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Blog Tour – ‘The Afterlife of Walter Augustus’ by Hannah Lynn ~ @HMLynnauthor

‘The Afterlife of Walter Augustus’ was published as an eBook on the 11th July 2018 and is also available in paperback.  I am thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for this book and would like to thank Hannah Lynn for inviting me to participate.

Do I have a treat for all of you today or what.  There are some Questions and Answers from the author, an extract from her book and there is also a giveaway which is being run throughout the tour.  All that to come in a minute though.  First, here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

Walter Augustus is dead. His current state of existence has become a monotony of sweet tea and lonely strolls and after decades stuck in the Interim — a posthumous waiting room for those still remembered on Earth — he is ready to move on. Only when he is forgotten by every living person will he be able to pass over and join his family in the next stage of the afterlife. At last the end is tantalizingly close, but bad luck and a few rash decisions may see him trapped in the Interim for all eternity.

Letty Ferguson is not dead. Letty Ferguson is a middle-aged shoe saleswoman who leads a pleasant and wholly unextraordinary life, barring the secret fortune she seems unable to tell her husband about. However, when she takes possession of an unassuming poetry anthology, life takes on a rather more extraordinary dimension.

 

Hannah Lynn on her new novel The Afterlife of Walter Augustus

How did you get the idea for The Afterlife of Water Augustus?

I can actually remember exactly when the idea came to me as I was in a really bad mood at the time! It was the weekend of my birthday and we were meant to be going on holiday, but my husband was unwell so we had to cancel. We also had visitors over, so between checking on my husband, looking after them and working I felt completely run off my feet.

One of our guests was watching a TV programme about a psychic, and that got me thinking about the afterlife, and how there could be enough space for everyone. I was still mulling over the concept when the idea of Walter being trapped until he was forgotten sprung into mind and I honestly thought, this is it, this is the reason I didn’t go on holiday because if I had I would never have had the idea.

 

That sounds like you’re a believer in fate?

Hmm, the jury’s out. So much is beyond our control and I’ve had a couple of very peculiar instances, but then there are too many bad things happening to good people for me to be convinced.

 

What did you find yourself researching for this book?

I spent a surprising amount of time researching the ins and out of professions in the 1800s. In my first draft Walter started out as a doctor, so I spent time researching the different type of medical practitioners that were around back then. Afterwards, when I decided that wasn’t quite right, I got stuck into research about ironwork and being a farrier.

 

Who was your favourite character?

This book was tough. Quite often I have a clear favourite, but in this one I don’t. I have genuine affection for them all, even the ones who don’t appear that nice!

 

Why did you write about the afterlife?

It’s always been a source of intrigue to me and I think to many others.  I’ve tried before to write novels about it, but this is the first time all my ideas seemed to fall into place.

 

How long did it take you to write The Afterlife of Water Augustus?

Walter was the quickest first draft I have ever written — however it then took another 3 drafts to get something more concrete to work with. In total, it was a little over 2 years.

 

What was the hardest part to write?

Probably making all the time frames to work logistically, particularly with Walter popping in and out of the Afterlife

 

Who should read the Afterlife of Water Augustus?

Anyone who is not convinced they are going to live forever! Seriously though, it’s a book that I hope will be both amusing and comforting.

 

Extract

Chapter Two

The corridor in the interim was by no means your standard corridor. In fact, it would not, by the average lay-person’s standard, qualify as a corridor at all. A sea of free-standing doors stretched out endlessly into an infinite landscape which — like the doors themselves — would change and transform almost daily. It was easy to see how people found pleasure in the unexpectedness and beauty that rose from this magnificent panoramic backdrop which was so central to the interim afterlife.  Although Walter was not one of those people.

Today, the doors were a heavily stained cedar, from which rose an earthy and damp perfume that blended perfectly with the cut grass and linen aroma. The floor, by contrast, was an infinite expanse of powdery sand that shimmered and glinted in the soft light, and from somewhere far off came a light-fingered mastery of the mandolin. The destination of these doors was, to Walter, as elusive as the manner in which they were constructed.

Perhaps, it was his age or the cynicism that had grown from being alone for so long, but to Walter, the interim no longer possessed the irrefutable prestige it once had. There had always been the odd rancid egg — those that had difficulty letting go or found pleasure in the obscure — and, of course, those whose memory lived on for the most abhorrent reasons — but it was the vast quantity of them still hanging around that was worrying. Men, calling themselves actors, gathered in droves, discussing the time they had a walk-on part as a half-eaten zombie or laughed about their pet cat on ice going viral, whatever that meant. Wives of ex-cons gossiped and whinged about the good old days over frozen margaritas and manicures, not in some secluded doorway, but out in the open, for everyone to see. Gamblers, addicts, and musicians: once their time here had been brief, but now, they never seemed to leave. Yes, in Walter’s opinion, the prestige of the interim had most definitely deteriorated.

Walter kept his head down as he hurried through the corridor. He had visited Betty often since she had moved into the home and barely needed to lift his eyes to find the way. After a few minutes and having successfully avoided the gaze of every person on his route, Walter found the door he was looking for. He twisted the handle and stepped through.

Elizabeth Mabel Green was the last person on Earth who knew who Walter Augustus was. She had read Seas, Swallows and all but Sorrows — the only remaining copy — in the early sixties, and while some parts of her memory had given way over time, she had remembered his name as clearly as she remembered her own. She remembered how she chewed on a crumpet whilst her father read the poems over breakfast and how the melted butter dripped down her chin as she listened. She remembered the coarse woollen blanket that covered her knees while she fought off the cold and re-read her favourites in the first home she had ever owned. She did not remember every word of every poem, but she remembered the way they made her feel.

