#PublicationDayPush #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #QandAs : How Not To Chaperon A Lady – Virginia Heath @VirginiaHeath_ @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m on the ‘How Not To Chaperon A Lady’ blogtour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

The Mysterious Lord Millcroft - Virginia HeathWhen Virginia Heath was a little girl it took her ages to fall asleep, so she made up stories in her head to help pass the time while she was staring at the ceiling. As she got older, the stories became more complicated, sometimes taking weeks to get to the happy ending. Then one day, she decided to embrace the insomnia and start writing them down. Despite that, it still takes her forever to fall asleep.

Social Media Links:
Facebook
Twitter

Synopsis :

His childhood nemesis…
…is the woman he can’t resist!
Chaperoning Charity Brookes while she’s on a singing tour should be easy for Griffith Philpot—he’s spent his whole life sparring with her over her flighty ways! But as he discovers that she’s much more than the impetuous girl he thought he knew, a passion ignites between them… Sharing a steamy kiss leaves him torn—he’s supposed to be responsible for guarding her virtue!

Purchase Link

Q&A :

Hi

First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
Writing books was always my dream right from my earliest memories but it wasn’t until I was in my 40s and burned out from teaching that I was brave enough to take the plunge. I am so glad I finally did as now, after twenty-three published books, I am living my wildest dream!

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
As a child, I loved Dahl and Dickens and the immersive worlds they created. As an adult, I adore Nora Roberts, Julia Quinn, Tessa Dare and Susan Mallery. I particularly love to read a series as I need to know what happens to my favourite characters once their book is done.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Obviously, the living author I would choose would have to be Nora Roberts, who is the most phenomenal and prolific storyteller. Her book Montana Sky is a masterpiece of both suspense and romance. Of the past, I would love to chat to Oscar Wilde as his comic timing and use of witty prose is second to none.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
I’d invite Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka as I think he would be a fascinating character to chat with. He’s quirky and endearing but with a dark edge. I suspect he and I would share the same warped sense of humour and love of the ridiculous.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I cannot work in a mess, so I have to clear my desk and tidy my office before I sit down to write. The rest of my house can be a disaster zone- but my office must be spotless!

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Ideas just seem to appear out of nowhere and that’s always been the case. Sometimes things I see or hear spark something and sometimes my odd head conjures things up. And should people be worried…? I might have based the odd baddie on somebody I have encountered in real life but my lips are sealed as to who 😉 .

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I am a total panster. I cannot plot at all because I see and hear the book appear in my odd head as a film as I type, so I’m always as surprised as my readers by what happens. OInce they are formed in my mind, my characters basically do as they please and always misbehave and take the story in a different direction to the one I thought we were heading. Weird, I know, but it seems to work for me—especially as the characters are always right.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
My top tip is to find your own writing voice and not try to emulate someone else’s. Once you’ve found it, writing becomes soooo much easier. You also have to force yourself to write when the words won’t come and fix your story rather than abandon it. Giving up is for hobby writers- the ones who have a future writing will plod on even though it feels like pulling teeth. One of my favourite writing quotes is ‘Easy reading is hard writing’ and that’s the truth. I have another quote framed above my desk which pretty much sums up the joy and pain of being an author ‘There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.’ Its not the easiest job, far from it, but once you get it right it’s the best job in the world.

What are your futureplans as an author?
To keep writing my stories for as long as I have stories left in me to tell! Aside from the final book in the Talk of the Beau Monde series, I have a Regency RomCom series coming out with St Martin’s Press in the US and Headline Eternal in the UK on 9th November which I am super excited about. Never Fall for Your Fiancée is the first book in the Merriwell Sisters trilogy. I’ve also got another series coming out with Harlequin/Mills&Boon coming out in the new year. My Very Village Scandal series is set in a quaint, thatched English village where gossip is rife everybody knows each other’s business- a bit like Virgin River but set during the Regency. The Earl’s Inconvenient Houseguest is the first book and that’s out in February. I also have plans to write a contemporary RomCom series next year which will need a home, so watch this space…

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Yes indeed—the hero and the heroine have been sworn enemies since children thanks to an unfortunate incident with a kite. Even after eighteen years, neither are over it… nor over each other 😉 .

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Virginia Heath.

Giveaway :

Win 2 x e-copies of How Not to Chaperon a Lady (Open INT)
*Terms and Conditions – Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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The Magic of Wor(l)ds

P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!

#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours / #QandAs : Wolf Tones #WolfTones – JJ Marsh @JJMarsh1

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m on the ‘Wolf Tones’ blogtour, organized by Random Things Tour.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

As an English teacher, actor, director and cultural trainer, I’ve lived and worked all over Europe. Now I’m a full-time author, publisher and audiobook narrator.
My crime novels in the Beatrice Stubbs Series have become international bestsellers.
Psychological dramas Odd Numbers (shortlisted for the 2021 Bookbrunch Selfies Prize) and Wolf Tones dig deep into the world of emotional dependence.
The Run and Hide Thrillers chase a hunted woman around the world.
I live in Switzerland with my husband and dog, taking advantage of the landscape, languages, Prosecco and cheese.

Website
Twitter
Facebook

Synopsis :

You escaped the past. Here comes the present.
Fifteen years ago, Rolf was destined for the gutter.
His luck has changed. Now a cellist with the Salzburg City Orchestra, he has his dream job and dizzying prospects.
All because of her.
Smart, sexy, well connected and crazy about him, Leonor is his fantasy woman. She made him and he’ll never forget it.
Neither will she.
She chooses Rolf’s diet, his friends, his decisions and career path. She knows best. When does a champion turn controller?
While he submits to domination at home, he struggles at work. The maestro is determined to break down and rebuild his new cellist. Clash after clash shatter Rolf’s confidence until he doubts everything about himself.
Then a rumour reaches his ear. Has he misjudged his new friends? Is something more sinister pulling the orchestra’s strings?
Regardless of the drama behind the scenes, the show must go on. It’s the only way to escape his past.
A classic artist, Rolf presents the best side of himself, hiding the pain of imperfection. A strategy with devastating results.

Amazon

Q&A :

Hi

First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂
Thank you for inviting me!

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
My name is Jill and I write as JJ Marsh. I’ve published twelve books in the Beatrice Stubbs series, three standalone novels and am embarking on a new series of international thrillers. Writing has always been a part of my life, as has reading. I’ve been a teacher, and actor and a theatre director – all those involve storytelling. Becoming an author was a natural progression.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
Stella Gibbons’ Cold Comfort Farm is a book I read as a child and still love as an adult. From Enid Blyton through Stephen King and Jane Austen to Louis de Bernières and Milan Kundera, I learned something from all of them about the way to use words.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
J.M. Coetzee. He tackles the most heart-rending topics with a clear eye. I’ve attended one of his readings and he’s searingly intelligent. If I ever met the man, I’d probably be too intimidated to utter a squeak.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones and I could have a fun afternoon in a London tea-room, as long as they serve prosecco.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
My writing process is pretty dull. Mindmap themes, outline the plot, fill the storyboard, get the words on the page, then edit, edit, edit. But my non-writing habits are those of a magpie. I’m always aware of conversations, signposts, unusual names and unexpected images, specific tastes or atmospheres, peculiar encounters and odd experiences. My notebooks are crammed with random observations and saved for the day they come in useful. I’m a kleptomaniac in the Supermarket of Ideas.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
See above. Concepts for a novel tend to ferment a while until I can see a way of telling the story. It can be a moral dilemma, a life-changing event or a social or political point that interests me. The starting point must come from a character. As for people in my life, I have stolen names and appearances on occasion, but never from anyone genuinely close.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
Plotter who lets the pants take over when the time is right. I was almost at the end of White Heron when my subconscious poked me in the ribs and pointed out how I could use one character as a ‘didn’t see that coming’ moment.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Join a critique group, online or in person. Learn how to think critically, to give and receive feedback, to constantly remember the author’s intention and help them reach their goal. After years of doing this, good habits become second nature and first drafts need fewer edits. Read books on craft and test out those theories with a short story or perfectly honed flash fiction. Pay attention to what’s happening in the publishing world and read as widely and deeply as you can. There is no one way to be a writer so make sure you’re aware of the options.

