A Lover of Books

Book Launch – ‘Dark Water’ by Robert Bryndza


Congratulations to Robert Bryndza whose much talked about book, ‘Dark Water’ is out today, published by Bookouture.  I have an extract for all of you to read but first here’s the blurb.


Book Blurb

Beneath the water the body sank rapidly. Above her on dry land, the nightmare was just beginning.

When Detective Erika Foster  receives a tip-off that key evidence for a major narcotics case was stashed in a disused quarry on the outskirts of London, she orders for it to be searched. From the thick sludge the drugs are recovered, but so is the skeleton of a young child.

The remains are quickly identified as seven-year-old Jessica Collins. The missing girl who made headline news twenty-six years ago.

As Erika tries to piece together new evidence with the old, she must dig deeper and find out more about the fractured Collins family and the original detective, Amanda Baker. A woman plagued by her failure to find Jessica. Erika soon realises this is going to be one of the most complex and demanding cases she has ever taken on.

Is the suspect someone close to home? Someone is keeping secrets. Someone who doesn’t want this case solved. And they’ll do anything to stop Erika from finding the truth.

From the million-copy bestselling author of The Girl in the Ice and The Night Stalker, comes the third heart-stopping book in the Detective Erika Foster series.

Watch out for more from DCI Erika Foster.

She’s fearless. Respected. Unstoppable. Detective Erika Foster will catch a killer, whatever it takes.



Dark Water


Robert Bryndza

Autumn 1990

It was a cold night in late autumn when they dumped the body in the disused quarry. They knew it was an isolated spot, and the water was very deep. What they didn’t know was that they were being watched.

They arrived under the cover of darkness, just after three o’clock in the morning – driving from the houses at the edge of the village, over the empty patch of gravel where the walkers parked their cars, and onto the vast common. With the headlights off, the car bumped and lurched across the rough ground, joining a footpath, which was soon shrouded on either side by dense woodland. The darkness was thick and clammy, and the only light came over the tops of the trees.

Nothing about the journey felt stealthy. The car engine seemed to roar; the suspension groaned as it lurched from side to side. They slowed to a stop as the trees parted and the water-filled quarry came into view.

What they didn’t know was that a reclusive old man lived by the quarry, squatting in an old abandoned cottage which had almost been reclaimed by the undergrowth. He was outside, staring up at the sky and marvelling at its beauty, when the car appeared over the ridge and came to a halt. Wary, he moved behind a bank of shrubbery and watched. Local kids, junkies, and couples looking for thrills often appeared at night, and he had managed to scare them away.

The moon briefly broke through the clouds as the two figures emerged from the car, and they took something large from the back and carried it towards the rowing boat by the water. The first climbed in, and as the second passed the long package into the boat there was something about the way it bent and flopped that made him realise with horror that it was a body.

The soft splashes of the oars carried across the water. He put a hand to his mouth. He knew he should turn away, but he couldn’t. The splashing oars ceased when the boat reached the middle. A sliver of moon appeared again through a gap in the clouds, illuminating the ripples spreading out from the boat.

He held his breath as he watched the two figures deep in conversation, their voices a low rhythmic murmur. Then there was silence. The boat lurched as they stood, and one of them nearly fell over the edge. When they were steady, they lifted the package and, with a splash and a rattle of chains, they dropped it into the water. The moon sailed out from behind its cloud, shining a bright light on the boat and the spot where the package had been dumped, the ripples spreading violently outwards.

He could now see the two people in the boat, and had a clear view of their faces.

The man exhaled. He’d been holding his breath. His hands shook. He didn’t want trouble; he’d spent his whole life trying to avoid trouble, but it always seemed to find him. A chill breeze stirred up some dry leaves at his feet, and he felt a sharp itching in his nostrils. Before he could stop it a sneeze erupted from his nose; it echoed across the water. In the boat, the heads snapped up, and began to twist and search the banks. And then they saw him. He turned to run, tripped on the root of a tree and fell to the ground, knocking the wind out of his chest.

Beneath the water in the disused quarry it was still, cold, and very dark. The body sank rapidly, pulled by the weights, down, down, down, finally coming to rest with a nudge in the soft freezing mud.

She would lie still and undisturbed for many years, almost at peace. But above her, on dry land, the nightmare was only just beginning.


‘Dark Water’ is available to buy from Amazon:-

UK: http://amzn.to/2baBO8N

US: http://amzn.to/2bkuwRk


Interview with Herta Feely


Herta Feely’s  book, ‘Saving Phoebe Murrow’ is out today in paperback, published by Twenty7.  I asked Herta all about her novel.


Can you tell me a bit about ‘Saving Phoebe Murrow’ please?


(The novel is divided into three sections: Conflict, Revenge, and Justice. And it is written from five people’s point-of-view—three adults and two teens.)

The story revolves around a cyber-bullying episode that targets the young teen, Phoebe Murrow, who self-harms by cutting. The cyber-bullying occurs in the first chapter, which ends without the reader knowing whether Phoebe will commit suicide or not. Then we roll back in time two months to see what happened to cause this in the first place.

The novel explores social media and its prevalence in teen lives, the conflict between two women with very different parenting styles, cliquish women, mean girls, self-harm in the form of cutting, and the complexities of mother-daughter relationships. And finally, it’s about a woman juggling a demanding career and the responsibilities of family, but trying her best to keep her daughter safe in a complex world.

In the final section (Justice), we experience the ramifications of the cyber-bullying on the two girls’ families and the extended community of students.


How long did it take you to write this book?

The first draft took the length of a pregnancy, nine months, but that was followed by three years of revisions.


Where did you get your ideas from?

The inspiration for this novel came from a newspaper article I read back in 2008 about a 13-year-old girl named Megan Meier, who took her life after a cyber-bullying episode (on MySpace in 2006) led by a 16-year-old boy named Josh Evans, whom she’d never met. After quite a bit of online bullying, in which friends she knew piled on, he suggested she kill herself and she did. Some weeks later Megan’s parents discovered that Josh was not a boy at all, but a 47-year-old neighbor woman who knew Megan and wanted to find out what Megan was saying about her daughter, with whom Megan had been friends, but had had a falling out. It was shocking to me that someone could do such a thing to a child, especially one she knew was vulnerable, as Megan was.

Almost immediately I knew I wanted to write a novel about social media and its impact on girls. The characters and key elements of my novel are very different from the Megan Meier story, though there a few similarities exist.


Did you have to do any research?

The primary research focused on self-harm and some medical issues, which I can’t say more about here. After writing the novel, I did quite a bit of research on social media and its impact on teen girls, in particular, and I feel quite concerned about what’s happening. I have read and heard anecdotally that girls are experiencing quite a lot of anxiety because of active, maybe over-active, participation on various social media platforms. There are many reports of suicide, and even reports of murder, the latter related to girls meeting strange men online and trusting them. Such an incident occurred recently in the US. After “meeting” a student from Virginia Tech through a Facebook group, Nicole Lovell snuck out of her house late one night to meet him and three days later she was found murdered. The student, David Eisenhauer, is in prison on murder charges. This latter case, hopefully, is an anomaly, but social media does lend itself to predation.


Do you think this is a story lots of parents will be able to relate to?

