Friday, 13 December 2019

I Could be You #review

I Could be You by Sheila Bugler grabs the reader from the opening pages – a dead woman and a missing child! From this point on the twists keep coming – just when I thought I knew something, the plot takes a turn in a totally different direction. 

Dee, the character we follow in the present day, used to be a top journalist but then various events, including the breakdown of her marriage and her mother’s death, cause her to become something of a recluse. 

However, she opens up a little to her tenant Katie and falls in love with Katie’s young son Jake. After finding the dead woman, who has clearly been the victim of a deliberate hit and run, Dee uses her journalistic skills to try to track down Jake, discovering along the way
that everything she thought she knew about her friend proves wrong.

Interspersed with the present day theme are flashbacks to another character. I won’t say more as I don’t want to include spoilers, but suffice it to say I found it hard to put the book down! Thank you to NetGalley, Sheila Bugler and Canelo for allowing me an advance copy.


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Friday Fiction Feature: The House Sitter

This week’s Friday Fiction Feature showcases The House Sitter by Jill Barry

Lorraine, I’m delighted to share aspects of my new novel with you and your readers. Up until now, Jill Barry has been known for her romantic fiction but The House Sitter results from a desire to challenge myself by writing outside my comfort zone and creating my first psychological suspense. The book was previously accepted for publication in 2016, but for various reasons, I’m pleased to say it’s now published by Headline Accent.

Why have I abandoned that old thing called love? In fact, I haven’t. Since completing the novel, I’ve written several novellas for D C Thomson, all of which give the reader either a happy ending, or the promise of one.  But I’d like to tell you what inspired The House Sitter and why I very much hope you’ll read it.

Back in 2002, while living in a remote mid Wales village, I experienced problems with a neighbour. Subsequently, I moved to another area where I became friendly with another, much more famous, romantic novelist. Some years later, this author and her husband decided to move to England and suddenly an idea jumped into my mind.  Please be assured that I didn’t act upon this concept in my personal life!

The House Sitter is the story of a couple who, though enjoying their quiet, luxurious existence in a remote Welsh village, decide to move back into England. I give them a near-neighbour who, on discovering their intention, becomes so irritated by their decision that she begins manipulating them in her own devious way. This is the house sitter of the book’s title. And she has history…

I wanted my estate agent to be female and very proactive. Almost without my realising, Bethan takes a dislike to the couple’s friend, increasing the conflict and tension. Especially when a male house buyer turns up and falls in love with The Sugar House. There’s a reason for it to bear that name, by the way. There’s also a macabre anecdote which isn’t totally fictional but proved to be a good authorly device.

I’m told by my book club ladies that the male house buyer mentioned above makes them think of a slightly younger Hugh Jackman. I couldn’t possibly comment.

So, if you like to read something which has been described as an exciting and extremely well-written story, enhanced by a clever and entertaining mix of tension and humour, The House Sitter might be for you.

Author bio and social media links

When Jill Barry’s not writing, she’s often thinking about writing. Or reading. This habit began at an early age, closely followed by a desire to grow up and become a chorus girl or air hostess. She achieved the latter but acted out the other ambition only by dancing round her kitchen. Jill believes her mother instilled a love of words in her and (when she can get away with it) loves to curl up with a codeword puzzle. Reading, writing, musical theatre, baking and following tennis are her passions. Travel is a necessity if she wants to see more of her son, who lives in Melbourne. Visiting Australia has given her an excuse to set one of her many published novellas in a Victorian country resort and she has used several of her former jobs to colour others. She co-manages her local RNA group and loves buzzing off to Cardiff to discuss the craft of writing, drink coffee and catch up with writing friends’ news.

Twitter: @barry_jill
Link to The House Sitter: https://amzn.to/2YMxYMh  


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Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Carol Warham #interview #writerslife

Delighted to feature an interview Carol Warham this week.

What genre would you say your novels fall into, or do they defy classification?
My novel is very much a contemporary (modern) romance.

What made you choose that genre?
My inspiration for the novel came from a location, and from that the idea of the story came. It seemed obvious (to me) it was going to be a romance.

