Author Interview With Shelley Wilson Plus #Giveaway

I am delighted to welcome Shelley Wilson to Me, My Books and I today to talk about her YA fantasy trilogy, The Guardian Series. You’ll also get the chance to win a signed copy of Book 1 in the series so keep reading…

Shelley Wilson’s love of fantasy began at the tender age of eight when she followed Enid Blyton up The Magic Faraway Tree.

Inspired by Blyton’s make-believe world, Shelley began to create her own stories, weaving tales around faeries, witches, and dragons. Her fantasy books blend a love of the supernatural with strong female protagonists.

Shelley’s non-fiction work is rooted in a passion for helping women to believe in themselves and become strong, motivated individuals. Can you spot the common thread between the two genres?

As well as writing, Shelley is an obsessive reader and book reviewer. She lives in Solihull in the West Midlands, UK, with her three teenage children, a black cat called Luna, and a fat fish. Shelley describes herself as a teetotal, pizza-loving, Facebook addict with a preoccupation with list writing. She would love to live in the Shire but fears that her five-foot-ten-inch height may cause problems.

Find out more:

Website | Writing Blog | Twitter | Facebook YA | Goodreads YA | Amazon Author Page | Pinterest | Instagram

Hi Shelley,

Firstly can you give us a quick introduction to The Guardian Series?

The Guardian Series is a young adult (YA) fantasy trilogy. It starts off in a small town in the UK and then swiftly moves through various gateways to other realms. Our protagonist, Amber Noble, is swept up in a quest to save her best friend from a demon realm. She meets a host of characters along the way, some good, some bad, some cute! She has always had trouble believing in the supernatural but when it’s trying to kill her and her friends she begins to believe – and fight back.

Landed with a destiny she doesn’t want and powers she can’t control, Amber’s one goal is to reunite her family and return home, but her friends, guides, and the magical characters she meets along her journey have other ideas. She must first save her friends, fight for a faerie queen, and vanquish the biggest evil the realms have ever known. It all comes to an explosive conclusion in book three – but will it be the happy ending Amber is hoping for?

How did you come up with the titles?

The initial story idea came to me when I saw an image in a magazine. The picture was of a spooky headstone in a cemetery with three hooded figures. All of a sudden I had these characters chatting in my head and talking about ‘Guardians’. When I began to plot book one these Guardians were going to be supernatural soldiers who defended the town, of course, once I started writing, the characters took over, and my Guardians became the bad guys who lived beneath the tombs of the old church – Guardians of the Dead.

In book two I introduce dragons to the story, and so Guardians of the Sky had a nice twist to it. As well as the winged saviours who love to breathe fire over any unsuspecting bad guy, I also have my faerie characters. Both the male and female fae are warriors, but only the female have wings and can launch themselves into the air to attack from the skies.

Book three is set in the Lost Lands of the necromancers and the title, therefore, became Guardians of the Lost Lands. The guardians in this book, however, are two-fold, the necromancers and demons who are defending their home, and Amber and her friends who are fighting as guardians of the realms.

I love the atmosphere of the covers. Who designed them and why did you go for those particular designs?

Thank you, I adore the covers and receive so many compliments about them. I can take no credit whatsoever for these particular designs. I work with an incredible publishing partner, Blue Harvest Creative, who produce award-winning covers for authors across the globe. I send over my synopsis and let them work their magic. I have total faith in them. I can’t wait to see what the final cover will be when we launch in November 2016.

Which of your characters would you like to meet in person and why?

I’m sure many writers’ are invested in meeting their main characters, but for me, I would have to say that I’d love to meet Tom, one of my secondary characters. I love this guy! He developed quite by accident and took to his role with charm and honour. In book one he is kidnapped by the guardian soldiers and so his part is not a big one, which was always the plan, however, he creeps under your skin at the start, and suddenly you find you’re missing him and willing Amber to save Tom in time. He refers to Amber as ‘cutie’, and I could hear him rolling the word over in my mind. He’s like the Xanda to Joss Whedon’s Buffy!

What makes The Guardian Series stand out from the crowd?

The one thing I love about reading YA fantasy novels is the pace. Teenagers don’t have time for waffle, they want to be thrown straight into the thick of the action and swept along on a wave of action and adventure. I’m very fortunate to have three teenagers under my roof who I can ask for advice on scenes and pace.

At just over fifty-thousand words per book, my Guardian Series is full of action, with plenty of twists and turns, and a host of loveable characters, and yet they can be read quickly. I write them short and punchy because that’s the kind of person I am in my day to day life. Always on the go and never leaving myself enough time for recreation, I am drawn to the quick read – so I chose to write the book I was looking for.

Why did you choose to write in this particular genre?

I have been a fan of fantasy, mythology, supernatural, and paranormal for as long as I can remember. I can vividly recall the first time I read the Hobbit and the emotions I felt as I joined in with the quest in my head. Going back even further I relished my time spent up Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree with Moon Face and the gang.

Creating other worlds, crafting strange creatures, and blurring the boundaries of normality fascinates me. The young adult fantasy genre gives me a platform to do all of this.