When Pemberton finally departed the interim, Walter had assumed he would not be far behind. But Betty continued to cling to his name and his poems. Even now, in her last days, Walter could feel the tugs as he flitted through his memory. After all, Walter was family.

Betty Green’s hospital room was adorned with several bunches of flowers. It sported a small white cabinet and plug-in air fresheners at every available socket, although they did little to camouflage the scent of Dettol and urine that rose from the carpets and bed sheets. Betty lay beneath a powder blue blanket that, at a casual glance, appeared motionless, although Walter— and any person who cared to sit and study it long enough — could see there was still life in the old girl yet. Walter watched the faint rise and fall. He could hear a gentle hiss as the air was drawn in and then expelled from his great-great-great-great-granddaughter’s lungs and the weak double thud of her fading heartbeat.

‘Are your kitchen tiles a nightmare to clean?’

Walter jumped back from the bed.

Behind him, a small black box was affixed to the wall, inside which a tiny woman was on her hands and knees scrubbing a floor. She looked out at Walter, opened her mouth and spoke. Beads of sweat began to bubble on his forehead.

‘You need to try Fleazy Klean.’

The woman’s voice, rather than coming from her mouth, came from another little black box, two feet to the right. Walter shuddered. A television. Even avoiding the present day as he did, Walter had not managed to evade this unnatural source of wizardry. One glimpse of the shiny black glass was enough to send his post-organic frame rigid with tension and his surplus-to-requirement pulse into overdrive. He side-stepped away — keeping half an eye on the mini-man who was now on screen, apparently trying to sell him some kind of dental apothecary — and focused his attention on Betty.

Walter knew there must be pain; there always was at that stage, but for now, she seemed at peace.

‘Don’t worry,’ he said, leaning over and whispering. ‘It’s not the end. Everyone’s waiting for you.’ Betty mumbled softly. Walter reached down and stroked her forehead. ‘Take all the time you need,’ he said. He waited another minute, offered a final uneasy glower to the man with too many teeth on the television, then opened the door and stepped back into the corridor, a spritely spring in his step as he walked.

***

Low slung clouds shrouded the sky as Letty strolled up the high street.  The evening was cool, and a light breeze carried on it an aroma of oak trees, honeysuckle, and the slight hint of motorbike fuel. Donald would be glad of rain, Letty thought. The humidity of the last month had played havoc with his joints too. A little way up the high street, she stopped. Resting her arm against the yellowish Bradstone wall, she kneaded the base of her spine with her knuckles. In one of the stores across the road, the back-to-school sales signs were already being pulled down and replaced with pumpkin banners ready for Halloween. Letty’s stomach churned. If the thirty-first of October marked everyone else’s Halloween, Letty’s personal day of nightmares came a few weeks earlier each year.

Despite living less than five miles away, Letty and her sister Victoria saw each other an average of three times a year, Christmas, the twins’ birthday, and once in July to remember their mother’s birthday. Occasionally, they would place a meeting somewhere between January and July to bridge the sixth month gap, but that was not always the case. As it was, Victoria had cancelled the July meet-up this year, as the twins had a last-minute gymkhana competition they simply couldn’t afford to miss.

There were various reasons that meetings with Victoria tended to be tense, one of the overwhelming factors being money. While Letty suffered from an affliction of saving money, the same could not be said for her sister.

‘It will just be a short-term loan,’ Victoria said the last time. ‘And the interest we’ll give you will be far better than any you’d get at the bank.’

‘But what about Mum’s inheritance?’ Letty said. ‘That was over twenty thousand pounds.’

‘My thoughts exactly. And I’m guessing it’s just sitting in your account earning you nothing. If you look at it that way, we’re actually doing you a favour. Think of it as an investment opportunity.’

Letty had mumbled something unintelligible as she shifted uncomfortably.

‘Great,’ Victoria said. ‘Do you want me to set up a bank transfer before I go?’

‘What’s she doing with all their money?’ Donald said when Letty told him of the conversation a couple of days later. ‘And what happened to her share?’

‘I didn’t want to ask.’

Donald huffed. ‘Well, you know how much you’ve got left of that money. If you think we can lend her a couple of grand, then it’s up to you. But don’t go leaving yourself short.’

That had been over a year ago, and Letty had neither seen or heard anything of her investment opportunity since.

The other point of tension came from the children. As anyone who had witnessed Letty at work could testify, she had an uncanny affinity for small children. Be it screaming toddlers, or sulky teenagers, somehow Letty could bring the best out of them all. All children, it seemed, apart from her nephew and niece.

Whilst some may have seen fit to liken the pair to characters from a Stephen King novel, Letty would have considered this unfair, given the possible moral redeemability of the bloodsucking clowns and monsters Mr. King portrayed. Likewise, adjectives such as spirited and boisterous seemed far more suited to rescue puppies than to the double delinquents with whom she somehow shared DNA. Born after years and years of trying, Victoria viewed her children as nothing short of miracles. Throw in the added guilt she felt at being an older parent and a father who was barely home, and it was clear how Victoria and Felix had raised nothing short of monsters.

Every visit included a fight. Sometimes, these involved weapons, such as a plastic Buzz Lightyear or a conveniently placed lamp. Other times, it was simply teeth and nails.

‘They’re energetic,’ Victoria said. ‘Lots of intelligent children are like this.’

Letty wasn’t so sure. The twins’ birthday, the singular time of year when Letty truly considered giving up baking for good.

