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An insight to Joy Chico Ejiro; Nollywood producer and entrepreneur.

Today I have Joy Chico Ejiro as a guest on my blog. A movie producer and fashion designer, she is here to invite us all to the London premier of her new movie… “Night Bus to Lagos”.

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-How did you get involved in the movie industry?

My journey started 22yrs ago. Back when my husband and I were dating, in January 1997. I was an undergraduate, majoring in English, in the University of Lagos and supplemented my income by selling items of clothing to students. He noticed how passionate I was about the fashion industry and asked if I would like to be responsible for dressing the actors in the movie he was working on at the time. I said yes; and that was how it all began. After years of hard-work, I became the most sought after costumier in Nollywood.

-What memories do you have about the first movie you produced? 

The first movie I produced was “Daybreak, it was shot in 1998 and it featured Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Olu Jacobs and Emeka Ike. It was a huge success and marked a difference in the movie industry. Full of glamour, beautiful scenery and excellent locations, it showcased fashion in an innovative way and featured one of the then giants of the industry; Olu jacobs. The movie raised the bar and revolutionized the Nigerian movie scene. I still get positive reviews on the wardrobe and costumes from that movie till this day and it fills me with an incredible sense of accomplishment.

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A Chico Ejiro production.

-And now…”Night bus to Lagos”; What does this movie mean to you?

Night bus to Lagos is a comeback movie for my husband and I. Our last movie before this one was shot 5 years ago, “Open Marriage”. I took a break after that to build up my fashion label; Realcolours while my husband delved into directing and producing  TV series. We kept talking of going back to the movie scene and four years ago, the idea for “Night bus to Lagos” originated in one of those discussions. For personal reasons, I spent quite sometime in USA and there I was able to develop and work on the plot. It has been a long journey but the outstanding reviews have made all the hard-work and sacrifices worth it.

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-What genre is it? It is a romantic comedy.

-Where and when can we see it?-In cinemas all over Nigeria and the London premiere is on the 24th of May in Broadway theater, Barking, London.

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-Is there a particular movie theme you haven´t worked with that interests you? 

My husband and I have directed and produced almost all movie genres. But I love action movies, I hope to be able to work on more and entertain my audience with powerful story-lines and special effects. I intend on challenging myself as a producer to reach higher heights.

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Joy showcasing one of her personal designs for Realcolours.

Movie trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXRftdXbWcw

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Interview with award winning author Amanda Lauer…

Good morning everyone. It is my pleasure to host Amanda Lauer today. Here is a a short biography about her:

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An avid reader and history buff since childhood, Amanda Lauer fulfilled a lifelong goal with the publication of her debut novel, A World Such as Heaven Intended, in October, 2014. The second book in the Heaven Intended series, A Life Such as Heaven Intended, was published April 1, 2018. Book #3, A Love Such as Heaven Intended, is scheduled to be published April, 2019. A movie contract has been extended to Lauer for the first book in her series.

Lauer learned the technical aspects of writing as a proofreader in the insurance, newspaper and collegiate arenas. Over the last 18 years she has had nearly 1,500 articles published in newspapers and magazines throughout the United States. She currently writes for The Business News and the Compass newspaper, which is published by the Green Bay Diocese.

She is the co-author of Celebrate Appleton, A 150th Birthday Photo Album, and contributed to the books Expressions of ITP…Inside Stories, and Living Virtuously — Keeping Your Heart and Home. In addition to her writing career, Lauer is an independent distributor for Enagic Corporation which produces ionizers that create Kangen Water®. In keeping with the company mission, she has a passion for spreading the message of true health — physical, mental and financial. On the side, Amanda does acting and modeling for local commercials, films, ads and training videos.

Residents of Wisconsin, Amanda and her husband John have been married 38 years. They are involved in their church and community and in their spare time travel for business and pleasure, play golf, run, bike, read, and further their education in the area of personal development. They are the proud parents of four young adult children, have a son-in-law and daughter-in-law, and are grandparents to three grandsons and two granddaughters.

-When and why did you start writing?
I began my career in proofreading in 1981 and in 2000 expanded to proofreading and journalism, i.e., writing for newspapers and magazines. Like every journalist, I had a desire to write a book and that goal was accomplished in 2014 with the publication of my first book, A World Such as Heaven Intended.
 