In a word, yes. I’ve had lots of readers respond, often saying it should be a book club choice to give parents (women, in particular) a chance to discuss the various issues that are raised in the story. I intentionally featured two female characters that fall on either end of the parenting spectrum—one too rigid and controlling (Isabel) and the other (Sandy) too lenient and wanting her daughter to be popular. This will allow readers to discuss the parenting issues they are concerned with, and to critique the choices made by the mothers in the story.


What do you want people to get from your book?

First and foremost, I want people to enjoy the read. And second, I hope the novel helps to stimulate discussions about parenting and about social media and its role in our lives, particularly that of young people. How does one parent effectively in this era of heavy Internet use and over-reliance on our various technology devices?

The other themes in the book too, such as mean girls, cliquish behavior among women, the importance of recognizing the need to be good role models to children, and mother-daughter relationships are topics that I hope will be discussed.

Certainly, social media has many positive attributes, especially in its ability to connect us, to enable us to keep up with numerous friends, to promote products and services, to spread news quickly and so on. However, in all of this connection, we can also feel estranged. We may experience not really being in touch with the people whose messages/images we are reading and seeing on a screen. Social media cannot (and should not) take the place of real face-to-face friendships, real activities, and so on. And yet, being active on social media can eat up considerable amounts of a person’s time. Especially young people inexperienced in the world and overly vulnerable to other’s reactions.

For example, there have been numerous suicides that resulted from cyber-bullying. A quick check on the Internet will provide you with numerous examples.

As a result of all this, parents have quite a lot of challenges these days, especially relative to social media. First, because most parents did not grow up with social media, they have a lack of familiarity with it; second, it’s hard to keep up with the ever-changing and new social media platforms—Instagram, Snapchat, Kik, Twitter, etcetera; and third, parents have to figure out how to establish boundaries and limits and then monitor use, all of which can be extremely challenging.

I hope the novel will spark conversations along all these lines.


Do you think it would make a good TV drama?

I suppose most people say yes to this question (I’d like to insert a smiley face emoticon or a winking one here!), but considering the contemporary nature of the topic raised in Saving Phoebe Murrow, I’d say this is a definite yes and much needed for the reasons listed in the above question. I’ve focused more on adult readers in regards to the hopes for my novel, but in terms of good TV drama, I think it would also be helpful to see this from the children’s angle. I’d love to see a drama that explores social media and its dark sides so that teens have greater awareness of the dangers and negative aspects. Certainly my novel could be seen from both the teen and the adult perspectives (just as it is written), and it could also be expanded upon, with a series that explores more and more forms of social media and how this affects girls and boys and their parents.


What are your feelings about social media and do you find it useful?

I do enjoy using social media (mainly Facebook and Twitter) to keep up with friends, to hear the latest news (world and also book news), and to promote my own novel. And, yes, it is useful. Sometimes, though, I find it tedious. And time consuming. I’m beyond that point where I’m worried about whether people like a post or a tweet, though occasionally I’m subject to the same anxieties I’ve read young people can have. I even question whether I’m using the media appropriately and/or effectively. So I guess I’m not entirely immune to what “other people think,” am I?

I think I’ve expressed myself pretty fully about other aspects of how I feel about social media. It’s good and bad. It’s all in how we use it and/or how we let it control us!


Are more books planned?

Indeed. The next novel, ALL FALL DOWN, is about a woman who reaches the pinnacle of her career (in the human rights field), only to have her entire world slip out from under her. And, I’ve discovered, it’s a love story. Between Charlotte Cooper and Damian West, a Nigerian sculptor she met at Oxford as a student. It also takes place in different parts of the world, and explores human rights violations there and the destruction of archaeological artifacts in the Middle East.


What do you like to do in your spare time?

Lately, there hasn’t been much free time. But I do enjoy traveling with my husband, biking, hiking, and eating good food. I attend plays at local theaters quite often, and recently saw “Hamilton” with the original cast in New York.


Did you always want to be a writer?

I always loved to read…always. From the time I was about eight I began writing plays for the kids in the neighborhood to perform, and I enjoyed writing the occasional story. Once, in 6th grade, I had to write part of a play that had to do with the future. So my main character was a woman, who became the first woman president of the United States, and she had a secretary who was male. Perhaps I was prescient?!

I didn’t seriously consider being a novelist until later in life, somewhere in my early forties, and then it took some time to get my writing “legs” and figure out what I wanted to write about. Now I can’t imagine life without it.


What’s your advice to anyone trying to write their first novel?

First, I would say, yes, do it. Life is short and you should give it a whirl. But I also believe that people often don’t fully appreciate how much writing you need to do before you can churn out your first decent novel. It requires much practice. Becoming a successful writer requires dedication and discipline with regular and frequent bouts of sitting and writing. There’s simply no way around that. You can have the most brilliant idea, but then you need to sit down and write it.

Everyone has their own method, but I highly recommend allowing time for your idea to gain traction in your imagination and jotting down characters that come to you, snatches of dialogue or interior thoughts, and the occasional scene. It can be very helpful to do a little bit of plotting and figuring out what the main character wants and what stands in his or her way. Identifying the conflict. Doing this sort of pre-work can really help when you get stuck, staring at the computer screen and not knowing where the story is headed. Then you can turn to your notes or do a little research and that can give you the confidence or push to keep going.

And, finally, I would say that though we all write, writing fiction requires some contact with the “muse.” Without going into much detail, I believe this is the ability to open oneself up to the creative spirit and believing in it and letting it flow through you and onto the page.


About Herta Feely

Herta Feely is a writer and full-time editor, working with a wide array of authors and writers from around the world. Born in former Yugoslavia, she and her parents emigrated to Germany when she was three, and then to the United States at the age of seven. Her work (both short stories and memoir) have been published in a number of anthologies and literary journals, and she has received the American Independent Writers’ award for best published personal essay. In her previous work, she was a journalist, press secretary and activist, co-founding Safe Kids Worldwide, an organization dedicated to saving children from unintentional injuries.

She now lives in Washington, DC, with her husband and two cats, Monty and Albert. She has two sons, Jack and Max.


‘Saving Phoebe Murrow’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-



Book Launch – ‘Single by Christmas’ by Rosa Temple


Congratulations to Rosa Temple whose new book, ‘Single by Christmas’ is out today.  There’s a Rafflecopter giveaway towards the end, but first a bit about this novel.


Book Blurb

You’ve heard the saying, ‘opposites attract’ haven’t you? Well meet 27 year old Alex Marshall, a party girl with a penchant for free flowing Prosecco, and her devilishly handsome scientist boyfriend, Charlie, who loves jazz and dinner for two.

Alex and Charlie are together for 11 blissful months until Alex goes out of town and does something she will later regret. Was she drunk? You bet. Does she want Charlie to know? Well what do you think?

With the couple about to spend their first Christmas together will Charlie be the forgiving kind or will Alex be Single by Christmas?

This is a feel good, Christmas novel with very few mince pies, not much snow and absolutely no mistletoe – just a couple of best friends, a sociopathic nemesis and a lot of drinking.



You might be wondering what I was doing, sitting in a graveyard at five minutes to midnight on Christmas Eve. And if you guessed gravedigger or graverobber, you’d be wrong. But ask yourself, who sits in a graveyard when it’s cold and out and out spooky unless it’s absolutely critical? The church, where I attend Midnight Mass with my family every year, is just across the way. But sitting on that particular bench just inside the graveyard was absolutely critical.

