#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @annecater / #QandAs : Killing Beauties #KillingBeauties – Pete Langman @elegantfowl @Unbound_Digital

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

Killing Beauties BT Poster

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

About the Author :

Pete Langman Author PicPete Langman is a writer, academic, cricketer and sometime rock and roll guitarist who holds a PhD on Francis Bacon (the other one) and was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease at 40. His non-fiction encompasses Cricket, Parkinson’s Disease, Music, History of Science, literature and culture, and has appeared in publications ranging from The Guardian to Guitar and Bass Magazine. He lives between Leiden and Brighton with his partner Dr. Nadine Akkerman, award-winning author of Invisible Agents, who supplies him with historical expertise and who keeps asking if they can have a cat now, please.

Synopsis :

Killing Beauties CoverEngland, 1655. Following the brutal civil wars the country swelters under a cloud of paranoia, suspicion and the burgeoning threat of rebellion. With the fragile peace being won by Cromwell’s ever-efficient Secretary of State John Thurloe, the exiled king Charles Stuart sends two spies on a dangerous mission to wrest back the initiative. These spies are different, however: they are women. Their task? To turn Parliament’s spymaster into their unwitting accomplice. Killing Beauties is a dark tale of subterfuge, jealousy and betrayal.
It is sometimes said that women are written out of history, but often they are not yet written in. Killing Beauties is based on the true stories of two female spies from the 1650s and gives them the voice that only fiction can. Pete Langman.

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 was born far too long ago for my liking, but the intervening years have been rather interesting. Having gone to Los Angeles in 1987 to study music, I spent the next decade playing and teaching the electric guitar, before burning out around the turn of the century. By this point I had been writing a monthly column for Guitar and Bass magazine for five years or so. Come the millenium, I switched focus, spending the next ten years immersed in literature, first as an undergraduate, then postgraduate and finally lecturer, I wrote a few academic pieces and taught a lot at several universities. In 2008, my world underwent a minor upsidedown moment when I was diagnosed with young onset parkinson’s. Just I received my first (temporary) lectureship. Perhaps unsurprisingly, things got a little messy, and I had to become a little more flexible on account of my new companion’s utter disdain for normal activities. In these past few years I’ve been quite active in the Parkinson’s community, publishing ‘on and in aid of’ (notably Slender Threads: a young person’s guide to Parkinson’s Disease), raising money and awareness, while working as an editor (mostly in academia), teacher (privately and at Oxford University), and writer. I’m a great lover of the game of cricket, and have produced several articles and a book (The Country House Cricketer) on the subject. I write considerably better than I play.
As for how one becomes an author … it’s a slippery word, and is perhaps not the most useful, when used on its own. Its root comes from the word ‘auctor’ which was the authority a writer such as Chaucer would cite to demonstrate the legitimacy of their writing. It wasn’t really until Ben Jonson that writers began to cite themselves as authors, that is, their own authority. I’m not sure when one qualifies as such, therefore. Is it on writing something, on someone else reading it or on publication? Ultimately, it’s down to sheer bloody-mindedness.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
As a child I mostly read history books and encylopaedias. One prospective headmaster suggested to my mother that I (at 7) couldn’t read ‘because when I asked Pete what he thought of Biggles, he said “who”?’
As an adult it’s difficult. Until seven or eight years ago I read colossal quantities, and also taught literature, but then the side-effects of my meds meant that I would practically fall asleep the moment I opened the pages. These days I’m either writing, editing, or recovering from writing and editing. If I were to pick a modern book to re-read, however, it would be Quarantine by Jim Crace.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Dickens, without doubt. I’d love to know what kicks off his astonishing characterisations, and how he manages to find the secondary images that match a scene ‘just so’.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
I’d like to meet Jenny Wren, from Our Mutual Friend, by Charles Dickens. I just love her acid wit – to watch the world go by while she gave a running commentary would be quite something.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Doubtless, but I couldn’t tell you what they were. I write everywhere: in bed; on the sofa; in the pub; on the train. But only when I want to. And when I have the energy – lethargy, fatigue and apathy are some of the lesser-known but debilitating symptoms of Parkinson’s. My writing tends to come in big surges – I wrote the first draft of Killing Beauties (66,000wds) in 19 days. This was followed by some serious recovery before I could get to the relentless rewriting and editing necessary to batter it into the 93,000wds it is now.
Physically, however, I write very slowly. Parkinson’s makes writing by hand both impossible and illegible (google ‘micrographia’), and I pretty much type with one finger and thum on my right hand and one finger on my left. Twenty years ago I could virtually touch-type. If my body’s feeling co-operative, I can use another right-hand finger: if not, my tremor means I have constant word overruns and extra letters appearing from nowhere. It has a positive side, mind. It means I think about every letter I write, and rarely get into that flow where your fingers just get on with it.
It’s certainly true that on more than one occasion my surroundings have influenced my fictional world. If I am eating pie, I am generally eating pie with my characters, but it’s not always clear to me whether I have invited them for supper or they me …

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Definitely worried. Especially when I’m writing historical fiction … of course, everything that is ever written has a toe in the pool of authorial experience or observation, whether first-hand or otherwise. But each tiny truth has to be massaged and manipulated until it fits with the story at hand – and even in autobiographies the author’s supporting cast will generally be muttering ‘that’s not quite how it happened’ while they read as if it were some sort of mantra.
In historical fiction, the author pretty much chooses one of two possible paths – they will either historicise fiction or fictionalise history. Killing Beauties is (mostly) of the latter persuasion, as it takes real people and real events and weaves a story around them. In this case, the ideas are generated through considered conjucture spun from historical ‘node points’. Say, by way of an example, we know that x happened to y, and that two weeks later, y was seen at z, but we have no knowledge of what came in between. I will discuss these nodes with my partner, or with myself, or let the characters get on with it themselves – but in each case thinking of any possible routes from occasion x to position z. Eventually, a particular route becomes the only way the story works, the only way I can imagine the story unfolding or the only way the characters will allow.
In non-historical fiction, it’s usually working backwards from an observation, a question or an image. For example, I wrote a short story (cogito, ergo amo) from a discussion with a friend who suggested that to be kind is the default status of all sentient beings. This turned into ‘if a drone became conscious, would it want to help people?’ I wondered whether making a drone conscious would make it want to ‘find itself’, and then asked myself what would happen if its real ‘self’ was a killing machine …

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
Ah, the eternal p vs p question. My usual answer is that I don’t really see that much of a difference, as pantsers are simply plotting longhand, while plotters are just pantsing in note form. With historical fiction, and perhaps more so with Killing Beauties than some, it’s a far more complicated question, as the answer is both. The protagonists, Susan and Diana, were real she-intelligencers, and so a fair amount of what happens to them in the book is (so far as we can tell) absolutely true. This also goes for their letters, as some of them are lightly modified versions of real letters that they (or others) wrote. These ‘true’ bits of history formed the pilings on which the path of the story itself was built. But these women were spies, and spies are not keen on leaving much of a trail behind them, as it tends to lead to disappointment on all sorts of levels. The result of this is that there are big gaps in the archives where we simply don’t know what happened. I got to colour in these parts in crayon. So I plotted meticulously, then leapt from my plot-points into the depths of the empty page as I wrote. Some parts of the book are more truth than fiction, others more made up than they are accurate. Hopefully, it’s not at all clear which parts are which.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
I suppose my one catch-all piece of advice would be take all advice with a pinch of salt. Writers are bombarded by ‘experts’ who say the only way to write is to be disciplined, or the only way to write is to pay attention to inspiration, and so on. Personally, I say give everything a listen, try out whatever appeals and if it works, keep doing it: if it doesn’t, move on. Life is too short to slavishly follow someone else’s star. When you read a headline that reads something along the lines of ‘learn the one trait shared by all successful writers’, remember that it is simply that they’re all successful.
One thing to bear in mind is that every great author has written total rubbish. We just don’t usually get to see it.

What are your futureplans as an author?
As ever, I’m not quite sure. Projects seem to decide on me, rather than the other way around. I have plans for a sequel to Killing Beauties, but there are also two other works that I would like to revisit in a serious manner. Which comes first will depend very much on circumstances – obviously if Killing Beauties has any measure of success, that will take priority. I am keen on trying different genres, however. This is perhaps another reason why making up my mind is very low down on my list of qualities!

