#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!

#BlogTour #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #QandAs : Old Cases, New Colours – Madalyn Morgan @ActScribblerDJ

– ‘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 ‘Old Cases, New Colours’ 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 :

I was brought up in a pub in a small market town called Lutterworth. For as long as I can remember, my dream was to be an actress and a writer. The pub was a great place for an aspiring actress and writer to live with so many characters to study and accents to learn. I was offered Crossroads the first time around. However, my mother wanted me to have a ‘proper’ job that I could fall back on if I needed to, so I did a hairdressing apprenticeship. Eight years later, aged twenty-four, I gave up a successful salon and wig-hire business in the theatre for a place at East 15 Drama College and a career as an actress, working in Repertory theatre, the West End, film and television.
In 1995, with fewer parts for older actresses, I gave up acting. I taught myself to touch-type, completed a two-year correspondence course with The Writer’s Bureau and began writing articles and presenting radio.
In 2010, after living in London for thirty-six years, I moved back to Lutterworth. I swapped two window boxes and a mortgage for a garden and the freedom to write. Since then, I have written nine novels. The first four, The Dudley Sisters’ Saga, tell the stories of four sisters in World War 2. My current novel, Old Cases, New Colours, is a thriller/detective story set in 1960. I am writing Christmas book – Christmas Applause – and a Memoir; a collection of short stories, articles, poems, photographs and character breakdowns from my days as an actress.

Social Media Links:
Blog
Facebook 
Twitter
Pinterest
Instagram
Madalyn Morgan’s books

Synopsis :

Sick of working in a world of spies and bureaucracy, Ena Green, nee Dudley, leaves the Home Office and starts her own investigating agency.
Working for herself she can choose which investigations to take and, more importantly, which to turn down.
While working on two investigations, Ena is called as a prosecution witness in the Old Bailey trial of a cold-blooded killer who she exposed as a spy the year before.

Purchase Links:
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! 🙂
Thank you for asking me. I hope my answers do your questions justice.

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I became an author after being an actress for thirty years. An actress needs to be good at many other jobs. If you don’t mind me blowing my own trumpet, I was a very good receptionist, researcher and credit controller, persuading large companies to pay small companies for the work they’d done. It was while I was temping in an accounts office that I did a two-year writing course. I taught myself to touch-type and wrote my first article. I interviewed three top business executives about their love of football. I called it, Women With Balls. Three months later, an almost identical article was published in a popular women’s magazine. The author of the piece was the assistant to the editor of the football magazine where I had first sent the article. As an unknown author, I wasn’t able to do anything about it.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I read my mother’s books, Little Women and Jo’s Boys. As a child, I liked music. We had a jukebox in the pub that I was brought up in and I knew the lyrics to every song. I went to drama college so I read plays. I devoured every play from Shakespeare to Pinter. I also read biographies. Then my neighbours in London did a moonlight flit, leaving behind some wonderful books. My old caretaker gave them to me and from then on I became addicted to reading. My favourites at that time were Agatha Christie and Mary Webb. Now it’s John Lawton, John le Carré, and C.J.Sansom. I’m a little in love with Sansom’s lawyer, Matthew Shardlake.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
When I was writing spy thrillers, I’d have said the late John le Carré. Now I’m writing detective thrillers set in 1960 – and love the characters of Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott – it’s Robert Galbraith, aka J. K. Rowling. I like the story-lines, the two main characters work really well together, and the reader is allowed to use his or her imagination and intelligence. I hate books that talk down to their readers.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Although my favourite character in my books is Ena Green, nee Dudley, from The 9:45 To Bletchley, There Is No Going Home, She Casts A Long Shadow and now, Old Cases New Colours, I would invite Claire Dudley to tea. In WW2, while in the WAAF, Claire was recruited by the SOE and sent into German occupied France to work with the Resistance. She fell in love and had a secret love affair. Claire’s journey was exciting, dangerous and passionate.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
If I have a problem, I can’t resolve a plot point or piece of action, I think about it as I’m falling asleep and I often wake up the next morning with the resolution. I always take a notepad and pen to bed so when I wake up in the night with an idea I can write it down.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
That’s a good question. My ideas just come. They started with the wartime saga and, since then, it’s been a natural progression. Things that are not resolved in my books are often resolved in stand-alone sequels. Though I do like to write in different genres to stretch myself. As for ending up in one of my books? No, family and friends don’t have to worry. Having said that, when I wrote She Casts A Long Shadow, I gave a spy-club owner the name Nick Miller. Nick was the highest for my novel, There Is No Going Home, which was auctioned at ‘Children In Read’ for the charity ‘Children in Need.’ This year, Old Cases New Colours has a lovely nurse in it called Jeanie.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I am a plotter. I couldn’t write three investigations at the same time with a court case in the middle without plotting. I hate waffle and find I go off at a tangent if I don’t plot. While writing Foxden Acres, I had to have a day diary, or I’d never have known where any of the Dudley sisters were when writing their stories. I once wrote a chapter about Polish airmen escaping Poland. They went from village to village, helped by local people, doctors and a priest all the way to Gdansk and the Baltic Sea. I loved doing the research and I loved writing it, but when the book was finished the Polish chapter was irrelevant and I had to cut it. One day I’ll add it to ‘Cuts’ in my blog.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
The tip every writer gives, and the one that is the most important is, don’t give up. And that’s true. However, before you start writing, do a creative writing course. Then, when you’ve written your novel, send it to a professional editor/proofreader. A good editor is worth their weight in gold.

What are your future plans as an author?
Except Applause, each of the books in the Dudley Sisters Saga has a sequel. My plan is to write a sequel called Christmas Applause. I’m also gathering material for a memoir of my working life. From hairdresser in the theatre, to actress and then writer. There will be short stories, poems, articles – and character breakdowns and histories to go with photographs from when I was an actress.

Last, but not least: Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
…. The role of spy catcher, unearthing spies hiding in the shadows of respectability and exposing people who held senior positions in the country’s security services, was too much responsibility for one person. The job made Ena feel grubby. She’d had enough of dishonest and corrupt people. Working on cold cases for The Home Office, she had no choice but to …

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

Thank you, Magic of Wor(l)ds, that was interesting and fun.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

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

#MiniBlogBlitz #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #QandAs : You Let Me Go – Eliza Graham

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

Rf7iNUEg

Today I’m on the ‘You Let Me Go’ mini blog blitz, 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 :

rscxSEcgEliza Graham’s novels have been long-listed for the UK’s Richard & Judy Summer Book Club in the UK, and short-listed for World Book Day’s ‘Hidden Gem’ competition. She has also been nominated for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction.
Her books have been bestsellers both in Europe and the US.
She is fascinated by the world of the 1930s and 1940s: the Second World War and its immediate aftermath and the trickle-down effect on future generations. Consequently she’s made trips to visit bunkers in Brittany, decoy harbours in Cornwall, wartime radio studios in Bedfordshire and cemeteries in Szczecin, Poland. And those are the less obscure research trips.
It was probably inevitable that Eliza would pursue a life of writing. She spent biology lessons reading Jean Plaidy novels behind the textbooks, sitting at the back of the classroom. In English and history lessons she sat right at the front, hanging on to every word. At home she read books while getting dressed and cleaning her teeth. During school holidays she visited the public library multiple times a day.
Eliza lives in an ancient village in the Oxfordshire countryside with her family. Not far from her house there is a large perforated sarsen stone that can apparently summon King Alfred if you blow into it correctly. Eliza has never managed to summon him. Her interests still mainly revolve around reading, but she also enjoys walking in the downland country around her home and travelling around the world to research her novels.

