GHOST by HELEN GRANT – BLOG TOUR 16 – 29 APRIL, 2018

I’m delighted to be part of this blog tour courtesy of Love Books Group and have managed to catch up with Helen for a chat about her writing and the inspiration behind ‘GHOST’

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Langlands House is haunted, but not by the ghost you think.

Augusta McAndrew lives on a remote Scottish estate with her grandmother, Rose. For her own safety, she hides from outsiders, as she has done her entire life. Visitors are few and far between – everyone knows that Langlands House is haunted.

One day Rose goes out and never returns, leaving Augusta utterly alone. Then Tom McAllister arrives – good-looking and fascinating, but dangerous. What he has to tell her could tear her whole world apart.

As Tom and Augusta become ever closer, they must face the question: is love enough to overcome the ghosts of the past?

In the end, Langlands House and its inhabitants hold more secrets than they did in the beginning…

PURCHASE LINKS:

AMAZON.COM: http://a.co/f3zrBVo

AMAZON.UK: http://amzn.eu/a3gkY5b

 

MY INTERVIEW WITH HELEN GRANT

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What attracts you to write about the supernatural?

It’s partly a family thing! My Dad and my middle sister both love ghost stories. When we were kids, my Dad used to amuse us on long journeys by retelling the tales of classic ghost story writer M.R.James. We had favourite ones that we were always pestering him to tell us! There was one called “Wailing Well” which really scared me when I was a kid, but I never got tired of hearing it. It was a thrill, like watching Dr. Who from behind the sofa!

As a writer, I think the supernatural offers some wonderful opportunities to explore big themes. One of my previous novels, The Glass Demon, is ostensibly about the search for a series of priceless stained glass windows haunted by a demon. However, it’s not really just about that; it’s about the dangers of obsession. I think my new book, Ghost, is about the way that any of us can be haunted by the past. Supernatural fiction can allow us to examine our fears – death, disease, mental illness – in a “safe” way; when the story ends, you can close the book. It’s somehow containable.

Who are your favourite authors and have any of them influenced your writing?

It’s so hard to choose! As well as the ghost stories of M.R.James, I love the novels of Victorian writer Wilkie Collins- they are full of astounding and colourful characters, and some of them have outrageously improbable plots. My favourite modern writer is certainly the Swedish novelist John Ajvide Lindqvist, who wrote Let The Right One In. I’ve got all of his books that have been translated into English, and I’m very impatient about waiting for the next one. I also loved Michelle Paver’s two ghostly novels, Dark Matter and Thin Air. I like the sense of menace that hangs over them, as well as the old-world feel.

You can probably detect a pattern here…I love thrilling and ghostly stories! I’m not into violent, gory horror stories. I don’t want to be disgusted but I do like my flesh to creep!

If you had a chance to write something completely different, what would that be?

Apocalypse fiction, without a doubt! I love reading it, and I love watching apocalyse movies, too. I suppose we all imagine that we would be amongst the survivors who get to wander through the deserted landscape, having adventures and helping ourselves to whatever we wanted!

It’s a favourite topic of ours at home. My daughter says that if there is ever a zombie apocalypse or superflu, she wants to hole up in Waterstones and read all the books. She’d better pick a branch with a café in it…

Where did the inspiration for Ghost come from?

When I was writing one of my previous books, Urban Legends, I started doing urbex (urban exploration) as part of the research. I went out with some experienced urbexers and visited an abandoned factory that was scheduled for demolition. It was a very exciting experience and since then I’ve had an interest in exploring derelict places.

When we moved to Perthshire in 2011, I started to research the lost country houses of Scotland, and where possible, I like to visit the sites. In the 1800s, a lot of very grand country mansions were built, and in the twentieth century these were no longer practical to maintain. Some were demolished – or even blown up! – but others are just sitting there, in the countryside, slowly mouldering away. I’ve been to see a number of these, and you very rarely see anyone else there. They are very lonely places. So I started to think: supposing there was a house like this, only it was still reasonably intact, with all the contents in it – who would be living there, and why would they be hiding themselves away like that? And that is where the idea for Ghost came from.

What makes a good heroine in supernatural fiction?

I don’t think the heroine has to fit a particular stereotype but she has to be a complex and interesting character. If you are going to put your heroine into a scary or threatening situation, it’s important that the reader can empathise with her, so that they care about what happens to her. She has to be more than just a screaming victim. I think this is true of scary films as well as supernatural fiction. The heroine doesn’t have to be perfect, but she has to feel real.

And lastly, if you were holding a dinner party and could invite four celebrity guests (live or dead) who would they be, and why?

I’ve spent ages thinking about this question. It’s so difficult to answer!

I’d love to invite Charles Dickens so I could ask him what happens at the end of The Mystery of Edwin Drood (he died before he could finish writing it). I’d also invite Wilkie Collins because I’d want to talk to him about his outrageous characters; also, he was friends with Dickens so they’d be pleased to see each other. I’d love to invite Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein; I’d ask her whether she had any idea how huge that book was going to be!

I’d also invite film director Guillermo Del Toro, because I would love to talk to him about his films, especially The Devil’s Backbone, which is one of my very favourites. However, I don’t know how he’d feel about having dinner with three nineteenth century writers and me…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

IMG_9835 Helen Grant’s debut novel The Vanishing of Katharina Linden was shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2010. In 2011 the book also won an ALA Alex Award (awarded to “books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults”). Helen’s short crime story The Beach House won the Jimmy Perez Trophy 2015 at the Shetland Noir book festival. Her work has also featured in Best British Horror 2015 (for The Third Time). Helen has lived in Spain, Germany and Belgium. She now lives in Perthshire with her husband, two children and two cats. She is currently the Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the University of Stirling. As well as exploring abandoned country houses, Helen enjoys visiting the cinema and wild swimming.

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Tuesday Talk welcomes Psychological Suspense Author Keri Beevis talking about writing influences and desert island ‘must haves’

This week I’m pleased to welcome author Keri Beevis to my blog…

Good morning Keri and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?

Thank you for the welcome, Jo, and for inviting me to take part on your blog.
I am the author of the suspense thrillers, Dead Letter Day and Dead Write, which are part of the Rebecca Angell series, and standalone murder mystery, The Darkness Beneath, and I am based in Norfolk, England, where I live with my two adorable, but naughty, kitties, Ellie and Lola. When I am not writing, I enjoy pub quizzes (I am horribly competitive), dinner parties, chilling in leafy beer gardens, and anything ghostly. (I’m not a firm believer, but find the subject matter fascinating). I also write lifestyle columns for two local magazines.