How long does it take you to write a book?
Oh dear. It literally takes me years! I began writing Resolutions five years before publication. I put it away many times, until a friend persuaded me it was worth working on. Currently I have two WIPS which have been ‘on the go’ for two years. They are both historical and demanding a lot of research.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
At best erratic. I’m at the beck and call of family and other commitments. Fortunately I don’t have to work to a deadline.

Tell me something about yourself your readers might not know.
I used to be a magistrate

When did you write your first book and how old were you?
As a child I would write and draw little comics for my dolls and for friends. Resolutions is my first full novel.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I keep myself busy with grandparent ‘duties’ and belonging to various groups in the village where we live. Shortly I will be volunteering for the Huddersfield Literary Festival. There are never enough hours in the day!

 
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I think I’ve learnt two things which have surprised me. The first is that it is much much harder to write a novel than anyone might imagine. The second, very pleasant, surprise is the generosity and support that the writing community offers. Everyone is so helpful with advice and encouragement.  

How many books have you written?
One and two halves (of different books)!

Do you Google yourself? What did you find that affected you most (good or bad)?
I don’t google myself.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
After I’d been through the actress stage I wanted to be a newspaper reporter. I did get there but soon decided it wasn’t for me.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have on your computer?
I’ve got the two I’m working on and three others I discarded, but would like to return to one day.

Author Bio

Resolutions is Carol’s debut novel and is set in a location close to where she lives.
Writing has been her love since childhood. She started by making small comics for her dolls, progressed to training as a journalist for a short while. Once the family had grown up Carol settled down to writing and published short stories, poems and holiday articles.

In recent years she has become a judge in the short story section for the HysteriaUK competition and also for the RNA’s romance novel of the year. She is currently working on an historical novel set at the time of the Armada.

Carol lives in Yorkshire, surrounded by some beautiful countryside, which is ideal for her other passion of walking, often with a dog called Sam.



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Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Lizzie Chantree #interview #writerslife

Today I am delighted to host an interview with Lizzie Chantree.

What genre would you say your novels fall into, or do they defy classification?
My novels are either romantic comedies or contemporary romance. I love romance novels!

What made you choose that genre?
My youngest daughter was unwell (she’s fine now), so I decided to write a book, to bring some sunshine into my life at a dark time. I chose romance as it lifted my mood and made me smile. I wanted to share some happiness with my readers when they might need it too. At that point I didn’t know if I would find any readers as I hid my first book in a cupboard for five years, until my daughter’s health improved.

How long does it take you to write a book?
My first book took a year of very late nights to write, but now they take about six months from first draft to final edit.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I do the school run and then sit at my desk until the next school run. Then I’m back at my desk. I do enjoy writing in bustling coffee shops too though, especially if there is cake. I run a Twitter networking hour called #CreativeBizHour for creatives every Monday night, 8-9pm GMT, where I mentor other creatives.

Tell me something about yourself your readers might not know.
I was voted as one of Fair Play London and The Patent Office’s Female Inventors of the year in 2000, which meant I was invited onto lots of television programmes and featured in glossy magazines and National newspapers. It was a real treat, but I was a bag of nerves!

When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I published my first book when I was 40. I wrote it when I was 35.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I love to paint huge landscapes. I used to exhibit them when I was younger. I also like to walk my little dog and sit and chat with friends and family.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I am in awe about chatting to and meeting my readers. They are amazing people. They are so generous with their time and they share news about my work and buy my books. They tell me when they enjoy my stories and then tell their friends and post reviews. That’s incredible to me and it’s what keeps me writing.

How many books have you written?
I have five that are published, one ready to print, one in edits and a new manuscript I’m writing. My published books are, Babe Driven, Love’s Child, Finding Gina, Ninja School Mum and If you love me, I’m yours.

Do you Google yourself? What did you find that affected you most (good or bad)?
I have never Googled myself. I think it would make me a nervous wreck. Goodness knows what I might find out about myself there!