Social Media Links:
Website
Facebook

Synopsis :

8DxCnsbwAfter her beloved grandmother Rozenn’s death, Morane is heartbroken to learn that her sister is the sole inheritor of the family home in Cornwall—while she herself has been written out of the will. With both her business and her relationship with her sister on the rocks, Morane becomes consumed by one question: what made Rozenn turn her back on her?
When she finds an old letter linking her grandmother to Brittany under German occupation, Morane escapes on the trail of her family’s past. In the coastal village where Rozenn lived in 1941, she uncovers a web of shameful secrets that haunted Rozenn to the end of her days. Was it to protect those she loved that a desperate Rozenn made a heartbreaking decision and changed the course of all their lives forever?
Morane goes in search of the truth but the truth can be painful. Can she make her peace with the past and repair her relationship with her sister?

Purchase Links:
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 us something about yourself and how you became an author?
Thank you for having me on the blog! I grew up in a London suburb, later studying English at Oxford University. For reasons I still don’t really understand, I worked in what was then called a merchant bank. I spent most of the time in a daydream and not surprisingly it wasn’t a great success. So I switched to writing copy and doing PR for an exhibitions company, moving on to financial and professional services PR and marketing. By the time I was 32 I’d written hundreds of thousands of words but none of them fiction. As I’d been a great reader since childhood (see below) this struck me as strange, so when I was first pregnant and working from home I started writing novels. The first one was awful—I can’t tell you just how dire it was. The second attempt actually did get published as my second novel, RESTITUTION. Meanwhile, I’d written a third book, PLAYING WITH THE MOON, which was published as my first novel by a Macmillan imprint in 2007.
All my books have historical settings, at least in part. Often they are blended narratives: past and contemporary. I’m very interested in how history affects present generations, how secrets and traumas trickle down families. The Second World War and its aftermath have fascinated me since I was a child. We used to stay with my grandmother and sneak off to play in the old air-raid shelters, to her horror! She said they were full of rats and drunks.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I read everything from C S Lewis to Ruby Ferguson, author of the Jill pony books, also taking in Malcolm Saville’s children’s books. These days I still read very widely: often rereading the Victorian canon, especially Trollop, Dickens and Wilkie Collins, then switching to psychological and spy thrillers. I like a good horror novel, too. Strangely enough, or perhaps not, when I’m working on a book, I tend to avoid historicals set in the 1930s and 1940s as they’re too close to my own work.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Almost any novelist who wrote before typewriters and especially laptops: I’d like to ask how they managed to form sentences and outline paragraphs, pages and chapters in their minds before committing them to paper. On a laptop you can take chances, write something down and then delete most of it and take another stab at it. I’m imagining that if paper was a more expensive commodity and writing a process that required more manual effort, you’d take great care. You wouldn’t be slapdash. I’ve seen some manuscripts where authors have crossed out and rewritten, but you could only do that so many times.

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 love Alan Furst’s spy novels, set in the noir-ish 1930s and 1940s. He’s so good at depicting world-weary, yet usually worldly but essentially decent characters who find themselves in a world sliding into destruction. I’m not sure I’d invite them for tea; would it be OK to meet one of his most alluring male characters for a drink in a Paris café? This encounter would take place on a warm late-spring evening in a non-COVID world. The lime trees will be blossoming. I want to hear the stories of escape, the great rivers crossed at night, the night-time arrests dodged, the friends made, the affairs started and abandoned, the moral compromises and acts of courage.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Only really bad ones, like distracting myself with online browsing instead of knuckling down to tackle difficult plot areas! I need to substitute some good habits instead. All suggestions gratefully received.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
I never know where ideas come from. I read at least three books a week, listen to a lot of radio and watch TV most nights, so it’s hard to tell what’s percolating away in my head.
I very rarely base characters on real-life characters, though. However, I once saw this young girl dancing at a local village festival. It was midsummer, beautiful evening light, and she had long red hair and wore a leaf-green dress and the sunshine caught her and turned her all to gold. She looked so happy, so at one with her surroundings and could have been dancing at midsummer in any century. Something about her was just magical, almost mythical, and I am still trying to fit my fleeting impression of her into a book.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I’m a bit of mixture. I produce a short outline of what I’m trying to achieve in a book, then plunge in and write as much as I can, almost off the top of my head, while the energy and enthusiasm is powering me forward. Then I stop, draw breath, print off what I have, assess whether it’s working and panic like mad. I then become more analytical, possibly using software like Dramatica Pro (though I’m not very skilled on the program). Sometimes I change POVs, first to third and vice versa, to see whether I’m getting a better feel for the character.
I think if I planned the whole book out in advance it would feel as though I’d already written it and I’d find it hard to inject any energy or excitement into it. On the other hand, producing 85,000 or so words that didn’t work would be a waste of valuable time. So I aim for a rather woolly pantser/plotter compromise.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
• Read a lot both in your chosen genre and more widely. I don’t know any authors who aren’t greedy devourers of books.
• Do get a critique partner or join an online (or in real time, if and when you’re somewhere that’s not COVID restricted) writers’ group. Nothing is as good for your writing as reading someone else’s manuscript and formulating thoughts on it and receiving your partner’s comments in return. It can be a lonely process and companionship helps. I’ve made wonderful friends this way.
• Don’t be disheartened if it takes some time to reach a professional writing level: when I first started someone told me to think of a three-year apprenticeship or university course. It seemed like a long time but it actually took me about five years in the end before I had my first novel accepted. Resilience is probably the most important personal quality for a writer as you do get knocked back many times.

What are your future plans as an author?
I’m in the early stages of writing a new novel. It’s set on a liner making the hazardous journey across the North Atlantic in 1941 as German U-boats prowl around. Any moment now it’s going to be struck by a torpedo and the passengers, including refugee children, will be placed in terrible peril. The story’s loosely based on the real-life wartime sinking of several ships carrying civilians.