Which book is your favourite and why?

Out of the three Guardian books, I would have to say the third, Guardians of the Lost Lands, is my favourite. I have thoroughly enjoyed writing this series and fell in love with all the characters. I even made myself cry on a couple of occasions! When I was writing book three, I was struggling with my depression and anxiety; this is something I’ve had for many years but due to a recent illness it had pushed its way to the forefront. Instead of letting it beat me, I channelled all my emotion into my writing. Book three goes much darker than the first two books, and Amber comes close to losing the plot – something I could relate to at the time. It was hugely cathartic to write my way through the worst of it, and it pushed the characters to make decisions that they might not have done if the cloak of darkness wasn’t hanging over them.

Sounds exciting! What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Oh dear! This is the kind of question that makes me realise I have no life! As well as writing books, I also review them. I’m a member of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team and spend the majority of my spare time with my nose in a book. If I’m not writing or reading then I love spending a few hours with my adult colouring books – it’s a perfect form of meditation for me.

I love going to the cinema or watching films at home with a large bowl of popcorn, and I am fascinated with old buildings and castles, so I’m quite happy wandering round a pile of ruins.

Snow or sun?

Sun, definitely sun!

Breakfast, lunch or dinner?

Can I say all three? I love food! Okay, okay, IF I have to choose, I’ll say dinner – you can’t beat a large deep pan pizza!

Any last words for your readers?

Thank you. It sounds so feeble – two small words – and yet I wish I could shout them from the highest building. If it weren’t for my readers picking up my books and then taking the time to leave me a review on Amazon, or interact on my Facebook page or Twitter, then I wouldn’t keep writing. The comments, giggles, photo swaps and recommendations mean so much. I don’t think a reader who interacts with an author can ever understand just how special they are. So, THANK YOU!

I’d also like to offer my thanks to you, Kate, for allowing me to run riot on your beautiful blog. I hope you and your readers enjoyed learning about my writing journey and books.

Absolutely my pleasure Shelley, thank you for answering my questions. I particularly enjoyed finding out about your favourite book and how your own life experiences affected your writing!

Now check out the books:

Guardians of the Dead (Book 1)

“One girl holds the key to an ancient pact that could destroy the world…

When sixteen-year-old Amber Noble’s dreams begin to weave into her reality, she turns to the mysterious Connor for help. His links to the supernatural world uncover a chilling truth about her hometown and a pact that must be re-paid with blood.

As her father alienates her, and the Guardians take her best friend, her true destiny unfolds, and she begins a quest that will see her past collide with her present.

Drawn deeper into the world of witchcraft and faeries, it is only at the end of her journey that she realises how much she could lose.”

Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com

Guardians of the Sky (Book 2)

Guardians-of-the-Sky---SL-Wilson_FC_Amazon

“Can one girl sacrifice herself to save the one she loves…

Following their daring escape from the demon realm, Amber, and her friends become caught up in a war between good and evil. They must join forces with the Queen’s warriors to overthrow a malevolent force that has spread across Avaveil, the land of the Fae.

As her powers grow, Amber is faced with the real possibility that she is a danger to the ones she loves. Her full strength is yet to be tested in a way she can’t comprehend.

Dragons, faeries, and humans stand side-by-side as they are drawn into a cunning battle of magic and surprising revelations. Can Amber survive long enough to see her dreams fulfilled?”

Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com

Guardians of the Lost Lands (Book 3)

Cover coming soon!

“Amber’s final quest could claim her soul, but it’s a journey she must make.

The evil that lurks in the Lost Lands threatens to infest the realms unless Amber, Redka, and Connor can destroy it. But Amber is more concerned about her father’s safety as he is held captive by the wickedness that terrorises them all.

Amber faces isolation and mistrust from her friends as they travel across land and sea to meet their most dangerous foe.

Will she be able to stay true to her destiny as the last Oracle, or will she be tempted by the darkness? The fate of the realms is in her hands.

Amber’s final quest will be her most terrifying yet. This time, it will be deadly.”

Release Date – 11th November 2016

GIVEAWAY

The author has very kindly offered one lucky Me, My Books and I reader the chance to win a signed copy of Guardians of the Dead (Book 1)!

The giveaway will run for 3 weeks until 22 July 2016 and all you have to do to enter is click the link below and follow the instructions…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Please note, Me, My Books and I will not be responsible for posting the prize to the winner)

Good luck!

kate1

Author Interview With Elle Field

I am delighted to welcome Elle Field to Me, My Books and I today to talk about her latest release, B-Side, and as always with my interviews a few other things too!

Elle Field author photo

Elle Field writes romantic comedies, and is the author of the Arielle Lockley series and Geli Voyante’s Hot or Not. She grew up in Yorkshire, then moved to Scotland to study International Relations and Social Anthropology at the University of St Andrews. Elle now lives in London with her boyfriend and their cat. She’s a massive fan of sunshine, giraffes, The Killers, Audrey Hepburn movies, playing Scrabble and tea. Oh, and reading, of course!

You can read my review of Elle’s Geli Voyante’s Hot or Not here.