The cake thing had become somewhat of a venture lately. Twelve months ago, she had been doing one order, maybe two a month. Now it was more like that a week. And gone were the days of simple round cakes with a little bit of pipe work. In the last month alone, she had created one Peppa Pig cake, two M&M piñata cakes, a Louis Vuitton handbag, three cupcake wedding towers, and a hen-do cake that even now turned her cheeks scarlet at the memory. Of course, the area manager had dropped by for a chat on the morning she had taken that one into work. The meeting had been tortuous. Letty sat nodding, her mouth bone dry, beads of sweat trickling down her forehead as the box sat perched above his head resting on top of the size 12 men’s brogues.

‘There’s really no need to look so worried,’ the manager had said. ‘Everyone’s numbers are down on this time last year. You should see Stroud’s numbers.’

Letty nodded mutely.

When he finally left, she had told Joyce she was taking an early break, at which point she collapsed onto a box of lime green flip-flops, red-faced and trembling. No more hen party cakes, she decided after that one. Not unless they were picked up from home.

‘You should be charging proper money for these,’ Donald said, almost every night as she stood in the kitchen rolling out fondant and mixing up buttercream.

‘I’m not doing it for the money.’

‘Well, maybe you should be. You’re wasted at that shop. And we can’t rely on my wage forever. I’m getting old.’

Despite Donald’s concerns, Letty was savvy enough not to be out of pocket. She charged enough to cover the ingredients and a little bit more so that people felt they were getting quality. In her opinion, people always became suspicious if they thought things were too cheap.

The sky twisted with soft greys and lilacs as Letty ambled towards the crossroads. Somewhere, a bonfire was burning, and the tang of pine drifted the air.  She glanced down at her watch. Five thirty-two. Friday night meant Donald would be out for drinks with the other men from the water board. A homemade pie was defrosting in the larder, and a large apple crumble awaited them for dessert. She had a little time to spare. With one last glance at her watch, she changed her course and crossed the road. Thirty seconds later, she was standing inside the bank.

Letty preferred these bank machines, as unlike the others on the high street, they were tucked away inside a building. Whenever she used the outside ones, it felt as though someone was there, peering over her shoulder, trying to steal her PIN code or tutting if she took too long. That afternoon, only one of the machines was in working order, and when a young man with a toddler in tow stepped through the automatic door only a moment after she did, she waved him in front.

‘Honestly, you go,’ she said.

‘Are you sure?’

‘Of course, of course. It’s no problem.’

Letty stood what she considered a suitable distance behind, while the man did his business. After he finished, she offered him a polite smile and watched as he exited the room. Only after the automatic doors had closed and she felt certain that no one else would be entering for at least a minute, Letty moved to the cash machine, inserted her card, and tapped the screen.

Entering her PIN was a reflex response. After all, she had had the same PIN for every card that she had ever owned and had no intention of changing it anytime soon. A series of options, including Cash or On-Screen Balance, appeared in front of her. She selected balance.

As she waited for the number to appear, she withdrew a small notebook and pen from her handbag pocket and wrote the date at the top. A moment later, a number appeared. Sixty-seven thousand, six hundred and sixty-eight pounds and twenty-four pence. Letty wrote it down in her notebook. After confirming with the machine that she did not require any more services, she withdrew her card, placed it back in her tattered old wallet, and selected another.

This second account gave a similar reading to the first, as did the third and fourth she checked. The fifth came in slightly lower, at only twelve thousand, two hundred and nine pounds and thirty-three pence. She was about to check her sixth when a cough behind her caused her to jump.

‘Sorry,’ Letty gasped. She pulled out her card and hurriedly backed away from the machine. ‘I’m all done now.’

Even two minutes later, when she was back on the street, her pulse was still pounding. Her money situation, she reasoned, had lost control. Letty sighed, causing a small flock of pigeons on the pavement beside her to take flight. She was going to have to tell Donald sooner or later. She just had to find the right way to word it.

***

Deciding to make the most of what was possibly his last day in the interim, Walter gathered a loaf of bread and small bottle of ale from his miraculously stocked larder and placed them into his satchel. He was dressed in his usual attire of a twill woven shirt and breeches, but had abandoned his apron for the day. With a light-hearted jaunt, he stepped out through his back door and strolled to the end of the garden.

A narrow path lined with daisies and buttercups materialised and meandered down to the bottom of the cliff. His feet crunched on the fresh grass. He would miss this scent, he decided, but then perhaps, it was the same wherever he was going next; after all, it seemed too good a choice to meddle with. Walter closed his eyes and breathed in the warm, salty air. He couldn’t have asked for a better day.

A little way away from the shingled coast, Walter was stopped. He stared and blinked and felt his pulse hasten in his veins. Dampness built on the palms of his hand, and a noose-like sensation tightened around his throat. He gaped at the figure on the shore. This was his beach. Why would anyone come here? Who even knew about it? Walter’s pulse cranked up another notch as he scanned the area. It was definitely his beach, his place alone, his private corner of the interim. Perhaps it was a mistake, he thought and, with silent steps, trod forward. The grass gave way to sand dunes and then to shingle, all the while his eyes locked on the shadowy figure. He was less than six feet away before the air was knocked from his lungs.

‘No,’ Walter gasped.

The face turned around to look at him. It was a long face, so long it was difficult to see where his nose ended and chin began. His cheeks were hollowed, as if sucking on a sweet, and the smell of pear drops that emanated from his breath appeared to confirm this. In one fluid movement, the body went from sitting to standing and then peering straight down his nose to Walter.