-What inspired you to pick your particular genre ?
I have always been a history buff and love reading historic fiction. One thing that is difficult to find in that genre is clean historic fiction novels (vs. bodice rippers), so I decided to start writing books that were enjoyable, inspiring and aligned with my morals.
 
-Have you created a special character? Can you introduce this character to us?
Each of the three female protagonists in the trilogy is modeled after one of our daughters, so Amara, Brigid and Josephine are all near and dear to my heart. Amara is spirited, determined and adventurous. Brigid is sweet, compassionate and brave. Josephine is strong-willed, humorous and generous. 
 
-Which of your books did you enjoy writing most and why?
I would have to say A Love Such as Heaven Intended. As it was the third book in the series, I understood the writing and editing process, so I was able to completely focus on the story as I wrote. Plus, Josephine and her interactions with Michael kept me entertained as I wrote.
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-For what age group would you recommend your books?
High school age and up. The books are written in third person limited perspective: every other chapter is written in the female protagonist’s voice and the opposite chapter is written in the male protagonist’s voice, so the books are equally enjoyable for both females and males. 
 
-A review from a reader that made your day… 
 
Having someone compare my book to Gone with the Wind is one of the best compliments I’ve ever received as a writer!
From the first pages, A World Such As Heaven Intended hearkens back to the pinnacle of epic Civil War romances, Gone With the Wind. The narrative alternates between the gritty realism of the bloodiest battles on American soil and the light-hearted treatment of the Amara and Nathan’s romance.

Amara has spunk, Nathan has honor, and they share the same Catholic faith, but a war looms around them, and despite their attraction, circumstance and misunderstanding work against them. In the midst of tragedy, their fates become inextricably intertwined, sending them on a cross-country trip. They travel in disguise, which not only adds a light touch to the story, but also gives them ample opportunity to fall in love.

A World Such As Heaven offers a sweet story and a pleasant escape for those who enjoy Civil War romance.

-Is there a particular author that has inspired you on your journey as a writer?
Historic romance writers: May McGoldrick, Kathleen Woodiwiss, Judith McNaught,
-What can we expect from you in 2019?
After the third book in the Heaven Intended series is published, I’ll be finishing up work on a new series of books that focus on a girl growing up in the ’70s and being the victim of bullying at a Catholic grade school. The books tell a similar story but are written from two different perspectives. The first is from the young lady who was bullied, looking back at her memories from 45 years ago, and the second is from her daughter, age 12, who is transported back in time to live her mom’s life as a 7th grader in 1974. Older adults will enjoy the blast from the past, younger readers will like seeing what life was like back in the ’70s, and everyone will appreciate the story of hope and redemption.
a life
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Katrina Hart presents…

I´m really pleased to present Katrina Hart´s new novel “Lost Town of Man’s Crossing”, especially as  today is its launch date. As an author I know how exciting and special that day is. Here are a few words from the proud Author of “Finding Destiny”.

The Lost Town of Man’s CrossingEBook

My Inspiration for the Lost Town of Man’s Crossing.

Honestly, it was Suzy’s appearance in Finding Destiny, my first novel that piqued my curiosity about her. I always had this feeling she had more to tell me and that I would be seeing her again. When I started this novel,  she was walking in to see her grandad on his birthday and from there she showed me her journey.

I’ve also been very enchanted by another world, different rules, and magical creatures, but also the very fine line between right and wrong, suffering for the choices made in the past not just by Suzy, but those in her family she had never met.

I loved seeing Suzy grow and the gift she was given shaped her life, just as much as discovering the magic inside her and the creatures and people in the land she found herself in. As a writer, I can only stick to writing a character’s story, if the story pulls me inside and shakes every feeling and emotion I have as I walk quietly behind each character. This novel sure did for me.

Fantasy has no limits to what you might see or come across and that is what makes it so exciting, nail-biting and sometime emotional to write. But for me, there is no  magical place than living in a strange world where we have no idea what will happen in the next scene or on a new day.

I hope that readers will enjoy and be as inspired as me when they read The Lost Town of Man’s Crossing. If you do read my novel, I love to read your thoughts and reviews on the story, because that is one of the best gifts you can give me. It inspires me to keep writing and just like this book all your thoughts and reviews stay in my mind and help me become better writer.