Find out more:

Amazon Author Page | Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Hi Elle,

Firstly can you give us a quick introduction to B-Side?

B-Side is a spin-off book in the Arielle Lockley series, and it’s a lot grittier than the books that are told from Arielle’s perspective. In B-Side it’s Etta telling us how it is – she’s a jazz-singing addict trying to balance her dream of getting a record deal with looking after her godmother, which puts her in a situation she finds impossible and has her reaching for more and more pick-me-ups.

(B-Side sits between Lost (out now) and Found (out August 9th, 2016) in the Arielle Lockley series)

How do you decide on names for your characters?

I have no idea! Usually they just pop into my head, and they always seem to be on the outlandish side, which I find quite fun. In Geli Voyante’s Hot or Not, for example, you’ve got Geli (short for Angelica), Tiggy (Antigone), Theodore, Calvin, Glinda and Jeeves (his surname), to name a few. It’s quite the collection of names!

Who designed the cover and why did you go for that particular design?

All my covers are all illustrated by the same person, a man called Will Duffy. I wanted something eye-catching that stands out – which is why the titles and my name are in bold lettering with the distinctive swirl – but the background and images are always in soft pastel colours that fit the genre perfectly. I always include an element from the story for the image. The cover for B-Side, for example, features a record player and vinyl as music is Etta’s passion.

I’m a big fan of your covers Elle, they’re very pleasing on the eye!

What do you hope readers will learn from B-Side?

That there are two sides to every story, and that you don’t necessarily have to love, or even like a character to enjoy their story. B-Side will give readers not only a tantalising glimpse into how others perceive Arielle, but will also reveal titbits about Felicity and her fascinating life.

Can you give us any clues about what is going to happen in the next book?

Found Arielle Lockley series Elle FieldFound ties up all the loose ends, so you’re going to find out why Piers let Arielle be a kept woman for so long, what’s troubling Ob, and also see if Etta and Arielle manage to put their differences aside… There are two weddings to look forward to – well, two weddings are getting planned; they both might not happen – and also some old characters will make an appearance. I hope readers will love the final – sobs! – Arielle book.

UK readers, you can pre-order Found here and US readers, here.

What are your favourite and least favourite parts of promoting your books?

My favourite part is the book tour. It’s so much fun hanging out with book bloggers, and it’s a real pleasure, too. The worst part is balancing the promotion – telling people about the new book is obviously super important, but it has to be done in a way that you’re not bombarding and boring people. It’s difficult to do when you’re mostly sat at a table writing the next book and don’t actually have any amusing non-book anecdotes to share!

Do you think your writing style has changed since your first book?

Definitely! Nowadays I spend more time on the first draft and less time editing, whereas when I first started out I could bash out a poor first draft quite quickly, and that draft would need a whole lot of rewriting to get it up to scratch.

What is the one thing you couldn’t live without?

Books! A world without escaping into different worlds and other people’s lives? It doesn’t bear imagining.

Tea or coffee?

Tea, please! A quite milky English Breakfast tea works for me.

Morning or night?

Night. Though, actually, I’d plump for afternoon over morning and night, if that was an option!

Any last words for your readers?

Thank you so much for adoring Arielle like you do. Since the last book in the series is out in August, I do hope you give my new characters a chance when I release my next book!

Thank you so much for answering my questions Elle, it has been a pleasure having you on my blog. I particularly enjoyed finding out how your writing style has developed!

Now check out the book:

B-Side Arielle Lockley series Elle Field

Publisher: Self Published

Publication Date: 17 May 2016

“What do I honestly know about the music industry? I’m just another idiot with a dream who is naive enough to hope that I might be the next big star.”

“Etta Millhouse has always had big musical ambitions to match her big voice, but she’s also got three very big problems – the addiction she won’t admit to, her godmother’s illness that she can no longer ignore, and her godmother’s useless business partner (who she wishes she could ignore).

Keeping an eye on Arielle’s poor business decisions is the last thing Etta wants to do when she’s offered the chance to record a demo with a top producer. But, a promise is a promise, even if it has her reaching for another pick-me-up… And then another. And then one more.

When the secret she must keep for her godmother, Felicity, sends her drug habit spiralling out of control, can Etta battle her demons in time and make her dream happen? Or, will her music career be over before it’s even begun?”

Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com | Goodreads

kate1

Author Interview With Lynne North

I am delighted to welcome Lynne North to Me, My Books and I for the second time!

Lynne promo CCP

I am a children’s author who lives in the north west of England and works as a data analyst for one of the local Health Authorities. I have been a prolific reader all my life, and for many years have spent most of my free time writing. As well as being educated up to degree level, I have completed courses and received diplomas from ‘The Writing School Ltd’ and ‘The Academy of Children’s Writers.’ My aim in life has always been to write, and I have had a sideline of freelance writing for more years than I like to admit to having lived. This has mainly involved published articles in such magazines as ‘Prediction’. I have also completed four children’s novels. ‘Caution: Witch in Progress’ was published by Ghostly Publishing in 2013 and launched at Earl’s Court Book Fair. It is currently available on Kindle on Amazon worldwide. Zac’s Destiny is also available on Kindle. They will both be re-released in paperback shortly by Crimson Cloak Publishing.