How did your writing journey begin?

I was fairly shy at school and daydreamed my way through all of my lessons. Outside of school I lived in a world of movies and books. As I never really wanted to do anything other than write I found myself at fifteen years old with no career plan. Over the years I have been many things, from a video rental store assistant to the world’s worst hairdresser (seriously, you would be better off letting Edward Scissorhands loose on your locks), an entertainment agent, a caricaturist and a contractor for a travel firm. The one constant through all of these jobs was a love to write.

I wrote my first novel at age twenty and bombarded every publisher and agent I could find. This resulted in several flat out rejections, but some gave encouragement telling me I had potential and to persevere.

Four more novels followed and a few more rejection letters. Along the way there was a brush with an unscrupulous publisher, a break with a top agent and an almost deal with one of the big guns. This ended with another blowing rejection and I quit my dreams for a while, convinced they were over. As I grew older and blonder (it covers the grey nicely), I swapped books for cats and red wine, though the urge to write never left.

Then five years ago I entered the Rethink Press New Novels Competition. I almost didn’t enter, as I lost two thirds of the Dead Letter Day manuscript from my computer and only had a paper copy. Taking a chance I submitted the first 10,000 words and rallied family and friends to help type the rest of the book. The efforts paid off and my novel won a publishing contract, and I took away two important life lessons from the experience. Never give up on your dreams and always use back up discs.

What were your favourite books as a child?

I was a voracious reader when I was younger and Enid Blyton stands out as a particular favourite. I loved the Faraway Tree stories and also the Adventure series. Black Beauty also holds fond memories. It wasn’t until I was a little older that I realised Anna Sewell had lived just down the road from me.

Name two authors who have influenced your writing. What is it about their work that made such an impact on you?

I guess the first would have to be Stephen King. I remember reading The Shining when I was fourteen years old. I was on holiday in Cyprus and it was the middle of a gorgeous sunny day when I first read about Room 217. That scene was subtly written, yet so scary I actually had to put the book down for a moment. It has stayed with me.
A few years later I was reading Misery (again on holiday) this time thinking how difficult it must be to write a full novel. At that time I was focusing on short stories and submitting them to magazines. By the time I had finished the book and headed back to England I had decided I wanted to try my hand at writing a novel. I completed my first attempt six months later.
The second author I consider to be a big influence is Tami Hoag. I love horror, but psychological suspense is my preference. The first Tami Hoag book I read was The Thin Dark Line. I couldn’t put it down and knew immediately that this genre was where I fitted as an author.

Beach or city girl? Where are you happiest and what is your favourite destination?

I love the coast and the countryside far more than I do the city, though I do adore my home city, Norwich. In my home county, my favourite place would have to be the North Norfolk Coast and I love Holkham and Wells-next-the-Sea. My late dad’s home-town of Long Melford, on the Suffolk/Essex border, also holds many fond memories. Further afield my favourite destinations are Italy (I love everything about this country; the food, the history, the scenery, the culture) and Crete (possibly the friendliest, most welcoming people, and the sunsets are spectacular).

Are you able to tell us a little about what you are working on at the moment?

I am currently working on my fourth book, another standalone psychological thriller.
The story’s protagonist is Lila, who is the sole survivor of a horrific car accident. She has no recollection of the accident and, as she starts to piece her life back together, a couple of unsettling incidents suggest that someone may want her dead. Can she figure out whom, why, and what happened the night of the accident, before it is too late?
Although I am British my first three novels were all US based, but this one I am planning to set in my home county of Norfolk, England. This will be a challenge as I need to un-Americanise my writing, plus I have a lot of US readers, so I am hoping they will stay with me.

And last of all – the castaway question. You’re taking yourself off for a year on a desert island. What four essential or luxury items would you take with you and why?

Now I could answer this question practically and say razor, clean underwear, etc., or be indulgent, and I am going to go for the latter. My bed, because I could not go a year without it, wine and coffee (for obvious reasons), plus music. IPod or radio, I don’t mind, but I couldn’t go for a whole year without music.

ABOUT KERI

thumbnail (1)Keri Beevis wrote her first novel at age twenty, but it was a further twenty years later before she finally found success after entering the Rethink Press New Novels Competition 2012.

Her entry, Dead Letter Day, was a winner, earning her a publishing contract with Rethink Press and the book proved to be a hit, both critically and publically, with the Eastern Daily Press saying the book was ‘Exciting, gripping and tantalizing’, while Iceni Magazine called it ‘Brilliant from start to finish’.

The sequel to Dead Letter Day, Dead Write, which sees the return of Rebecca Angell, was released in 2014, and again received rave reviews in the local press.

Keri’s third novel, creepy mystery thriller, The Darkness Beneath, is a standalone story that was released in December 2017.

Social Media Links
http://www.keribeevis.com/

http://www.facebook.com/allaboutbeev
http://www.twitter.com/keribeevis
Book Links
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B077YKK1N9/ref=sr_1_4
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1781330921
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1781330565

 

TODAY TUESDAY TALK CATCHES UP WITH AUTHOR LINN B HALTON…

Today I’m pleased to welcome back Linn B Halton, a lady of many talents…

Good morning Linn and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?  

Waves from my new home in the Welsh Valleys, Jo – it’s lovely to be here.

I’m a Gemini, I love coffee and after years of not being able to eat chocolate, because of cluster migraines, I’m now catching up! I’m also a full-time author who is still suffering withdrawal symptoms from leaving behind a career as an interior designer. But I feel fortunate to be able to indulge my passion for writing and if I’m not looking after the kids I’m glued to my writing stool! Wielding the paintbrush and buying soft furnishing is how I spend my leisure time because we are serial movers.

How did your writing journey begin?

I always knew one day I would find the ‘me’ time to sit down and write full-length stories, but family life and a very hectic job made it a dream for the future. Then in December 2008 I could no longer fight the premonition I had lived with for some months, regarding my mother’s health. I resigned from my job designing interiors for new build homes and just a couple of weeks later my mother had a fall, breaking her hip and an arm. She hated being in hospital and after a week she moved into a little cottage we had in the garden of the old stone lodge in which my husband and I lived. That was in January 2009 and she died, unexpectedly, from a heart-attack at the end of March that year. Those final three months of her life were tough, but at least I was able to be by her side. We laughed a lot but I think we both new that time was running out.

