOOD LUCK

 

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Giveaway Prizes

HUGE #Giveaway ~ Book Bundle @HooklineBooks #WIN #Raffle

I have teamed up with HookLine Books to give my followers a superb chance to win a collection of books. Varied genres, something for everyone.

Super easy to enter, click the link below and follow the instructions. It’s free and easy.

Here is a closer look at the books up for grabs:

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CLICK TO ENTER ~ VERY BEST OF LUCK EVERYONE

Thank you to Hookline Books for the wonderful books and for our collaboration.

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Giveaway Prizes, Q&A

One Endless Summer @LaurieEllingham @HQDigitalUK #Q&A #Giveaway #Win

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Three best friends.

Three continents.

Three months to live.

How long can you keep a secret?

Three best friends are embarking on an all-expenses paid trip of their dreams. The only catch? Every moment will be documented on film.

Lizzie’s battle with cancer is coming to an end, and now she’s ready to embrace adventure for the very first time. There are only three months, but it is Lizzie’s time to finally start living!

Jaddi is known for her stunning looks, flirtatious attitude and many conquests. But Jaddi has a secret and on this last trip together she needs to decide whether her best friends will ever know the real her.

Samantha has always been the ‘grown up’ of the group, the one with a five year plan. What Lizzie and Jaddi don’t know is that Sam is trapped, and her perfect life isn’t quite what it seems…

As they trek across the globe Lizzie, Jaddi and Samantha must come to terms with loss, love and trusting one another. But will it all be too late…

My Q&A with Laurie Ellingham 

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

I live on the Suffolk Essex border with my husband, two children and our dog, Rodney. I love developing storylines and losing myself in the lives of my characters. I also love reading great books, drinking coffee and red wine, and eating lots of chocolate. I’m one of those weird people who loves running too, and feel blessed to live in such a beautiful part of the country.

Like many authors, my journey to publication has been a long one. I started writing when I was 23. The Reluctant Celebrity was published by a small independent publisher in 2015, and I self-published my second romance – How to Throw Your Life Away – in 2016. One Endless Summer is published by HQ (Harper Collins) and will be out on the 20th April. I’m ten years on from the first time I sat down to write and I still feel at the very start of my journey.  I can’t wait to see where I’ll be in another ten years!

Describe yourself using three words? Determined, Motivated, Coffee-loving,

What inspired you to write your first novel?  The best way to describe it is like an itch. An idea takes hold and you can’t help but start writing it. I didn’t have a clue about prose, dialogue, structure, pace but I had to start writing. And once I started I realised how much I loved it.  

What time of day do you like to write? I like to get the kids packed off to school and sit down to write with a very large coffee. The earlier I start writing the more I get done. If I do other jobs first then procrastination sets in.

What is your favourite book and why? Oh this is such a tricky question because I have romance books that I love like The Choir on Hope Street by Annie Lyons, and I have psychological thrillers that I love, like Valentina by S.E Lynes.  One book that stayed in my thoughts for a long time was How to be Brave by Louise Beech. Beautifully written with a compelling and unique storyline

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How did you pick the title of your book? I didn’t. I’m terrible at picking titles for books. My amazing editor at HQ came up with the title and I love it. One Endless Summer encapsulates so much about what the story is about.

Are the characters in your book based on real people?  They certainly feel real to me, but no they’re not. I think all writers take certain traits and mannerisms from people they know but the finished character is never just one person.

What’s your favourite word? Coffee 😉  

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If you were a colour what would it be?  Magenta pink

Do you plan your story beforehand or go with the flow? Umm … well, I have coloured paper for each character, I have spreadsheets, I have a ring binder, so I guess that would make me a planner.  

Who is your favourite Author?  Ah there are so many to chose from. B.A Paris is a fav, as well as Liane Moriaty. I’ll buy their books without reading the blurb.

You are attending a dinner party with four fictitious book characters who would they be and why? Bridget Jones – to make me laugh; Ben Holmes (from One Endless Summer) to capture the evening on film (and because I have a crush on him); Dina Kane (From Beauty by Louise Mensch) because she’s fierce and really cool; Allan Karlsson (from The 100-year old man who climbed out of a window) to keep us entertained with all of his amazing life stories.

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What book are you reading at the moment? Stuck with You by Carla Burgess. It’s one of those books you read with a smile on your face.

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Where in the world is your happy place? During the week it’s my little writing den with coffee, Twix and my dog. At the weekends it’s in the garden with the kids.

If you had one superpower what would it be? The first stories I wrote when I was little were about a boy who could fly. That would be cool, but I’d probably be cold a lot of the time. Healing people who are sick would be a nice one to have.