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

When I was small the days and weeks leading to the third Saturday in July would slow to a crawl. I usually packed my rucksack a week ahead of departure, refusing to remove my colouring pens, pyjamas and spongebag from it. Finally we’d shrug off school and set our alarm clocks for half-five to avoid the holiday traffic heading out of London to the south-west. Dad would worry that we wouldn’t fit the rubber dinghy and oars into the boot. My older sister would fret that she hadn’t packed enough pairs of shorts and books to read. Mum would fuss about the neighbour forgetting to water the pots on the back patio. I’d be sitting in the back of the car, silently bellowing at them all to hurry. I wanted to be in Cornwall. Now.
Anticipation would weigh down the last mile of the drive through narrow-banked lanes to Helford, crushing me so I felt close to panic. Sometimes I made Dad pull over because I thought I might actually throw up. ‘Stop being weird.’ Gwen would screw her features into a grimace. ‘We’re only going on holiday. Can’t you just be normal, Morie?’
But staying at Vue Claire was never just a holiday for me. Time spent with my grandmother in her house on a small creek off the Helford estuary on the south coast of Cornwall was the part of the year that mattered more than anything. She’d be waiting for us at the front door, her rare but dazzling smile illuminating her face. Mes petites. She’d enfold us into her cashmere- or linen-clad arms, scented faintly with the woody-citrus scent she’d worn as long as I remembered.
I’d dash through the house, leaving the others to bring in the bags, and out of the back door, over the small lawn that sloped to the water. If it was high tide, I’d lie on the jetty and dip my hands into the water. At low tide, I’d pull off my sandals and jump off the jetty to wade through the pools left behind. Gwen would complain that I wasn’t doing my fair share of bringing bags in from the car and I’d have to sever myself from the estuary and go to help.
I loved the white-walled interior of Vue Claire as much as the outside. Rozenn – for reasons nobody could recall we had always called her this rather than Granny, Grandma or a French version – stored curious wooden carved animals and puzzles in an old wooden chest. There were games, books, sketching pads and grown-ups paints we were encouraged to use. Sometimes I’d catch our grandmother watching us approvingly as Gwen and I sat close together, my auburn and Gwen’s blonde heads almost touching as we played a card game. Rozenn would take us to the nearby riding stables for pony trekking and take photographs of us on sturdy ponies: me beaming, Gwen more wary.
‘Stay close to one another,’ she urged us as we grew up into such different people. ‘Sisters should be part of one another’s lives.’
But then she herself had done the thing most likely to rip us apart.

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

Giveaway :

Win 3 x Paperback copies of You Let Me Go by Eliza Graham (Open to UK / USA only)
*Terms and Conditions – UK and USA entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

a Rafflecopter Giveaway

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 : Space Taxis – A&H Frosh @SpaceTaxis

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

EYqPs7vg

Today I’m on the ‘Space Taxis’ 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(s) :

-n3UoN1G_400x400Adam wasted much of his youth watching Star Trek on the TV and films like Planet of the Apes and Alien on the big screen. He redeemed himself by becoming a surgeon but has since graduated from writing articles for science journals into writing his own Sci Fi and Alternate History stories. As a writer he is dedicated to giving his readers a great story laced with strong, fun and scary characters. Descended from Jewish refugees who escaped from the pogroms, he is haunted by the stories of the Holocaust but inspired by heroes who put themselves at risk to save others. Adam likes to hear from his readers. You can find him at http://adamfroshauthor.com or on his Facebook page.

Social Media Links:
Twitter

51lZN1re1xL._US230_Harriet will never be able to let go of Greek gods. No, not the sculpted Adonis-like figures on the beach, but the ancient ones.
Loving all things mythological, her writing incorporates myths and legends from around the world. Her other fascination is with the criminal mind, and you can expect to see a blend of these two interests in her writing.
As a student of English, she spends her day critiquing literature and her evenings creating exciting characters and fun stories.
Harriet is also an artist, and she would like to hear from her readers and those interested in her art. You can get in contact at http://harrietfrosh.com/.

Synopsis :

YZjL6h2gHe’s abducted by aliens to the planet Vost.
He’s saving up for his fare home.
But he’s got the small matter of a planetary apocalypse to deal with first…
In 1977 a New York Cab driver Mike Redolfo is abducted by aliens after being mistaken for a renegade scientist. Meanwhile, back in 1944 a mysterious man and his Jewish fiancée are fleeing across Nazi-occupied Europe.
Redolfo tries to keep a low profile on his new world whilst earning his fare home, but unwittingly gets involved with a shady gang of alien criminals, inadvertently bringing the planet to the brink of catastrophe.
As the link between the timelines becomes clear, Redolfo must discover secrets from the past that may hold the key to saving the planet.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Q&A With Adam Frosh :

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 am a consultant surgeon working in Hertfordshire, England. Harriet, (my co-pilot in Space Taxis) is also my daughter. She is about to graduate in her English degree at Nottingham University, and she’s been writing since she was a young teenager.
The concept of our book, Space Taxis started when my young daughter Harriet and I stopped at a KFC drive-through in Hatfield, UK. Harriet pointed to a black taxicab in the car park and said, “What’s a black cab doing all the way out here?”
“Out here in space,” I replied, remembering a line in the original Star Wars movie.
We quickly imagined a story with a Robert de Niro Style New York cab driver interacting with his alien passengers:
“Get out of my cab you slime ball! I’ve had a fair share of slime balls in my cab in my time but never a real one.”
We imagined all sorts of scenes and laughed about it for ages afterwards. We knew we were onto something interesting but wasn’t sure how to make it work. We came across the idea that it would make an interesting a comic book feature. We found a gifted artist through contact through a friend. He loved the Space Taxis concept and wanted to be part of the project. He drew up dozens and dozens of pieces of concept work. His personal life became too busy, however, and couldn’t continue with it. By this time, the story was so fully developed, we decided to write it as a novel.
I never originally intended to write a book. I never thought I had it in me. Having written Space Taxis, I couldn’t imagine now not being a writer.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
As a child I loved the Willard Price adventure books. Harriet is very much influenced by modern Japanese literary culture. As a young adult, I discovered much pleasure in reading classics such as War and Peace and Moby Dick. The Greek Classics such as The Iliad fascinated me. It is interesting how Harriet, independently, also loves the stories of the Greek myths. We are so alike! We have discussed many times how the Greek myths are timeless social statements that apply uncannily well as metaphors for the present day. Nowadays I read a combination of science fiction and historical novels. Harriet and I often read extracts to each other from The Wind in the Willows. It’s such a timeless masterpiece.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I would probably seek out Dante Alighieri and ask him how it is that he could create such a masterpiece having no more than six books in his possession and without a computer to edit his work.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
My personal favourite character in Space Taxis book is Agent Vernikell. He’s an alien from Planet Vost but is very human in many ways. He has a strong sense of morality and compassion and his role in the story is probably best described as “the guide” to the main protagonist, Mike Redolfo.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
When writing Space Taxis, I would often get up early and write before I went to work. I also need to take lots of small breaks whilst writing to all complex ideas to be processed subconsciously.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
My best ideas come from sharing cups of coffee with people and talking about their lives and scenarios. The best characters are around us all the time, but there is no fictional character in Space Taxis that is based on one real person.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
Definitely a pantser but with an envelope of a plot. I have tried plotting software, but that simply interfered with my mental agility to write.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Get people to check your work and learn from their comments, despite the fact they will not always be right, or you just don’t agree. Read extensively and read up about the rules of novel writing. Start with an exciting premise that you can explain in just one line. Learn from your mistakes rather than be put off by them. It’s a difficult but rewarding task. Don’t give up.