Book title: The Lost Town of Man’s Crossing

Author name: Katrina Hart

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Blurb

Would you cross a land of magic, dark creatures and hidden secrets to face your own deepest fear?

After being shot, Suzy and her friend, Bill, are offered a second chance at life in The Lost Town Of Man’s Crossing, a land to which the chosen few are transported by their personal Crossing Creatures. There, Suzy encounters the evil Cole, who is all-out to gain the highest power of the land.

But Suzy comes from a magical family: her grandmother, Miss Hollow, founded a coven called Hollow-Wings, and her grandfather left her a secret, life-changing pouch. Soon, Cole craves that secret pouch more than anything.

It’s Suzy versus Cole – and one of them has met their match.

Excerpt from : The Lost Town of Man’s Crossing:

Prologue

I pressed the black button and waited to be let into Myths Retirement Home. I felt excited and nervous to see my grandad on his seventy eighth birthday. One of the frazzled looking carers pushed open the door and led me into a white waiting area.

“Your grandad has been talking about you nonstop, he can’t wait to see you!” she said, flashing me a reassuring smile. I followed the carer towards his closed door.

A bubble of excitement made its way to my heart at the thought of hearing grandad’s stories of the battles he had fought, and the adventures I should take. I slipped off my coat, and his carer pushed open the door to his room and announced that “I had arrived.”

I hurried inside grandad’s plainly furnished room. His high backed chair was facing a large window and for a moment I wondered if he could see the leafy man of spring, who he always told me appeared through the trees, like the face of a worldly man ready to see life start up again after the harsh deaths of winter. Grandad always told me he felt like the leafy man as he watched the world move around him from his chair.

 “One hour, then you must go,” said his carer and she pulled the door shut, leaving us alone. I pulled out grandad’s present from my bag and walked round to stand in front of him.

 “Grandad-happy birthday,” I said.

“Suzy, child, come sit. I have something to tell you,” said grandad. His wrinkled eyes met mine as I leaned down and gave him a hug, before taking the chair beside him.

“Child, you have to listen to me, and listen well. Today I have seen your life is about to change. Something dark has shadowed you since you were small. Now I can see it’s coming for you,” said Grandad. He coughed weakly and rested his travelled face in his hands.

To find out what happens next, get your copy at Amazon :).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2019!

 

ICHRISTMAS 2019 OK

I like ending every year on a positive note remembering mostly the good things that have happened. I am very thankful for my readers and the sense of accomplishment their feedback gives me. Sometimes those words come at very opportune moments and they encourage me to go on writing.

2018 brought “CLASS OF 2008” (the much awaited sequel to “I STAND CORRECTED”) and it must have been good as I´m being asked to produce the next one.

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I am really excited about the many plots and plans running through my head for 2019 (yes there might be a sequel or two in the works :)).

Anyway, I just wanted to say:

Thank you!

¡Muchas gracias!

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a very special 2019!

P.S. Read more; you can never read or have too many books.

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Let´s talk about hair with Valerie Ross…

Today it´s not about books, it´s about having a dream and working hard to make it a reality. Valerie Ross presents her hair product line and shares her journey with us.

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-Tell us a little bit about yourself:

I developed the ThirsT Hair line of hair care products in 2009 with the desire to create a unique and natural hair care line that would be beneficial and properly balanced to meet the needs of customers of all hair types, especially those with dry and/or damaged hair. My company is located in San Diego, California.

I started my career as a quality control chemist in 1996 and progressed to process engineer in the manufacturing industry. I went on to acquire my PhD with a specialization in organic chemistry in 2006 from the University of Liverpool, UK. So, I have really incorporated my scientific background to formulate an effective, high quality product. As I am originally from the United States, I completed my undergraduate studies here. However, I completed my graduate research in the UK, so I also incorporate the unique global insight that I have gained from my international research into the ThirsT Hair care line. I follow advancements occurring globally in natural formulation science. Most importantly, I have a genuine passion and drive to grow this product line and I am really excited to pursue this.

-How did the idea of ThirsT hair come about?

