Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Colette Kebell #interview #writerslife

My author interview this week is with Colette Kebell.


What genre would you say your novels fall into, or do they defy classification?

My first two are chick-lit/rom-com or rather, contemporary female.  I then turned my hand to a raunchy and a crime thriller… so I guess you could say I am eclectic J  My next two shall be a return to chick-lit though, which is my favourite genre.

What made you choose that genre?

It’s a genre that I enjoy reading, and there are so many variations around that I find it unrestrictive, which I like, hence being self-published.

How long does it take you to write a book?

That depends on how the story flows.  I’m a punster, not a plotter and so one book might take 4-6 months from start to finish (copy editing and cover design included), whereas another might take years. The two WIPs I’m currently working on have been on the back burner, so to speak, for around three years, but have now come to the forefront.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

I’m terrible at disciplining myself.  If the story isn’t flowing at any given time, I procrastinate and go off and do something else or look after my dogs or some such J  Thankfully, that doesn’t last that long, but life has been rather hectic of late due to being involved with a couple of rather sizeable multi-author book signing events and so, at this point in time, my first and second round of edits have suffered.  I’m itching to get back to writing again but edits come first of the next two books won’t be launched any time soon.



Tell me something about yourself your readers might not know.

Though I write chick-lit, I was a complete tomboy growing up.  There were no girls my age around where we lived at the time and so I hung around with my brother and his friends playing cricket and football and yes, naughty on occasion, playing games such as like knock down ginger. 

When did you write your first book and how old were you?

My first published book was written in 2014, shortly after having been made redundant.  I was 48 at the time.  I have another which I wrote some 10 years earlier which sits in a drawer collecting dust, which I doubt I shall revisit.


What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I love variety in my life, so I don’t stick to any one thing.  I’m passionate about cooking, sewing, gardening and when it comes to DIY, I can turn my hand to most things, with a little help from my husband, of course.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

How cathartic it is to write.  At the time, I was incredibly angry at having been made redundant but writing that first book expelled that anger and brought out my suppressed creative nature.

How many books have you written?

So far I have published four, though have two WIPs on the go currently.  All four of those have been lovingly translated into Italian by my husband, two have been narrated for audio, with the other two in the process and a number of them have been translated into other languages.  It has been a hectic time as audiobook production is almost as time-consuming as the writing itself, particularly when self-published.




Do you Google yourself? What did you find that affected you most (good or bad)?

I haven’t googled myself for quite some time, due to having found a large number of sites purporting to offer my books for free.  I report each I come across to google and also subscribe to a website that monitors those and has them taken down.  Other than that, most of what turns up on google are either genuine book-related posts or interviews such as this one.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

I never knew what I wanted to do when I grew up but was always creative, whether it was writing, drawing, sewing (my grandmother was a tailoress for Jaeger).  My parents talked me into doing a secretarial course, as something to fall back on, and I got stuck in that rut until I was made redundant and decided I didn’t want to work for someone else any more.  

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have on your computer?

Ouch, that is a question and a half.  I have two that I am currently working towards launching this year, one which is another raunchy which needs some major edits, another crime thriller which hasn’t even reached the halfway mark and a few short stories I would like to build on.  I don’t ever delete, just park ideas until the inspiration takes hold again.


Bio: Colette Kebell is an eclectic author, though a relatively new one and thus far has self-published her books. Her books are light-hearted, fun and quirky and even considered by some to be inspirational.  She publishes mostly for the English speaking market and the Italian one.  Colette Kebell does not stick to just one genre when writing though, as you shall discover from her latest book which launched on 5th April 2019.

As a career, Colette spent her later years as a legal secretary. After a first attempt at writing many years ago (a book that still remains in her drawer) she resumed this passion a few years back, after being made redundant.  After few book signing events and a book talk, which almost caused her to collapse with nerves, Colette now spends her time between her home in the UK and her home in France.

Colette has two adorable dogs and, when not writing and marketing her books, she likes cooking for herself and her husband, gardening or designing various items for their home.  Amongst her other hobbies, she has also experimented with furniture upholstery, and she might, from time to time, have a paintbrush in her hand.

Buy her books here: https://amzn.to/2SUK6sl


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Friday, 14 February 2020

Friday Fiction Feature: The Craig Crime Series


This week's Friday Fiction Feature covers not just one novel, but an entire series! 

Catriona King is one of my favourite crime writers. I am delighted to feature her here. 

Catriona is giving away THE TALION CODE, #13 in the Craig Crime Series, free in eBook format from Friday the 14th February to Monday the 17th 2020. The link is below.