What are your future plans as an author?
I am currently working on an historical/romance novel set in the time of the Warsaw Ghetto.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Mike Redolfo is a New York taxi driver who’s had a bad day, being fired from his job while doing his best to do the right thing. To make matters worse, he hears Elvis has died and to cap it all off, he’s abducted by aliens, along with his yellow checker cab, and taken to a planet called Vost.
On planet Vost, Redolfo discovers he was not the intended target for abduction and the aliens apologise to him. Frustratingly, there is no Vost government bursary to fund his fare back home to Earth, so he’s given a job as a taxi driver. His yellow cab is converted for flight and he makes a living ferrying the diverse alien species in the planet’s capital city.
As much as Redolfo does his best to stay out of trouble, circumstances soon take over where he becomes coerced to work for a bunch of shady aliens. To his horror, he discovers his actions bring the planet to the brink of a cataclysm. Redolfo must discover secrets from the past that may hold the key to saving the planet.

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

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!

Love’s Ragged Claws #LovesRaggedClaws – Gary Gautier @GaryGautier1 , 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 Gary Gautier, author of ‘Love’s Ragged Claws’, to promote his book.
Before I let you read my Q&As, I’ll first post some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

bio picNew Orleans native and world traveler, Gary Gautier has taught writing and literature several universities and has published books for adults and children. Love’s Ragged Claws was shortlisted (top 10) for the Faulkner-Wisdom Prize. Gary has had a children’s book featured in the Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Market, a scholarly book selected for Edwin Mellen Press’s Studies in British Literature series, and a screen adaptation of his novel, Mr. Robert’s Bones, was selected to the second round (top 10%) at the Austin Film Festival. Gary has hitchhiked through 16 countries and 35 states, run two marathons, and once, due to a series of misadventures, spent 6 months as chef at a French restaurant.

Social media links:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram 

Synopsis :

synopsis cover picFaulkner-Wisdom Prize finalist (literary fiction).
In this short novella, Gabriel enters confession for the first time in 50 years and tells the priest he has only three sins to confess, all sins of the flesh. The confession doesn’t end as the priest might have wished, but it opens up the byways of human identity and human connection as it weaves the tale of a lifetime, following the characters across their lives from the hippie 1970s to the timeworn present. (Adult language and situations)

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?
After 10 years in bars and restaurants, 10 years teaching at universities, and 10 years as a senior technical writer, I gave away all my stuff and flew to Europe with my backpack. In these past four years, I’ve hitchhiked through 14 countries and taught at two more universities (in Germany and Mexico). Writing is never a thing in itself for me. It all weaves together. Hitchhiking around, writing, teaching, more vagaboding, finding the artists and writers in a new country, then more writing, then … You get the idea. Getting a Ph.D. in literature definitely helped with contacts and learning the ropes, but that turns out to be a lesser thread among many.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
As a kid, I loved Dr. Seuss and other books that play with the sound of language as much as the content. As an adult, I read mostly classics: Plato and Boethius, Shakespeare and Dickens, Austen and Woolf. More recently (i.e., within the past half-century), celebrated works like Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon or Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera, and offbeat works like Richard Brautigan’s In Watermelon Sugar or Ed Buryn’s wildly alternative travel guide, Vagabonding in Europe and North Africa.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Let’s go big. Shakespeare. He integrates all threads. Classical and romantic sensibilities. Exterior plot and interior depths. Incredibly witty and deeply moving. Intellectual and emotional. A rich grasp of human nature and its cultural embeddedness, and a rich talent for expressing it just right. And unlike some solitary authors, he was working in a social context, learning, sharing, passing things on to younger playwrights in the company. Without naming names, I think some great writers would be a bit glum compared to a night full of heavy ale and hearty laughter with Shakespeare.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
To put a plug in the previous question, I’ll start by saying definitely not Hamlet. No fun there. Maybe Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Ramsay. She seems the tea-drinking type. Also she has that “presence” that would make the moment timeless. With a transcendental beauty that resonates more of archetypes than of physical beauty. And all the lovely little complications – her very presence expresses the beauty of Victorian femininity and the need to put the trap of that femininity out to pasture, her deep connection to the people around her and her utter solitude. Yes, let’s go with Mrs. Ramsay. Just leave the rest of that family out of it 😊.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I’m still looking for one, so let me know if you find a good one. I often have long periods of day-job work before I get back to a project, and then breaking the inertia – getting the whole world of that project, with all the characters and all the geological layers of the landscape, back into my head – I wish I had a ritual for that, but it’s a new struggle every time. I do like to write in wide-open library spaces though, if that counts as a ritual.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Sometimes it starts with a quirky character and then I start throwing that character into odd situations to see what happens. Sometimes it starts with a situation or a connection between characters that resonates at some philosophical or emotional depth that calls for more. Sometimes it starts with just a setting that seems dripping with symbolic meaning. Most of my characters take traits from me, from people I’ve known, and from fictional characters that have left a mark on me, all jumbled into a composite that might be quite different from any those sources in terms of moral valence or how they react to situations. People in my life only need worry if they see one superficial trait taken from them and then assume that the character as a whole “is me.” Unfortunately, I fear to think how many people in my life are prone to do just that.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
Sorry to hedge, but both. It probably starts when some character or place triggers something and I just freewrite a bit (pantser). From that point on, I always need to sketch a plot to give me a sense of direction (plotter). I always need a clear sense of direction (plotter) and always need to be ready to change direction quickly and completely (pantser), depending on where the characters go. Sometimes a character will simply disregard my plan and drag me kicking and screaming in a different direction. In these cases, the character is always right. So then comes a new plot sketch.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
I don’t really feel qualified, but I would just say to do it for the love, not the fortune or fame. If you love expressing those creative juices in your own way, you will always love what you are doing, and fortune and fame will come (or not come) as they will. If fortune or fame becomes the primary goal, the statistical odds are that you will spend your writing life in a state of frustration.

What are your futureplans as an author?
I always have many logs in the fire. My genre has always been “literary fiction.” (By “literary,” I don’t mean “better” but a certain style – where the value lies not in the conventions of genre nor even in the story that gets told, but in the way it gets told. Generally, less about “what happens” and more an exploration of the subjective spaces within and between characters. Woolf would be an example, to draw on someone I’ve mentioned. So the tag doesn’t tell you how good a book is, but it does give important info per reader expectations.) However, there’s often some crossover or integration of other genres into the piece of literary fiction I’m working on. My novel, Hippies, for example used many tools of historical fiction. Now I’m working on a post-apocalyptic adult hippie fairy tale, but it will still be “literary fiction” in terms of the lightness of focus on plot and closure.