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

Diana Jennings lifted the skirts of her dress and smiled at the sailor who stood in front of her, squinting slightly as the still weak morning sun groped at his face. She could see the waters of the English Channel lapping at his calves, and figured that exposing her rather unconventional footwear was preferable to allowing her already wet clothes to get even wetter. The prow of the two-masted vessel on which she had booked passage ground itself into the shingle of the beach beside her as its stern rocked gently on the swell. A light sea-fret drifted towards the shore, and had it not been for the chill of early morning Diana might have imagined the mist steam, and herself in one of the hot baths she’d heard were so popular in the Ottoman court. Sir Thomas Roe had been a friend of a friend and she had read third-hand versions of his reports of the Sultan’s mores with relish, and no little envy. In truth, however, at this moment the opulence of the once mighty Byzantium seemed as distant as a child’s fable.
She surveyed the small, natural harbour from where she was soon to set off for home, and shivered as the fret rolled over her. Home. Diana no longer knew where her home was. Certainly Antwerp had become rather too dangerous since Henry Manning had appeared on the scene. She knew that she ought to have resisted the urge to fleece him as he slept off his evening’s quota of wine, but Diana rarely did what she ought. It was a habit that always threatened to catch up with her, even if it never made good on its promises. But it wasn’t Manning’s coin that weighed down her skirts, nor was it her conscience. His coin merely weighed down her shoulder bag, and this was one burden she welcomed. Coin was always welcome. But the thick dew that still lay heavy in the air had soaked through each layer of her dress and was now cold against her skin.
‘Have you no trunk, milady?’ The sailor adjusted his cap as he spoke, and waded through the surf towards her.
Diana travelled light as a matter of course. She had learnt the hard way that a trunk of clothing rendered a dawn getaway virtually impossible. Anyway, coin and bare-faced lies smoothed the way into society better than any silk.
‘Milady?’ he enquired once more.
Diana held out the small satchel that was the full extent of her luggage. The sailor took it, hesitated for a moment as he felt its weight, and then threw it under the boat’s canvas tilt. ‘You’ll do well to cover it, save it from the spray,’ he said, looking Diana up and down. Diana was more than used to this. She knew that while at first glance she appeared much like all the others who sought his services as a ferryman, there was something about her that he could not put his finger on. Diana was just another woman in her mid-thirties, average height, moderately handsome, though not striking; dull from the felt hat that covered her light brown hair to her feet. Well, perhaps not to her feet. But it was her countenance that set her apart. Diana knew that ladies who used his services were generally forced to do so by the vicissitudes of fortune, and she imagined that they made no attempt to hide their distaste for either their situation or his appearance.
Diana was different. Trouble was Diana’s primary currency: it was not something she ran from. Everything about her was conspicuously inconspicuous. She could melt into a crowd as easily as become the centre of its attention. Her dress was a case in point. It was embroidered silk, though not of the highest quality, and its initial impact dulled on closer inspection. It wasn’t as expensive as it made itself out to be. In that sense, at least, the dress suited her perfectly.
‘You have none more suitable clothing?’ asked the sailor as he offered his assistance in boarding.
Diana shook her head almost imperceptibly, and a little disdainfully, before taking the sailor’s hand and negotiating the gangplank. As he guided her steps onto her transport home, he held onto her hand for just a moment too long, and Diana knew that he was wondering how her skin might have felt on his were she not wearing soft leather gloves. But she could also see that he dismissed this as a fool’s contemplation, and he was no fool. Once she was aboard, the sailor merely directed her to the position on the boat’s two benches that offered most protection from the spray that would inevitably soak the passengers. She nodded her thanks and sat. He manhandled a piece of oiled cambric to wrap around her shoulders. Diana took the material and drew it close around her. The atmosphere was tense, and she sensed danger. It might just be time to try a new name.

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

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

 

 

 

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

 

#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @annecater / #QandAs : The Introvert Confounds Innocence #IntrovertConfoundsInnocence – Michael Paul Michaud @MichaelPMichaud @BlackOpalBooks

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

Introvert Confounds BT Poster

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

About the Author :

Michael P Michaud Author picMichaud is an American-Canadian citizen, an Assistant Crown Attorney in the Greater Toronto Area, and author of BILLY TABBS (& THE GLORIOUS DARROW) (bitingduckpress) and THE INTROVERT series (Black Opal Books). He holds a B.A. in English from McMaster University, an Honors B.A. in Political Science (summa cum laude) from McMaster University, a J.D. from The University of Western Ontario (with an international exchange completed at Washington & Lee), and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada and International Thriller Writers. Michaud has won awards for both his work as a criminal prosecutor and for his work with the community. He has also made regular appearances on SiriusXM’s Canada Talks.

Social Media:
Facebook author page
Twitter
Instagram
LinkedIn

Synopsis :

The Introvert Front CoverFinally, a book series for all of the weirdos of the world!
THE INTROVERT CONFOUNDS INNOCENCE continues the story of the eponymous anti-hero introduced in THE INTROVERT.
With his life disrupted by an unscrupulous work colleague and a bully at his son Toby’s school, things go from bad to worse when his neighbor’s abusive boyfriend goes missing, plunging the introvert into the center of a murder investigation.
Increasingly hounded by a meddlesome detective, and with his thoughts continually urging him to make people “red and open” and to “achieve it” with his girlfriend Donna, what follows is a sometimes brutal, oftentimes hilarious, and absurdist account of the life of one very anti-social and unexpected anti-hero.

The Introvert Confounds Innocence Facebook Page
The Introvert Facebook Page
Goodreads page for The Introvert Confounds Innocence

Q&A :

