#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @annecater / #Excerpt : The Blood Dimmed Tide #TheBloodDimmedTide – Michael R. Johnston @MREJohnston @flametreepress

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

Blood Dimmed Tide BT Poster

Today I’m on the ‘The Blood Dimmed Tide’ blogtour, organised by Random Things Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Michael R JohnstonBorn in the San Francisco bay area and raised in Napa, California, Michael R. Johnston grew up steeped in everything Science Fiction and Fantasy from Asimov to Zelazny, as well as endless terrible SF TV shows he still has a slightly embarrassed fondness for.
In the early 90s, he took “a year” off from college. He spent time as a court process server, a retail sales associate, a sandwich maker, and a data entry tech, before finding himself in a management position with a research firm.
A decade later, burnt out from his job in political research and facing 30, he decided he’d had enough and returned to college, graduating with honors from California State University, Sacramento.
In fall 2006, he became a high school English teacher, a job he likens to herding a swarm of angry bees. It’s the best job he’s ever had.
He currently lives in Sacramento, California, with his wife and daughter. When he’s not writing or teaching, he spends time with his family, plays video games and tabletop RPGs, and reads.
He can be found here and on Twitter.

Synopsis :

Blood Dimmed Tide CoverThe sequel to The Widening Gyre, praised by Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Library Journal and more!
Reclaiming Earth from the Zhen was only the first battle. Now Tajen Hunt and his fellow colonists must fight for their fledgling colony’s survival. Tajen’s mission to seek aid from the Kelvaki Assembly is cut short when the Zhen invade Earth. Now he, Liam, and Kiri must return to Earth and liberate the colony from brutal occupation. When Tajen learns the Zhen plan to destroy a human fleet amassing in preparation to help Earth, he and his crew must escape the planet once more and warn them.

Amazon

Excerpt :

…The new Earth Council gathered in the colony administration centre’s conference room an hour later, mugs of steaming tea in our hands. Since we’d defeated the Zhen force that had tried to pry us off the reclaimed Earth a year ago, we’d been rebuilding the civilisation they’d destroyed over a thousand years before. Many humans had left Zhen and Terra, the human colony world in the Zhen Empire, and taken up residence on our ancestral homeworld.
It was still a rough world, with a lot to be rediscovered, but it was coming along nicely. We’d built a small city, with the astoundingly unoriginal name ‘Landing’, and were moving outward slowly. There were some isolated settlements on other parts of the planet, some with reclaimed Old Earth names, and some with names inspired in the years of what was now becoming known as ‘the Big Lie’, the period of time in which we’d thought of the Zhen as our saviours, and not the architects of our misfortunes. I had never intended to become the leader of a colony, so when the original group of colonists who arrived with me had tried to make me the colony’s head, I immediately, without reservation, refused. We held elections a few weeks later, and chose Diana Adakai, a woman from Terra who had come with the first wave of humans, to join us. She headed a large group of people she called ‘Diné’, who she told me had worked very hard to remain ‘whole’ during the eight hundred years of the Big Lie. Ben had joined them, and was learning the language. It turned out his mother had been one of them, but he’d been raised by his father and hadn’t learned as a child.
Diana sat in her place at the head of the table and looked around the table. “While we have urgent matters to discuss, let us begin with the standard reports, please,” she said, setting her cup down on the table.
Kiri, to her immediate left, spoke first. “Network security has been upgraded with a new cypher,” she said, brushing her red hair back from her face. “I removed the Zhen back doors from all the software – and, by the way, you’re not paying me enough. It was damned difficult to do without crashing the whole system. We’re continuing to scour the system for more software traps, but I think we’ve got them all. We’re also replacing some of the most vulnerable Zhen equipment with Kelvaki equivalents, giving us another layer of security.”
“What about comms?” I asked, from beside her.
“All the ships in the fleet are now using the same comms equipment, and they’re protected by a Kelvaki encryption code. So far as we or the Kelvaki are aware, the Zhen haven’t broken this encryption. We’ll continue to update the keys and frequencies often.”
Diana nodded. “All the ships in the fleet,” she repeated softly. Her eyes met mine, and she sighed. “How many is that now, Tajen?”
I took a deep breath as I composed my answer. “Not enough,” I said. “We’ve only got two squads left – twenty-four ships in total. The Zhen attacks of the last month have been whittling us down even before today’s disaster.”
“What are they doing?” she asked.
I frowned; we’d discussed this before. I realised she was asking for the benefit of the others around the table. “It’s an attrition tactic,” I said.
“They could just come in with a huge fleet and overwhelm us, but the Zhen like to toy with their enemies when they can. This is designed to brutalise us psychologically. They want us at the edge so they can just push us over. They don’t just want to take Earth back. They want to break us completely as a people.”
“How many personnel did we lose today?”
“One hundred and fifteen,” I said.
“How long can we survive with our current numbers?”
“If they continue this campaign?” I bit my lip. “Maybe six months, at the current rate. But I’d say probably less – a lot less. My pilots were already beginning to fray. Today may have accelerated the process.”
She frowned. “So. We need more ships.”
“Yes.”…