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

Eva gazed out from her cabin window in Colorado. She could see a few rooftops of the town, and in the distance, the forest, thick with blue spruce and bristlecone pines.
Rat-a-tap-tap-tap.
Funny how she knew Gabriel’s knock, how deeply embedded it was in the rings of her memory. She opened the door, and there he was, a little older than the last time, but still willowy tall with arms thrown about, a patch of thick white hair on his head.
“Hallo, love,” he said, tossing off his knit hat. Still a spring in his step, she thought.
“How are you feeling, Eva?”
“Good,” she said, and she let him hug her.
“More or less,” she added.
That’s my old Eva, Gabriel thought. In that one phrase, he recognized layers of her psyche at work. She had been a dental lab technician, crafting the tiniest contours of the human tooth. Good at it, too, but crippled by perfectionism. She could never finish anything for fear it would not be good enough. Never be too hopeful. To be hopeful is to be crushed when perfection is missed. She felt good in his presence; he knew that. And through the lens of that goodness he could see all the folds her beauty. Her features themselves, well, all her life she had been known for plainness of features. And look at her now. Still the round boyish face, the pixie haircut, but with more gray. Yet she knew how deeply Gabriel saw in her plainness a pristine beauty. And she loved it. But no, it raised insufferable expectations.
“More or less,” she repeated, and they held each other’s gaze for one second more, a second in which each recognized the other’s penetration, saw their hidden graces and flaws exposed, the little psychological mechanisms that they could not control and that seemed so serious at other times, reduced to mere curiosities when unmasked by trusted eyes.
“Should we go into Boulder?” asked Gabriel.
“Yes, let’s,” said Eva, and down they went through the winding canyons.

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

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!

Dragons in the Clouds #DragonsInTheClouds – David Blair @daveblr77 , 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 David Blair, author of ‘Dragons in the Clouds’, to promote his book.
Before I let you read my Q&As, I’ll first post some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

k6E6iDD__400x400I am the creator and writer of the original story, ”Dragons in the Clouds” My most favorite and influential writer would be Rod Sterling, of the fame television show ”The Twilight Zone”. Also Charles Dickens, ”A Christmas Carol” to this day has a place in my heart. I was captivated watching that show. All my work has a paranormal feel too it. I recently worked as a production supervisor for EnterAktion Studios. I started my story telling at the young age of 14. A student film called ”Destination Destiny”. I am so grateful to have this opportunity .

Twitter

Synopsis :

51MheoIJsDLDragons in the Clouds is an epic adventure that takes place during a time period when Dragons were alive and freely roamed the land. The people during this time were getting eaten by a vicious species of Dragons. The ruling King finally orders the total annihilation of all living dragons. A powerful wizard, named Merlinius, who is a friend to the king, does not agree with the King’s order, for Merlinius knows all Dragons are not what they seem. So he does what he must to protect a family of Dragons that he had befriended. And to protect his Dragon friends, Merlinius performs the spell of weightlessness and tells the Dragons to fly up and to hide in the cover of the Clouds. He then gives the Dragons strict instruction to live within the clouds and to only come down at night to eat. An apprentice to the wizard who has grandeur of his own has a plan for Dragons that he has hidden deep within a mountain cavern. Now enters a young boy, who had also befriended a dragon, though a very young one, suddenly find themselves caught between the Kings order and a battle that has begun between two species of Dragons. A battle that would determine control of the skies above the Kingdom of Albian. This Apprentice’s plan has consequences that may bring the Kingdom and perhaps the very world we live in today to an devastating end.

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?
As a youngster I was a creative kid. I was known for drawing dinosaurs. I would be hired out to other classrooms to draw dinosaur murals on the classroom walls. Then in the 8th grade, I starred, wrote and directed a student film called “Destination Destiny”. Later on in life I took my creative side more serious, I first trained in screenwriting and did have a screenplay called “The Adventures of Captain Sea” optioned by EnterAktion Studios. I have also worked as a production supervisor on a CGI film called “Dwegons and Leprechauns”.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
My first book was none other than Jaws. I think after that is when I fell in love with fiction. My imagination soared with stories from Dean Knootz and Charles Dickens. The story ‘’A Christmas Carol” will always have a place in my heart.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I would have to say Charles Dickens. I loved how his fictional stories reflected real life possiblities.

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 like to invite and meet Merlinius from ‘’Dragons in the Clouds’’. He is an immortal wizard. Imagine what he has seen and experienced through his travels through dimensions and time. Even I couldn’t imagine the tales he would tell.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
No, not really. I do require quiet time and a good amount of time. Developing plots and stringing the story together takes a lot blocked out time. In order to make progress.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
I get my ideas from news events, other books, other movies, Stories I believe that could have had better endings or could have gone in other, more exciting directions.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I am definitely a plotter. I customerly write a 20 page treatment/outine of the entire story. This helps in prevently writers block. After I have the treatment set. I start disecting sentence by sentence, adding dialog and description. And if a better idea or direction for the story comes to mind. I have no hestitation in changing the story.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
My advice are do’s. Write down that idea, write that story. Get in down on paper. There are plenty of sources and services to the beginning writer with editing, character development, book covers, etc. There are help groups on facebook and twitter, there are websites after websites for the beginning writer. There really isn’t any reason not to give writing a try.

What are your futureplans as an author?
I hope to publish other stories that as they say, “in the can”. One is a contemporay crime drama. I have a western that is a ghost story set in the old west. I would love to release it soon.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
I was as fascinated as I am today with lightning and thunder. I reveal the true cause of this phenomenal. You see, lightning is really fire being blown from a dragons mouth and what we call thunder, is really a Dragons roar!

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

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 #FrolicBlogTours @frolicblogtours / #QandAs : Cake & Corruption #CakeAndCorruption – S.C. Merritt

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

call-cake and corruption

Today I’m on the ‘Cake & Corruption’ blogtour, organised by Frolic Blog 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 :

SC Merritt - photo 1S.C. Merritt writes cozy mysteries featuring female sleuths, plots with a twist, lots of humor, and a little sprinkle of romance. Her Sweetwater Springs Southern Mystery Series is set in a small, Alabama town full of quirky characters, delicious restaurants, and lots of murder. Recipes are included in each book.
When not writing, she is traveling, watching classic movies and tv shows, or collecting flamingos.
She lives in Mississippi with her husband and miniature Schnauzer, Izzy and dreams of living in a tropical locale someday.