If you could give any literary villain a happy ending who would you chose?  Kevin from We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver

Are you working on a new project?  Always. I am aiming to write two books this year. I’m so excited about both of them. They’re women’s fiction psychological suspense and a little darker than One Endless Summer but still exploring the dynamics of female friendship.

Thank you for having me!!!

Giveaway ~ Win Notebook & Amazon Gift Card 

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Buy your copy of One Endless Summer ~

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Huge thanks to Laura Ellingham and  for being on my blog and for these lovely prizes. Come back soon. K xo

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Giveaway Prizes, Q&A

The Key Of All Unknown @KathrynHitchins #Q&A #Giveaway

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Brilliant scientific researcher Tilda Moss wakes up in the hospital unable to speak or move and with no recollection of what happened to her. Determined to find answers and prove she is not in a persistent vegetative state, she travels back through her fractured memories looking for clues. Could someone really have tried to kill her? An indulged younger brother, an obsessive flatmate, jealous colleagues and a missing lover. Everyone has a motive. On the edge of death, and questioning the value of her life, Tilda’s only hope is to unlock the key of all unknown.

My Q&A with K A Hitchins

What inspired you to write your novel?

I’ve often tried to imagine what it would be like if I were suddenly faced with a life-threatening condition. I’d seen my own father die from cancer a few years previously and wondered whether he’d been able to hear me and my mother and sister in those last days of unconsciousness. He believed he was going to a better place and had been brave to the last, but I wished I’d known what thoughts were going through his mind, if any, as he faced that greatest of unknowns. This was the initial inspiration for my second novel.

When I was about halfway through the first draft, I woke up one morning with a rash of non-blanching spots, some unexplained bruises and blood blisters in my mouth. My GP sent me immediately to the hospital. After tests, a registrar from Haematology told me I had developed Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia, a condition where my immune system destroys the blood platelets and prevents the blood from clotting.

I was given medication and taken to the Critical Dependency Unit to be observed overnight in case I was bleeding internally. I was told I probably wouldn’t sleep because of the drugs I’d been given. I lay in the dark listening to the sounds of the hospital, and the cries of the elderly lady opposite who kept asking where she was and if anyone was there.

By the next morning, the ulcers in my mouth had stopped bleeding. My blood pressure was stable and I was sent home with high dosage steroids to switch off my faulty immune system. During the days that followed, I spent most of my time in bed. However, the medication-induced insomnia was chronic and I was surviving on a couple of hours of sleep a night at most. I decided to continue writing, tapping away on my laptop during the night while the family was asleep. Having just experienced my own life-threatening moment and spell in hospital, ideas poured out of me. Within a week I’d completed 30,000 words and finished the first draft.

Thankfully I’m in remission now. There’s a one in three chance that the problem could return in future. Like all of us, I walk that narrow path between life and death, but now I have a better understanding of how I might react at the end.

What time of day do you like to write?

Any time will do. If I could, I’d write all the time. The difficulty is fitting it round a busy family life and other commitments. I think about what I’m going to write while walking the dog first thing in the morning. Once back home I’m constantly weighing up what’s more important – cleaning the bathroom or ironing for instance, or writing. I have no particular writing routine, which I know is bad. I’m often scribbling away while sitting in the car waiting to pick up the kids.

What is your favourite book and why?

I love the Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. The novel embeds several stories within the story, going back through the past and peeling back layers of family history. It’s a bit like those Russian Dolls. Not until you get to the very end do you understand who the blind assassin is.

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How did you pick the title of your book?

It’s the title of a very old hymn which I first heard at the funeral of a 98-year-old friend. I thought it would make a lovely title and it perfectly fitted with the theme of my book.

1. God holds the key of all unknown,
And I am glad;
If other hands should hold the key,
Or if He trusted it to me,
I might be sad, I might be sad.

2. What if tomorrow’s cares were here
Without its rest!
I’d rather He unlocked the day;
And, as the hours swing open, say,
My will is best, My will is best.

3. The very dimness of my sight
Makes me secure;
For, groping in my misty way,
I feel His hand; I hear Him say,
My help is sure, My help is sure.

4. I cannot read His future plans;
But this I know;
I have the smiling of His face,
And all the refuge of His grace,
While here below, while here below.

5. Enough! this covers all my wants,
And so I rest!
For what I cannot, He can see,
And in His care I saved shall be,
Forever blest, forever blest.

Source: The Cyber Hymnal #1947

You can hear the Hymn music here ~ Click

Are the characters in your book based on real people?

No, though I have drawn on some real life experiences as I mentioned previously.