THE CRAIG CRIME SERIES is a popular detective fiction series written by author Catriona King, with storylines set in modern day Ireland and overseas. Catriona is a doctor with training as a forensic medical officer and has always written, not only in the crime genre but in science fiction and fantasy.

The Craig series centres on the cases of the Belfast Murder Detective Squad led by DCI (later DCS) Marc Craig and combines crime solving with the often touching and humorous interactions between the members of the squad.

There are twenty-two full length published novels in the series set between two thousand and twelve and two thousand and nineteen, each of which can be read as a standalone (biographies of the main characters’ backgrounds and briefs on the main location are provided at the back of each novel).

Each novel covers the eventual solution of a murder or murders in very different contexts and ways, combining cutting-edge techniques and technologies with traditional crime solving approaches and utilising the differing talents of the murder team. The plots in the series cover variously: gangs, international people trafficking, technology based crime e.g. computer hacking and cryptocurrency, County Line drug gangs, drones, sex auctions, political intrigue, fraud, religious sects, family murders and many more topics, with some based on true events that have happened around the world. 

Whilst the focus of the series isn’t on the period of The Troubles in Northern Ireland but rather on the country as it is now, a modern multicultural democracy, some of the characters and storylines have a background in the conflict on the various sides.

The latest novel in the series is THE GOOD WOMAN, which begins with a murder victim being found near a well known rural landmark. Sightings of two mysterious women in the area make the case one of the murder squad’s most confusing in years, and the unravelling of long-held secrets leads them to a perilous stand-off in which someone dies. 

Meanwhile, a boy who was kidnapped from Portugal in twenty-seventeen and trafficked for adoption to America is abducted for a second time, and the unearthing of a century old Irish grudge sends two of Craig’s team searching for answers across the sea.

The next Craig Crime novel, THE LEGACY, will be released in April 2020.

SERIES LINKS

GIVEAWAY
THE TALION CODE, #13 in the Craig Crime Series, is free to download in eBook format from Friday the 14th February to Monday the 17th 2020.

Twitter: @catrionaking1


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Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Sheila Bugler #interview #writerslife

This week I am delighted to be hosting an interview with one of my favourite writers: Sheila Bugler.

What genre would you say your novels fall into, or do they defy classification?
I write crime fiction novels that are most often described as psychological thrillers.

What made you choose that genre?
As far back as I can remember, I’ve wanted to write. It was only when I started reading Harlan Coben novels that I suddenly thought ‘this is what I want to write!’.

So, I set out to write like Harlan Coben but ended up turning out something a little different. I don’t think any writer really knows what they’ll write until they start writing and see what happens. That’s the magic of doing something creative.

How long does it take you to write a book?
I can’t write full time because, like many writers, I also have a day job. So, I have to fit my writing in around work, which used to mean it took me a year to write a book. However, my new publishing contract is to produce a book every six months so I’ve had to become more efficient with my time!

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
During the week, I try to get up at 5.30 and write for an hour before the rest of the family starts to wake up. After that, it’s all about being a taxi service for my children and getting the day job done. I also try to write at the weekends. It’s not ideal, and I’d love to be able to write full time, but it’s worked for me so far.

Tell me something about yourself your readers might not know.
I always describe myself as an ‘Irish writer’ because my parents are Irish and I grew up in Ireland. In fact, I was born in England (Leicester), where I lived until I was six.


When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I finished my first book in 2008. I was forty – a good age to write your first book, I think.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I adore walking. We live on the edge of the stunning South Downs national park – a beautiful place to walk, with plenty of lovely country pubs to stop off along the way.


 What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
It gets harder, I think. Somehow, you’d imagine it should get easier but it doesn’t!

How many books have you written?
Lots! Four novels published and at least four more festering in various dark, dusty corners of my house. Sometimes I’ll write a book that’s not quite good enough. Over time, I’ll use bits and pieces of the plot in other books I’m writing.

Do you Google yourself? What did you find that affected you most (good or bad)?
I used to Google myself a lot. Now, I don’t do it at all. I think I used to love the thrill of seeing articles about me and my books. I’m not sure why I stopped – I just did.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
A writer.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have on your computer?
See earlier question  – lots!

Author bio:
Sheila grew up in a small town in the west of Ireland. After studying Psychology at National University Ireland (Galway), she left Ireland and worked in Italy, Spain, Germany, Holland and Argentina before finally settling in Eastbourne, where she now lives with her husband, two children and a scruffy dog.