I released something completely different on Kindle in 2014, a compilation of 13 macabre Twist in the Tale short stories, titled ‘Unlucky For Some’ and definitely NOT for children! If you enjoy scary, check it out!

A short children’s fantasy, ‘Emily and the Enchanted Wood’ was released by Crimson Cloak Publishing towards the end of 2015.

A very different children’s humorous fantasy, ‘Be Careful What You Wish For’, was released by Crimson Cloak Publishing on St Patrick’s Day 2016.

I am currently working on a fantasy novel for young adults titled ‘Dimensions’.

Find out more:

Website | Blog | Author Page on CCP | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Youtube

Hello again Lynne,

Firstly can you give us a quick introduction to Be Careful What You Wish For?

Finn O’Shea is a leprechaun, a cheerful little chap with a liking for green. Just what you might expect in a leprechaun. You might also expect him to be lucky. Well, no, sorry. He isn’t. Unfortunately, Finn missed out on being blessed by the Good Luck Fairy. Be Careful What You Wish For is a humorous fantasy novel for children of eight years of age and older. Finn is a bored young leprechaun. He lives with his mum and dad in a small village named Duntappin, and goes to the local school there. He spends most of his free time with his best friend Dallan, but craves some excitement in his life. When his great adventure comes along, it isn’t quite as he anticipated and he soon gets far more than he bargained for.

Finn meets many characters from Irish myth and legend during his adventure. The weird and wonderful characters include a fully paid up member of the Banshee Guild, a drunken Cluricaune with a very bad memory, Bog Frogs (but NEVER call them that!), Water Sheerie who are not to be trusted in any way, a food-obsessed Ballybog, a jaunty Pooka who longs to be fearsome, a Merrow who is very long in the tooth and a Dobhar-Chu who proves to be a threat to Finn and his companions! These strange characters will not live up to any expectations, which makes them all the more amusing.
If you want to know more, you will have to read the book!

How did you come up with the title?

Finn longs for something different in his life, some excitement, a break from his safe and boring life. He soon finds the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side. Hence, Be Careful What You Wish For!

Who was your favourite character to write and why?

To be honest I loved all my characters. They all gained a life of their own during the writing, and many deserve to be seen again in another tale. My favourites must be Finn, and his friends Cer and Ber, but maybe just because they figure most prominently in the story, and I was able to build their characters so much that they actually took over what would happen next!

If Be Careful What You Wish For was made into a movie who would you like to play the lead roles?

Oh, so many to choose from. Finn would have to be a good looking black-haired, blue-eyed character. While writing that I immediately saw Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins in Lord of the Rings, so if there is a child actor around who looks just like that, could I cast him please?

What makes Be Careful What You Wish For stand out from the crowd?

I think the main reason is that nothing in the story, nor any of the characters, turn out to be anything like you expect. My books always seem to turn expectation on its head, whether I try to write them that way or not! Though ‘Be Careful’ is a humorous children’s fantasy, it is achieving five star reviews on Amazon from adults who say they thoroughly enjoyed reading it. That’s something I love to see! This book seems to be crossing the age barrier, which is a wonderful thing for an author to be told.

Why did you choose to write in this particular genre?

99% of the time I write fantasy, and most of that is humorous fantasy. It is the genre I feel most comfortable with, and believe I write best. It maybe has something to do with my long time hero, Terry Pratchett who introduced me to the wonders of humorous fantasy so many years ago. There will never be another quite like him.

I agree! Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you let them influence your writing?

Yes, and yes! I’m lucky in that most of my reviews tend to be positive, but there have been pointers made about some books with a more negative slant. I read carefully what reviewers have to say, and try to see my books from their perspective. Whether I believe what they say is correct or not, they must have their reasons for saying it. I strive to improve my writing and avoid any potentially contentious issues all the time.

If you could travel anywhere in the world to do research for a book where would it be?

As I write fantasy, travelling to places for research doesn’t have the same necessity. Fantasy worlds are what the author makes them. I would however like to see places where some of the best fantasy films have been made like Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit. I did travel to Stonehenge for first-hand experience for a YA fantasy I am writing, ‘Dimensions’, where my heroine finds herself in another world after entering the wonderful ancient site. My only disappointment to mar the magic of Stonehenge was that I couldn’t get as near to the circle as I would have liked, or touch the powerful megaliths. Maybe one day?

Laptop, desktop or tablet?

Desktop

Sweet or savoury?

Savoury (but only because I’m diabetic!)

Any last words for your readers?

Many thanks for reading this article. I hope you found at least some of it interesting. If you have any questions I am always happy to answer messages to my website, or on my Facebook page. If you have read any of my books, thank you very much. If you haven’t, do you think I might be worth a try? Thank you for your time and interest…

Thank you so much for answering my questions Lynne, it was a pleasure to have you on my blog again. I particularly enjoyed finding out why you write in this genre!