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

I plan my opening chapter and my closing chapter very carefully so I know where I’m headed. Often the twists and turns in the middle surprise me as I’m writing them.

Who is your favourite Author?

There are too many to mention. I read most genres, and enjoy both literary and commercial fiction. It depends on my mood at the time.

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

Count Dracula. There have been lots of spin offs of the vampire genre in the past few years, but you can’t beat Vlad the Impaler for macho charisma and terror.

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Are you working on a new project?

Yes. I’ve nearly finished my third novel but the storyline is under wraps at the moment.

Contact:

Twitter   Facebook   

Thank you so much to K A Hitchins for such an honest and beautiful Q&A, please come back soon with the next project. ~K~

Giveaway ~ Dedicated Signed Copy 

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Giveaway Prizes, Q&A

Run Like A Girl @authorKEGARVEY #Q&A #Giveaway

Run Like A Girl By K. E Garvey will be released on the 2nd May 2017 and is book 2 in the ‘Like A Girl’ series.

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Fight or flight? When a homemade sex tape falls into the wrong hands, Marti Jerome jumps to conclusions and chooses the path of least resistance by running far and fast, a skill she has mastered as well as a pirouette. Just as she relaxes into thinking she’s put a safe distance between her and her troubles, she learns that even a small town in the Texas hill country isn’t far away enough to hide from the most relentless of pursuers—her conscience.

 

My Q&A with K E Garvey

Describe yourself using three words? – Modest, quirky, family-oriented.

What inspired you to write your first novel?  – Reading a bad one. I was laid up following a riding accident with little more to do than read. After a particularly lousy book (by a well-known author), for little more than shitz and giggles I decided to give it a try.

What time of day do you like to write?  – Mornings, always. My mind tends to get bogged down by the day at some point in the afternoon.

What is your favourite book and why? – Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil has been my favorite book since the first time I read it. I think it’s the richness in character and setting that not only made it a great read, but made me want to pay a visit to Savannah. It had been years since I’d been there and the book took me back.

How did you pick the title of your book?  – Run Like A Girl is actually book 2 in the “Like A Girl” series. What began as one novel quickly became three when I realized at about 35,000 words that I simply had too much story for one book. I broke the lead characters into three standalone books and added around them. Book 1, Cry Like A Girl came out last July. Run Like A Girl was May 2nd of this year, and I’m hoping to have the last in the series, Fight Like A Girl, out about the same time next year.

Are the characters in your book based on real people?  – Not in anything I’ve published to date (although I have a book lying in wait that is heavily based on a true story). I suppose I pull traits or facts here and there from actual people, but not enough to make them recognizable.

What’s your favourite word?  – Wow! Can writers have a single favorite word? Maybe I’m an anomaly because I love them all! My favorite unusual word would be ‘grody’, as in grimy or disgusting.

If you were a colour what would it be?  –Blue or green, something calm and peaceful.

Do you plan your story beforehand or go with the flow? – I’ve converted from pantsing to plotting. Although I find pantsing less constricting, I’ve come to appreciate the structure of plotting as it saves time by keeping me on track even if I do make frequent detours.

Who is your favourite Author?  – I’ve been asked this so many times during interviews and it’s never an easy question to answer. I enjoy the work of so many, often for different reasons. Off the top of my head at this moment, Maya Angelou, although if you were to ask me next week, it would probably be different.

You are attending a dinner party with four fictitious book characters who would they be and why? – Two in one shot, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn: as a kid I thought it would be so cool to hang out with them. From my latest read, Mack Phillips from The Shack. I would love to experience (whether real or imagined) at the shack. Last, John Coffee. What a gift he had!

What book are you reading at the moment?  – A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Where in the world is your happy place?  – Outdoors, preferably in the Endless Mountain region.

If you had one superpower what would it be?  – To heal the sick (back to John Coffee)

If you could give any literary villain a happy ending who would you chose?  – Each villain that comes to mind seems to be from a movie and not a book. Kevin Costner’s character in A Perfect World comes to mind. He was a killer, but he had a heart as he revealed in the way he treated his hostage. While watching it, I did want him to get away…

Are you working on a new project?  – Aside from Fight Like A Girl, which I’m in the early stages of a first draft, I have a collection of short stories called, Everyday People, although I have no release date at this time. I also have a Christmas themed novella, Christmas Carol, that I was planning for this coming holiday season, but I’m not sure that’s going to happen, we’ll see. The only other iron in the fire is a work I hired a ghostwriter to complete. I felt I was too close to be objective so I supplied close to 1,000 pages of notes and stories and acted as a consultant as he built the plot. I am anxious but unable to release it at this time due to a few pending legal issues surrounding it, but I’ve been told it should be green-lighted soon.