You see, in the lead up to Christmas I managed to lose something. Well, not something, someone. Charlie; my reason for living, my heart, my soulmate …  you get the idea. And before you start crying, don’t worry, he wasn’t buried there. At the time, I wasn’t exactly sure where Charlie was, but he knew I was there. Waiting.

By the stroke of midnight I would have known for sure if I’d truly lost him. I’d asked him to join me and my family for the service. They’d arrived earlier. I smiled and greeted them all – Mum, Dad, big sister, Elise, and her husband and my younger sister, Jo-Jo. They asked where Charlie was and I managed to hide my worst fears and say he’d be along soon, that he was held up. So they just kissed me and piled inside with the rest of the congregation.

My family had been looking forward to seeing Charlie, even more so than they were me. You see, like everyone who meets Charlie, they’d fallen in love with him. Who could blame them? He’s charming, he’s intelligent, he’s sweet, kind, generous. The list could go on. I admit those things weren’t what first attracted me to Charlie. No, the attraction was pure lust and desire. He walked into that New Year’s Eve party the year before and I was stunned into silence. And I’m never silent. Tall, well dressed, mesmerising looks and those dimples that appear every time he smiles, which he does a lot by the way.

And I love Charlie’s family, too. His mum, Leeza, his dad, Don, who Charlie gets his looks and sense of humour from, and his brother. I wasn’t sure Leeza approved of Charlie having a white girlfriend, at first, but I realised that was just paranoia on my part. His family are not like that. His mum, who I grew to admire and love, was just being protective, the way some mothers are.

But, I digress. My family had no idea that I’d seen Charlie twenty-four hours prior to the service and that we’d had a heated argument and that Charlie had practically slammed a door in my face. Minutes before that I’d made a complete and utter fool of myself in front of his wonderful family and he’d walked away with such disgust and disappointment in his face my heart broke in two. He’d closed the door on me but I hadn’t stopped sending begging texts and hysterical voicemails just so he would show up on Christmas Eve – like he’d promised me. I wasn’t expecting a miracle, just praying for one. Because it would have taken a miracle for Charlie to walk towards the church, bypass the tall wooden doors, see me on the bench, push open the graveyard gates and tell me he’d forgiven me.

With everyone nice and warm inside the church, I continued to sit watching puffs of vapour appearing in front of my face from every exhale, brimming with an apology that may never be heard.

You might be saying, “If Charlie’s that wonderful, why couldn’t he just come to the church, it’s Christmas after all?” You have to know, he’d never be that unforgiving without very good reason.

Honestly? It took a whole year of knowing Charlie to finally understand what it is to love someone completely and to be loved the very same way in return and just one month to lose it all.

And this is how …



Hopefully the blurb and excerpt have whet your appetites and are making you want to read this book.  If so, you’re in luck because Rosa Temple is running a competition in which she is giving away 5 eBook copies of ‘Single by Christmas’.  The closing date is 1st November.

To enter click on this link: Rafflecopter giveaway


About Rosa Temple


Rosa Temple is a writer of romantic comedies, chick-lit and contemporary romance. To date she has published one novella, Sleeping with Your Best Friend, and her first full length novel, Natalie’s Getting Married, was published on 14th March 2016.

She has tried her hand at various occupations, from tea lady (albeit for one morning only after being returned to the agency because half an office block suffered caffeine deprivation) to supervising the office running the London Bar Exams.

Rosa is a Londoner born and bred and still resides in West London with ambitions to escape to the country when a suitable country pile becomes available.

In 2014 she was awarded a Distinction in her Creative Writing MA from Brunel University.

Rosa admits to being a reluctant keep fit addict. She owns a yoga mat, a pair of trainers and a spin cycle that gathers dust in the corner of her writing room. She vows that she will run the London Marathon again but has been saying this since her first and only marathon, run in 2010. Hence the trainers.

Having been a ghostwriter for several years, Rosa has written several magazine articles and has penned a multitude of one off novellas and novella length series in the romance genre and in its various sub-genres to include: contemporary romance, historical, adult only, romantic comedies and sweet romances.

Rosa is a member of a writing critique group who meet monthly. This lively and hard working group keep her on her toes as she hones her writing, listening and editing skills.

Rosa’s husband and eldest son are both musicians, her second son swims at a National level for his London team.

Before devoting the majority of her time to her writing of romantic comedies and chick-lit, Rosa was a singer (that’s how she met her husband) and still continues to perform and write songs.

Early reviews show that Natalie’s Getting Married is a favourite of many readers and book bloggers and she follows it with Christmas romantic comedy novel, Single by Christmas, with plans to publish a book series in the very near future.

Rosa loves to chat (about anything really) so follow her on Twitter @RosaT_Author or visit her blog, Rosa Temple Writes, on rosatemplewrites.blogspot.co.uk

Read an excerpt of Natalie’s Getting Married on Goodreads or Facebook



Blog – Rosa Temple Writes: http://rosatemplewrites.blogspot.co.uk/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RosaTempleWriter/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RosaT_Author

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14071311.Rosa_Temple

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01LY2MLIH

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LY2MLIH

Google+ : google.com/


Blog Tour – ‘Doorways’ by Robert Enright


Well, the big day is here at last for Robert Enright.  His new book, ‘Doorways’, the first in the Bermuda Jones series is out today, published by Urbane Publications.  Last year I had the pleasure of interviewing Robert and then earlier this year I did a cover reveal on my blog as part of my Urbane event, complete with an exciting countdown.  So, when Robert asked me if I would like to take part in this blog tour, how could I possibly refuse!

Franklyn ‘Bermuda’ Jones was born with the ability to see the truth; a gift and also a curse.  Declared insane by psychiatrists, Bermuda was admitted to hospital for three months.  The only human to have passed to The Otherside and returned, he is now an agent for the BTCO, a highly secret government agency.  Bermuda is stuck between both worlds and pining for the life he has had to leave behind.  Everyday things which people take for granted mean the world to him.

Teamed with Argyle, an enigmatic Otherside warrior, Bermuda is assigned the case of a missing woman who seems to have disappeared into thin air.  As Bermuda is soon to discover there is more to things than meets the eye.  With Argyle’s help will he be able to solve the case before it’s too late?

I am not a fan of science fiction as such but I wanted to give ‘Doorways’ a go having heard so much about it.  You know what?  I’m so pleased that I did because this book is actually a mixture of genres, not just sci-fi.  I was totally hooked from the start and found it so very hard to put down.  I loved the writing style and found that the words bounced right off the pages.  I also really like how ‘Doorways’ is set in different parts of London including a place I love going to.

I found myself getting really involved in the story, so much so that I wanted to scream at the woman who went missing not to walk through the alleyway.  I felt sad for Bermuda and the fact that he couldn’t lead a normal life.  It must have been so hard having to cut himself off from loved ones.  I adored Argyle, his protector and saviour.  The things he did to distract the police; brilliant!

‘Doorways’ took me on an exciting and unstoppable journey.  I didn’t want it to come to an end and I am so looking forward to the second book in the series.  I only hope there are no Others lurking in the shadows watching my every move.  Oh wait, this is fiction isn’t it?  Isn’t it??

Thanks for a great read Robert.

I give this book 5 out of 5.


‘Doorways’ is available to buy from Urbane Publications:-



Interview with Rory Dunlop


‘What We Didn’t Say’ is Rory Dunlop’s debut novel and it’s out today in paperback, published by Twenty7.  I had the pleasure of interviewing Rory.


