#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours / #QandAs : Stealing The Spanish Princess #StealingTheSpanishPrincess – Bea Green #BeaGreen @TheConradPress

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

Stealing Spanish Princess BT Poster

Today I’m on the ‘Stealing The Spanish Princess’ 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 :

Bea Green Author PicBea Green has had a somewhat roving life as the daughter of a British diplomat. Her mother is Spanish and growing up Bea spent every summer at her grandfather’s olive tree farm in Andalusia. This olive tree farm was the inspiration for her contemporary romance book, La Finca.
Bea studied Art throughout school and then did Art History for two of her four years at St Andrews University, where she met her husband. She graduated with an MA in English Literature.
Her interest in art was fostered by her father and her Spanish grandmother. Her Spanish grandmother accompanied her to many of Madrid’s art galleries and several of El Prado’s paintings are fondly remembered in Bea’s art crime book, Stealing the Spanish Princess.
Stealing the Spanish Princess was inspired by a Spanish painting, Lady in a Fur Wrap, at Pollok House, Glasgow. When Bea wrote Stealing the Spanish Princess there was a huge debate among art experts about the painting, with some claiming it was painted by El Greco. Some experts thought the painting was of Princess Catalina Micaela, daughter of the Spanish King, Philip II.
Bea Green has lived in Edinburgh since leaving St Andrews University, with her Glaswegian husband and two daughters. She also maintains close links with her family in Spain.

Synopsis :

9781913567460In this captivating and dazzling art crime mystery, eccentric detective Richard Langley hunts for a 16th-century masterpiece by the artist El Greco. The thief stole the priceless painting from an apartment in Kensington, London, and in the process knifed to death a Russian woman.
DCI Richard Langley from Scotland Yard’s Art and Antiquities Unit joins colleagues from Homicide as they pursue a trail that leads them to St Petersburg and then to Madrid. Following closely in their footsteps is a maverick private investigator hired by the painting’s owner. Knowing how hard it is to sell on stolen artworks of that calibre, Richard wonders what the motive behind its theft might be.
The answer, when it comes, takes everyone by surprise.

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! 🙂

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I spent many happy years during my childhood living in Brazil and Mexico, as my father was a British diplomat. My mother is Spanish and we also spent every summer catching up with family in Spain. My love of art and literature came from my father, who was a kindred spirit.
I’ve always wanted to write but never had the discipline to do so, until I had an operation and was then tied to the house for a while. The road to publication was an odd one. James, my publisher and editor, phoned me when me and my brother were on a train from Cadiz to Madrid, taking my mother to a residential home! I had sent an email query to him. He made me rewrite my first book (which I hated doing) but when I wrote La Finca, he absolutely loved it and that gave me the confidence to carry on writing. One of my daughters was also very ill with mental health issues and during those difficult years writing provided me with another world to escape into.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
As a child I loved The Lord of the Rings and books by Gerald Durrell. My copy of Lord of the Rings was so used the spine was broken and it had loose pages. For my birthday, my father had it leather-bound into three books, which sit on my bookshelf to this day. As a result of your question, I’ve now started rereading The Lord of the Rings!
As an adult I collect little piles of books from second hand shops and bookshops, before working my way through them. I love many books but especially those that enable me to escape somewhere else. Italy is on my bucket list so I’ve devoured Donna Leon mysteries (Venice) and Inspector Montalbano mysteries by Andrea Camilleri (Sicily).

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
This is a tricky one. I don’t really know many authors and I’ve only just started following Matt Haig on Instagram. All struggling authors are told about J.K. Rowling and how much rejection her books had before she became famous. My editor has said that even when submitting as Robert Galbraith, J.K. Rowling found it very difficult, with one publisher suggesting she go on a creative writing course. I don’t know how true that is or whether it’s all part of the magical myth surrounding J. K. Rowling. The best advice I’ve had is from a fellow author at Conrad Press, Mark Edmondson, who has given me a kick up the backside in terms of using social media.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Truthfully, I would love to have Sebastián from La Finca around for tea because I miss speaking the Spanish language! My mother has bad vascular dementia now and I only chat to my Spanish aunts on the phone from time to time. I would relish, after a year of lockdowns, to be able to communicate for a while with a Spaniard!

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I always have my phone nearby as I often find I want to look things up without leaving the document.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
I’m a little worried about my ideas at times because there are so many and I wonder how feasible they are. I’ve ideas in my head already for my next three books. Mostly, the trigger or seed of an idea comes from real life stories, some of them in newspapers. Other ideas just pop into my head, I suppose, because I’m a very creative person. Like many writers!
Only two characters in my books are based on real people but I describe them visually very differently to the real people. Nuria in La Finca is a complete tomboy like my Dutch friend, Jessie. Nuria is dark-haired in the book, not blonde, and she looks very different to Jessie. Lionel, the Superintendent in Stealing the Spanish Princess, is very much based on my editor, who is very temperamental. I don’t think he would be offended!

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
Stealing the Spanish Princess is the only one of my books that has been plotted and it was designed over the kitchen table! I drew a plan out on a poster as I’m very visual in my thinking. Trenouth and La Finca just evolved as I wrote.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
As a writer it seems you have to be fully engaged in self-promotion (something that I’m not terribly good at) but I also believe that as long as novice writers have a passion for writing, they’ll do just fine.

What are your future plans as an author?
My future plans are to build up a series of three Inspector Langley art crime books. I’ve just sent off the second book to my copy editor and friend, so will soon start planning the third!

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
In Stealing the Spanish Princess, a private investigator (Mike Telford) and an off-duty detective from Scotland Yard (Eilidh Simmons) are arrested in Madrid.

Spanish Princess Graphic 3Spanish Princess Graphic 2

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

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 #RandRBookTours @RRBookTours1 @Shanannigans81 / #QandAs : TimeRipper #TimeRipper – D.E. McCluskey @dammagedPro #Scifi

– ‘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 ‘TimeRipper’ blogtour, organized by R&R 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 :

My name is David McCluskey, I am an author from Liverpool in the UK. I have written seven novels so far. TimeRipper is my latest. I started writing about 15 years ago, beginning with short horror stories for children that were written in rhyme. I enlisted the services of an artist and created my very first comic from them. Interesting Tymes is a great seller at comic conventions around the UK, as it offered something that a lot of comics these days don’t, something for the children to get their teeth into (so to speak).
I then began to create more comics, some for children, some for adults, before creating my own graphic novels. Doppelgänger is a dark psychological horror, Olf is a children’s graphic novel about Father Christmas and his reindeer, A Christmas Carol is a rewriting of the original tale, but in rhyme, and DeathDay Presents is an adult comedy based in Hell.
From there I moved on to writing novels. My debut novel The Twelve is still my best seller on Amazon.
I write under the name of D E McCluskey for my adult fiction, and I will be launching a children’s range of novels this year under the name Dave McCluskey (I don’t want children buying some of the other horror based stuff by accident).
I still live in Liverpool with my partner, Lauren, and our children, Grace and Sian. We have a sausage dog called Ted, who likes to leave little sausages around the house, just to remind us why he is a sausage dog.

Dammaged | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Synopsis :

Title: TimeRipper
Publication Date: February 25th, 2021
Genre: Time Travel / Thriller / Historical Fiction / Sci-Fi
Publisher: Dammaged Productions

It is the year 2288, and Earth is reeling from the most horrific terrorist attack it has ever endured.The Quest, a pseudo-religious splinter group, have taken a stance against the Earth Alliance’s authority of the planet.It is down to Youssef Haseem, now the highest-ranking official left in the EA, to build a team to face the threat of total inhalation if he doesn’t stand down and bow to The Quest’s demands. Then the leaders of The Quest disappear, and a legend emerges in the year 1888. But just who is the mysterious stranger stalking and viciously killing women on the streets of Whitechapel, London?A mission is launched! A battle of wits against time itself. A fight to be played out in the present and the past, with the fate of humanity at stake. Legends can happen anytime…

GoodReads

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 having me… I dont get out that much these days. 🙂

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I live in Liverpool in the UK, famous (obviously) for The Beatles. My nan was friends with George Harrison’s milk man, (this is a blatent lie made up to make me sound more interesting by mentioning The Beatles). I do live in Liverpool though. I love my city.
I live with my partner, Lauren, and our kids, Grace and Sian. We have a sausage dog called Ted. He was named after my late father, as he had little legs too.
I began writing on Christmas Eve about 10 years ago. I was lying in bed, reading The Night Before Christmas (Clement Moore) to Grace. She was well away by the time I got to the end, my voice is really boring, so as I snuck out of the bed, ready for Santa to deliver his gifts, I thought to myself ‘I could do that…’ so I did.
I wrote a story called The Good Behaviour Act, a tale about what can happen if you get on Santa’s naughty list.
And it sprouted from there. I made comics, then graphic novels, and then got into novels.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I read Stephen King’s Skeleton Shift when I was 11, and then The Stand. I was hooked. Before this I had read the Jungle Book and The Second Jungle Book, and even some H Rider Haggard (I need to revisit these). But it was the horror that took hold of me. I moved onto James Herbert (my favourite author) and others… so it was the horror that shaped me.
Probably why I still love it, and mostly write it today, although I do like to crossover into different genres from time to time (sci-fi, childrens, even romance).