Now check out the book: 

BCarefulWhatUWish4-FINAL FRONT

Publisher: Crimson Cloak Publishing

Publication Date: 17 March 2016

“Finn is a bored young leprechaun who lives a quiet life with his family and friends in the sleepy village of Duntappin. He wants something exciting to happen, but never having been blessed by the Good Luck Fairy he soon gets far more than he bargained for. When he least expects his adventure to begin, Finn finds himself a long way from home in dire circumstances. Home begins to seem very appealing all of a sudden. Has he any hope of getting back? This is no fairy tale…

This funny and fast moving story filled by weird and wonderful characters will turn all your expectations on their head, but that’s a good thing, because it makes them all the more amusing.”

Smashwords Kindle | Createspace | Amazon Kindle UK | Amazon Kindle USA | Nook

Print Version:
Amazon UK | Amazon USA | Barnes & Noble Book

kate1

Author Interview With Natalie K Martin

I am delighted to welcome Natalie K Martin to Me, My Books and I today.

In January 2014, Sheffield-born Natalie Martin decided to leave her corporate job in London and experience the world—heading off on travels that would take her as far as Cambodia, North India, Goa and Thailand, and would change her outlook on life for good. Whilst travelling in India, her debut novel, Together Apart, became a #1 bestseller on Amazon charts. Love You Better is her second full-length novel and also became a bestseller upon release.

Natalie’s base is now London, but she is very much a modern-day nomad, never quite knowing where she’ll end up next. A trained yoga instructor and lover of all things French, Natalie is still travelling and indulging in her three loves: writing, yoga and surfing.

Find out more:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Amazon Author Page

Hi Natalie, 

Firstly can you give us a quick introduction to Love You Better?

Love You Better follows the life of Effie who, after a painful break-up, finds herself in a whirlwind romance and enjoying a perfect life with her new man, Oliver. But, what starts out as a dream descends into a nightmare as he shows his true, abusive colours. To make matters worse, she also has to deal with her ex who returns from his travels and shows her glimpses of what could have been, as well as the return of her wayward, hippy mum. It’s essentially a story about romantic and family relationships, and letting go of the past.

Where did the idea come from?

The idea of a story tackling domestic violence had been in mind for a long time, especially after watching Killed By My Boyfriend, which was aired on BBC3. I’ve also got friends who have been in abusive relationships before and wanted to write a book which dealt with the subtleties and complexities of subject in a realistic way without making it a caricature.

Who designed the cover and why did you go for that particular design?

I have the BEST cover designer – Najla Qamber. She did the cover for my debut, Together Apart, which I immediately fell in love with so it was natural to use her again. Both covers display inanimate objects placed in a way which hints at the storyline. Love You Better shows Effie and Oliver’s bedroom, along with cufflinks and a charm bracelet, which play important parts in the story.

I love your covers! Who was your favourite character to write and why?

It has to be Smith, Effie’s complicated ex. He was actually the hardest to write and for a long time I couldn’t even figure him out myself! He’s a perfect balance of masculinity and femininity and basically makes me swoon every time I think about him. He’s also a very good friend who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is, and we all need one of those!

What makes Love You Better stand out from the crowd?

I think its the reality of the situations covered and the multiple aspects of the story that make it different. Yes, it’s about domestic violence but its also about how complex friendships and maternal relationships can be, so there’s something in there for everyone. I wrote it pretty bluntly and nobody comes out unscathed, whether that’s Effie, her mum, Penny, or her best friend, Lou. Everyone has problems in life and the same goes for my characters. It’s also very multicultural, which is really important to me because it reflects real life, especially life in London.

Who are your favourite authors and do you think they have influenced your own writing in any way?

I really love Dorothy Koomson. She doesn’t pull any punches with her storylines and I can devour her books in one sitting. I’m also a huge fan of Joanne Harris and she’s been very influential for me. I love the way she combines all five senses in her writing and it really made me determined to try and go deeper with my descriptions.

Which of your books is your favourite and why?

That’s a hard one! Of my two full length novels, I think it has to be Love You Better because it feels more refined. That being said, it’s a close call between Love You Better and Wanderlust. Wanderlust is a novella but it combines travelling (a huge love of mine) along with romance, which is a pretty perfect combination!

Are there any occupational hazards to being an author?

Lots! I’m a bit of a nomad and writing on the road is hard, especially when it comes to trying to find somewhere quiet, or missing out on socialising with new people. Plus there’s the active missing out of exploring wherever I am whenever I want! There’s also the issue of everyone thinking my books are about them, which I guess is a good thing because it means people can relate to my stories!

Heels or flats?

For wearing? Flats, especially Converse. For collecting and never wearing, heels!

Ha ha, I love this answer (I’m the same)! Early or late?

Early, always!

Any last words for your readers?

Apart from saying thank you to everyone who supports authors full stop, keep reading! And please give feedback. Even if you hate the book, it’s good for us to know what you think and reviews are so important, otherwise we never learn.

Thank you so much for answering my questions Natalie, it was a pleasure to have you on my blog. I already have Love You Better on my wish list so it was great to learn more about the idea behind the storyline!