Grief hit me like a sledgehammer, but I had to stay strong because she was the rock of the family. Everyone looked to me to fill her shoes as best I could and reassure them that life must, somehow, go on. However, when I was alone I could feel her presence around me in a very real way and it was encouraging, but also devastating. To keep myself sane I sat down in front of the computer in the little cottage where I’d acted as a less-than-able nurse and I began writing. And I haven’t stopped since.

Chick lit, cosy mystery/romances, rom-coms and women’s contemporary fiction, your writing covers a pretty wide set of genres. Have you ever thought of writing a psychological thriller or a crime novel?

It’s not a direction in which I could ever see myself going, if I’m being honest. Why? Well, I’ve come to realise life is much shorter than we think it is after losing several people to whom I was very close. The sort of loss that rocks your world and somehow the sun doesn’t shine quite so brightly without them in it. It makes you rethink what’s important in life.

My aim is always to fill my days with positive, happy thoughts and I write stories which do, sometimes, tackle traumatic issues and loss, but in an uplifting way. Life is about surviving the tough times and finding a way through. I suppose the message I like my characters to deliver is that self-healing often begins by reaching out to people who are also suffering. Something as simple as lending a listening ear, or being there for someone in need, can make a huge difference. It’s a chance to heal not just the other person, but also ourselves because good karma begets good karma. And I believe it helps to make the world a better place to live in.

If money were no object, where in the world would you particularly like to visit?

We’re travelled quite a bit as a family over the years and now any destination is usually tied-in with research for a book! Last year we visited Athens for the first time and I fell in love with the place and the people. To the extent that when the manuscript was finished I had to go back in and trim some of the descriptions, or it would have been a tourist guide to the city. But it’s now with Harper Impulse and I eagerly await first sight of the cover.

I also love France and Italy, too. This year we’re visiting Versaille for the third time and I’ll be taking notes and photos ready for a story I’m due to write early in 2019. We’re staying a short walk away from the Palace of Versaille but we’re also tacking on a few extra days to spend time at Le Crotoy. We’ve stayed there, too, several times and for me it’s about long walks along the beautiful beach, enjoying some great food and a few glasses of French wine.

What were your favourite books as a child?

Anything I could get my hands on. With a reading age a number of years above my chronological years, I devoured Enid Blyton books and as an early teen read historical fiction. In particular, I loved Woman in White by Wilkie Collins and, of course, books by Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte. Then I discovered the Angelique series by Sergeanne Golon, which was in fact written by Anne and Serge Golon.

Are you able to tell us a little about what you are working on at the moment?

I’m currently writing as both Linn B Halton – for Harper Impulse, and Lucy Coleman – for Aria Fiction. I have two manuscripts queued up and waiting for edits as Lucy, and one as Linn. So, in the meantime, I’ve just made a start on what will be my Christmas 2019 release with Aria Fiction.

I began the story the day that the dreaded ‘Beast from the East’ arrived in the Welsh valleys for the second time and we were snowed in. The setting couldn’t have been more perfect as my inspiration, because the story begins with a bumpy landing at Cardiff airport. The two main characters have one big thing in common and that’s the desire to run in the opposite direction from their respective family Christmas celebrations. The festive period isn’t always quite what we see reflected in those TV adverts, is it?

And lastly, you’ve been invited onto I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here. You’ve been asked to invite four celebrity companions. Who would you choose and why?

My first choice would be Tyler Henry – Hollywood’s ‘go to’ medium – for those long hours spent sitting around in the evenings. I don’t always understand the things that happen around me and he could ask the people who do know!

The Rock aka Dwayne Johnson would be my second choice, as who wouldn’t want a tough guy – with a good heart – there to have their back?

Oprah Winfrey because life would never be dull with her around given the life she’s led and the people she’s met.

John Newman, one inspiring singer who has battled with a brain tumour twice and beaten it. I fell in love with northern soul the moment I heard him sing Love Me Again.

It’s been a great pleasure answering your questions and visiting, Jo – thank you so much!

Thank you Linn, it’s been great having you along to chat…

Linn and Lucy latest

 Bio:

LinnLinn writes as both Linn B. Halton and Lucy Coleman. She lives in the Rhymney Valley in Wales, residing there with her lovely husband and cat, Ziggy. She has written over a dozen full-length novels since 2009 and has written short stories for a number of magazines. She is also known for her series of ‘Home by Design’ articles wearing her former interior designer hat.

“I’m a hopeless romantic, self-confessed chocaholic, and lover of coffee. For me life is about family, friends, and writing. Oh, and the occasional glass of White Grenache after a day getting hands-on with the paint brush at weekends…”

Her work has been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards. Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award.

Linn writes chick lit, romcoms, women’s contemporary fiction and psychic romance. Published by Aria Fiction, Harper Impulse, Choc Lit and Endeavour Media.

Linn’s links:

Read chapter one from each of her novels: Website: http://linnbhalton.co.uk/

Twitter: @LinnBHalton and @LucyColemanAuth

Facebook: LinnBHaltonAuthor

Amazon author pages: Linn B. Halton and Lucy Coleman

 

IT’S PAPERBACK PUBLICATION DAY FOR KIRSTY FERRY’S THE GIRL IN THE PHOTOGRAPH…

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The Girl in the Photograph by Kirsty Ferry: Extract Post