Hi

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

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since a fell in love with the written word at Longfellow Elementary School in Portland, Maine. It was the third and fourth grades that won me over. My school had a Junior Great Books program, which kids could join. It was sort of a School run book club, where we’d read and discuss a story from one of the books. That was the third grade, I believe.
There was also a school run program where you earned a sticker for every book read. I enjoyed reading, yes, but I also took to the competitive nature of the exercise. Each student’s name was placed on a large piece of Bristol board, with room beside it to ‘sticker’ your progress, taped to a hallway or a door somewhere. The exercise was based on the honor system, but I would never have considered inflating my progress. Not even a single page (to this day, perhaps naively, I don’t fully comprehend those who rely on dishonesty as a legitimate life strategy. I just can’t relate to it).
And so I read, and I read, and I read.
Bunnicula. Howliday Inn. The Celery Stalks At Midnight. The Mouse and the Motorcycle. Runaway Ralph. The Trumpet of the Swan. The Witches.
You get the idea.
Bookmobiles and solitude were my friends, my freckled nose buried neatly behind the seam, wide eyes (or narrow, depending on the light) peeking out over the top of the pages. Every few days I would see another sticker alight next to my name, and I remember the fascination with watching my sticker count spread across the Bristol board, dwarfing the progress of my other classmates. Ten stickers, eleven, twelve. There were prizes along the way, bookmarks mostly. It didn’t matter. What mattered was that I was pretty good at this reading thing. And something else happened along the way. I became a devout fan of “the story.” Of characters. Of creativity. Of “what will happen next?” Yes indeed, I had the bug. And a part of me thought, maybe I could do this, too?
So I started to write, and by the end of the 4th grade, I had entered and won a story contest at my school (The Purple Panther – I mean, how could it NOT win?!) The prize was attendance at a writer’s conference, which I attended with my Mom and my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Inman. That was when I began to utter those same six words in earnest. “I want to be a writer.” And they are as true today as they were when I was nine years old. As is my love of reading. It’s pretty well the same, really.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I suppose I answered the first part above. As a grown-up? First off, do you have the parameters for that? I’m 44 now. Does that qualify? There are many days I feel no different than when I was 9, or 18, or 21. This aging thing is a trap-game. But as they all say in Deadwood…anyways.
In high school I fell in love with Watership Down. This book started to cultivate my love of animal rights and social justice in literature. Then, as I got a bit older, it became Animal Farm, which I count as the smartest, most scathing book about human nature that I have ever read (Bonfire of the Vanities is up there, RIP Tom Wolfe). Watership Down and Animal Farm influenced my debut novel – Billy Tabbs (& The Glorious Darrow) – which is itself a rather scathing satire about human rights, animal rights, and social justice generally.
Later on I began to devour Dickens, Vonnegut, and Dostoyevsky. There have been others, but those three, along with Orwell, have been my chief literary loves and influences.
The point is to find the books and writers that speak to you. For example, I wrote The Introvert immediately after reading Dostoyevsky (Crime and Punishment) and Camus (The Stranger). I enjoyed the two protagonists so much that I wanted to write a book that paid homage to both. The same for Billy Tabbs (& The Glorious Darrow). Since Animal Farm is my favourite book of all time, when it came time to write my debut novel, I wanted to write a dystopian social commentary with rules and hypocrisy and all that great stuff from AF.
Reading will help shape your own creative output.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
It would be Dickens. He had a way of folding words into sentences into masterpieces. Deftly. Seamlessly. Over and over. I would love to know if he had any particular strategies, education, or training, or if he was simply born with it, as I believe. There are times when I feel I am pretty good writer. Only then I read a few passages from Bleak House or Copperfield, and I sadly realize my limitations. This is Saliere/Mozart stuff, for people of my vintage.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Probably Jacob from Billy Tabbs (& The Glorious Darrow) – because he was such a kind, thoughtful, selfless character. He was written as almost a caricature of goodness, and the yin to Marlon’s yang. His soul is beautiful. A beautiful but tragic figure.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Not really. Though I would say that I am most in my groove when I make my way to a nearby pub, order a Guinness, and plug in my earbuds. This state of bliss – interrupted only by the occasional call for libation – helps me settle into my characters’ minds and the feel of my narrative.
As Hemingway said: write drunk, edit sober.
PS: please walk – do NOT drive – to a pub if you are going to embrace this strategy. Dead writers achieve surprisingly low word counts.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Believe it or not, this is a real thing since I started writing The Introvert series. A number of people have confided in me that they looked at me differently after reading it, especially people who did not know me all that well when they first read it. The Introvert books are written first person, deep inside his head, and he has a lot of intense, erratic thoughts. People who know me often hear my voice in their head as they are reading it. Of course, I wrote him and created his thoughts, but he is not me. Some of the run on thoughts are me, and of course it all came from my mind, but no, I am not thinking of making people “red and open”. At least not most days. 🙂
What’s interesting is that I have even had some of my reviewers comment on the looks or comments that they have received from friends after recommending it. I even replied to one of these reviewers, commenting, “Yeah, imagine how I feel.”
As I have written above, I am usually inspired by stories and characters from other books. I read stuff that I fall in love with, and then I want more. If there isn’t more, then I create it. And even if there was more, I would probably create it anyway.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
It depends on the book I am writing, though for the most part, I have a very basic outline of where I see the story going (think building the frame of a puzzle), then I fill it in as I go. Sometimes I don’t know where my story is heading, or who my characters are, until they tell me. I understand that this may sound odd or pretentious to non-writers, because after all, I am writing them. But as the story progresses, and particularly as I am writing dialogue, I am thinking as I go – what flows from this? What would the character say next? Many times I’m learning as I go, as they tell me, and it happens organically. This is particularly true for a book like The Introvert, and a sci-fi horror manuscript that I wrote called THE OTHERS, which are written first person. I find that I write first-person very stream of conscious.
The most I tend to do, which is what I am doing with my current manuscript – a steampunk detective mystery – is that I will write a few sentences for each chapter, as to what I consider might happen in each one. These are always fluid, and inevitably shift, but it is the puzzle frame I talk about above.
Part of the joy of writing is that I myself want to find out what happens. This is not some cute author come-on. It happens to be very real. I love to find out how my stories unfold and how they end.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Do put down your phone and stop scrolling through Instagram, or Youtube, or whatever other distractions are massive time burglars that take time away from achieving your goal. Everything in moderation! Avoiding procrastination is hard, but it’s worth it.
Do pick up a book and read everyday, even if only a few pages.
Do write everyday, even if only a few paragraphs.
Do attend some writing classes, if you can afford them, and have the time to do so. There are usually night classes available at local colleges.
Do read Stephen King’s book “On Writing”
Don’t let people tell you your idea sucks, or won’t sell, or that you have to write third person, or this genre etc etc. King talks about this in On Writing. Closed door versus open door writing. Your first draft should be with the door closed, otherwise people may interfere, cause doubt, etc.
This is your first draft. Let it out. Have faith in your ideas. Even if your ideas actually do suck (whatever the hell that means), have faith in them anyway.
Write what you want, and how you want. I always write for myself, first and foremost. I write a story that I want to read. If others enjoy it too, great.

What are your future plans as an author?
For those who don’t know me, I am a full time criminal prosecutor, and I write on the side (evening, weekends, holidays). So I have a very rich, rewarding career in place, but also one that commands a lot of my time and attention.
My future plans as an author are simply to keep writing, and to grow my published catalog (which will stand at 4 by end of 2020). At present I have been approaching independent publishers directly. This has allowed me entry into the marketplace and greater control over my work. However, one day I will want an agent, with an eye to breaking into the mainstream.
If I was ever able to sustain myself solely from my writing, that would be wonderful scenario, but I will cross that bridge when I get there. Until then, I will write.
To that end – the third instalment of The Introvert – The Introvert Bears Filthy Witness – is due out late in 2020. And as I mentioned above, I have a completed sci fi horror manuscript called THE OTHERS which I believe is a great little novel about a town visited my mysterious yet immobile creatures. It deserves a home and eventually it will find one. It contains one of my favourite characters that I have written.
And now? I am currently working on a brand new story, the first entry in a steampunk detective series. I am about a third of the way through the first draft, which I hope to finish this year. I don’t want to share too much just yet, but do I think a lot of people will enjoy it.
As for The Introvert, he is going to take a break for a while. Maybe this will give him more time to achieve it with Donna. There is likely to be a fourth instalment – The Introvert Finds his Freud – but it has yet been written and currently exists only in Molly-disapproved purgatory.
Readers can also follow my daily scrivener ramblings at fb.com/michaelpaulmichaud.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Sure! Here is a short excerpt of the introvert trying to interact with his four year old son Toby…

After Donna went back to washing her strawberries, I walked into the den to find Toby playing with some Lego. We had to take the Lego away from him for a few months because he’d put a small piece up his nose and we’d had to visit the doctor, but now that he was a little older, we felt that he could be trusted.
“Daddy, look!” he said, pointing to some sort of castle.
It wasn’t much of a castle. The structure was too small and was poorly conceived, but at least it had a moat and some trees so that much was decent.
“That is very nice,” I said. As a general rule, I tried to lie to people as little as possible, though I made the exception for my son because I’d read various articles in The Child Psychology Magazine that children benefited from positive reinforcement, even where it was undeserved, and it could even stunt their creativity or confidence if you undermined their work.
“This man goes here, and this one goes here,” said Toby.
Just like the castle, it wasn’t much of a formation. He’d arranged his knights outside the castle walls, and even though I felt that the men would be much safer inside, I once again said “That’s very nice,” even if the fact of the matter was that it was a tactically poor decision and would likely lead his men to slaughter.

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

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 : Sixty Minutes – Tony Salter @TonyOxford

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

0Xz5jbKw

Today I’m on the ‘Sixty Minutes’ blogtour, organised 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 :

A1PJKrAZSBL._SY600_Tony’s latest thriller, Sixty Minutes, was released on 29th August 2019. Tony is the author of bestselling psychological thriller, Best Eaten Cold. He writes pacy contemporary thrillers which explore different themes, but all share Tony’s thought-provoking plots and richly-painted characters. Sixty Minutes is his fourth novel. His second novel, The Old Orchard – a gripping family thriller – was published on the 7th of November 2017 and the sequel to Best Eaten Cold, – Cold Intent – was published in November 2018. Highlights of his early career include (in no particular order) three years as an oilfield engineer in the Egyptian desert, twelve years managing record companies for EMI Music in Greece, India and across Eastern Europe, running a caravan site in the South of France and being chauffeur to the French Consul in Sydney. Having survived the Dotcom boom, he went on to be a founder of the world’s largest website for expatriates, a major music publisher and a successful hotel technology business. In amongst this, Tony found the time to backpack around the world twice (once in his twenties and once in his fifties), learn six languages (including Norwegian and Greek) and to find a beautiful Norwegian wife. He now lives in Oxfordshire and writes full-time. He has recently turned sixty and is married with three children and five grandchildren. You can find out more about Tony at his website.

Social Media Links:
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Synopsis :

bE5uXDZAFive different people. Five separate lives. Sixty minutes to bind them for ever.
Hassan, Jim, Shuna, Dan and Nadia come from very different worlds. If life were straightforward, their paths would never cross. But our lives are rarely that simple and, as the clock ticks away the minutes of a single hour on a July morning, fate draws all five together in a headlong rush towards disaster.
Who are the heroes and who are the villains?
Tony Salter’s latest novel leaves us guessing right up to the last page.