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
James Herbert… I love the gritty, Britishness to his novels. Most of them set in sleepy villages, where there are sinister goings on. My first novel The Twelve, was a homage to Jame Herbert.
I would love to pick his brain to ask him WHY… WHY did he always write a 4 page sex scene in the middle of his books… always, right off cue. The protagonists wold be being pursued by a murderous ghost with a vendetta againt them, but they always find enough time to get it on, LOL.
Don’t get me wrong, Im no prude (if you read some of my books you would see), but this always took away the balance of the story for me!

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 could invite any of my characters, as I dont think anyone would survive the tea party…
My first comics were called Intersting Tymes, and they were introduced by my character Edward D’Ammage, he is a creepy, slighty off, aristocrat. He would be interesting as he has a lot of spooky, but fun, tales to regale.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Im an early riser… So I’m up at 6am and am sitting at my trusty macbook, headphones in, coffee in hand, listening to something that tickles my fancy. One of the best things that I ever did was subscribe to one of the big music streaming sevices… it has rekindled my love of music. I usually listen to some rock, heavy metal, anything that has a good tune and some good songwriting.
I can write in chao… I actually prefer it to peace and quiet. There is nothing I like more than sitting in a coffee shop, or a Macdonalds, or a cafe somewhere, headphones in, and writing away while life happens all around me. I love it. When Im in the house, alone, I get bored easily, and end up either napping, eating, scrolling, or watching some garbage on the TV.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
They are afraid… very afraid. When the muse is on the prowl, no one is safe!!!
This is madness, and I don’t know if it happens to everyone else, but some of my ideas come to me in flashes of inspiration. For instance, I was driving home from work one day, from Oxford to Liverpool. I was on the M42 and happily driving in the middle lane, overtaking a lorry. Then, from out of nowhere a motocycle undetook me, between me and the lorry. The guy swerved in front of me and appeared to loose control of his bike. I thought, thats it, hes dead, Im not going to be able to stop now. However, he corrected himself and sped off, never to be seen again. Once I had calmed down, an idea came to me… that idea became my novel CRACK. By the time I had reached the sevice stations, I had the start, middle, and the ending…
Another time, I was walking from the car park to work, about 500 meters. A woman passed me. We never spoke, I didn’t know her, but she was heavily pregnant (not mine… honest). We never even locked eyes or anything, it was just her going to work, and me going to work, in different directions. By the time I had reached the door to work, the whole book that I have written (not published yet) called Nine Months was concieved…

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I plot in so much as I have the whole idea planned out using the notes app on my phone, or iPad, so I know the gist of the tale, where I want to be by the middle, and a rough idea of the ending, however, how I get there, and all the subplots, they are all done by the seat of my proverbials…
There has been many a time where a character has done something that I didn’t expect, that has forced me to change something… None of my friends think that this is possible, because its me writing them, but once you give a character a personality, then all bets are off.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
My biggest advice, when I get asked this, is JFDI (dont confuse that with Jedi)… This has a swear word in the middle of it (it’s the F). A lot of people I know, who have great ideas, are too daunted by the prospect of all the work that is needed to get that novel written, and it puts them off.
Now, I have a Unversirty degree, but it is computers, not literature, or novel writing, or English language, or anything like that. I went into this cold. So, if I can do it (I have self published 7 novels, with another 15 in the pipeline, 4 graphic novels, and about 135 fleshed out ideas ready to be completed), then I think anyone can do it.

What are your futureplans as an author?
My future plans are to continue what I’m doing… but I do want to diversify. I write as D E McCluskey, for my adult books. I am about to lauch myself as Dave McCluskey for a range of children’s books, starting in June when I release my first middle grade novel called A Seagull’s Tale. I will also be re-releasing some of the graphic novels that I have written for children too. My Interesting Tymes series, my Santa Clause and his reindeer series (starting with Olf, that I previoulsy released as a graphic novel), and the rewrite of A Christmas Carol (written in rhyme) that we released a while back.
I am also hoping to turn Dammaged Productions into an indie publishing house, where I can offer publishing deals to other authors.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
I’ll give them the prologue to the book, TimeRipper.

PROLOGUE

FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND pods were deployed; placed in strategic locations around the globe. Containers, filled with death, hidden within plain sight. Each pod was specifically designed to hold the purple mist that resided within them. Every one of them programmed to open at a designated time, to release their deadly cargo. A mist that had been cultivated, meticulously, for at least three years.
Europe, America, South America, Asia, the Middle East, Australasia. Each location carefully chosen for maximum impact.
Death and destruction would be prevalent in its wake. It would tear away the fabric of natural life, replacing it with basic and generic elements. A rolling death would stalk the land, devouring everything in its path. The mist could be contained, but once released, it could not be stopped. Everything it touched would be gone.
When the time came, the five hundred thousand pods would beep. A red light on the casing of each pod would flash five times before turning green. The green light would be accompanied by a hiss. An ugly white noise would precede the release of the purple death.
Once free of the container, it would fuse with the releases of the other containers and encompass a large percentage of all habitats on the planet. The death toll would be catastrophic. The destruction of the Earth’s resources would be calamitous.
This was all by design.
It was a terrorist attack. The most successful and evil terrorist attack in Earth’s chequered history; all done by design.
There would be no warning. No time to run, nowhere to hide. The attack was inevitable, imminent; the attack to end all attacks.
The year was twenty-two-eighty-eight, and nothing was ever going to be the same again.  

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

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 : Wayward Voyage – Anna M. Holmes @AnnaMHolmes_

– ‘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 ‘Wayward Voyage’ 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 :

3h6e20IAAnna is originally from New Zealand and lives in the U.K. with her Dutch partner.
WAYWARD VOYAGE is Anna’s first novel. She has been fascinated by the lives of women pirates, Anne Bonny and Mary Read, for a long time. Some years ago, she visualised this story as a screenplay before exploring and building their world more deeply as a novel. WAYWARD VOYAGE made a longlist of 11 for the Virginia Prize in Women’s Fiction 2020.
BLIND EYE an eco-thriller, will be published by The Book Guild in September, so this year, 2021, Anna will have two novels coming out. Her screenplay, BLIND EYE, is joint winner of the 2020 Green Stories screenplay competition.
A documentary about pioneers of flamenco in the UK that Anna produced and directed was screened in Marbella International Film Festival and in London. This passion project ensures a slice of cultural history has been captured. It is available on YouTube and via a portal on her website.
She holds a Humanities B.A, a post-graduate diploma in Journalism and an M.A. in Dance Studies. Initially she worked as a radio journalist before a career in arts management working with U.K. Arts Councils and as an independent producer, dance history lecturer and she has run a dance development agency.
Anna is a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher and enjoys practising flamenco. Writing, dance, and yoga shape her life.