Can you tell me a bit about ‘What We Didn’t Say’ please?

It’s a novel about a marriage, told by the husband and the wife.  They love each other but they separate because of a series of misunderstandings and miscommunications.  Then, two years, later they meet up.  They want to get back together but they’re each hiding secrets from the other.  It’s written in the form of a diary by the husband, with comments from the wife.


Where did you get your ideas from for this book?

I’ve always loved unreliable narrator books, like Lolita or The Sea, the Sea.  I enjoy, as a reader, seeing things the narrator can’t.  I thought it would be fun to have two competing unreliable narrators telling the same story.  I’d never seen it done before.


Do you see yourself in any of the characters?

There’s a fair amount of me in Jack, the husband.  He’s a bit more insecure and anxious than me but it wouldn’t take too many changes before I found myself thinking like him.  There’s also rather a smug and insensitive barrister who appears briefly.  I don’t see myself in him.  It’s the opposite – he’s the person I try to avoid being at work.


Would you like to know any of them for real?

Yes! Absolutely!  I identify with Jack, I think Laura’s cool and I have a particular soft spot for Adam, who is very similar to one of my best friends.  I sent an early draft to a publisher who said ‘I love the concept but I can’t stand Jack and Laura.  I suspect Dunlop intended this but…’  I was horrified.  I hadn’t intended it all.  Jack and Laura were meant to be flawed but likeable – that was how I saw them.  I had to do an exhaustive re-draft after that.


Are you currently working on any other writing projects?

No.  I’m trying to earn a living!  Literary fiction is not all that well-paid and I have two children.  I would love to write another novel but I’ll just have to see how this one does.  I have a plot in mind – a courtroom drama.


Would you like to see ‘What We Didn’t Say’ made into a film?

Of course!  Then I could definitely justify taking the time off work to write another one.


Do you have a favourite place where you do your writing?

Not really.  Just not on a laptop, otherwise it does my back in after a while.  The key thing with writing, I think, is having the time, rather than the place.  You can’t, or at least I couldn’t, write a novel in the mornings or evenings before or after work.  You need weeks at a time with nothing else to think about.  I’m extremely lucky to be self-employed and able to find that time.


What’s your advice to anyone wanting to pen their first novel?

Two things: get help and, if you enjoy doing it, don’t give up.  The first is the most important.  I thought, when I started, that it all had to come from me, that creative writing was an inherent talent you either had or didn’t have and that tuition was cheating.  That’s all nonsense.  It’s a skill, like any other, and there are tricks and techniques.  Go on Arvon course.  Do an MA.  Find a creative writing tutor.  I learned more about writing prose in 15 minutes with Jim Crace than in a lifetime of reading novels.


What made you decide to write?

There are so many reasons that made me want to write: because I love reading, because I don’t express my feelings often enough, because I’m terrified of death etc.  The novels I love most are the ones which make you think about your own life – the ones where you can see, perfected into sentences, ideas or thoughts that have fleeted through your mind.  There’s so much all of us think about that we never express.  It’s a joy to try to tease those half-thoughts out into words.  If you don’t try, there’s a part of your personality that no one will ever know, that will disappear forever when you’re dead.


What else do you enjoy doing? 

I love playing most forms of sport: cricket, football, tennis, golf etc.  Now, with a demanding job and two kids, I don’t find time to play cricket or golf or tennis and I’m down to one game of 5 a side football a week.  The guy who organises it, on whom we all depend, is having a baby and we’re all terrified it will come to a halt without him.  If you’re reading this, and you fancy playing football in Acton on Tuesday nights, get in touch on twitter!


Has social media been useful for you?

It’s hard to tell.  You put something out on twitter and you just don’t know how many people read it or how many of them take the trouble to buy or read your book as a result.  The main impact of social media, to be honest, has been to make me feel jealous.  When I read newspapers I skip over the book reviews as all the 5 star reviews for other people are a downer.  Now, on twitter following lots of writers and book bloggers, I can’t avoid it.  Every time I look, there’s ten more novels that I’m told are brilliant and topping bestseller lists.  It feels like my novel will be lost in the deluge.


What type of books do you read?

I like novels that have beautiful prose.  If they can make me laugh, that’s even better.  For example, I’ve recently got into David Szalay and Joshua Ferris – they’re both incredible prose-writers and very funny.


‘What We Didn’t Say’ is available to buy on Amazon UK:-



Book Launch – ‘The Devil You Know’ by Terry Tyler


Congratulations to Terry Tyler whose new book, ‘The Devil You Know’ is out today.  Isn’t the cover just fab!


Book Blurb

Every serial killer is someone’s friend, spouse, lover or child….

Young women are being murdered in the Lincolnshire town of Lyndford, where five people fear someone close to them might be the monster the police are searching for.

One of them is right.

Juliet sees an expert’s profile of the average serial killer and realises that her abusive husband, Paul, ticks ALL the boxes.

Everyone likes Pru’s new boyfriend—except her teenage daughter, Maisie.  Is she the only one who can see through Gary’s friendly façade?

Jake fancies Tamsin.  Tamsin loves Jake.  But then her love turns to suspicion…

Steve is worried.  Is his childhood friend, Dan, just being his usual, misogynistic self, or has a new friend’s influence taken him down a more sinister path?

Dorothy’s beloved son, Orlando, is keeping a secret from her, and a chilling discovery forces her to confront her worst fears.

THE DEVIL YOU KNOW is a character-driven psychological drama that will keep you guessing about the outcome until the very end.


‘The Devil You Know’ is available to buy from:-

Amazon UK:-




Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32334948-the-devil-you-know


Interview with Jared A. Carnie

I would like to welcome Jared A. Carnie back to my blog.  Since his last visit, his debut novel, ‘Waves’ has recently been published by Urbane Publications.  I asked Jared some questions.  I hope you enjoy reading my interview with him.


Can you tell me a bit about ‘Waves’ please?

Waves is a novel about someone who thinks their life is going one way, and then suddenly it isn’t anymore. It is set in the Outer Hebrides.


How long did it take you to write this book?

This is probably the question you get asked most when you have a book out. I wish I had a good answer for it. You know, 13 months and six days. Sixty packs of cigarettes. Something like that. To be honest, it’s really hard to say for sure. I did a lot of writing for Waves on the Isle of Lewis, but have done so many re-writes since then, and more recently been going through the proofs etc prior to the launch, that it’s really hard to think about when the novel began and when it really ended. It’s only now it’s out that I can really feel I’m done with it. This isn’t The Life of Pablo. Maybe when all books are digital people will keep tweaking them once they’re out. There’ll be a backlash against the way Game of Thrones ends, so they’ll change the ending and pretend it was always like that.


Can you relate to any of your characters?

I think to a certain extent I can relate to all of them. Realistically, as a writer, you probably have to be able to relate, in some way, to all your characters, even if they’re murderers or something like that. If you can’t get inside their heads, how are you going to write them in a believable way?


What would you do if your doorbell rang and one of the characters from your book was standing on your doorstep for real?

Well, are we talking about the characters as they are at the beginning of the book or the end? If Alex from the start of the book turned up at my door, I’d like to think I’d treat him the same way James does in the book. I think a key part of any friendship is being able to recognise when someone needs you to give them a kickstart. If Isobel turned up at my door, I don’t know what I’d do, probably invite her in and see what she wanted to do. She’s more interesting than I am.