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 something about yourself and how you became an author?
I studied engineering and then worked in business for many years. Despite the fact that I have always read widely, the idea of actually doing something creative wasn’t even on the radar. I was the practical, pragmatic one – the fixer, the problem solver. When I was in my mid-50s, I resigned from my CEO job and my wife and I went travelling for seven months. One goal of that trip was to decide what I wanted to do next. I decided to jump off a cliff and try to write novels.
I still assumed that it was ridiculous idea for me to try to do anything creative, but it turned out that people enjoyed what I was writing and so I have continued. After four novels, I think I’m beginning to get the hang of it.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I loved the Narnia books and Tolkien, moved on to science fiction, worked my way through many of the classics and have then continued to read from almost every genre. I probably read more ‘women’s literature’ than most men (I’ve just finished Pat Barker’s Silence of the Girls) which may explain why I feel comfortable writing female protagonists.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
A difficult question. I guess it would be amazing to pick the brain of Dosteovsky. If I’m only allowed living writers, then David Mitchell would have to be a contender.

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 love to have tea with Fabiola from my first novel, Best Eaten Cold. Apart from the fact that she’s gorgeous, I could probably give her some useful advice!

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Not really. I try and settle in for five hours in the morning, but can actually write anywhere and at any time. The trick is to actually do it, rather than procrastinating.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
I spend time every now and then working on basic concepts / ideas and then something will stand out from the list. I then just start at the beginning and my characters begin to evolve. Some scenes are based on moments in my life and my characters are inevitably composed of people I have known, read about or watched on TV or in films. Up until now, they have always been a unique mish-mash, so no-one needs to worry … yet.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
Definitely the latter. I spent my working life being structured and I wanted to put that way of thinking behind me, at least during the writing phase. My books do have complex structures and plots, but I allow them to evolve. It’s as though the book is already there in front of me and I reveal it like exposing the numbers on a scratch card.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Do read everything you can on writing and/or do courses, but don’t follow the advice slavishly if it doesn’t suit you. Give yourself freedom.
Don’t try and craft the perfect sentence before you move on to the next one. Get the words down and keep moving forward. There is plenty of time to go back and the editing / revision process will be as lengthy as the writing process. There are so many temptations to avoid moving forward because, of course, at the end you will be forced to find out if anybody actually likes what you’ve written, That is terrifying, but if you’re only pretending that you want to write, why bother?

What are your futureplans as an author?
I will write one or more books featuring Nadia from Sixty Minutes and am also working on a historical novel based on my grandmother’s 1915 solo voyage to Harbin in Northern Manchuria on the Transsiberian Express.

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

The Oxford Botanic Gardens were only ten minutes walk from the flat and they seemed to be the only people there. Most of the flower beds were still bare, and it was only when they got to the far end towards the river that the reason for their visit became clear. A carpet of tiny, blue scilla spread out under the trees, a light blue sea surrounding beds of hellebores, papery flowers pink-veined and modest against the vibrant freshness of their leaves.
‘It’s beautiful,’ said Mona, squeezing him tight. ‘What a lovely idea. You were right. I was getting a bit fed up with the greyness of everything.’
Hassan knew that the moment was right and he kissed her gently on the lips before sinking to one knee in front of her and holding out the small red box which held all of his hopes.
‘Mona,’ he said, smiling as he saw her hand go to her mouth in mock horror again. ‘Mona El Masry. Will you do me the honour of becoming my wife?’
Mona’s hand stayed over her mouth as the two of them held their cartoon tableau. Neither was breathing.
Eventually, she spoke. ‘Oh, Hassan,’ she said. ‘I thought you understood.’
‘Understood what?’ Hassan hadn’t moved from one knee and didn’t know what was happening. Whatever it was, it wasn’t what he’d been hoping for.
‘Stand up,’ she said quietly. ‘Come over here and sit down.’
Hassan allowed himself to be led to the waiting bench like a spring lamb. ‘Understood what?’ he said again, trying to keep the rising panic from his voice.
‘I’m already engaged,’ she said. ‘I’ve been engaged since I was seventeen.’
‘Engaged? Who to? How can you be?’
‘His name is Anwar. He’s twenty-six. His parents are friends of my parents.’
‘Do you love him?’
Mona glared at him. ‘How could I? I hardly know him. We’ve only met once or twice since I was a kid.’ She moved closer to Hassan, confusion tracing tiny wrinkles in the corners of her eyes. ‘Surely you know how this works? Love has nothing to do with anything. It’s just how it is.’
‘But you’re different,’ he said, hearing the notes of pleading creeping into his voice. ‘You’re not from some poor village family, hanging onto old traditions. Your father’s a doctor and your mother’s a university professor. It’s different.’
Mona rested her cool palms against his cheeks. ‘No,’ she said. ‘It’s not.’
Hassan’s sluggish mind was still unable to keep pace, and he kept the ring box wrapped in his fist like a talisman. ‘But I love you. Don’t you love me?’
‘I don’t know what to say. If I tell you I love you, does that make it better or worse?’
‘If you love me, we could find a way. I don’t know how, but we could find a way.’
Something broke then. An invisible thread that had been joining them together. Mona took her hands from his face and pulled away. ‘No. We couldn’t,’ she said, an imperial hardness filling her words. ‘I love my family and my country. My life is there. You and I have had such a wonderful time, but when I leave Oxford, it’s over.’ Her lips were set tight and he could see the implacable certainty in her eyes. ‘I’m so sorry, but I really thought you understood.’
Hassan didn’t know what to say. Should he have known? Why? She’d never said a word about bloody Anwar. Was he supposed to be psychic? He’d been nothing more than a toy for her. Why was he surprised?
Mona looked at him, waiting for him to respond, but he didn’t trust himself to speak. An elderly couple were making their way towards them along the path, arm in arm. They looked as though they’d been married for a lifetime. ‘Well, if you’re just going to sit there,’ she said, eventually. ‘I’m going to brunch. Are you coming?’
‘Of course I’m not coming to fucking brunch.’
‘Suit yourself,’ she said, before getting up and walking away, her back stiff and the blue scarf flowing behind her.
As Hassan sat alone on the bench, head resting on his hands and the misery washing over him, he realised he was greeting an old friend. He’d allowed himself to believe that he could be happy, but the reality was that this was all there was. All there had ever been, waiting at the end of every tunnel.
Failure. Pathetic, weak and oh-so-familiar failure.

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

Giveaway :

Win 5 x PB copies of Sixty Minutes (Open INT)
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The Magic of Wor(l)ds

 

 

 

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

 

 

#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @annecater / #QandAs : The Ghosts of Curmudgeon Avenue #CurmudgeonAvenue – Samantha Henthorn @SamanthaHfinds

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

Ghost Curmudgeon Avenue BT Poster

Today I’m on the ‘The Ghosts of Curmudgeon Avenue’ blogtour, organised by Random Things Tour.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Samantha Henthorn Author PicSamantha Henthorn was born in 1970something in Bury, England. She has had short stories and poetry published in magazines. Her books include the Curmudgeon Avenue series (The Terraced House Diaries and The Harold and Edith adventures). ‘1962’, ‘Quirky Tales to Make Your Day’ and ‘Piccalilly’.
She has two cats, one dog, one gorgeous grown up daughter and one husband. When not reading or writing, she is listening to heavy metal and would be thrilled to bits if someone read her books.

Blog
Twitter

Synopsis :

• Paperback: 251 pages
• Publisher: Independently published (2 Oct. 2019)
• Language: English
• ISBN-10: 1696877938
• ISBN-13: 978-1696877930

Ghosts Front CoverThe house on Curmudgeon Avenue should be happy now, the nincompoop residents have all met their sorry ends. But they haven’t quite left… now that a new family move in can the house find peace? Or are the ghosts of Curmudgeon Avenue going to interfere with the goings-on, romance and dramas that new residents bring?