The-Blood-Dimmed-Tide-ISBN-9781787583122.99.0

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @annecater / #Excerpt : My Constant Lady #MyConstantLady – Jane Fenwick @jane_fenwick60

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

My Constant Lady BT Poster

Today I’m on the ‘My Constant Lady’ blogtour, organised by Random Things Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Jane Fenwick Author PicJane Fenwick lives in the market town of Settle in Yorkshire, England. She studied education at Sheffield University gaining a B.Ed (Hons) in 1989 and going on to teach primary age range children. Jane decided to try her hand at penning a novel rather than writing school reports as she has always been an avid reader, especially enjoying historical and crime fiction. She decided to combine her love of both genres to write her first historical crime novel Never the Twain.
Jane has always been a lover of antiques, particularly art nouveau and art deco ceramics and turned this hobby into a business opening an antiques and collectables shop in Settle. However her time as a dealer was short lived; she spent far too much time in the sale rooms buying items that ended up in her home rather than the shop!
Animal welfare is a cause close to Jane’s heart and she has been vegetarian since the age of fourteen. For the last twenty years she has been trustee of an animal charity which rescues and rehomes cats, dogs and all manner of creatures looking for a forever home. Of course several of these have been “adopted” by Jane!
Jane has always loved the sea and although she lives in the Yorkshire Dales she is particularly drawn to the North East coast of Yorkshire and Northumberland. This coastline is where she gets her inspiration for the historical crime and romance novels she writes and, as she has always loved history, she finds the research particularly satisfying.When she isn’t walking on Sandsend beach with her dog Scout, a Patterdale “Terrorist”, she is to be found in her favourite coffee shop gazing out to sea and dreaming up her next plot. Jane is currently writing a historical saga series again set on the North East coast beginning in 1765.

Website
Twitter

Synopsis :

Paperback: 410 pages
Publisher: Jane Fenwick (3 Feb. 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1916195725
ISBN-13: 978-1916195721

My Constant Lady CoverMy Constant Lady – the first in the Reynolds seafaring saga. A captivating tale of love, loss and loyalty.

North East Coast 1765
When Gabriel Reynolds meets flame haired serving wench Eleanor Barker in a Whitby tavern little does he know it is a meeting that will change the course of his life. First she runs out on him leaving him frustrated in more ways than one. The next time they meet, in more conventional circumstances, he finds she is engaged to be married. Undeterred and back in his home town of Alnmouth Gabriel knows he has to win the love of this beguiling woman and so sets about putting his house in order. But before he can declare himself fate deals Gabriel a cruel blow.
Back in Whitby, Eleanor who is in fact the daughter of a prominent local ship builder, has troubles of her own. Learning her fiancé has been untrue she ends her engagement. In revenge her spurned lover tells her about Gabriel’s past – a past she finds difficult to accept. Forced to choose between love and loss Eleanor flees to Amsterdam searching for answers. Will Eleanor’s principles jeopardise her chance of happiness or can Gabriel convince her that he is not the man he used to be? Will the course of their love ever be plain sailing?

