fullsizeoutput_267Good morning Kathryn and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?

Hi Jo, and thank you for having me on your blog. It seems quite some time since I walked through the doors of the wonderful world of interviews and blogs, and I feel quite at home!
So, recently married to the love of my life, having at last found happiness (and that last piece of jigsaw I was painstakingly trying to find) I am starting to settle down and continue this lifelong journey of mine – one which involves my passion for writing. I guess my life has been a series of books, many chapters that have usually ended on a cliff-hanger. And now? Well, I’m still a passionate writer, always soul searching, plotting and discovering, but now I’m a happy and passionate writer, content with my life, no longer searching for that ‘something’ that was always missing. I’m 47, and I really didn’t think I’d ever find my soul mate. Then one day, during a three-way conversation on Twitter with a farmer-friend and a friend of his, there I was, single and particularly lonely, wondering what lay ahead, when suddenly I realised a spark had been ignited and our chat on social media was to change my life forever. Inadvertently introducing us, my farmer-friend had no idea that his own friend and I had made contact privately, and history was inevitably in the making. Two years later in May of this year, Jon and I married in Lake Garda and look forward to spending the rest of our lives celebrating our union. Perhaps thanks to Twitter…definitely thanks to our farmer-friend (whom we now see regularly). But definitely thanks to my writing, because without it, Jon wouldn’t have asked me questions about my books, that led to us finding our soul-mate, in each other.
I have a beautiful daughter, Amy, who’s 17 and studies animal care at college, and I have a very handsome step-son studying International Business at university. I think it’s safe to say, the latter half of my 40s have been very different to the former, and I now walk around with pride and contentment after what seemed to be a rather tumultuous decade pre-mid 40s.

When did you first decide you wanted to write and how did you begin that journey?

When I was ten years old, I won a short story competition at Primary school. I was awarded a packet of felt-tip pens and a colouring book. I was on top of the world that day when a local author came into the school to make the presentations. I knew then where my vocation lay, and even though it was many years later in 2007 when I was to publish my first novel, I spent many hours writing stories and articles for magazines, studying creative writing, and going to bed with a Dictionary and Thesaurus, not to mention the Writers’ & Artists’ Year Book. I recommend it to anyone; it beats counting sheep any day, or night…!

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

I have read so many wonderful books over the years and I could reel off list after list of authors whose work I’ve enjoyed – Pauline Barclay for one, CL Taylor another, Lynda Renham is another favourite of mine. I have recently been engrossed in crime writer, Simon Kernick’s work; he really knows how to write a damn good, gritty page turner, and I can honestly say that his books (he has many available) have most definitely inspired me to continue working on my current novel. I’d almost given up on it, if I’m honest, but I’ve always wanted to write a thriller, and I’m still not sure whether it will fall under the psychological thriller genre, or whether it will be something else – I need to have that discussion with my editor at some point – but I’m enjoying the plot and have got into the characters’ heads. So, I’m quite excited about finishing it and after taking a break for far too long, I feel I’m starting to get my motivation back. All I can say is, stand aside, Mr Kernick.
Beach or city girl? Where are your favourite holiday destinations and why?

Can I be awkward and say, pool? I don’t do sand, you see, and I don’t like the sea because I have a phobia of seaweed (even though I eat it from the Chinese…mmm, delicious stuff). I could lie on a sun-lounger all day in scorching sun, smothered in oil, preferably a few steps away from a refreshing swimming pool. My husband, Jon, doesn’t care much for sunbathing so we tend to compromise when we go on holiday. I don’t mind having a wander in a nice town, but I’m not a city girl. Never have been. We got married in a stunning lakeside resort called Gardone Riviera, which sits amongst the hilly countryside on the eastern shores of Lake Garda. Perhaps because it was our wedding and honeymoon destination I may sound a little biased, but it really is the most beautiful place in the world as far as I’m concerned.

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

I should start by telling you that my next book will be penned in my new name, Kathryn Hall, whereas my previous books are in the name of Kathryn Brown. The book I’m currently writing is about Lydia, a seemingly contented woman in her 30s, believing the world to be her oyster and her future a breath of fresh air. But things take a sinister turn for her and she realises she no longer has the comfort of the gentle world she lives in, but has to fend for herself. We start to see the stronger side of her character when her world falls apart, and we soon get to understand that this woman who once relied on those around her, can very easily push them away. And when she does, she finds herself in dire need of help. The book is written in first person, mainly from Lydia’s point of view, but I’m afraid, for now, that’s all I’m saying. The plot may change a little – I have a habit of changing my mind – so for fear of misleading any future readers, I shall leave it there. There’s nothing more intriguing than leaving the punter guessing!

And lastly, if you had to spend a whole year on a desert island, what would your ‘must haves’ be and why?

