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Book Blog, Book~Reviews, Head Of Zeus Books, Romance

It Was Only Ever You By Kate Kerrigan @katekerrigan @HoZ_Books #Review

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Hello Lovelies,

Today on the blog I have my review of  It Was Only Ever You a Historical romance novel. Published by Head of Zeus books.  Thanks for stopping by.

Kelly xoxo

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Book Jacket 

Set, like Maeve Binchy’s early best sellers, in late 1950s Ireland and New York, this is the story of three women and the charismatic man with whom their lives are interwoven.

Patrick Murphy has the charm to burn and a singing voice to die for. Many people will recognise his talent. Many women will love him. Rose, the sweetheart he leaves behind in Ireland, can never forget him and will move heaven and earth to find him again, long after he has married another woman. Ava, the heiress with no self-confidence except on the dance floor, falls under his spell. And tough Sheila Klein, orphaned by the Holocaust and hungry for success as a music manager, she will be ruthless in her determination to unlock his extraordinary star quality.

But in the end, Patrick Murphy’s heart belongs to only one of them. Which one will it be?

My Review 

The cover of It Was Only Ever You is beautiful with all the pink embossed lettering and they crisp white border it’s very appealing. Definitely, something I would have picked up in the book store.

The book was very emotional for me, with Patrick Murphy at the core. This truly handsome devil has a heart choice to make and we get to see the journey that has brought him to it.  You will be rooting for your own choice of Rose, Sheila or Ava. Three very different women.

The book was a lovely read for me, with a pleasant pace. It definitely is a book with heart.  If you are a fan of romantic fiction then I would not delay in buying this for your TBR. It gives you so much and then a little bit more.

I loved Kate Kerrigan’s Ellis Island and now I can add It Was Only Ever You to my list of top reads too. In reviewing this book, I did some research and discovered that Ellis Island is now a trilogy of books. So excited to read those too.

It also won The Romantic Historical Novel of the year.

Some of Kate Kerrigan’s novels.

 

To order your copy of It Was Only Ever You click the links below.

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Before you go please check out our interview with Emma Burstall ~ Click to read.

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For more Head Of Zeus, titles visit ~ Website

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Book Blog, Head Of Zeus Books, Interview

Tremarnock Summer By Emma Burstall @EmmaBurstall @HoZ_Books #Interview

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Hello Lovelies,

Today I have an interview with Emma Burstall, author of the soon to be released Tremarnock Summer, book 3 in the series.  One to definitely to pre-order, published by Head of Zeus on 05/10/217.

Kelly xoxo

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Book Jacket

Bramble Challoner has had a very normal upbringing. She lives in a semi in the suburbs of London with her parents and works at the call centre down the road. She still goes out with the boy she met at school. At weekends they stay in and watch films on the telly and sometimes hold hands. Bramble is dying for an adventure.

So when her very grand grandfather, Lord Penrose, dies, leaving his huge, rambling house in Cornwall to her, Bramble packs her bags immediately, dragging along her best friend Katie. The sleepy village of Tremarnock had better be ready for its newest residents…

Emma Burstall ~ ‘Real You’ ~ Interview 

Describe yourself using three words?

Honest, friendly, family-oriented.

What inspired you to write your first novel?  

Funnily enough, it was joining a local gym after the birth of my youngest. I met so many lovely women there from different walks of life and chatted with them over coffee instead of working out! They all seemed to have great stories to tell, and gradually something exciting began to take shape. Sadly, it wasn’t my physique…

What time of day do you like to write?

I like mornings best when I feel at my freshest. I usually start when my youngest leaves for school, have a break for lunch, then finish around the time he gets home.

What is your favourite book and why?

This is such a difficult one but if I have to choose, I think I’d say Bleak House by Charles Dickens. I first read it in my late teens/early twenties and was blown away by the memorable characters, gripping plot and the author’s compassion and profound understanding of human nature. For me, you need all these ingredients to create a really satisfying novel.

How did you pick the title of your book?

You wouldn’t believe how hard it can be to come up with a cracking title because so many have been taken already. Choosing Tremarnock Summer wasn’t so difficult, though, because I wanted to convey a warm, romantic, summery feel and also remind readers who enjoyed my previous books that this is a continuation of the series.

Are the characters in your book based on real people?  

No, but there are probably some elements of real people in the mix. It would be difficult not to bring your own experiences into your writing sometimes.

What’s your favourite word?  

Mellifluous. I love it, it sounds so smooth and silky, like a gorgeous massage.

If you were a colour what would it be?  

Crushed mulberry.

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

I plan, to the extent that I know before I begin writing who my characters are, roughly what will happen to them and how the novel will end. But I don’t plan every chapter so there’s plenty of wiggle room. I prefer it that way. Sometimes things happen which I wasn’t expecting. It’s all part of the fun.

Who is your favourite Author?  

Charles Dickens, as above. A master storyteller.