Do you have any upcoming events our members can attend?  – Not at this time. I have been doing a lot more in the way of podcasts and guest spots on local television than actual signings and appearances at book fairs. I moved to Texas last August for what was only supposed to be three months that turned into seven so I haven’t been too sure where I would be at any given time, making scheduling a nightmare. That should settle soon and I’ll be able to better plan my events.

  Giveaway ~ Win Book 1 Cry Like A Girl 

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41VixvAgeeLThe descent into madness isn’t always accompanied by flashing lights and sirens. Sometimes, it sneaks up as quietly as fog…

To the unknowing, Susan and Henry McFarland appear to be just another small-town couple working toward the American dream. Susan, an introverted housewife and part-time librarian is the yin to Henry’s extroverted, rising-star yang.
Susan has always dreamed of the perfect life: a loving husband and a home filled with children, all wrapped up in a white picket fence. But the perfect life she dreams of is rooted in the soil of a dark secret.
Henry is a man’s man: confident, likable, and no more than a handshake away from taking hold of the brass ring. Unknown to him, his brass ring is hanging on the proverbial gates of hell and his perfect life lives on the opposite side of the picket fence.
It’s their seven-year anniversary. While Susan spends the day preparing the meal for their traditional anniversary dinner, Henry accepts the terms of a new job assignment and seals the deal with a night out with the boys. Susan’s worry turns to anger when Henry stumbles in after midnight and falls into bed without acknowledging the importance of the day or her efforts.
That single marital infraction turns out to be the first of many; each silently picking at the seams of Susan’s damaged past.
In a twist of irony, just as Henry realizes the consequences of his wrongdoings, the universe begins to punish him for them. As he scrambles to right his wrongs and change the course of their lives, someone else is determined to see him fail.
It is a tale of lessons learned too late. Beautifully wrought and as moving as it is tragic, the life and love of Susan and Henry will pull on the heartstrings of even the most phlegmatic.

Many thanks to K.E Garvey for stopping by, please come back soon.

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Giveaway Prizes, Q&A

Accidental Damage @AliceMay_Author #Q&A #Giveaway

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If you think the normal school run on a Monday is entertaining you should try doing it from a tent in your back garden surrounded by the jumbled up contents of your entire home. It is vastly more diverting. Our heroine has survived the sudden collapse of her home – or has she? Certain events two and a half years ago led her to deliberately destroy an important piece of herself, hiding away all remaining evidence that it ever existed. What happens when she decides to go looking for it? Does she really deserve to be whole again? Inspired by a true story, this is an account of one woman’s secret guilt and her journey in search of forgiveness!

My Q&A with Alice May 

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At 45 years old, Alice is a multi-tasking mother with four not-so-small children and is fortunate enough to be married to (probably) the most patient man on the planet.  They live in, what used to be, a ramshackle old cottage in the country.

Alice had always wanted to write a book but felt that it was an unobtainable dream, until one day she just sat down and started to write. Alice wrote non- stop for three weeks and her husband and children thought she had gone mad.  Eventually, she ground to a halt to find she had over 60,000 and the initial draft of my very first novel.

Inspired by true-life events ‘Accidental Damage – Tales from the house that sat down!’ wouldn’t leave Alice alone until it was written. After numerous re-writes, some very careful editing and a lengthy cover design process, Accidental Damage was published on 1st August 2016.

Describe yourself using three words

I like to think that I am inquisitive (my Beloved Husband would say nosey), organised (he’d say bossy) and unpredictable (of course BH tells me that I am so unpredictable that I am actually very predictable!). ☺

What inspired you to write your first novel?

My first novel ‘Accidental Damage – Tales from the house that sat down!’ was inspired by a real life event. My husband, four children and I spent a year living in our garden after part of our house fell down leaving it uninhabitable.

I felt it was such an unusual experience to go through that it was important to write about it. In spite of the horrible circumstances, it was a time of massive positivity and growth for the whole family. Once we accepted that we couldn’t live in our house and couldn’t really go anywhere else we just had to knuckle down and get on with life. So many funny and ridiculous things happened to us on our journey to rebuild our home it made a cracking story on which to base my first fictional novel.

The sequel ‘Consequences – More tales from the house that sat down’ will be published later this year.

 

What time of day do you like to write?

I find that ideas for my novels come to me at all times of the day and night, but I can only really set time aside to write once I have done the school drop off in the morning. I write from about 9am to 12.30/1pm. After that I work on promotion and marketing as well as housework and other family related issues before doing the school pick up.