Social Media Links:
Website
Facebook
Twitter

Synopsis :

HpcT2N7wAnne is a headstrong young girl growing up in the frontier colony of Carolina in the early eighteenth century. With the death of her mother, and others she holds dear, Anne discovers that life is uncertain, so best live it to the full. She rejects the confines of conventional society and runs away to sea, finding herself in The Bahamas, which has become a nest for pirates plaguing the West Indies. Increasingly dissatisfied with her life, Anne meets a charismatic former pirate, John ‘Calico Jack’ Rackham, and persuades him to take up pirating again, and she won’t be left onshore. The Golden Age of Piracy is a period when frontiers were being explored and boundaries pushed. Wayward Voyage creates a vivid and gritty picture of colonial life in the Americas and at sea.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
Waterstones
WHSmith
Blackwell’s
Foyles
Browns BFS
Book Depository (Free Worldwide Shipping)

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 I was aged around ten, I recall filling exercise books with my story about children putting on a play. I guess that was my first attempt. At the same age I had a note book I wrote my ballet choreographies in. In one way or another I have always enjoyed creating and shaping material in different media for different audiences. And of course it’s important to love stories, whether on screen (I love film too!) or in books. Wayward Voyage started off as a screenplay around 17 years ago, then it languished in a computer file. Around four years ago I wondered if I had it in me to write it as a novel. I like big canvasses. I was never going to start with short stories – straight in there! So, I began.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
As a child I found my older sister’s set of ‘Anne’ books (Anne of Green Gables all the way through to the final Rilla of Ingleside) and recall reading under the bedclothes at night with a torch not wanting to stop. The first and final books in the series are my favourites. As a teenager I loved books by Anya Seton; Mary Stewart; Daphne du Maurier and I bought a box set of Jane Austen’s novels. I adored Gone with the Wind, and The Thorn Birds. In my early twenties I was very taken with Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook, yet when I reread it in middle age it felt dated. In my thirties Maya Angelou touched my soul with her autobiographies, and I listened to her read at Catford Theatre, South London. Now I find it impossible to answer what my favourite is as my pallet is so broad. I love authors, such as David Mitchell, who builds distinctive worlds with each novel; Hilary Mantel’s Tudor novels for sharing the breath of Cromwell; Annie Proulx short stories; John Irving’s early and middle novels.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Before writing novels was a twinkle in my eye, in fact before I began writing at all, I always thought that IF I were to be a writer then I would love to write like John Irving. He writes big stories with memorable characters. You can laugh, cry, be drawn in. That a writer could come up with a character like Owen Meany… So I guess I would ask John about achieving multi-layered stories with broad appeal (on big canvasses rather like Charles Dickens).

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
A witty conversationalist; happy to share vegetarian food; choice of wine…who might that be? I am wracking my brain. Perhaps Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice to share some gossip, or if I can stretch it, and bring back a dead writer then Maya Angelou, please. That extraordinary woman lived a life of early hardship which she rose above.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I have a daily routine, starting with an hour of yoga before breakfast then head upstairs to my computer, if I am writing. I have a laptop with a monitor next to it, usually open to Google ready to dive in. If I am reading a research book, I could sit anywhere. Mornings are for writing. I stop for coffee mid-morning and work through to lunch time. I wouldn’t want to have drink or food with me. This is work-space. That is kitchen-space.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Ha ha! I am – late in life – starting out to write novels. About 20 years ago I heard about female pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read and became fascinated by their lives and Wayward Voyage has followed. They demonstrate ‘Girl Power’ before that term was invented. As a feminist I was fascinated how they did not follow prescribed expectations of how women should live. Other, non-historic, characters grew bit by bit.
With the next book, Blind Eye, (published by The Book Guild September 2021) there is more than a touch of my partner’s ‘bluntness’ in main character Ben.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
Definitely a plotter. With screenplays I had stacks of file cards stretched across the floor. These translated into spreadsheets. And for Wayward Voyage I have a scene by scene plotting spreadsheet that must be about 50 pages long. This was my Bible I referred back to over and over as I analysed scenes as objectively as possible. That said I sometimes let a scene unfold and allow the characters to lead me, like asking actors to improvise a scene.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
I’m a novice myself. But as I’m one step on the ladder I can say ‘don’t rush to get your work out there’. Writing is rewriting. Also be prepared to be enterprising. I don’t have an agent, but bit by bit I became confident. For example, having Wayward Voyage longlisted to the final eleven in the 2020 Virginia Prize for Women’s Fiction gave a bit of a marketing boost when approaching publishers.

What are your future plans as an author?
Blind Eye will be launched end of September. This is an environmental/political thriller about rainforest destruction and political corruption. My screenplay by the same name was joint winner of the 2020 Green Stories competition with judges saying, ‘A great success of this script is locating the plight to save forestry in a global context and showing how interdependent we are as a community.’ With the climate crisis this is such a topical subject.
I’m working on a third novel with my partner who is doing some research and planning with me. It’s about a bog body discovery. The idea came to my partner when he was recovering for a bad fever, and I reckon his mind was still feverish! I urged him to write the nub of the idea down and I have almost finished a rough draft.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Happy to. This is an excerpt from Chapter 4, when Anne is twelve years old.

Soon afterwards Ma had another child in her belly, so between this and coming down with fever, Ma was hardly ever well – certainly not well enough to dance. There had been another child on the way a year earlier, but it came too early and Anne wasn’t sure if the dead half-baby had been a boy or a girl. Ma hadn’t talked about it and she hadn’t asked.
This time Ma gave birth to another boy but couldn’t feed him, and Phoebe and Abba rushed about to neighbouring plantations to find a black woman to nurse him.
Anne tiptoed up to her parents’ bedroom door; Pa sat by the bed reading out loud to Ma. Ma’s freckles were the only colour on her shrunken cheeks, and she fingered her rosary beads. Ma’s eyes flickered towards her and she smiled. Anne decided what she wanted to say could wait.
Waking next morning she couldn’t smell coffee or the comforting smell of hominy; couldn’t hear Phoebe’s heavy footfall in the house, nor her voice calling her for breakfast. She couldn’t hear Pa’s voice outside, giving instructions to O’Neil. Walking softly across the upstairs landing, guided by the sound of sobbing, Anne pushed open her parents’ bedroom door. Her breath was sucked from her. Pa and Phoebe, both openly weeping, were struggling to clothe Ma in her best dress, her thin body floppy and her skin a waxy white.
Phoebe caught her eye. ‘You comin’ in? Say goodbye to your Ma?’
‘Ah, Anne, I didn’t want to wake you,’ Pa choked.
Anne stood in the doorway, unable to step into the room to confront this terrible thing. Whispered words – they must be hers: ‘Ma can’t be dead… not yet… not yet.’ She wanted to tell Ma things. Uppermost in her mind she wanted to say sorry for the mean things she’d said. She wanted to tell Ma she loved her. When had she last said so? She couldn’t remember.
New thoughts, selfish thoughts, flooded into her mind and would not stop. She did not want to take on the burden of running the household, doing all the accounts: something her mother had done without complaining and with some pride. And Billy? Would she be expected to look after him, and the new baby? They hadn’t even settled on a name for him. Anne knew nothing of raising babies. She had seen how Beth, a girl of her acquaintance, had become old before her time taking on family responsibilities after her mother died; a girl who had been full of life became a domestic drudge. Tears of sorrow and self-pity flowed down Anne’s cheeks.
‘Pa…’ She spoke softly, still reluctant to go closer.
Pa stood and took a step towards her. ‘Come here, child.’
Anne took tentative steps towards the bed but could not face touching Ma’s cold skin.
She fled to the only thing that could provide comfort: Shotek. O’Neil had judged him old enough to ride, and Anne rode him as she loved best: bareback, Indian style, her thighs gripping his warm flanks. She drove him hard, leaping water courses and dikes, spoiling rice crops in her blind determination to get away. She headed away from the plantation, past the swamps and fields and enclosure, heading for the trees at full gallop, her face hard, hair streaming behind her.
She’d witnessed death often enough, and before her own time came she resolved to live life fully. She would drive herself forward just as now she drove Shotek and take life at a gallop.

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

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 : To The Fair Land – Lucienne Boyce @LucienneWrite

– ‘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 ‘To The Fair Land’ 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 :

Lucienne Boyce writes historical fiction, non-fiction and biography. After gaining an MA in English Literature, specialising in eighteenth-century fiction, she published her first historical novel, To The Fair Land (SilverWood Books, 2012, reissued 2021), an eighteenth-century thriller set in Bristol and the South Seas.
Her second novel, Bloodie Bones: A Dan Foster Mystery (SilverWood Books, 2015) is the first of the Dan Foster Mysteries and follows the fortunes of a Bow Street Runner who is also an amateur pugilist. Bloodie Bones was joint winner of the Historical Novel Society Indie Award 2016, and was also a semi-finalist for the M M Bennetts Award for Historical Fiction 2016. The second Dan Foster Mystery, The Butcher’s Block, was published in 2017 and was awarded an IndieBrag Medallion in 2018. The third in the series, Death Makes No Distinction, was published in 2019 and is also an IndieBrag Medallion honoree, recipient of Chill With a Books Premium Readers’ Award, and a joint Discovering Diamonds Book of the Month. In 2017 an e-book Dan Foster novella, The Fatal Coin, was trade published by SBooks.
In 2013, Lucienne published The Bristol Suffragettes (SilverWood Books), a history of the suffragette movement in Bristol and the west country. In 2017 she published a collection of short essays, The Road to Representation: Essays on the Women’s Suffrage Campaign.