The Cove, 1905

‘Ahoy there!’
Lorelei saw the figure on the shore waving to her as she settled on the rocks and felt a little burst of anger that her fun had been thus intruded upon. Then, as she watched him come closer to the shoreline, she realised that he was quite a stranger, and therefore very possibly the artist from the Dower House. From his confident stride and the way he held himself, this was no old man – no elderly gentleman who she could chat to. This was someone altogether much younger and much more vibrant.
She sat up straight on the rock and began to wring her hair out, twisting it and squeezing it between her long, artistic fingers. ‘Do you have permission to be on this beach?’ she shouted. ‘It is private, and I’m afraid that you are trespassing. If that is the case, you may have to be shot.’
The man laughed and she could see he was wading out towards her, heedless of his trousers soaking up the sea water.
‘I do have permission,’ he shouted back. ‘I’m renting the Dower House from the Scarsdales. I might ask you the same question. Do you have permission to be here?’
‘Then I assume you are Mr Cooper,’ stated Lorelei, ignoring his query.
‘I am indeed Mr Cooper,’ replied the man. He bowed elegantly, if a little mockingly, and she noticed with appreciation the fact that his hair fell over his face in a very Bohemian fashion.
‘Then you are an artist, Sir.’
‘I am an artist. But my medium is photography.’ He took a few more strides towards her so the water was up to the middle of his thighs and he smiled. The deep brown of his eyes was very pleasing and Lorelei smiled back. ‘Yet I do not know who you are,’ he continued. ‘Are you perhaps a mermaid or a siren, waiting for a sailor to clamber onto your rock and lapse unto certain death?’
‘You are Scottish, Mr Cooper,’ commented Lorelei, deliberately evading his questions. It would be rather fun to keep him guessing, she had decided. God knew she had little enough fun with Walter and she could never talk to him like this.
‘I am indeed Scottish. And that is now three things you know about me, Madam Siren.’ He held up his hand and began counting them off his fingers. ‘I am Mr Cooper. I take photographs. And I hail from Scotland. Oh! No, my apologies. You know four things. You also know that I have permission to be on this beach, which is more than I know about you. I may have to report you to the Scarsdales after all.’
‘Report away.’ Lorelei slipped off the rock and began to swim diagonally across the expanse of water, cutting quite closely by him on an arrow-straight route towards the bathing machine.
‘Incredible woman!’ Julian called after her. ‘I will discover your identity, have no fear.’
‘Oh, I don’t fear that!’ she shouted back over her shoulder. ‘And I am sure we shall meet again, sometime soon, Mr Cooper. Adieu!’

ABOUT THE BOOK

What if the past was trying to teach you a lesson?
Staying alone in the shadow of an abandoned manor house in Yorkshire would be madness to some, but art enthusiast Lissy de Luca can’t wait. Lissy has her reasons for seeking isolation, and she wants to study the Staithes Group an artists commune active at the turn of the twentieth century.
Lissy is fascinated by the imposing Sea Scarr Hall but the deeper she delves, the stranger things get. A lonely figure patrols the cove at night, whilst a hidden painting leads to a chilling realisation. And then there’s the photograph of the girl; so beautiful she could be a mermaid … and so familiar.
As Lissy further immerses herself, she comes to an eerie conclusion: The occupants of Sea Scarr Hall are long gone, but they have a message for her and they’re going to make sure she gets it.

Book 3 in The Rossetti Mysteries, Book 1 – Some Veil Did Fall. Book 2 – The Girl in the Painting

The Girl in the Photograph is available to purchase as an eBook and paperback from all good book retailers. Click here for buying options: http://www.choc-lit.com/dd-product/the-girl-in-the-photograph/

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kirsty Ferry HRKirsty Ferry is from the North East of England and lives there with her husband and son. She won the English Heritage/Belsay Hall National Creative Writing competition in 2009 and has had articles and short stories published in Peoples Friend, The Weekly News, It’s Fate, Vintage Script, Ghost Voices and First Edition. Her work also appears in several anthologies, incorporating such diverse themes as vampires, crime, angels and more.
Kirsty loves writing ghostly mysteries and interweaving fact and fiction. The research is almost as much fun as writing the book itself, and if she can add a wonderful setting and a dollop of history, that’s even better.
Her day job involves sharing a building with an eclectic collection of ghosts, which can often prove rather interesting.

Follow Kirsty on Twitter @Kirsty_Ferry
Like Kirsty on Facebook Kirsty Ferry Author

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TUESDAY TALK WELCOMES AUTHOR ROS RENDLE, TALKING ABOUT FAVOURITE AUTHORS AND WHAT INFLUENCES HER CHOICE OF CHARACTER NAMES…

Hi Ros and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?

Ros Rendle TT pic 2Hi, I took early retirement, having been a primary school headteacher in three different schools, and we moved to live permanently in France. It was there, with plenty of time on my hands, that I began writing in earnest. I completed a book of contemporary romantic fiction which I initially indie published. I soon took it down after I was accepted onto the RNA New Writers’ Scheme and received feedback on the manuscript. My second book was accepted by Endeavour Press (now Endeavour Media) and after redrafting the first, that was accepted too. Also, I have two novels and a novella which are 20th century historical fiction about three sisters during times of major conflict. These, I have indie published and all three have been awarded ‘Chill with a Book’ reader’s awards as well as two with ‘Discovering Diamonds’ awards. The last in this ‘Strong Sisters series’ is on the way and will be set in the Cold War.

Who are your favourite authors and have any of them inspired your writing in any way?

This is a hard question because there are many. My mum was a published author of many romantic novels and was, too, a member of the RNA in the 1970s. She always encouraged me to write but I was a busy working mum and didn’t get around to it. I hope she’s proud now, from wherever she’s looking down.  I love James Hilton’s books, especially ‘Random Harvest’ which is a great traditional love story with a magnificent twist at the end. He’s more well-known for ‘Goodbye Mr Chips’. I have a copy from 1941 with my granny’s pencilled notes in the margin. She inspired my book, ‘Flowers of Flanders’, although it’s not her story. I guess there’s an emotive response to ‘Random Harvest’ for that reason, too.

How do you go about choosing character names for your novels?

For the Strong Sisters, I needed flower names because they are ‘Flowers of Flanders’ in the first book and ‘Flowers of Resistance’ in the second. So, I chose Rose, for the traditional warm and caring sister, Delphinium, known as Delphi, for the exotic, wild and selfish one and Iris, (Izzy) for the youngest, who will bloom in unusual, unexpected and striking ways as she matures. The last book in the series, set in the Cold War, is probably going to be ‘The Flower that Shattered Stones’. For the contemporary books I trawl names on the internet which seem to suit the times and the personality of the character. Some of my characters are French so I use the same principle.

Beach or city girl? Where are your favourite holiday destinations and why?

I would say beach, but I don’t enjoy lazing on one. I prefer exploring or bouncing about in the waves. My childhood was spent in Cornwall around Penzance, with cousins. Happy memories, and my latest WIP is set near there, in a tiny place called Mousehole. We have discovered cruising recently. That, I do love. Its so interesting to visit different places and also to spend time people watching.