I keep a notebook with me at all times, even next to the bed at night, so that I can scribble down any great ideas and plotlines to use later when I have time to write.

How did you pick the title of your book?

The first part of my title ‘Accidental Damage’ was in my head right from the very first paragraph as it is one that carries several meanings within the story. It is a type of home insurance cover in the first instance but it also refers to the emotional damage that is inflicted on the characters as they journey through the story as a result of the situation they find themselves in.

The second part of the title, ‘Tales from the house that sat down!’ was inspired by how our house looked after part of it had collapsed. It gave every appearance of having got very tired and so just had a little sit-down.

Are the characters in your book based on real people?

The characters of the family in ‘Accidental Damage’ are based (loosely) on my own family. Nobody else would do I am afraid. The book is written retrospectively from the mother’s point of view and I wanted to convey to the reader the complex interactions of a large family under such uniquely stressful circumstances. (Don’t worry my husband and kids have all read the book and approve.)

No other characters in the book are actually based on real people.

What is your favourite word?

My favourite word is ‘onomatopoeia’ mainly because it has so many vowels which is an unusual feature in the English language, but also because of its definition. I love words that are formed from the sound of what they are, like ‘sizzle’. It’s fun!

If you were a colour, what would you be?

I would be a fresh spring green colour, the exact shade of new grass.

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

I know roughly where my plot is going from the start. I use my first draft to get the main information down on paper, then I spend a fair amount of time moving bits of it around and shaping it into the most effective story telling format for the material and weaving extra threads throughout for greater depth.

Who is your favourite author?

This is a very interesting question as there are so many great authors in numerous different genres to choose from.

I love Anne McCaffrey, Katie Fford, Lisa Gardner, Kate Fenton, Trisha Ashley, Jane Austin, JRR Tolkien.

I genuinely don’t think I can pick just one. Sorry!

Are you working on a new project at the moment?

I am currently working on final drafts of the sequel to ‘Accidental Damage’ at the moment which will hopefully be ready for publication this summer. I am also in the early plotting stages of a third novel, this time for a new series. It is very exciting I am thoroughly enjoying the whole process.

You can purchase your copy here:

download (2) AMAZON UK

 

Contact ~ Alice May Website    Facebook    Twitter

Giveaway ~ Signed Copy Of Accidental Damage By Alice May 

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Book Reviews, Giveaway Prizes

Street Song @sheenawriter @inkroadbooks #YA #Giveaway

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When life goes off-key, change your tune. RyLee’s career is over. After winning a national TV talent show and becoming a teen pop sensation, his fame and success has quickly been followed by addiction, media scrutiny, and career suicide. After a brief spell in rehab, 18-year-old Ryan has some rethinking to do. His stepdad – music promoter and self-appointed creator of ‘RyLee’ – wants him at home and in school, and under his thumb. But after an argument descends into violence, Ryan decides to run away from his old life, his failed career, and his dysfunctional family.

When he meets the stunningly witty but distinctly average guitar-player Toni almost directly outside his front door, the opportunity to start afresh seems too good to pass up. Before long, he has arrived in a new city, joined Toni’s amazingly talented band, and reinvented himself under the name ‘Cal’. For the first time in his life, Ryan has friends around him, he’s playing the music he’s always wanted to play, and – despite living in a hostel, busking for his wages, and living under a false identity – he’s finally happy. But just when Ryan feels like he has truly started over, his past begins to catch up with him.

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Sheena Wilkinson 

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Sheena Wilkinson has been established as one of Ireland’s most acclaimed writers of contemporary realistic fiction for young people. She has won four Children’s Book Ireland awards for her work, and has also been awarded a White Raven Award from the International Youth Library; an IBBY Honour Listing; and has been shortlisted for the Reading Association of Ireland Awards twice. Wilkinson was granted a Major Award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, its highest award. A professional mentor on the Creative Writing degree at the National University of Ireland, Wilkinson also set-up and runs the Belfast Inter-Schools Creative Writing Network, and has just been appointed a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Queens University, Belfast.

 

My Review of Street Song By Sheena Wilkinson

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Ink Road Books has delivered another smasher of a book. Brilliantly written by Sheena Wilkinson, Street Song, shows the behind scenes look at the real price of fame. With raw, real to life characters that grip onto you and take you on a gritty emotional ride.

This book is not butterflies and unicorns. It is realistic and truthful. Packed from front to back with emotion.  Lot’s of important life lessons from this gem of a book. #YA book fans should snap this up!

Pre-order your copy here ~

download (2) Amazon UK

 

Giveaway ~ Copy of Street Song By Sheena Wilkinson 

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Check out these other  titles from Ink Roads and Black & White Publishing

 

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