Blimey, that’s a difficult question! Some very large bottles of wine for starters! Obviously, my husband would be there, so in a nutshell I wouldn’t need anything else. I guess on a desert island there would be no phone signal, but if there was, then I’d have my phone. Then again, where would I charge it up? I have a stuffed bunny rabbit that goes everywhere with me, much to Jon’s chagrin, as she even accompanied us on our honeymoon. Carrot – that’s her name – has been my “comfort blanket” since I was five years old, so she is definitely a ‘must have’. Well, I suppose if I can take my mobile phone and charge it up, I can also use my Kindle. So, with my husband, my bunny rabbit, my mobile and my Kindle, not to mention those bottles of wine, actually, life on a desert island doesn’t sound so bad.



Discovery at Rosehill (1st in the series) – paperback and Kindle – paranormal romance


Secrets at Rosehill (2nd in series) – paperback and Kindle (you can actually buy both books together) – paranormal romance


Bedknobs and Bachelors – paperback and Kindle – romantic comedy


Nightingale Woods – paperback and Kindle – romantic comedy





Jane Risdon has been a great friend of mine for quite a while.  With her long career in the music business she became an invaluable source of information and support during the time I was writing The Other Side of Morning where rock star Christian Rosetti featured as one of the main characters.

And now I’m really pleased to be able to return the compliment with a pre-publication promotion for her forthcoming collaboration with Christina Jones…


Two women, one love story.

June 1968. Renza falls head over heels for heart throb guitarist Scott. But after a romantic summer together they are torn apart when Renza’s family moves away.

December 1968. On the night she believes to be her last, Stella meets Scott at a local dance. He’s the most beautiful boy she’s ever seen and if this one night is all they have, she’ll take it.

As the final colourful year of the sixties dawns, the question is: can there be only one woman for Scott?

PUBLICATION DATE: 23RD November 2017 – currently available on Amazon for pre-order

BUY LINK: http://amzn.eu/ievldMw


Christina Jones has written all of her life (as well as having millions of Proper Jobs including factory worker, secretary, nightclub dancer, blood donor attendant, barmaid, waitress, civil servant and fruit picker) Christina first had a short story published when she was just 14 years old. She has written for teenage and women’s’ magazines fiction and non-fiction for a number of years, had her own humour column in The Oxford Times, and has contributed to national newspapers.
Having spent most of her life married to a rock musician, Jane Risdon had little time for writing. She and her husband worked with management of musicians, singer-songwriters, and record producers, rubbing shoulders with the great and glamorous all over the world. With time to herself at last, Jane’s experiences in the music industry have kickstarted her writing career. She and Christina Jones have been friends since the Swinging Sixties.




P1040360 - B&WGood morning Sara and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?

Morning, Jo – it’s a pleasure to be here. I live in west Wales, on the Carmarthenshire coast, with my husband, Simon. We have two grown-up children – our daughter lives down the road from us with her two dogs, and our son lives in Dublin, so we’re frequent visitors to Ireland. In the past, all my jobs have been child-related. I’ve worked as a primary school teacher, and also been a child-minder and an assistant in a children’s library. I now write full-time.

How did your writing journey begin?

I’d always loved writing bits and pieces and imagined myself writing a novel one day, but when the children were young I never seemed able to set aside enough time. When I turned forty, I decided it was ‘now or never’ and I joined a local writing class. The emphasis was on writing for children and I built up collections of short stories for four to eight-year-olds. The first of these was called ‘Welsh Cakes and Custard’ and it was published in 2013. It won a Welsh award and this really encouraged me to keep writing. I’ve written another two children’s books under my real name of Wendy White.

What inspired you to write Not Thomas?

My first teaching post was in a very disadvantaged area, and the poverty and neglect I witnessed there made a lasting impression on me. I drew on these teaching experiences to write Not Thomas, and I wrote it very slowly over fourteen years. I chose to write it under the pen name Sara Gethin to keep my novel distinct from my humorous writing for children.
Not Thomas is quite dark. It’s about child neglect and the story is told entirely from the point of view of five-year-old Tomos. He’s been removed from his lovely foster parents and sent to live with his mum who’s hiding a drug addiction. Tomos isn’t based on one child I taught – he’s a mixture of a number of children I knew and heard about, all rolled into one often very sad, but also really hopeful, central character.

As a writer what is the best piece of advice you have been given?

The lecturer on that very first writing course I attended gave us an essential piece of advice – read, read, read! He told us it’s the best way to learn what good writing is. Some students disagreed with his advice because they felt it would lead to them copying someone else’s style. It’s an argument I’ve heard many, many times since, but I still firmly believe that if you want to write well you have to read an awful lot too.

What destination is top of your bucket list?

I would love to visit Australia. I’m not very good at roughing it, or coping in extreme temperatures or with unusual foods, so it’s the perfect place for my dream holiday. And all that reading time on the plane there and back – bliss!

And lastly, you’re one of the contestants in I’m a Celebrity – Get Me Out of Here. Which four famous people would you like as companions in the ‘jungle’ and why?