Are you able to tell us a little about what you are working on at the moment?

I’ve literally just completed a new-adult romance. That’s the one set in Cornwall. I’m half way through another romance about a 40 something woman who has to relocate from London, following the death of her husband. She moves to a small Northamptonshire village. She needs to rehabilitate to contentment.  A homeless rough sleeper plays a significant part in this and as well as a Frenchman with a mysterious past.

And lastly, you’re planning a year away on a desert island. Name four must haves and the reason for choosing them.

Pencils and paper would, of course, be a must. I’m assuming there’s no electricity or internet. Perhaps a Bible. I follow no doctrinal religion at all, but in the absence of other people it would be good inspiration for adaptation to modern times. It’s full of great stories.  That’s two items. I’m counting the pencils and paper as one. Hope that’s alright. I’d take a family photo. My husband and I have two daughters and four granddaughters as well as two sons-in-law. My last item would be one of my ‘fumsup’. TT Ros Rendle 1These are tiny keepsakes of a mannikin given to soldiers in WW1. They have wings on their ankles for a speedy return, a four-leaved clover impressed into the forehead and their tiny arms raise up to touch the wooden bead head. I have a collection of different ones; some brass, others silver or gold. Many are quiTe rare.

ABOUT ROS

I worked as a head teacher, so my writing then was policy documents, essays and some stories to which young children enjoyed listening. I have two married daughters and four granddaughters. Having lived in France for ten years we are now back in England living in a small town between Stamford and Peterborough and loving it. We enjoy ballroom and Latin dancing as well as walking the dogs.

All my books may be purchased here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=ros+rendle

or from me, via my website:

www.rosrendleauthor,co.uk

Other links are:

www.facebook.com/RosalindRendleAuthor

www.twitter.com/ros_rendle

The Hartsford Mysteries Series: Watch for Me by Candlelight by Kirsty Ferry – REVIEW

It’s publication day for Kirsty Ferry’s second instalment of the Hartsford Mysteries Series and here’s my review.

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“The stars are aligning and it’s time again …”

Working at the Folk Museum in Hartsford village means that Kate Howard is surrounded by all sorts of unusual vintage items. Of course she has her favourites; particularly the Victorian ice skates with a name – ‘CAT’ – mysteriously painted on the sides.
But what Kate doesn’t realise is how much she has in common with Catriona Aphrodite Tredegar, the original owner of the skates, or how their lives will become strangely entwined. All Kate knows is that as soon as she bumps into farrier Theo Kent, things start getting weird: there’s the vivid, disconcerting visions and then of course the overwhelming sense that she’s met Theo before …

 
Buy Link Amazon.co.uk http://amzn.eu/fERaWAu 
Buy Link Amazon.com http://a.co/fJulmlE

MY REVIEW

This book does indeed confirm Kirsty Ferry as one of the best time slip authors. In Watch for me by Candlelight we are back at Hartsford Hall in Suffolk. Elodie, who featured in Watch for Me by Moonlight, is now married to Alex and pregnant with twins. This time the story centres on Kate Howard who looks after Hartsford Hall’s Folk Museum. As the story begins Kate starts her day with a visit to the bakery to collect rolls for her breakfast. There she bumps into a stranger. He looks familiar. Kate wonders where she’s seen him before.

Right from the off I really liked Kate’s character. She’s committed to her job, loves Hartsford Hall and the village and has unlimited patience with everyone. One night the unexpected sound of the cuckoo clock downstairs wakes her and triggers the beginning of her time travel adventures. She finds herself back in Victorian times as Catriona Tredegar a young woman staying at Hartsford Hall with her friend Lady Amelia (Millie) Hartsford. A nasty fall while skating on the ice has brought the Hall’s blacksmith Will Hadden to her rescue and sees the beginning of a forbidden love affair between the two of them.

Nineteenth and twenty first century stories run together seamlessly. Kate has her share of troubles with arrogant, self-absorbed boyfriend Chris and her awkward assistant Jenna. And then there’s her attraction to newly arrived farrier Theo Kent, the familiar stranger she bumped into at the bakery. Both heroines face many challenges, Cat probably more so due to the social restrictions of the time.  Her love affair with Will seems doomed from the very beginning. With everything stacked against them can they ever have a happy ever after?

The story is also related in parts from Will and Theo’s viewpoints, adding their voices and life challenges into to mix.  All in all it made for an absorbing read.

Although it was sad to say goodbye to Katie, Theo, Cat and Will, I held onto the thought that Kirsty no doubt still has many more Hartsford Hall tales up her sleeve – great news for all of us.

All in all an excellent read with great characters, well deserving of five stars.

I would like to thank Choc Lit for an ARC copy of Watch for Me by Candlelight in exchange for an honest review.

five-star-rating

TUESDAY TALK WELCOMES AUTHOR CATHERINE KULLMANN CHATTING ABOUT HER LOVE OF THE REGENCY PERIOD, HEROES AND SOME INTERESTING DINNER GUESTS…

Hi Catherine and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?

Hi, Jo and thank you for the invitation to Tuesday Talk. I am Irish and live in Dublin. In the past I have worked in the Irish and New Zealand public services and in the private sector. I am now retired and grateful that I can enjoy all the ‘good things’ of life such as food and wine, travel, music, especially opera, and theatre. My favourite countries to visit are France and Greece. I am never without a book to read or a notebook to scribble in.

Who are your favourite writers and have they influenced your own writing in any way?

Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen pointed me towards the Regency, J R R Tolkien is a wonderful story-teller and P D James and Reginald Hill showed me that so-called ‘popular’ ‘genre’ fiction can include great novels.

What inspired you to set your stories during the Regency period?

I was introduced to the Regency while I was in my teens, not only through Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, but also through the romantic poets such as Wordsworth, Shelly and Keats, and essayists such as Charles Lamb and William Hazlitt.
The first quarter of the nineteenth century was one of the most significant periods of European and American history whose events still resonate after two hundred years. The Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland of 1800, the Anglo-American war of 1812 and the final defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 all still shape our modern world. The aristocracy-led society that drove these events was already under attack from those who saw the need for social and political reform, while the industrial revolution saw the beginning of the transfer of wealth and ultimately power to those who knew how to exploit the new technologies.
It was still a patriarchal world where women had few or no rights but they lived and loved and died, making the best lives they could for themselves and their families, often with their husbands away for years with the army or at sea. And they began to raise their voices, demanding equality and emancipation.
I love the challenge of evoking this fascinating era with characters who behave authentically in their period while making their actions and decisions plausible and sympathetic to a modern reader.