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?
Thank you for inviting me on to your blog! I am Samantha Henthorn- author of uplifting comedy-drama novels, but everyone calls me ‘Sam’ for short. I have lived in Bury near Manchester (UK) all my life. I have one dog, two cats, one grownup daughter and one husband. I often feel as though I am living in a sitcom – and this is reflected in my writing style. How I became an author is a long story, brace yourselves! Ever since I was a little girl, I have always noticed life’s quirky and funny occurrences. For example, when I was four years old and just about to set off for school, the telephone rang. My mum spent a long time in conversation, then put the phone down and said ‘You can’t go to school today because a lorry with an elephant inside it has crashed into the school’. No elephants were harmed during this incident – although the school’s front railings were severely squashed. I remembered this many years later and checked with my mum that it actually happened – it did, and so a version of this became the start of the Curmudgeon Avenue series. Professionally, I worked as a nurse for the NHS for twenty years but had to accept ill-health retirement because I have MS. This was in 2014 and I had not even reached my fortieth birthday. Leaving nursing was a huge disappointment, so to help me get over this I turned to my love of reading to find an occupation that I could do while sitting down, for half an hour at a time.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
Great question, I could be here all day talking about favourite books. Roald Dahl, I would say was my all-time favourite – The Twits, in particular, especially the bit about ‘A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly.’ I also loved books about witches, or as they are called now ‘Witch lit.’. The children’s books I loved from this genre were Jill Murphy’s The Worst Witch and Witchdust by Mary Welfare – which was about two witches living in a little cottage together with their cat, how appealing is that? I think my attraction to books about witches started when I was told that I have a ‘witch’s name’ (Samantha) on a family day out to Pendle when I was about seven years old. I could go on, I certainly loved books as a child. As an adult, again, how long have you got? Reading for me is something I do to relax – I think it’s better than mindfulness. I have been reading mainly independently published books for the past three years. I like nothing better than to escape into the pages of an uplifting romance. My favourite three authors of this genre are Sharon Booth, Jessica Redland and Lizzie Lamb. I am currently studying a Creative Writing and English Literature degree. The current module is about novels and I have rekindled my adoration of Thomas Hardy and also enjoyed very much reading Ali Smith and Arundhati Roy.
Given that I like to read the opposite of what I write, I have been known to dip my toes into the thriller pool. I recently read The Hive by Jane Holland. I haven’t reviewed it yet but it is creepy in a remarkable way, and well worth a mention. It would be tough to choose an all-time favourite loved book, but if asked I always say Richard Adams’ Watership Down, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird anything by Stephen King, oh! And what about The Color Purple by Alice Walker. While we’re on to that subject, The Ballad of Lee Cotton by Christopher Wilson is also a favourite. See, I told you, I could go on all day about books…

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Of course, there is! Wow, I would ask Victoria Wood CBE – Bury’s own literary hero and dearly departed comedy genius what made her choose scriptwriting over novel writing. I’m not saying she should have abandoned scriptwriting – Dinnerladies was a gift I think we can all agree on. The reason I would love to have this conversation is that my Curmudgeon Avenue series is currently being made into an audiobook, the narrative really lends itself to spoken word. This makes me wonder if I am a scriptwriter hiding in a novelist’s skin…
I recently read that multi-award-winning author Ali Smith suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome. After telling her how much I enjoyed reading her novel Hotel World, I would ask her for her tips on coping with fatigue while trying to complete a book!

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
From my own books, I would invite sisters Wantha and Toonan Rose. They are right up my street. First, I would crack open a cold bottle of Aldi Prosecco, then I would ask sassy Wantha to give me a makeover (as long as I didn’t have to wear a lycra bodystocking). Then I would ask Toonan to read my tarot cards – as of The Ghosts of Curmudgeon Avenue, Clairvoyance is Toonan’s new vocation. From Roald Dahl’s The Twits I would ask Mr Twit what tricks I can play on my husband. I would not invite Mr Twit to my house though, I would arrange to meet him in the pub – and I would probably have to get the beers in!

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Yes, I either go to physiotherapy or hydrotherapy in the morning, then I have a rest. Then, when my house is reasonably tidy (I cannot write amongst clutter), then I write. I have to make sure, though that I am not sitting in front of my laptop for too long because I get neck pain and fatigue.
I used to write whenever the moment took me – but creeping downstairs at 3am to write another chapter is no good for anyone!

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Hahaha, no one needs to worry at all… my ideas well, they come from my imagination. I have always been an observant person plus twenty years working as a psychiatric nurse and even my eventual retirement taught me a lot about people. I may remember something, exaggerate and change the story and then let the characters take over. That said, one of the most irritating questions I have been asked while writing is ‘Oh, is that one a true story? Or based on such-a-person?’ ‘No’, I answer, ‘I’m an author, it’s my job to make things up’ (And then write them in any way but kill them off horribly on page 95). Only joking! (Or am I?)

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I would say I’m a plotter. I’ve had to be with the Curmudgeon Avenue series – so many characters I had to keep track of what they’re all up to, who they’re in love with and so on. That said, there have been times when I have let the characters tell the story. For example, I had no idea that Patchouli was going to meet and fall in love with former rock star Gil Von Black when she escorted her daughter to a speed dating event at the local pub. But the characters did meet, and this has opened up a whole new thread of storyline.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Yes. Firstly, I would say GO FOR IT there is nothing to stop you writing.
Secondly, I would say, don’t take my advice, that’s my advice. Do what is right for you, back yourself, because ultimately, if you want to be a writer, you will do it.

What are your futureplans as an author?
I am glad you asked. I have two more books planned for the Curmudgeon Avenue series. Excitingly, the entire series is being transformed into audiobook by the talented voice-over actor Lindsay McKinnon.
I have written my half of another short story collection The Grit and The Wit this is in collaboration with my writing buddy Maggie McGee.
I have plenty of ideas for some standalone women’s literature including a ‘witch lit’ and one set in Cuba.
My physiotherapist and my daughter have suggested I write a book about my experiences of having MS, I’m not sure how I feel about writing non-fiction – but watch this space!

Last, but not least: Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
As you know, The Curmudgeon Avenue series is narrated by the grumpy, yet proud Victorian terrace – passing judgement in brackets. Now that the nincompoop residents have all died due to a series of fatal household accidents, here is a snippet of when Ghost Edith tries to help her son, Ricky Ricketts when an intruder is suspected:

But there was no time for that, Harold, Edith and Edna heard a loud banging noise at the back door.
‘Hide!’ squealed Edith.
‘Don’t be ridiculous, Edith, no one can see us’ said Edna ‘Harold, you go downstairs and see who it is!’
‘Why me?’
‘Harold! Be quick!’
Harold flew down the stairs and arrived at the back door where he came face to face, not with Big George, but with Shania Goatshed his sister and one-time enemy.
‘Sharon’ Harold said. (Don’t forget she changed her name to Shania)
Shania started to sniff the smell of Ghost Harold. What’s that smell? She said to herself. Now, where would I find their wills?
‘Wills? We didn’t have wills you stupid cow!’ Harold’s bravery was mostly down his sister not being able to hear him – not too old for a game of why are you punching yourself?
Shania made her way through the house, rummaging through drawers and cupboards. Ah! This will do nicely! No wills? I’ll just have to print a few out and forge some signatures… Oh! Fancy! Shania chuckled to herself when she recognised Edna Payne from her passport photo. (Don’t forget Harold and Edna dated briefly back in the day).
‘Oh shit!’ said Harold ‘I think she heard me saying we didn’t write a will’ (Don’t worry, Shania noted that because she could not find them)
‘Oh shit!’ gasped Shania when she heard Ricky Ricketts walking through my front door; she legged it out of the back door, from whence she came.
‘Hello!’ shouted Ricky Ricketts, Matteo crouched behind him, having heard a noise from the upstairs flat to Genevieve’s next door, they crept around (slowly) to investigate the potential presence of a miscreant.
‘Anyone there?’ Ricky quietly said.
‘We should make a loud, banging noise to make us sound like more than one person’ whispered Matteo.
‘Good idea’ whispered Ricky. ‘Make a loud, banging noise then.’
‘Hello love, I’ll do it for you’ said Edith, floating just inside the vestibule of heartache. Edna rolled her eyes, Ricky and Matteo could not hear anything the ghosts said – or did. Or could they? Edna was wrong to doubt her sister. Edith flew into the front room and knocked the silver poppy vase onto the floor – it did not make any noise on the carpet, so she picked it up again and threw it on the floor in the kitchen.
‘Shiiiiiiiit’ they gasped at the sound of clattering in the kitchen, Ricky and Matteo grabbed each other in the hallway, where they were still pussy-footing about.

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

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

 

 

 

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

 

#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @annecater / #QandAs : You Beneath Your Skin #YouBeneathYourSkin – Damyanti Biswas @damyantig @SimonSchusterIN @projectwhydelhi @stopacidattacks

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

You Beneath Your Skin BT Poster

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

About the Author :

Damyanti Biswas Author PicDamyanti supports Project WHY, a programme that provides quality education to underprivileged children in New Delhi. Her short stories have been published in magazines in the USA, UK and Asia. She also helps edit the Forge Literary Magazine. Her work is represented by Ed Wilson from the Johnson & Alcock agency.
Damyanti’s reading journey started at the age of 3, and the obsession continues. Her most precious memories of her childhood are of summers spent reading books of all sizes, for all ages. Her favorite authors form a never-ending list that features names like Truman Capote, Kate Atkinson, Lionel Shriver, Margaret Atwood, Anton Chekov, Tana French, Jodi Picoult, Jo Nesbø, Amy Hempel, Toni Morisson, Gustave Flaubert, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Even as a child, she has always been intrigued by the lives behind the faces, the contrasts between appearances and reality. Most of her stories happen at a point of crisis in a character’s life because it is then that the layers peel away and the real person emerges. She’s been a reader of true crime, and books like ‘In Cold Blood’ by Truman Capote inspired her to write crime stories — narratives that would document the unravelling of characters, their relationships, and the society they are part of.
Apart from being a novelist, Damyanti is a blogger, animal-lover and a spiritualist. Though she loves dogs, her travel schedule doesn’t permit her one. She contents herself with keeping fish and is able to take care of them enough for them not to die on her watch. Except once, when someone happened to turn off the oxygen pump. There will be a story about it someday.
Damyanti enjoys working out of busy cafes and food courts, as that helps her focus. When not pottering about with her plants or her aquariums, you can find her nose deep in a book or baking up a storm.
Her ambition has always been to live in a home with more books than anything else, and she continues to work towards that.