Amazon

Excerpt :

The North East Coast of England 1765.

Eleanor Barker awoke but did not open her eyes. The pounding waves on the cliffs below Mulgrave House was the first sound she heard each morning and the last she heard before sleeping. As a child the sound of the sea had been as a lullaby to her, sometimes temperate other times turbulent. Always the low rumble a constant comfort. The sound of waves calmed her. Laying motionless she began the day with a yawn. She opened her eyes tentatively. The gulls cawed and called like cockerels of the sea, the sounds beckoning her from her comfortable, downy bed to the sand blown beach. She opened her eyes fully and stretched beneath the warm covers. The lemon light of the new day filtered in. The curtains, always left undrawn even in summer when the dawn light flooded the room far too early, moved in the breeze. She could smell the sea. Hear the sea. She lay half-awake half-dozing, her mind beginning to surface from slumber. Lazily she stroked the silky ear of the small dog that laid on the bed. Today’s sounds were temperate. Then she remembered the night before and her peace of mind was disturbed. She sighed at the recollection. A handsome man’s face swam into her head and she allowed herself a smile before she began to give herself a stern dressing down. That is the last time I act so recklessly she thought. Why on earth did I think it a good idea to take on the bet? Have I lost all sense? The dog began to nuzzle her hand, she rubbed Slate’s tummy affectionately. She recalled seeing William Seamer and decided to blame all her woes on him. Her head felt a little muzzy; she remembered taking far more spirits than she was used to drinking. That coupled with an impulsive nature which could not resist a challenge, all added up to a serious loss of judgement she decided. ‘I need to start acting my age,’ Eleanor told the drowsy dog.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @annecater / #QandAs : The Vault #TheVault – Mark Dawson @pbackwriter @angelaontour

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

The Vault BT Poster

Today I’m on the ‘The Vault’ 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 :

Mark-DawsonMark Dawson is an award-nominated, USA Today bestseller, with more than 20 books published and over 2 million books downloaded in multiple countries and languages. Mark was born in Lowestoft, in the UK. He has worked as a DJ, a door-to-door ice cream seller, factory hand and club promoter. He eventually trained as a lawyer and worked for ten years in the City of London and Soho, firstly pursuing money launderers and then acting for A-list celebrities suing newspapers for libel.

Synopsis :

The Vault CoverIn the dying days of the Soviet Union, the Berlin Wall still casts a long and deadly shadow
1989. MI6 agent Harry Mackintosh embarks on an audacious plan to exfiltrate a valuable asset through a tunnel under the Berlin Wall. But things go badly wrong and what could have been a brilliant coup ends in a bloody failure, with Mackintosh only just escaping with his life. Now he wants revenge.
Mackintosh returns to London for help. He asks for seasoned professionals but gets Jimmy Walker, a bank robber blackmailed into working with British intelligence. Walker has been given a stark choice: a long stretch in prison or a trip behind the Iron Curtain. It sounds like a recipe for disaster, but the resourceful robber – desperate to keep his liberty and lured by tales of Stasi gold – might just be the right man for the job after all.