Now check out the book:


Publisher: Lake Union Publishing 

Publication Date: 1 October 2015 

After a soul-destroying breakup with her ex, Smith, Effie Abbott has met the man of her dreams. She’s had the whirlwind romance and the fairy-tale wedding to the charming and suave Oliver Barton-Cole, and life seems firmly back on track.
 
Things were never simple between Smith and Effie, so when he forces his way back into her life, Effie knows he’s a complication she doesn’t want or need. After all, she has Oliver, a man who loves her better than Smith ever did.
 
But when cracks in her marriage begin to emerge and Oliver shows flashes of a darker side, Effie has to question just how well she really knows her husband, and whether Smith is back to derail her seemingly perfect marriage or save her from it.”
 
Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com 

kate1

Author Interview With Patricia Dusenbury

I am delighted to welcome Patricia Dusenbury to Me, My Books and I today.

profilepic

Patricia Dusenbury was one of those children who read under the covers when her parents thought she was asleep. (She still reads into the wee hours but now uses a Kindle.) Despite sleep deprivation, she managed to get through college and a career as an economist/strategic planner. Now retired, she hopes to atone for all her dry economic analyses and reports by writing books that people read for pleasure and not because their job requires it.

Her first book, A Perfect Victim, won the 2015 EPIC (Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition) award for best mystery. It is now available in hard copy (with a new cover) as well as the original digital format. Her second book, Secrets, Lies & Homicide, is a finalist for the 2016 EPIC award and was a top ten finisher in the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll. It, too, is available in hard copy with a new cover. Her third, A House of Her Own, was released in October 2015 as an e-book and in November in hard copy.

Each book is a standalone mystery; together, they trace a young widow’s recovery from emotional devastation. If the trilogy had a name, it would be A Path Through the Ashes, which was the working title of the first book.

Find out more:

Website | Amazon | Twitter

Hi Patricia,

Where did the idea for A House of Her Own come from?

Several years ago, I was called for jury duty but not chosen. Leaving the courthouse, I saw people gathered on the steps and wandered over to see what was going on. Lenders were auctioning off the homes of people who’d defaulted on their mortgages. Although I didn’t buy a house, much less one reputed to be haunted, this experience inspired the plot of A House of Her Own.

Also, because A House of Her Own is the third book in a trilogy, it resolves relationships begun in the first two books, A Perfect Victim and Secrets, Lies & Homicide.

Who designed the cover and why did you go for that particular design?

The e-book cover was designed by my publisher, and I’m not crazy about it. When I decided to publish my books in paperback, I worked with Saille Tales Graphic Design for Books http://www.sailletaales.com to make a cover. I chose stairs for A House of Her Own because stairs play an important role in the story, and I think the stairs going up lead the reader into the book.

Who was your favourite character to write and why?

I enjoy writing all my characters, but if I have to choose, I’d say Tony. I’ve always had respect for survivors and a weakness for the bad boys. If I can pick one more, it would be Tishanna’s grandmother. Although she is a minor character, Margaret Tenier is a woman of courage and dignity.

If you had to write it all over again, would you change anything?

Oh yes. I can’t read a page I’ve written without wanting to revise something. The biggest change I’d make in A House of Her Own is the ending. I wouldn’t have things go in another direction, but I’d take more time convincing the reader that this is what has to happen.

Who are your favourite authors and do you think they have influenced your writing in any way?

Laura Lippman, Donna Leon, and Louise Penny all write fabulous mystery series. Although they are quite different, each one combines a puzzling mystery with very human characters. This inspires me to try to do the same. My non-mystery favorite writers are Ann Patchett and Kate Atkinson, who does write mysteries but it’s her other books I enjoy most—again because the characters come alive. My all-time favorite book is The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, which has some very strange characters. Truth is, I love to read.

What are you working on now?

I’m about halfway through a mystery with the working title Two Weeks in Geary. The main character is a woman who walked away from an unhappy family situation, and eleven years later, sees the son she left behind on the news. He is a fugitive and a murder suspect. This is where the book begins.

Who is the most interesting person you’ve ever met?

I used to work with elected officials and have met some well-known people, but the most interesting person I’ve ever met is a friend who inspired one of the characters in Two Weeks in Geary. This is the first time I’ve deliberately modeled a character on a person, and I asked permission first. The character is Agnes Dolan, a beautiful, blonde lesbian who lives in New York City. Agnes is a criminal defense attorney noted for her opposition to the death penalty. My friend is a heterosexual male with dark hair who does not live in New York. He is smart and well-educated and could make a lot of money in his profession. Instead, he works for a non-profit and pursues what he believes in. That is the core of his personality, what makes him so interesting, and what he shares with Agnes.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

I wander around San Francisco—I moved here a little over a year ago and fell in love with the city—hang out with the grandkids, go hiking, read, and to my shame, play games on my iphone.

Paperback or e-book?

Both.

Dogs or cats?

Again, both. Claire Marshall, the main character in my trilogy, has a cat named Dorian Gray: I have a dog, an Alaskan Malamute named Babe.

Any last words for your readers?

Thank you. Few things make me happier than people reading my books. I hope you enjoy them.

Thank you so much for answering my questions Patricia, it was a pleasure to have you on my blog. I particularly enjoyed reading about your favourite authors!