What do you hope readers get from your book?

I’d hope that maybe people get a little bit of optimism from the book. Or a desire to go do something. Or maybe they’ll even see some of themselves in Alex’s more mopey, self-indulgent moments, and perhaps try their best to not be like that in future. I think it’s a slow-burner of a book. I don’t think someone is going to slam the book down and go ‘right! My life has changed!’ but I think it might come back to people for a while after they’ve finished it.

Overall I just hope that readers enjoy the writing. I believe strongly in clean writing, and if people are willing to enjoy just rolling with the book then I think they’ll get something out of it. If you’re into plot twists and crime thrillers and things like that, this book will probably disappoint you. And that’s ok. Not every book is for everyone.


How does it feel to finally be a published author?

It’s a strange moment the day your book comes out because nothing really changes. And I mean that with no lack of gratitude. The day Waves was released, I was on a train to work at 7am and didn’t get back home until 8pm. The only difference was that I was checking my phone a lot more during the day – seeing the Amazon page with my name on saying the book had sold out was pretty surreal.

I guess the most ridiculous bit is when people ask you to sign copies. That’s when you can’t deny that you’re a published author. I always have to be honest and let them know I’ve been practising a signature especially. I don’t want anyone under any illusion that I think being asked to sign something is normal.


Did you always want to write?

Recently my girlfriend and I were at my Mum’s house. We found a box of my schoolwork from when I was six or seven. There was one of those sheets with printed sentences on where you had to fill in the blank word. Things like ‘I live with my….Mum and Dad’. One of them was ‘When I grow up I want to…’. My answer was ‘write stories.’ That made us both really happy. I let that little kid down in a lot of ways so I’m glad to be able to say I pulled that one off for him.


What’s the best piece of advice that you have ever been given about writing?

Henry Rollins tells this story about when he met Hubert Selby Jr. Selby told him “all you young writers, you need to get your balls out of the way of your writing.” I always liked that. I prefer first person writing, as a reader and a writer, because I tend to feel more of a connection – and that’s what I read for. But it’s important to remember that you’re writing a novel for someone to experience, and there needs to be a voice for them to experience and go along with. You can’t just scribble out your own narcissism and suddenly you’re Henry Miller.


Can we look forward to anymore books from you?

I’m always writing. I’m currently working on a new book called Oranges. It’s different to Waves in just about every single way. I’ve got most of the pieces in place, it’s just a case of getting it all how it should be. And re-writing. And re-writing. And re-writing.


If you could live your life all over again would you still write?

If anything, I’d do it more. Hopefully I’ve still got a lot of time to make up for this.


What do you like to do in your spare time?

Aside from reading and writing? I listen to an ungodly amount of podcasts. I love music more than anything. I watch my girlfriend build her business, BearHugs, in awe. I burden my friends with my anxious, jittery thoughts on things. That’s why there’s so many acknowledgements at the back of Waves. I’m very lucky to have people in my life who tolerate me when I’m pretty intolerable.


You are given the task of living on a desert island for three months and are only allowed to take five items with you.  What would they be?

  1. My girlfriend
  2. My dog
  3. A pizza oven
  4. Tom Waits discography
  5. A copy of Waves. Matthew at Urbane would be furious if I found an untapped book market on the island and didn’t try to sell them a new book


About Jared A. Carnie

Jared A. Carnie lives in Sheffield. He is a Northern Writers Awards winner. His debut novel, Waves, is available now from Urbane Publications. He can be found at www.jaredacarnie.com



‘Waves’ is available to buy from Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/waves/

Website – www.jaredacarnie.com

Twitter – @jacarnie

Blog Blitz – ‘A Cornish Christmas’ by Lily Graham


This is the cover of Lily Graham’s new book, ‘A Cornish Christmas’ which is out today, published by Bookouture.  Isn’t it gorgeous?  I have a little taster for all of you but first here’s what the book is about.


Book Blurb

Nestled in the Cornish village of Cloudsea, sits Sea Cottage – the perfect place for some Christmas magic …

At last Ivy is looking forward to Christmas. She and her husband Stuart have moved to their perfect little cottage by the sea – a haven alongside the rugged cliffs that look out to the Atlantic Ocean. She’s pregnant with their much-longed for first baby and for the first time, since the death of her beloved mother, Ivy feels like things are going to be alright.

But there is trouble ahead. It soon emerges that Stuart has been keeping secrets from Ivy, and suddenly she misses her mum more than ever.  When Ivy stumbles across a letter from her mother hidden in an old writing desk, secrets from the past come hurtling into the present. But could her mother’s words help Ivy in her time of need? Ivy is about to discover that the future is full of unexpected surprises and Christmas at Sea Cottage promises to be one to remember.

This Christmas warm your heart and escape to the Cornish coast for an uplifting story of love, secrets and new beginnings that you will remember for many Christmases to come.




The Writing Desk


Even now it seemed to wait.

Part of me, a small irrational part, needed it to stay exactly where it was, atop the faded Persian rug, bowing beneath the visceral pulse of her letters and the remembered whisper from the scratch of her pen. The rosewood chair, with its slim turned-out legs, suspended forevermore in hopeful expectation of her return. Like me, I wondered if it couldn’t help but wish that somehow she still could.

I hadn’t had the strength to clear it, nor the will. Neither had Dad and so it remained standing sentry, as it had throughout the years with Mum at the wheel, the heart, the hub of the living room.

If I closed my eyes, I could still hear her hum along to Tchaikovsky – her pre-Christmas music – as she wrapped up presents with strings, ribbons and clear cellophane, into which she’d scatter stardust and moonbeams, or at least so it seemed to my young eyes. Each gift, a gift within a gift.

One of my earliest memories is of me sitting before the fire, rolling a length of thick red yarn for Fat Arnold, our squashed-face Persian, who languished by the warmth, his fur pearly white in the glow. His one eye open while his paw twitched, as if to say he’d play, if only he could find the will. In the soft light Mum sat and laughed, the firelight casting lowlights in her long blonde hair. I shut my eyes and took a deep breath, away from the memory of her smile.

Dad wanted me to have it: her old writing desk. I couldn’t bear to think of the living room without it, but he insisted. He’d looked at me, above his round horn-rimmed glasses, perpetual tufts of coarse grey hair poking out mad-hatter style on either side of his head, and said with his faraway philosopher’s smile, ‘Ivy, it would have made her happy, knowing that you had it. . .’ And I knew I’d lost.

Still it had taken me two weeks to get up the nerve. Two weeks and Stuart’s gentle yet insistent prodding. He’d offered to help, to at least clear it for me, and bring it through to our new home so that I wouldn’t have to face it. Wouldn’t have to reopen a scar that was trying its best to heal. He’d meant well. I knew that he would’ve treated her things reverently; he would’ve stacked all her letters, tied them up with string, his long fingers slowly rolling up the lengths of old ribbon and carefully putting them away into a someday box that I could open when I was ready. It was his way, his sweet, considerate Stuart way. But I knew I had to be the one who did it. Like a bittersweet rite of passage, some sad things only you can do yourself. So I gathered up my will, along with the box at my feet and began.

It was both harder and easier than I expected. Seeing her things as she left them should have made the lump in my throat unbearable, it should have been intolerable, but it wasn’t somehow.