‘Well, Augustus,’ he said his voice patronisingly slow. ‘What have you done this time?’

 

~~~~~

Wow!  This extract has certainly left me intrigued.

‘The Afterlife of Walter Augustus’ can be purchased from:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Afterlife-Walter-Augustus-Hannah-Lynn-ebook/dp/B07CLL98QC/ref=pd_sbs_351_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=BMK2ZGD0YFDY3D39PP2N

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Afterlife-Walter-Augustus-Hannah-Lynn-ebook/dp/B07CLL98QC/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

Giveaway

To coincide with this blog tour, Hannah Lynn is running a competition.  These are the  prizes:-

Kindle Paperwhite E-reader, plus an eBook copy of ‘The Afterlife of Walter Augustus’.

1 of 5 x paperback copies of ‘The Afterlife of Walter Augustus’, signed by Hannah Lynn.

To enter, click on this link – Rafflecopter Giveaway.

 

About Hannah Lynn

Hannah Lynn was born in 1984 and grew up in the Cotswolds, UK. After graduating from university, she spent ten years as a teacher of physics, first in the UK and then around Asia. It was during this time, inspired by the imaginations of the young people she taught, she began writing short stories for children, and later adult fiction. Her first novel, Amendments, was published in 2015, her latest novel, The Afterlife of Walter Augustus, is out July 2018. Now as a teacher, writer, wife and mother, she is currently living in the Austrian Alps.

 

Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/HMLynnauthor

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/HannahLynnAuthor

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13830772.Hannah_M_Lynn

 

Other Books

‘Amendments’ can be purchased from:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Amendments-H-M-Lynn-ebook/dp/B00W1X95S2

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Amendments-H-M-Lynn-ebook/dp/B00W1X95S2/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

Guest Post by Sandra Danby ~ @SandraDanby

I am absolutely thrilled to be welcoming Sandra Danby back to my blog.  Her new book, ‘Connectedness’, the second in the Identity Detective series was published in paperback in April by Beulah Press and is also available as an eBook.

Sandra has written a guest post about how PD James influenced her work.

 

The influence of PD James

I’ve been a fan of PD James’ detective Adam Dalgliesh since I was a student and having gone back to the beginning to read Cover Her Face, I then bought each book as it was published. I don’t write crime fiction and never expected the Dalgliesh series to have such an influence on my own work but once I decided my identity detective Rose Haldane deserved her own series, I looked again at the structure used by PD James.

The key thing I learned was that each Dalgliesh novel tells the story of a murder and the people involved. Adam Dalgliesh gets involved once the murder is discovered but it is not his story, he is the conduit through which the story is told. This was an epiphany for me. Once I applied it to my own ideas for the ‘Identity Detective’ series, I could see it would work. Ignoring Gravity, the first, tells the story of journalist Rose Haldane, an adult who discovers she was adopted as a baby and was lied to all her life by her family, and her subsequent search for her true origins. Connectedness, my latest novel, is about Justine Tree, a birth mother now in her fifties who longs to find the baby daughter she gave away in the Eighties. Justine employs Rose as a kind of researcher to find her daughter. In the course of this book, Rose realizes she is good at this type of work, that she can become a detective of identities. I’m now writing Sweet Joy, third in the series, in which Rose is employed by an elderly lady to identify her parents who abandoned her in a house during The Blitz in London 1940.

Flash backwards to my writing group friends and the first time they read the complete manuscript of Connectedness. They were familiar with the story and characters, having read most of the chapters in isolation. But why, they asked, don’t you start with Rose? Because, I said, Connectedness is not about Rose; it’s about Justine. Worried I’d misjudged, I went back to a chapter-by-chapter analysis I did almost ten years ago of Original Sin, ninth in the Adam Dalgliesh series. He appears briefly in Chapter 4 when the body has been found – twenty five pages in – but his next viewpoint chapter is almost a third of the way through the book. Instead James patiently allows the story to unfold, told by the characters involved in the murder so the reader makes assumptions about what has happened and comes to know the characters involved. When Dalgliesh arrives on the scene however, he starts asking awkward questions so making the reader doubt his first impressions of people and events. And in this way, the mystery grows. I hope I’ve achieved a similar effect with Connectedness.

 

About ‘Connectedness’

TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD, ARTIST JUSTINE TREE HAS IT ALL… BUT SHE ALSO HAS A SECRET THAT THREATENS TO DESTROY EVERYTHING

Justine’s art sells around the world, but does anyone truly know her? When her mother dies, she returns to her childhood home in Yorkshire where she decides to confront her past. She asks journalist Rose Haldane to find the baby she gave away when she was an art student, but only when Rose starts to ask difficult questions does Justine truly understand what she must face.

Is Justine strong enough to admit the secrets and lies of her past? To speak aloud the deeds she has hidden for 27 years, the real inspiration for her work that sells for millions of pounds. Could the truth trash her artistic reputation? Does Justine care more about her daughter, or her art? And what will she do if her daughter hates her?

This tale of art, adoption, romance and loss moves between now and the Eighties, from London’s art world to the bleak isolated cliffs of East Yorkshire and the hot orange blossom streets of Málaga, Spain.

A family mystery for fans of Maggie O’Farrell, Lucinda Riley, Tracy Rees and Rachel Hore.

 

About the ‘Identity Detective’ series

Rose Haldane reunites the people lost through adoption. The stories you don’t see on television shows. The difficult cases. The people who cannot be found, who are thought lost forever. Each book in the ‘Identity Detective’ series considers the viewpoint of one person trapped in this horrible dilemma. In the first book of the series, Ignoring Gravity, it is Rose’s experience we follow as an adult discovering she was adopted as a baby. Connectedness is the story of a birth mother and her longing to see her baby again. Sweet Joy, the third novel, will tell the story of a baby abandoned during The Blitz.

 

About Sandra Danby

Sandra Danby is a proud Yorkshire woman, tennis nut and tea drinker. She believes a walk on the beach will cure most ills. Unlike Rose Haldane, the identity detective in her two novels, Ignoring Gravity and Connectedness, Sandra is not adopted.

 