What are your futureplans as an author?
My current focus is on getting Wolf Tones in front of the right audience which will absorb most of August and September. Then in October, the second in my Run and Hide series comes out. Black River is a thriller set in the Amazon rainforest. I have sketched outlines for six books in that series so will get to work on No.3. Towards the end of the year, I’m bringing out a novella as a Christmas special for fans of Beatrice Stubbs.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Of course. This is when my main character, Rolf, has just arrived at his new apartment in Salzburg.

Three streets away, he found a Thai restaurant offering takeaway packages. He ordered in passable German and asked if there was shop nearby where he could buy wine. The young girl behind the counter was helpful and patient and assured him he could get to the mini-market and back in the ten minutes it would take the kitchen to cook their order.
Half an hour or so after he’d left, he unlocked the front door and ran upstairs, carrying a brown paper bag filled with containers of Thai curry and rice. In his right hand, he held a bottle of champagne. The apartment was empty so he went onto the balcony to see if she was there.
Down in the garden, Leonor was sitting at a wrought-iron table, laughing with a young man. Rolf didn’t even know how to get into the garden.
“Food is ready!” he shouted, brandishing the bag.
She looked up and her face broke into a beautiful smile. “Bring it down here with plates and glasses. I want you to meet our neighbour.”
The guy lifted his face and gave a salute. “Hi! My name is Anton, I live downstairs. I don’t want to intrude on your first night. Just wanted to say hello.”
“Give me a minute.” Rolf collected two plates, two sets of cutlery and two glasses. The gesture was pointed. Tonight they did not want company. But when he got downstairs and found the door to the garden, he saw Leonor and Anton were already drinking cocktails from martini glasses.
“Hi,” said Anton, saluting again.
“Meet Rolf, the one I’ve been telling you about.”
“Hello, Anton,” said Rolf, forcing a smile.
Leonor took the bag and inhaled. “Mmm, I love Thai food. Would you like to join us? I’m sure we can stretch this for three.”
Anton held up both palms. “Thank you, but no. I’ve already eaten and I really don’t like spicy food. I have a typical Austrian palate, I’m afraid. I’ll leave you in peace to enjoy your meal. Just so you know, there’s a house cat called Blue. He’s currently favouring my place, but changes his mind about where he sleeps quite frequently.”
Leonor waggled a glass at Rolf. “Are you ever going to open that bottle? That’s fine with us, we love animals. Thanks for the martini. Cocktails before champagne, I could get used to Salzburg.” She laughed up at him with the sparkle in her eye she always used when she wanted to charm someone.
Anton laughed with her, evidently spellbound. “Great to meet you and I’m so pleased to have friendly neighbours again. The last woman was a miserable old bag. Hey, do you two fancy going out for a drink next week? I could show you some local bars and warn you which ones to avoid.”
Leonor tilted her face to Rolf, her mouth an O of delight. She was handing him the mic and he couldn’t see a way out.
“That’s kind of you. It would be useful to learn a bit more about the area.” He twisted the bottle and the cork popped out. He poured the overflow straight into a wine glass, aware of Leonor’s giddy laughter.
Anton took his cocktail glasses, wished them a good evening and went inside his own apartment. There was no sign of any cat.
They emptied the cartons onto their plates, drank champagne and toasted their new start. As the twilight deepened and lights came on in the apartments on the other side of the hedge, their building remained in darkness. Presumably Anton had gone out for the evening. Why not? Young, not bad looking and obviously familiar with the local nightlife. What reason would he have to stay home? Rolf relaxed a little and let go of the feeling they were being watched.

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, JJ Marsh.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!

The Castle #TheCastle – Anne Montgomery @amontgomery8 @TouchPointPress , an #Interview #QandA

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

blog-q&a

Today I’m not on a blogtour, but doing my own interview with Anne Montgomery, author of ‘The Castle’, to promote her book!
Before I let you read my Q&As, I’ll first post some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Anne Montgomery Headshot 4Anne Butler Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, and amateur sports official. Her first TV job came at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, and led to positions at WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, and ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter. She finished her on‐camera broadcasting career with a two‐year stint as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery was a freelance and/or staff reporter for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archaeological pieces. Her novels include The Scent of RainA Light in the Desert, Wild Horses on the Salt, and The Castle. Montgomery taught high school journalism for 20 years and was an amateur sports official for four decades, a time during which she called baseball, ice hockey, soccer, and basketball games and served as a high school football referee and crew chief. Montgomery is a foster mom to three sons. When she can, she indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, musical theater, and playing her guitar.

Website

Synopsis :

Athe-castle_front-cover-copy-3ncient ruins, haunted memories, and a ruthless criminal combine with a touch of mystic presence in this taut mystery about a crime we all must address.
Maggie, a National Park Ranger of Native American descent, is back at The Castle—a six-hundred-year-old pueblo carved into a limestone cliff in Arizona’s Verde Valley. Maggie, who suffers from depression, has been through several traumas: the gang rape she suffered while in the Coast Guard, the sudden death of her ten-year-old son, and a suicide attempt.
One evening, she chases a young Native American boy through the park and gasps as he climbs the face of The Castle cliff and disappears into the pueblo. When searchers find no child, Maggie’s friends believe she’s suffering from depression-induced hallucinations.
Maggie has several men in her life. The baker, newcomer Jim Casey, who always greets her with a warm smile and pink boxes filled with sweet delicacies. Brett Collins, a scuba diver who is doing scientific studies in Montezuma Well, a dangerous cylindrical depression that houses strange creatures found nowhere else on Earth. Dave, an amiable waiter with whom she’s had a one-night stand, and her new boss Glen.
One of these men is a serial rapist and Maggie is his next target. In a thrilling and terrifying denouement, Maggie faces her rapist and conquers her worst fears once and for all.

Amazon US

Q&A :

Hi

First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
When you consider that I’m a low-level dyslexic, it’s probably surprising that I became an author. I began writing when I was hired as a sportscaster, a position I held at five TV stations. My job description required that I tell numerous stories daily in a short amount of time. Later, when I became a print reporter for newspapers and magazines, my stories got to be longer. I suppose the jump to novel length tales was just a natural progression.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
As I mentioned, I’m dyslexic, a condition that was not widely understood when I was a kid, so when my grades were not what my parents expected, I was called stupid and lazy. Perhaps, understandably, I hated to read, so it wasn’t until I was 18 when I discovered T.H. White’s Once and Future King, that I read a book for pleasure. Today I read several different genres, mostly suspense, mysteries, and historical fiction.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I can’t think of a specific author who I’d like to be buddies with. Actually, I’d like to become great freinds with the people who market books successfully, as that’s the tough part.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
I’ve always liked Clive Custler’s Dirk Pitt, the swash-buckling scuba diver. I’m a diver myself, and diving with Dirk while looking for treasure would be thrilling. Though I doubt he’d stop by for tea. Dirk is a tequila guy, which is fine with me.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I need quiet when I write. I was a teacher for 20 years and I realize that some people can work listening to music or TV, but I would be completely distracted. I also need things to be orderly. Everything in it’s place. If there’s something on my desk that doesn’t belong there, I keep staring at it. I have the same problem with crooked pictures on the wall, so perhaps I’m a bit OCD.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Yes, they do. My partner of 29 years often reads my blog and exlaims, “I said that!” He realizes that whatever he says or does could end up in a book. I’m also a foster mom—though my kids are all-in their twenties now—and I’ve utilized their experiences on occassion. As to my book subjects, I’m an avid reader of the news. I still get an old-fashioned paper paper daily. Not surprisng perhaps since I spent about 15 years as a reporter. I find subjects that interest me, research them, and write books about them. So far I’ve written stories about religous cults, child abuse, PTSD, domestic violence, a serial rapist, archeological looting, domestic terrorism, and the problems associetd with the west’s wild horse population.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I am a proud pantser. I never have any idea where my stories are going. I get to know my characters along with the readers, and sometimes they surprise me with the things they do. I just take it one chapter at a time.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Do not quite you day job! It’s extremely difficult in our world of e-books to make money as an author. And grow a thick skin. You will be rejected by agents and publishers and reviewers and readers much more often than you’ll be praised. If your feelings are easily hurt, this is not a job field for you.