Now check out the book:

6832b4ec-a058-47a0-ba7f-e93efacc9826

Publisher: Uncial Press

Publication Date: 16 October 2015

“If something seems to good to be true ….

That house in that neighborhood for that price? Claire Marshall thought she’d hit the jackpot. Her company would restore the old house to its previous glory and sell it at a huge profit. She hadn’t counted on the runaway girl hiding in the upstairs bedroom, the brutal gang chasing her, or the angry ghost who may or may not be keeping the gang at bay.

Claire’s business partner says they won’t be able to give this house away. He wants to write off the investment, her workers don’t want to go inside, but Claire doesn’t believe in ghosts or in giving up without a fight. And she could use a distraction. Tony, her lover, is back on the Grand Prix circuit, driving in a racing season marred by fatal accidents, and, according the media, finding comfort in the arms of another woman. Just when Claire thinks that things can’t get worse, they do.”

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kate1

Author Interview With Sue Barnard

I am delighted to welcome Sue Barnard to Me, My Books and I today.

Sue Barnard author pic

Sue Barnard was born in North Wales but has spent most of her life in and around Manchester. After graduating from Durham University, where she studied French and Italian, Sue got married then had a variety of office jobs before becoming a full-time parent. If she had her way, the phrase “non-working mother” would be banned from the English language.

Since then she has had a series of part-time jobs, including some work as a freelance copywriter. In parallel with this she took several courses in Creative Writing. Her writing achievements include winning the Writing Magazine New Subscribers Poetry Competition for 2013. She is also very interested in Family History. Her own background is stranger than fiction; she’d write a book about it if she thought anybody would believe her.

Sue has a mind which is sufficiently warped as to be capable of compiling questions for BBC Radio 4’s fiendishly difficult Round Britain Quiz. This once caused one of her sons to describe her as “professionally weird.” The label has stuck.

Sue joined the editorial team of Crooked Cat Publishing in 2013. Her first novel, The Ghostly Father (a new take on the traditional story of Romeo & Juliet) was officially released on St Valentine’s Day 2014.  This was followed in July 2014 by her second novel, a romantic mystery entitled Nice Girls Don’t.  Her third novel, The Unkindest Cut of All (a murder mystery set in a theatre), was released in June 2015.

Find out more:

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Hi Sue,

How did you come up with the title for The Unkindest Cut of All?

The title is based on a quotation from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. The book is set in a theatre during an am-dram production of the play, and the quotation is taken from Mark Antony’s crowd-turning funeral speech after Caesar is murdered. The exact words are “This was the most unkindest cut of all”, but it was generally agreed that this sounded a little clumsy – especially for a book by a writer who is a self-confessed stickler for correct grammar!

Who designed the cover and why did you go for that particular design?

The cover was designed by my publisher, Crooked Cat Publishing. Although the action of the story takes place in the present day, we decided on a design which would link with Ancient Rome, in keeping with the setting of the play.

Who was your favourite character to write and why?

Oh, that’s a tricky one, but I think on reflection it would have to be Brian. As the story is a mystery I can’t say too much about him without giving away the plot, but suffice it to say there is much more to him than first meets the eye!

Is any part of The Unkindest Cut of All based on your own personal experiences?

I’ve done quite a bit of backstage work with my local am-dram, so Sarah’s backstage tasks are based fairly heavily on my own experience. But all the characters – and the plot – are pure invention.

How long did it take you to write The Unkindest Cut of All?

It started out as my NaNo novel for 2012. By the end of November I had a very rough first draft, which I then left untouched whilst I worked on other projects. When I came back to it, it took about three months to edit and revise it before I felt it was ready to submit.

Where is your favourite place to write?

In the summer months I write in my conservatory, which has a lovely view of the back garden – or sometimes in the garden itself. In the winter I move into a room at the front of the house, which has a view of the front garden and the street outside. I know I should shut myself off and find somewhere with no distractions, but I think I’d find that very difficult!

Do you have any writing quirks?

If I get stuck, I find it helps to leave my desk for a little while. Quite often the answer comes to me, quite out of the blue, when I’m in the middle of doing something else. I’ve had some of my best ideas when I’ve been mowing the lawn, and on one occasion a complete stanza of a poem arrived, fully-formed, when I was stuck in a traffic jam. My brain works in very strange ways!

If you could live in any time period, what would it be?

I’ve got too used to the wonders of modern technology to be able to survive without them, so I wouldn’t want to go back to a time without computers, microwave ovens, mobile phones or the Internet! But if I could time-travel, I’d love to meet up with two of my all-time heroes: Mozart and Shakespeare.

Laptop, desktop or tablet?

A peculiar combination of all three. I make notes on my tablet, I write on my laptop, and I print from the desktop.

Good answer! I do exactly the same. Sweet or savoury?

Savoury, every time. If I’m offered the choice of a good cheeseboard or a pile of goodness-knows-what topped with a dollop of shaving cream, there’s just no contest!

Any last words for your readers?

Thank you for buying my books!