Author Links

‘Connectedness’ at Amazon: https://amzn.to/2q6qy5Z

‘Ignoring Gravity’ at Amazon http://amzn.to/1oCrxHd

Author website: http://www.sandradanby.com/

Twitter: @SandraDanby

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sandradanbyauthor

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6563021.Sandra_Danby

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sandradan1/

 

Photos [all © Sandra Danby unless otherwise stated]:-

Author jpeg

CN cover jpeg

PD James – photo Murdo Macleod for The Guardian

PD James on Sandra’s bookshelf

Original Sin by PD James – Sandra’s own copy

 

Guest Post by Sara Alexi

I would like to introduce you all to Sara Alexi.  Sara has written a very interesting guest post about the inspiration behind her new story.  I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.

 

The Village Idiots

My latest story, a trio of novellas set in Greece, as with all my books, is based on true events.

This one was catalysed by two cousins I know who inherited a yacht when their uncle died. One of the cousins lived in Greece and the other had moved abroad, despairing of the complication of running a business within the Greek system.

A storm came up and the yacht broke free of its moorings, and damaged the boat next door. The cousin who lived in Greece could not move the boat to a safer harbour as probate had not completed and so it was not his yet, but despite this fact the port police insist that he make the situation safe.

In short he could not comply with the law unless he broke the law. Eventually he gained permission to take it out of the water and keep it on the pier for some months. But probate is a process that takes time in any country and after a while the port police started getting impatient.

The probate reached its final stage and the cousin who lived abroad realised that once the boat was in his name he would be obliged to file a tax return in Greece, and he really didn’t want to get into the Greek system again, not for a half share in an old boat!

So he tried to revoke his right to the inheritance, but he had left it too late (there is a four month period in Greece, after which the inheritance passes to the heirs automatically), and so the legal process ground to a halt. The port police demanded that the boat be moved as it had overstayed its welcome, the lawyers refused to do any more until the two cousins found an agreement, and the insurance company refused to cover the vessel because it was not in a location they considered secure.

The cousin in Greece was tearing his hair out, but finally the cousin abroad agreed to let the process complete, on condition that his share would be transferred immediately that probate completed; he wanted nothing to do with the boat and the Greek system.

It worked out well for my friend in Greece, who eventually (more than a year later) inherited the whole boat and sold it for over €30,000, at which the second cousin demanded his half which of course he was no longer entitled to.

I have tried to simplify the tale to make it clearly understandable here. The whole business was a great deal more convoluted in reality. It was easy to see how these two men, both of whom were intelligent, became flummoxed by the Greek system.

I naturally wondered what would have happened if the men were not so smart and that was how the story began to crystallise.

The story, obviously, pivots around a boat but as I am more interested in people I steered the story in many directions to add interest, mostly for myself in the writing, but without losing the theme.

It was great fun to write. The two protagonists forever fall foul of the law and try to find sneaky ways to get around what they should be doing and eventually, and I think inevitably, they fall out with each other.

The book is light hearted but as is the way with the stories I write I do love a good character and I love a character to develop through the novel, so naturally there is a very human side to this tale.

I broke the story into three parts to ensure it remained light but mostly because I have some very dedicated fans who are insatiable readers and this was a way to provide them with a story a month for three months.

 

About Sara Alexi

Sara Alexi is one of the top 150 most successful, self-published authors of all time; a prolific writer, she has written 15 books (and counting) in just four years, with book sales reaching well over half a million copies.

Remarkably, Sara is dyslexic. At school English lessons were a time of confusion, she found that books were indecipherable hieroglyphics and she was unable to enjoy reading and writing; growing up in a time when dyslexia was not well understood and little or no support was available. And so her artistic nature was confined to painting, an art form that she loved and would take her travelling around the world.

Despite her dyslexia Sara qualified as a psychotherapist and ran her own practice in Yorkshire for many years. In a casual conversation with a client, she discovered that Agatha Christie, Jules Verne and Hans Christian Andersen were all dyslexic, and Sara’s perspective changed. The world of fiction opened to her with this shift in perception.

Sara now spends much of her time in a tiny rural village in the Peloponnese, in Greece, where she is (very slowly) renovating a ruined stone farmhouse, whilst observing the Greek way of life and absorbing the culture, enriching her vision for both writing and painting.

Sara’s ‘Greek Village Series’ is inspired by the people she has met travelling, her time spent in Greece alongside her career as a psychotherapist; her writing provides a keenly observed, compassionate insight into people, culture, and the human condition, and is set around a charming rural Greek village

Predating the current refugee crisis in Greece by some three years, Sara’s debut novel, The Illegal Gardener, focuses on the immigration problems in Greece, and the clash of cultures that accompanies those seeking a better life in the West.

 

Links

‘The Village Idiots: Part 1 – Inheritance’ is available to buy in paperback or as an eBook from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Village-Idiots-Part1-Inheritance-ebook/dp/B074JG11L3/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1503513777&sr=1-3&keywords=sara+alexi

‘The Village Idiots: Part 2 – Fool’s Gold’ is out as an eBoo on the 1st September 2017 and can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Village-Idiots-Part-Fools-Gold-ebook/dp/B074T2YDKQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1503513777&sr=1-1&keywords=sara+alexi

Sara Alexi’s Amazon Page – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sara-Alexi/e/B008M6D60K/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1503513777&sr=1-2-ent

Website – http://www.saraalexi.com

Twitter – @SaraAlexi

 