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

Mary Poppins, because you never know what would happen, Dr Zhivago, because he’s clever and gorgeous, Sherlock Holmes, for his brilliance, eccentricity and violin playing and Winnie the Pooh, to make us all laugh. I’d be very sorry to have to leave out Captain Poldark, though. Can’t I squeeze him in as well?!

What book are you reading at the moment?

A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman. It’s my book club book.

Where in the world is your happy place?

At the moment it’s a beautiful meadow full of wild flowers by the river Thames near my house, where you can swim and sunbathe on a warm day. It’s very quiet, safe and you can go from one side of the river to the other and hang onto the willow branches that dangle in the water. Hardly anyone seems to visit, and sometimes I have the place all to myself.

If you had one superpower what would it be?

I’d like to be able to time travel, so long as I knew I could get back safely.

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

I’d make the evil Alec D’Urberville from Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles see the error of his ways and make things all right for Tess before it’s too late. Instead of dying, he’d become a social justice campaigner and travel around the country helping to improve people’s lives, especially the lives of women.

Are you working on a new project?  

Yes! I’m thrilled to say that I’ve just a signed a new, three book deal with my publisher, Head of Zeus. I’m busy on the fourth novel in my Tremarnock series, and there will be two more after that.

You can pre order below and have a sneak peek of the book ~

You can also read the other books in the series too ~

Tremarnock: The Lives, Loves and Secrets of a Cornish Village (Tremarnock Series Book 1) ~ Click to order book 1.

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The Cornish Guest House  ~ (Tremarnock Series Book 2) ~ Click to order.

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Many thanks to Emma Burstall and Head of Zeus publishing for stopping by today.

Before you go please check out our sneak peek of The Court of Lions by Jane Johnson.

CLICK TO READ

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For more Head Of Zeus, titles visit ~ Website

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Book Blog, Head Of Zeus Books, Sneak Peek

The Court Of Lions By Jane Johnson @JaneJohnsonBakr ‏ @HoZ_Books #SneakPeek

The Court Of Lions by Jane Johnson is published by Head Of Zeus books on the 6th of July 2017. It has one of the most breathtaking covers I have seen this year. It’s intricate details and shimmering gold spine make it stand out.  I am very lucky to have a sneak peek excerpt for you to indulge in.

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JANE JOHNSON is a British novelist and publisher. She is the UK editor for George R.R. Martin, Robin Hobb and Dean Koontz and was for many years publisher of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. Married to a Berber chef she met while researching The Tenth Gift, she lives in Cornwall and Morocco.

Court of Lions ~ Sneak Peek 

We made for Guadix, a long night’s ride to the east, where Momo’s mother had assured us we would be welcomed. Set in a desert of jagged limestone, bare earth and scrub below the Sierra Nevada, it was not a welcoming place, but I had rarely been so happy as when we entered that dour fortress.

Momo had been silent for most of the journey, and trotting along at an ever-increasing distance behind him on my mule, I was close to tears. But once we were inside those thick ochre walls our story fired its way around the town and soon everyone was talking about it. I was treated as a hero for my part in Momo’s daring escape and, after feeling very sorry for myself, was so carried away by all the flattery that I was able to put the disaster of the kiss to the back of my mind; I was in severe danger of bursting with pride. The young men of the town gathered around, chattering, praising God, slapping us on the back, delighted that Moulay Hasan and his brother had been outwitted. Some of them smiled at me and touched me lingeringly on the arm, drawing me aside to suggest a sunset walk later along the ramparts, a massage in the steam baths or that we explore the network of grottoes beyond the town walls. I was charmed to be the centre of attention, and a little light-headed from lack of sleep and food, but I suddenly became aware of Momo’s slitted, disapproving glances, and gently turned these invitations aside.

At last, when we were shown to our quarters and were alone, I summoned my courage. “I’m sorry I’ve offended you.”

He turned his beautiful, melancholy face to me. “Offended me?”

I could not look at him. “The kiss.” I shuffled my feet.

“Oh, that. That was nothing.”

Nothing? I lifted my eyes. “Then why are you so upset with me?”

He laughed. “Not everything revolves around you, Blessings, even though the fellows here seem to find you so fascinating.”

He had noticed, then.

“I was thinking about Mariam. What will become of her, alone in the palace, without me?”

Mariam. I had forgotten Mariam. “She’s been without you all these weeks,” I pointed out. “And she has her women.”

“She’s so young, so defenceless. She’ll be lonely: she doesn’t know anyone. I feel responsible for her. I’m her husband and I just … ran away.”

“Better to have run away than been beheaded,” I said, already impatient.

How quickly we take our lives for granted once the right order has been restored.

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An epic saga of romance and redemption. Court of Lions brings one of the great turning points in history to life, through the stories of a modern woman and the last Moorish sultan of Granada.

