Books

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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:

charity

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.

Night-and-DayAmazon

-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.

Book link to buy:
For a free preview and Amazon link:
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YA author Gerry Sammon

Good morning everyone, today Gerry Sammon tells us about his work and his journey as an author.

Gerry Sammon

–When and why did you start writing?

I have been writing fiction for a long time, but I have always been too busy to have my work published. That was my excuse, anyway. Numerous stories have been written and stored away. I recently found some of them and now realise why I never even tried to have them published. They just weren’t good enough. My YA fantasy adventure, Wolf Boy, broke the mould. I wrote it very quickly while awaiting publication of an adult-age thriller I have written. Wolf By was written on a whim, and I am so glad I did it. It was quickly taken up by a publisher based in the USA, Black Rose Writing, and it is widely available in book stores there, as well as online.

-What inspired you to write for teenagers and YA?

I have a number of links with schools that are keen to promote YA fiction in their libraries, and it just occurred to me that school-age students would be the ideal audience for my books. Wolf Boy is also loosely based on a nightmare my eldest daughter used to have when she was a child – the wolf in the wardrobe. I just expanded on that idea to create Wolf Boy, which has, by the way, no connection with werewolves, as the title may erroneously suggest, but instead concerns a world populated by intelligent, talking wolves.

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

Connor Meredith is the main protagonist, along with his school friend Evey and the school bully Bill, who accidentally follows Connor and Evey on to the shining path that leads them to the world of the wolf people. Connor is an interesting character. He suffered serious trauma after the mysterious death and disappearance of his father, causing his mother to take him for treatment by a clinical psychologist. But Connor has a secret. The death of his father has struck him blind, but he has an amazing ability to ‘see’ with his mind. No-one knows of his blindness. His special insight, however, means he has visions of battling armies under his bed, armies of creatures against wolf warriors. And he has a nightly vision of a growling, slavering, fearsome wolf in his wardrobe. This is the start of their adventure in Lupusopolis, the city of the wolves, and the battle they have with hideous forest creatures, led by an evil human man called Peragrim. Their transport to this land of wonder becomes instead a battle for survival.

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

Wolf Boy has been by far the most successful and has received praise from various sources, including in newspapers and in reviews posted on Amazon. My other book, The Royle Deception, is currently on the hunt for a new publisher.

Wolf Boy front cover

-For what age group would you recommend your books?

I always promote Wolf Boy for being suitable for ages 10-14, but in reality I believe any age from 10 upwards would be ideal

-A review from a reader that made your day…

Aaron Lawler reviewed Wolf Boy brilliantly, comparing me to a ‘darkly shaded CS Lewis, which actually did make my day. Some other quotes from Lawler’s review include:

‘Chapter after Chapter, Wolf Boy hurdles you through a spectral strangeness, spicy encounters, mystic Kipling-like dialogues, and undulating currents of hellish fiends’

‘Medieval battle blended with a modern boy wonder’

‘The characters intrigue, the action keeps on turning pages, and the fantasy world is so lavishly painted that you do not simply read Sammon’s words, you transform into them’

‘Sammon’s British background creates a fun and quaint curiousness that reminded me of a darkly shaded C.S. Lewis’

‘Recommend for the adventurous and enigmatic’

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

The aforesaid CS Lewis has been an influence, as has JRR Tolkein, but I have to confess probably my biggest influence is the work of the late Iain M Banks and his unique style of SF / fantasy

-What can we expect from you in 2018?

For 2018 my first priority is to find a new publisher for my adult-age thriller The Royle Deception (my current publisher has gone into voluntary liquidation). I also have a sequel planned for The Royle Deception once it is back on track, and I have plans for a Science Fiction novel, which is a new departure for me. There is also the prospect of a Wolf Boy sequel. Wolf Boy will be touring the book fairs of the USA this year, appearing at the Chicago Tribune-sponsored Printers Row festival in June, and the Brooklyn book festival in September.

Buy Links:

https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/Wolf-Boy-by-G-D-Sammon/9781612968261

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=node%3D341689031&field-keywords=G.+D.+Sammon

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Teen and YA author Kristy Brown…

Hello everyone, we are moving on to the next cycle of interviews and author presentation. Today the lovely Kristy Brown tells us about her journey so far as an author.

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–When and why did you start writing?

I wrote poetry as a teen but fell into acting, so I followed that through university and I stopped writing for quite some years. When I was thirty I had my first child. While he took his naps, I would write a few short stories, one of them became my first teen fantasy series, “Kiera’s Quest.” Then I found I couldn’t stop writing.

 -What inspired you to write for teenagers and YA?
Although I’m a little older now on the outside, I feel the same as I did when I was a teen in some ways, on the inside. I still love reading and watching teen dramas etc. I think you should write what you love, so I do.
-Have you created a special character? Can you introduce this character to us?
I love all my characters, those that are out there and those sat on my computer still. I guess Sam, from my newest release “Just Sam,” is really special to me. She’s loosely based on me. I think you pour a lot of yourself into certain characters. My publishers, Muse It Up, are working on the edits right now for my new Paranormal romance series, “Summer’s End,” and my leading man in that, Alex is my younger self’s perfect crush. I think you really have to love, your characters in order for others to love them too.
-Which of your books did you enjoy writing most and why?
I like them all for different reasons. I guess “Kiera’s Quest,” will always be special because it was my first. You can actually see the progression I made as a writer between books 1 and 2! I’m always learning, I think you have to. “Just Sam,” was so easy to write, I almost couldn’t keep up. Like I said, she is a lot of me. “Summer’s End,” was exciting to write because there are so many twists and turns. I guess I just love them all.
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-For what age group would you recommend your books?
“Kiera’s Quest,” I’d say tweens and teens. “Just Sam,” teens/ YA. “Summer’s End,” will be YA.
-A review from a reader that made your day…
Someone once said that Disney should make Kiera’s Quest into a film!
-Is there a particular author that has inspired you on your journey as a writer?
There are many, J.K Rowling, John Green, Rick Yancey, Kiera Cass…
-What can we expect from you in 2018?
 “Summer’s End,” will be released and my fairy tale retelling, “Cinderfella,” hopefully will be available.
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“Past Imperfect” by Pam Lecky.

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Pam Lecky is an Irish historical fiction author with a particular love of the late Victorian and early 20th century eras. An avid reader from an early age, one day she decided that reading wasn’t enough and she started to write. Her debut novel, The Bowes Inheritance, was shortlisted for the Carousel Aware Prize and awarded the B.R.A.G. Medallion. She enjoys writing crime, mystery and romance and is a member of the Historical Novel Society

She is delighted to bring together this collection of new and previously published work entitled, Past Imperfect. Included in this anthology are short stories, a childhood memoir and a Victorian romance novelette.

 Past Imperfect Kindle Cover

You can never escape the past …

 

With settings as diverse as WW1 era Dublin to a lonely haunted lighthouse, romance, tragedy and the supernatural await you.

She is currently working on her next novel, a Victorian mystery/crime story, entitled No Stone Unturned.

Pam’s Links:

Amazonhttps://www.amazon.es/Pam-Lecky/e/B010XM7L60/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?tag=geolinkeres-21&qid=1513539445

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Pam-Lecky-Author-517467085101041/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/pamlecky?lang=en

www.pamlecky.com­­

Goodreads :https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14170601.Pam_Lecky

 

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Interview with the children´s author Alex Marchant…

Today, we end our children´s authors cycle with Alex Marchant. I do hope you all enjoy it.

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-What inspired you to become an author of children’s/young adult books?

I think it’s because that’s pretty much who I am. In chronological time I may be rather older (I’ll leave you guessing on just how much), but in my head I’m still somewhere between 12 and 16 –depending on the day and my mood. I wrote throughout my childhood and teenage years, and I must have assumed my writing would grow up with me. Around my middle twenties it occurred to me that both I and it were pretty much stuck about 10 years before my actual age, and that was who I still wanted to write my stories for.

 -Do you consider it more difficult than other genres? (If so why?)

It’s really the only one I’ve ever known, so I have nothing to compare it with. Having said that, each of my novels – or at least those I’ve shared with readers – have been enjoyed by people of many ages, from 10 up to readers even in their mid-80s, so perhaps ‘my genre’ is really that catch-all notion of ‘cross-over’.

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

A few days ago I would have said, ‘Step forward, Matthew Wansford’ – the leading protagonist of my first published book ‘The Order of the White Boar’ – a low-born merchant’s son from York in the service of Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who is taken under the Duke’s wing, saves the life of his son and mixes with royalty, but never completely shakes off his considerable self-doubt.

But at this precise moment, having just finished final edits for the sequel, ‘The King’s Man’, I’m going to have to say his good friend Alys Langdown, described in my latest favourite review, from 12-year-old Ellen, as a girl ‘who is strong-willed, a tom-boy and definitely not a stereotype’. A ward of the Queen, betrothed at 12 to a man of 19 whom she heartily dislikes, prepared to do what’s expected of her once she comes of age, but determined to be her own person nevertheless. And who, at the very end of this second book (in this final draft, not the first), suddenly did something that came as a complete surprise to me. Something that sets up a very interesting situation for the next book. I love it when my characters surprise me! Matthew does it on occasion, Duke (later King) Richard did it continually – but this was a first for Alys. I suspect it may not be the last time.

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

I have to admit that ‘The Order of the White Boar’ and its sequel ‘The King’s Man’ were originally written as a single book, being split into two when I realized it was far too long for my target readership – and yes, it’s the one I’ve enjoyed writing most. I loved spending time with all the characters (even the ‘villain’, Hugh, though in a different way), and everything flowed so well. I suspect it was partly the preparation I put in beforehand, and partly that, being historical fiction, the structure of the story was already there – I simply had to weave my own characters and their tales round the actual historical events. I’ve learned a great deal doing it, which I can take back and use to rework and improve my previous books, which evolved in very different ways.

Order Of The White Boar-no-barcode-1

 -For what age group would you recommend your books?

See above! Maybe 9 to 99 as one reader said. I tend to say confident readers of 10+, while aiming fairly squarely at 12 year olds. Having said that, ‘The King’s Man’ is a rather darker book than ‘The Order of the White Boar’, which adult readers who already know something of the history of the period may be expecting. As one of my alpha readers said, younger readers may find they’re ‘growing up’ with Matthew and his friends, who are after all around 15 at the end of it.

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

No one who knows me well, or has seen any of my blog posts, will be surprised when I say, without hesitation, Susan Cooper. I came across ‘The Dark is Rising’ when I was just the perfect age, 11 – the age its leading character Will Stanton is when he awakes on his birthday morning to find he’s not an ordinary boy after all (not unlike another young wizardy boy who’s been catapulted to global stardom in more recent years). I revisit it most years on the days up to Christmas (most recently as part of the international Dark is Rising Readathon and the #DarkIsReading twitter discussion) as it so vividly evokes childhood Christmases for me. The whole sequence is also firmly rooted in the British landscape, something that I’ve found to be very important in my own writing. Others of Ms Cooper’s books – particularly the fantastic ‘King of Shadows’ – have also been a great influence.
-What can we expect from you in 2018?

This is the year that the second of my two books telling the story of the last years of King Richard III will be published – in just a few weeks’ time. ‘The Order of the White Boar’ set the scene – showing his domestic life at Middleham Castle with his wife and son, and at court with his brother, King Edward IV and his family, all through Matthew’s eyes. ‘The King’s Man’ opens at a crucial turning point in both Richard’s and Matthew’s lives – when nothing will ever be the same again for either of them.

My main aim in writing the books has always been to bring the real Richard III to young people before they’re exposed to the grotesque villain of Shakespeare’s play – based as the latter is on a century of lies and Tudor propaganda about the King. I was inspired to do it by the discovery of his grave in Leicester in 2012, after a number of years prevaricating about writing about him. I hope to start a programme of school visits to bring his story to students, while also working on the third book in the sequence – and finding out just what Alys will get up to next!

 My Amazon link is

myBook.to/WhiteBoar
blog: alexmarchantblog. wordpress.comwww.facebook. com/AlexMarchantAuthor   Twitter @AlexMarchant84 and for Matthew Wansford @whiteboarorder.
Posted in Books, Uncategorized

Interview with the children´s author Susan Russell

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 -What inspired you to become a children’s book author?

I didn’t set out to be a children’s book author, and I still have partly written adult books on the back burner that I’m planning to revisit one of these days, but I have always loved children’s books and still do. When I was working on my A Jar Full of Angel Feathers story (which was initially called The Gnarly Man) with its mix of reality and the supernatural, it just seemed natural to slant it towards children. Childhood is such an important time of discovery, and as books open doors into new worlds and present different perspectives, it’s very appealing to be a part of that.

 -Do you consider it more difficult than other genres? (If so why?)

Yes and no. Yes, because it is a highly competitive market, with an enormous flood of new books out there at any given time. There are the difficulties of pitching the language at the right level for the age group without over-simplifying, comprehension levels to consider, and trying to keep things as straightforward as possible without being dull or condescending. No, because children are open to everything and you can let your imagination fly. You don’t have to talk down to them, but you do have to make the story understandable when the readers probably have little world experience to draw on. Children are open and far less weighed down by pre-conceived ideas than adults, so you can be very free with your stories, making them as silly and adventurous as you like. On the other hand children are not stupid, are easily bored, and will quickly pick up on holes, inconsistencies and impossibilities within the story set-up, so the story has to be carefully crafted. Writing for children carries a big responsibility too, as the young reader could potentially be affected by what he sees on the page for the rest of his life.

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

In my not yet published MG novel, Dilly Drops In, I’ve created creatures called Gobblers. The heroine, Dilly, has landed in an underground world where gnomes recycle bodies and prepare them to go on to their individual heavens. There is a problem: the essential ‘Sparks’ released at death (souls) are vanishing before the gnomes can use them to reanimate the waiting bodies, and Dilly is sent to find them. This is when she meets the Gobblers, large greenish-brown creatures with bodies that start wide at the bottom and then coil upwards in rolls of rubbery flesh to make an overall shape rather like a dog turd. They have small heads balancing on ridiculously thin necks, and blood-red eyes. When they smile, their lips curl up into banana-shaped grins to reveal pink gums without any sign of teeth. Dilly meets three Gobblers, Maeve, Sid, and poor Bert, who is trapped in a cave and so swollen with wind that he can’t escape through the small entrance.

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

 I imagine my debut novel, A Jar Full of Angel Feathers, will always be special and I loved writing it for several reasons. It gave me the chance to explore a way of mixing love, nature, and a dash of the supernatural to turn around the life of a very unhappy little boy, a real life version of whom I had met years ago. That child’s deep sadness stayed with me, so it was lovely to be able to create a happy outcome, if only in fiction. Setting the story in the nineteen-fifties also meant that I could revisit my own childhood memories for inspiration, which was fun in itself. Best of all was that I decided to try my hand at a few illustrations, having loved drawing as a child. I hadn’t really attempted anything since then and pleasantly surprised myself with the outcome!

Jarful Angel Feathers front cover small

 -For what age group would you recommend your books?

Probably from around eight/nine years and up, so long as their reading level is competent. Adults, especially Grandparents, also enjoy A Jar Full of Angel Feathers because they can relate to the various childhood experiences and how things have changed since then. Dilly Drops In will fit into the same age group. I also have an illustrated early chapter book for younger readers that I hope to see published in the future (Smelly Ellie) and am working on another to follow it.