Social Media Links:
Twitter
Facebook
Blog
GoodReads

Synopsis :

A thrilling eighteenth-century mystery about a map, an author, and a vicious killer.
In 1789 struggling writer Ben Dearlove rescues a woman from a furious Covent Garden mob. The woman is ill and in her delirium cries out the name “Miranda”. Weeks later an anonymous novel about the voyage of the Miranda to the fabled Great Southern Continent causes a sensation. Ben decides to find the author everyone is talking about. He is sure the woman can help him – but she has disappeared.
It is soon clear that Ben is involved in something more dangerous than the search for a reclusive writer. Who is the woman and what is she running from? Who is following Ben? And what is the Admiralty trying to hide? Before he can discover the shocking truth Ben has to get out of prison, catch a thief, and bring a murderer to justice.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK (Paperback and Kindle)
Amazon US (Paperback and Kindle)
SilverWood Books (Paperback)
Book Depository
Foyles 
B&N (Paperback and Nook Book)
Apple Books 
Kobo

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 onto your blog and for your very interesting questions!

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I live in Bristol, England and I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I scribbled stories as a child, but like a lot of other writers I learned as I grew older that telling people “I want to be a writer” was more likely to attract muttering about “proper jobs” than sympathy, let alone practical advice. So, I tried to put away childish things but they have a way of refusing to be put away and eventually I was writing again and loving it more than ever. However, the journey to actually finding the courage to write and publish a novel was a long one and I’ve got my fair share of “bottom drawer” novels.
I’d always been interested in the literature of the eighteenth century and in 2006 I studied for an MA in English Literature with the Open University specialising in eighteenth-century writing. It was after completing that that I started to write historical fiction set in the period, including To The Fair Land and the Dan Foster Mysteries.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
Oh, I loved reading when I was a child and I still do. One of my favourite books which I read over and over again was Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. Other books I have read many, many times include The Little Grey Men by BB, Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, The Sword in the Stone by T H White, the Narnia books by C S Lewis, and The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame.
My favourite grown-up book is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. As I mentioned, I also enjoy eighteenth-century literature, especially the work of Frances Burney, Jane Austen, Charlotte Smith, Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley.
Other favourites include Mikhail Bulgakov, especially The Master and Margarita, Rebecca West, Winifred Holtby, Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins. I like a good, classic detective story, especially Dorothy L Sayers’s books.
Favourite contemporary historical novelists include Sarah Waters – my favourite is Affinity but they are all so good – and Martine Bailey (starting with An Appetite for Violets).
I also enjoy reading fantasy – my favourite fantasy author is Robin Hobb – particularly the Farseer Trilogy. I love William Morris’s fantasy books (and his poetry). I’ve also recently discovered Brandon Sanderson’s outstanding Mistborn series.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Goodness, there are so many wonderful writers who would have a lot to teach me, but if I had to choose one it would be Robin Hobb. I’d love to talk to her about how she makes her characters so compelling.

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 like to have tea with Dorothy L Sayers’s Harriet Vane (from the Lord Peter Wimsey novels). Tea because we could both wear lovely tea dresses and eat cake, and Harriet Vane because she inspires me as a writer of detective fiction and a woman who was determined to live on her own terms.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
No, not unless you count drinking lots of tea.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Some ideas I come across when I’m doing historical research, for example a reference to an incident, an individual or a group of people might pique my interest. It’s often something that’s been overlooked, or people who haven’t had much written about them, or a different way of looking at a familiar story. I’m also influenced by place and often find that visiting somewhere can give me an idea for a story as I imagine the people who might once have lived there, or something that might have happened there.
I don’t think anyone needs to be worried that I’ll “put them in a book”. Occasionally I might base a particular trait or detail of a character on someone I’ve met but I’m not a “roman a clef” style writer. Obviously in historical fiction it is often necessary to refer to real people – you can’t have someone other than George III on the throne for instance – but I don’t tend to make them major characters. Where I have used real people, I base my depiction of them on as much research as possible, or I rely on the fact there isn’t actually very much known about them. In the end, though, I believe that these depictions of real people are as much fictional constructs as an entirely made up character. “My” George III will only be my idea of him; another writer may see him differently or emphasise different aspects of his character as they perceive it.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I am a plotter, but a plot always has room for manoeuvre. Sometimes things that look like good ideas in theory don’t work so well in practice, or as I’m writing I see a better way of doing something, or I realise that the order of events isn’t right, and so on.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Read, learn, practise!
Read – read as much as you can. Study your genre, but also go outside it as much as possible. Wonderful stories, characters and writing aren’t confined to any one genre.
Learn – there are so many courses, workshops, events and talks you can attend, many of them on line and many of them free. There are also “how to” books for every aspect of writing – plotting, characterisation, research etc – and every genre. You’ll soon find the ones that offer the best advice for you. Some of my favourites are Story by Robert McGee, Get Started in Writing Historical Fiction by Emma Darwin, and Becoming A Writer by Dorothea Brande. I am constantly turning to and rereading Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way – not so much a book on the skill and craft of writing but a source of encouragement and inspiration.
There are also many good blogs. I’d particularly recommend the Alliance of Independent Authors, which makes much of its advice available to non-members (https://selfpublishingadvice.org/about/) and covers everything from the craft and skill of writing to the business of publishing. Emma Darwin’s This Itch of Writing (https://emmadarwin.typepad.com/thisitchofwriting/) is excellent. Many agents also have good blogs, for example Rachelle Gardner https://rachellegardner.com/ But there are so many, you just need to look around and find one that is useful to you.
If there’s an organisation for your genre, then join it if you possibly can. For example, for historical fiction there is the Historical Novel Society (https://historicalnovelsociety.org/about-us/).
Practise – just keep writing! And you don’t need to dive straight into a novel – you can write short stories, flash fiction, blogs, write articles for a local or specialised press – whatever interests you.

What are your future plans as an author?
I’m currently working on the fourth Dan Foster Mystery, as well as a biography of suffrage campaigner Millicent Price (née Browne), and a co-authoring project on a book about the suffragette movement. I also have an idea for a new mystery series I’d like to do, but that will be a bit off in the future while I juggle these other projects.
I also have far too many “little” projects I want to do – blogs and articles I want to write, talks I want to try out, new skills I’d like to learn. I will simply have to live to be a hundred to fit it all in!

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
In 1789 Ben Dearlove is an ambitious young writer who is trying to find the anonymous author of a best-selling book about a fictitious voyage to the South Seas. He has no idea that his quest will lead him and those he loves into danger. In this brief scene, he has returned to his father’s apothecary shop in Bristol late one night…

The lamp over the apothecary’s porch was unlit. Good, his father had obeyed him and gone to the Shackletons’. Ben put his key in the lock. The door yielded to his slight pressure. He pushed it wide, his heart thudding with sudden fear. The shop smelt of ginger, cinnamon and bark – familiar scents, but very strong. He leaned over the threshold and listened. Nothing moved. He was sure that the house was empty, but went in on tiptoe anyway. Near the counter a shard of glass broke beneath his foot. He caught his breath, stood still and waited. Nothing.

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

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!

#AudioBlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub @maryanneyarde / #QandAs : State of Treason (William Constable Spy Thriller series Book 1) – Paul Walker @PWalkerauthor #HistoricalFiction

– ‘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 ‘State of Treason’ blogtour, organized by The Coffee Pot Book Club.
To promote this book I have a guest post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Paul is married and lives in a village 30 miles north of London. Having worked in universities and run his own business, he is now a full-time writer of fiction and part-time director of an education trust. His writing in a garden shed is regularly disrupted by children and a growing number of grandchildren and dogs.
Paul writes historical fiction. He inherited his love of British history and historical fiction from his mother, who was an avid member of Richard III Society. The William Constable series of historical thrillers is based around real characters and events in the late sixteenth century. The first three books in the series are State of Treason; A Necessary Killing; and The Queen’s Devil. He promises more will follow.

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Synopsis :

Book Title: State of Treason
Series: Book 1, William Constable Spy Thrillers
Author: Paul Walker
Narrator: Edward Gist
Publication Date: February 2021
Publisher: Audible Studios
Page Length: 317 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

London, 1578
William Constable is a scholar of mathematics, astrology and practices as a physician. He receives an unexpected summons to the Queen’s spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham in the middle of the night. He fears for his life when he spies the tortured body of an old friend in the palace precincts.
His meeting with Walsingham takes an unexpected turn when he is charged to assist a renowned Puritan, John Foxe, in uncovering the secrets of a mysterious cabinet containing an astrological chart and coded message. Together, these claim Elizabeth has a hidden, illegitimate child (an “unknowing maid”) who will be declared to the masses and serve as the focus for an invasion.
Constable is swept up in the chase to uncover the identity of the plotters, unaware that he is also under suspicion. He schemes to gain the confidence of the adventurer John Hawkins and a rich merchant. Pressured into taking a role as court physician to pick up unguarded comments from nobles and others, he has become a reluctant intelligencer for Walsingham.
Do the stars and cipher speak true, or is there some other malign intent in the complex web of scheming?
Constable must race to unravel the threads of political manoeuvring for power before a new-found love and perhaps his own life are forfeit.

Amazon

Audio: Amazon UKAmazon 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 started writing books about 4 years ago when I retired from full-time work at the University of London. I had done lots of academic and business writing, but nothing creative. I joined a couple of writing workshops and soon got hooked. I started writing my first novel and finished it less than a year after retiring. It wasn’t very good, but I had learned a lot in the process of writing. The next book took longer to write and even longer to research; State of Treason, an Elizabethan spy thriller set in London in 1578. Historical fiction is my favourite genre as a reader and it had always been my intention to tackle it as an author.
Now I consider myself a full-time writer, although I also have part-time work as a writing tutor and I am a director of an educational trust.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
My mother encouraged me to read historical fiction. As a teenager I remember Josephine Tey’s Daughter of Time and T H White’s Once and Future King as great reads. I discovered my favourite books about 20 years ago – Patrick O’Brian’s series of books on the 19th century English Navy featuring Jack Aubrey and Steven Maturin.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I suppose Patrick O’Brian would be near the top of that list as his style of writing produces such an acute sense of time and place. Unfortunately, he’s no longer with us. The way an author uses language is more important to me than genre or period. Other living writers I admire are Rose Tremain, William Boyd, Tracy Chevalier and Sebastian Barry. I find it hard to pick just one of those, so I would have to invite them all to a dinner party and have a discussion around the table after priming them with plenty of good wine.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
William Brown from the Just William books by Richmal Crompton. It would be an enormous cream tea and I would sit back and let William recount his adventures while making a fabulous mess with the cream and jam. I’ve rediscovered the books with my grandchildren. They make me laugh and I love Martin Jarvis’ narration from the audio books.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I write in a shed at the bottom of my garden. It’s a comfortable shed; insulated, double-glazed and heated, with an easy chair and exercise bike as well as a computer desk. All my writing is done in there now – a refuge from the demands of a busy household. Most of my productive writing is done in the morning, with afternoons and evenings normally reserved for editing and research.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
With historical fiction, ideas occur during research and reading about recorded events, tricky situations, traits in real characters, matters of dispute etc. Inspiration can also happen in the most unlikely settings, such as listening to the news on the radio, or helping to homeschool during a lockdown. Often though, imagination takes hold during the act of writing or taking a short break and considering what has just been written.
Inevitably, characters in the book are formed by observing those around me, but my fictional characters are composites with bits and pieces taken from several people I have encountered. I haven’t yet based the whole character in a book on a friend or acquaintance.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I’m a mix of both. I have to start out with a guide, knowing the rough shape of the main plot and the characters, to the point where I have a structure of the action that will take place in the first dozen chapters or so. The plan loses detail beyond that, becoming fuzzier and less exact. I know that after writing 2 or 3 chapters some details will change and when I reach the half way point a lot will have altered and the ending may be unrecognizeable from the one I had when I began writing.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
From my experience of talking to other writers, each will have different strengths, weaknesses and approaches to writing. Hard and fast rules simply don’t apply and even general guidance can be of limited use. However, for what it’s worth, I found professional critiques very helpful when I started writing. Family and friends will not be objective or rigorous enough in their criticism and analysis. New writers need experienced, reasoned and constructive criticism to improve.

What are your future plans as an author?
Currently, I’m writing a novel set in Paris at the end of the First World War. The Treaty of Versailles in 1919 was a hotbed of intrigue, spying, deals and politicking – fertile ground for a historical crime/thriller, or so I’m hoping.
I will return to William Constable in the late sixteenth century before the end of this year. So far, three books in the series have been published and if all goes well, I expect it to stretch to at least six.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
William Constable is a physician and scholar. I have tried to give an indication of the primitive state of sixteenth century medicine in scenes throughout State of Treason. William is an elightened and intelligent physician, but even his remedies are often much less effective than the herbs, infusions and ointments dispensed by ‘wise women’. A consignmernt of dried plums brings surprising relief to William’s mother who he feared might die. Can you guess the ailment?

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

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!

Temple of Ice #TempleOfIce – Christian Cura , 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 Christian Cura, author of ‘Temple of Ice’, to promote his book.
Before I let you read my Q&As, I’ll first post some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Christian Cura is a new author who just recently published his debut novel Dreams of Fire. Ever since he read Lord of the Rings as a teenager, it has been his dream to write and publish a novel of his own. His favorite authors include J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, and Robert Jordan.
Christian lives in Northern Virginia where he lifts weights and creates artwork. He is a Gryffindor, an Earth-bender, and a loyal follower of Optimus Prime. When he is not writing, he can be found drawing or getting beaten up at his MMA gym.

Website
Facebook
Instagram
GoodReads

Synopsis :

Meet Tama, an adept winter mage of Khione, a beautiful, dangerous land. Bloodthirsty monsters roam the frozen wilderness, and the unforgiving elements are a constant. Tama and her friends—Kachina and Masou—are on the cusp of completing their education at the temple where they have trained for the past four years. They need only to do one more thing: earn the Goddess Tira’s final anointing. But to do that, they must fight through hordes of corrupted creatures and endure the perplexing obstacles within Mount Orodani.
The road before them is long and bloody, and Tira’s evil sister, Malsumi, won’t stop sending her minions until she is strong enough to break free of her prison. Tama fights valiantly to defend herself and her people from these twisted monsters. But she will soon discover the real threat is much closer than she initially thought…

The tentative release date is May 17th, but free ARCs are available through Booksprout for who’s interested.

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 wrote on and off as a teenager but it wasn’t until my adult years when I decided to pursue it seriously. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings was one of my big inspirations to start writing. Another series I read was the Animorphs series by K.A. Applegate.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
My favorite genre then and now is science fiction/fantasy. Some of my favorite authors are Tolkien, VE Schwab, Orson Scott Card, JK Rowling, Robert Jordan, and Shelby Mahurin.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I would definitely like to talk to Robert Jordan if he was still alive. All of his characters are so nuanced and vivid. I would love to write characters with the same level of complexity.

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 would invite Selene Radcliffe from my book Dreams of Fire, so I can listen to all of her demon-fighting stories. And so she can give me an informal kung fu lesson!

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
This is weird, but I write manually in a notebook first before going to the word processor. It’s a lot easier to think when I stare at a blank page rather than a blank screen. I also have a glass of water on my desk, and I take periodic standing breaks.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
I get my ideas from other books, movies, and tv shows.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
Traditionally, I’ve been a pantser but now that I’ve written a few books, I’ve learned that pantsing is very inefficient. Pantsing leads to plotholes, nonsensical details, and multiple overhauls. I am becoming more of a plotter. It’s so much better to plot the whole thing and think about your characters, world, and themes beforehand to avoid all the problems I just stated.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Write consistently. You don’t need a quota, just make time for writing as often as you can. Words will come easier the more often you write. Have a clear idea for how the story will begin and how it will end. Outline events in bulletpoints when you feel stuck. Include important bits of dialogue, details about the setting, characters, etc. Think about how you want your characters to develop and how you want to show these changes.

What are your futureplans as an author?
After releasing Temple of Ice, I will begin working on a sci/fi novel. The working title is Lose Her Soul. It’s about a young woman named Ariana eeking out her existence on a backwater moon which is consumed by crime and corruption. She is desperately trying to save enough money to buy passage to another star system where she and her brother can start over. But jobs are menial and low paying, and the cost of living is high. After losing her job as a waitress, she enters a sports tournament which offers a generous cash prize to the winning team; enough to buy passage to any star system in the galaxy. Initially, Ariana enters the tournament to win fair and square. But she soon discovers that all the teams in her division are cheating their way to the top because they are all just as desperate to get off that moon as she is. Will she cling to her values or violate her moral boundaries in order to prevail?

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

“Begin!’ said the headmaster.
Tama had barely raised her fists before Hakan unleashed a barrage of kicks at her. She ducked and evaded each blow, the air grazing the top of her head. She blocked a roundhouse kick with a raised leg and slipped a cross punch. Immediately, she pounded his ribs with an uppercut, then grabbed his shoulders and drove her knee into Hakan’s sternum. He grunted and staggered backwards right before a conjured gust of wind hurled him to his back.
The students cheered.
Hakan drew his knees up to his shoulders and sprang to his feet. He lifted the back of his hand upwards, then drew both fists to his hip.
A deluge of water surged out of the corner of Tama’s eye and curled around her body. She only had time to gasp as the tushka punched his fists forward, blasting her with the water. Tama collapsed with a grunt, her clothing drenched. Even as she stood up, the water rose with her in wavering tentacles. Like a myriad of whips, they cracked against her skin from every angle. Tama winced and groaned.
“Come on, Tama! You can do it,” Kachina called from the sidelines.
She froze the liquid tentacles and summoned a wheel of air. Chunks of ice floated up on either side of her as she accelerated towards Hakan.
The tushka dove out of the way as she sped past him, but wasn’t quick enough to dodge the debris that struck him in the back.
Tama circled around him, hurling ice in a rapid-fire staccato.
The students in the other classes murmured among themselves.
Hakan ducked and twirled over the arena as debris whizzed past him. He caught two chunks of ice, which he formed into arm shields and smashed through the remainder of her barrage.
Tama was conjuring more ice when Hakan hurled one of his shields and struck her in the stomach. She lurched forward and groaned in agony. Her air tread dissolved as she collapsed and rolled.
The crowd gasped.
Tama clutched at her middle. She was running out of time. She’d be damned if she ended the round like this.
“Get up, Tama!” Masou urged.

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

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 : The Hashtag Killer – A. S. French @andrewfrench100

– ‘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 ‘The Hashtag Killer’ 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 :

Andrew French is a man of no wealth and little taste. He lives amongst faded seaside glamour on the North East coast of England. He likes gin and cats but not together, new music and old movies, curry and ice cream. Slow bike rides and long walks to the pub are his usual exercise, as well as flicking through the pages of good books and the memoirs of bad people.

Social Media Links:
Website
Twitter
Instagram
Facebook

Synopsis :

Catch a killer or save a child. What would you do?
DI Jen Flowers thought she’d seen it all after fifteen years on the force, but when a vigilante serial killer hits the city and uses social media to gather supporters, she must fight the public and her doubts to catch a murderer and save her daughter.
Suffering from blackouts and abandoned as a child by her father, Ruby Vasquez has been chasing that one scoop to make her an internet star. Living with an alcoholic mother who hates her, Ruby discovers a secret about the vigilante’s first victim, which puts her in the killer and DI Flowers’ sights.
Jen and Ruby have to overcome the secrets in their past while battling each other to discover the Hashtag Killer’s identity. Jen will have to choose between keeping her daughter safe or finding a killer, while Ruby will need to decide if becoming famous is more important than doing the right thing.

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! 🙂

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
Since my teenage years, I’d thought of writing a book. I started many but never finished anything. That was until about five years ago when I had an idea for the start and the end of a neo-noir science fiction novel. But when I did finish, I didn’t know what to do with it, having no ambition or plan to be published. So I wrote a sequel to that book and two others in different genres.
Eventually, I ended up with The Hashtag Killer, which was shortlisted for the 2019 Big Issue/Avon, HarperCollins crime-writing competition. I was also offered a publishing contract for it but decided to publish independently for various reasons. While organising a cover designer and editor I wrote two more in the series featuring DI Jen Flowers, all three of which will be published this year.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
The book which probably stared my love of fiction is To Kill a Mockingbird. Science fiction and horror influenced my teenage years, so Dune and Salem’s Lot are firm favourites. My favourite book of the last few years is Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Stephen King because he’s the master at creating believable and engaging characters.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Henry from The Time Traveler’s Wife so I could ask him what time travel is like.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I work a lot on the move, at least in the early stages of writing. Every day, I cycle when the weather isn’t trying to kill me, so that’s an excellent process for developing ideas. I’m a great believer that, if you can move around, even a little bit, it stimulates the creative parts of the brain.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Inspiration comes from everywhere – real life, the news, something I’m reading, obscure facts from the internet. The people in my life don’t need to be worried yet!

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I started as a pantser, and it worked for a while, but I found I got better results and could write faster if I plotted even just a little bit. Now, I try and have something for each chapter before I begin the first draft.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Read as much as you can, especially in the genre you write in. Don’t edit as you go along. Don’t believe you have to write every day – take a break once in a while.

What are your future plans as an author?
There are two sequels to The Hashtag Killer due soon, one in April, the other in May which can be preordered now. I’ve already got a few things nearly ready to publish – the first in a paranormal trilogy which is part Buffy, part Supernatural. I’ve completed a contemporary fantasy novella which should be released this year, plus some science-fiction titles. There’s also a four-book thriller series just about ready to go.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Here is the introduction to the main character in The Hashtag Killer, Detective Inspector Jen Flowers.

If you walk into a room with a fresh lick of paint, then the smell is unavoidable; it’s the same at a murder scene: the aroma of death is everywhere. It’s as if the soul of the dead occupies that space, the whole of a life lingering behind and stinking of rotting flesh. The rain made it worse, catching the death bouquet in its liquid grasp and showering the aroma far and wide; and the forensic evidence would be washed away. It was my first irritation of the day.

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

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 : Blood Loss – Kerena Swan @KerenaSwan @HobeckBooks

– ‘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 ‘Blood Loss’ 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 :

We are thrilled to be introducing DI Dave Paton and his son Tommy, the stars of the first novel in Kerena Swan’s new series, to the world. Before coming to Hobeck, Kerena had published three novels, Dying To See You, Scared to Breathe and Who’s There? and has built a solid fan base around her writing career thus far. She is a juggler extraordinaire: driving forward a successful care business she runs with her husband yet finding time to write. She loves to write, here and there and everywhere when she’s not working. We don’t know how she does it but we are glad that she does! Kerena talks about her writing, her influences and how she came to Hobeck in this video.

Social Media Links:
Website 
Twitter
Facebook

Synopsis :

Sarah
With one eye on the rear view mirror and the other on the road ahead, Sarah is desperate to get as far away from the remote Scottish cabin as she can without attracting attention. But being inconspicuous isn’t easy with a black eye and clothes soaked in blood…
… and now the fuel tank is empty.
DI Paton
When a body is discovered in a remote cabin in Scotland, DI Paton feels a pang of guilt as he wonders if this is the career break he has been waiting for. But the victim is unidentifiable and the killer has left few clues.
Jenna
With the death of her father and her mother’s failing health, Jenna accepts her future plans must change but nothing can prepare her for the trauma yet to come.
Fleeing south to rebuild her life Sarah uncovers long-hidden family secrets. Determined to get back what she believes is rightfully hers, Sarah thinks her future looks brighter. But Paton is still pursuing her…
… and he’s getting closer.
Kerena Swan’s brilliant novel explores how honest mistakes and human frailty can have terrifying and long-reaching consequences. It’s a tale of family ties and loyalty, revenge and redemption that you won’t want to put down.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK 
Blood Loss will be just 99p for a limited time only!

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’ve always enjoyed writing, but throughout my career as a residential care and social work manager I’d only ever written factual documents such as policies and procedures, training courses, assessments, and reports. Sixteen years ago, I left a well-paid and secure senior management role to set up my own care company supporting children with disabilities in the community. This entailed designing all the forms and templates, writing lengthy tender applications, staff handbooks and much more. I currently employ a team of around eighty people and over the years have supported at least 800 families.
Five years ago, I almost lost my eyesight then developed cancer and suddenly realised that if I wanted to achieve my lifelong ambition of getting a book published, I’d better get on with it. I completed a novel writing course with The Writing Magazine and Dying to See You was the result. I was lucky to be given a publishing contract almost straight away. I then went on to write three more novels and a novella and am now on the fifth novel. I would love to write full-time but my care agency takes up most of my time.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
As a child I loved Enid Blyton and avidly read all the Mystery series – The Mystery of the Missing Cat, The Mystery of the Burnt Cottage – and can still recall the anticipation and smell of a new book after spending all my holiday pocket money on them.
Nowadays, I favour psychological thrillers and love a book that delves into people’s motivations and behaviours. Michael Robotham is a favourite of mine, especially his series featuring the criminal psychologist Jo O’Loughlin. I enjoy books that keep me hooked, teach me something and make me think.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
As I’m such a fan of Michael Robotham’s, I would like to ask how he obtains the knowledge he needs for his characters. He clearly knows his stuff when it comes to psychology and understanding human behaviours and motivations. He homes in on small details that bring his characters to life and he’s been a real inspiration for my writing. I’d love to know how he plans and writes his novels. Is he a plotter or a panster? My guess is he’s a plotter as his books are so well-structured, detailed and researched.