Kate Fordham, escaping terrible trauma, has fled to the beautiful sunlit city of Granada, the ancient capital of the Moors in Spain, where she is scraping by with an unfulfilling job in a busy bar. One day in the glorious gardens of the Alhambra, once home to Sultan Abu Abdullah Mohammed, also known as Boabdil, Kate finds a scrap of paper hidden in one of the ancient walls. Upon it, in strange symbols, has been inscribed a message from another age. It has lain undiscovered since before the Fall of Granada in 1492, when the city was surrendered to Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. Born of love, in a time of danger and desperation, the fragment will be the catalyst that changes Kate’s life forever.

Court of Lions brings one of the great turning-points in history to life, telling the stories of a modern woman and the last Moorish sultan of Granada, as they both move towards their cataclysmic destinies.

Order your copy today ~

Thanks to Jane Johnson and the team at Head Of Zeus books for the opportunity to be on the tour.

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Book Blog, Detective Series, Head Of Zeus Books, Q&A

Dark Dawn Over Steep House @MRCKASASIAN @HoZ_Books #QA #Giveaway

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On the blog today I have a interview with M.R.C Kasasian author of  Dark Dawn over Steep House. Also I have the opportunity for two lucky winners to win a copy of the book.

The Real You Interview with M.R.C.Kasasian

Thank you for stopping by Love Book Group Blog today, could you please tell my readers a little bit about yourself and your publishing journey.

For as long as I can remember I’ve written stories. When I was eleven my parents gave me a Petite typewriter for Christmas. I’d just read Oliver Twist so all my stories were about orphaned boys. They generally lasted about one page.

I drifted after leaving school, doing all kinds of jobs, mostly unskilled and underpaid until I pulled myself together and went to study Dentistry at UCH London. I worked in an NHS family practice and I loved it. I felt I was providing a service for the community but after 30 years I was exhausted.

Then my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. The shock of it made me reassess my life and so I quit to do what I always wanted to do – be with her and write. Fifteen years on she’s alive and well and so is my writing, I hope.  

Describe yourself using three words?

Not dead yet.

What inspired you to write your first novel?  

My very first novel was based on my experiences as a hotel waiter in Southport. It was, like many first novels, too autobiographical and was – thank heavens – rejected. I still have a corner of my heart and my loft for it though.

What time of day do you like to write?

Any time any and every day. Once I get steam up I start around 0630 and, family permitting, go on all day.

What is your favourite book and why?

I always feel this is like asking somebody to choose their favourite child. Today it’s Hemingway’s ‘A Movable Feast’ about his days as a struggling writer with his wife Hadley and their child Jack. I know a lot of it is idealized and exaggerated but he can make sitting in a café sharpening pencils sound like heaven.

Tomorrow it might be ‘Great Expectations’ or ‘Treasure Island’ or ‘The Leopard’

How did you pick the title of your book?

All of my Gower Street Detective series have been titled after the main place in the title, starting with Mangle Street and visiting The House of Foskett, Saturn Villa, Gaslight lane and finally this one, Steep House. Head of Zeus suggested the Dark Dawn bit. I wanted something more gruesome and less suitable.

Are the characters in your book based on real people?  

No. I try to use the names of real people in public life e.g. a Home Secretary or a Bishop (People send me messages if I get it wrong) but all my fictional characters are completely fictional (though they might disagree with that).

What’s your favourite word?

Myristicivorous which means ‘feeding upon nutmegs’. I once read the preface of a Chambers Dictionary and the writer expressed his disappointment that the word had not been included and I wished I was that erudite. I’m not.

If you were a colour what would it be?

Green to merge with the leather top on my desk.

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

I fill notebooks and multiple scraps of paper with plans and stick post-its on drawing boards with different colours for characters, plot etc., type several versions and follow the final one assiduously for three pages when a new angle occurs to me.

Who is your favourite Author?  

Again an impossible choice but, since I’ve put him down for my favourite book, I’ll plump for Ernest Hemingway. He could write very badly sometimes but he could also write wonderfully with not a word wasted. He was probably a horrible man at times and wouldn’t have liked me at all. I don’t hunt big game or relish watching bulls being put to death but I would love to have met him.

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

Sherlock Holmes – to explain to him that he was really only a fictional version of my character, Sidney Grice.

Philip from ‘My Cousin Rachel’ so I could give him a good shaking and tell him not to be such a bloody fool.

Sorry to say (because it sounds egotistical) I’d like to meet one of my own characters, March Middleton. I am absolutely besotted with her and could give her a few tips on which disastrous situations to avoid.

Vernon Smith from the Greyfriars stories. I don’t suppose many people have even heard of him but he was known as ‘the bounder’ and used to sneak out of school to smoke and drink – more than a bit like me, though I quit the smoking many years ago.

(Can I sneak Jeeves in to serve dinner and stop us getting into scrapes?)

What book are you reading at the moment?

I read several books at once by which I mean I skip one to the other. I’m not quite clever enough to read different ones with each eye. Mainly factual books about life in WW2 but also Bill Bryson’s History of Almost Everything. He has a rare gift of making what could be dry facts, fascinating and funny.