Website
Twitter

Synopsis :

All author proceeds for the book go to @projectwhydelhi and @stopacidattacks

You Beneath Your Skin CoverLIES. AMBITION. FAMILY.
It’s a dark, smog-choked new Delhi winter. Indian American single mother Anjali Morgan juggles her job as a psychiatrist with caring for her autistic teenage son. She is in a long-standing affair with ambitious police commissioner Jatin Bhatt – an irresistible attraction that could destroy both their lives.
Jatin’s home life is falling apart: his handsome and charming son is not all he appears to be, and his wife has too much on her plate to pay attention to either husband or son. But Jatin refuses to listen to anyone, not even the sister to whom he is deeply attached.
Across the city there is a crime spree: slum women found stuffed in trash bags, faces and bodies disfigured by acid. And as events spiral out of control Anjali is horrifyingly at the centre of it all …
In a sordid world of poverty, misogyny, and political corruption, Jatin must make some hard choices. But what he unearths is only the tip of the iceberg. Together with Anjali he must confront old wounds and uncover long-held secrets before it is too late.

Book Trailer
Goodreads

Amazon

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Q&A :

Hi

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

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I started writing 12 years ago, with my blog Daily (w)rite. It started as a daily ritual, and I wrote freelance articles for a while. When my editors said my writing was too poetic for the articles I wrote, and I should go to a workshop to get rid of this ‘writing bug,’ I did. The rest is history. Most of my training has come from workshops and online writing classes–I’m not a formally educated writer.
My short stories have been published in anthologies and journals in many countries, and You Beneath Your Skin is my debut novel.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
My father was a reader, so I had a very early introduction to Shakespeare as a teen. That I was the time I also read the complete works of Bernard Shaw, a fair bit of Chekov, I sneaked Anna Karenina behind my science texts, and the same with Madame Bovary. The book I keep going back to even today is Old Man and the Sea.
I’ve mostly read fiction: short stories by Italo Calvino, Primo Levi, Garcia Marquez (his novels, too), I loved reading Elena Ferrante, Margaret Atwood, Ali Smith, Isabel Allende, Adiche, and so many more. I have a weakness for Japanese fiction so a lot of Murakami, Ogai Mori, Yasunari Kawabata, Mishima, and lately, Hiromi Kawakami. I’ve read Indian authors as well, from classics like Rabindranath Tagore and Munshi Premchand to Jhumpa Lahiri, Anita Nair, Vivek Shanbag. I’m currently reading Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I’m ambivalent about this—there are so many writers I’d love to listen to—not specifically for advice, but to pick up bits and pieces from their journey that are meaningful to mine. Sometimes, at a random talk at a gathering, an authr’s words resonate. I remember once confessing to the wonderful Deborah Levy that her book Swimming Home made me want to stop writing. It was so gorgeous, and what was left for me to say? There’s a place for all voices, she replied, for all perspectives. You have something to say, so say it. That has remained with me, and often speaks to me on dark days when the words wouldn’t come.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
I don’t want to have tea with any of the characters from You Beneath Your Skin because I’ve had dozens of teas with them already in my mind—that’s how I managed to write them. That is how I learned of Jatin’s misogyny, of Maya’s insecurities about her appearance, about Sakhi’s longing for her mother.
For an interesting chat over tea, a pair of characters that occurs to me is George and Del Cossa, from Ali Smith’s brilliant novel, How to be Both. It would make a fab conversation, because of who they are—their apparently fluid gender identities, how separated by space, time, ages and language they are, but united by their losses and ideas.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I either put in ear plugs or listen to white noise. Sometimes, when I’m stuck, I write by hand. There’s some manner of tea involved.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
I never start with an idea. It is often a sensory input like a smell, a sound. At times, it is a voice. You Beneath Your Skin started with Anjali’s voice, who went on to become one of the protagonists. She kept appearing on the page in my writing exercises, and I kept asking what ifs. For instance, what if this woman obsessed with perfection is given only imperfect things in her life?
Like with most writers, characters who appear on the page have had some version in my real life—but they change completely over various drafts. I pick up mannerisms I’ve seen, habits I’ve noted, appearances– but never from one person—in the end the character becomes an independent unit, and I know her as I would a friend or family member, feel her joys and sorrows, be moved by her, and write in her voice.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
My writing life began as a pantser. That’s still the way I write my short stories. I ended up drifting into crime writing, though, and that meant knowing the sequence of events. I’ve now developed a method of plotting via index cards—but it is a very fluid thing. I call myself more of a plantser now: I plot, but also write by the seat of my pants and it all somehow (easily, or painfully, depending on the story) comes together. Not sure if the process will hold for all the novels I write, but this is where I’m at right now.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
This always gives rise to a lot of laughter at my book events, but my primary question is how long have you been writing? If only for a few months, there’s still time to back out!
I say this because the writing life is hard, and many writers come into it with unrealistic expectations. Very few writers have all three: fame and money, peer approval, self-satisfaction, and yet we all seem to think we all must have these or we’re failures. So asking yourself why you’re beginning the writing journey is important. Acknowledging honest answers prevents a lot of future bitterness, and helps you work towards the kind of writer you want to become.
The most clichéd responses have proven to be the most useful to me: read a lot, write a lot—there’s no easy way to master writing. You have to discover your own writing goals, your own writing process, your own voice, and the only way to do that is to persevere. There’s no one-size-fits-all advice for all writers.

What are your future plans as an author?
No fixed plans. I’ll keep writing—whether it is novels or short stories or flash-fiction, mostly because I can’t help it. I envy authors for whom writing is a source of unbridled joy, and who love writing—I’m firmly in the camp of ‘I love having written.’
Over more than a decade of writing, I’ve come to understand that it has come into my life to stay and there isn’t much I can do about it. So I guess I’ll keep writing short stories and hoping to place them, and keep writing novels, hoping my agent can sell them–but I’ll keep writing irrespective.