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

It’s always so hard to pin down just one – major influences have included Alan Garner, J.R.R. Tolkien, Philip Pullman and Lucy M. Boston – but I suspect C S Lewis would be way up on my list. I was totally drawn into the Narnia chronicles as a child, loving the reality of the world he created, the inhabitants, the fact that the children could live in both worlds, the battles between ‘good’ and ‘evil’ and so on. I will never forget the thrill I felt while reading The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, when Lucy travelled through that wardrobe and emerged into a snowy scene lit by a lamppost. Simply magical.

-What can we expect from you in 2018?

 I very much hope to see Dilly Drops In published. It’s a fantasy adventure, with an underlying theme of loss, where I allowed my imagination to run completely free. In a nutshell, it has body-recycling gnomes, a perfectly-behaved doppelganger, a little bit of blood and guts, a dash of toilet humour, and a quest – all part of an adventure that not only sees heroine, Dilly/Sarah, rescuing a group of hi-jacked souls so that they can go on to their heavens, but one that will also heal her relationship with her mum. I’m also cracking on with the second early chapter book that I mentioned earlier, probably to be titled Ellie Ruins Christmas. My writing time is much more limited over the summer months because my husband and I run a couple of gites over here in the Cantal, France. Keeping those ready for guests, and trying to keep the garden (which is basically a reclaimed field) under control takes up a lot of time and energy!

 Susan Russell

http://www.susanrussell.eu

Twitter: @contact_susan

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Susan-Russell-author-745681398937235/

contact@susanrussell.eu

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Interview with children´s author Abiola Bello

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-What inspired you to become a children´s book author?

I wanted to be an author since I was about 11 years old. I would write stories but never thought of it as a ‘job’ until my English teacher in Year 7 told me to become an author. It had never crossed my mind! I just loved to write and create stories.

-Do you consider it more difficult than other genres? (If so why?)

My first two books are fantasy. I have an active imagination and so do children so I find it really easy. I mean it’s my own rules lol. With YA it’s more about the voice of the characters. I’m probably biased but I think children’s/YA it’s the best age group and I love writing fantasy. I just wrote a fiction YA book and I found that really hard to write. It was freeing  in a way because the characters were older but with fantasy I can just let my imagination run wild.

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

My special charter is Emily Knight. She’s a feisty, 13 year old warrior who can battle, fly and breathe underwater. She’s the daughter of a heroic warrior and the press’s favourite problem child.  She attends the prestigious Osaki Training School for young warriors and struggles to step into the shoes of her famous family. Emily Knight is an inspirational, strong, black female, young protagonist. She goes against the grain, breaks boundaries, questions who she is ‘destined to be’ in the eyes of others and fulfils her own dreams and goals. 

Emily Knight I am

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

Definitely the second Emily Knight book (Emily Knight I am…Awakened) I think the first books in a series is more about introducing your world. The second book, you can really take it up a notch and because the characters are older, I can create more relationships.

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-For what age group would you recommend your books?

The first book Emily Knight I am… is for 9-12 year olds and Emily Knight I am…Awakened is for 10-14 year olds.

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

Growing up I was obsessed with Judy Blume. Her books just taught me so much about being a girl and growing up. I remember thinking I wanted other kids to feel this way when reading my books.

-What can we expect from you in 2018?

I have a YA book about four friends who join a street dance group and how it affects their relationships. That will be out soon and of course the last Emily Knight book. I may release a pop up blog in August (http://emilyknightwarriors.blogspot.co.uk) I started an Emily Knight Warriors pop-up book, in 2015 which went viral when it was gradually released online throughout the month of August. It’s just a way for the fans to learn more about the back story of a character.

Website: www.a-bello.com

Links for books:

Emily Knight I am… https://www.amazon.co.uk/Emily-Knight-I-am-Bello/dp/0995780609/ref=pd_sbs_14_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=W6W5FT7DNSCFZ09J90FB

Emily Knight I am…Awakened https://www.amazon.co.uk/Emily-Knight-I-am-Awakened/dp/0995780641/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1516148759&sr=1-1&keywords=emily+knight+i+am+awakened

Instagram: @abiolabello @emilyknightiam

Twitter: @EmilyKnightIAM