Where in the world is your happy place?

Anywhere in the sun with Tiggy (my wife) and a bottle of wine.

If you had one superpower what would it be?

Flying. I have a recurrent dream about stretching out my arms and floating into the air, summersaulting and soaring. Last time I ended up sitting in an apple tree with men in white coats gathered below – not a premonition, I hope.

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

Shylock. I always felt he was treated abominably and would like to discover an original folio in which he gets his pound of flesh, blood and all.

Are you working on a new project?  

Have skipped forwards 6 decades from the 1880’s of my Gower St Detective Series and am now writing about a Woman Police Officer in 1939 and I’ve already fallen in love with her. I hope readers will too.

Do you have any upcoming events our members can attend?  

I’m going for a quick walk around the block if anyone wants to join me.

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Back Jacket

London, 1884: Sidney Grice – London’s foremost personal detective – is restless. Having filed his latest case under ‘S’ for ‘Still To Be Solved’, he has returned to his book, A Brief History of Doorstep Whitening in Preston, to await further inspiration. His ward, March Middleton, remains determined to uncover the truth.

Geraldine Hockaday, the daughter of a respected Naval captain, was outraged on the murky streets of Limehouse. Yet her attacker is still on the loose.

But then a chance encounter in an overcrowded cafe brings a new victim to light, and it seems clear March and Grice are on the trail of a serial offender.

A trail that will lead them to the dining room of a Prussian Prince, the dingy hangout of an Armenian gangster, and the shadowy ruin of a once-loved family home, Steep House…

GIVEAWAY 

We have two copies courtesy of Head Of Zeus Books.  To enter simply  CLICK HERE

Alternatively, you can pre-order your own copy here

Huge thanks to M.R.C Kasasian and Head Of Zeus for being on the blog today and also for the lovely giveaway prizes.

Dark Dawn blog tour

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Author, Head Of Zeus Books

Day Of The Dead @MR_CrimeWriter @HoZ_Books #QA

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A serial killer. A hero to some. A wanted criminal to others.

The man who calls himself Vindici broke out of prison last year. Now he’s filmed himself torturing and killing paedophiles in Liverpool’s affluent suburbs.

Half the city are celebrating: the streets are now safer for their children. But for DCI Eve Clay and her team at the Merseyside Police, it’s a nightmare. Their job is to solve crimes and lock up the killer – hard enough without being despised by the public they are trying to protect.

And now, just when they think they’ve cracked the case, they receive a photo of Vindici at a Day of The Dead parade in Mexico. If Vindici is 5,000 miles away, who are they hunting in Liverpool? DCI Eve Clay must draw on all her cunning to unmask a killer who is somehow always one step ahead.

My Q&A with Mark Roberts 

Describe yourself using three words?

Triple I.  Industrious Imaginative Individual

What inspired you to write your first novel?

I’ve always created stories and, from an early age, written them down.  Writing my first novel was a logical step forward.

What time of day do you like to write?

During school term, I write from 4.30 pm to 7.30pm.  During weekends and holidays. morning until mid-late afternoon.

What is your favourite book and why?

It’s The Trilogy by Samuel Beckett.  ‘Molloy’.  ‘Malone Dies.’  ‘The Unnamable’.  There are many mysteries in Beckett’s work and his writing works on so many levels.  It deals with the most profound philosophical question, in my view.  What is it to be a human being? 

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How did you pick the title of your book?

The titles evolve from the stories.  Blood Mist is set against foul winter weather conditions and there is a lot of bloodshed.  Clay is driving through thick fog and sees a red traffic light, the visual effect being a blood mist.  Dead Silent?  I can’t explain because it would give too much away.  Day of the Dead comes from the Mexican festivities in the October-November time window.  People celebrate their passed loved-ones and welcome them back.   

Are the characters in your book based on real people?

Sister Philomena who Clay remembers well from her childhood and, who we meet through flashback, was based on a real Roman Catholic Nun of the same name.  Back in the 1960s and 70s she used to help single mothers and mothers were struggling with PND.

I guess the majority of characters are an amalgam of people.  

What’s your favourite word?

Because.  It’s the door to understanding.

If you were a colour what would it be?

Sunset red.

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

I write a document which I put in a drawer and never look at again.  I go with the flow.

Who is your favourite author?

My all-time favourite is Edgar Allan Poe.

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

Will Graham the FBI agent from ‘Red Dragon’.  How do you square thinking like a serial with being a ‘normal’ man?  When did you first become aware of your special talent and what was the process like?

Paul Sheldon the writer from ‘Misery’.  If I ever get abducted by an over-enthusiastic reader, how should I play it?

  1. Auguste Dupin the detective from ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’, ‘The Mystery of Marie Roget’ and ‘The Purloined Letter’.  What was it like inside Edgar Allan  Poe’s head?

Father Lankester Merrin from ‘The Exorcist’.  When did you first realise that you were a marked man?  And why do you think The Devil picked on you?

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What book are you reading at the moment?