Well, there were multiple inspirations for the ThirsT hair care line…the underpinnings of all of this began when I was a young child. As I have dry, kinky hair, I have always found it a challenge to find really beneficial hair care products and have always sought out product ideas. So you can say that this has been a lifelong pursuit for me. Further, In 2006, I witnessed several people very close to me suffer from deterioration in health that I attribute to environmental factors. I have always been interested in healthy products, but at that time, I was driven to do something beneficial and natural. Ironically, I was working in the Biotech industry at the time and was working with quite toxic chemicals. I had been working through ideas, when I came to be inspired to just pursue something that I was truly passionate about. So, in 2009 I decided to take a leap of faith and pursue my passion for hair care by developing a line of mild products that are also environmentally friendly.

-Which products are available at the moment and for what hair types do you advise they be used?

Currently, I have shampoo, conditioner, leave in conditioning serum, and a leave-in oil based product. The shampoo and conditioner as they are well balanced can be used for normal to dry hair types. The Leave-in Conditioning Serum is optimized for dry, medium porosity hair and the Oil-based Leave-in Conditioner is optimized for dry, high porosity, and/or kinky hair types. I will be launching hair gel and hydrating mist products later this year.

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There are so many hair care products on the market today. What makes yours different?

My products are developed to be even more balanced and nourishing than the other labels on the market today. As the founder, lead development chemist, and spokesperson for this brand, I can advise that we have a strong mission to deliver products that are formulated to be more enriched in natural botanicals than the leading products on the market and the ThirsT Hair care line is so well balanced so that it does not weigh down the hair. All customers are welcome to contact us directly with any questions to learn more about the products and may subscribe to our newsletter for updates and hair care tips. You can view more information about the products on at website at http://www.thirsthair.com.

-What challenges have you faced in making your dreams a reality?

It is definitely not an easy path and requires great dedication. The biggest challenges have been financing to build the business and product marketing. You can really produce the best product and put it on the market, but without the appropriate marketing strategy, it can be very difficult to ever get your brand recognition. These are two major obstacles that everyone will face when launching a new business – how successfully these are handled are major determinants of success for a business.

Can you give us three home remedies for hair?

Remedy #1: Removing hair product residue from hair: mix apple cider vinegar with equal part water. Apply this after shampoo. Work through wet hair; allow to remain in hair for a few minutes, then rinse and condition as usual.

Remedy #2: Stimulation of follicle to promote hair growth: mix 1-2 drops each of peppermint oil, rosemary oil, and lavender oil with approximately one teaspoon of carrier oil (i.e. olive oil, almond oil, etc.). Massage this mixture into the scalp. Repeat this regimen 1-2 times per week.

Remedy #3: Frizzy hair remedy: Mash up half an avocado, mix in a couple of teaspoons of honey. Add this to clean damp hair and let it sit for about 15 minutes before rinsing.

All three of these techniques are really effective for the respective hair issues.

-Where would you like ThirsT Hair to be in five years time?

I would be very happy to see the company grow exponentially in five years time. I would like to expand the product line and its visibility in hair salons globally.

-An indispensable hair product for you?

I find the whole ThirsT Hair shampoo, conditioner and oil-based leave-in set indispensable. These products work great as a set and give my hair the right conditioning that it needs.

-There is an unspoken popular tendency for a woman to cut her hair when she gets to a certain age: how can we maintain a healthy mane that defeats the passage of time?

That really requires various components. What we put inside of our bodies is just as important as what we put on it. Maintain a healthy diet, supplementing any deficits. Use natural, nourishing hair products and maintain diet that helps to combat environmental toxins/impacts. In the future, as the ThirsT Hair line grows, I would like to launch a line dedicated to this specific market. Notwithstanding, a healthy diet, lifestyle, and self-image go a long way!

https://www.facebook.com/cross.innova

https://thirsthair.com

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Children´s author Emma Pullar…

I´d like to present the lovely children´s author Emma Pullar to you all. Loving the blue hair Emma :).
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BIO: Emma Pullar is a writer of dark fiction and children’s books. Her picture book, Curly from Shirley, was a national bestseller and named best opening lines by NZ Post. Emma has also written several winning short horror/sci-fi stories which have been published in four different anthologies. Emma’s latest picture book, Kitty Stuck, is published by A Spark in the Sand and her dystopian debut novel, Skeletal, was well received, and the sequel is to also be published by Bloodhound Books. She writes articles for an online advice site called Bang2write and dabbles in screenwriting.
What inspired you to become a children´s book author?: I’ve been writing stories since I could pick up a pencil. The biggest influence for me was listening to my favourite teacher tell Anansi the Spider stories. I just loved how naughty Anansi was and how his tricks always seemed to backfire. When I was about seven years old I wrote a picture book called: Attack of the Killer Wheelie Bins. The story was about bins getting sick of being stuffed with rubbish so they started eating people. Sadly, I don’t have the book but I can still see it clearly in my mind. I might rewrite it one day. My first professional picture book was called: Curly from Shirley. I wrote it for charity after an earthquake destroyed my home from home, Christchurch, New Zealand. The book about a cheeky dog snooping for snacks, shot up the national bestseller list and was named best opening lines by NZ Post.
Can you tell your future readers a bit about yourself?-  Originally from London, I grew up on stage. My parents were advised to take me to dance lessons because I was an introvert and selective mute. Alas, my dreams of being a professional dancer were dashed when a knee problem meant an operation. I never stopped writing but didn’t think I could be a writer because I lacked a good formal education. However, after the deadly Christchurch earthquake, I felt I owed it to those who had lost their lives or limbs, and livelihoods, to follow my dreams and become a professional writer. When I started out my grammar, punctuation and spelling were terrible. I’ve come a long way in a few short years and I’m still learning, I don’t think writers ever stop.
I live with my three children, husband and naughty cat called Rupert, in a sleepy village in the Kent countryside.
Have you created a special character? Can you introduce this character to us?- The character for Kitty Stuck is based on our cat. Rupert is always getting stuck in things, on things and behind things. He makes us laugh every day.
Kitty Stuck Cover
Which of your books did you enjoy writing most and why?- I enjoy everything I write. I write short stories, novels and I dabble in screenwriting too. Kitty Stuck was one of my favourite books to write. It’s written in rhyme and a lot of fun. It brings me such joy to see older siblings reading the book with such enthusiasm to their little brothers/sisters.
For what age group would you recommend your books? My picture books are for ages 0-7 years but older children have also enjoyed them. I have a picture book collection and I don’t think my children will ever grow out of them. We love discussing the clever writing and the amazing artwork.
Is there a particular author that has inspired you in your journey as a writer?- The authors who have inspired me are Julia Donaldson and Dr. Seuss. There are other authors I adore too but those are the main ones.
What else can we expect from you in 2018/19? A second picture book about Kitty Stuck has been written, fingers crossed it will be published this year. I’m also working on a couple of cute animations.
Kitty banner
 
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Julie Hatton presents…A LAZY DAY ANTHOLOGY – 1

Happy Sunday everyone! I´d like to present a new summer read to you all:

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A LAZY DAY ANTHOLOGY – 1 is the 5th book written and published by the online writing group, Bugs2writes, specifically to raise funds for ACTION MEDICAL RESEARCH FOR CHILDREN. 100% of royalties go to the charity. Bugs2writes is an official fundraiser. 

The ebook is now for sale on Amazon at just 99p. The paperback will be published shortly. 

The book contains twenty-one diverse and interesting tales. The compilation includes both harrowing and heart-warming stories. A few narratives relate intriguing supernatural adventures. Another tale explores the Holocaust and its aftermath. There are modern tales, too.  A few narratives are whimsical and a few are uplifting. Some stories are sad, but many are humorous. The book includes both long and short stories. True tales can also be found within, in fact, there is something to interest, captivate and entertain virtually everyone for just 99p and will earn royalties for the charity. 

The group’s first four books are genre specific, but this one is an eclectic mix of narratives.

(A LAZY DAY ANTHOLOGY – 2 is due to be published in a about a month’s time).

‘The charity was founded in 1952 by Duncan Guthrie in his quest to find a cure for polio, a condition that affected the lives of many thousands of children including his own daughter, Janet.

Early research funded by the charity helped to develop the first oral polio vaccine which eradicated new cases of the disease in the UK. Since then we’ve been saving and changing lives through medical research and have spent over £117m, funding some of the most amazing breakthroughs in the history of medicine.

Paddington Bear™ has been at the heart of fundraising for Action Medical Research for 40 years ever since his creator, Michael Bond, met the charity’s founder, Duncan Guthrie, in 1976. Paddington Bear always likes to help wherever he can and so, after chatting over the matter with Mr Bond, he agreed to support Action Medical Research as the charity’s official mascot. Paddington Bear’s friendly face has helped us attract thousands of new supporters who together have raised millions of pounds to help babies and children.’  

action.org.uk

Our website is: bugs2writesforcharity.simplesite.com

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Some dark humour with Celia Micklefield

About the author…

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I write in my maiden name Celia Micklefield. Yes, I know it’s a mouthful and it isn’t easy fitting it on the front book cover not to mention the spine but that’s who I am. I come from the county of West Yorkshire, UK in the heart of the Pennine hills where northern folk tend to call a spade a spade and often use humour to get them through hard times.

“If you didn’t laugh, you’d cry,” they say and just get on with life. I’ve taken this philosophy with me wherever I’ve lived. Now I live in Norfolk in the east of England, close to the coast and the inland waterways called the Broads. I have a condition called CRPS as a result of injuries incurred when I was hit and knocked down by a careless driver. Laughter has literally been my best medicine.

What genre do you normally write in?

Ah, genre. Don’t get me started. I dislike having to categorise my work. I write what’s inside me. I write about people and for people. I suppose you might generalise and call it women’s fiction but one of my best reviews for Trobairitz-the Storyteller came from a man. Go figure. I’ve written a family saga, Patterns of Our Lives, spanning 1935 to 2009 set mostly in the north of England during the war years. Deep at the heart of it is a love story the characters kept hidden for years. The aforementioned Trobairitz- the Storyteller is set in the part of southern France where I used to live. It’s where medieval troubadours roamed the land bringing news and singing songs about current affairs and romantic love. Trobairitz were female troubadours. They were highly respected and often had the ear of nobility. My Trobairitz is Weed, a present day female truck driver who entertains other truckers at an overnight truck stop by telling them a story. My third novel is a psychological drama. It would fit in the domestic noir genre. In The Sandman and Mrs Carter the main character, Wendy Carter, never speaks for herself. Five characters tell it from their own viewpoint and there’s a mystery character who seems to know everything about everybody.

I have a leaning for dark humour. Both my short story collections feature stories in this genre. I guess it’s my northern roots showing through.

Where did the inspiration for your first book come from?

My first book was Arse(d) Ends, a collection of short stories, inspired by words ending in the letters a.r.s.e., a frequently used expletive in parts of the UK when things go wrong. In the first story, Ted. And Judy’s Hobby, Ted has lost patience with his wife Judy’s sewing hobby. She makes teddy bears and they’re all over the house. When he has to share his birthday tea with the furry creatures sitting round the table in their high chairs he has finally had enough. With his best friend, Ted plans how they might murder some of the offending teddy bears without his wife noticing.

How important is humour in your work? What kind of humour do you use?

It’s dark comedy. It’s comic situations with a dagger. It’s tales of revenge that backfire or getting what you wished for and wish you hadn’t. As George Bernard Shaw said,

‘Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.’

I used this quotation as the inspiration for my story Yorkshire Grit, in my second collection of short stories, Queer as Folk, in which three women plan to break the law in a graveyard!

Short stories lend themselves to dark humour treatments. Having said that, my work in progress, A Measured Man is a full length novel in the dark humour style.

Have you created a special character?

All my work is character-led so they have to be special and memorable but one of my favourites is Madame Catherine Joubert, the main character in the story Weed, the Trobairitz tells the truck drivers. Madame Joubert is a former Paris prostitute. Now in her seventies and retired to a pretty village in southern France she is feisty and formidable. The young mayor has his eyes set on her home, the grandest residence in the village but Mdm Joubert has other ideas. She uses her mysterious hold over the mayor’s grandfather to thwart his plans.

Which of your books did you enjoy writing most and why?

This is a difficult question. I’ve enjoyed them all in different ways. I bet all authors say that, don’t they?

I enjoy doing research. It was great fun learning about ‘closed houses’ in France where the authorities turn a blind eye to sexual goings-on inside. I found my research into World War Two and how it affected factory workers in the north of England fascinating. My third novel involved medical research and I enjoyed that too.

Celia's Books Standing Up

For what age group would you recommend your books?

