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

Clarke_Rosie

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

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Win a copy of Lizzie’s Secret 

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

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

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

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

CLICK TO ENTER ~ GOOD LUCK

 

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Author, Excerpt, Q&A

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

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

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

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

Ruadh Butler 

A Butler

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

Q&A with Ruadh Butler

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

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

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

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

 

Describe yourself using three words?

Talkative, redheaded, upbeat

 

What inspired you to write your first novel?

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

 

What time of day do you like to write?

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

 

 

What is your favourite book and why?

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

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

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

 

How did you pick the title of your book?

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

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

 

Are the characters in your book based on real people?

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

 

What’s your favourite word?

Converse

 

If you were a colour what would it be?

Burgundy – lovely colour, smashing region, delicious wines

 

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

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

 

Who is your favourite author?

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

What book are you reading at the moment?

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

 

Where in the world is your happy place?

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

 

If you had one superpower what would it be?

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

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

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

 

Are you working on a new project?

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

 

Do you have any upcoming events our members can attend?

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

Sneak Peak ~ Extract 

Extract from Lord of the Sea Castle by Ruadh Butler

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amaury raised his eyebrows, but did not answer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Raymond inhaled sharply as Waverider slid into enemy territory.

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Author, Interveiw, Q&A

Last Witness @CarysJAuthor @Aria_Fiction #QA

ARIA_Jones_LAST WITNESS_E

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

My Q&A with Carys Jones

Jones_Carys

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

Describe yourself using three words?

Small, crazy, caring.

What inspired you to write your first novel?  

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

What time of day do you like to write?

In the morning after breakfast.

What is your favourite book and why?

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

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How did you pick the title of your book?

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

Are the characters in your book based on real people?  

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

What’s your favourite word?  

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

If you were a colour what would it be?  

The brightest shade of pink.

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

I plan out absolutely everything.

Who is your favourite Author?  

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

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

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

What book are you reading at the moment?

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

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Where in the world is your happy place?

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

If you had one superpower what would it be?

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

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

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

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Are you working on a new project?  

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

Do you have any upcoming events our members can attend?  

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

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

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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

Author, Interveiw

Fatal Crossing @LoneTheils @ArcadiaBooks #QA

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When a picture of two Danish girls who disappeared on a boat bound for England in 1985 emerges many years later in an old suitcase from a British second-hand dealer, the journalist Nora Sand’s professional curiosity is immediately awakened.But before she knows it, she is mixed up in the case of a serial killer who is serving a life sentence in a notorious prison and the quest to discover the truth about the missing girls may be more dangerous that she had ever imagined…

My Q&A with Lone Theils

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I was a London-correspondent for a Danish national newspaper in London and I absolutely loved my job, covering anything from politics to culture and all the things in between.

In 2014 I sent my script to a Danish publisher. They loved it so much that they flew over just one week after to take me out to dinner and ask me to sign a contract. 

It changed my life completely. 

My debut became a solid bestseller in Denmark and has been sold in translation to 16 countries. 

I am now making a living as an author and just finished my fourth crime novel. After 16 years in the UK, I have moved to Copenhagen but London is still home. In my heart and also where my heroine, the kickboxing journalist Nora Sand has her home from which she solves crimes.

Describe yourself using three words?

Danish, kickboxing, ex-journalist 

 What inspired you to write your first novel?

A true story. Two Danish girls had been photographed by a convicted serial killer from California and when police found the photos among his possessions decades later they had to ask the press to help identify the girls so they could discover if they were alive or had fallen prey to him. In reality the girls were found safe and well, but it gave me the idea for my story. I changed the scenery to the UK, as this is my second home country after living here for 16 years and I wanted to share my love of it with the readers. 

 What time of day do you like to write?

I try to strive to have some routine, so I try to start the writing right after I have had my morning swim in the ocean (I do this all year round, even in the Danish Winter). I come home, have breakfast and coffee and then I start writing. Some days are better than others, but when I am on a writing streak I can write even late in the night. I like the solitude of the night.

 What is your favourite book and why?

It is really hard for me to pick on a single book, as I love reading. One of the most memorable books I have read in a long time is A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. I really blew me away. I am very very fond of John le Carré and read everything from his hand with a deep pleasure which has only deepened as I have gotten to know the quirks of the Brits close up by living in London. When it comes to crime novels, I have a range of favourites, by if I have to mention a few, it would be Belinda Bauer, Mo Hayder and Irish Tana French.

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 How did you pick the title of your book?

The Danish title didn’t quite work in English, so I mulled over this for a long time without finding any satisfactory solution. Then I got a brilliant translator (Charlotte Barslund) and shortly after I had asked her how to solve the problem, she came up with seven-eight suggestions. I think Fatal Crossing was number four and I loved it the moment I saw it. So it was pure gut feeling in the end.

 Are the characters in your book based on real people?

No. They are more of a merge between reality and my imagination. On purpose, I never researched anything about the real killer from California, because I wanted to make the story my own. Having said that, Nora Sand also happen to be a kickboxing journalist living in London who loves to listen to Nina Simone. So there is that. Andreas´s look is based on a guy that I once had a crush on, but he has a completely different personality. But the characters could be real. They are, as is my dialogue based on my skills as a journalist in observing the reality.

 What’s your favourite word?

Orgasmic. We don’t have that in Danish and I am pretty jealous. Hedgehog and peculiar are also on my top three.

 If you were a colour what would it be?

I want to say turquoise as that is my favorite colour and have some complexity to it with the q and the mix between green and blue. But the truth is I am probably more of a purple kind of person. And I almost always wear black.

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

When I start I have what I call the core, which means I have some idea of why, who, what when it comes to the central crime in the novel. But putting it all down on yellow post-it notes just makes it seem too much like office work. So the rest of the time I go with the flow. Sometimes that means I end up killing people that I did not know would end up dead, to begin with, but that is, as they say, an occupational hazard.

 Who is your favourite Author?

John le Carré. I don’t know what these people in the Nobel committee are waiting for. He is the greatest writer in our time if you ask me.

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

That is a tricky one. One of the satisfactions of crime writing is that villains end up with punishment and justice is served. But if I really have to pick one, I would probably, staying in the vein of le Carré, hope that Karla – the Russian opponent of Smiley, at least got to see his daughter and had some kind of decent life in the West after being forced to leave his life in Moscow by the cleverness of Smiley. Maybe with a happy ending, we could put him in a lovely little cottage in Cornwall and have him doing the daily shop in Waitrose.

Are you working on a new project?

Yes. A few actually. I just finished doing a crime novel for DR (the Danish equivalent of BBC) and that has resulted in a book as well. It is called 87 seconds, which refers to the time it takes the brain to force you to try to breathe under water. Which means you drown. I have just handed in the first draft of Nora Sand novel number three, which is also inspired by a real crime case from London, and I am starting to ponder what is next for Nora. On a more off-beat note, I have had the honour to be asked by the Danish Donald Duck magazine to write an outline for a crime story for them. If you ask my nieces it does not get cooler than this. Ever.

 Do you have any upcoming events our members can attend?

Yes. I am taking part in a Nordic Noir event on the 22nd May at the Truman Brewery on Brick Lane. I also have a number of events coming up in September and October including Noirwich festival and an event at the Free Word Centre in Clerkenwell.

You can connect with Lone Theils on Twitter

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You can purchase your copy of  Fatal Crossing ~ Amazon UK

Huge thanks to Lone Theils for being on my blog today. Also thanks to the lovely Cassie L  at Arcadia Books. 

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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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CLICK TO ENTER ~ BEST OF LUCK

 

 

 

 

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