Being a contestant on I’m a Celebrity – Get Me Out of Here is my idea of absolute hell! Roughing it, disgusting food – see my answer to the previous question. But thank you for letting me choose four companions to help soften the pain.
First of all I’d pick Graham Norton. I think he’s hilarious and he’s interviewed so many famous people he’d never run out of entertaining stories. We could rely on him to make witty remarks about the other contestants too. Next I’d choose Kate Bush. I love her voice, although I know it’s a little like Marmite. We could duet around the camp fire and annoy everyone else. She could teach me her dance moves too – they’re about the only dance moves I stand any chance of learning. Dara O’Briain is my next choice, mainly because he’s very funny, plus he has a talent for science, which I’m really bad at, and I might as well use my time in the jungle to learn something new.
And finally, I’d choose an author. This is the hardest choice of all because there are so many wonderful authors I admire to choose from. I’m going to plump for Patricia Cornwell. I could spend hours picking her brains about police and forensic procedures. Then I might try my hand at writing a detective novel when I’d escaped from the jungle (I secretly want to be Ian Rankin). Ms Cornwell could entertain us too, with imaginative ways to bump off the most annoying contestant – hypothetically, of course. Hopefully, the most annoying wouldn’t be any of my chosen companions – or worse, me!



NotThomas cover final front only

The lady’s here.
The lady with the big bag. She’s knocking on the front door. She’s knocking and knocking. I’m not opening the door. I’m not letting her in. I’m behind the black chair.
I’m waiting for her to go away.

Tomos lives with his mother. He longs to return to another place, the place he thinks of as home, and the people who lived there, but he’s not allowed to see them again. He’s five years old and at school, which he loves. Miss teaches him about all sorts of things, and she listens to him. Sometimes he’s hungry and Miss gives him her extra sandwiches. She gives him a warm coat from Lost Property, too. There are things Tomos cannot talk about – except to Cwtchy – and then, just before Easter, the things come to a head. There are bad men outside who want to come in, and Mammy has said not to answer the door. From behind the big chair, Tomos waits, trying to make himself small and quiet. He doesn’t think it’s Santa Claus this time.

When the men get in, Tomos’s world is turned on its head and nothing will ever be the same again.


Not Thomas is available to buy in paperback direct from the publisher Honno Press:


and in paperback and on Kindle from Amazon:



Sara Gethin Social Media Links:

Website & Blog: saragethin.com

Facebook: @SaraGethinWriter

Twitter: @SGethinWriter

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/saragethinwriter


BOOK PROMOTION: Cover Reveal for The Captain’s Daughter – Book Two in Victoria Cornwall’s Cornish Tales Series


The Captain’s Daughter
Victoria Cornwall


A gripping historical novel set in Cornwall.
Perfect for fans of Winston Graham’s Poldark, Susan Howatch & Philippa Gregory novels.

Book 2 – Cornish Tales


Beware the strength of a quiet woman.

After a family tragedy, Janey Carhart was forced from her comfortable middle-class life as a captain’s daughter into domestic servitude. Determined to make something of herself, Janey eventually finds work as a lady’s maid at the imposing Bosvenna Manor on the edge of Bodmin Moor, but is soon caught between the two worlds of upstairs and downstairs, and accepted by neither, as she cares for her blind mistress.
Desperately lonely, Janey catches the attention of two men – James Brockenshaw and Daniel Kellow. James is heir to the Bosvenna estate, a man whose eloquent letters to his mother warm Janey’s heart and whose attentions to her when he returns home set her pulse racing. Daniel Kellow is a neighbouring farmer with a dark past and a brooding nature, yet with a magnetism that disturbs Janey. Two men. Who should she choose? Or will fate decide.

PRICE: £2.99
Pre-order price: £0.99
PUB DATE: 3 October 2017
Digital: 978-1-78189-381-4
CATEGORY: Historical/Women’s Fiction/Romance/Saga






Choc Lit:
+44 (0) 1276 27492


Victoria CornwallVictoria Cornwall can trace her Cornish roots as far back as the 18th century. This background and heritage has given her an understanding and knowledge of Cornish rural life, which is the inspiration for her writing.
Following a fulfilling twenty-five year career as a nurse, a change in profession finally allowed her time to write in her favourite genre – historical romance.

She is married with two grown up children. The Captain’s Daughter is the second novel in her Cornish Tales series.

Catch up with Victoria on Social Media:







A great historical romance in the Poldark tradition with a wonderful hero, spirited heroine and smugglers galore, all in a wonderful Cornish setting.
Award-winning author, Christina Courtenay.

book reviewIf, like me, you are having Poldark withdrawals, then look no further. The Thief’s Daughter is a gorgeous tale of love and betrayal that will have you reading up until the wee hours of the morning as you follow Jenna and Jack on their journey to find their place in the world.
A beautifully written historical romance, that delves into the dangerous world of smuggling and questions how far you can and should go, even for those you love. I cannot wait to read more from Victoria Cornwall!
Sorcha O’Dowd, Waterstone’s Bookseller and Book Blogger.