What are your futureplans as an author?
I have four book projects going at the moment. The Castle will be published in September. My historical novel Wolf Catcher has been edited and is in the queue. I have a World War II novel my agent is pitching, and I just started a book that takes place on the island of St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands where I have a home, so I can’t say I’m bored.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Maggie, a National Park Ranger of Native American descent, is back at The Castle—a six-hundred-year-old pueblo carved into a limestone cliff in Arizona’s Verde Valley. Maggie, who suffers from depression, has been through several traumas: the gang rape she suffered while in the Coast Guard, the sudden death of her ten-year-old son, and a suicide attempt. One evening, she chases a young Native American boy through the park and gasps as he climbs the face of The Castle cliff and disappears into the pueblo. When searchers find no child, Maggie’s friends believe she’s suffering from depression-induced hallucinations.
Maggie has several men in her life. The baker, newcomer Jim Casey, who always greets her with a warm smile and pink boxes filled with sweet delicacies. Brett Collins, a scuba diver who is doing scientific studies in Montezuma Well, a dangerous cylindrical depression that houses strange creatures found nowhere else on Earth. Dave, an amiable waiter with whom she’s had a one-night stand, and her new boss Glen. One of these men is a serial rapist and Maggie is his next target. In a thrilling and terrifying denouement, Maggie faces her rapist and conquers her worst fears once and for all.

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Anne Montgomery.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!

This Much Huxley Knows #ThisMuchHuxleyKnows – Gail Aldwin @gailaldwin , an #Interview #QandA

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

blog-q&a

Today I’m not on a blogtour, but doing my own interview with Gail Aldwin, author of ‘This Much Huxley Knows’, to promote her book!
Before I let you read my Q&As, I’ll first post some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Gail Aldwin is a novelist, poet and scriptwriter. Her debut coming-of-age novel The String Games was a finalist in The People’s Book Prize and the Dorchester Literary Festival Writing Prize 2020. Following a stint as a university lecturer, Gail’s children’s picture book Pandemonium was published. Her most recent novel This Much Huxley Knows uses a seven-year-old narrator to show the world through an innocent lens.

Social Media Links:
Blog
Twitter
Facebook

Synopsis :

I’m seven years old and I’ve never had a best mate. Trouble is, no one gets my jokes. And Breaks-it isn’t helping. Ha! You get it, don’t you? Brexit means everyone’s falling out and breaking up.
Huxley is growing up in the suburbs of London at a time of community tensions. To make matters worse, a gang of youths is targeting isolated residents. When Leonard, an elderly newcomer chats with Huxley, his parents are suspicious. But Huxley is lonely and thinks Leonard is too. Can they become friends?
Funny and compassionate, this contemporary novel for adults explores issues of belonging, friendship and what it means to trust.

‘Read this and feel young again’
– Joe Siple, author of The Five Wishes of Mr. Murray McBride
‘Moving and ultimately upbeat’
– Christopher Wakling, author of What I Did
‘A joyous novel with the wonderfully exuberant character of Huxley’
– Sara Gethin, author of Not Thomas

AmazonUS, AmazonUK, Barnes and Noble, HiveUK, Book Depository

Q&A :

Hi

First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I’m Gail Aldwin, a Dorset writer recently returned from sojourn in Cambridge and off to Cornwall in November. (Writing is a portable profession!) I’ve been writing for publication since redundancy from my job as a teacher. It’s been a long road but I’m pleased to have short fiction, poetry and two novels published. The most recent release is This Much Huxley Knows a contemporary novel which uses a young narrator to shine a light on the follies of adults. When at home, I write in a room overlooking water meadows.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I was a non-reading child. By the age of eleven I could decode a text but I never saw books as a source of interest and pleasure. When I was seventeen and commuting into London for work, I started reading for enjoyment. The first novel I borrowed from my older sister was Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls. Although I have big gaps in my reading history, I’ve tried to make up for lost time. Currently, I read lots of books by debut novelists and aim to support other writers by purchasing and reviewing their books.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
One of my favourite novels is The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. I’d love to learn the tricks in writing a book which offers a sensory reading experience.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
As part of my research for This Much Huxley Knows, I read many novels with child narrators. A recommended novel is Stephen Kelman’s Pigeon English. I wonder what eleven-year-old Harrison Opoku, a new arrival from Ghana would have to say. I’m sure he’d tell me more about the gang culture on a south London housing estate. He’s got a good sense of humour, so I hope he’ll come up with a joke or two to make us laugh.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Since lockdown, I’ve joined Writers’ Hour every weekday morning at eight o’clock. The Zoom call is hosted by the London Writers’ Salon where a warm welcome, a concentrated writing time and a check out is offered. During lockdown it really helped to separate the weekdays from the weekends and I’ve continued to attend regularly for the kickstart it gives my writing day.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Ideas are like dandelion seeds floating in the air – I reach out and grab one. The whole process of writing is absorbing: from the terror of putting thoughts onto a blank page to the satisfaction of redrafting and editing. I draw from life experiences in my work but apply what’s happened to fictional characters so the outcome is usually very different.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
My debut novel The String Games was written as part of a PhD and this involved using the novel to experiment with different ideas, techniques and strategies linked to the research. As a result, the novel went through about fifty drafts. Since then, I’ve plotted each novel to the nth degree to avoid going down fictional dead ends. My recently published contemporary novel for adults This Much Huxley Knows went through loads of drafts but certainly not as many as fifty!

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Be generous with your time by supporting other writers. Share details of competitions, open submission windows, residencies etc. Celebrate every small step along the way for yourself and other writers. By following these tips, you’ll build stamina for the journey to publication.

What are your future plans as an author?
My work in progress is called Extra Lessons. It’s a dual timeline novel initially told from the viewpoint of a menopausal, redundant journalist in 2010. Stephanie decides to create a podcast which looks into the disappearance of sixteen-year-old Carolyn in 1978. Through the alternating structure of the two viewpoints, readers engage with Stephanie’s investigation and also connect with Carolyn’s experience of infatuation for a teacher and exploitation. This is a new venture for me, into the realms of crime fiction.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?

