Tuesday 28 November 2017

BLOG TOUR ~ Know Me Now by CJ Carver ~ Q&A

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for CJ Carver Blog Tour where I welcome CJ to my blog where she has kindly taken part in a Q&A session with me. I was thrilled to be asked by Emily Burns from Bonnier Zaffre Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of the guest post so without further ado, here is the Q&A:

When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?

When I was ten, on holiday in Scotland, I announced to my parents that I was going upstairs to write a book.  Neither looked up from their Agatha Christies, but I remember my father saying, ‘That sounds like a good idea.’  I started my “book” but after the first page realised I didn’t have much of a story and how difficult it was going to be!  I gave up.  When I toddled downstairs after about an hour, Mum and Dad never mentioned it, which meant I didn’t have to get defensive over it! 

I eventually fell into writing, but only because I followed my dream: to drive from London to Saigon.  On my return from the 14,500-mile journey, I was asked to write an article for Car Magazine, so I trotted to my local Waterstones and bought a book How to Write and Sell Travel Articles.  It was probably the worst article I ever wrote, but it got published and, amazingly, I got paid.  I’d enjoyed writing it so much I approached other outlets with my story and ended up becoming a travel writer which eventually led me to writing my first novel.

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

I find I settle into a routine that works pretty well for me, which doesn’t exhaust me and allows for some creative space.  My morning walk is the most important time, when I find ideas really start to flow (I always take a notebook with me).  Back home, I clear my desk of admin (or I start thinking about tedious things like paying bills instead of writing) and get stuck in.  I write for 5-6 hours and by then evening’s drawing in and I’m pretty tired.  I always finish mid-sentence, or in the middle of a scene, so I can get back into it quickly the next day.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I have a quirk, but I don’t think it’s particularly interesting!  After I’ve re-read and had a swift editor of what I’ve written the day before, I am about to start writing … just about to start that first sentence of the day … and I have to go and make a cup of tea. I have no idea why I do this!  (Maybe it’s a creative pause?  Or am I just thirsty?!)

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

I glean things from newspapers, real-life adventure stories, and also use things from my own experience.  For example, I found myself on the horns of a dilemma one day when a friend of mine turned up on my doorstep wanting to hide from the police.  It turned out they were an addict – which I’d had no idea about – and had broken into an office to steal money.

My friend was a mess.  I brought them in, made them a cuppa, and talked.  Boy, did we talk.  I was fortunate that I didn’t have to call the police because my friend turned themselves in. But if they hadn’t… what would I have done?  How would I have felt if I’d called the police, or if I’d continued to harbour a criminal?

These questions inspired the friendships in Know Me Now, where I explore the dynamics of long-life friendship especially how loyal people can be and what they might do when the chips are down.

How do you develop your plots and characters?

It’s a bit like cooking without a recipe.  I start with the main ingredient, say someone is arrested, or there’s a murder, then I start to add the other ingredients like how they were arrested (did they run and were captured?) or how they were murdered (was it particularly brutal?).  I like to know who the main villain is at the outset, so I know their motivations and how far they’ll go to protect themselves.

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

The best mail I got was from a lady in Bristol who asked if I minded her calling her new-born daughter after my character, news reporter, India Kane.  She said if her baby girl grew up with half of India’s attributes, she’d be a happy mum.  Amazingly, twelve years later I met her daughter -  the real India! – and she wants to be a reporter!

Saturday 4 November 2017

BLOG TOUR ~ December Girl by Nicola Cassidy

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for December Girl by Nicola Cassidy where I have a review of Nicola's debut novel. I was thrilled to be asked by Nicola Cassidy & Sarah Hardy from Bombshell Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of the extract so without further ado, here is my review:

Molly Thomas is a feisty, independent soul, born on the Winter Solstice.  At every stage of her life she has faced troubles.  As a young woman her family are evicted from their home at Christmas. Molly swears vengeance on the jealous neighbour and land agent responsible, Flann Montgomery.  Then in 1896 her baby son is taken from his pram.  Molly searches the streets for Oliver.  The police are called but her baby is gone.  Why does trouble seem to follow Molly?  And will she ever find out what happened to her child?

Well, what can I say about December Girl only that I didn't like it, I absolutely LOVED it.  It was brilliant and I cannot believe that this is Nicola's debut novel, it was written so well and with such emotion. December Girl is a tale of family bonds, love, revenge and murder. It is a historical fiction novel set in Ireland in the 19th Century, mainly in Drogheda where I live so I had a good feel for the locations here that were used in the novel and part of it is also in London.  There are multiple back stories intertwined throughout December Girl which works so well and it all comes together to make this novel just perfect.  For me it was such an emotionally charged read as so much happens to Molly from almost the start of the novel and then when you think that everything's going to be ok, something else is thrown into the mix and you're plunged back to thinking, is she ever going to catch a break!? I don't want to say anymore about this as I don't want to give too much away other than go and pick up a copy of December Girl in your local bookshop or on Kindle and snuggle up on the couch with this and definitely some chocolate (as you're going to need it). I HIGHLY recommend December Girl and I'd even go as far as to say it'd definitely be in my top reads of 2017. I'm really looking forward to seeing what Nicola's next novel will have in store but no pressure at all.

December Girl is available in all good bookstores and is currently £1.99 on Kindle at the time of publication of this review so go and get it, you won't regret it.