Guest Post by Gina Kirkham

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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

 

Urbane Publications Limited

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Matthew Smith is the Director of Urbane Publications Limited.  He kindly took the time to write an article for me about his publishing business and how it all started.

 

THE THIRD WAY

I’m a very lucky chap, as I’ve been fortunate enough to work in and around books for 25 years (hard to believe I know, given my youthful good looks). I started as a bookseller, when readers bought books, and digital was a watch. And I’ve worked for publishers big and small over the years, building experience and trying to find the ‘right’ way to create and publish great content. There has been such enormous change over the last few years, but the essentials remain the same – talented authors producing astonishing content that we all want to engage with. And despite an emphasis on ‘issues’ in the industry, there is a huge opportunity for innovative, entrepreneurial publishers to grow and thrive – I just didn’t feel I could pursue those opportunities working for another company. I decided to be bold (read stark raving crazy) and create Urbane. So I could publish the way I think content should be published.

The aim for Urbane Publications is always to drive, and be driven by, collaboration. Collaboration with authors to produce books and content worthy of their vision and blood, sweat and tears; and collaborating with readers to build an ever-growing community of word lovers who engage with books, authors and each other. So far so good – six months in and the publishing programme is building quickly, and the feedback from readers on published titles has been reassuringly positive (and in some cases wonderfully flattering). Even the odd 1 star negative review has made sense (although I obviously cried for days over each one).

Collaboration. That’s not a word said lightly. It isn’t just marketing fluff. And this isn’t about providing a production service either. I could use my experience to take advantage of the self-publishing boom, set up a system and charge eager authors a healthy fee to throw their unedited words together between some covers. But I think there’s a better way, a third way, that combines all the benefits of traditional publishing (an engaged editor, script development, knowledge, design, route to market, promotion etc) but gives the author creative and commercial engagement during every part of the process. Every aspect of the project is a shared experience with shared goals, a genuine partnership. And that includes the sharing of the revenue, because every author deserves a fair return on their words.

Many publishers have forgotten that authors should consistently be at the centre of the publishing experience, from initial discussion and on throughout the life of the book. Every single project is unique and every author plays a key role in not just delivering a manuscript but bringing it to life. For too long many in the publishing industry have been treating authors as a commodity, a deliverer of content, part of a process not the key driver of the publishing experience. This seems particularly daft when so many talented and smart authors can just self-publish. I want authors to be engaged from day one – because they know they can be. The aim is shared goals from the outset – what do we want, how can we make it happen, how do we realise success. It makes for a lively, engaged and ultimately fulfilling publishing experience where both parties want exactly the same thing – a great book that sells like hot cakes.

And how and why will the third way work? It has to be through persistency and belief. There is still a rather entrenched perception of authoring and publishing a book that simply getting it produced means it will be read, that readers will immediately rush to grab a copy. There are absolutely no guarantees anymore, not even for those publishing with the big corporates. That’s why the opportunities for an agile and responsive publishing approach are so exciting! Discoverability is vital to a book’s success and achieving it is really hard work! That’s why I already owe a huge debt of gratitude to the bloggers and reviewers who are spreading the word – the strongest and most powerful marketing is still word of mouth, personal recommendation, an individual endorsement – and authors are key in making that happen as the word always begins within their network.

So all you budding authors out there, we want you to consider publishing with Urbane and partnering with us for an enriching publishing experience. When it comes to a great book and a valuable piece of content your words will always be the vital ingredient – let Urbane help you take those words to the right audience in the most effective forms possible, with YOU as the key driver in the process. The Third way – you know it makes sense 🙂

 

For more information about Urbane visit http://urbanepublications.com

 

Interview with Karen Magill

Author

Karen Magill lives in an eclectic area of Vancouver in Canada.  She gets her inspiration from the history and stories around her.  Karen kindly took the time to answer a few questions for my blog.

 

Tell me about the type of books you write.

For my fiction works, I write paranormal. My latest series are paranormal mysteries set in Vancouver that combine historical fact with the fiction. To date, I have four published paranormal books – The Bond, A Paranormal Love Story, Let Us Play, A Rock ‘n Roll Love Story (Mystique Rising in Kindle), Missing Flowers and A Little Poison.

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I have one non-fiction and that book is entitled On The Right Side, My Story of Survival and Success. This one is the story of my journey, so far, with multiple sclerosis.

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Where do you get your ideas from?

Sometimes I can be influenced by a news article or a historical event and then I try to bring in characters and add something paranormal. Just to make it a little more interesting. For On The Right Side, I lived what happened.  When writing it, I consulted two diaries I kept when I was first diagnosed and the book grew from that.

 

What are you working on at the moment?

Besides promoting my books, I am also starting to plan the sequel to Missing Flowers and A Little Poison. That one should be out next year and will be entitled Eden Damned. As well, I am starting a career as a motivational speaker so I am working on speeches, learning PowerPoint and trying to find places I can speak at.

 

Have you got a favourite place where you do your writing?

I recently got a laptop and connected my desktop to my television. I like writing on the desktop now because I have such a big screen! When I write entries for my blog, the Vancouver Vagabond, (http://karen-magill.blogspot.ca) I love it because the photos are so large and clear now.

 