The playground at St Michael’s School is a car park tonight. Mum drives into a space and I wait for Dad to open my door. It’s Saturday and this means my teacher won’t be around. Mrs Ward says I’m a nuisance when I’m only trying to have a laugh. I think new-sense is clever, so it doesn’t matter if she calls me that any more.
Families are getting together to make money for our school – there’s never enough to go round. We’re having an auction to sort this out. Grown-ups promise to do something, then it’s sold to the person that gives the most money. My mum and Ben’s mum did a lot of talking about the auction. With her new camera, Paula’s going to take a photo of a family to go in a fancy frame. Mum is doing better by giving away two bottles of her homemade elderflower juice. Yippee! The orange stuff from the supermarket is much nicer. It comes in a bottle the shape of a telescope.
At last, Dad lets me out and I race over to Paula’s car. It’s called a Beetle but I’ve never seen insects that big. Ha-ha-ha. I press my nose against the window to look inside. My breath leaves a cloud.
‘Come away, Huxley,’ says Mum. ‘You’ll set off the alarm.’
I rub my sleeve over the glass to clear away the marks then rush to catch up. She holds my hand and I swing-swing-swing our arms high in the air.
‘Steady on.’ Mum’s a jiggling skeleton. It’s part of our game.
We don’t usually walk through the main door because I’m meant to stand on the line in the playground ready for going into class. I always want to be at the front and I get there by pushing and shoving. If Mrs Ward sees, she sends me to the back and then the bigger children in the next class make fun of me. My teacher never watches when picking-on starts so I have to put up with it. It’s not easy being in Year Two.
We dump our coats on a table in the hall and I spot Ben by the climbing bars that are pushed flat against the wall. As usual, he’s wearing his Malden Town football shirt. I hang around near Mum for a bit and watch what he’s doing. With one foot on the bar nearest the floor, it looks as if Ben’s going to leap to the top. Spider-Man can do it but not Ben. He gives up his chance and comes over to me.
‘Let’s go into our classroom,’ whispers Ben.
‘Why?’
‘To mess around.’
This is not allowed although the idea is exciting. Mrs Ward has rules we’ve heard one hundred times before. I pinch my throat to turn my voice the same as hers. ‘No touching the things on my table!’
‘Or mucking up the books!’ Ben joins in.
We sound like her and I can’t stop smiling.
‘Let’s poke about.’ Ben’s eyes go slanty as he whizzes them round the hall to check it’s safe to sneak off. Mum and Paula are chatting – they won’t see we’re gone. This is our chance!
‘You first,’ I say.
Chairs are on the tables and it’s creepy in the empty classroom. I head for the nature display to have a look at Zac’s squashed toad. He said it was run over by a car and told everyone it was a great find. Mrs Ward didn’t know what was in the bag until the paper split. Surprise made her jump out of her chair and the toad’s leg fell off when it landed on the floor. After that, it wasn’t such a great find but Mrs Ward still made space for it on a special stand. I pick up a felt pen that’s lying about and dig it into the place where the toad’s eye should be.
‘Give me a go,’ says Ben.
He presses in another pen to turn the toad into a Dalek from Dr Who. Me and Ben shout exterminate until we’ve got no breath left. Next minute, our school caretaker comes in. He shoos us back to the hall with the big crowd of parents. I barge through skirts and trousers and forget to say excuse me but Mum doesn’t notice. She gives me a fifty-pence piece to spend at the children’s table. I slip it in my pocket so I won’t lose it.
On the stage, Zac’s mum talks into a microphone that gives a horrible squeak. I stuff a finger in each ear to block out the noise. With the holes plugged up, voices go blah-blah-blah. I shake my head like I’ve gone bonkers. By yanking my hands free, Mum breaks the game. She drops down to bring us eyeball to eyeball. Listening to her serious voice, I stare at the powder on her eyelids that’s smudged and golden. She paints it on with her mouth open same as a fish. I let a snigger slip out.
‘If you can’t behave nicely,’ says Mum, ‘I’ll take you home.’
‘I will be sent-a-ball.’ Smiling stretches my cheeks.
‘That’s hard to believe when you don’t even say the word properly.’
‘But saying sensible is not a joke.’
Mum lets her eyes go up to the ceiling and back.
My dad is getting beer from the serving hatch. That’s where we wait for our school meal but there’s no sausage and mash tonight. I join the queue at the children’s table. When I get to the front, I shoot my coin across and it nearly flies off the other side. A big girl slams her arm down to stop it. She slides a cup of orange towards me. I have a swig but it’s not worth a whole fifty pence.
Ben’s family and my family stand together when the charity auction starts. Everyone goes quiet. I can tell what’s going to happen because I watch daytime TV with Mrs Vartan. She’s our neighbour and looks after me sometimes. To bid at an auction you put your hand up and shout out a number. At school, we have to talk quietly although parents break the rule. The fun is only for grown-ups. It’s boring being left out but I clap at the right time. I try to be the loudest clapper and it makes my hands sting.
‘Thank you.’ Zac’s mum’s voice is loud and strange when she uses the microphone. Her face is bright pink as if she’s been under a heater. ‘Next, we’ve a special lot from our very own Miss Lucy Choi.’
I don’t understand why Zac’s mum says Miss Choi belongs to her. Everyone knows she’s the teaching assistant in my class. I’m allowed to call her Lucy because she’s Mum’s friend. Strange thing is, I forget and call her Lucy at school and Miss Choi at home! Sometimes the wrong name comes out by accident, sometimes I do it on purpose. Zac’s mum reads out loud from the clipboard but I’m interested in watching Dad. He glugs back the last of his beer and then waves his arm in the air.
‘This one’s mine,’ he shouts.
‘Calm down.’ Mum speaks in an extra loud whisper. ‘It’s only a birthday cake.’
Zac’s mum beckons Miss Choi onto the stage. She shakes her head because she doesn’t want to go but Zac’s mum gives her a hand. One big step and Miss Choi’s up there with the others. Her legs are pencils in her black jeans. Ben’s Nanny Phil says everyone from Miss Choi’s country looks the same. When she says stuff like that Paula tells Nanny Phil to shush or she’ll get a reputation. To be funny, I say rip-you-station … although some people never get my jokes.
‘Such enthusiasm for this fantastic offer of a homemade birthday cake in a Barbie or rocket shape,’ says Zac’s mum.
‘Cracker of a lot, Lucy,’ shouts Dad. ‘I’ll give you twenty quid.’
‘What are you up to?’ Mum is staring at Dad.
‘Can’t let you get away with that.’ This time it’s Tony talking. ‘I’ll top you to thirty.’
‘Give it a rest,’ says Paula.
Dad takes a new can of beer from his jacket pocket. Froth spurts as he opens it, so he licks away the mess.
‘Excellent.’ Zac’s mum’s voice bounces around the hall. ‘Any more bids?’
‘Forty pounds,’ shouts Dad.
I can’t understand why Dad wants a cake. My birthday was in September and I had a bouncy castle and a castle cake that came in a huge box. I don’t think much of rocket cakes and Barbies are for girls. But Dad is having fun because he nudges Tony and says, ‘Beat that’.
The dads are mucking around and I can’t be bothered to wait for Tony’s bid. I’m wondering about my next birthday. When I’m eight, I want a pirate party. Dad can wear an eye patch and Mum’s hair is long enough to be Jack Sparrow. My hair goes over my ears to keep them warm.
All of a sudden, Dad’s hand is up in the air again. ‘Great stuff, Lucy,’ he says. ‘Make it sixty.’
Zac’s mum’s eyes are ping-pong balls. ‘How generous.’
Miss Choi folds her arms and shuffles from side to side.
‘Any further bids?’ Zac’s mum is staring at Tony.
‘Why not,’ he says. ‘I’ll go to seventy.’
Paula shakes her head, making her golden hair whip about her shoulders. Then she looks at the floor, like there’s something very interesting on the wooden blocks.
‘Eighty,’ says Dad.
Mum is straight and stiff as a ladder.
‘Marvellous,’ says Zac’s mum. ‘Our highest bid of the evening. Any more takers?’
‘I’m out.’ Tony’s smile turns his cheeks into folds. ‘It’s all yours, Jed.’

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Gail Aldwin.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!

#MiniBlogBlitz #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #QandAs : Wild Blue Yonder (Broken Wings Book 2) – M W Arnold @mick859

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m on the ‘Wild Blue Yonder’ blogtour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Mick is a hopeless romantic who was born in England and spent fifteen years roaming around the world in the pay of HM Queen Elizabeth II in the Royal Air Force before putting down roots and realizing how much he missed the travel. He’s replaced it somewhat with his writing, including reviewing books and supporting fellow saga and romance authors in promoting their novels.
He’s the proud keeper of two cats bent on world domination, is mad on the music of the Beach Boys, and enjoys the theatre and humoring his Manchester United-supporting wife. Finally, and most importantly, Mick is a full member of the Romantic Novelists Association. Wild Blue Yonder is the second novel in his Broken Wings series and he is very proud to be a part of the Vintage Rose Garden at The Wild Rose Press.