‘Stalkers’ by Paul Finch.

Where in the world is your happy place?

Home.

If you had one superpower what would it be?

Telepathy.

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

Alex from ‘A Clockwork Orange’.  I’d have him getting lynched by his victims but then being laid to rest next to Beethoven.

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Are you working on a new project?

I am working on ‘Black Sun’.  It’s an Eve Clay novel and it’s set in Liverpool.  I’ll leave it there if that’s ok.

Do you have any upcoming events our members can attend?

12th July 6.30 pm Waterstones Liverpool One.  I’m on a panel with four other authors talking about crime fiction.

You can purchase your copy here: Amazon

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Huge thanks to Head Of Zeus Books and Mark Roberts for being on my blog today.

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Head Of Zeus Books, Q&A

The Dog Walker ~ @LesleyjmThomson @HoZ_Books #Q&A #Giveaway

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A haunted house, a broken family and a body that has never been found. Stella and Jack must reawaken the secrets of the past in order to solve the mysteries of the present.

January 1987. In the depths of winter, only joggers and dog walkers brave the Thames towpath after dark. Helen Honeysett, a young newlywed, sets off for an evening run from her riverside cottage. Only her dog returns.

Twenty-nine years later, her husband has asked Stella Darnell, a private detective, and her side-kick Jack Harmon, to find out what happened all those years ago.

But when the five households on that desolate stretch of towpath refuse to give up their secrets, Stella and Jack find themselves hunting a killer whose trail has long gone cold…

Lesley Thomson

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Lesley Thomson is a Londoner. Her first crime novel A Kind of Vanishing won The People’s Book Prize in 2010. The Detective’s Daughter is a number one bestseller and Sainsbury’s ebook for 2014. Ghost Girl, the second in the The Detective’s Daughter series (2014) went to number one in Sainsbury’s e-chart and is another bestseller. The Detective’s Secret was published in 2015. The Runaway, an ebook short about Stella Darnell (the detective’s daughter) came out in July 2015 and the fourth in the series, The House with No Rooms in 2016. The Dogwalker, another case for Stella and Jack, comes out in April 2017.

Lesley lives in Sussex with her partner and her dog and is working on The Detective Daughter sixth in the series featuring Stella Darnell.

My Q&A with Lesley Thomson

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

Hi there, here’s  a bit about me. I was born and grew up in West London. Although I’m a Hammersmith girl at heart – the River Thames flows through my veins (Yuk, you may say)  – I’ve always craved open space and fresh air. This sent me to Australia in my twenties and I now live in Lewes, a town within the Sussex Downs.  My publishing journey has been a zig-zag path littered with boulders (rejections). I was first published in my late twenties (1987), my editor was the wonderful Jeannette Winterson. Then I embarked on a series of career jobs and family stuff. The two novels I managed to write remain in my attic. A Kind of Vanishing was published in 2007. It won The People’s Book Prize for fiction in 2010. My next novel The Detective Daughter became a best seller as have the subsequent novels in this series. The road of writing fiction, of being published and then being read is ever a rocky one. However, it’s also very rewarding to engage with my readers.

I’m frequently the guest of book groups around the country. I find it a deeply rewarding and interesting experience. Book group members are lively and engaged and I often hear ideas about my plots and characters that I hadn’t thought of before.

Describe yourself using three words?

Inquisitive.  Quirky. Imaginative.  (These qualities can serve me well and get me into the deepest trouble…)

What inspired you to write your first novel?  

I was inspired to write A Kind Of Vanishing after hearing an item on BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours about helping primary school-aged children deal with the death of a classmate who was a friend. Then they moved onto discussing how to support children who hadn’t liked the dead child and secretly might not be sorry that they were dead.  I remembered children I hadn’t liked at school, (one actually, who bullied me) how would I have felt if that child had died. I suspected I would have been privately relieved as I dreaded going to school at one point.  I was making lunch when the programme was on and. I stopped cooking and grabbed my writing notebook.

What time of day do you like to write?

I write from about 8.30am until 1pm with a break for coffee around 11.am. I can rarely write new material in the afternoon, my brain isn’t nearly as inquisitive or imaginative as in the mornings. Although I  can redraft and correct existing text.

What is your favourite book and why?

Our Mutual Friend came instantly to mind you when asked me this. It’s full of characters who go on personal journeys and gain from experience. It’s packed with mystery and starts with an vivid and unsettling scene steeped in atmosphere. The Thames at night. It drew me in and I can still picture the scene now. (I reread it regularly). It has a happy ending that makes sense with the development of the characters. I. have Dickens (and indeed Wilkie Collins, another favourite) to thank for my constant return to the River Thames in my own fiction. The Dog Walker is set on the towpath at Kew in the present day, but it – and my series – owes much to my love of Charles Dickens and this particular novel. The places I describe in my stories are, to my mind, gas-lit with glistening cobbles of the nineteenth century.

How did you pick the title of your book?