She is a creative writing tutor for the Writers Bureau and she reviews crime fiction for crimesquad.com

Twitter: @sheilab10
Instagram: sheilabsussex

List of titles
Hunting Shadows
The Waiting Game
All Things Nice
I Could Be You



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Friday, 7 February 2020

Friday Fiction Feature: A Dozen Second Chances

This week’s Friday Fiction Feature showcases Kate Field’s A Dozen Second Chances

Does anyone remember the TV show Ready Steady Cook? Each episode, two chefs were given a bag of ingredients they hadn’t seen before, and were challenged to use them to prepare a meal. It was a chaotic process, not helped by having to answer the host’s questions and chat to the audience member who had brought the ingredients, but the chefs always managed to produce an impressive meal at the end of the show.

Planning and writing a book often seems like an episode of Ready Steady Cook to me. I’m not a natural planner, so I don’t begin with a tray of perfectly prepared ingredients or a recipe giving a step-by-step guide to what I’m going to write. It’s a more spontaneous, chaotic process, starting with random ideas, frequently hindered and interrupted by real life, and it usually feels like a miracle when a book appears at the end of it!

Several raw ingredients came together to become A Dozen Second Chances. I’d written the opening pages of a potential book about a mother who faces an empty nest when her child goes to university, but hadn’t known where to go next with the story. Another idea was bubbling away about a couple whose relationship is challenged when they take on guardianship of a young child. A friend mentioned that she was having a ‘be kind to myself’ day, and the phrase stuck in my head as something I could use one day. I saw Aidan Turner interviewed on a chat show, and my romantic male lead came to life…!

These ideas simmered for a while until I saw a way they could blend together, and the story of Eve and Paddy took shape. Like the meals on Ready Steady Cook, I hope readers will find A Dozen Second Chances a warm, comforting and ultimately satisfying book!

Here’s the blurb for A Dozen Second Chances:

What are the chances that twelve little tokens could change a life?
Seventeen years ago, Eve Roberts had the wonderful life she’d always dreamed of: a degree in archaeology, a gorgeous boyfriend, and exciting plans to travel the world with him, working on digs. But when her sister Faye died, the life Eve knew ended too. Faye’s daughter Caitlyn came to live with Eve, her boyfriend left, and she quickly gave up on her dreams.
Now approaching her fortieth birthday, Eve faces the prospect of an empty nest as Caitlyn is leaving home. Caitlyn gives Eve a set of twelve ‘Be Kind to Yourself’ vouchers, telling her that she has to start living for herself again, and that she should fill one in every time she does something to treat herself.
With her very first voucher, Eve’s life will change its course. But with eleven more vouchers to go, can Eve learn to put herself first and follow the dreams she’s kept secret for so long? Because life is for living – and as she well knows, it’s too short to waste even a moment…

A Dozen Second Chanceshttps://amzn.to/2OA6pCm

Social media links:
 Twitter: @katehaswords

Bio: 
Kate writes contemporary women’s fiction, mainly set in her favourite county of Lancashire, where she lives with her husband, daughter and mischievous cat.
She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.
Kate’s debut novel, The Magic of Ramblings, won the RNA’s Joan Hessayon Award for new writers.


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Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Miriam Drori #interview #writerslife

Today I am delighted to welcome Miriam Drori who is here to tell us about her writing life.
What genre would you say your novels fall into, or do they defy classification?
Hello Lorraine, and thanks for having me on your blog. Each of my books falls into a different genre. The first is a romance; the second, which was co-written, is historical fiction; the third is non-fiction; the fourth is uplit. As the first two are currently unavailable, I have listed the links to the other two, below.
What made you choose that genre?
I wrote the romance following an excellent online workshop facilitated by Sally Quilford. The historical fiction was suggested by fellow author, Emma Rose Millar. The non-fiction book is on a topic I’m passionate about. My latest novel involves a character I had to write about; the genre chose itself.
How long does it take you to write a book?
A long time. The latest one took the longest. I began it for NaNoWriMo 2013. I put it aside and wrote other books in the meantime. I returned to it more than once. It was finally published this year.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
During the month of NaNoWriMo, I write every day, all day, and wonder how other writers manage to write alongside full-time jobs. The rest of the year, I try to write five days a week, but often life gets in the way. Mornings are the best time for me to write. Afternoons often find me in the kitchen and evenings outside the house.
Tell me something about yourself your readers might not know.
I won a bicycle when I was twelve. My parents would never have bought one for me because they thought it was too dangerous. (I’d learnt to ride on the bike of a friend’s little brother. It was so low to the ground that I wasn’t afraid of falling off.)
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
That would be the non-fiction book that was eventually published in 2017. I wrote the first draft in 2004-5, when I was 51.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Folk dancing, hiking, touring and reading.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I learned that I’m a creative person! When I started to write fiction, I stuck to real events and characters that were an amalgam of real people. Gradually, I discovered an ability to make up stories and characters that had lain dormant since childhood.
How many books have you written?
Four finished and published. A few others, started and abandoned. Two drafts I plan to return to.
Do you Google yourself? What did you find that affected you most (good or bad)?
I don’t often Google myself, but I did to answer this question. I saw (in this order) Amazon bio, latest blog post, Facebook profile, LinkedIn profile, Crooked Cat bio, Goodreads bio, review of my latest novel, guest blog post, two videos of me reading my poetry, guest post, Pinterest profile, extract from my latest novel, guest post, interview, someone selling my debut novel second-hand for roughly the price when it was new, various images of me and my books, two guest posts, Amazon page, review, quote from review on Twitter, guest post… But I didn’t discover anything. I phewed a sigh of relief tinged with a slight whiff of disappointment.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I didn’t know what I wanted to be, but I knew what I didn’t want to be. My father, a teacher, warned me off teaching. My mother’s jobs as secretary and housewife didn’t seem very interesting. As I wasn’t any of those (I do as little housework as possible), I can say I fulfilled my ambitions!

