A Lover of Books

Archive for the day “March 7, 2017”

Interview with Angelena Boden

angelena-boden

It’s time now to meet another Urbane author.  Angelena Boden’s debut novel, ‘The Cruelty of Lambs’ was published last year and is doing very well indeed.  I have interviewed Angelena for this event.

 

Firstly, can you tell me a bit about ‘The Cruelty of Lambs’?

The Cruelty of Lambs is my debut novel which I wrote in my 60th year. It’s a psychological thriller which tracks the insidious emotional abuse by Una Carrington, a ruthless business woman, towards her gentle cellist husband who lost his teaching post due to allegations of sexual harassment in a girls’ school. Iain falls into a dark place and as his mind deteriorates it becomes a challenge to work out who is the abuser and who is the perpetrator. It is when his precious cello goes missing that his fellow string player and best friend get involved knowing that its recovery is Iain’s only hope of redemption.

The book has been described as one of the most challenging books some readers have ever read. Compelling, gripping and a deep insight into the minds of abusers and the impact on their victims.

 

What made you decide to write it?

I am a survivor of coercive control and emotional abuse which lasted for 20 years. At first you don’t realise what’s happening, a bit like Helen in the Archer’s story line, then it becomes your norm. I was going to write my story as a memoir but even after 15 years it is too painful as I have post-traumatic stress disorder. I wanted to show that such abuse is insidious and is not gender specific. I also wanted the police to treat it as seriously as they do domestic violence. This is violence of the mind. I am glad to see that the law changed in 2015/16 to incorporate this type of abuse.

 

Where did you get your ideas from for this book?

All personal experience.

 

Did you have to do any research and if so, what did it entail?

I have spent over 30 years training, advising and counselling people to deal with conflict and difficult behaviours so everything was at my fingertips. The book was written from the heart as much as anything else.

 

How long did it take you to write?

It’s interesting as the first draft just flowed so it took about 3 months to get it down. Then the hard work began. I let it ‘rest’ and came back to it a month later. All in all it took 5 drafts and about a year to complete to my satisfaction. You can always keep fiddling with bits but I think there comes a point when you have to run with it. I was pleased to find Urbane Publications as Matthew is a great supporter of people who want to write their story. He doesn’t want it adapted or changed solely to suit a market place.

 

Is domestic abuse something you wanted to make more people aware of?

I think violence towards women is something we are more aware of but abuse and violence towards men is something that is coming more into the news. Emotional abuse, manipulation, gas lighting (designed to make you think you are the one who’s crazy) and coercive control needs to be taken more seriously by the authorities. I would like to think The Cruelty of Lambs helps people to recognise it and take action. It’s a pity poor Iain hadn’t read it!

 

Can you relate to any of your characters?

I suppose I am a mix of Iain and Una. I ran a successful business and my ex-husband lost his through his bad attitude towards customers. He was what we call passive-aggressive. Blame flew from all sides but it was he who abused me. I must say this though:- it is often very difficult to define cause and effect. The dynamics become so muddled. I found that I had to take harsh measures to protect me and my children as I was losing my sanity towards the end. I no longer knew who I was and that is the aim:- to break your spirit.

 

What are you working on now?

I have just finished the final edit of my new book, The Future Can’t Wait. It’s a mother and daughter drama in a cocktail of addiction, obsession, against a background of extremism.

 

Have you got any pearls of wisdom for anyone wanting to pen their first novel?

Just do it! I am very disciplined as I’ve run my own consultancy so I am motivated by deadlines. I don’t plan any of my books as I allow my characters to take me on their journey and it’s such fun. Some people like to plan it out in detail but I think that can be a bit stifling. Set aside an hour a day if you can’t spare anymore and just write that first chapter. Don’t edit or stress over it. Write the second chapter and when you’ve finished, let it rest. This is not a glamorous career and it might not make you a penny so there needs to be a real impetus to write.

 

How long have you been a professional life coach and training consultant for and is it interesting?

Coming up to 35 years. I have some fantastic contracts. I did all the staff training for Cadbury World in Birmingham which is why Bournville gets a mention in Cruelty. I trained staff to meet and greet Olympic visitors in Atlanta and Sydney and the Welsh Ryder Cup. I worked in Belfast for 3 years on a peace contract post the Good Friday agreement but my claim to fame was the training of night club door staff in Birmingham in the 80’s. The press went crazy for the story and called it Angie’s Charm School. It even got in the Sunday Times colour supplement.

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I’ve started to paint landscapes even though I was a remedial at school and living in Malvern means I do a lot of hill walking. My passion is languages (I speak 4 plus English) and travelling. I’m interested in cultural astrology and astronomy and how they link with the cycles of history.

 

If you were only allowed three books what would they be?

Gosh. I’ve often wondered how I would ask the question on Desert Island discs but at least you are giving me a choice of 3! ‘

• What would Aristotle Say? Self control through the power of reasoning by Dr.Elliot Cohen.
• Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
• A Shropshire Lad, a poetry collection by Alfred Housman.

 

Links

‘The Cruelty of Lambs’ is available to buy from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/the-cruelty-of-lambs/

Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/2mnSJNv

Angelena Boden’s website – http://www.angelenaboden.com/

 

Advertisements

Extract from ‘Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong’ by Gina Kirkham

I hope you all enjoyed Gina Kirkham’s guest post as much as I did.  I love Gina’s posts and I really can’t wait to read her book when it comes out.  It’s time for a treat now, an exclusive extract from ‘Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong’.   But first, the book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

Meet Mavis Upton. As mummy to 7-year old Ella, surrogate to far too many pets and with a failed marriage under her belt, Mavis knows she needs to make some life-changing decisions. It’s time to strike out into the world, to stand on her own two feet … to pursue a lifelong ambition to become a Police Officer. I mean, what could go wrong? Supported by her quirky, malapropism-suffering mum, Mavis throws herself headlong into a world of uncertainty, self-discovery, fearless escapades, laughter and extra-large knickers. And using her newly discovered investigative skills, she reluctantly embarks on a search to find her errant dad who was last seen years before, making off with her mum’s much needed coupon for a fabulous foam cup bra all the way from America. Follow Mavis as she tackles everything life can throw at her, and revel in Gina Kirkham’s humorous, poignant and moving story of an everyday girl who one day followed a dream.