It picked itself. The novel features people who regularly walk their dogs early in the morning and last thing at night. As II do – one of the characters is not what they seem. One dark morning while out with Alfred my scruffy poodle, I was struck with how a harmless and enjoyable activity (I solve a lot of knotty plot problems when out with Alfred) could be sinister and threatening.  And so I came up with The Dog Walker.  

Are the characters in your book based on real people?  

No. I’d find it limiting to use a real person as a model and be unable to bring them to life. I invent my characters from scratch, although some share a couple of my own qualities, Jack is quirky and draws conclusions about life from personalized number plates he spots as I tend to do. Then again Stella possesses a quality that I definitely lack, she’s passionate about cleaning. Seated at my desk I can resemble Dickens’ character Miss Haversham, and be shrouded in cobwebs. Having said that, when I do clean, I deep clean like Stella, just not as often.

What’s your favorite word?  

Contentment, a state I dream of. I’ve been lucky as I get older I experience this more often.

If you were a colour what would it be?  

Blue. It’s a calm, positive colour in many shades that I like: aqua marine, royal blue, slate blue, turquoise. (Electric Blue is a fave Bowie track). This despite blue being used to express unhappiness.

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

I plan it in detail, but I’ll change scenes along the way as the story demands. Or, as characters develop I might think, ‘Oh they need to do that, or would never do so and so.’ I always know the last scene of any story I write before I begin.

Who is your favourite Author?  

I don’t really  have one. But Dickens is right up there.  Barbara Pym is wonderful. In crime fiction, I always look forward to the next Elly Griffiths.

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

Lucy from The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – she’s feisty, adventurous (quirky and imaginative). I’d love to have known her when I was little and still would. Ruth Galloway from Elly Griffiths’ series, Ruth might express some of the shy ambivalence I’d feel about attending a dinner with strangers, I suspect we’d bond over that as well as my long held interest in archeology. I’d like to sit opposite Patricia Highsmith’s Tom Ripley. He’d be intriguing, challenging, scary and fatally alluring.  (I’d have Lucy and Ruth to protect me). Finally Count Fosco from Wilki Collins’ The Woman In White, he’d hold court, be cuttingly amusing and a match for Tom Ripley.

What book are you reading at the moment?

Tana French’s The Secret Place.  I find French’s novels utterly absorbing.

Where in the world is your happy place?

On the Sussex Downs on a spring day with the sea shimmering on the horizon.

If you had one superpower what would it be?

To have a really good memory. I read a lot, but however good the book is, a few weeks later I’m left only with impressions. I love to remember detail.

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

The White Witch from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Lucy would help the witch mend her ways and live happily on in Narnia.

Are you working on a new project?  

I’m writing the sixth in the Detective’s Daughter series.  In this one Jack and Stella move to the country to solve a case. They are city people so the roaming cattle, barbed wire fences and pitch black nights are is a challenge.

Do you have any upcoming events our members can attend?  

I’m launching The Dog Walker along with the new books from three crime writers, Elly Griffths, William Shaw and Susan Wilkins at the Brighton Waterstones on Thursday 27th April.

https://www.waterstones.com/events/the-brighton-crime-wave-an-evening-with-william-shaw-lesley-thomson-elly-griffiths-and-susan-wilkins/brighton

I’ll be at Bristol Crime Fest on Friday 19th May talking about obsession with four other crime writers including the wonderful Stave Sherez.

In July I’m heading to Harrogate for the Crime Writing Festival to teach a Crime Writing workshop on Plot with Greg Mosse (Creative Thursday,  20th July)

http://harrogateinternationalfestivals.com/theakston-festival/creative-thursday-2/

I’m hosting a table at the Digging Up The Past Dinner on Saturday 22nd July.

http://harrogateinternationalfestivals.com/theakston-festival/digging-up-the-past/

Thanks to Lesley Thomson and Blake B, @HoZ_Books I am very grateful to be on your tour.

~K~

 

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Head Of Zeus Books, Q&A

The Summer House @carofraser @HoZ_Books #QA

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In the gloriously hot summer of 1936, a group of people meet at a country house party. Within three years, England will be at war, but for now, time stands still.

Dan Ranscombe is clever and good-looking, but he resents the wealth and easy savoir-faire of a fellow guest, Paul Latimer. Surely a shrewd girl like Meg Slater would see through that, wouldn’t she? And what about Diana, Paul’s beautiful sister, Charles Asher, the Jewish outsider, Madeleine, restless and dissatisfied with her role as children’s nanny? And artist Henry Haddon, their host, no longer young, but secure in his power as a practiced seducer.

As these guests gather, none has any inkling the choices they make will have fateful consequences, lasting through the war and beyond. Or that the first unforeseen event will be a shocking death.