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 would invite Arnold Eastwood, from my novel Who’s There? for tea as he’s such fun to be with. I’d probably have to cook his favourite pizza but I’m sure he’d make me a cup of tea. Arnold sees the world with the innocence of a child yet can teach us about courage, kindness, and positivity. I managed a residential home for twenty-five adults with learning disabilities for years and the residents there became my extended family. People with Down’s syndrome were great company and I still miss them. Arnold was inspired by Bobby, a fun-loving young man who sadly died far too soon because he panicked when he realised he didn’t have his bus fare and jumped off the bus into an oncoming car. I was away training to be a social worker at the time but I was still devastated.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
As I work full-time I have to snatch writing opportunities whenever I can. I can’t indulge in rituals or habits because I have to be totally flexible and seize the moment. Luckily, my business is in a large annexe attached to my house and I have a fantastic team so I can take time off when I have deadlines. The Covid19 pandemic has created a lot of work for me, as I’ve had to write business continuity plans, risk assessments, source PPE (personal protective equipment), testing kits and latterly the vaccines for my team. I’ve had to prioritise work over writing so make the most of every minute of every day. My other hobbies of watercolour painting and playing the piano have been set aside until everything calms down. I can honestly say I am never, ever bored!

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
A lot of my ideas come from reading news articles. I love stories about people in unusual situations or crimes with a difference. Once I have the kernel of a story I build on it then create my characters. Dying to See You was inspired by the clearances I have to do on new employees yet when we meet people in our personal lives we don’t check their backgrounds and give them access to our loved ones. Who’s There? was inspired by a course I attended about drug gangs cuckooing people with disabilities. Scared to Breathe was created from a desire to set a story in a creepy old mansion and Blood Loss was the result of reading an article about a woman whose life was turned upside down after she did a DNA test. Here She Lies was inspired by a true event in America. If anyone in my life is worried it’s my husband. His eyes widen every time he turns on the iPad to see ’10 ways to dispose of a body’ or ‘how long does it take to suffocate in a fridge.’ What freaked him out the most though was the delivery of my Little Book of Poisons. He hasn’t eaten mushroom soup since!

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I tried being a panster but it didn’t work for me. I got so far then thought of something else to improve the story so changed it. It then fizzled out and I wasn’t sure where I was going. I need a loose framework to build my story around. I don’t plan out every chapter in advance but if I have a rough idea I can plot three chapters at a time in a few sentences then write it out in full before moving onto the next three chapters. This gives me some freedom to be creative without coming to a blank wall. I constantly edit and re-write but I’m a fast worker and can complete a novel in six months or sooner if I’m determined enough..

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
There is so much to learn and so many dos and don’ts. I’ve read numerous writing advice books and attended a lot of short courses and I’m still learning.
I’d say the most important thing is to build your characters early in the planning stage. What do they want in life? What are their idiosyncrasies, likes and dislikes and speech patterns? People remember characters far longer than they remember plots.
Start with action and stick with it for a while. No reader likes to be thrown out of the here and now for a load of back-story when they’re fully engaged with the present.
Start small – a diary, short stories, and blogs until you gain confidence in your ability. Write about what you know. You may not think it’s interesting but other people love getting a sneaky peak into someone else’s life.
Write for pleasure. What’s the point otherwise? Very few writers actually make a living from it. And finally, read, read, and read some more of whatever it is you plan to write.

What are your future plans as an author?
To write a long series featuring DI Paton and Tommy and to write more psychological thrillers. I’d also like to try writing books for children as I have years of experience, both personal and professional, of working with kids. I might even try specialising in books for children with disabilities. I need to reduce my working week first though.

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

Another photo appeared, this time of the body on the floor. Paton swallowed several times. Raspberry jelly on a fruit flan. That’s what the shiny surface of the blood reminded him of. Bloody hell. Wendy had just made him one of those. When she started to feel better she always baked treats to show she was well again. He’d struggle to eat the flan now.
‘We looked at the pool of blood surrounding the body and how it had solidified at the edges,’ The crime scene manager said.
Paton’s stomach roiled and he swallowed.
‘After checking the ambient temperature of the room and the algor mortis of the deceased we’ve estimated the time of death as between 9am and 11am. We examined the knife for fingerprints but due to the amount of blood on it we were only able to find the victim’s prints and a partial print of another person. This partial is replicated on other kitchen items in the drawers, on the bed frame, coffee table and doors, which suggests the assailant was there for some time.’
That figured. Paton was confident with his theory now.

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

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 : Girl A – Dan Scottow @DanScottow @Bloodhoundbook

– ‘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 ‘Girl A’ 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 :

Dan grew up in Hertfordshire before moving to London in his early twenties. After more than ten years living there, he decided enough was enough, and packed his bags for Scotland in search of a more peaceful life.
Dan works as a graphic designer, but dreams of the day he can give it up and write full time.
Besides writing, he enjoys painting, watching a good scary film, travelling the world (at least, he used to!), good food, a gin and tonic or two, long walks on the beach with his dogs, and of course, reading a great book.
Dan’s debut novel ‘Damaged’ was released in January 2020, published by Bloodhound books.

Social Media Links:
Twitter
Facbook

Synopsis :

Someone thinks they know who she is… and what she did.
But she insists it’s a mistake.
All Beth has ever wanted is a quiet life for her and her family. And that is what she has, until one evening a note is pushed through the door, with two words scrawled in menacing black ink; Found you.
As Beth’s neatly crafted life begins to unravel, an unseen menace torments her and those she loves. But who’s behind the threats?
Somebody is out to get Beth, but do they have the right woman?
Beth faces losing everything, and there is far more at stake than just her marriage…

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! 🙂
Thanks for having me. It’s an absolute pleasure!

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I always wanted to write but managed to come up with a million excuses not to. I moved from London to Scotland about eight years ago and have found that a quieter lifestyle has freed up time for me to do other things outside of my working (9-5 job) day. I’d had the idea for my first novel playing about in my head for a while, and eventually decided to start putting words onto a page. I was so scared that people would hate it, I honestly put off submitting it to a publisher for a long time. But a couple of people close to me read it and told me I should definitely submit it. When readers started contacting me to tell me how much they had enjoyed it, it gave me the confidence to carry on, and so here I am, having just finished writing my third novel!

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
As a young child, I loved reading Roald Dahl, probably because they had a dark edge to them. As I got older I began to read darker fiction. I read a lot of horror when I was in my teens. Loads of Steven King. These days I mostly read psychological thrillers, the darker and more disturbing, the better. But now and then I like to read something lighter that makes me laugh.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I have had a lot of advice from Caro Ramsay, which has been invaluable to me. I’ve also connected with a lot of authors through social media, and I chat most days to some of them. So in reality, I’m getting great advice all the time from some wonderful authors. In a fantasy world, I’d love to have a chat with Harlan Coben, just to see how he keeps coming up with his plots. I always worry that I’m going to run out of ideas and draw a blank for the next one…

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Hannibal Lecter could be fun… as long as I wasn’t on the menu! He was a very complex character… intriguing, and strangely likeable, even though he was a monster.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I don’t! I don’t have a set time that I write, or a specific writing space. I write when I feel inspired, and wherever I feel comfortable. I like to have total silence when I’m working, but in this busy life, it’s sometimes too much to ask for!

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
There’s some inspiration from real life… not my life, but in the news etc. I think there is a lot of darkness in reality. When I’ve been researching my books I’ve stumbled across some truly shocking cases, which are far more horrific than any fiction you could read. When I’m trying to write a really scary scene, I think about times when I’ve felt afraid, and what has caused me to feel that way. I try to channel that emotion, and the elements that contributed to those feelings. In terms of people in my life, it’s only those who really piss me off who need to worry… they will probably end up dead in one of my stories. 😉

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
My first novel wasn’t plotted much at all. I had the ending, and from that I knew how I wanted it to begin… but everything in between I just sat and wrote with very little in terms of notes about specific things that were to happen. I knew in my head, points that had to be reached along the way, but none of it was written down anywhere. My second and third books have been much more heavily plotted in a notebook, so as my writing develops, I’m realising I’m probably more of a plotter.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
The best advice I ever read, was don’t talk about it, do it. I spent so long thinking, ‘I should write a book’ but never did anything about it. I really wish I’d done it sooner. So I’d say to anyone who wants to write, or is thinking about it… just do it. Words on a page are better than words in your head. In terms of do’s and don’ts, I’ve never really been one for following rules. I’ve read a lot of stuff that says ‘a real writer doesn’t do this, or does do that, or, you should never…’ etc, and I think it’s nonsense. If you’re a writer, it’s up to you. Make your own rules! That’s the beauty of doing this job.

What are your futureplans as an author?
I’d love to be to be able to give up my 9-5, and write full time… but in reality that’s a very scary prospect. We never know what the future holds, but that would be the dream for me.