What advice do you have for anyone wishing to pen their first novel?

Just sit down and write and find the system that works best for you. Some people love to plan everything out while others just write. Get it edited again and again. Remember too that your first book may not be worthy of publication but it will be something good for you to do, to learn the discipline of completing a book.

 

Did you always want to be a writer?

I come from a family of writers and ever since I learned to put words together, I have written. I tried many things in the past but something always brought me back to writing. So I guess yes would be the answer.

 

Describe a day in your life. 

Usually I get up and check my email then maybe watch the morning news. I am on disability so I don’t go to a regular job. I spend my days working on promotion or writing or learning. Nothing really exciting.

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to walk and with my blog, I take photos of Vancouver and historical homes and places. I also enjoy curling up on the sofa and watching a good movie. Which is why I connected my desktop to my television. LOL

 

Karen Magill’s Amazon Page:-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Karen-Magill/e/B003DI10YG/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1407444311&sr=1-2-ent

Interview with Maggie James

 

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Maggie James is a British author who lives in Bristol, a city featured in her first three novels.  She writes psychological suspense novels.  Maggie kindly took the time to answer my questions.

 

Tell me a bit about your latest book.

I’m writing my fourth novel at present, which examines Stockholm Syndrome. For those who don’t know, victims become emotionally dependent on their abusers in this fascinating psychological condition. Stockholm Syndrome is best known for occurring in hostage situations, but it can also explain domestic abuse and other such circumstances. The novel is provisionally entitled ‘Training Room’ and focuses on an abduction of a young woman. My antagonist, Dominic Perdue, is not someone to mess with, although he’s far less of a tortured soul than Adam Campbell from my novel ‘Guilty Innocence’.

GuiltyInnocence_Blog

Where do you get your ideas from?

They can come from anywhere. Conversations I’ve had, news items, or even courses I’ve done – the basic premise for ‘Sister Psychopath’ arose from a writing workshop I took. Anything that gets me thinking about the psychology behind people’s actions will grab my attention. Although I don’t write crime fiction as such, crime tends to feature in my books because it often engenders strong emotions. Once I get an idea, I file it away on a list, ready for future use. Forthcoming themes? I’ve long had it in mind to write a novel centred on near-death experiences, given my own interest in the subject.

Do you have to do a lot of research?

For some areas, yes, for others, no. For example, so far all my novels are set in Bristol, my home city. That makes life easier because I know the area so well; I don’t have to do lots of research, leaving me free to concentrate on the plot and characters. For other research topics – yes. With ‘Guilty Innocence’, I spent ages investigating self-harm; for ‘Sister, Psychopath’ it was traumatic injury. ‘His Kidnapper’s Shoes’ meant I delved into eye colour and genetics.

How do you feel after each book has been published?

I experience an immense rush of satisfaction once it’s done, but getting there is hard! I tend to agonise over whether the book is ready, does it need another round of editing – procrastination, big time! Once the hard part is over, though, and I swing into marketing mode, I get a tremendous buzz.

When is your next book due out?

I’ll finish the first draft by mid-June, with publication scheduled for later on this year, probably August or September. For me, the editing part is always the longest, although I love it. However much fun I’m having, it still takes ages to get from the first draft to the final product, though. I won’t publish a book until I’m sure I’ve polished it as much as I can. I’ll also write my fifth novel, or the bulk of it, before the end of 2015. For that one, I’m doing something a little wacky, by offering readers the chance to become one of my characters. Details are on my website!

What advice do you have for anyone wishing to write their first book?

It’s rather like the well-worn analogy of eating an elephant – one bite at a time. To those who’ve not yet done it, the idea of writing a novel can seem overwhelming. A hundred thousand words, or even more? No way! It’s less hard than you imagine, though. Remember the elephant. Keep writing, day after day, and before long, you’ll have the first draft done. Fifteen hundred or so words a day is very achievable, meaning you’ll be finished in a little over two months for an average length offering. Also, plan your novel; make notes for the structure, plot, characters, everything. You’ll find it keeps the dreaded writer’s block at bay like nothing else! Finally, believe in yourself. You’ll always get doubters, negative Nellies who’ll tell you you’re chasing rainbows by wanting to write a book. Ignore them and do it anyway. Who are they to crush your dreams?

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I’m a confirmed travel-holic and although I’ve not been abroad for a while, I’m hatching plans as to how and when that will change. For me, nothing, apart from writing, holds the same appeal as travel. These two loves are my main passions in life, closely followed by animals and anything culinary. I’m one of those people who go all gooey over anything with four legs, and as for food, I can’t walk past a restaurant without checking the menu. Healthy living has been a priority for the last two decades; I do several yoga classes a week along with a couple of gym sessions. What else? Well, like most writers, I read voraciously, and my love of all things fictional extends to regular cinema visits. I also love driving, and have a couple of long road trips planned.

Which types of books do you like to read?

Most things really; it might be easier to list what I don’t read! I’m not into romances or chick lit, but apart from that, any other genre is fair game. Lately, I’ve been reading way too much crime fiction – the psychological component fascinates me – so I’m doing my best to rectify my addiction to Lee Child novels. To my shame, there’s a plethora of wonderful classics, both old and modern, which I’ve yet to enjoy, which is odd because at one time I read a lot of classic novels. I also devour a fair bit of non-fiction. I’ve found an interest in all matters spiritual has come to the fore recently – a surprise to my former atheistic self – so I’ve been checking out books in that area, with frequent side trips into philosophy.

 

Links