I began with the drawer, emptying it of its collection of creamy, loose-leafed paper; fine ribbons; and assorted string, working my way to the heart of the Victorian desk, with its warren of pigeon holes, packed with old letters, patterned envelopes, stamps, watercolour brushes, and tubes of half-finished paint.

But it was the half-finished tasks that made the breath catch in my throat. A hand-painted Christmas card, with Santa’s sleigh and reindeer flying over the chimney tops, poor Rudolph eternally in wait for his little watercolour nose. Mum had always made her own, more magical and whimsical than any you could buy. My fingers shook as I held the card in my hand, my throat tight. Seeing this, it’s little wonder I became a children’s book illustrator. I put it on top of the pile, so that later I could paint in Santa’s missing guiding light.

It was only when I made to close the desk that I saw it: a paper triangle peeking out from the metal hinge. It was tightly wedged but, after some wiggling, I pried it loose, only – in a way – to wish I hadn’t.

It was a beautiful, vintage French postcard, like the ones we’d bought when we holidayed there, when I was fifteen and fell in love with everything en français. It had a faded sepia print of the Jardin des Tuileries on the cover, and in elegant Century print it read ‘[Century font writing] Carte Postale’ on the back.

It was blank. Except for two words, two wretchedly perfect little words that caused the tears that had threatened all morning to finally erupt.

Darling Ivy

It was addressed to me. I didn’t know which was worse: the unexpected blow of being called ‘Darling Ivy’ one last time, finding out she’d had this last unexpected gift waiting for me all along, or that she’d never finish it. I suppose it was a combination of all three.

Three velvet-tipped daggers that impaled my heart.

I placed it in the box together with the unfinished Christmas card and sobbed, as I hadn’t allowed myself to for years.

Five years ago, when she passed, I believed that I’d never stop. A friend had told me that ‘time heals all wounds’ and it had taken every ounce of strength not to give her a wound that time would never heal, even though I knew she’d meant well. Time, I knew, couldn’t heal this type of wound. Death is not something you get over. It’s the rip that exposes life in a before and after chasm and all you can do is try to exist as best you can in the after. Time could only really offer a moment when the urge to scream would become a little less.

Another friend of mine, who’d lost his leg and his father in the same day, explained it better. He’d said that it was a loss that every day you manage and some days are better than others. That seemed fair. He’d said that death for him was like the loss of the limb, as even on those good days you were living in the shadow of what you had lost. It wasn’t something you recovered from completely, no matter how many people, yourself included, pretended otherwise. Somehow that helped, and I’d gotten used to living with it, which I suppose was what he meant.

The desk wasn’t heavy. Such a substantial part of my childhood, it felt like it should weigh more than it did, but it didn’t and I managed it easily alone. I picked it up and crossed the living room, through the blue-carpeted passage, pausing only to shift it slightly as I exited the back door towards my car, a mint green Mini Cooper.

Setting the desk down on the cobbled path, I opened up my boot, releasing the back seats so they folded over before setting the desk on top, with a little bit of careful manoeuvring. It felt strange to see it there, smaller than I remembered. I shut the boot and went back inside for the chair and the box where I’d placed all her things; there was never any question of leaving it behind. On my way back, I locked up Dad’s house, a small smile unfurling as I noticed the little wreath he’d placed on the door, like a green shoot through the snow after the longest winter. It hadn’t been Christmas here for many years.

Back to my car, I squeezed the chair in next to the desk and placed the box on the passenger seat before I climbed in and started the engine. As the car warmed, I looked at my reflection in the side mirror and laughed, a sad groaning laugh.

My eyeliner had made tracks all down my face, leaving a thick trail into my ears, and black blobs on either side of my lobes so that I looked like I’d participated in some African ritual, or had survived the mosh pit at some death metal goth fest. With my long dark blonde curls, coral knitted cap and blue eyes, it made me look a little zombiefied.

I wiped my face and ears and grinned despite myself. ‘God, Mum, thanks for that!’ I put the car in gear and backed out of the winding drive, towards the coastal road.


It was hard to believe I was back, after all these years.

London had been exciting, tiring, and trying. And grey, so very grey. Down here, it seemed, was where they keep the light; my senses felt as if they’d been turned up.

For a while, London had been good though, especially after Mum. For what it lacked in hued lustre, it made up for by being alive with people, ideas, and the hustling bustle. It was a different kind of pace. A constant rush. Yet, lately I’d craved the stillness and the quiet. So when The Fudge Files, a children’s fiction series that I co-wrote and illustrated with my best friend Catherine Talty, about a talking English bulldog from Cornwall who solves crimes, became a bestseller, we were finally able to escape to the country.

In his own way, Stuart had wanted the move more than I did; he was one of those strange creatures who’d actually grown up in London, and said that this meant it was high time that he tried something else.

In typical Stuart fashion, he had these rather grand ideas about becoming a self-sustaining farmer – something akin to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall – and setting up a smallholding similar to Hugh’s River Cottage. The simple fact of it being Cornwall, not Dorset, was considered inconsequential. Which perhaps it was. I had to smile. Our River Cottage was called Sea Cottage (very original that), yet was every bit as exquisite as its namesake, with a rambling half acre of countryside, alongside rugged cliffs that overlooked the aquamarine waters of the Atlantic Ocean in the gorgeous village of Cloudsea with its mile-long meandering ribbon of whitewashed cottages with window frames and doors in every shade of blue imaginable, perched amid the wild, untamed landscape, seemingly amongst the clouds, tumbling down to the sea. It was the place I always dreamt about when someone asked me where I would choose to live if I could magically supplant myself with a snap of my fingers or be granted a single genie’s wish. Cloudsea. And now. . . now we lived here. It was still hard to believe.

So far our ‘livestock’ consisted of four laying hens, two grey cats named Pepper and Pots, and an English bulldog named Muppet – the living, slobbering and singular inspiration behind Detective Sergeant Fudge (Terrier Division) of The Fudge Files, as created by Catherine, Muppet’s official godmother.

Despite Stuart’s noble intentions, he was finding it difficult to come to terms with the idea of keeping animals as anything besides pets. Personally, I was a little grateful for that. We assuaged our consciences though by ensuring that we supported local organic farms, where we were sure that all the animals were humanely treated.

But what we lacked in livestock, Stuart made up for in vegetation. His potager was his pride and joy and even now, in the heart of winter, he kept a polytunnel greenhouse that kept us in fresh vegetables throughout the year. Or at least that was the plan; we’d only been here since late summer. I couldn’t imagine his excitement come spring.

For me Cornwall was both a fresh start and a homecoming. For the first time ever I had my own art studio up in the attic, with dove grey walls, white wooden floors, and a wall full of shelves brimming with all my art supplies; from fine watercolour paper to piles of brushes and paint in every texture and medium that my art-shop-loving heart could afford. The studio, dominated by the mammoth table, with its slim Queen Anne legs, alongside the twin windows, made it a haven, with its view of the rugged countryside and sea. One where I planned to finish writing and illustrating my first solo children’s book.

Now, with our new home and the news that we’d been waiting seven years to hear, it would all be a new start for us.

I was finally, finally pregnant.