Annie's book cornerWhat a wonderful debut novel from Victoria Cornwall! I’m not usually an historic romance fan but I was swept up in the story and the beautiful scenery descriptions.
Jenna and Jack’s relationship has highs, lows and strong arguments! I love a relationship that isn’t black and white and this one is very colourful! I also enjoyed Jenna’s attempt to escape her past and not be painted with the same brush as her family.
As my readers know, I am a great fan of Choc Lit and this is yet another book worthy of them. I look forward to Victoria’s next book.
Ann Cooper, Annie’s Book Corner.
with love for booksThe Thief’s Daughter is an amazing story about two people who have lost much, but are willing to do anything to keep others safe, even when these people don’t deserve this kind of protection. I loved to read about Jenna and Jack’s journey together, it made them stronger and able to open up to each other. They have great chemistry and it was heartwarming to see how they slowly grow closer together. Victoria Cornwall was born and raised in Cornwall and she perfectly describes this stunning place and the surroundings she writes about. I have been to Cornwall myself and while reading her book I thought about my time there with great fondness. I’ll be watching Victoria Cornwall and can’t wait to read more of her stories.
Anniek Snowroses, With Love for Books.


This was a step away from my comfort zone as this is the first ever historical romance I have read. Let me tell you I am glad I made the leap of faith with this one. What I found was a tale including romance, drama, intrigue and a little bit of betrayal. The research that the author has so clearly done into the historical elements shone through and is placed in the story in such a way that I feel I have learnt something but not been lectured.
Sal’s World of Books


Ali_ason 4896x3672Good morning Ali and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?

Hello again, Jo and thanks so much for having me. As you know I live not for from you and have done since my marriage many (many!) years ago. However I was born and brought up in Scotland where I got my degree from St Andrews University. I love the West Country and my family (one of each) have grown up here, but of course you take the Scot out of Scotland but you can’t take … you know how it goes!

How did your writing journey begin?

Well, now you’re asking! I wrote a poem at school when I was six (didn’t we all) and joined the sixth form creative writing course (considered very new fangled back then) but I was in my fifties before I realised I hadn’t started the writing journey I had always meant to embark on. Even then there were a few false starts until I found a brilliant teacher in novelist Sarah Duncan who was running an evening class in Bath at that time. That was it – I was off!

Are you a panster or a plotter?

Very much a pantser. Although I do always have an idea of what it’s all about and where it’s heading, I have to work out the rest as I go along. Finding the story is part of the process for me and I really struggled in my current project. It’s historical fiction and I thought having a ‘ready-made’ plot would make it easy but the opposite was true. Because the main story was already known to me, I had to winkle out more stories hidden within it.

Name the top two destinations on your bucket list.

I’m lucky to have been to quite a few of my dream destinations, as far east as Dubai and as far north as Lapland, but I’m finding now that places are dropping off my bucket list. I don’t need to see the whole world before I die, but I would still like to make it to Orkney and the Western Isles. This summer we hosted children from Belarus – still affected by the Chernobyl disaster (more info at https://www.ccll.org.uk/bristol/index.php?ctlPage=home ). Not exactly a tourist destination, but it has made me very curious about life in that part of the world.

What was the inspiration behind A Kettle of Fish?

My first (unpublished) novel was set in Bristol and France. After a trip to Scotland, where CAT-COVER-THUMBwe hadn’t been for quite some time, Kettle was a conscious decision to celebrate my roots. I loved writing about the villages of the East Neuk of Fife and the magnetic pull of Edinburgh. But Kettle is contemporary, not set in my childhood. The themes of family secrets and a brush with the art world just seemed to appear of their own accord. It was fun to write and took me to some unexpected places – including the subject of my forthcoming book, In the Blink of an Eye, due out next year with Linen Press Books http://linen-press.com/


What’s next? Can you tell us a little about your latest project?

StAndPhotoFest Ali Bacon Reading-2_sm In the Blink of an Eye is a fictional account of the Scottish artist and photographer D. O. Hill. In 1843 Hill began a monumental painting of around 400 Scottish ministers which took him 23 years to complete. The book looks at what happened in between, including hill’s iconic partnership with photographer Robert Adamson. Together these two men created 3000 photographic images many of which are still regarded as masterpieces. In the end (see above!) I told Hill’s story in the voices of ten different people whose lives he touched. This seemed the only way to convey the breadth of his influence. In doing so, different facets of Victorian Edinburgh come to light.
Writing the book is part of a mission to being Hill and Adamson’s work to a wider audience and, once it’s published, I’m planning to give presentations about them to anyone who’ll have me!

And lastly, you’re planning a dinner where you can invite four celebrities (past or present). Who would they be and why?

Hah! I remember in the past choosing the geneticist Steve Jones, the politician Shirley William and tennis star John McEnroe. I must be getting shallow in my old age as I am replacing Jones with Daniel Craig (for obvious reasons!) Instead of Shirley, since I can’t have the entire cast of Dinner Ladies, I’ll have the incomparable Victoria Wood. Tennis must be represented by my all time hero Andy Murray and I’ll add the writer Kate Atkinson, whose conversation is sure to be as dazzling as her writing. Oh dear, I hope they get on!

Today Tuesday Talk chats to author Heidi -Jo Swain about her writing journey, tips for newbie authors and whether she’s a beach or city girl…

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

Hello Jo. Thank you so much for inviting me to come over and chat. It is lovely to be here. I am an author of commercial fiction, writing for Simon and Schuster and represented by lovely Amanda Preston from LBA. I live in beautiful Norfolk with my family and a very quirky rescue cat called Storm.