 

Extract

Extract from ‘Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong’

 

Guest Post by Gina Kirkham

gina-kirkham

The fabulous Gina Kirkham has written a guest post for my event.  Her debut novel, ‘Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong’ is being published on the 18th May 2017.

 

GIN, BOOK & LAUGHTER

Opening one eye as light sneaked its way through the gap between my budget B&Q blind and the window frame, I stretched lazily out in eager anticipation of the summer day ahead.

Slipping out of bed, my knees popping and crackling like a bowl of Rice Krispies, I simultaneously chided myself for getting old and patted myself on the back for having managed to negotiate my way to the bathroom without falling over the cat.

This was to be my first day of no shirts to iron, no SWAT boots to polish, no shifts, no pub fights, no 999 response runs and no paperwork.    This was my first day of retirement as a Police Officer.

I was a civilian again.

To be honest, my visions of slipping into Gin & Tonic induced  ‘Nana Naps’ in the garden, shaded from the afternoon sun by dappled shadows from the trees, whilst the busy world I had been part of carried on without me, had seemed rather exciting.

Sadly, as romantic as this vision had appeared, it was doomed to failure.  The reality was that the first three months offered only perpetual rain, high winds, which are the downside of living by the beach (along with globs of sand sticking to your lip gloss when you step out of the front door) and a huge price increase on the gin!

So, logs on the fire, a pot of tea on the go, half a packet of Ginger Nuts and three sheets of paper later, I had drafted out a plot, a character and a story and I was off on a most exciting adventure.

I was going to write a book.

It would chart my career in the Police, not as a Super-Detective or a muscle-ripped fighter of crime, but as an ordinary woman, a single parent, who looked towards humour as a coping mechanism in a demanding career.   This book was not to be for public consumption, after all, I had never written before and I certainly wouldn’t dare to think that anyone would be interested in reading my ramblings.   It was to be cathartic.  A way of storing my memories of a fabulous career, honour those I had worked with…..

…. actually no, scrub that!   It was to fill in the hours whilst the rain systematically destroyed any hope I had previously held of staggering around my back garden like a manic Miss Hannigan after a litre of homemade sloe gin, once boredom had set in.

Within eighteen months I had completed my first manuscript, all 142,000 words, and had avidly scoured the pages of The Writers & Artists Yearbook 2014  for the do’s and don’t’s of submitting and the etiquette of querying.  By page 639 I was frantically editing down my offering to 78,000 words whilst wailing in despair into my coffee.   For someone who suffers from verbal diarrhoea at the best of times, particularly when nervous, a reduction in words can be deemed to be complete and utter torture.  I then had the added trauma of producing a work of art called a ‘Synopsis’.

I mean, come on….what’s that all about?  Eighteen months of my life, a final 78,000 words, 1,478 mugs of tea, 23 packets of Aldi Digestive biscuits, 19 packets of Polo mints and a rather alarming increase in the size of my derrière, only to be told it all had to be reduced down – my writing, not my derrière, I hasten to add.   Not to be downhearted I ploughed on, carefully creating ‘My Book of Submissions’.  This masterpiece was crafted with the best four-ring binder I could find, that sported a rather fetching picture of Joyce Grenfell on the front.  Various coloured felt-pens were used to rigidly mark-up columns and headings with the assistance of a freebie Kellogg’s Cornflakes coaster in the absence of a ruler.

I was on a roll.

Each submission would have its own page so that I could meticulously keep track of who I had submitted to and who had replied.  In the very real fear of forwarding spelling bloopers, poor grammar and dreadful predictive howlers, I read and re-read my first submission e-mail over and over again before my index finger hovered over that one button on a keyboard that could suddenly make even Donald Trump become super-indecisive –  the SEND key…..

……I pressed and clicked…..

……and no sooner had the ‘swooooosh’ sound informed me that it had gone, did my keen eye catch my sign-off at the bottom.  I felt sick.  Hands trembling, a trickle of perspiration meandering its way down my back, I re-read my email to the poor, unsuspecting Literary Agent, again.

‘…….thank you for allowing me the opportunity to query and submit my novel, Handcuffs, Truncheon & A Polyester Thong.

Kindest regards
Gonorrhea Kirkham

Jeez, I bet my Mum hadn’t seen that coming when she’d christened me Georgina in the 1950’s pre-predictive text era.

If announcing the rather off-the-wall title of my book wasn’t bad enough, I had also fan-fared a name that would never, ever grace the cover of a book on the shelves of Waterstones.  I also knew, with another bout of absolute gut-wrenching certainty, that after making a first impression of that calibre, I had about as much chance of getting a reply and an offer of a publishing deal as Elvis would for a comeback concert.

I’m just hoping the shortened version I now use won’t get me into trouble, although if you get rid of the ‘a’ and add Tonic…. I’m actually back where I started!

Gina

 

Links

‘Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong’ can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Handcuffs-Truncheon-Polyester-Thong-Kirkham/dp/191133171X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1488735781&sr=1-1&keywords=gina+kirkham

Website:  www.ginakirkham.wordpress.com

Twitter: @ginageejay and @MavisUpton

Facebook: MAVIS UPTON page

 

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: