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Author interview with F J Curlew

It´s been a while since I last posted an  interview and would like to continue with F.J. Curlew; author of Political Thriller ‘To Retribution’:


– What did you want to be when you grew up?

I always wanted to be a vet. I can still remember being laughed at by my new headmaster, aged eleven, and told that, ‘Girls don’t do science.’ Crushed… devastated… totally turned off school!

-What is your favorite genre and what drew you to it?

To write, thrilleresque. I don’t know why but whenever I write it just seems to happen. There’s always a darkness…something, which is peculiar because I’m a soft and fluffy peace and lovey kind of person! I’ll read most genres just as long as what I’m reading is well written. I prefer something that makes me think, changes my perceptions.

– When did you start writing in a professional way?

Three years ago when I began the Open University’s creative writing course. It all suddenly became very serious and immensely enjoyable.

– Do you have a specific writing method or ritual? How many hours do you devote to writing every day?

I do find myself keeping to a routine(ish). Mornings are for huge dog walks. I am extremely fortunate to live in a very beautiful place with mile upon mile of beach and coastal trails. My best ‘writing’ thinking is done at these times. Just me and nature. Unfortunately I don’t always remember this thinking! Of course I say I will, but…heavy sigh!

After lunch I slink off to my writing corner. Piles of cushions, snoring dogs, annoying cat who thinks that the laptop is competition to her rightful place and should be a precariously-balanced-on-knee-top. I usually spend two or three hours actually writing but pretty much the whole day has me thinking about my writing, playing out scenarios, coming up with ideas.

-What part of writing do you enjoy most?

Being totally lost in something of my own making is quite magical. There’s also a great sense of achievement which has been instrumental in keeping me sane through very trying times.

-How do you develop your characters?

I take them for a walk in different scenarios, writing a monologue for them, seeing where they take me, if they have potential. It’s then up to the story. I don’t plan what’s going to happen to them. They take me there.

-Which of the characters in any of your books mean the most to you and why?

Suze from ‘To Retribution’, because she was put through hell but stood tall, fought against it and…well, that would be telling wouldn’t it?

-What are your aspirations as a writer and where do you see yourself in five years time?

Writing is what I do. I want to be successful, to be able to live off what I make through my books. In five years time is a very evocative phrase for me as I’ve just been given my five years free of cancer confirmation. To be alive is pretty damned good 🙂

-Which author has influenced your writing most?

There’s not a ‘one’. Several have helped me on my journey including, but not exclusive to, Ian Rankin, Andre Makine, Leif Davidsen, Steig Larsson.

-Hero or villain? Which character type do you find more interesting?

I couldn’t say that I prefer one over the other. It depends entirely on the story, the character.

Which popular fiction character would you like to be and why?

Skink from Carl Hiassen’s ‘Sick Puppy’. I was so pleased to see him continued into other books. I love his irreverence; how he stands up for justice, for the little man; how he has turned his back on everything we would call normal, necessary.

-What would you like to say to your readers?

Firstly, Thank you!

Secondly, grab life by the scruff and give it everything you’ve got.

Fun facts:

A colour-Turquoise

A day of the year- Christmas

A favourite recipe-Spinach and cheese curry

A movie-Thelma and Louise

A song-Ouch…only one? ‘Hope’ by Quicksilver Messenger Service

A quote-‘I see God in birds and Satan in long words’, from the band, Brand New



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The journey so far and a book for charity

It all started with a cat…


Funny how the things that mean the most to us can start from very fortuitous or unexpected circumstances. I have always had a very vivid imagination, a tool which I think is very important for anyone in the creative business; however, considering that patience is not one of my chief virtues, I never really went beyond a few chapters and would start something new once I´d get tired.

But then a huge teddy like British Shorthair cat came into my life and things changed. I´ve always liked cats, we had them when we were much younger living in Nigeria but then; cat care was really different and pets were kept more for their services than as companions. So when I adopted him, I was determined to give Merlin Mojito proper care and I delved with enthusiasm into the world of cat care with the hope that he would live for many, many years.

This of course led me to a very important factor for Merlin; food. This is something he does not play with; he knows when he needs to be fed and makes sure he guides you in the right direction towards his food bowl. He also knows exactly what he wants to eat which normally is not the healthiest food brand, so I found myself with 90 something tins of wet cat food that my cat had made clear I could do what I wanted with as he had no intention of going in the vicinity of the kitchen area… should I have dared served them to him.

So as Google is my friend, I started looking for shelters to donate the food to and I came across an all cat one that we decided to visit. I had never been to animal shelter and I was incredibly saddened by the stories of abuse and neglect that most of the inhabitants at the shelter had endured in the hands of their humans.

It is difficult to raise money for animals as there are already so many causes that need help so with the encouragement of a very special person, I produced a book of cat stories to raise funds for the shelter and that is how I found myself following my true passion. So it really all began with a cat…

Merlin Mojito…the catalyst.

My mum is a member of Nigerwives (Warri branch); an association of foreign women married to Nigerian men. I have very fond memories as a child participating in all the activities they organized and they have been incredibly helpful to women that come to Nigeria to settle down. This particular branch decided to embark on the construction of a school for kids with special needs as there was none in that area. We had no idea how ambitious a project it was but family and friends decided to pitch in to try and make this dream a reality and help out the community the Nigerwives live in. We hold fundraising events every year, first to build the school and now that it has been done; to maintain it. I am a firm believer in trying to change a little piece of the world and helping to make someone´s life easier, if we come together and dream; we can do so much more.

We keep looking for new ideas to help out, particularly because now that it is a functional institution with over twenty kids whose parents are overjoyed at their progress, it would be a shame to have to close down. So last year, putting my talent to good use, I decided to donate the royalties from the first year of the fiction novel “…to the moon and back” to this project. I encourage you all to visit the website and see just how far a group of twenty something women have come(, it is wonderful to see how much time and effort has gone into it and it is worth it. Just seeing a little progress in a child and knowing that the school is making a difference encourages us to help out every year.

My genre is mystery and this book is different because the plot develops in Benin City; where I grew up. It brought back many memories and I really enjoyed writing it, creating the characters and bringing them to life. I hope you all enjoy reading it too. As this is the last month in which the sales of the book will be going to the project, I thought it would be a good idea to do a write-up and encourage those still looking for an entertaining summer read. the moon and back book cover print Createspace

With all my books 🙂
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Rosario in “I stand corrected”

I love creating characters and watching them grow; preferably in a series. Sometimes when I read a particular novel, I´m left with the feeling of wanting more so I´ve opted for providing that for my readers in this case. Rosario I wanted to give a past, one I wouldn´t wish on anyone, a past that nobody would guess just by looking at her: but one that as the series continues I hope will not break her.


Pic 6 Final Sold

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Merry Christmas everyone!!! :)


As the year draws to a close, I can´t help but be thankful for 2016 and all it brought with it. I pray that 2017 brings us loads of lovely surprises and new goals to achieve. I´d like to specially thank everyone here for supporting me with my work, it means a great deal :). Hopefully more will be presented next year for your reading pleasure.

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Katie Hart presents her Christmas novella

It is always a pleasure to have Katie Hart here. Today she is presenting her new Christmas novella.

The Flower Angel


 The Flower Angel is my newest novella to be released at the end of this month.  My novella follows Chris and Lara as they meet at Forget-Me-Not Inn. However, it soon becomes clear they both have suffered in the past year, and both are on a path to finding just what they need to try and bring peace back into their lives.  Could they even find love at the Inn ?

 I was inspired to write this novella after enjoying writing Love In Little Snow a few months back. When I sat to write The Flower Angel, I got inspired by my boyfriend and the feeling of new love, of unexpectedly crossing paths with another person, be it a good experience or not, and after that moment, never being the same again. Like that person left themselves somehow into one’s life even if it was a brief encounter.

 I love the idea of second chances and looking at someone not just for their one mistake, one moment of panic,  but for the person they are, like Lara is forced to do when she crosses paths with Chris.

 Join Lara and Chris on their personal journey at Forget- Me -Not Inn and find out what happens when two people collide unexpectedly.


The Flower Angel

Two strangers.

One past.

Can the Flower Angel help Lara and Chris find love?

Lara and Chris are strangers when they meet at Forget-Me-Not-Inn, the place where lost and lonely souls come to find love. Drawn to one another from the start, Chris soon realises that they have a traumatic secret in common – something that Lara will find challenging to forgive… Will the Flower Angel be able to work her magic and help Lara and Chris find true love together? Anything’s possible at Forget-Me-Not- Inn.



Buy links. Pre-order until November 30th  The Flower Angel…



 Social media links:

Twitter: @Katrinahart2015


Author page:

Facebook Author page:


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7th annual fundraising event for Project Acchieve.

Yep, it´s that time of the year again 🙂

In 2005, the Warri Branch of Nigerwives Nigeria (foreign women married to Nigerian citizens and residing in Delta State), decided to embark on providing a ‘Centre for the Disabled’ – a charity project,  as their contribution to the society among which they live.