Thank you so much for answering my questions Sue, it was a pleasure to have you on my blog. I particularly enjoyed reading about your favourite place to write!

Now check out the book:

TUCOA front

Publisher: Crooked Cat Publishing

Publication Date: 9 June 2015

“Beware the Ides of March…

Brian Wilmer is God’s gift to amateur dramatics – and he knows it. So when the Castlemarsh Players take the ambitious decision to stage Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, there is only one man who can play the title role – even though Brian’s posturing ‘prima donna’ attitude has, over the years, won him few friends and many foes.

Rehearsals progress apace, and the production draws ever closer. But when another member of the cast has to drop out due to illness, local journalist Sarah Carmichael (a stalwart of the Players’ backstage crew) suddenly finds herself called upon to step into the breach at the eleventh hour.

Not surprisingly, Sarah finds that Brian is in his egotistical element playing the mighty Caesar. The fact that the final performance of the play takes place on the infamous Ides of March – the day when, according to tradition, Caesar was fatally stabbed – only adds to the excitement.

But tragedy is waiting in the wings. And when it strikes, it falls to Sarah – with the help of Brian’s personable, and fascinating, nephew Martin Burns – to uncover the incredible truth about what really happened…”

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kate1

Author Interview With Julia Williams

I am absolutely delighted to welcome Julia Williams to Me, My Books and I today.

Julia pic

Julia Williams has always made up stories. Until recently she thought that everyone else did too.

Julia was born in North London, one of eight children. She went to Liverpool University to study English where she met her husband, David. They live in Surrey with their four children.

Make a Christmas Wish is Julia’s ninth book.

Find out more:

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Hi Julia,

Where did the idea for Make A Christmas Wish come from?

I had the idea to write about a ghost a long time ago – Livvy literally popped into my head fully formed, though all I knew at that stage was that she was ghost and VERY pissed off. I was thinking along the lines of Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward which features a dead wife who haunts her husband, but then I married it with Christmas so also drew on A Christmas Carol for Inspiration.

How do you decide on names for your characters?

With great difficulty sometimes! Livvy’s name came to me with her, but it took me a while to work out what to call Emily and Adam. Once I’ve fixed on names though, the characters start to really come alive for me.

Which of your characters would you like to meet in person and why?

I’d like to meet Livvy who would be your nightmare but fun friend on a night out. And Adam is essentially very kind, so I’d enjoy his company too. Emily probably wouldn’t be as much fun as Livvy but a tad more reliable! I’d also LOVE to meet Malachi, and the ghosts in Underworld.

What do you hope readers will learn from Make A Christmas Wish?

I’m not a big fan of fiction which aims to teach a lesson, but if anything I hope readers come away with the idea that you should cherish those you love.

There are always lots of Christmas books to read at this time of year, what makes Make A Christmas Wish stand out from the crowd?

It is difficult to be different in a very crowded marketplace, with so many talented writers out there, but I hope MACW offers something a little bit different. I’ve tried to make it both funny and sad, and I hope it draws on some basic truths about human nature. Though it’s a love story it’s not a straightfoward one.

Do you follow a plan when you are writing or do you let the story guide you?

I always have a plan! If I try to write without one it’s hopeless and I meander all over the place. I might not necessarily STICK to the plan though! And in the case of this book, my wonderful editor, Eli spotted lots of flaws with the original version, and made me work very hard till it was as good as it could be.

Do you think your writing style has changed since your first book?

Yes, I think it probably has. I try to write about more complex things now, and with each book I learn a little more.

Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you let them influence your writing?

Yes I do, and no I don’t. If you listen to too many voices it can send you a bit nutty! And you’re not going to please everyone. I accept that not everyone will like my books, and that is fine so long as some people do! I always rely on the judgement first of my twin sister who reads the early versions, and then my editor, who is very very good at spotting things that aren’t working.

Pen or pencil?

Pen. And I write all my first drafts by hand.

Snow or sun?

THAT is unfair, I love both. But I think snow has the edge if I don’t have to go anywhere! Where I live in Epsom sometimes gets unusually heavy snow showers, and we had one year where the trains weren’t working, the roads were blocked so no one could go to work or school. So we had a mini holiday in February and it was fab!

Sounds wonderful (I love snow)! Any last words for your readers?

Thank you for reading the book! Without you I’d be a mad old crone sitting in an attic writing stories for herself. I hope you enjoy Make a Christmas Wish and wish you and yours a wonderful Christmas.

Thank you so much for answering my questions Julia, it was a pleasure to have you on my blog. I particularly enjoyed reading about the characters you’d like to meet!

Now check out the book:

Christmas Wish cover

Publisher: Avon

Publication Date: 1 October 2015

“Last Christmas, when Livvy was knocked down in the supermarket car park she certainly wasn’t ready to actually be dead! For months now she’s floated on the edge of the afterlife, generally making a nuisance of herself.

And she’s not ready to go just yet! She’s furious about the new woman in her husband’s life and she’s worried about her beloved son who doesn’t seem to be adjusting to life without her at all.

This Christmas, Livvy is given one last magical chance to make everything right. Will she take it and give her family the perfect Christmas?”

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kate1