Social media links:
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

Synopsis :

Air Transport Auxiliary pilot Doris Winter is accused of stealing a valuable item from a famous Hollywood movie star, now a captain in the US Army Air Corps, after a dance at the air base in England where he’s stationed. Gathering her close friends together, she’s determined to clear her name.
Ruth’s POW son suffers a life-changing injury just as her own cottage takes damage in an air raid and Penny’s estranged little sister unexpectedly turns up, having run away from school. Together with the ongoing thefts of items of clothing and surprise personal revelations, these all threaten to hamper their investigation.
In spite of the worsening war situation, they must band together to rise above their troubles and prove love and friendship is worth fighting for.

Purchase Links:
Amazon
iBooks
Nook

Q&A :

Hi

First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
My name is Mick and I write Historical World War Two Saga’s as, M W Arnold. I’ve two Romanian Werecats who, and don’t speak too loud, I believe are plotting to take over the world. I’d dabbled with writing for a number of years, but had never tried a serious attempt. Then I was persuaded to read ‘The Xmas Factor’ by Annie Sanders, a romance (I’d never read anything in the genre before) by my Lady Wife and the next morning, I had this urge to open my laptop and write down the bare bones of a story that had come to me whilst I slept. Nothing became of this book, but it awakened something in me and I’ve been writing ever since. That was Christmas 2013 when I started it. I then got very lucky in that I was able to join the Romantic Novelists Association. I persisted with that first book for a couple of years before deciding to start a new one. That second book became, ‘The Season for Love’ which was published in 2017.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
‘The Hobbit’ by Tolkien was one of the first books I read and it’s still one I can pick up and read at any time nowadays. Unlike ‘The Lord of the Rings’, which I think could have done with a severe edit as (IMHO) it’s overlong and boring in parts, it’s a perfect pace chock full of wonderful characters and set-pieces. The other is ‘The Silver Sword’ by Ian Serraillier. This is the story of some children who have to survive World War 2 Warsaw without their parents, and then navigate their way across post war Europe in search of them. It’s a very moving and gripping story.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Many, too many to mention. If you’re pushing me though, I’d possibly have to say John Wyndham. He wrote a number of books which pretty much carried me through a rather bad time at school. I mean, anyone who can bring out, The Day of the Triffids, then The Kraken Wakes, The Chrysalids and The Midwich Cuckoos, one after the other, can’t be too bad, eh! That must be one heck of a creative brain.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Miss Moneypenny. Can you imagine the stories she could tell?

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Well, I do have some habits that are probably bordering on OCD, like before I can write, I have to win four games of online Majong. Okay, so that’s a yes on the OCD. I also can’t write where it’s quiet and usually have to write on my laptop, on the sofa in front of the telly. I also have some favourite films I like to watch whilst I write.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Probably not. My lady wife reads books with a high body count, often in rather dodgy ways so if she wrote, there’s a very good chance I wouldn’t be answering these questions. I’ve always loved history, particularly military, so I get most of my ideas from things I read. Okay, there’s obviously a high body count in wars, but not in the type of books I write. I believe my stories could best be described as ‘cosy’. I know that’s what I’ve heard from a few reviewers.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
Hands down, panster. I’ve tried planning and the best I’ve ever done was to get down rough outlines for a few chapters. This I followed but ideas I hadn’t thought of before kept coming to me and being added below my current writing. It simply didn’t seem natural to me. So what I do now is have a general idea of where I want to start and where I want to end, and that’s the limit of planning in my current way of writing.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Firstly, read a lot in the genre you wish to write in, that’s most important. If your favourite authors have website, especially if they have newsletters, sign up, you’ll often get great writing tips as most authors are only too happy to help out novice writers. Don’t give in either. Many a best-selling author received multiple rejections before they got that first publishing contract. Don’t also aim only for the ‘big’ publishing houses, as your chances of being signed by one are slim. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t submit to them of course. Lastly, keep writing.

What are your futureplans as an author?
Hopefully, to keep publishing and selling books. Next on the agenda will be book 3 in this series titled, ‘I’ll be Home for Christmas’ which comes out in October. I also have a tip-top secret project I’m working on at this time of writing which I also hope to get published. I also want to get back to meeting my fellow authors in person again, as I’ve really missed that interaction.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Hmm. How about, the real life movie star who features in this book, really did the job referred to. Plus, the bomber base featured is only about six miles from where I live!

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, M W Arnold.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!

#BlogTour #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #QandAs : Carrying Clover – Lorey Durston @DurstonLorey

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

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Today I’m on the ‘Carrying Clover’ blogtour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Lorey Durston is an author of thriller and suspense novels.
CARRYING CLOVER is her debut novel.
She is currently working on her next suspense novel to be released late 2021.

Social Media Links:
Twitter
Facebook
Instagram

Synopsis :

51BcoHijFOLNewly single Camille Robins luck is about to change as she embarks on a new chapter of her life, moving to the city near her best friend, Lizzie.
A chance meeting at Lou’s B&B, Camille meets George, a handsome man who sweeps her off her feet.
Can Lizzie forgive Camille for stealing her previous boyfriend, or will she seek revenge?
Camille can’t believe her luck! George can’t believe how perfect she is….
Was it a fate romance, or part of an evil plan?
A fresh new twist on a psychological thriller, fast-paced, clever, and thought provoking that will make you question who is the lucky one.
Luck, love, deceit, and heartbreak will keep you turning the page. And a breathtaking twist you won’t see coming, will stay with you long after you have finished reading.

Purchase Link:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Q&A :

Hi

First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂
Firstly thank-you for choosing and taking the time to review our book and ask us these questions. We have co-written this book, (Gemma) Lorey and (Sarah) Durston. Unfortunately, Gemma is unavailable for these questions, so I (Sarah) will be answering on behalf of both of us.

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
Gemma and I (Sarah) are best friends who literally live at the bottom of the bottom of each other’s gardens. I am a single mother to 3 children, and Gemma is married to Adam and has 2 sons Max and Zak. Devastatingly last year Gemma and Adam lost their eldest son Max at the age of 12. After an awful time for Gemma and the Covid lock down in place we decided to complete a tick on our bucket list and help Gemma get through a tough time by writing our first ever book. We never imagined becoming authors or publishing the book but thought ‘fuck it why not life is too short.’

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I absolutely loved as a teenager – Forever by Judy Bloom. It reignited my passion for reading and was a great light-hearted insight to love and sex which any giggly girl would love as a curious 14-year-old. It’s the only book I’ve read more than once too.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I think we would both say Chris Carter, so curious as to how that man’s mind ticks and how he comes up with such gruesome plots, as we love them!!

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
It would be Paddington bear – I know what he likes to eat, and I can make marmalade sandwiches!!

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Gemma will probably kill me, but she does this weird tutting/huffing noise when she is concentrating, her husband Adam always takes the mickey out of her for doing it. I however don’t have any.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
For Carrying Clover, we were walking along a canal and saw this quirky cottage and it just clicked – this would be a perfect setting in a book, and we went from there and after brainstorming it just all fell into place.
Yes, some people should be worried, especially if any of the victims in our books portray them. I never thought I was even capable of some of the ideas that have entered my head and Gemma’s ideas are just pure evil.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
We are primarily plotters but as the book develops, we can sometimes go with the flow if it leads us in a better direction.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Just do it, life is too short – what’s the worst that can happen?
Join some groups on Facebook a lot of authors/writing groups are full of helpful people who can help you with the process.
Don’t be prey to vanity publisher’s if you go down the route of finding a publisher.
Don’t fear self-publishing.
Do your research.
Enjoy it.

What are your future plans as an author?
We are currently working on our second novel. We are extremely excited about this one, I mean really really excited. When I read back chapters I get tingles throughout my body and gasp every time. We have learnt so much in our journey and have applied this to our next book.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?

… The red harvest moon shines through the large warehouse window, casting a glow on the oversized brass clock as it ticks over to 20:45 p.m.
A vase of white lilies sits in the middle of the island, pollen dropping onto the clean white polished surface.
Silence.
An empty litre bottle of vodka lay on the wooden floor, next to it two empty boxes, a box of sleeping tablets and box of antidepressants. Many blister packs scattered around randomly.
Lizzie lies on the cold floor, the teddy cradling into her neck …

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Lorey Durston (Sarah).

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!

#BlogTour #ZooloosBookTours @zooloo2008 / #QandAs : Small Forgotten Moments #SmallForgottenMoments – Annalisa Crawford @AnnalisaCrawf @VineLeavesPress

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Small Forgotten Moments Book Tour

Today I’m on the ‘Small Forgotten Moments’ blogtour, organized by Zooloo’s Book Tours.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Annalisa Crawford - Author PicAnnalisa Crawford lives in Cornwall, UK, with a good supply of moorland and beaches to keep her inspired. She lives with her husband, two sons, and canine writing partner, Artoo. She is the author of four short story collections, and two novels.

Website
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

Synopsis :

512EXAFVc8S._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Is Zenna a muse, a sleep-deprived apparition, or something much more sinister?
Suffering long-term amnesia, artist Jo Mckye is ready to start a fresh, new project after the success of her debut exhibition. But the fictional subject of the collection, Zenna, won’t let go so easily. Infiltrating Jo’s dreams—and increasingly, her waking hours—Zenna is fast becoming a dangerous obsession.
Jo is confident the answers lie at her childhood home, an idyllic Cornish village on the south-east coast; she just doesn’t know why. Only when she walks into the sea and almost drowns does the past start to unravel.
Haunting and melodic, fans of Daphne du Maurier and Daisy Johnson will adore this.

Amazon UK
Amazon US

Q&A :

Hi

First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I’m a bit of a cliche in that I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I’d sit for hours on my bed as a kid scribbling stories and frequenting stationery shops much more eagerly than toy shops. I wrote my first (absolutely terrible) novel when I was fourteen. It’s possible I still have a copy, but I’m definitely not going to look for it.
When I was sixteen or so I started writing short stories with a view to getting them published. I sent them to Just Seventeen and Jackie (UK), and my dad bought me a subscription to a writing magazine. That changed everything because I realised there were literary journals out there I’d never heard of (Granta, Ambit, New Fiction, Story Cellar) which meant I didn’t have to write to a specific ‘teen’ formula. My first short story was published when I was twenty. I’d like to say ‘and the rest is history…’ but there were many years of rejection, with just enough acceptances to keep me going.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I was quite a traditional reader when I was a child, I don’t remember having access to a lot of books. Early favourites include Heidi, the Famous Five and Mallory Towers series, and The Little Broomstick by Mary Stewart. All of those I read many times. I’m a serial reader.
These days, I like Jane Austen, Margaret Atwood, some Chuck Palahniuk, and I recently loved The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. I tend to browse book shop shelves to find authors I’ve not heard of before – and I always choose books if they have an interesting title.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I’ve recently read a few novels by different authors which I couldn’t get into or didn’t understand. For example, Milkman by Anna Burns is on the side waiting to be donated. I knew it was going to be a challenging read and thought I was up to the task. I’d like to ask the author how she began writing something so unique, what kept her going, did anyone tell her she was too far out of the box, and how did she remain focused?
My novel-in-progress is quite challenging, so I think I’d be looking for reassurance.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Well, tea is a great choice, because I’m a little bit addicted and my characters are always putting on the kettle! I think Jo’s mum from my latest book is the character most in need of a cuppa and a chat. There’s so much going on in her head, so many conflicting emotions, I think she needs to pour it all out and have a big hug.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Not really. The closest I have to a habit is writing my first drafts with my trusty fountain pen – ideas always flow better when it’s in my hand.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Haha, no, my friends and family are kept well away from my writing, on the whole. I suppose, I take their spirit and incorporate that into some of my characters, but only the good parts. My villainous characters are very much made up.
I scour newspaper articles for ideas – especially those tiny little snippets on page 9 which are almost an afterthought just to fill column space. I also just let myself daydream and see what my subconscious can conjure up. I’m a great fan of the question ‘what if?’.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I’m definitely a pantser and I’m growing to dislike it. Small Forgotten Moments, for example, began as a very different story. It had the same premise of a painting which haunted its creator, and Jo has always been the main character, but I took the story on a weird journey that just wasn’t working. If I’d thought about it for longer, I may have saved myself a lot of re-writing.
Having said that, I learn a lot about the characters when I let myself roam, and a lot of the time two or three separate ideas will merge to become one novel. It means I’m quite a slow writer, though – I can’t whip out several books a year.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
• Don’t fear rejection. It’s a great way for learning what works and what doesn’t, and for learning how not to take it personally. Because rejection really isn’t personal – it could just be an editor having a bad day, a similiar story already accepted, or not enough room in their schedule. If you believe in the story you’re telling, someone else will too.
• Learn the rules of writing. Then decide which ones you want to follow.
• Learn the rules of approaching editors and publishers, and always stick to them.
• Read everything! Honestly. Read outside your genre, the established greats within your genre, the classics as well as new books. If you’re stuck where to start, find a list of the 100 greatest books which come out every so often and work your way through. They won’t always be great, but your opinion will help to form some ideas of your own.

What are your futureplans as an author?
I’m half-way through my next novel – the challenging one I mentioned earlier – and I have the idea for another after that. I’m doing tentative research for that one. I have a character but not the story yet.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
This is from early on in the novel when Jo is at the opening of her exhibtion and thinking about the origins of her character Zenna, who features in much of her work:

Opposite me, Zenna in the Sea, the unanticipated centerpiece, is lit with soft spotlights so when people walk in, they’re drawn in her direction.
At first, she wasn’t in the sea at all. Without it, she was a woman gazing with glassy eyes into the real world—our world—detached and apathetic, as though studying us. Her head and shoulders filled the picture, there was little room for any background, any context. Yet, something was missing.
I left her on the easel and slept almost twenty-four hours, a black, dreamless sleep. When I woke, I was inspired. I grabbed all my blues and drew long, meandering strokes, a mélange of cobalt and cerulean and ultramarine. I swept watered-down acrylic across her pallid cheeks and chiseled eyes so she appeared submerged, and with a flick of my brush her hair floated under the water. Drowning but not; gazing into the room with fortitude and composure. Defying her own mortality.

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Annalisa Crawford.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!

#BlogTour #ZooloosBookTours @zooloo2008 / #QandAs : A Numbers Game #ANumbersGame – RJ Dark @RJDarker #WavesBack @waves_back

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m on the ‘A Numbers Game’ blogtour, organized by Zooloo’s Book Tours.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Spending his youth as an underground musician and occasional club promoter, he then moved on to stints as an advertising copywriter, trainer, playwright, music reviewer, amateur historian, TV cameraman, anarchist, contrarian, engineer and fraud investigator. After a long battle with chronic illness, RJ finally settled on a career in writing. He lives in a crumbling ancient mansion somewhere in Yorkshire and is surrounded by books, music, animals and his family.

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Synopsis :

One dead man and a missing lottery ticket.
Two family members who need that money to get away from the rundown Blades Edge estate.
Three local gangsters who want that money for themselves.
Meet Malachite Jones – the foremost (and only) psychic medium on the gritty Blades Edge estate. All he wants are two things: a name that isn’t ‘Malachite’, and a quiet life. And maybe some real psychic powers, but he’s making a living without them.
Janine Stanbeck wants to find her dead husband Larry’s winning ticket and escape Blades Edge with her son. And she thinks Mal can help her.
But Larry’s dad is the crime lord of the estate, and he wants that ticket for himself, and worse for Mal, he’s not the only criminal with his eyes on it. Add in two coppers desperate to nick Mal’s best, only, and admittedly quite dangerous, friend, Jackie Singh Kattar, and Blades Edge is getting pretty crowded.
Malachite Jones might not really be able to talk to the dead, but if he and his friend Jackie Singh Kattar can’t find that money and a solution that pleases everyone they’re likely to be in need of a psychic medium themselves.
The first Mal Jones and Jackie Singh Kattar adventure: a chaotic rollercoaster ride through a Yorkshire landscape full of double crossing friends, dogged police, psychotic gangster and voices from the other side.

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Q&A :

Hi

First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂
No problem. I love doing stuff like this.

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
Well, I’m from West Yorkshire, and I’ve been all manner of odd things before becoming a writer, musician, club promoter, bit of acting. I’ve always been drawn to creative things, and always loved books but it genuinely never occurred to me when I was younger that I could write them. It just isn’t on the horizon when you grow up a working class kid in the North of England. Writing is a London thing for kids who go to university. But I’d been dipping my toe in with short fiction and became very ill, and it was apparent that I would never be able to do a “proper” job so I went all-in on writing, more or less teaching myself from scratch by writing and reading and writing some more and reading some more and repeat.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
The earliest book I remember as kid is the Enid Blyton books, The Folk of the Faraway tree and Shadow the Sheepdog. My faraway tree book had the last few pages missing and I always wonder if that started me on the path, because I had to make up my own end for the stories.
Now I tend to gravitate toward American crime, Robert Crais, James Lee Burke, Robert B Parker and Janet Evanovitch. And Mick Herron’s Slough House books are also astounding things. I think it’s the mix of humour and danger that I like in crime.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I like talking to other writers, but I’m not really interested in advice. Very early on when I was starting to write and doing what we all do when we start — snuffling about looking for advice on how to do it – I found other people’s advice doesn’t really help much. People can only tell you what works for them and if you take it as gospel then it can actively slowly you down and even stop you. I kind of found I have to find my own way of doing things. The best advice I ever heard was from Chaz Brenchley, who said ‘what works for you is what works.’ I found that tremendously freeing. So it’s nice to talk with people, find what they do and maybe steal bits of it if you think it may help. But I never actively search for it.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
I don’t think I would. The thing about fictional characters, if they are interesting, is that they are also magnets for trouble and I don’t really like trouble. I like a quiet life. I mean, Jackie Singh Kattar from A Numbers game is fascinating and he’s funny and charismatic but if you went out with him for an evening it would probably be quite stressful. You would never know when he was going to turn on someone, it wouldn’t be you, if you were his friend. But you would be dragged in and if you’ve known people like that then you’ll know that being around them is quite stressful.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Not really. The only thing I can’t have is someone else watching TV while I write. I am not sure why. But in almost any other situation I can write. I really enjoy doing it.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Ha! No, no one needs to worry. I think what I write is probably the exact opposite of me as I’m quite cheery and easy going. As to where the ideas come from, I think they come from everywhere, there’s a lifetime of reading and experiences that you get to recycle back into what you write. ‘Where do you get your ideas’ is such a big question it’s almost impossible to answer.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
Oh, I’m very much just seeing where I end up. I tend to know the end of whatever I’m doing, and sometimes I’ll sketch out a few character traits, like what is someone hiding as it’s helpful for me to have those things ready to go so I don’t stop when I am writing to think things up. But mostly I’m just trotting along and I think that might be one of the reasons I’m relatively quick, in that I just keep going. You can always delete things or change them later, no one is going to die because I wrote a terrible sentence.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
I’m not much of a one for advice because everyone is different so we all need different things to get us in the chair and writing. Finish things, I suppose is the big one. There’s always a big temptation when you hit the middle of a book, and it starts to get a bit harder, to swap projects and indulge in that lovely rush of ideas you get when starting new things. But don’t. Finish the thing. And find what works for you and go with it, no one else knows how you write.

What are your future plans as an author?
Write more! I love to write, there are two Mal and Jackie books finished, so if they do alright maybe more of them. And I’m always thinking of new things so who knows where that will go?

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?

I sometimes wonder who I would be if Steve had lived, who Jackie would be too, cos that night changed us both. It pushed us together, sent Jackie on a trajectory that would end in the army, doing God knows what in God knows where, and me on a course that would end in a gutter, drinking cheap cider and begging for enough spare change to buy my next hit.
Guilt is a terrible thing.
Jackie didn’t want me to be an addict, and as part of not being an addict, he taught me to fight. I’m not good at it, and violence mostly scares me, but if you’re not expecting it I know enough to hold my own and make enough space to run away.
That was the first thing Jackie taught me, his first rule: if you can, run away.
The reason Trolley Mick wanted his boys to check my office for Jackie is that Jackie Singh Khattar, despite his rule, has never run away from anything. If Mick started something with Jackie, then he knew it would end with someone dead because Jackie has no idea how to stay down.
It is not a part of who he is.
I, on the other hand, know exactly how and when to stay down. So when Kray One punched me in the stomach, I went down. Then when he lifted me up – my world empty of air, my stomach a black hole in my body, the pain sucking me in – and held me so his brother could have a go. I went down again. That’s why, when Beryl returned, she found me lying on the floor, curled up in a ball around my aching stomach muscles.
‘You drunk?’ she said.

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, RJ Dark.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!

#BlogTour #ZooloosBookTours @zooloo2008 / #Review : Club 27 #Club27 #JuddStone – Martin Tracey @MartinTracey1

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free.
I’m grateful of receiving a free copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review of this book. –

About the Author :

Martin Tracey is an author who likes to push the boundaries of reality. Even when injecting elements of the supernatural, the terror that grips you is very real. Not necessarily a genre specific author, psychological thrills are a plenty.
He has a passion for The Beatles & Wolverhampton Wanderers FC. Both music and football/soccer often find their way into his stories.
Martin lives in Birmingham, UK and is married with 2 daughters.

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Synopsis :

DCI Judd Stone is heading for rock bottom. He breaks the rules, he gambles and he’s begun to play around.
An unlikely lifeline is thrown Judd’s way when he finds himself catapulted into trying to prevent Rock and Pop sensation Phoenix from becoming the next member of the infamous 27 club – the name given to the list of iconic musicians who die at the age of 27.
Judd’s quest is not made easier when Phoenix’s lifestyle is even more self-destructive than his own – but how can Judd possibly protect someone from themselves?
And who else could be conspiring to benefit from Phoenix’s death? A crazed fan? Birmingham’s ruthless Gangsters? A Secret Society? Or maybe even those who Phoenix believes to be closest to her?
And when Phoenix embarks on an unprecedented tour performing at some of the most wondrous places of the world, the stakes to protect her become even higher.

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Review :

‘Club 27’ is a well written story which has strong and interesting main characters.
Even all the other ones are build up great.
The book isn’t easy to put down as it’s fast-paced and gripping, something I thoroughly enjoy reading!
The case was very engrossing and the whole plot was filled with twists and a number of conspiracy theories.
I’m really looking forward to what the author has more in store for us.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #ZooloosBookTours @zooloo2008 / #QandAs : On the Seventh Day #OnTheSeventhDay – Mark Wilson @markwilsonbooks #SpellBoundBooks @SpellBoundBks

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

On the Seventh Day Book Tour Poster

Today I’m on the ‘On the Seventh Day’ blogtour, organized by Zooloo’s Book Tours.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Mark Wilson Author PhotoMark Wilson is the author of twelve works of fiction and one non-fiction memoir. He also writes Crime Thrillers under the pseudonym, C.P. Wilson
Mark’s short story ‘Glass Ceiling’ won first prize in May, 2015 on Spinetingler’s Short story competition and will be included in Ryan Bracha’s Twelve Nights at Table Six. dEaDINBURGH reached the quarter finals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award in 2014 and was a finalist in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards, 2015.
Mark currently teaches Biology in a Fife secondary school and writes in his spare time, in lieu of sleep.