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

CHAPTER ONE

Anjali Morgan wanted to get hold of Nikhil and smack him. He could have hurt himself jumping out of the moving car.
I told you he’ll be the death of you one day, Mom’s voice played in her ears. You never listen.
‘Get back in the car,’ she yelled at Nikhil, but he’d disappeared, leaving Anjali stranded at the narrow, sloping exit tunnel of the capital’s largest shopping mall. Two drivers honked behind her. She wanted to turn and yell at them but held back. You know better than anyone else he can’t help it.
She needed to clear her head before she spoke to him again. He wouldn’t go far. Deep breaths. She leaned out of the car door and inhaled, only for the petrol fumes to hit her, along with the smog and that dusty smell unique to New Delhi. She forgot it most times, but now she choked on it and coughed.
Anjali stepped out of her car, the yellow overhead lights blinding her for a moment. Five cars now queued up behind hers. The driver in the first car had seen a teenager throw a tantrum in front of his harried mother. He slammed the horn and the rest followed suit. She spotted Nikhil’s gangly form down the slope, cantering away.
‘Madamji.’ A short Nepali guard in a beige uniform hurried up the slope towards her, his whistle shrieking. ‘Yahan parking allowed nahin hai.’
‘I’m sorry.’ Anjali tried to remember the Hindi words, but they’d fled, along with her composure. ‘My son has run away.’
She was about to sprint after Nikhil when the guard overtook her and blocked the way.
‘No parking here.’ He pointed at the cars queuing up behind her. ‘This is “Exit”.’
Down the slope behind the guard, Anjali watched in horror as Nikhil turned into the parking area and disappeared. The cool air of a November evening made her shiver.
‘I need to go get my son. What part of that can’t you understand?’
Anjali loosened the scarf about her neck, parted it from her jacket. In her last therapy session with Nikhil, the two of them had been taught to cup their hands and take deep breaths when in a trying situation. She tried it now, but terror clogged her throat. Her breaths came gasping, short.
‘Big boy only, mil jaega.’ The Nepali guard gestured towards the main road and spoke in a mixture of Hindi and broken English, ‘Make one round and come back. Where will he go?’
How was she to explain to this man that she couldn’t afford to lose sight of Nikhil? By now he might have tripped and fallen down an escalator, screaming like a horror movie hostage, or thrown a fit when a stranger brushed against him in the evening crowd.
‘Move your car.’ Another guard appeared, his eyes trained at her chest instead of her face. ‘You are making jam.’
A supervisor. Making jam, indeed. Strawberry or apricot?
She needed to get past the honking cars, the petrol fumes in the exit tunnel, and this cranky supervisor eyeing her up.
‘Get into car, madam,’ the supervisor continued. ‘Gori memsaab,’ he muttered under his breath in Hindi, ‘samajhti kya hai apne aap ko?’
The sight of a light-skinned, blonde-haired woman, taller and broader than him, had clearly pissed this man off. Twelve years in Delhi and it still got to her. The guard didn’t know she understood his comment: ‘What does she think of herself?’ and the way he chewed on the words ‘gori memsaab’ behind his moustache. White Madam.
She wanted to punch his face, show him what a big ‘white madam’ might do, but that wouldn’t get her any closer to Nikhil. Quite the opposite. Two more guards jogged towards her from the parking lot.
‘I will find him, madamji,’ the Nepali guard spoke up in order to be heard over a renewed spate of honks, ‘you go and come back. I saw him. In black t-shirt and jeans, hai na?’
‘Yes. But please don’t touch him, he gets upset.’
Anjali scrabbled through her bag. ‘Here’s my card. Call me, please, when you find him.’ She dropped it. ‘Sorry!’ she snatched it up again. ‘Oh, his eyes are blue.’
The cars blasted their horns, and the supervisor edged towards her. Anjali stepped back, her hands shaking. Would she lose Nikhil the evening after his fourteenth birthday? She slid back into her car and drove off. Speed-dialling Maya, her landlady and best friend, she crashed her gears. Maya might not have found a taxi near the mall entrance yet. She could help look for Nikhil.
Anjali tried to steady her fingers on the steering wheel. Stuck amidst other cars in the afternoon traffic on Mandir Marg, with bikes edging past her and picking their way to the front of the congestion, it would take at least another ten minutes to turn back into the mall’s parking lot. She prayed for Maya to find Nikhil before he got into trouble.
Should have checked the child lock on his door, Mom’s voice piped up inside her head. But how was she to know Nikhil would run? No point in worrying about that now—she needed to breathe through this. Anjali had grown up with Mom’s voice, and even though she had moved thousands of miles away, Mom still lived within her. Anjali counted her breaths, which took her back to Lamaze classes, days with Nate Morgan sitting behind and breathing right along, days when Nikhil was a part of her and couldn’t kick other than from inside her belly.
She could no longer shelter her son within her body or absorb his punches and tantrums. Even as a baby, he’d refused to nurse. Later, he lay alone, keeping his gaze on the red toy airplane buzzing in circles over his crib, unhappy when Anjali picked him up for a nappy change.
Anjali watched a woman stirring a pot on the pavement not five feet away from the traffic, her baby’s feet hovering over the fire. Be careful, Anjali wanted to tell the mother, please be careful. Despite the cold, toddlers ran barefoot, in torn sweaters. Wrapped in wide, shaggy blankets, elderly men sat smoking beside flimsy homes fashioned out of tarpaulin and cardboard. Pedestrians sidestepped makeshift beds and hurried past migrant children who came to the capital in search of a better life: outsiders, like her, only far less fortunate. Behind them, a huge, lighted hoarding showed pale-faced models in tuxedo suits and gowns next to large television screens.
Sweat beaded her upper lip. She didn’t feel very fortunate right this minute, merely stupid. Why hadn’t she taken that guard’s mobile number? Like an idiot, she’d told him about Nikhil’s blue eyes. Nikhil usually kept his gaze to the floor—what if that guard tried to get a look at Nikhil’s eyes and he freaked? We’ll find him, Maya had assured her on the phone not ten minutes ago, don’t panic. Maya was more family than friend and good with Nikhil, so she was a good bet to locate him. Anjali tried to reach Maya again and listened to the unanswered phone. Instead of a ring, Maya had downloaded a caller tune, a peppy Punjabi number.
Catching sight of her face in the rear-view mirror, Anjali flinched. Faded make-up, wrinkles under her eyes, greasy hair. Mom would have cackled had she seen Anjali like this. Stay with the face God gave you. Vanity is a Sin. Nikhil had aged her by a dozen, no, twenty years. Long work sessions at her Bhikaji Cama clinic, taking him for group therapy sessions with Dr Bhalla, and now this shopping trip from hell. She thumped her hand on the horn, emitting a series of sharp honks to hurry along the cars at the green light.
What if this was her punishment for letting him skip lunch today, following a tantrum? Dr Bhalla said she must remain consistent, not give in when he went into a meltdown during his daily routine. Nikhil was bound to be hungry by now, after a chocolate shake and not much else for lunch that afternoon. No, Anjali, focus. Find him first. She sighed and dialled her friend again.
Maya finally picked up as Anjali turned into the mall parking area.
‘Can’t find him, Anji. I’ve looked everywhere. He’s not at the toy shop. Should I call Bhai?’
Anjali sprinted up the escalator, two steps at a time, sweating despite the chill. If they didn’t find Nikhil soon, she must get the mall security to make an announcement. He might have lost his way to the toy shop, a long walk and three floors up from where they’d parked. Trying to look calm, she approached the handbag-check, where the lady guard in a khaki saree delicately swirled the metal detector through her bag, as if stirring a curry. Wanting to scream with each wasted second, Anjali crossed through the sliding doors and headed for the information desk. She had taught Nikhil to look for one if he got into trouble. Would he remember?
Reaching the main courtyard, Anjali squeezed past a bevy of perfectly-coiffed women in salwar-kameezes, laden with shopping bags. Out of breath, she stopped beside Nando’s, where a family sat with two kids about Nikhil’s age. To manage an episode, Dr Bhalla said, use the right aids, at the right time. Nikhil did not allow touch. Anjali grabbed a smiley squeeze ball and his favourite blue blanket out of her handbag and scanned the crowd for a skinny boy with tufts of hair jutting up at the crown, a shambling walk, hands fisted.
She spotted him near a hair salon. She wanted to call out his name, but that would scare him into running or throwing a tantrum.
He started when she touched his sleeve, but the face was a lot older, filled out, with a moustache. Not Nikhil but a salon employee, a bright red tag on his black tee-and-jeans uniform. Anjali blurted out a stream of hurried apologies and sprinted on.
Nikhil wanted to get to Hamleys and buy that airplane. He already owned one in black, but he wanted the red one, he’d said, and the blue. Anjali should have said yes, instead of handing him a squeeze ball and showing him his schedule for today. It specified that he could stay in the mall from 6.30 to 8.30 pm, pick one slice of Black Forest cake at the pastry shop to eat after dinner, and buy one airplane of his choice. Not two, or three, just one.
She called Maya. ‘Did you see him?’
‘Not yet. I’m at Hamleys. I think you should go to the information desk.’ Maya paused. ‘Bhai called to ask if I was on my way. I had to tell him.’
Great. Within minutes of each small crisis in her life, one of Delhi’s top cops knew. Mr Jatin-Worried-Bhatt, Maya’s doting older brother, would call any minute now. Please, not him, not now.
She cut the call. Stopping to catch her breath, she closed her eyes. She needed to collect herself, not panic. A low whine floated up, but once she opened her eyes there was only the buzz from the throng of shoppers around her.

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

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 : Beyond The Moon – Catherine Taylor @CathTaylorNovel

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

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Today I’m on the ‘The Violinist’s Apprentice’ blogtour, organised 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 :

catherine-taylor-author-e1568634928158Catherine Taylor was born and grew up on the island of Guernsey in the British Channel Islands. She is a former journalist, most recently for Dow Jones News and The Wall Street Journal in London. Beyond The Moon is her first novel. She lives in Ealing, London with her husband and two children.

Social Media Links:
Instagram
Twitter
Website

Synopsis :

QHa-m1QQ“Outlander meets Birdsong is this haunting debut timeslip novel, where a strange twist of fate connects a British soldier fighting in the First World War and a young woman living in modern-day England a century later. Shortlisted for the Eharmony/Orion Write Your Own Love Story Prize 2019.”