My Q&A with Caro Fraser 

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

I’m 64-year-old retired lawyer, I live in South East London, and I’ve been an author for almost twenty-five years, although I’ve been writing all my life. My first novel, The Pupil, was published in 1993 and was the beginning of a very successful series of legal novels (the Caper Court series). There are seven books in the series, all featuring the brilliant, charming, but amoral barrister Leo Davies, and I’m hoping to start number eight next year. In between, I’ve published a number of stand-alone novels. My new book, The Summer House Party, opens in the summer of 1936, three years before the war, at the country home of Henry Haddon, a famous society painter, and his wife Sonia. A group of friends – some young, some old, some wealthy, some less so – have been brought together for a week to enjoy the country house pleasures of tennis parties, picnics, and tea on the lawn. As the warm, lazy days unfold, intrigues and rivalries develop among the younger guests, and then a sudden death, like a foretaste of the war to come, puts and end to the party. In the years that follow the events of that week continue to haunt their lives, and as the country heads into war they must try to reconcile the choices and mistakes they have made….

This latest novel is something of a departure for me, as all my other books are set in the present day. I hugely enjoyed doing the historical research and trying to catch the tone and feel of that pre-war world. I like to think this is the kind of big book you could take on holiday for a long, lazy read!

The Summer House Party is published by Head Of Zeus, and what is especially delightful for me is that reunites me with Rosie de Courcy, the wonderful editor who published my first novel when she was with Orion Publishing.

 

Describe yourself using three words?

Mother, child, writer  

 

What inspired you to write your first novel?

The Pupil was the first novel I wrote, and it became the first in the Caper Court series of legal novels. It was inspired by my experiences in pupillage (which is a sort of apprenticeship on the road to becoming a barrister), and its hero, Anthony Cross, is a brilliant but hard-up pupil barrister who has to struggle against heavy odds to gain a tenancy in a prestigious set of barristers’ chambers. Halfway through the novel I introduced a character called Leo Davies, who becomes a kind of mentor to Anthony, but is also bisexual and has ulterior motives for befriending him… He was such a successful character that he became very much the ‘star’ of the novels that followed.  

 

What time of day do you like to write?

I have a pretty regular routine – start at 9, break for coffee at 11, lunch at 1, gym or swim around 3 – but oddly enough, I find the most productive time of day to write is early evening.  Things just flow then, for some reason.

 

What is your favourite book and why?

That’s a difficult one. I suppose my favourite from childhood is The Rose And The Ring, by William Thackeray, because it’s the book that first opened my eyes to wonderful writing. But for a desert island I would take Martin Chuzzlewit, by Dickens. I never get tired of it.

 

How did you pick the title of your book?

Actually, it was my agent who came up with the title for The Summer House Party. I suppose it’s quite an obvious one because the book opens with guests gathering for a week-long house party in the summer of 1936, and that house party is the catalyst for all the events that follow.   

 

Are the characters in your book based on real people?

No. Real people are far too complex to put on a page. That said, I occasionally take aspects of someone I know – mannerisms, tricks of speech, and so on – and use them in creating a character. And because I think very visually when I write, and see events as though they’re unfolding on film, I might pick an actor who could portray the character I’m creating and use them as a physical template. I did that with Leo Davies in the Caper Court books – in my mind’s eye he was the young (and at that time very dishy) Anthony Hopkins.  

 

What’s your favourite word?

Not sure I have one. But I quite like the word ‘ludicrous’.

 

If you were a colour what would it be?  

If she wants to wind me up, my daughter will occasionally tell me I’m in danger of becoming ‘beige’. But I like to think I’m more a soft, yet vibrant shade of yellow!

 

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

I generally have a rough idea of the story, but I never plot too tightly. I like to be true to my characters and allow them to shape things. There will be times in a story when I’m about to have a character do or say something, and I’ll think – hold on, she wouldn’t do or say that, she’d do or say this instead. Characters really take a hold of you in that way.  They become like real people, and you can’t let them act in a way that’s literally out of character. So that can take the story in an unexpected direction. I suppose the answer is that I tend to go with the flow, though there is always a point in a book, about two-thirds of the way through, where you have to start weaving plotlines together to bring it all to a satisfactory conclusion.

 

Who is your favourite Author?

Bit of a chestnut, but I suppose Charles Dickens. He never lets you down, he is a genius of a storyteller, he can command humour and pathos with equal brilliance, and has created some of the most memorable characters in fiction. Mind you, I could say much the same of Stephen King, who is a master of his craft.

 

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

Top of the invitation list would be Flashman, the anti-hero of my father George MacDonald Fraser’s wonderful historical novels. He’s sexy, amusing, and would have some great stories to tell. I reckon he’d probably get on pretty well with Scarlett O’Hara – I love her independent spirit and her determination to look after number one – so I’d have her there, too. And as I’ve always had a huge weak spot for him, please could I sit next to Bertie Wooster?  Maybe to inject some elegance, mystery and the possibility of intrigue among the guests, I’d like to invite the Marquise de Merteuil from Les Liaisons Dangereuses. How she and Scarlett would get along is anyone’s guess, so maybe they should be seated at opposite ends of the table.