Seven rounds of in vitro fertilisation, which had included 2,553 days, 152 pointless fights, five serious, two mortgages, countless stolen tears in the dead of the night in the downstairs bathroom in our old London flat, my fist wedged in my mouth to stem the sound, and infinite days spent wavering between hope and despair, wondering if we should just give up and stop trying. That day, thankfully, hadn’t come.

And now I was twelve weeks pregnant. I still couldn’t believe it. We hadn’t told Dad yet; I didn’t want to get his hopes up, or tempt fate; we’d played that black card before.

Our hopes. . . well, they’d already soared above the stars.

It was why I so desperately wished Mum were here now. It would have made all of this more bearable. She had a way of making sense of the insensible, of offering hope at the darkest times, when all I wanted to do was run away. I missed how we used to sit up late at night by the fire in the living room, a pot of tea on the floor, while Fat Arnold dozed at our feet and she soothed my troubled fears and worries – the most patient of listeners, the staunchest of friends. Now, with so many failed pregnancies, including two miscarriages, the memory of which was like shrapnel embedded in our hearts, so that our lives had been laced with an expectant tinge of despair, primed for the nightmare to unfold, never daring to hope for the alternative; we were encouraged to hope. It was different, everyone said so, and I needed to trust that this time it would finally happen, that we’d finally have a baby, like the doctors seemed to think we would. Stuart had been wonderful, as had Catherine, but I needed Mum really, and her unshakeable, unbreakable faith.

There are a few times in a woman’s life when she needs her mother. For me, my wedding was one and I was lucky to have her there, if luck was what it was, because it seemed to be sheer and utter determination on her part. It had been so important to her to be there, even though all her doctors had told us to say our goodbyes. I will never know what it cost her to hold on the way she did, but she did and she stayed a further two years after that. In the end, it was perhaps the cruellest part, because when she did go, I’d convinced myself that somehow she’d be able to stay.

But this, this was different. I needed her now, more than ever. As I drove, the unstoppable flow of tears pooling in the hollow of my throat, I wished that we could have banked those two years, those two precious years that she had fought so hard and hung on for, so that she could be here with me now when I needed her the most.


About Lily Graham


Lily has been telling stories since she was a child, starting with her imaginary rabbit, Stephanus, and their adventures in the enchanted peach tree in her garden, which she envisioned as a magical portal to Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree. She’s never really got out of the habit of making things up, and still thinks of Stephanus rather fondly.

She lives with her husband and her English bulldog, Fudge, and brings her love for the sea and country-living to her fiction.


I really hope you enjoyed reading the extract.  If you did then you might want to buy yourselves a copy.  Here are the links for Amazon:-

UK: http://amzn.to/2atWI7G

US: http://amzn.to/2azduwO



Facebook – www.facebook.com/LilyRoseGrahamAuthor

Twitter – www.twitter.com/Lilywritesbooks

Website – https://lilygraham.net/



Interview with Justin Sheedy


I would like to introduce you all to Justin Sheedy.  For a while now my husband has been following him on social media and has expressed an interest in reading his books and I must admit that I am rather tempted by them too.  I wanted to interview Justin and was really pleased when he agreed to one.


Firstly, can you tell me a bit about the types of books you write please?

I write in two distinct styles: Firstly my make-you-laugh-and-cry portraits of childhood, teenage & growing up in 1970s & 80s Australia, “Goodbye Crackernight” & “Memoirs of a Go-Go Dancer”. (Yes, my first job out of school.) These two books have been warmly received by readers as they’re not just My story but OUR story, a mirror to US.



Secondly, my more serious World War Two historical fictions, “Nor the Years Condemn”, “Ghosts of the Empire”, and my just-published “No Greater Love”. Bringing to life the stunning true saga of Australian, British and Commonwealth pilots and aircrew in World War Two, though hyper-accurate to the true history, I’ve written them as historical fictions so as to engage readers with the shining young characters who made the true history, the loss of such shining young characters rendering my stories the true anti-war portraits I intended them to be.





What made you decide to write about World War Two?

Well, imagine your grandfather, when he was 21, was a real-life young superman loved & respected by all around him. Then he volunteered to fight against the worst evil imaginable, crossed the earth to do it, fought against it in the most exciting way possible and WON, only to end up an old man surrounded by the forever 21-year-old ghosts of all his friends. And it’s all true. How could one NOT want to write a story about that?


Did you have to do much research?

A massive amount. Reading, documentaries, online research, emailing museums & local councils particularly in the UK as that’s where my war stories are chiefly set. And people can be so enthusiastically helpful. Just for example, for “Nor the Years Condemn”, book 1 in my trilogy, the local council of Callander in Scotland emailed me mile-by-mile maps of the area between Loch Leven and Loch Lubnaig so my Australian pilot’s first (training) flight in a Spitfire would be as accurate as possible, tearing around the summit of Ben Ledi then super low up Loch Lubnaig though the forest of Strathyre. Their final note, “The RAF jets do it to this day!” was just one of those wonderful conincidences. I also interviewed about 5 Australian WWII veterans, pilots & aircrew who at 90+ looked 70+ as they were basically Olympian/Formula 1 calibre young men back in the day. And so modest! One flew a Kittyhawk fighter and apologised to me that he had not been in an actual dog-fight, only in ground attack. I almost fell off my chair.


How long on average does it take you to write a book?

Well, one gets more efficient with each book one writes but my most recent, “No Greater Love”, a 360+ page novel, took me a year and a half.


What are you working on now?

A novella entitled “Other People’s Wars” which will be a free ebook as a promotional tool for my war trilogy. For release at the end of this year, it will feature starring characters and key themes from my trilogy. Importantly though, each book in the trilogy stands on its own, written to be read in any order; parallel adventures in the same mighty saga.


Do you have a favourite place where you go to write?

I’m ALWAYS writing in my head. Can’t help it. No matter where I am.


Would you like to see any of your books made into a film and if so, which actors/actresses would you like to play the parts?

It’s my dream & holy grail. If I had a dime for every time people have vowed my books should be movies, I’d be rich.  And the question of which actors/actresses might play the parts has long fascinated me. The tricky thing is that, if cast accurately re age, they’d all have to be 21 as that was the average age of fighter pilots in World War II. (The ‘old man’ of the squadron was 25!) It’s key to my war stories: they’re heroic, tragic portraits of shining Youth. Though I assume in this cinema day & age they’d have “star” 30-somethings playing the roles not 21-year-old newcomers. For my latest book, “No Greater Love”, for its main character, Spitfire pilot rough-diamond Aussie Colin Stone (“Stoney”), when writing I always thought of a young Bryan Brown, a beloved Australian actor, as he was in the 1979 classic, “Breaker Morant”.


How important is social media to you?

Oh it’s essential. For ongoing publicity for my books, book-signing events and reviews. It is, in fact, the very reason I have the privilege of taking part in this interview as you & I got in contact through Facebook.


What’s your advice for anyone wanting to write their first book?

Come up with a brilliant idea then re-write it 20 times until your book ends up the book it Deserves to be.


Do you think you’ll ever come to the UK to do book signings?

I would very, very dearly love to. Before I can, however, my books must be able to be stocked on the shelves of the Waterstones bookstore chain. This is being wrangled by my Australian book distribution company as I write this. (At the moment my books are only available as print-on-demand paperbacks from Waterstones online which is wonderful but my goal is to be signing books in Waterstones Piccadilly.)