Website 
Facebook
Instagram
GoodReads
Amazon
BookBub

Synopsis :

Title: Cake and Corruption
Author’s name: S.C. Merritt
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Sweetwater Springs Southern Mystery series, Book 6
Publish date: March 4, 2021
Publisher: S.C. Merritt
Page count: 184

Cake and Corruption by SC Merritt - book coverIt’s wedding week and as mother of the bride, Glory wants her daughter’s wedding to be a day she’ll never forget. But when her address is found in the pocket of an unidentified body in a car crash, Glory’s biggest nightmare becomes reality. The past has followed her to Sweetwater Springs and it’s not going away without a fight. Can she solve the mystery and maybe even her husband’s two-year-old cold case murder in the process?

Purchase Link

Q&A :

Hi

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

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I’m a 59 year old wife and mother of two grown/married children. My husband and I live in Mississippi, but are moving soon to Georgia for his new job.
I work full-time as a church secretary but am looking forward to writing full-time someday.
I love to read and watch cozy mysteries, so on a whim, I decided to see if I could write my own story. I never, ever intended to publish anything. My mom and daughter read it and encouraged me to give it a shot. That was in January 2020. 6 books and 3 novellas later, I still have to pinch myself that people actually read what I write. I’m having the time of my life. My only regret is that I didn’t discover this passion sooner.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I wasn’t a huge reader growing up. I did read alot of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys. I watched ALOT of mystery TV with my mom and grandmother. We never missed episodes of Perry Mason, Hawaii Five-O, Barnaby Jones, Mannix, Murder She Wrote, Rockford Files. The list goes on forever.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Absolutely! And I do it quite often. The writing community is so open and helpful, especially to new authors. I’ve written to many of my favorite authors to ask their opinions on different things, or their advice on a certain style. Jenna St. James, Hope Callaghan, Laina Turner, Melissa Bourbon, CeeCee James are all authors who have been amazingly helpful and encouraging to me as a newbie author.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Jessica Fletcher comes to mind. She has so many life experiences to pull from for her book ideas.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Not really. I like to have quiet if possible. Right now, I don’t have an office. My husband is working remotely and he has the office. The other two bedrooms are taken up with other family. I dream of having my own office where I can have complete quiet and focus on the world I’m working in at the moment.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
I read and watch alot of mystery, but sometimes I get it from online articles I come across. People who know I write mystery will share things with me that they think would be a great plot twist or murder motive. My books are set in a fictional (but very recognizable) version of my hometown in Alabama. Sometimes the characters are recognizable, but I try not to paint them in a bad light, or worse, make them a murderer. Although, I have had friends ask to be killed in one of my books!

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
Definitely a pantser, but I’m trying my best to learn to be a plotter. I know I could write so much faster if I plotted, but I just can’t seem to wrap my head around it. Sometimes I don’t know who the killer will be until the last few chapters. If I change my mind, I have to go back and rewrite to make it work.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Writing’s the easy part. Even publishing is easy when you get the hang of formatting. The hard part is the marketing and social media. I took some bad advice at the beginning from someone who told me I had to be on every platform and I had to do this and I had to do that. No. You don’t. I stressed myself out so much over social media, website, advertising, that I almost quit.
The best thing you can do is start simple. Start with what you’re comfortable with. I knew facebook and Instagram, so that’s what I do. I have a website. I finally got a monthly newletter going out. When I had a little money in my account, I hired a personal assistant who does my newsletter and lines up other publicity things. She is a huge help. I know there are other things out there, but right now, it’s enough for me.

What are your futureplans as an author?
Write, write, write. They say the best marketing for your books is more books. Especially in the cozy genre. Readers are voracious. They love to binge read and as long as they want to read my books, I want to keep writing them.

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

“Glory Harper.” Hunt glowered at me. “If I didn’t love you so much, I’d strangle you with my sash.”
I could see the red tinge running up the back of his neck and all the way to the tips of his ears. I struggled so hard to keep from grinning, my face hurt.
“It’s freezing in here! Where’s that breeze coming from?” Hunt tugged at the costume trying to cover more of his bare legs.
“You look great! So handsome and manly,” I cooed, batting my eyelashes and stifling a giggle.
Kelly walked over to Jake, raised up on her tiptoes and planted a kiss on his rosy cheek. “So do you, baby.”
“You two are going to owe us big time for this one.” Jake raised his arm, clanking his armguard against the sword hanging from his waist, and pointed at us.
“I think a Roman guard is a totally logical part for both of you to play since you have plenty of experience in law enforcement,” Kelly said.
“At least my uniform has pants!” Jake retorted.
“Those skirt things are a tad shorter than I expected, but at least they fit. I just hope you’re both wearing running shorts underneath.” Kelly knelt to lace up Jake’s sandals.
Hunt Walker was chief detective on the Sweetwater Springs police force. He and I had been dating for about a year. My brother, Jake Miller, was his right-hand man. Jake was right. Kelly and I were going to be paying for this for a long time to come.

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

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 #DamppebblesBlogTours @damppebbles / #QandAs : Double Identity #DoubleIdentity – Alison Morton @alison_morton

– ‘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 ‘Double Identity’ blogtour, organized by Damppebbles Blog 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 :

Alison Morton writes award-winning thrillers series featuring tough, but compassionate heroines. She blends her deep love of France with six years’ military service and a life of reading crime, historical, adventure and thriller fiction. On the way, she collected a BA in modern languages and an MA in history.
“Grips like a vice – a writer to watch out for” says crime thriller writer Adrian Magson about Roma Nova series starter INCEPTIO. All six full-length Roma Nova thrillers have won the BRAG Medallion, the prestigious award for indie fiction. SUCCESSIO, AURELIA and INSURRECTIO were selected as Historical Novel Society’s Indie Editor’s Choices. AURELIA was a finalist in the 2016 HNS Indie Award. The Bookseller selected SUCCESSIO as Editor’s Choice in its inaugural indie review.
Now Alison continues to write thrillers and drink wine in France with her husband.