Adult. I write about real life and what that can encompass. My work in progress is aimed at older readers because I believe there’s a shortage of novels for older readers featuring characters with whom readers can identify more closely.

A review from a reader that made your day.

I think any review from a complete stranger who takes the time to say how much they enjoyed reading my work is a real joy.

A particular author who has inspired you?

All of them. I particularly admire Anne Tyler.

What can we expect from you in 2018?

Because of my CRPS I work slowly but I’m determined to finish and publish A Measured Man. Aubrey Tennant, in his mid-fifties and seeking a woman with whom to share his twilight years, joins a seniors’ coach trip every year to spend a week at the Grand Hotel in Torquay. When he finds Theresa Miller he believes he’s found The One. He doesn’t know Theresa has already buried two husbands.

My website is at

www.celiamicklefield.com

I have a Facebook author page and I’m on Twitter @cmicklefield

All my work is on Amazon exclusively:

getBook.at/POOL

getBook.at/AE

getBook.at/TTS

getBook.at/TSAMC

getBook.at/QAF

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Guest author Rachel Nightingale

It is my pleasure to host Rachel Nightingale today on my blog. A YA fiction author that will tell us a bit about herself and her work.

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When and why did you start writing?
I started writing when I was about eight years old. I can’t remember any particular reason why I decided at that point I wanted to be a writer – I just found I wanted to create my own worlds and characters and place them in stories. I was one of those kids who was always imagining she was somewhere else. I’d walk to school picturing myself wearing the cloak of a gypsy, or I’d sit in class and conjure up magical spells in my thoughts, because that was way more interesting than science. My first story was about Pasha the bear and his little sister Sasha. I did illustrations to go along with it. I can’t remember any of the details, but I know Pasha liked to roller skate. That story was lost many house moves ago but I don’t think it was going to win any awards so that’s fine.

What inspired you to write for teenagers and YA?

The books that have stayed with me all my life are the ones that I read as a teenager. I think with YA writing you can delve into difficult topics that have a lot of layers to them. It’s okay to offer hope and belief in a better world in YA books – adult readers sometimes lose that. But I am hopeful that we can make a better future if we stop saying ‘this is the way it always is, and always will be’, and I’m incredibly inspired by the young people who are currently standing up for what they believe in and working for real change – doing away with conventional limits.

Have you created a special character? Can you introduce this character to us?

I have to admit I have a soft spot for Harlequin, who is (maybe?) the bad guy in my trilogy. Harlequin is traditionally a trickster character in improvised theatre, so he’s like the Loki of the stage. He’s flamboyant, theatrical and has many facets to him. But he’s also really hard to pin down so just when you think you know what he’s about, you’re going to be surprised. There’s something about the trickster energy, wild and unbound, which is really intriguing. He’s always a lot of fun to put into a scene.

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Which of your books did you enjoy writing most and why?

Although I’ve only got one book published at the moment, I’ve written four novels and one children’s book. I really enjoyed writing the children’s book because it’s about a little bird who is pretty quirky. He’s trying desperately to be like everyone else, but it’s not working out for him. He was so awkward and adorable that it was really fun telling his story. And he met some crazy characters, like an iguana

For what age group would you recommend your books?

Harlequin’s Riddle is suitable for readers aged about 13 and up. The second and third books get a little darker but are still suitable for anyone that age or up. Some of my most passionate readers are adults.

A review from a reader that made your day…
My absolute favourite review is from my niece, who said ‘It’s better than Harry Potter!’, but that’s probably a bit too close to home to really count. I think my all-time favourite was this one: ‘Needed sleep but couldn’t put it down until I finished it. Can’t wait for the next instalment.’ Every time I get a review from someone that says ‘I can’t wait for the second book’ it makes my day, and inspires me to keep writing.

Is there a particular author that has inspired you on your journey as a writer?
Like lot of writers I was a voracious reader as a child, so it’s impossible to pick just one. I fell in love with the magic of words because of Ray Bradbury, who is a master of prose, but also of exploring deep ideas about human nature. In terms of storytelling, one of my favourites is Susan Cooper, whose Dark is Rising series incorporated mythology, adventure and magic.

What can we expect from you in 2018?