How did your writing journey begin?

My journey began when I was in my teens, but I didn’t pluck up the courage to take my ambitions seriously until I was in my thirties. By then I’d reached the ‘it’s now or never’ point and decided that life was far too short not to follow my heart.
I enrolled on a couple of local creative writing courses and wrote short stories for an online community before taking the plunge and writing my first novel. I then joined the RNA New Writers Scheme and submitted The Cherry Tree Café to Books and The City (the digital imprint of Simon and Schuster) during their #OneDay call for submissions and now here we are almost six books down the line!

What inspired you to write your debut novel The Cherry Tree Café?

To be honest it was the burning ambition to be a published author that inspired me to write The Cherry Tree Café. It was my second novel and I knew that as I’d already written one, I could write another, only this one would be better. Much better, and thankfully the Books and The City Team loved it as much as I did.
With regards to plot and setting inspiration, I’m a huge fan of Miss Read and HE Bates and the opportunity to create a community filled with great characters and gorgeous locations that I could visit more than once was too tempting to resist. I absolutely love Wynbridge, even if it is fictional.

How much research is involved in your books?

That depends very much on what I’m writing about. If it’s something I have limited experience of I’ll go all out to make sure I have the right information, have taken the appropriate trip or spoken to the people in the know to make sure I have just the right amount of detail to hand without weighing the book down. If in doubt, check it out, would be my (rather corny) go-to phrase where research is concerned.

What advice would you give newbie writers?

I get asked this question a lot now and my answer is always the same – just get on with it!
I know that probably sounds blunt but so many people tell me they want to be an author but then add that they haven’t got time to write. I didn’t have oodles of free time when I had another job so I got up an hour earlier, I wrote during my lunchbreak and again in the evenings. If it’s something you really want to do, you’ll find a way and those snatched moments all up the word count.
And don’t wait for the perfect writing spot or for other commitments to magically melt into the background. I’m still perched on a corner of the dining table and I still have a family to look after. If you wait for the perfect moment, you’ll never publish anything. And that doesn’t just apply to writing, but to life in general.

Beach or City? Which holiday destination appeals to you most?

Definitely a City holiday for me. I would far rather explore a museum, gallery or library (or all three), than sit on a beach. I’m a real misery guts when it comes to heat so the summer we’ve had so far has suited me just fine!

And lastly, you’re one of the contestants in I’m a Celebrity – Get Me Out of Here. Which four famous people would you like as companions in the ‘jungle’ and why?

This is a tricky one. OK, Bear Grylls for obvious reasons, – as long as there’s no drinking of bodily fluids involved! A Peter Kay and Milly Johnson combo to keep me laughing and Tom Hardy to enhance the view. How does that sound?


Heidi Swain Author Bio

20170104_091654Although passionate about writing from an early age, Heidi Swain gained a degree in Literature, flirted briefly with a newspaper career, married and had two children before she plucked up the courage to join a creative writing class and take her literary ambitions seriously.
A lover of Galaxy bars, vintage paraphernalia and the odd bottle of fizz, she now writes feel good fiction with heart for Simon and Schuster.
Her debut novel, The Cherry Tree Café was published in July 2015 (paperback June 2017) and Summer at Skylark Farm hit the shelves the following June. Mince Pies and Mistletoe at the Christmas Market was a hugely successful Christmas 2016 release and her fourth book, Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage was published in July 2017. She is currently preparing for her October 2017 Christmas release, Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells at The Christmas Fair.
Heidi lives in Norfolk with her wonderful family and a mischievous cat called Storm.


Website: http://www.heidiswain.co.uk/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Heidi_Swain
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WriterHeidiJoSwain?ref=hl
Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Heidi-Swain/e/B00YNN3LDI/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1483439180&sr=8-2-ent




Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage

When Lottie Foster’s grandmother’s best friend Gwen dies, she leaves Lottie her lovely home, Cuckoo Cottage.

Lottie loves the cottage but Matt, a charming local builder, points out that beneath its charm it is falling apart. Luckily he is always on hand to help with the problems that somehow seem to keep cropping up. But is he just a bit too good to be true? Certainly Will, Lottie’s closest neighbour, seems to think so.

Lottie plans to set up her own business renovating vintage caravans. She hasn’t told anyone about the project she has cooked up with Jemma from The Cherry Tree Café to repurpose Gwen’s old caravan and turn it into a gorgeous tearoom.

But before she can finally enjoy living with her legacy she must uncover who she can trust, and who to avoid. And with two men vying for her attention, will she also find love?


Cuckoo Cottage: https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_1_16?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=coming+home+to+cuckoo+cottage&sprefix=coming+home+to+c%2Caps%2C240&crid=M3CL71BR7MXM

Today Tuesday Talk catches up with author Claire Douglas to chat about her journey to publication, dream holiday and her next writing project…

claire picGood morning Claire and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?

Hi Jo. Thanks for having me. Well, I’m from a little town called Chipping Sodbury in South Gloucestershire, although as an adult I’ve moved around a lot. We moved to Bath five years ago. I’m married with two young(ish) children who keep me very busy when I’m not writing – particularly at this time of the year!