Other works
The Carina strand
INCEPTIO where New Yorker Karen Brown is thrown into a new life in mysterious Roma Nova and fights to stay alive with a killer hunting her
CARINA, a novella, Carina’s first mission abroad. What could go wrong?
PERFIDITAS, six years on, where betrayal and rebellion are in the air, threatening to topple Roma Nova and ruin Carina’s life.
SUCCESSIO, where a mistake from the past threatens to destroy the next generation.
The Aurelia strand
AURELIA, in late 1960s Roma Nova, Aurelia Mitela battles her life-long nemesis, silver smuggling and is forced to choose between her love, her child and her country
NEXUS Mid 1970s, London, where a simple favour for a friend becomes a chilling pursuit across Europe
INSURRECTIO, where Aurelia Mitela struggles against a manipulative tyrant grabbing power. But it may already be too late to save Roma Nova…
RETALIO, a classic tale of resistance and retribution – the endgame between Aurelia and Caius

Extras
ROMA NOVA EXTRA, a collection of short stories from AD 370 to the present

Contributions
‘A Roman Intervenes‘ in 1066 Turned Upside Down
How Galla Mitela, Roma Novan imperial councillor, attempts to stop the Norman invasion of England. One of a series of possible alternative outcomes of 1066.
‘The Mystery of Victory’ in Rubicon (HWA/Sharpe Books)
What did happen to the Altar of Victory in the dusk of the Roman Empire?
‘The Idealist’ in Betrayal (Historical Fictioneers, 2020)

Non Fiction
Military or civilians? The curious anomaly of the German Women’s Auxiliary Services during the Second World War.
The 500 Word Writing Buddy: 35 Inner Secrets for the New Writer

Social Media:
Alison’s Roma Nova site
Facebook
Twitter 
Alison’s writing blog
Instagram 
GoodReads
Alison’s Amazon page
Newsletter sign-up

Synopsis :

Deeply in love, a chic Parisian lifestyle before her. Now she’s facing prison for murder.
It’s three days since Mel des Pittones threw in her job as an intelligence analyst with the French special forces to marry financial trader Gérard Rohlbert. But her dream turns to nightmare when she wakes to find him dead in bed beside her.
Her horror deepens when she’s accused of his murder. Met Police detective Jeff McCracken wants to pin Gérard’s death on her. Mel must track down the real killer, even if that means being forced to work with the obnoxious McCracken.
But as she unpicks her fiancé’s past, she discovers his shocking secret life. To get to the truth, she has to go undercover—and finds almost everybody around her is hiding a second self.
Mel can trust nobody. Can she uncover the real killer before they stop her?
A stunning new thriller from the author of the award-winning Roma Nova series, fans of Daniel Silva, Stella Rimington or Chris Pavone will love Double Identity.

Purchase Links:
Amazon
AppleBooks
Kobo
B&N 
Books2Read

Publishing Information:
Published in paperback and digital formats by Pulcheria Press on 7th January 2021.

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 write thrillers featuring tough, but compassionate heroines, until now set in an alternative modern day Roman mini-state, Roma Nova. Several of six full-length novels, two novellas and collection of short stories have gained awards and been Amazon #1 bestsellers. But now, with Double Identity, I’m switching away from alternative history for a little while and turning to crime…
Although I’ve worked with words all my life – translation, government papers, reports, corporate documentation, magazine editing – it was only when I went to see a beautiful but badly written film that I was seized with the idea that I could write something better. I’d had all kinds of ideas swirling around my imagination for decades bursting to escape. After a three-year ‘apprenticeship’ of classes, conferences and mentorship, the first Roma Nova thriller came out in 2013.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
Growing up, I read anything and everything adventurous and/or historical including the Narnia books by C S Lewis, Leslie Charteris’s The Saint series, the Angélique stories by Sergeanne Golon, The Prisoner of Zenda (Anthony Hope). I graduated to James Bond, Modesty Blaise and the John le Carré spy stories and historical mysteries like Lindsey Davis’s Falco and Steven Saylor’s Gordianus series. As for crime and thrillers, J.D Robb, and for modern spy thrillers, William Boyd, Daniel Silva, Stella Rimington and Chris Pavone.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I didn’t include Robert Harris in the question above because his ‘Fatherland’ alternative history thriller had a unique influence on me. His historical fiction is equally gripping. He writes in a succinct style with a terrific sense of both place and pace.Yes, his brains would be well worth picking.

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 love to sit down with my new heroine, Mélisende, or Mel as she calls herself when speaking English. She has a French father and English mother and, like me, has served in the armed forces. But it would probably be over a glass of our local Poitou white wine rather than tea.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Not as such, but I do drink industrial amounts of tea! Oh, and I write in complete silence.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
It starts with the characters who run around in my head demanding to be let out. Then I throw a lot of trouble at them and watch how they react. I’m a big fan of exploring ‘what if’ which is where my Roma Nova stories came from. I’m a bit of a fidget myself, so my stories tend to be more active than passive.
Double Identity came from the idea of dual nationality and crossing cultures. Mel thinks and speaks in French or English, switching from one to another as necessary. However, sometimes, she’s not completely sure which identity she’s inhabiting. Giving my heroine a background in rural Poitou in western France was easy – I live there myself!
Should people be worried? Haha! They’ll have to read Double Identity to find out…

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I’m 15% plotter, but 85% pantser. I scribble down a line for each of the inciting incident, the three crisis points, the ‘dark moment’, the climax and resolution, as a skeleton, then dive in.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Persist and don’t skimp on quality. Hone and polish your work until you are completely sick of it. If publishing independently, collect a series of beta readers around you and/or a critique partner, get a professionally designed cover and ALWAYS have your work edited.

What are your future plans as an author?
Currently, I’m writing a sequel to Double Identity, but I’ve also started on a new Roma Nova novel. But given the initial favourable comments by readers to Double Identity, I think the sequel to it will come first!

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Of course! Here’s the very start…

Mel shivered. A cold breeze drifted over her bare backside. Dieu, the window must be open. Stupid in late November in London. But windows had been the last things on Mel’s mind last night.
Still drugged with sleep, she stretched out her hand towards Gérard’s face. His eyes were closed, the lashes resting on his pale cheeks. Too much time indoors, Mel thought and smiled. In his early morning relaxed state, Gérard looked more like a boy of seventeen than a man of thirty-seven.
Her eyelids were so heavy. She closed them. After a few seconds, she realised she wasn’t tired, just thick-headed. Opening her eyes again, she blinked hard then tugged on the duvet to cover them both against the too fresh air, but it was trapped under Gérard’s body. Never mind, she could think of a much more pleasurable way to warm up than hiding under the bedclothes. She stroked his skin with the tips of her fingers sliding over the fine brown hairs on his shoulder, then down his chest and over his stomach towards…
He didn’t stir.
He was cold. Stone cold.
No.
Then the smell hit her.
She sat up. The world spun around her. She shot her hand out onto the mattress to steady herself, then knelt beside him. Not wanting to, but knowing she had to, she stretched out her hand, two fingers close together, for the side of his throat. Nothing. She pressed harder, desperate for a sign. But he was too still and too pale. And the blue lips…
Dieu, no. Not her Gérard. Not clever, witty, vibrant Gérard. He couldn’t be gone. But she’d confirmed enough dead bodies during her military life, the last only three weeks ago in a blazing desert wadi in Africa. She sat back, shivered and pressed the palms of her hands into her eye sockets. The sourness ran up her gullet. Clamping her hand over her mouth, she stumbled to the bathroom and threw up in the pan.

***

Ambulance. She must call an ambulance.