What makes a great hero?

Strength, courage and loyalty. Strength and courage to bear his burdens, confront his demons, do his duty, question received wisdom and shibboleths. Loyalty to his principles, his family, his duty, whether professional or personal. These are general attributes that might apply to anyone. In terms of fiction, and especially in terms of a romantic interest, there must be an initial spark between the couple even if at first it is unrecognised or ignored. There must also be a certain compatibility of mind and interests, mutual respect and a strong sexual attraction. And, of course, a true hero’s strength, courage and loyalty will always be at the service of his other half.

Beach or City? Where are you the happiest?

Here I just have to say, ‘both’. I live ten minutes on foot from the sea and a ten minutes’ journey from the city centre. I love to walk on the beach and also love the buzz of the city. On holidays, I like to find accommodation near the beach, preferably with a sea view, but to use the day for sight-seeing, followed by an evening walk and a sundowner by the sea. One of my favourite places is Chania in Crete. The sunsets by the harbour are spectacular and there are so many places to visit during the day.

Are you able to tell us a little about what you are working on at the moment?

I am completing the final edits for my new novel A Suggestion of Scandal that will be published at the end of July. Here is the blurb.
If only he could find a lady who was tall enough to meet his eyes, intelligent enough not to bore him and had that certain something that meant he could imagine spending the rest of his life with her.
It is high time Sir Julian Loring married, but he certainly does not expect to discover ‘that lady’ in his half-sister Chloe’s governess. When he first met Rosa Fancourt, the orphaned daughter of a naval officer, she was a gawky girl fresh from a Bath Academy, when he returns to his father’s home for a house-party, somehow she sparks his interest. Then, just as he begins to get to know her better, she disappears—in very dubious circumstances. Julian cannot bring himself to believe the worst of Rosa, but if she is innocent, the real truth is even more shocking. Despite this, he is determined to find her and to ensure justice for her.
This has repercussions for his own family, not least for Chloe. And how is he to pursue his courtship of Rosa when she has taken refuge with her cousins? Driven by her concern for Chloe, Rosa accepts an invitation to spend some weeks at Castle Swanmere. But Julian’s cousin, the widowed Meg Overton, has also been invited and she is determined not to let such an eligible match as Julian slip through her fingers again. When a ghost from Rosa’s past rises to haunt her and Mrs Overton discredits Rosa publicly, Julian must decide where his loyalties lie.

You have been chosen to take part in I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. Choose four candidates you would like to share the jungle with and give your reasons for choosing them.

I don’t think I am a suitable candidate for I’m a Celebrity. I would be voted out very quickly if I had not already been medically evacuated due to my allergies. Instead, I have picked four people with whom I would like to be snowed in. They must not only be good company, but also willing to turn a hand to keeping the household going.
Captain Frederick Wentworth (Jane Austen’s Persuasion). As a sailor, he would be used to all weathers, he is kind and practical, and would have the drive cleared of snow in no time.
Jamie Fraser and Clare Randall (Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander). Even if the power went, they would ensure we would have food and heat and Clare would be useful for any medical emergencies.
And now I must decide. Do I allow Captain Wentworth to bring his Anne, who would be a cheerful companion, or do I opt for my own husband of almost forty-five years? I think I must have both. This will give us a nicely balanced house-party of six, all of whom would have no difficulty in coping without electricity or access to modern media. And everyone will have their partner to snuggle up with during the cold nights.

 

Author Bio and Purchase Links

Catherine Kullmann 4 MBCatherine Kullmann was born and educated in Dublin. Following a three-year courtship conducted mostly by letter, she moved to Germany where she lived for twenty-six years before returning to Ireland. She has worked in the Irish and New Zealand public services and in the private sector. After taking early retirement Catherine was finally able to fulfil her life-long ambition to write. Her novels are set in England during the extended Regency period—that fascinating period between the demise of hoops and the invention of crinolines- the end of the Georgian era but before the stultifying age of Victoria.
Her debut novel, The Murmur of Masks, published in 2016, is a warm and engaging story of a young woman’s struggle to survive and find love in an era of violence and uncertainty. It takes us from the ballrooms of the Regency to the battlefield of Waterloo. https://goo.gl/zr7xvE
In Perception & Illusion, published in March 2017, Lallie Grey, cast out by her father for refusing the suitor of his choice, accepts Hugo Tamrisk’s proposal, confident that he loves her as she loves him. But Hugo’s past throws long shadows as does his recent liaison with Sabina Albright. All too soon, Lallie must question Hugo’s reasons for marriage and wonder what he really wants of his bride. http://amzn.to/2n9Ljxi
Her third novel, A Suggestion of Scandal, will be published in July 2018.

Social Media Links
Website: http://www.catherinekullmann.com/
Facebook fb.me/catherinekullmannauthor
Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.co.uk/Catherine-Kullmann/e/B01IW3F4MA/ref=

CAN’T GET YOU OUT OF MY HEAD by SUE SHEPHERD – BLOG TOUR 26 MARCH – 2 APRIL 2018

Can't Get You Out of My Head artwork by Sue Shepherd 120318

CAN’T GET YOU OUT OF MY HEAD BY SUE SHEPHERD

A moving and funny story about sisters, secrets and second chances.

Twin sisters Beth and Lisa do everything together, so what will happen now they both want a life of their own?
Beth has a secret she’s kept from everyone except her sister. But it’s time to get on with her life. Could a seductive Italian, a smooth-talking charmer or backpacking around Australia be the answer?
Lisa feels she’s always lived in her sister’s shadow. Maybe now it’s her turn for some fun, whatever the consequences. But will her drunken antics land Beth in trouble?
And when it comes to the crunch, will one sister have to give up what she wants so the other can have what she needs?
Another entertaining page-turner from the No.1 bestselling author of Doesn’t Everyone Have a Secret? – where things, and people, are not always as they first appear!