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

Two little words.
That was all it took. Eight letters scribbled on a scrap of paper, and one family’s world was about to come crashing down around them. When you imagine things that might alter the course of your life, you think of major catastrophic events.
A car crash. An illness. Hard-hitting, a punch in the face.
In reality, sometimes it’s not like that at all. As Charlie Carter sat watching the television with his wife Beth on a Friday evening, neither of them had any idea that everything they knew was about to change.
A quiet existence was all they wanted. And so they made one for themselves. Two great kids. A nice secluded farmhouse with no neighbours. The Carters kept themselves to themselves and they were happy that way.
As Charlie watched Beth struggling to stay awake, two fictional detectives on the telly argued about who the killer may or may not be. The security light at the front of the house flicked on suddenly, streaming through the bay window. This was not so unusual in their remote location; often triggered by a cat or a fox, sometimes maybe even a bat.
But tonight the loud and unmistakable chime of the doorbell closely followed, echoing through their home.
The dog barked excitedly. Charlie and Beth glanced up from the television and their eyes met across the living room. Charlie frowned, the unspoken question between them, who could that be?

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

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 #TheCoffeePotBookClub @maryanneyarde / #QandAs : A Dangerous Life (DCI Jack Callum Mysteries Book 2) – Len Maynard @len_maynard #HistoricalFiction #Crime

– ‘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 Dangerous Life’ blogtour, organized by The Coffee Pot Book Club.
To promote this book I have a guest post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Born in Enfield, North London in 1953, Len Maynard has written and published over forty books, the majority of them in collaboration with Michael Sims. Ghost story collections, the Department 18 series of supernatural thrillers, stand-alone horror novels, the Bahamas series of action-adventure thrillers, as well as a handful of stand-alone thrillers. As editors they were responsible for the Enigmatic Tales and Darkness Rising series of anthologies, as well as single anthologies in the horror and crime genres. The DCI Jack Callum Mysteries are his first to be written under his own name.

Website“The DCI Jack Callum Mysteries”TwitterInstagramFacebook

Synopsis :

Book Title: A Dangerous Life
Series: The DCI Jack Callum Mysteries, Book 2
Author: Len Maynard
Publication Date: 28th July 2020
Publisher: Sharpe Books
Page Length: 287 Pages
Genre: Historical Crime Fiction

1959
A body of a man wearing theatrical make up is found hanging from a tree on Norton Common in Hertfordshire. He has been tortured and his throat has been cut.
DCI Jack Callum, a veteran policeman with his own rules for procedure, heads the investigation into this puzzling crime. The clues lead him close to the answer, but the solution remains elusive.
Why was the man killed?
What were the victim’s links to London’s gangland bosses?
When an unsolved murder is uncovered that appears to be connected to the case, Jack realises he must use his team to their full strength to separate the innocent from the guilty.
Jack also faces a challenge he never expected as he is accused of an improper relationship with a young Detective Constable on his team, Myra Banks.
In a breathless climax, Myra puts her own life on the line to deal with a figure from Jack’s past, who has now become a lethal threat in the present.

Amazon UKAmazon 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 actually wanted to be a footballer when I was a kid, but you need talent for that and I was sadly lacking in that department. Next I wanted to be a rock star. To be fair I was a pretty good bass player and made it as far as the semi-pro circuit. But then I got my girfriend at the time pregnant and travelling from gig to gig became untenable. So I sold my guitars and amplifiers and settled into a world of domestic strife.
I needed some kind of creative output and I had read horror stories from an early age – writers like Robert Bloch, Richard Matheson and the like. How hard could it be to write stories like them? Bloody difficult as it transpired. But after writing without much success, my writing partner and best friend, Mick Sims and I, wrote a collection of short ghost stories. And after six fruitless years the book was accepted by London hard back publisher William Kimber in 1978. Success, we thought. We’re on our way. And so we were, but slowly, and it was another twenty years before we saw our name in print again.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
The first real book I remember reading that made an impact was by was No Boats On Bannermere by Geoffrey Trease which I read at senior school, and then William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. But in my early teens I wasn’t reading books. DC and Marvel comics were all I read. It wasn’t until I left school and I was commuting to work that I discovered the Pan Books of Horror and the Alfred Hitchcock short story anthologies. And from them I never looked back. At the moment I’m reading The Furies, a post apocalyptic/disaster novel by Keith Roberts that I first read when I was eighteeen and have re-read countless times since. It’s not his most critically acclaimed book (quite the reverse in fact) but, for me, it’s like a comfort blanket, an old friend I can read again and again and find something fresh and exciting every time.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
This sounds incredibly arrogant, and I don’t mean for it to be so, but there are so few writers I truly admire and, of those that I do, none of them are writers I would ask for advice. I plough my own furrow for good or ill. The only other writer I listen to is my former partner Mick Sims who has been on a parallel journey with me for half a century and whose opinion I trust without question. Mind you it wasn’t always that way, but after fifty years, all the kinks in our relationship have more or less been ironed out.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Obviously Jack Callum. I would be interested to see if he is really the decent bloke who appears in the books. I’d like to think so, but then I’m a sceptic by nature. There again I might invite his wife Annie to tea. (I’m secretly in love with her!)

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I used to. Christ I had a ritual for every occasion. I used to write longhand, but only with a Bic Crystal Medium Point ball point and only on an A4 fine lined pad. As I’ve moved from pen and pad to typewriter and eventually to word processor, the rituals have become fewer and fewerd, until today where they are non-existant. I’ll write anywhere, any time…as long as it’s on a decent Mac or PC that has an up to date version of Microsoft Word, or else just forget it. I’d rather not bother.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
I have been visiting unpleasantries since I first start writing. In primary school I wrote an illustrated verion of the Tinder Box, complete with decapitated villain – lots of red ink used. In secondry school I wrote a kidnap story complete with a assault on the young female victim which earned me a ‘See Me!’ at the bottom of the page. I like to think the teacher was going to congratulate me on by graphic prose…but I doubt it. I never ‘saw him’ and it was never mentioned again.
The point is, my stories have always veered towards the dark side of life. I suppose it’s just the way my mind works. If it’s any consolation, I have known a number of crime and horror writers over the years and, bar none, they have all been the sweetest natured of all the authors I’ve met.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I’m a panster. I come up with a premise and an opening and then let the story take me where it wants to go. The plot tends to ebb and flow as the story progresses, but then, when my sub-conscious has been working out the whys and wherefores, I will get an info-dump from it where the entire plot is revealed to me. That usually happens about halfway or two thirds of the way though. It’s happened to me so often now that I recognise that it’s just the way my storytelling mind works and I don’t have any need to doubt it. It will come through for me in the end. It hasn’t let me down so far…

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Do’s – Read, read, read and write, write, write. Writing is like a muscle – it gets stronger the more you use it. It doesn’t matter if you think you are writing total crap. Keep going. Suddenly it will all start to make sense and you’ll be flying.
Don’ts – Don’t listen to criticism unless you know and respect the person who’s doing the criticisizing. As a writer, or anyone who puts themselves out there in such a vulnerable position, remember that you can have twenty positive reviews of your piece and one negative review. But it will be the single negative one you’ll focus on and give yourself a hard time about. Just forget it, move on and grow a thicker skin. And never stop believing in yourself.

What are your futureplans as an author?
At the moment I’m working on the seventh DCI Jack Callum mystery called The Gilded Cage. I’m revving up my small publishing house to publish another local author of merit. I help run a local writers group, hosting zoom meetings and putting together a annual anthology for them which I publish under my LMP brand. Also I’ve had requests to write another of my Bahamas adventure thrillers, currently on book three, but there might be another in the works.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Jack has given a speech at a local girls school. He finishes and leaves the stage.

He trotted down the stairs and pulled up short when a voice spoke from out of the shadows. “Did you mean it?”
Someone was standing a few feet away from him, hidden by a fold in the curtain.
“Did I mean what?” he said, and a teenage girl stepped out from behind the folded brocade and stood in front of him.
“That the police were our friends and that we should come and talk to you, and you will help?”
Jack smiled indulgently. “We’ll always listen and help if we can…sorry I didn’t catch your name.”
“Gerry…Geraldine Turner.”
“Well, Geraldine, do you have a problem you wish to discuss?”
The girl looked tearful. She nodded, a lock of her curly blonde hair falling out from beneath her Alice band and dropping down over her face. “It’s my brother,” she said.
“Well, what is it you want to tell me about your brother?”
“He’s dead,” she said, biting at her lip pensively. “I killed him.”

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

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!