How did your writing journey begin?

I was a journalist for fifteen years – starting out in local newspapers and eventually writing true-life stories and health features for women’s magazines including Take-A-Break and Bella. I always wanted to write fiction though. I wrote my first novel at 24 and was rejected. Then I wrote three more and had more rejections, but also some encouraging comments. In 2013, I’d just started writing what would become “The Sisters”, when I saw Marie Claire magazine were holding a debut novel competition. The prize was a publishing deal with HarperCollins. I sent off the first three chapters and a synopsis and then put it out of my mind, not really believing anything would come of it. A few months later I received the surprising – and life changing – news that I’d won.

What was the inspiration behind the plot of Last Seen Alive?

I’ve always been interested in the house swap idea, although I’ve never done one myself, but have friends who have. And it got me thinking, what would happen if you were in someone else’s house and you found something that really freaked you out? And then knowing that those same people were in your house!

If money was no object where in the world would you like to visit and why?

Definitely Burma. My husband is half Burmese, although he was brought up in England and has never been there. His mum left the country when she was ten. My husband and I would both love to visit and for the children to see the place where their grandmother was from.

What’s next for you? Are you currently working on a new WIP? If so are you able to tell us anything about it?

I’m currently writing my fourth novel – another psychological suspense, although I’m still in the early stages. It’s a family who move to the Brecon Beacons to run a guest house. When the owner Kirsty’s cousin comes to stay it’s not long before she’s found murdered and suspicion falls on one of the other guests. But, of course, there is more to it than that … secrets, lies and past events come to light and Kirsty realises that nothing is as it seems.

And lastly, if you were planning a chill out few months on a desert island, what would your four must-haves be and why?

Ooh this is hard! I think I’d definitely need to bring a notepad and pen so I can write stories (is that classed as two things?) A book – maybe Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials because a) it’s three books in one and b) I’ve only read it once and I’d love to read it again. And tea bags. I couldn’t survive a few hours let alone months without some tea!



Claire Douglas always wanted to write novels and, after many years of trying to get published, her dream came true when she won the Marie Claire Debut Novel Award in 2013 with THE SISTERS.

Her subsequent novels LOCAL GIRL MISSING and recently released LAST SEEN ALIVE are both Sunday Times top ten bestselelrs.

You can find Claire on Twitter at @DougieClaire or visit her Facebook page clairedouglasauthor.


Last seen alive 1


She can run
Libby Hall needs to hide, to escape from everything for a while. Which is why the house swap is a godsend. The chance for Libby and her husband Jamie to exchange their tiny Bath flat for a beautiful haven on the wild Cornish coast.

But she can’t hide
But before they can begin to heal their fragile marriage, Libby makes some disturbing discoveries about the house. And soon the peace and isolation begin to feel threatening. How alone are they? Why does she feel watched?

Because someone knows her secret
What is Jamie hiding? Is Libby being paranoid? And why does the house bring back such terrible memories? Memories Libby’s worked hard to bury. Memories of the night she last saw her best friend alive . . . and what she did.










The Forgotten Family of Liverpool
Pam Howes

The fighting has finished – but are their troubles just beginning?

UK 🇬🇧 http://amzn.to/2qIcCya
US 🇺🇸 http://amzn.to/2pOgsrD


It’s 1951 and rationing is finally coming to an end. But while Liverpool is recovering from the ferocity of war, a family is about to be torn apart…

Dora Rodgers is settling into a new life with her daughters Carol and Jackie, moving on from the betrayal of her husband. But then an unexpected knock at the door rips her family in two. Carol is taken away by a welfare officer to live with Dora’s estranged husband Joe.

Dora is determined to fight for her child, but she struggles to cope when a tragic accident leaves her mother in hospital, and shocking news from Joe breaks her heart once more.

With her family in pieces and her marriage over for good, will Dora ever manage to get her daughter Carol home where she belongs?

The Forgotten Family of Liverpool is a brave and tear-jerking story of one woman’s quest to protect her family. Perfect for fans of Nadine Dorries, Annie Murray and Kitty Neale. Discover Pam’s Mersey Trilogy today.


Red dress profile pix 003Pam is a retired interior designer, mum to three daughters, grandma to seven assorted grandchildren and roadie to her musician partner.
The inspiration for Pam’s first novel came from her teenage years, working in a record store, and hanging around with musicians who frequented the business. The first novel evolved into a series about a fictional band The Raiders. She is a fan of sixties music and it’s this love that compelled her to begin writing.





I’ve been eagerly awaiting Pam Howes’ sequel to Lost Daughter of Liverpool.  Having really enjoyed the exciting start to the trilogy in February, I wondered what was in store for Dora, Joe and the totally awful Ivy.

It’s now 1951 and Dora is living with her two young daughters Carol and Jackie.  Despite wanting her back, Joe is learning that his one night stand with Ivy has cost him dearly.  But it’s not only being unable to cope with his infidelity that’s holding Dora back.  After the trauma of losing her baby, she can’t face getting pregnant again and won’t entertain having a hysterectomy.  It seems, therefore, things have reached a stalemate.  For his part, Joe has kept Ivy at a distance, accepting her friendship but nothing else.  Ivy, however, has other ideas.