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I was always fascinated by books and stories. I went to creative writing classes and joined writing groups, but my dream of becoming an author came later. I wanted to do a creative job that involved art and design in some way. My first job was as a graphic designer and I worked for clients like Converse. I set up my own business at the age of nineteen and then had to change my career when my child became unwell. She now proudly tells everyone that she was the catalyst for my new career and she’s right.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have on your computer?
I have one unpublished, one unfinished and many more ideas that are raring to be written. I can’t wait!

Author Bio:
Award-winning inventor and author, Lizzie Chantree, started her own business at the age of 18 and became one of Fair Play London and The Patent Office’s British Female Inventors of the Year in 2000. She discovered her love of writing fiction when her children were little and now runs networking hours on social media, where creative businesses, writers, photographers and designers can offer advice and support to each other. She lives with her family on the coast in Essex.

Book links:
Universal book buy link: If you love me, I’m yours: viewbook.at/IfYouLoveMe-ImYours
Universal book buy link: Ninja School Mum: viewBook.at/NinjaSchoolMum
Universal book buy link: Babe Driven: myBook.to/LizziesBooks
Universal book buy link: Love’s Child: viewBook.at/Amazon-LovesChild
Universal book buy link: Finding Gina: viewbook.at/FindingGina

Social media links:
Wordpress:     https://lizziechantree.com




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Friday, 29 November 2019

Friday Fiction Feature: An Uncomplicated Man

This week’s Friday Fiction Feature showcases the idea behind Colette McCormick’s novel, An Uncomplicated Man.

The inspiration to write An Uncomplicated Man came from me thinking about my dad.

As some of you may know, I had a kidney issue in 2013 which resulted in me needing regular dialysis sessions. Dialysis takes four hours each time so that is a lot of time to think and one evening, my dad just came to mind. My dad’s favourite song was ‘Danny Boy,’ and so a thought of my dad, on that occasion, resulted in the song playing over an over in my head. I thought ‘Danny Boy’ would be a great title for book and I started to imagine a few scenarios.

Daniel Laither is just a regular bloke and I wanted to explore what happens when an ordinary man gets in over his head. As it usually does, one lie leads to another and I wondered how far would he go to keep his secret? Would he be able to dig his way out of the hole that he found himself in? How would he react when he thought that he had nowhere else to go?

I once described An Uncomplicated Man as the story of a man who got himself into a pickle because of a woman. Lucy Braithwaite is that woman and I know that I would hate her if I met her in real life. She is selfish and spoiled and doesn’t hesitate to use Daniel to get what she wants, or should I say what her father wants.

I would describe it as a love story – at least on one side.

It is told in the first person from more than one perspective so that both Daniel and Lucy get the chance to tell their sides of the story.

Up until a few months ago this book was called ‘Danny Boy,’ until it was decided by my former publisher that the title wasn’t strong enough. Maybe one day I’ll write a sequel and use the name then.

An Uncomplicated Man will be published by Headline on December 5th 2019.

Bio
I was born in my grandmother’s house in Sheffield in the 1960’s. I was the youngest of three children and born on my dad’s birthday to boot making me the ‘golden child.’ I left the

big city in 1982 and moved to a tiny village in North East England. It was a bit of a culture shock at first but I love it now.

I’ve had all sorts in my time from ledger clerk (that’s what it says on my marriage certificate) to school dinner lady and probably half a dozen other things in-between. I currently work as a manager in a charity shop where no two days are the same.

If I’m not working or writing I’m probably cooking, gardening or walking the dog.



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Thursday, 28 November 2019

Sasha Lane #interview #writerslife

Welcome to Sasha Lane, author of Girl, Always and Forever, Girl,Unconventional, Girl, Unhinged and Girl, Conflicted for this week’s interview.

What genre would you say your novels fall into, or do they defy classification?  Contemporary Romance, chick lit, funny romance

What made you choose that genre?
I initially wanted to write crime novels as I love crime fiction as well as Romance, but my writing is much too light hearted for that so I switched to Romance and it’s been the best thing for me – I love writing funny romance books.