Purchase link

 

A TASTER…

Beth was getting out of her car when she heard a familiar voice behind her. ‘Beth Campbell, are you stalking me?’
She spun round, a smile already on her face. ‘Charlie Morris, you wally!’ He held his arms open and she ran to him. ‘When did you get back?’
‘Just over a week ago. Thought I’d come and see you, and, um … and … catch up with Michelle.’
‘You were away for ages.’
‘Yeah. I’ve been gone so long my face ought to be on milk cartons.’ He grinned, then added, ‘Don’t say it …’
‘What?’
‘That my face ought to be on bog rolls!’
‘I would never say such a thing.’ Beth gave his chin a stroke. ‘Your bum fluff hasn’t improved much.’
‘Nonsense. This is a brilliant beard,’ Charlie snorted.
She’d missed his laugh. ‘Michelle doesn’t live in Tennison Avenue any more. She moved out of her mum’s house.’
‘No one can blame her for that.’ He shuddered. ‘Bloody hell. Her mother. Meddling cow!’
‘Absolutely. Michelle’s not far though. She rents a flat with Ricky.’
‘OK. Cool.’
‘Do you want to go for a drink or something? You know, to catch up.’
He gave a casual shrug. ‘Yeah, sure.’
‘I’ll just need to pop in and tell them I’m going out, they were expecting me for dinner.’ Beth gestured towards her parents’ house. ‘Fancy coming in, to see them?’
Again, he was casual. ‘Uh huh.’
She opened the front door and called out, ‘Look who I found loitering outside the house.’
Pat and Don appeared at the kitchen doorway. Don blanched and dropped the tea towel he’d been holding. ‘Oh, Christ.’
‘Is that little Charlie Morris?’ Pat had a closer look.
‘Yep, it’s me. All grown up.’
‘You’re not wrong. How are you?’ She was staring up at him, amazed at his size.
‘I’m good, thanks. Just back from Singapore for a while.’ Charlie held out his hand to Don. ‘Hello.’ With a slightly nervous cough, he added, ‘I’m OK, honest I am.’
Realising he’d been staring, with his mouth open, Don apologised and shook the hand he’d been offered. ‘Sorry, son, it’s just, you know. I can’t help remembering …’
At this point, Nanna came down the stairs. ‘Who’s this, then?’ Examining Charlie’s face, she grabbed the bull by the horns and said, ‘It’s the boy who nearly died. Blimey, you didn’t get like that eating salad, did you?’ Turning to Pat she remarked, ‘You’d never be able to pick him up out of that paddling pool now, would you?’
Charlie grinned. ‘Hello, Nanna. It’s good to see you again.’
‘We’re going to pop out for a drink to catch up. Don’t worry about me for dinner, Mum, I’ll get something whilst we’re out.’ Beth grabbed her handbag and made her way over to the hall mirror. Applying an extra coat of mascara and some fresh lipstick, she then set about adding some cover up to the scars on her chin, a constant reminder not to listen to Lisa’s advice.
‘OK. Just the two of you, is it?’ Pat asked.
Beth looked at Charlie. ‘Um … Charlie wants to catch up with Michelle too.’
‘Well, we don’t have to … I just …’
‘He had no intention of catching up with her, you idiot. Can’t you tell when someone wants to be alone with you?’ Lisa asked.
‘He mentioned her first. I’m just going along with his plan.’
Beth gave Nanna a hug. ‘See you later.’
‘Have fun with the big fella.’
‘You know something, Nanna?’ Charlie said. ‘You haven’t changed a bit.’
Nanna tilted her head. ‘Nonsense, I’ve aged like a sausage in the sun, but thank you anyway.’

Christmas Day on Bondi Beach…Author Post by Sue Shepherd

‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’ is a romantic comedy. It’s a moving and funny story about sisters, secrets and second chances.

Part of the book is set abroad. After a traumatic event when the twins are aged seventeen, they decide to embark on an overseas adventure to Australia. That part of the story was influenced by my own experience. Although my trip took place long before the twins went there, I did find looking through my old diaries very helpful.

One of the things I had in common with the twins was that I also spent Christmas Day on Bondi Beach. I was there in 1990. It was a mixed day. I thought I’d tell you about it.

We awoke on Christmas morning to discover that the sun was shining. No surprises there. It shone every day. I think the first thing that really hit me was the lack of family. By this point, I’d been away from England for three months and I was used to not seeing my mum, dad and sister, but never before had I woken up on Christmas Day without them. I was staying in a hostel, sharing a room with a couple of girls I’d known for about two months. Let me just confirm, that’s a very long friendship when you’re backpacking. Some friendships last a day, before you go your separate ways.

Now, I look at photos of me that day, and I am flabbergasted. I’m slim, I’m young, I have very short funky hair. I know I’m saying it myself, but, damn, I was gorgeous. Why didn’t I realise it then? I’m old enough now to look back at that young girl as if I’m looking at a child of my own and be very proud of her. Not just because she looks good, but because she’s fearless. She’s just woken up halfway around the world on Christmas morning, and, to all intents and purposes, she’s alone in Australia!

We were staying in Coogee, but we’d heard that Bondi was the place to spend Christmas Day. We were a fairly large group from the hostel. It may surprise you to know that, even though this was 27 years ago, I’m still in touch with two people from that group. *Sue waves to Irene and Gerry.* As in the Christmas Day scene in ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’, there were artificial Christmas trees sticking out of the sand everywhere, and people had written on their bodies in fluorescent sunblock. The atmosphere was strange, a combination of amazement that we were all there in that iconic place on such an important day, mixed with a little sadness that we weren’t with our families. I remember thinking often, ‘What would I be doing if I was at home now?’

We took beer onto the beach. Great big slabs full of little stubby beers. And there we sat, in the blistering heat, and drank those bad boys, like there was no tomorrow. When you’re young, you have this overwhelming need to turn every situation into a party. Back then, Bondi Beach at Christmas was synonymous with backpackers and beer.

In a slight drunken stupor, I decided to go for a lone paddle. As I wandered into the sea, I realised that the current was strong. Within seconds my feet were taken from me. Just for a moment, I was under the water, unsure which way was up, and which was down. I had to keep my eyes tightly shut because I was wearing contacts. Thank goodness I kept my mouth tightly shut too! I waited, what was, in reality, a mere second, but felt like forever, for my head to break through the waves and for my body to become upright once again. As soon as it did, I opened my eyes and my feet scrabbled around, frantic to get purchase on the seabed. As quickly as the horrific incident had started, it was over. In a daze, I made my way back onto the beach. I’d probably been gone no longer than five minutes. Blinking, I located my group of friends, not easy when everyone is covered in the same colourful lettering and each group is sitting around identical small trees. Thank goodness for Gerry’s bright green beach shirt, which I used to guide me home.