Dora is a tough heroine. Times are hard and she hits a lot of bumps on her journey to keep her little family together. Joe is lovely but just a little naïve. There were moments when I wanted to take him by the shoulders and shake him. Why couldn’t he see what Ivy was doing? And Ivy, well she’s an absolute masterpiece. A complete bitch.  I absolutely hated her and am hoping when we reach book three she will get her comeuppance.

Pam has written a fabulous sequel which I simply couldn’t put down.  The only criticism I have is that I now have to wait for the third book in the series to see how the story ends.

I would like to thank NetGalley for an ARC of The Forgotten Family of Liverpool and say I loved every minute of it.

Many thanks to Kim Nash at Bookouture for inviting me to be part of Pam’s book tour.

Forgotten Family of Liverpool Blog Tour



B-Format Paperback Original

Book 6 in the Detective Kubu Series

ISBN: 978-1-910633-762-2

LAUNCHING 30 JULY 2017 – £8.99

The sixth mystery in the beloved and critically acclaimed Detective Kubu series. Kubu and his colleague Samantha Khama track a killer through the wilds of Botswana on their most dangerous case yet.


When the body of a Bushman is discovered near the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, the death is written off as an accident. But all is not as it seems. An autopsy reveals that, although he’s clearly very old, his internal organs are puzzlingly young. What’s more, an old bullet is lodged in one of his muscles… but where is the entry wound? When the body is stolen from the morgue and a local witch doctor is reported missing, Detective ‘Kubu’ Bengu gets involved. But did the witch doctor take the body to use as part of a ritual? Or was it the American anthropologist who’d befriended the old Bushman? As Kubu and his brilliant young colleague, Detective Samantha Khama, follow the twisting trail through a confusion of rhino-horn smugglers, foreign gangsters and drugs manufacturers, the wider and more dangerous the case seems to grow. A fresh, new slice of ‘Sunshine Noir’, Dying to Live is a classic tale of greed, corruption and ruthless thuggery, set in one of the world’s most beautiful landscapes, and featuring one of crime fiction’s most endearing and humane detectives.


Sometimes it’s great to step outside the box and read something completely different. Crime isn’t my usual choice,  but when the opportunity arose to be part of this tour, I jumped at it – and it has to be said, Dying to Live proved to be an amazing read.

The sixth in the Detective Kubu series, it is set in Botswana. When a bushman is found dead, the post-mortem sets his age at well over 100. So how is it possible his internal organs are those of a much younger man? As they search for his murderer Detective Kubu and his team find more questions than answers. Is there is a connection between the disappearance of local witch doctor Kgosi Ramala and American university researcher Christopher Collins? Were they both involved with the dead man, who reportedly had knowledge of an anti-ageing plant? And are there more sinister forces at work here?

The story deals not only with the investigation but also takes the reader into Detective Kubu’s private life and some dramatic family issues he has to deal with.  It was also a rare treat to glimpse Botswana’s culture and scenery which acted as a great backdrop to the work of this crime solving team. Right from the first page I was completely hooked and would thoroughly recommend.


Michael-Stanley-photo-300x201Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip.  Both were born in South Africa and have worked in academia and business.  On a flying trip to Botswana, they watched a pack of hyenas hunt, kill, and devour a wildebeest, eating both flesh and bones. It gave them the premise for their first mystery, A Carrion Death, which introduced Detective ‘Kubu’ Bengu of the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department.  It was a finalist for five awards, including the CWA Debut Dagger.  The series has been critically acclaimed, and their third book, Death of a Mantis, won the Barry Award and was the finalist for an Edgar award. Deadly Harvest was finalist for an International Thriller Writers’ award, and book 5, A Death in the Family, was an international bestseller.

dying to live blog tour poster

Tuesday Talk is back and catching up with author Anna Mansell as she discusses dinner guests and what’s next on her writing agenda…

IMG_0979Good morning Anna and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?

Morning! Thanks for having me. So, what can I tell you? I’m a northerner living in Cornwall. My life is largely dictated by our rescue Greyhound, Olive Dog. And when she’s not demanding attention, it’s one of the kids. Apparently I have a husband too, the poor bloke rarely gets a look in. We live in a little house on a dairy and thank our lucky stars every single day!

How did your writing journey begin?

Well, it began with a story called the Owl at Home when I was about 6 and ¾’s. A book I still have. But in truth, whilst the Owl was a pretty strong character there was little story arc and the illustrations were not exactly Oliver Jeffers. So from then on, I didn’t write much. Or so I thought, it wasn’t until I moved to Cornwall that I realised I was shoehorning the opportunity to write in to my day job. Reports, strategies, editorial, copy… it was all an excuse to write! When we moved here, back in 2009, I started thinking about characters, stories, little ideas that I wanted to explore. I started many things, finished none of them, until I decided to do what, at the time, Mhairi McFarlane expressly advised aspiring authors NOT to do… I left my job to become a writer. That first morning, I dropped the kids off, I made a cup of tea, and I sat in my chair and I wrote. That first novel will obvs never see the light of day, but the second one – after some HEAVY rewriting and editing, will be my second novel out at the end of July. It took me four years of day in day out graft to get a deal. There was a lot of rejection. There were a few tears. And there was a lot of happy dancing in the frozen aisle at my local Asda when I finally got a contract offer!