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have on your computer?
I counted eleven, but some of those are only ideas and some have been discarded, while others are included in plans for the future.
Bio
Miriam Drori has decided she’s in the fifth and best stage of her life, and she’s hoping it’ll last for ever. It’s the one in which she’s happiest and most settled and finally free to do what she wants.
Miriam lives in a delightful house and garden in Jerusalem with her lovely husband and one of three children. She enjoys frequent trips around the world. She dances, hikes, reads and listens to music. And she’s realised that social anxiety is here to stay, so she might as well make friends with it.
On top of that, she has moved away from computer programming and technical writing (although both of those provided interest in previous stages) and now spends most of her time editing and writing fiction. Neither Here Nor There, a romance with a difference set in Jerusalem, was published in 2014. The Women Friends: Selina, co-written with Emma Rose Millar, is the first of a series of novellas based on the famous painting by Gustav Klimt. Social Anxiety Revealed (non-fiction) provides a comprehensive description of social anxiety from many different viewpoints. Cultivating a Fuji tells the story of a guy who’s different.
Miriam Drori can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Instagram, Wattpad and on her website/blog and social anxiety blog.

Her two latest books are available from Amazon: Social Anxiety Revealed and Cultivating a Fuji.

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Friday, 31 January 2020

Friday Fiction Feature: Purple Michaelmas

Friday Fiction Feature – Purple Michaelmas by Patricia Hutson

Lorraine, I would like to thank you for accepting my story Purple Michaelmas for your Friday Fiction Feature.

I have always enjoyed, writing, when our children were little I used to invent stories for them.  Most children when to bed with tales of Sleeping Beauty etc. not mine.  Because we were living during the cold war era, I invented spies, and as we travelled to Germany and Austria a great deal I was able to invent these characters. 

It was an unexpected incident at the Border post of Aachen, that really gave life to my stories.  The car in front of us was stopped by Police and we witnessed the arrest of the Bader - Meinhof a terrorist group that gave even more life to my stories.

As our children were growing up I decided that I should start writing stories for grown ups.  I had to think what genre I would use as my form of tale telling.  I did not want Detective Stories as apart from Agatha Christie I knew nothing about that world.  It was a comment from my husband that put me on the road to writing Purple Michaelmas/


Sitting in the beer garden at the Brau Haus (the Hubertus in the book) he suggested I would a story linking England and Germany together.  

I spent quite a few days trying to work out a scenario, eventually I came up with the idea.  As a working a Medium, I had come to realise that everyone is looking for that one thing that is very difficult to find.  That indefinable something, that little bubble of hope and love. 


I had my answer, so it was that Purple Michaelmas was born.  It is a love story, but not like any other.  It links body and soul. I was terrified when I first put pen to paper, then remembered something a well known writer had said: Write about what you know.

As I knew Germany and Austria really well, our local Football Club and the German team I was able to  weave their character together.   The spiritual link cam from my own experiences in my working life.

My tastes in reading are pretty catholic, I love Lloyd C Douglas, James Hilton, H Rider Haggard and the Historian Ian Wilson.  I enjoy adventure stories and factual historical ones.

Yes, my story is a Romance, something that many people will laugh at.  But, this one is different.  It gives the reader something to think about, not just happy ever after.  There are questions to be asked and answered.  Is there? Or isn't there?