How long does it take you to write a book?
About a year from initially starting the book to completing the full edit and ready for publication.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
Crazy! I work full time so try to write a couple of hundred words a night during the week, and then a few thousand on both Saturdays and Sundays.

Tell me something about yourself your readers might not know.
I have a Criminal Justice Degree which I completed in my thirties.  I did this through distance learning and gained a 2:1 BA Honours degree which I’m hugely proud of. I absolutely loved it! It was such hard work but really interesting, and it has probably changed my perspective on life.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I wrote my first book in 2012 which was released in 2013.  I was 33 when it was released as an eBook.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I love jogging, yoga, catching up with friends, and curling up on the sofa watching Box Sets with my boyfriend and two cats!

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
How emotionally attached I am to the whole process.  I can remember when the delivery of paperback copies of my first book arrived. I was so excited and so proud that I was actually holding a book in my hand that I had written.  But then I remember feeling really protective of that book, and fearing putting it out there for people to read and potentially criticise as well as love.  It took a while for me to realise that if someone doesn’t like your book; that’s ok – nothing bad happens, but thankfully I have had great feedback so far!

How many books have you written?
My fourth book is released on October 5th. This is the last book in the series which all follow the same characters.

Do you Google yourself? What did you find that affected you most (good or bad)? 
I found lots of articles/websites showing interviews with me about my books and I was surprised how much stuff I’ve done – it’s really nice to see and to remind myself that the effort I put in marketing my books, and myself as an author, are worth it.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to be a vet because I love animals – as it turns out, I hate the sight of blood so would have probably made a really bad vet!

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have on your computer?
Two unfinished projects which I’m hoping to come back to.  I’m trying to mix my love of chick lit and crime by doing a light-hearted crime novel, kind of ‘girl turns detective’ rather than a traditional crime book.

Contact Sasha Lane:
Twitter: @sashalaneauthor
Instagram: www.instagram.com/sashalaneauthor
Website: www.sashalane.com



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Friday, 22 November 2019

Friday Fiction Feature: The Guesthouse

I am delighted to have Abbie Frost here for today’s Friday Fiction Feature to talk about The Guesthouse.

The Guesthouse has been described as dark, claustrophobic and full of suspense.

Readers often ask how authors come up with their plots. For me it can be anything. Sometimes an idea simply pops into my head, usually along with the question – what if? Or I may hear of an incident and wonder how I might deal with such an experience.

Like many crime writers I’m addicted to true crime books and documentaries, so the germ of a plot might be suggested by one of these. Or it may be something I’ve read or heard about that has nothing to do with crime, but includes a character or setting that could be central to a story.  Then I’m into what if territory again.

The Guesthouse had a rather more unusual genesis. I was incredibly lucky earlier this year to be asked to lecture on the golden age of English crime fiction aboard the Queen Mary 2 as she sailed across the Atlantic. In addition to being a wonderful experience in itself this also meant that, while preparing my talks, I had to reread many of my favourite mysteries from the time.

I was talking (make that boasting) about the trip to my editor, and telling him how much I was enjoying the country house or closed circle mysteries that were so popular then, when he suggested I try a modern take on this kind of classic whodunnit.

Agatha Christie is the most famous of the golden age authors and her books are often referred to as cosy crime. However, even in the Poirot and Marple stories where the puzzle element appears to dominate, there is often an extremely sinister undercurrent. 

And you only have to read novels like The Crooked House or my favourite Christie, Endless Night, to enter very dark territory indeed. Christie. even taps into themes of the supernatural and black magic, in The Pale Horse for instance.  As a lover of gothic fiction this is something that particularly appeals to me.

Although I soon became excited by my editor’s idea, I wanted to give the classic format a contemporary slant: to place the story firmly in the twenty first century. So, the guesthouse of the title may be a remote mansion, but the characters are not the privileged folk at the centre of most golden age mysteries. Instead they are a mix of ordinary people who have used an online site to book a short holiday.  It turns out of course that neither they, nor the house are exactly what they seem.

Abbie Frost is a pseudonym. 

Twittter @FrostyAbbie


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