What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love reading, classic TV & movies, comedy, music, pop culture & aviation, also historical documentaries, Mediterranean cooking, white wine, skiing, mountains and snow.


Who are your favourite authors?

So many but in the context of my ‘growing up’ stories, Clive James, Roald Dahl, Bill Bryson, for my war stories, Ken Follett & Roald Dahl once again (“Going Solo” possibly my favourite book of all time), Kate Grenville, Tim Winton & Peter Carey for their emotive Australian historical fictions.


About Justin Sheedy

Justin Sheedy had his first book, “Goodbye Crackernight”, published in 2009, a comic memoir of growing up in 1970s Australia, back in a long-lost era when a child’s proudest possession was not a Playstation but a second-hand bike. “Goodbye Crackernight” was so warmly received by Australian readers that it secured Justin a place on the program of the prestigious Byron Bay Writers’ Festival 2010.

In 2012 Justin released “Nor the Years Condemn”, an historical fiction based on the stunning true story of the young Australian fighter pilots of World War Two. A tale as exhilaratingly heroic as it is tragic, “Nor the Years Condemn” is a portrait of shining young men destined never to grow old, and of those who do: the survivors ‘condemned by the years’, and to their memory of friends who remain forever young.

In 2013 he released “Ghosts of the Empire”, Book 2 in his “Nor the Years Condemn” series, and to Rave Reviews.

In 2014 he released “Memoirs of a Go-Go Dancer”, his long-awaited sequel to “Goodbye Crackernight”. “Memoirs of a Go-Go Dancer” is Justin’s rock & roll portrait of teenage in the 1980s under the threat of nuclear annihilation before he ever kissed a girl. Rave Reviews have once again flooded in.

Justin has just released his 5th book, “No Greater Love”, Part 3 in his “Nor the Years Condemn” trilogy. After a sell-out book-launch at Australia’s premier bookstore, the iconic Dymocks George Street Sydney, rave reviews for “No Greater Love” have already been received – see at the book’s Amazon listing along with Amazon 5-Star ratings.

Justin’s books are available in Kindle & paperback at Amazon, Dymocks bookstores, Waterstones & Barnes and Noble Online, The Book Depository and via ALL bookstores. Justin relishes signing copies of his books at regular bookstore events and would love to hear from you at his Facebook pages, on Twitter or at his blog, Crackernight.com. He lives in Sydney, Australia.


Book Links

Amazon / Amazon UK / Waterstones online / Barnes & Noble online / The Book Depository / Dymocks bookstores across Australia.


Blog Tour – ‘Strangers’ by Paul Finch


Having absolutely loved Paul Finch’s last book, I was thrilled to be asked if I would like to take part in this blog tour as well.  ‘Strangers’ was published on the 22nd September 2016 by Avon.   I have still to read this book but I am almost 100 per cent sure that I will enjoy it just as much if not more.

Paul Finch has written a guest post for me to host, but first here’s what ‘Strangers’ is all about.


Book Blurb

Unknown, alone, and fearing for your life.

As PC Lucy Clayburn is about to find out, going undercover is the most dangerous work there is.

But, on the trail of a prolific female serial killer, there’s no other option – and these murders are as brutal as they come.

Lucy must step into the line of fire – a stranger in a criminal underworld that butchers anyone who crosses the line.

And, unknown to Lucy, she’s already treading it…

Always gripping. Always gruesome. Paul Finch will leave fans of Rachel Abbott and MJ Arlidge gasping for more


How dark can detective fiction go?

Before we can answer this question, we need to remember that detective fiction is a pretty broad church, ranging from the pastoral-flavoured subgenre of the village green murder mystery to the ultra-violent world of inner city cops and the heinous criminals they pursue.

But by the nature of the beast, I think we must expect that it will always have the potential to get pretty dark. The bedrock of modern detective fiction for me is still the Hardboiled genre, as pioneered by the likes of Hammett and Chandler, and in which cynical antiheroes walk tightropes through worlds of crime and corruption.

Even back then in the more censorious 20s, 30s and 40s, our fictional investigators found themselves confronting the dregs of humanity, encountering contract killers, incest, rape, drug addiction, child abuse, sex slavery, domestic brutality – the whole gamut of social ills that still make us shudder when we’re watching the newsreels today.

It’s one of those difficult areas, I guess. In most cases, people read as a form of recreation, and therefore we authors write as a form of entertainment. But can it ever be morally acceptable to dredge through the most miserable of human experiences so that others can have fun?

The answer to that must be that we all live in the real world, and that we writers would be short-changing our readers if we tried to pretend that this wasn’t the case. It would be like telling a war story without the violence, or writing about the Third World as if there was no poverty or disease.

But the question still stands. How dark can you go?

Well … I’ve seen it done superbly well at the extreme limits of the spectrum. If you look at the world of horror novels rather than thrillers, some amazing examples stand out: THE WOLFEN (1978) by Whitley Strieber, in which two New York detectives hunt for an apparent cannibal killer and gradually come to realise they are tracking a werewolf pack; and LEGION (1983) by William Peter Blatty, in which a time-served cop investigates a series of appalling torture murders in Georgetown, only to find that he’s dealing with Satanic ritual. Neither of these books stint on the horror, but such is the skill and intensity with which they are told, that they are basically unputdownable.

In these cases, of course, the supernatural element is likely to alleviate any concerns one might have about excessive gruesomeness and depravity, because that earmarks these works as fantasy, which means that not only is it not real, but that it’s not supposed to be real.

We authors are on slightly dodgier ground when we are purporting to tell stories that could easily be true.

For example, when I sat down to write STALKERS, my first DS Heckenburg novel, in 2012, I wondered if the idea of the Nice Guys Club, a crime syndicate who for big money would provide clients with rape victims of their choice, belonged more in a horror novel than a crime thriller. It seemed a very extreme notion. However, at the time, and despite my prior police experience, I truly had no idea how much sex trafficking there is in the world, how much torture-for-fun, how many Snuf movies are made. It soon transpired that I had no need to worry about my risky concept, because it was only representing one harrowing aspect of real life.

I think that’s why I’ve tackled my latest novel, STRANGERS – another potentially controversial one – in full-on fashion. This one is a no-holds-barred tale of the hunt by undercover policewomen for a female killer known to the press as Jill the Ripper, who preys on her johns and sexually mutilates them.

We’ve all seen TV dramas in which female detectives go under cover as prostitutes, and it’s often treated lightly, as if all the heroine needs to do is don a short skirt and stand sexily on the nearest street-corner. However, I’ve seen enough of it in real life to know that this is far more difficult and dangerous work than that. And after extensive discussions with fellow author and good friend of mine, Ash Cameron, who as a long-serving policewoman in the Met, performed this duty many times, I felt I had a duty to paint as realistic a picture as possible of this grim business.

So … I make no apologies for the grimy subways or dingy toilet blocks, for the vomit in the gutters, the needles in the back-streets, the abuse the girls suffer from their punters, the violence from the pimps and dealers, the thrown excrement, and so forth.

Yes, I suspect STRANGERS is the darkest crime novel I’ve ever written, but no – because of the desperate state of some of our real lives – I don’t think I, or any other crime writer of my acquaintance, has even come close to pushing the boundaries towards unacceptability thus far.

You think crime writing’s gone dark? You ain’t seen nothing yet.


You can buy ‘Strangers’ from Amazon UK:-



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