I was born in India and came to England in 1958, the book is published in my maiden name in honour of my Father Harold Hutson, a soldier who was in WW1 in Baghdad with T E Lawrence together they translated Arabic books into English for the British Government.  In both wars he was in the Intelligence Corp.  and died two weeks before I was born. 

I love writing, I like to make the world as I would want it to be.  I hate the overuse of a certain four letter word.  I feel our language is descriptive enough.

Website: www.ankhara.com


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Friday, 24 January 2020

Friday Fiction Feature: Bluebell's Christmas Magic

Marie Laval joins us today to talk about her delightful novel, Bluebell’s Christmas Magic 


Thank you so much Lorraine for welcoming me on your blog to talk about Bluebell’s Christmas Magic which was released by Choc Lit on November 19th.  

I am very excited about Bluebell for two reasons. Firstly, it is my first ever Christmas romance, and secondly, it very nearly never happened… Indeed, only a few weeks before I completed the manuscript, I became so completely stuck I couldn’t see my way out of the plots and sub-plots and almost gave the whole thing up.

That’s the problem about embarking on a story with only a vague idea for the plot and letting your imagination take control. What is funny is that I always know exactly what the last scene is going to be, but I have no idea how to get there. There are many times when I wish I could plan more. In fact, every time I embark on a new story I am determined to do more planning, but every time I dive straight into it!

I first got the idea for Bluebell’s Christmas Magic during a family holiday in Coniston. It was summertime, and the weather and the scenery were absolutely glorious. And I thought… Why not set a story here - or rather in a fictional village very much inspired by Coniston? I started scribbling a few notes about possible characters and locations, and took plenty of photos.

I got the character of the hero straight away - he was going to be a grumpy French ex-serviceman who had been injured in combat and had come to a remote house in the Lakes to forget all about Christmas - but it took me a lot longer to work out what my heroine would be like… Until one day when I spotted an advert for a cleaning company… and that was it! I suddenly ‘got’ Cassie’s character. My heroine would be a cleaning lady and the rest just flowed from there.


Cassie Bell isn’t just a cleaning lady, even if her slogan is ‘Don’t let dust and grime get to you, call Bluebell to the rescue!’ She also tries to be a ‘good mood fairy’ and gives jokes to cheer her customers up. This means that I had to find jokes to write into the story too! I had a lot of fun going through Christmas cracker jokes, and asking my children to make some up for me. Of course, I couldn’t resist inventing a few jokes myself… but they weren’t always very successful and I was often the one laughing!

A bit of a twist for your readers now, Lorraine… Cassie wasn’t going to be called Cassie at all. Until the last line edits, she was called Clara Bell, but my editor told me that she wasn’t keen on the name because it was the name of an American clown! I therefore had to come up with a new name very quickly. You can realise the panic I was in. As a writer, picking the right name for your main characters is absolutely essential. It takes time, the name has to sound right, to suit the character’s personality and appearance, and be compatible with the names of the other protagonists too. Anyway, I was lucky. After playing around with a few ideas, I found Cassie and it fitted my heroine perfectly.

Here is the twist… My editor mentioning a clown gave me an idea for my next heroine!  

Blurb:
A gorgeous new Christmas story from the author of bestselling novel Little Pink Taxi

A flick of a feather duster and a sprinkle of Christmas magic …

Cassie Bell is used to mess. Her cleaning business, Bluebell Cleaning, is well known in the Cumbrian village of Red Moss. However, now it’s almost Christmas and Cassie has a slightly messier situation to deal with than she’s used to. She’s been hired to help Stefan Lambert, an injured army helicopter pilot who’s staying at the local Belthorn Manor whilst he recovers. Stefan resents Cassie’s interference and is definitely not looking for Christmas cheer. But Cassie prides herself on sparkling surfaces – so, can she bring some festive sparkle to Stefan’s life too?

Bluebell’s Christmas Magic is available in ebook and audio book here

About the author:
Originally from Lyon in France, Marie now lives in Lancashire with her family. She works full-time as a modern languages teacher and in her spare time she loves writing romance and dreaming about romantic heroes. She writes both historical and contemporary romance and best-selling Little Pink Taxi was her debut romantic comedy novel with Choc Lit. She belongs to Authors on the Edge and writes short stories for the best selling Miss Moonshine’s anthologies. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors. Her native France, as well as her passion for history and research, very much influences her writing, and all her novels have what she likes to call ‘a French twist’!


Please feel free to contact Marie on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/marielavalauthor/) or Twitter (https://twitter.com/MarieLaval1)


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