The sequel to Harlequin’s Riddle, which is called Columbine’s Tale, will be released in August. At the end of the first book my heroine, Mina, has escaped an awful situation and is facing a difficult choice. The next book shows which way she has chosen and begins to uncover a deeper, darker secret than the one she’s already uncovered about the travelling players. She is going to be really tested in terms of her talents and bravery. At the same time, she’s going to develop real power as a story teller – power that will let her literally change the world.

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YA author and historical novelist Kellie Butler

Today we have the lovely Kellie Butler introducing us to her work.

-When and why did you start writing?

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I probably started writing when I was a teenager. Instead of keeping a journal (which I could never faithfully do), I wrote stories to vent a lot of emotions or get out ideas that were stuck in my head.  I later started writing for my student newspapers in high school and college. I almost majored in journalism.

-What inspired you to write for teenagers and YA?

My series The Laurelhurst Chronicles started as a way for me to purge some recurring nightmares that I’ve had since childhood. I was going to write them as a series of short stories, but I felt that if I had these nightmares then mostly likely some teens and adults had them too. So I decided to write my novel from the point of view of the teenager in my novel and let her be the star rather than the adults. I let her solve the problems rather than the adults solving it for her. Children and teens are extremely intelligent, capable, and resilient.

-Have you created a special character? Can you introduce this character to us?

My special character is Lydia Cavert. At the beginning of Night and Day, the first volume in The Laurelhurst Chronicles, she’s a fiery, artistic teenager girl that is evacuated from London in the Second World War. She goes to live with her uncle at her fathers’ family country home up in Lancashire, which triggers nightmares she’s had since she was five. Lydia is the witness to a violent crime when she was a little girl. She’s having to navigate being in a new surrounding without her friends, her parents, an uncle she doesn’t like, and mean girls at school.  On top of it, she’s trying to solve whether her uncle and his close friend were involved with the murder she saw as a child. She’s quite timid when the story begins, but as time progresses she blossoms into a  confident, outspoken young woman who stands up for others. She likes to have fun though, and  she’s loads of fun to write.

-Which of your books did you enjoy writing most and why?

Oh, that’s a difficult one to answer. Night and Day was my first novel, so it’ll always have a special place in my heart. I adored writing the relationship between Lydia and Francis, the butler. She doesn’t exactly like him at the onset, but over time they develop a very strong bond. There were times that I cried buckets writing that storyline. It’s probably my favorite one out of the novel.

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-For what age group would you recommend your books?

Twelve and above. My books deal with some difficult topics, especially involving abuse and witnessing a violent crime but I try to not be graphic about violence. So many children are witnesses to trauma or experience trauma. As someone who has experienced trauma, I tend to get more into the mental aspect of it, but I try to provide hope and light amongst the darkness. A big question that we all must answer is how do we not become bitter in the face of such dark times, and how do we forgive people that don’t even ask for our forgiveness. Although my novels are set in the 40’s and beyond, they’re timely now. Especially now.

-A review from a reader that made your day…

I keep a review from a Goodreads reviewer pinned on my Twitter page and I look at any time I’m having a difficult day writing or editing. Reviews encourage authors so please let us know if we’re doing well.  You have no idea how much it keeps us going.

“Intriguing and suspenseful story from a first-time author for me. Lydia lives well with her parents until war breaks out. Then she’s sent to live with her uncle. It’s definitely not what it seems. Plenty of secrets. Outstanding.”

-Is there a particular author that has inspired you on your journey as a writer?

I have a few and it’s hard to choose one. Daphne du Maurier because I started reading her when I was in junior high. I adore her. Rebecca, Jamaica Inn, and My Cousin Rachel are some of my favorite novels and my work certainly is influenced by her. Harper Lee because she dealt with such a difficult topic (racism)  with children and doing it in such beautiful, caring way.  Finally, Emlyn Williams. I discovered had a play to premiere in Blackpool and I’ve been reading him ever since.

-What can we expect from you in 2018?

I’m releasing Before the Flood, the second volume in the Laurelhurst Chronicles later this year. It picks up with Lydia and her brother Edward in 1946 as they study in New York. It’s a romance novel but will still have plenty of suspense and more questions as they try to put the past behind them. Plenty of secrets still. I like to think of it as Friends set in the 1940’s but with a bit of Downton.

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