***

She sat on the toilet seat and gulped down water from the plastic tooth mug. In the bedroom, the green-uniformed man and woman were examining Gérard. Through the gap of the almost closed door, Mel could hear them mumbling to each other. After a few minutes, they stopped talking. They were making a call, giving the hotel name.
The woman came into the bathroom. Her calm face didn’t seem as sympathetic as it had been earlier.
‘What is it?’ Mel asked.
‘We’ve had to call the police. We’ve found something and there are marks on the deceased’s body.’
‘What? Let me see!’ Mel said and leapt up.
The woman held out her plastic-gloved hand.
‘No, stay here, and don’t wash. The police will want to talk to you.’

***

‘What sort of a name is Mellysand?’
She clutched the bathrobe tighter and braced her legs to steady her balance. This was surreal. Gérard was dead and they suspected her. Why? How was she supposed to have done it? She shook her head which seemed full of mush thumping to escape.
‘It’s pronounced “Mél-i-send-uh”,’ she said. ‘And it’s the name I was given by my parents.’
‘Not very English, is it?’
Le bon Dieu save me from these parochial Brits, she thought. And this cop was even worse than most. He didn’t look like one either in his jeans, tan leather jacket, unshaven and with a single earring. But his warrant card looked genuine, and the two uniformed police outside had let him in.
‘You got any ID?’ he barked.
Mel pulled a pale turquoise and blue card with her photo and signature out of her purse and offered it to him.
‘French?’ He frowned, flicked it over to the other side, then back. ‘You don’t sound very French.’
‘That’s where I was born. My mother is English.’
‘What are you doing here?’
‘Visiting friends and doing some shopping.’
‘I’ll need a list of those friends and dates.’
‘Why? Am I under suspicion?’
The cop looked down at the bed, duvet pulled back, bottom sheet stained by body fluids.
‘When there’s a dead man in your bed and you were presumably the last person to see him alive, let’s say you’re at least a person of interest.’

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

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

dpbt 2

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 : Nighthawks – Lambert Nagle @lambertnagle

– ‘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 ‘Nighthawks’ 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(s) :

Lambert Nagle is the pen-name for Alison Ripley Cubitt and Sean Cubitt, co-writers of international thrillers, mystery and crime. Alison is a former television production executive who worked for Walt Disney and the BBC before pivoting to become a multi-genre author and screenwriter. Her short film drama Waves (with Maciek Pisarek) won the Special Jury Prize, Worldfest, Houston. Sean’s day job is Professor of Film and Television, University of Melbourne, Australia. He writes about film and media for leading academic publishers.
Other titles by Lambert Nagle include Revolution Earth (featuring detective Stephen Connor) and Contained in Capital Crimes, a short story collection from members of ITW (International Thriller Writers) with a foreword by Peter James.
With six passports between them, they set their books in the far-away places they live and work.

Social Media Links:
Website
Instagram
Facebook
Twitter 

Synopsis :

When art, money and power collide…
A Mafia boss addicted to beautiful art. A Catholic priest who knows too much. A modern-day Jay Gatsby.
And a woman on the run.
Disgraced London detective Stephen Connor is given an ultimatum: take a transfer to Rome or kiss his career goodbye.
With his love life in tatters and his confidence at an all-time low, can Stephen find the world’s most valuable painting before it disappears forever?

Purchase Link

Q&A With Alison Ripley Cubitt :

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?
Hi Stefanie and thanks for inviting me onto your blog. I’m Alison Ripley Cubitt and I’m the Lambert half of the writing duo Lambert Nagle. Lambert was my mother’s surname and Nagle was Sean’s mother’s and we chose our pseudonym to honour the women who enabled us as writers and encouraged a love of reading and writing.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I loved I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith when I was young and re-read it as an adult, as a colleague at a production company I worked at wanted to option the novel to make it into a film.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I would love to have been able to pick Stieg Larsson’s brain for an insight into how he plotted the Millennium Trilogy, as the plotting is so complex. It’s sad he died so young and that this will never happen!

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 John le Carré’s George Smiley for tea, because he’s so enigmatic, but I don’t think I’d get much out of him!

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I like to work through plot and structural problems when I’m out walking, which I do every day. I get exercise as well as work done, so that’s a win for me!

Where do you come up with your ideas? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
It was an image more than an idea that sparked the first book in the Stephen Connor series, Revolution Earth. I used to drive to work past an oil refinery: at night it was lit up like a series of Christmas trees and in the daytime it looked futuristic. Nighthawks was driven by my passion for art history, a subject I studied on and off at university.
I think it would be fair to say that every writer, whether they are conscious of it or not, will take character traits from people they know and put them in their fiction, even if they aren’t aware they’re doing it. I try to create composite characters that don’t resemble a particular person. I went to a writer’s talk given by the author Jane Smiley, who said that everyone in a writer’s life is fair game! She used her great-aunt and the aunt’s husband as the basis of her two principal characters in her book, Private Life.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a panster?
I’m not just a plotter, I spend months planning both my story structure (the starting point or inciting incident, the midpoint crisis and the climax of the book) and what happens in each chapter, or the plot. I put my plan into a step outline, a document that I try to keep under three pages. Only when I’m happy with the step outline and I have a clear beginning, middle and end will I write.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Join a critique group, either an online or an in-person group as not only will this help to improve your writing but gives you the chance to help and learn from other writers. It also helps overcome that fear that nearly every emerging writer struggles with when handing their writing over to others for feedback.
My second tip is to remember that you don’t have to take notice of all the changes that others suggest, as often feedback is subjective. If more than one person makes the same comment, then that’s the time to revisit your work.

What are your future plans as an author?
I enjoy switching genres, and my next book will be another memoir. After that, there will be another thriller in the Stephen Connor series.

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

The security guard on the desk glanced up as a woman hurried through the staff entrance to the Vatican Museums, flashing her carabinieri badge at him. He looked at his watch. It was past 6.00 p.m.
‘I can’t stay here all night,’ he said, crossly.
‘Ten minutes is all I’ll need. Come with me if you want to make sure I’m out of here on time,’ Elisabetta said.
‘I wasn’t going to let you loose in there on your own.’ Elisabetta started to say something but he cut her off, speaking into his walkie-talkie. ‘Staff entrance, now.’ A second guard appeared. The first guard turned to Elisabetta. ‘Let’s go.’
Their footsteps echoed as they walked through the deserted galleries. When they reached the room with ancient Greek pottery on display, the security guard sat down on a bench seat in the middle of the gallery and started playing with his phone.
The krater was on a raised plinth in the centre of the room inside a glass case. Elisabetta photographed it from every angle, concentrating on the broken pieces of pottery and how they had been fused together.
Monitoring the CCTV from the staff desk was the second security guard. He pulled out his burner phone from his pocket and made a call. ‘We’ve got an art cop in here.’
‘What does he want?’ The male voice on the other end of the phone sounded irritated.
‘She’s only interested in one thing. The big pot in the glass case in room 10. Sending you a photo now.’ The guard zoomed in on Elisabetta’s face, took a still photo of the monitor and pressed send.

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

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!