In 1916 1st Lieutenant Robert Lovett is a patient at Coldbrook Hall military hospital in Sussex, England. A gifted artist, he’s been wounded fighting in the Great War. Shell shocked and suffering from hysterical blindness he can no longer see his own face, let alone paint, and life seems increasingly hopeless.
A century later in 2017, medical student Louisa Casson has just lost her beloved grandmother – her only family. Heartbroken, she drowns her sorrows in alcohol on the South Downs cliffs – only to fall accidentally part-way down. Doctors fear she may have attempted suicide, and Louisa finds herself involuntarily admitted to Coldbrook Hall – now a psychiatric hospital, an unfriendly and chaotic place.
Then one day, while secretly exploring the old Victorian hospital’s ruined, abandoned wing, Louisa hears a voice calling for help, and stumbles across a dark, old-fashioned hospital room. Inside, lying on the floor, is a mysterious, sightless young man, who tells her he was hurt at the Battle of the Somme, a WW1 battle a century ago. And that his name is Lieutenant Robert Lovett…
Two people, two battles: one against the invading Germans on the battlefields of 1916 France, the other against a substandard, uncaring mental health facility in modern-day England. Two journeys begun a century apart, but somehow destined to coincide – and become one desperate struggle to be together.
Part WW1 historical fiction, part timeslip love story – and at the same time a meditation on the themes of war, mental illness, identity and art – Beyond The Moon sweeps the reader on an unforgettable journey through time.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Q&A :

Hi

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

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I’ve wanted to be an author for as long as I can remember. As a child I loved to lose myself in the magical worlds created by authors, and I couldn’t imagine anything better than one day creating such worlds myself, for other readers to get lost in. After university I went to work as a journalist started, and started work on writing a novel in the evenings. I made several tries (during what I now regard as a very long novel-writing apprenticeship), but none of them was good enough to be published. Until the idea for Beyond The Moon came to me. I knew that this would be “the book”.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
As I child I loved Gothic romances like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, and books with magic in them like The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe and Tom’s Midnight Garden. As you see, I haven’t changed much! Give me a castle full of shadows, a brooding, handsome hero and a feisty heroine and I’m happy.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Good question! I would probably have to plump for the Bronte sisters. I would love to go back in time to their Victorian parsonage and watch them all writing and interacting. I don’t think I could ask them for advice, as such, but just to be among such incredibly imaginative, gifted, mould-breaking women would be inspiring.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Ooooh I would love to invite Robert from Beyond The Moon. He’s my ideal man, of course! But that’s a bit of a cop-out. So I would invite the fictional Rupert Brooke from Jill Dawson’s wonderful novel The Great Lover, about his early life and love affairs. Rupert Brooke was a WW1 English poet, dubbed by W B Yeats ‘The handsomest young man in England. He was talented and good-looking and charming, and lived a very bohemian life full of love affairs. I would absolutely love to travel back in time and meet him.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I always start off my writing day with a huge cup (think bucket!) of Americano, which helps get the creative juices flowing and puts me in the right frame of mind for writing.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
I’ve always had an extremely active imagination, which caused me no amount of problems with anxiety as a child – it wasn’t until I was older and read up on anxiety that I realised it comes from having an overactive imagination – basically you always imagine the worst-case scenario! My ideas seem to come from all over the place, what I’ve read, what I experience in my own life, what I see on TV. But usually they’re for events that would have happened between around 1880-1945. I just love the past, and asking the question “What if..?”

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I am very definitely a plotter. I think it’s part and parcel of the anxiety thing – always be prepared! I like to know what goal I’m working towards. And anyway, sitting down and coming up with a detailed plot progression is one of the highlights for me of the whole story-writing process. Although as I progress with a story, new ideas present themselves, which I then incorporate.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
From my own experiences of writing and querying Beyond The Moon I would say it’s good to develop a thick skin – although I know that’s not always easy, it’s our very sensitivity that makes us want to be writers in the first place, isn’t it? And also I’ve said this elsewhere but I’ll say it again: take all advice with a pinch of salt. Only take that advice that really, really chimes with you. The very best writing comes from your passion and your honest emotions. Write the book that you want to write, not the book all the “experts” tell you that you ought to write.

What are your future plans as an author?
I would just like to carry on writing historic fiction, and hopefully get better at it – and have people continue to respond positively to what I write. When people write that they have been moved and touched by my book, that is really the best feeling ever.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
What if love was stronger than time? Louisa Casson and Robert Lovett live a century apart. Louisa is a medical student in 2017 England, while in 1916 Robert is a British army lieutenant fighting WW1. But both end up in Coldbrook Hall hospital, Robert when he’s injured fighting in the trenches in France, and Louisa after a drunken cliff fall is mistaken as a suicide attempt. When Louisa stumbles across a mysterious old hospital room that appears to be some kind of portal to the past, powerful forces are set in motion, forces that seem determined to pull Robert and Louisa together across time, and forces they are both powerless to resist.

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

Giveaway :

Win 5 x PB Copies of Beyond The Moon (Open INT)
*Terms and Conditions – Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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 : The Violinist’s Apprentice – Isabella Mancini @IsabellaManci10 @darkstrokedark

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

8P-iL4Zg

Today I’m on the ‘The Violinist’s Apprentice’ blogtour, organised 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 :

XTrAA9xwIsabella Mancini is the nom de plume of prolific author Olga Swan, published by Crooked Cat Books. She has a BA Hons (Open) in English Language and Literature and a lifelong love for writing and language. For 12 years she lived in SW France, but returned to the UK in 2017, where she now lives in the West Midlands with her husband and elderly French rescue dog Bruno.

Previous books by Olga Swan:
An Englishwoman in America
From Paradis to Perdition
Pensioners in Paradis
The Mazurek Express
Lamplight
Vichyssoise
3rd Degree Murder

Social Media Links:
Twitter
Facebook
Facebook Group
Amazon page for Isabella Mancini
Amazon page for Olga Swan

Synopsis :

vMb60PHAA dark journey through time.
It’s on a group trip to Rome that something terrifying and mysterious happens, whirling musical Clementina back in time to 17th century Italy. Amidst court intrigue and creaking carriages, Rome becomes a chiaroscuro backdrop to her growing feelings for young violin-maker Antonio Stradivari. But soon he discovers that Clementina is not all she appears. She must surely be a witch. How can she return to the 21st century again? Meanwhile, in an icy corner of the Arctic, a professor plots.

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 something about yourself and how you became an author?
I started to write seriously in France, after we moved there in early retirement. It was wonderful to have the time to practise something different in the sunshine of SW France. I started to chronicle, in a humorous style, all the inadvertent mistakes we made as two self-deprecating people, living in a completely different culture. The jokes just kept on coming and, after being accepted by Crooked Cat Books, became the international best-seller Pensioners in Paradis. However, as can be seen, I have an eclectic mind and have written in 5 different genres.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
My favourite was the war time special edition of Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor. My father passed it to me at far too young an age as it was, at that time, banned for its ‘immoral’ content!

Is there an writer which brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Although now too late, my hero was always Winston Churchill. He was such a prolific writer.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Verdigris from The Violinist’s Apprentice. I’d love to imbibe some of his spiritual, worldly and environmental wisdom.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Because of past disasters(!) I constantly Control-Save as I write, then at the end of a session, drag the updated version to my drive-google (cloud) file. I was ever a depressive.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
I’ve always joked with people, especially when I’m writing a crime novel, that they’d better be nice to me or I’ll kill them off in my next novel! Seriously, though, the older I get, the more ‘material’ becomes available. Life is full of characters and possibilities.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
If I’m writing non-fiction, then it’s imperative to have an itemised table of contents. With fiction, I often like to switch time and global zones – which does need an element of plotting to maintain consistency.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Unless you’re already young/beautiful/famous/infamous, don’t expect to get rich quickly. Learn to expect and accept frequent rejections. The worst thing are those literary agents/publishers who don’t ever reply.

What are your futureplans as an author?
I’d like to publish another 6 in the series.

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

“Er, Antonio?”
Si, Signorina,” he responded, one eyebrow arched quizzically.
“What exactly is today’s date?”
“Date?” he asked, puzzled, before realising what this strange person wanted to know. “Oh, you mean the year of our Lord?”
“Um, yes,” she said uncertainly, frightened now of what his answer would be.
“Why, it’s 1660,” puzzled, “..and just look outside. It’s a fine and beautiful summer’s day. Perfect for some wondrous and sublime music,” pointing to his many fine violins.
She felt suddenly dizzy and ill.

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

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!