 

What book are you reading at the moment?

At the moment I’m reading Three Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory, as it’s my book club’s choice. Apart from that, I’m reading Quentin Crisp’s The Naked Civil Servant. Most people have seen the film starring John Hurt, but the book itself is well worth a read – it’s a brilliantly witty, elegantly written gem, and an astonishing insight into what it was like to be gay in the unforgiving era when homosexuality was illegal. Also on my bedside table is London Fog, The Biography, by Christine L. Corton. It examines the history of air pollution in London and the depiction and influence of London fogs in English literature, and is ideal for dipping in and out of.

 

Where in the world is your happy place?

We have a cottage in the Isle of Man, where my parents used to live and where I went to school for a couple of years. The cottage stands on a remote headland overlooking a bay with a little beach, and has a wildflower meadow. The views are stunning, the air is wonderful, and lying in the meadow on a summer’s day it’s so quiet you can hear the swish of a gull’s wing as it flies overhead, and the buzz of insects in the grass. That’s my happy place.

 

If you had one superpower what would it be?

Invisibility. I suppose I should say something like superhuman strength so that I could go around doing heroic deeds and rescuing people, but I’d much rather be able to slip unseen in and out of places and find out what’s going on….

 

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

I think it would be rather nice if Satan from Paradise Lost (who is, after all, a fallen angel) could see the error of his ways and get back together with God and become a force for good, rather than evil. It would save the world a lot of grief! 

 

Are you working on a new project?  

I’m happy to say I’m working on the sequel to The Summer House Party. Everyone knows that feeling of getting to the end of a book and wanting to know more. That’s the way I want my readers to feel, so that they need to find out what happens next with the characters. I’m often quite curious myself! I’m already halfway through it, and I’m even hoping it may lead to a third novel.  

 

Do you have any upcoming events our members can attend?  

Yes, I’ll be at Romance In The Court, hosted by Goldsboro Books in the delightful Cecil Court just off Leicester Square on May 25th from 6 – 9pm. I would love to meet readers – yours and mine! – so I do hope people will come along. https://www.goldsborobooks.com/event/romance-court-2017/

 

Thank you to Caro Fraser and Suzanne @HoZ_Books for this wonderful Q&A, come back soon.

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Head Of Zeus Books, Q&A

The Married Girls @Dineycost @HoZ_Books #Q&A #RT

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The war is over, but trouble is brewing…

Wynsdown, 1949. In the small Somerset village of Wynsdown, Charlotte Shepherd is happily married to farmer Billy. She arrived from Germany on the Kindertransport as a child during the war and now feels settled in her adopted home.

Meanwhile, the squire’s fighter pilot son, Felix, has returned to the village with a fiancée in tow. Daphne is beautiful, charming… and harbouring secrets. After meeting during the war, Felix knows some of Daphne’s past, but she has worked hard to conceal that which could unravel her carefully built life.

For Charlotte, too, a dangerous past is coming back in the shape of fellow refugee, bad boy Harry Black. Forever bound by their childhoods, Charlotte will always care for him, but Harry’s return disrupts the village quiet and it’s not long before gossip spreads.

The war may have ended, but for these girls, trouble is only just beginning.

My Q&A with Diney Costeloe

Describe yourself using three words? wife, mother, grandmother

What inspired you to write your first novel?  

BBC Women’s Hour Romantic Novelist competition.

What time of day do you like to write?

I tend to be an afternoon/evening person from choice, but I work around the other things in my life.

What is your favourite book and why?

If you are a prolific reader it’s almost impossible to have one favourite book, but if I have to pick just one it would probably by Pride and Prejudice. Why? Because it is beautifully written with Jane Austen’s eye for the pretentious and the ridiculous making it highly entertaining.

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How did you pick the title of your book?

In discussion with my publisher.

Are the characters in your book based on real people?  

No. But obviously, character traits that you observe in the people around you can be used individually bring fictitious characters to life.

What’s your favourite word?  

Granniatric

If you were a colour what would it be?  

Green

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

I have a beginning, an end, and probably an outline of the middle, but how I actually get from one end to the other may well change as I go along.

Who is your favourite Author?  

I have several depending on my mood.  Jane Austen, Susan Hill, Cynthia Harrod Eagles  and Hilary Mantel are among the top five.

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Hilary Mantel

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

Atticus Finch,  Simon Serrailler,  Rudolf Rassendyll  Lord Peter Wimsey

All these men have great integrity and it would be very interesting to discuss 21st Century problems with them.

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Atticus Finch

What book are you reading at the moment?

Keep The Home Fires Burning by Cynthia Harrod Eagles

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Keep The Home Fires Burning by Cynthia Harrod Eagles

Where in the world is your happy place?

My home

If you had one superpower what would it be?

Being able to fly

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

Rupert of Hentzau

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Rupert of Hentzau

Thank you to Diney Costeloe and Blake Brooks @HoZ_Books for allowing me to be part of this wonderful tour. 

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