The Centre, named “PROJECT ACCHIEVE” provides daycare / therapeutic facilities, advice and counselling, among other activities, for infants and children with various disabilities.

We grew up with The Nigerwives (my mother being one of them) and so a few of us in Spain decided to help them bring this dream to life.


The plan was to build three blocks (A,B &C)

It started from a barren piece of land…pr2

and every year with the help of so many good friends that attend our fundraising events and others that help out directly in Nigeria; we have gone from that empty plot to this:




Finally, last year we completed the first block of the intended three and opened the doors of the school. We hope to complete the other two with the help of you all because at the moment, we sadly have to turn desperate parents away as we can´t accommodate more children in our facilities. We want to give the twenty children presently enrolled the best care and attention we can (we have special needs teachers, a speech therapist, nannies…).


So once again, we are preparing our yearly fundraising event in Spain to help keep the doors of Project Acchieve open, everyone is cordially invited on the 12th of November to spend the day with us 🙂


But if you can´t make it, there are so many ways to help:

Every little bit helps and it would be such a shame after all the hard work that has been put into this project not to keep it running; especially as the parents are so happy with the results they see every day. So one more year, please help us make a difference.

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Madikwe safari lodge; an unforgettable experience :)

So continuing with the write up on my trip to Botswana and Cape Town…

We all wanted to have a safari experience, something different from seeing caged animals in a zoo and so I started researching (which was not work at all as I love planning hols) and came across Madikwe safari lodge. It had great reviews and looked really good, so I contacted them and we booked a game drive.




Some of us booked a one day drive and a others wanted to see more and stayed for a couple of nights. I was scared of the open jeep (in my mind, this was just an accident waiting to happen), animals coming into the room at night (places the imagination can take me to when I let it)…so I felt one day was more than enough for me and I honestly did not think I would enjoy the experience at all.


It is really very well organized, the reserve is near the South African border coming from Botswana and we were picked up and dropped back at our hotel (which saves a lot of hassle when you are visiting a country). It was fun crossing the border as we had to come down and fill some forms just walking from one country to the other (like in an episode in the series of the Nº 1 Ladies detective agency).

Upon our arrival, we were very warmly welcomed into the safari lodge and I started deeply regretting my one day drive decision (and when I saw the rooms…). The members of staff were so friendly and attentive, they were the personification of the word hospitality. Our tour guide came for us and I can´t say that when I saw the jeep all my misgivings flew out the window (especially as it was an open one so no windows necessary) but I was allowed to sit in the middle (safety in numbers and all that 🙂 ) and this really helped.


The drive was really beautiful and so informative, we got to see the animals in their natural habitat and at very close range and at some point I lost my fear of being in an open jeep and too close for comfort to a lion and ended up having an amazing time. We got back for a lunch that had nothing to envy any Michelin star restaurant and just before lunch had the pleasure of seeing an elephant drink from a nearby pool.



        I´d like to thank Quina as she handled with such patience our reservation and many changes (sorry, it happens when organizing a group) and everyone that was so nice to us at the lodge. I highly recommend this to families, groups of friends, honeymooners (very romantic)… I will be going back for a longer stay and I know of a few that will be coming with me :).


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Discovering Gaborone and falling in love :)

         After reading Alexander McCall Smith´s “The Nº 1 Ladies´ detective agency” series, my sister fell in love with Botswana, so we planned a surprised trip for her so she could take it off her bucket list.  It wasn´t on mine so I wasn´t overly excited, but friends that had never been to Africa decided to join us and I wanted them to see a different continent than what they knew from watching the news.

The Spanish delegation (German and French would meet us in Dubai)

         Armed with everything we considered necessary for our trip, we set out from Madrid via Dubai to Gaborone (Botswana). We arrived at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport and from that very moment until we left, there was always a warm smile on the face of everyone that we exchanged a Dumela Mma or Dumela Rra with.


        Our hotel helped us secure a guide that took us around the city during our stay. Gabo (“G” as he liked us to call him) helped us see Gaborone through his eyes, giving us the kind of background and history one does not find in books of every place he took us to. Contrary to what we had been told before leaving Spain, there is quite a lot to do in Gaborone when visiting for the first time so we tried to go to all the emblematic spots (my only regret is that we were not able to see where the TV series was shot). In Gaborone, you can enjoy nature as well as urban life. We were taken to The National Museum & Art Gallery, The three Dikgosi Monument, University of Botswana, the local market (where we put our bargaining skills acquired in Nigeria to good use), Parliament, visited and climbed Kgale Hill (I still can´t believe I did that!) which offered stunning sights of the surroundings, Gaborone Dam (I recommend you visit in the evening, watching the sunset was beautiful and so romantic), Mokolodi Animal Reserve, Crafts market, Malls (they are really proud of their shopping malls, G took us to almost all of them)…





Mass at Forest hill church

        Most places in Gaborone cater to different palates when it comes to food, but if you like spice, then you will have loads of fun eating there (I had peri peri chicken in different restaurants and can testify to that).

         Aside from getting lost on the way down from Kgale Hill, I can safely say that Botswana is a country that should be on everyone´s bucket list, it was an incredible holiday and I can´t recommend it enough.There is just too much to see in Africa so If you are looking for an unforgettable and unique experience, let me know and I´ll hook you up with the contact info I have.

The journey down was another story…
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Author interview with Anne Hamilton

Anne Hamilton

What did you want to be when you grew up?

For the longest time I wanted to be a nurse. I remember reading over and over, the Sue Barton – Nurse series by Helen Dore Boylston, and thinking it sounded very glamorous and romantic; I’d end up marrying a doctor and we’d live happily ever after saving the world together. It never occurred to me to want to be the doctor instead… I never became a nurse but I did study community health and epidemiology instead.

 What is your favorite genre and what drew you to it?

In terms of my own writing, I’m not sure how I would classify it. Obviously, my book A Blonde Bengali Wife is a travel memoir and creative non-fiction (although I still often call it travel chick-lit). For the last few years, my short stories and the novel I’ve recently completed, have been defined by the demands of doing a PhD, so I’ve been aiming for the commercial end of literary fiction – if that can be considered a genre. In terms of reading, I’m a butterfly: I like (not too gory) crime thrillers and cosy mysteries, but also the fun and entertainment of chick-lit. Then again, I like the quirky… I just like reading and I’ll try anything!

 When did you start writing in a professional way?

At the time I was working on A Blonde Bengali Wife, my day job was with a Scottish national charity and was full time but very flexible. I happened to see an ad for the MLitt in Creative Writing at Glasgow University; on a whim I applied, and somehow got accepted. I’d already found a literary agent for my book, and these combined events encouraged me in the direction of writing as a career. By 2010, I had had a baby, found work as a creative writing tutor, and started to do some fiction-editing work. It all took off from there.

 Do you have a specific writing method or ritual? How many hours do you devote to writing every day?

I fit in writing whenever I can. I love doing it and can’t imagine not, but as it doesn’t (yet!) pay the bills, it’s a matter of juggling parenting with teaching and editing, and trying to ensure the writing isn’t totally lost. At the end of last year I set myself the target of entering a number of short story and novel-writing competitions, simply to force myself to meet deadlines. It seems to be working. I try to do something every day; it’s usually late in the evening after my little boy is in bed and it might be pages or just be a few sentences in my notebook but it keeps the momentum going. I’m now starting a second novel.

 What part of writing do you enjoy most?

The editing, for sure! I’m always envious of all the writers I meet who are brimming with ideas. I’m not. My brain grinds away slowly and I still find starting a new project intimidating rather than exciting. Henry Miller said, ‘If you can’t create, you can work’, and I’ve adapted this to mean even if you’re not feeling creative, you should write: words on the page always lead to something, sometime… My favourite stage is having a detailed draft completed, no matter however rambling, clumsy, weak or over-written I think it is. Being able to pull it apart and turn it into something cohesive and readable is where the magic lies. It’s clearly the reason why I enjoy editing other author’s novels so much.

 How do you develop your characters?

I start out with a vague notion of who they are and what their story might be, then I just spend time thinking, doodling, living with them, until they begin to take shape. It’s a bit like meeting someone for the first time, forming an impression and then getting to know them better. Then as I begin to write the story (I take a less holistic and more planned approach to the plot and storyline even though it will keep evolving) I automatically know how the character will react in different situations. Interestingly, I often don’t really know what a character truly looks like, in terms of physical appearance, even when I’ve finished their story.

 Which of the characters in any of your books mean the most to you and why?

In A Blonde Bengali Wife all of my ‘characters’ are obviously real people, and those that travel with me throughout the book remain good friends now. I love that several of them have read, and thankfully enjoyed, the book and their roles as characters in it. Maybe it’s the legacy of this, but in terms of Grand Pause, the novel I’ve just finished, I actually have trouble remembering the characters are not actual people. The novel is set in Cyprus, a place of which I’m very fond and several times I’ve myself thinking, ‘oh, I could go and visit Helene or April,’ then realising that no, I can’t – the places exist but the characters are only in my imagination. I’m not sure if it’s good or bad that I’m a little in love with all of them.


 What are your aspirations as a writer and where do you see yourself in five years time?

I love the way my life is structured now – the mix of writing, editing, tutoring, alongside the joy of living with my son – and I’d simply like that to continue, but with a slight change in emphasis. If I could spend more time writing; that is, writing novels and making a small living from them, that would be great!

 Which author has influenced your writing most?

I’m most influenced by the life stories and careers of ‘ordinary people’ who have persevered and, often against all odds, but certainly by virtue of sheer hard work, have made their writing dreams come true. It’s a very, very uncertain business and sometimes I wonder if now, at forty-something, I am being naïve in following the dream. After all, I could stick to editing and teaching, which I really enjoy and know I can do. But then again, I can’t not write.  Most recently, I read a really inspiring article by Joanna Cannon, when she was named one of The Guardian’s ‘new faces of fiction for The Trouble With Sheep and Goats (and the novel is highly recommended too).

 If you could go back in time and rewrite a known work of fiction, which would it be? Would you change the end? What would your alternative be?

I’m not sure I dare suggest any changes to a classic!  There are more contemporary novels I would love to tinker with, but I’m reluctant to name them as I know the amount of work that the authors have already put in. If pushed, I’d say there are elements of Jane Eyre I’d explore – slightly tongue-in-cheek. I’d like Rochester to play harder to get when Jane returns; more in line with his earlier awkward self. I’d like St John Rivers to do something wild on his missionary travels. And I’d change Helen Burns’ personality to make her less irritatingly saintly!

 What would you like to say to your readers?

Thank you for reading. Thank you for your reviews, and for taking the time to send me messages about what the writing has meant to you. For me, there’s an especial thank you to the readers of A Blonde Bengali Wife because all the proceeds from that go to the charity Bhola’s Children; every time I visit Bangladesh I can actually see the difference this support is making.

 Fun facts:

A colour- Blue – a crisp, clear, Scottish sky blue (it does happen!)

A day of the year- Easter Monday – promising the light and warmth of Spring

A favourite recipe- Chilli Chocolate Brownies

A movie- The Sound of Music or The Decline of the American Empire

A song- Fairytale of New York (The Pogues and Kirsty McColl) for the lines: ‘I could have been someone/Well so could anyone…’

A quote- ‘The most glorious moments in your life are not the so-called days of success, but rather those days when out of dejection and despair you feel rise in you a challenge to life, and the promise of future accomplishments’. (Flaubert)

Buy A Blonde Bengali Wife:
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Twitter @AnneHamilton7
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My interview with author Eturuvie Erebor


This interview is really special to me as the author and I went to school together (when we were slightly younger). So it is a real pleasure for me to feature her on my blog.

– What did you want to be when you grew up?

As a young child and up until leaving secondary school I wanted to be a lawyer.

 -What is your favorite genre and what drew you to it?

I love romance – always have always will. I read hundreds of Mills and Boon novels growing up.


 – When did you start writing in a professional way?

I started writing when I was about 12 years old. Although I did not publish anything for many years.

 – Do you have a specific writing method or ritual? How many hours do you devote to writing every day?

I do not have a specific method and I do not follow a ritual. I set goals and the goals determine how much time I devote to writing each day.

 -What part of writing do you enjoy most?

When I am able to go back and see my thoughts in print. I find that very exciting indeed.

 -How do you develop your characters?

Most times from people around me. Other times from people I have heard about.


 -Which of the characters in any of your books mean the most to you and why?

Temisan – this character was developed from me.

 -What are your aspirations as a writer and where do you see yourself in five years time?

In five years’ time I see my DOZ Chronicles book series a global household name like the Mills and Boon series.

kindleDOZ Chronicles Ruki Kindle

 -Which author has influenced your writing most?

No singular author has influenced my writing most. I have my favourite authors but when it comes to writing I do my own thing really. There is no author I want to be like and I am not afraid to carve my own path.

 -What would you like to say to your readers?

Thank you for reading.

 Fun facts:

A colour- pink

A day of the year- 2nd october

A favourite recipe- jollof rice

A movie- The God Father

A song- 10,000 Reasons

A quote- Good leaders work hard and tirelessly to deliver on their promises. They know it can be done and they keep at it until it is done. No excuses.