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 originally published by Macmillan in 2000 and 2001, but the experience wasn’t the happiest. I decided to self-publish subsequent works and have now sold more than 3m copies of my Milton and Rose series around the world. I’ve been full-time for five years and love every minute of it.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I loved Dickens as a child, together with hefty fantasy works: Lord of the Rings and Thomas Covenant, among others. And of course Sherlock Holmes – I was gifted compendium editions of the stories and I feasted on them one after another. My reading these days tends to focus on non-fiction, and choices mirror what I’m writing.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Elmore Leonard – no one writes dialogue like he did.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Most of my characters are assassins or other miscreants, so I’d probably pass on that one…

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I like to hit between 2000 and 3000 words a day. If I can manage that, and enjoy it, my books reflect it in the pace with which they can be read.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
I worked in the film industry for a decade and used to watch 300 or more films a year. I have a natural sense of pace and tension, and I’ve absorbed so many ideas over the years that my creative well has never dried up. Plus, of course, we live in interesting times and a new idea can always be found in the next headline.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
Something in between. I’ll have a rough idea where I’m going and then trace the lines between scenes.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Best one is to read a lot and write a lot. I disgorged 500,000 words before anything was published. You just need to grease the machinery a little, and the only way to do that is to work. Butt in seat.

What are your future plans as an author?
2020 should see six new books from me, time permitting. After that, we have hopes of a TV deal for one of my series in the US. We will see.

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

Mackintosh opened the door and stepped out onto the street. Strelitzer Straße was cobbled with two rows of four-storey apartment blocks that faced each other. Cars had been slotted against the kerb with their noses poking out, leaving enough space for two lines of traffic to proceed in either direction. An attempt had been made to soften the brutal architecture with the planting of a row of young elms, although the winter winds had long since plucked the last leaves from the branches. Mackintosh took a step away from the door and turned left and right to look for any sign that there was anyone else here with him. The street was heavy with snow, save a slushy stripe where the cars had been passing. Mackintosh looked left and saw the Fernsehturm, the enormous television mast in Alexanderplatz that was visible all across the city. He had always hated it; the Communists had erected it in an attempt to demonstrate their power, but it had always embodied their surveillance to Mackintosh, the sense that they looked over everything and that nowhere was safe from their suspicious gaze.

From Mark Dawson’s THE VAULT, published in eBook 31 January, £3.99

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

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 / #PromoPost : The Orphan Thief #TheOrphanThief – Glynis Peters @_GlynisPeters_ @0neMoreChapter_

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

The Orphan Thief BT Poster

Today I’m on the ‘The Orphan Thief’ blogtour, organised by Random Things Tour.
To promote this book I have a some ‘basic’ information for you.

About the Author :

Glynis-Peters-HR-pic_DPI_300Glynis Peters, lives in Dovercourt, Essex, England.
She married her school sweetheart in 1979, and they have three children. They also have three grandchildren, with another due in the spring of 2019, the year of their ruby wedding Anniversary.
In 2014, Glynis was short-listed for the Festival of Romantic Fiction New Talent Award.
In 2018, HarperCollins/HarperImpulse published her novel, The Secret Orphan. The novel rose to several bestseller positions within a few months of release.
When Glynis is not writing she enjoys fishing with her husband, making greetings cards, cross stitch and the company of her granddaughters.
Her grandson lives in Canada, and it is for that reason she introduced a Canadian pilot into The Secret Orphan.

Website
Twitter
Author Page on Facebook
Instagram

Synopsis :

• Paperback: 400 pages
• Publisher: One More Chapter (23 Jan. 2020)
• Language: English
• ISBN-10: 0008384908

The Orphan Thief Cover ImageFrom the international bestselling author of The Secret Orphan

When all seems lost…
As Hitler’s bombs rain down on a battered and beleaguered Britain, Ruby Shadwell is dealt the most devastating blow – her entire family lost during the Coventry Blitz.
Hope still survives…
Alone and with the city in chaos, Ruby is determined to survive this war and rebuild her life. And a chance encounter with street urchin Tommy gives Ruby just the chance she needs…
And love will overcome.
Because Tommy brings with him Canadian Sergeant Jean-Paul Clayton. Jean-Paul is drawn to Ruby and wants to help her, but Ruby cannot bear another loss.
Can love bloom amidst the ruins? Or will the war take Ruby’s last chance at happiness too?

Amazon

The Orphan Thief Image two

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#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:
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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. Just less stickers.

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 #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.

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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!