Not long after I’d made it back from my summersaulting incident in the waves, an ambulance pulled up at the beach, and two paramedics ran down to the sea. A man from another group, possibly more drunk than me, had also decided to cool off and had ventured into the sea. Sadly, he was not as lucky as I had been, and we later heard that he’d died.

When I was writing about my characters going to Australia in ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’, I wondered whether I should allow them to drink alcohol on the beach. Given my experience, it seemed irresponsible as a writer. However, the decision was made for me. In the story, they go to Australia a decade after I was there. So, I decided to Google whether alcohol would still be allowed on Bondi Beach on Christmas Day, and I’m glad to see that it’s been outlawed since 1995, and the area is now strictly patrolled.

I think it would still have been an amazing experience for the characters in my book, and I’m glad I didn’t have to rely on my own moral compass to make the decision.

I’ve spent every Christmas Day since then in England. That time on Bondi remains, to this day, my strangest Christmas. I still feel sorry for the family of the man who lost his life due to over indulgence and silliness, he was no doubt just young and crazy, like we were. I’m also forever grateful that my own tumble in the sea proved to be far less dangerous.

ABOUT SUE

Sue Shepherd author photoBorn in Harrow, Sue went on to spend several years living in Hertfordshire before selling up and taking a leap of faith across The Solent. She now resides on the picturesque Isle of Wight with her husband, two sons and a standard poodle. Her passions in life are: her family, writing, the seaside and all the beautiful purple things her sons have bought her over the years. Happiest when hunched over her laptop with a cup of tea on the go, Sue loves to create stories with plenty of heart and laughs, but she makes sure to include a bit of naughtiness too. Ask Sue to plan too far in advance and you’ll give her the heebie-jeebies and she’d prefer you not to mention Christmas until at least November!

Sue’s links:
http://www.sueshepherdwrites.co.uk
twitter.com/thatsueshepherd

Sue Shepherd Blog Tour

#BLOG TOUR -END GAME by MATT JOHNSON

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Robert Finlay seems to have finally left his SAS past behind him and is settled into his new career as a detective. But when the girlfriend of his former SAS colleague and close friend Kevin Jones is murdered, it’s clear that Finlay’s troubles are far from over. Jones is arrested for the killing, but soon escapes from jail, and Finlay is held responsible for the breakout.
Suspended from duty and sure he’s being framed too, our hero teams up with MI5 agent Toni Fellowes to find out who’s behind the conspiracy. Their quest soon reveals a plot that goes to the very heart of the UK’s security services. End Game, the final part in the critically acclaimed Robert Finlay trilogy, sees our hero in an intricately plotted and terrifyingly fast-paced race to uncover the truth and escape those who’d sooner have him dead than be exposed.

BUY LINKS:

AMAZON.COM: http://a.co/94S2MX6

AMAZON.CO.UK: Link: http://amzn.eu/c4jdFeo

MY REVIEW

First can I say I’m really pleased to be part of this tour courtesy of Orenda Books and Anne Cater.  Many thanks for invitation and the ARC copy for review.

Thrillers aren’t my normal choice but the ones I have read in the past I’ve enjoyed. End Game is no exception. Although the final instalment of a trilogy it is easily read as a stand alone novel.  From the moment I began this, the whole story pulled me in. It’s well written, and the pace never slacks, delivering an exciting read which keeps you on course, not wanting to put it down until that final page has been read.  A great plot with twists and turns aplenty. Intense and nail biting, having to set it aside for more domestic aspects of life at times left me quite frustrated.  A great book which left me thinking  I really ought to check up on Matt Johnson’s previous two novels –  WICKED GAME and DEADLY GAME.

 

END GAME TOUR LIST

 

 

Thoughts on Life After Nine to Five…

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For a good percentage of my working life I managed people. As part of that job I was responsible, when any of my staff left, for arranging collections, buying and wrapping gifts and organising presentations and leaving parties. Very often the person involved wouldn’t be leaving for a new job, or to have a baby, they would be saying goodbye to work for good. As I wished them good luck and a happy retirement it often crossed my mind ‘What will happen when it’s my turn to leave work behind? What will I do? How will I feel about saying goodbye to everyone and losing that day-to-day connection with other people?’ During those moments I realised I almost dreaded that day arriving. I loved work and it seemed impossible to even contemplate not being there.

From junior school to my college days I had always written, even successfully completing a full length novel (which I believe still lives somewhere in the attic). Eventually my desire to become an author fell by the wayside as full time work and then marriage took over. However the need to create stories and characters living in a parallel universe never quite went away. I’m still not sure where the inspiration came for the Little Court Series but suddenly in the early 2000s there I was, writing again. Managing to juggle home life and a full time job, by 2010 I had written and published a trilogy – a saga, for want of a better word, about the lives of four young women growing up during the 1960s/1970s.

I had always thought I would miss work when I eventually gave up. That there would be something of a void in my life. Kick starting my writing again came at the perfect time for me.  It made me refocus on what I really wanted to do. For years I had been on someone else’s payroll and now I very much wanted to take control of my life; be my own boss.  Of course it wasn’t something I achieved overnight. Two and a half years before I eventually left the workplace I opted to reduce my hours, moving to a two and a half day a week job share. Then in the summer of 2013 I knew the time had come for me to leave and become a full time writer. On reflection the choices I made – reducing hours before setting myself a leaving date – were absolutely right for me. After years of full time work to simply decide on a date and then leave would have been a huge culture shock, like being thrown into an ice-cold bath of water. It needed to be a gradual process to guide me gently towards this new direction I had decided embark on.

And now? Well my only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner. I still keep in touch with people I used to work with, even meet up with some of them occasionally for a drink or a meal. And as for missing the workplace, well actually I still have one. The virtual friends on Facebook and Twitter (some of whom I’ve actually met) have more than compensated for those I’ve left behind. I can now look back and say confidently it was the right decision, I love my life as a writer – in fact I couldn’t be happier.

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