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Synopsis :

On the Seventh DayGod is furious.
He has run out of patience with humans and decided that our time is over.
We’ve had our chance and it’s back to the drawing board.
Mo, and Jay, best friends who’ve screwed up in the past, beg him for one more chance to get the humans back on track. Alongside Mr Saluzar, the head of a global charity foundation, and Nick, The Fallen Angel, they hurtle towards Armageddon and their one chance to prove God wrong.
They have seven days to save us.

Amazon UK
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Q&A :

Hi

First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I’m a full-time teacher and father of two. I am very time-poor, but idea-rich, so I generally struggle to find time to write, but scavenge every moment available. I Started writing after recovering from a lengthy mental illness and fond an outlet for a full mind.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
As a child I loved all sorts of books, from Betsy Byars and Ian Serrallier, to graphic novels and comics. As an adult I read, horror, sci-fi. Fantasy, the odd psychological thriller, and a pile of non-fiction.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
My favourite writer, by far, is Robin Hobb. She is entirely unparalleled in her skill. I also love Anne Rice, Chuck Palahniuk, Alex Garland, Adrian Tchaikovsky, and Bernard Cromwell. Any of those would be great, thanks.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else would you like to invite for tea and why?
Probably the narrator from Fight Club, cos that’s gonna be a very interesting tea.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Music, whisky and a busy pub if I can.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
I suppose most ideas come from writers’ own experiences. I’m not always sure where my own ideas come from, but often friends or family connect moments in books to experiences from life.
Aside from one of my books, where I actively sought peoples’ moments from their lives, I’ve never knowingly included anyone’s story. I do always try to use names of people I know though.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
For one-off books, I’m a total pantster. For series, I tend to plot a little more form the second book on.

Can you give novice writers some tips?
The only advice I’d offer is to not be scared of, or intimidated by, writing. Anyone can do it. Sure, you get better, the more you read and write, you develop, but anyone can just sit down and write. There’s no magic to it. All the technical stuff can be learned.

What are your future plans as an author?
I’m currently adapting one of my crime thrillers (Cold Alice) into a screenplay. As well as that I’m also working on books 2 and 3 for the Alice series and a childrens’ book titled The Red and the Grey.

Last, but not least: Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
OK. Here’s the short story I wrote titled The Glass Ceiling, which eventually became the novel On The Seventh Day.
*Like the novel, if you’re easily offended, especially by choice (Scottish) language, this probably isn’t for you.

The Glass Ceiling

Nick took in the room, his top lip curling into a sneer. It was just His kind of place, all thin veneer, expensive wines and whiskies and coke in the bathrooms. Ordering a gin and tonic for himself and a double Auchentoshan for Stewart, Nick slipped his smartphone from his pocket and reminded himself of a few key details in his notes.
Ten years at level Two,
Four years at Level Three.
Further education programme complete.
Dedicated and enthusiastic approach demonstrated consistently by the candidate.
All phases of training complete.
Recommend promotion to Level One.
Nick didn’t really need to read the notes, he had committed the candidate’s details to memory, it comforted him to read the words, settled his nerves. The gin helped also. She was ready, no doubt about it, but Stewart had the final say, and he’d take some convincing, despite the candidate’s exemplary performance. He always did need convincing, but particularly when the candidate was a woman.
Spotting Stewart passing the restaurant’s window. Nick took a belt from his gin and relaxed his face into business mode, ridding it of any signs of anxiousness or enthusiasm. Stewart was best approached calmly.
Never one to make an understated entrance, Stewart crashed through the doors, barking loudly at the Maître D who’d rushed to greet him, reaching for his jacket.
“Get tae fuck, son. Make yourself useful and bring me a double Macallan ’39.”
Stewart strode around the bar to the rear left corner of the room. Hair, long, curled, blonde and mulleted, dressed in denims, expensive cowboy boots, leather jacket-unzipped to show a the art of his T-shirt- a nun fingering herself and the legend Jesus is a cunt- Stewart looked like an expensively-dressed red-neck. His accent was all Lanarkshire.
That fucking accent.
He yanked the seat back and snorted loudly, into his nose. The gurgling, crackling movement of thick phlegm being dragged from his nostrils into his mouth threatened to break Nick’s composure before a word had passed between them.
Grabbing the back of his heavy, leather-padded chair, Stewart screeched it a few feet away from the table. Nick watched as his boss flicked his eyes up to drill into his own. As Stewart’s eye’s danced with cruel amusement, he let a long tail of yellow-green gunge slide from his lips into the glass of Auchentoshan on the table below.
Watching the deposit bob and swirl around for a second, he took his chair, shoving the glass over to Nick.
“Get that shite off the table, Nick. Fuck sake.”
The Maître D arrived, Stewart’s Macallan swirling in a heavy-bottomed glass and an ice bucket on a silver tray.
Unacknowledged he silently slid the glass and the ice within reach of Stewart, who snatched the glass up and drained its contents.
Stewart slammed the class onto the table-top.
“Keep them, coming,” he said.
Nick nodded at the Auchentoshan-nasal deposit mixture, which the Maître D scooped up. “I’d have had that, Stewart.”
“Fuck all stopping ye, son,” Stewart said, fishing his lighter and cigarettes from his jacket pocket. He scanned Nick’s face, waiting for a come-back. None came.
Nick watched as Stewart, went through the little series of gestures and rituals he performed when having a cigarette. Tap the end on the table, smooth the filter and rotate it on the moist lips for a second. He caught sight of the upside down lucky fag in the packet as Stewart tapped and licked his chosen tab.
“No smoking in here, Stewart.”
“What they gonnae dae?” he asked touching the petrol flame to the end of his cigarette.
Nick sighed. “Do we have to do this again?”
Stewart’s eyebrow lifted as he considered whether or not he could bothered winding the cunt up. Finally, his head cocked a little to the side in acquiescence.
“Look, Nick. These cunts in here won’t say a word, I guarantee it.”
Nick gave him a nod.
“Fine,” he said, happy that his boss would take care of the smoking issue discretely for once.
Taking a long drag on his first Regal King- size Stewart regarded Nick, amusement dragging the corners of his mouth into a tight, snide grin.
“Where is this cow, then?” Stewart asked, enjoying Nick’s discomfort.
Very quickly, Nick’s face shifted from discomfort to flushed anger.
“Christ sake, Stewart. Give her a chance.” Sick of the same old shit, the tired routine, he spat the words across the table.
Stewart blew a cloud of swirling, blue-hazed smoke out the side of his mouth, face rigid with anger of his own.
“Who the fuck are you talking to, Nicholas?”
Nick knew that he should back down. When Stewart got like this, there was little chance of shifting his mind on something. They’d worked together for more years than Nick could recall. Nick, training the candidates, tutoring them to develop the skills and mind-set needed to be promoted, to earn a place upstairs with Stewart’s team. Stewart taking the credit when presenting a new Graduate to his staff.
Christ, it was gruelling and thankless, but without Nick and his department, Stewart would take only those he considered the very best. The people of a certain station and type. He’d always been an elitist prick, but Stewart had got worse, more prejudice with age. His expectations and list of demands for the attributes a successful candidate must possess had become almost impossible to fulfil. Still, that was the point. Stewart wanted Nick’s department fucked, once and for all, leaving him free to decide for himself the criteria for promotion.

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Mark Wilson.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!