Have you ever been tempted to change direction with your writing, say to YA or perhaps children’s books?

As it goes, I started out with children’s books. Several characters including Flame Red Ben, who might make an appearance one day, and a monster in the cupboard who made inexplicable sounds in the night…. Loosely based on my mother and my children and their fear of her health induced snoring. (Sorry Mum!) I soon realised that children’s books were not as easy as their word count would have you believe! I think for now, I’m settled into the books that I write, I’ve loads more stories yet. But who knows, in the future, I’d love to write a radio play one day…

Where do you get your inspiration for your characters from?

They just arrive, somehow. Often from a real-life situation that inspires a train of thought. My books tend to explore themes: grief, survival, self-acceptance, forgiveness, that sort of thing, so there is inspiration all around me. Only once has a character come totally out of the blue, fully formed. In my latest work in progress, there’s a man called James. He has appeared in every one of my novels for the last five years and it’s taken four books before I found his home!

Beach or city? Which location attracts you the most and have you any favourite destination?

If I have to choose from these two, it would be beach, but beach in the winter, when it’s empty! We have some of the most beautiful beaches all around us, and in the winter, we can walk with Olive Dog and stare out to sea. I like the feeling of peace and introspection you get from standing on the shoreline. Cities terrify me. Too many people. Too much noise. Too much… everything. I like little seaside towns, I like fields, I like to avoid the hustle and bustle.

Are you currently working on a new book? If so, can you tell us something about it?
I am! There is a very rough first draft that has lots of things like ‘write more here’ and ‘expand this bit’ in it, so I really need to get my head down and finish it but I confess, I’ve struggled to manage my time of late. By September, I shall focus on getting it finished. It’s a story about love. About the challenges of marriage. The truths behind what makes a successful marriage. It features two couples, one in their early nineties, and another in their late thirties. And James. James is in this one! 😉

And lastly, you are holding a dinner party and are planning to invite four famous guests (either living or dead). Who would you choose and why?

Thora Hird, because I adored her and I love Alan Bennett so she could talk to me about her work with him. Victoria Wood because… god, let me count the ways! She was magical and generous and just down right glorious… what a writer! The Dalai Llama for his wicked sense of humour and all round peace and love, and finally, Grayson Perry because I’m inspired by how his mind works, how he explores and unpicks society through his work, his writing, and lately, the TV he’s done. I think that’s a group that could inspire much fascinating conversation!



The Lost Wife cover

When Ellie Moran passes away, she leaves her newborn son and husband Ed behind her. Their marriage was perfect, their lives everything they had hoped for. So why was Ellie keeping secrets from Ed?

Knowing he can never ask his wife the truth, Ed is struggling to cope. When the secrets threaten to tear his whole family apart, Ed turns to Rachel, the one person who sees him as more than just Ellie’s widower.

But then Rachel discovers something Ellie was hiding, something that would break Ed’s heart. Can Rachel help Ed to find peace without the wife he lost – and a second chance at happiness?

Fans of Sheila O’Flanagan, Amanda Prowse and Kelly Rimmer will love The Lost Wife, the compelling story of a woman’s deepest secrets, and the friends and family who must learn to live without her.


AMAZON.COM: http://a.co/dXe5cO2                                   AMAZON.CO.UK: http://amzn.eu/104tp4v


Read what everyone is saying about The Lost Wife:

‘A story written beautifully… Words are chosen with love and the story just flows seamlessly.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘This book just blew me away… An incredibly emotional read… Highly recommended.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘A lovely story of loss, love and trust… Oh goodness, it was heart-wrenching. This book made me laugh and a little tearful… Well-rounded and developed characters.’ Goodreads reviewer, 4 stars

‘An incredible, beautiful story of loss, love, forgiveness, moving on, overcoming grief, redemption and above all, hope.’ Renita D’Silva

Also by Anna…

How to Mend a Broken Heart

A compelling, heartbreaking tale that will make you laugh, cry and believe in the kindness of strangers. Perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes, Lucy Dillon and Miranda Dickinson.

When Rhys is called to the hospital to meet Susan, a woman he barely knows, he is compelled to help her. Still grieving the loss of his brother months earlier, Rhys knows all too well the feeling of loneliness.

There are years between them, but Rhys is the only person Susan will respond to, and when she asks him to bring her her most treasured possession, a book of fairytales, he is intrigued.

Hidden in the book is a clue to Susan’s past, and the painful regrets she carries with her. And as Rhys starts to unearth Susan’s secrets, he finds that his own grief begins to heal too…

Together, Susan and Rhys must learn to live again. Can they help each other to find happiness and finally mend their broken hearts?

How to Mend a Broken Heart is a heart-wrenching and absorbing story about second chances, forgiveness, and making every second count.