Website and blog: http://www.maggiejamesfiction.com

Facebook: http://en-gb.facebook.com/pages/Maggie-James-Fiction/191644207648375

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mjamesfiction

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/maggie-james/64/381/727

Google+ : https://plus.google.com/101511690389687930651

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/828751.Maggie_James

Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/maggiejamesfict/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Maggie-James/e/B00BS9LVMI

Authorgraph: https://www.authorgraph.com/authors/mjamesfiction

‘The Italian Chapel’ by Philip Paris + Competition

The Italian Chapel

I was kindly given ‘The Italian Chapel’ to read by Black and White Publishing.  Originally published in 2009, it was recently republished on the 6th March 2014.  Although fictional, this book is based on a true story.  Philip Paris has also written ‘Orkney’s Italian Chapel’, which is non-fiction.

In January 1942 over 500 Italian prisoners of war arrived on the Orkney island of Lamb Holm.  They were given the enormous task of building several causeways in order to protect the British Navy.  To the men it felt like a life without much hope.  They just wanted the war to end quickly so that they could go back to their families.

Then one day things started to change.  Padre Giacomo arrived bringing with him some much needed hope for the future of the men, but especially for Domenico Chiocchetti who was a talented artist.  Domenico had come up with the wonderful idea of building a chapel.  In order to fulfil his dream he needed to convince the British to allow him to build it and this is where Padre Giacomo was a great help to him.  No one knew the full extent of Domenico’s vision and they were left in awe at his creation.  The building of the chapel brought many of the men together as they all wanted to help.

I thought this book was absolutely amazing, a truly fascinating story which has been well researched by the author.  It is a part of history which everyone should know about.  I really felt for the prisoners of war.  Yes, they were treated very well in comparison to others but they were stuck there away from their loved ones, not knowing when or if they would ever see them again.

‘The Italian Chapel’ is a beautiful but heart-breaking love story and I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to everyone.  It will stay with me for a long time to come and I really hope to visit the Italian Chapel one day.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

Two very lucky people have the chance to win a copy of ‘The Italian Chapel’.   To enter just tell me why you want to read this book.

 

Terms and Conditions

This competition is open to UK residents only.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 8th June 2014.

Winners will be notified within 7 days and their details will be passed on to Black and White Publishing who will send out the prizes.

 

Good Luck! 🙂

Interview with Mariam Kobras

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Mariam Kobras is a three-time Independent Publisher Award winning author living in Hamburg, Germany.  Mariam kindly took the time to answer some questions for me.

 

What sort of books do you write?

I write contemporary fiction / modern romance / literary fiction. My novels are a mix of these, I’m afraid. They are love stories, but they aren’t what you’d expect from a “romance”: there’s rarely a happily-ever-after, no sex, no stereotypes. My stories are about people and their lives; how they manage to survive in a confusing world; how they chase their dreams and get them–or not–and what they learn from all that.

So…basically you could say that I write about ordinary people and pretty universal problems: love, loss, careers, dreams, nightmares, happiness, and death.

 

What are you currently working on?

Currently I’m working on Book Two in the Sunset Bay Series, which is a new project that I started after waving goodbye to the characters in my Stone Series (The Distant Shore, Under the Same Sun, Song of the Storm, Waiting for a Song, The Rosewood Guitar, The Sound of Falling Snow.)

The Sunset Bay books are set in a small town on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The heroine of these stories is a young woman called Liese Winter, who inherits a piece of land just outside of town. Unwittingly, she gets caught up in a feud between the townspeople and the owners of a nearby resort. Problems escalate when Liese finds out that the resort owners are a bit more than just her next-door neighbours.

The Sunset Bay series will lean a bit toward mystery. Those dark forests and the wild coast make such a great setting for that!

 

Have your always wanted to be a writer?

Difficult question! Yes–no–yes–no. But ultimately, yes. Obviously.

I wanted to be a writer when I was a teenager, but that’s not unusual. Don’t all girls want to write at that age? I think so. So–yes. I wanted to be a writer.

When I got older, went to university, got married, had my children, I didn’t even think about writing, or wanting to be a writer. There were too many other things going on in my life. You know what I’m talking about, right? The day-to-day life is too exhausting and all-consuming to even consider anything as involved and draining as writing.

But then, when my younger son turned fifteen, something miraculous happened.

The urge to write returned! It hadn’t gone away, it had only been dormant. and now, with time on my hands, with free time to spend any way I wanted, I began to write.

My first novel, The Distant Shore, spilled out of me as if someone had punctured a water-filled balloon. Writing was all I did. I got up at 5 AM—long before anyone else in the house—and wrote. After slapping together lunch for my guys, I wrote, often without eating myself. It was incredible. All those words, and they just poured out of me.

I think if my publisher, Buddhapuss Ink, hadn’t found me just after I’d crossed the 400,000 word line I’d still be writing that same novel.

But find me they did, and they made me whittle that monster of a novel down into something that could be published.

I love the validation and security of having a publisher. I love this particular publisher, because they’re just right for me. And I love writing for them.

 

Do you have any good advice for anyone wishing to pen their first novel?

Start, write, and finish. That’s all. Have the guts to begin, develop a writing routine that you can live with, and finish your project.

I think that’s actually the most important part: have the discipline to finish. Don’t start a new project before you’re done with the one you’re working on. I know this can be tough. But it’s really the only way to success. One finished novel will get you farther than ten half written manuscripts.

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Write.

No seriously, what’s spare time? Authors don’t have spare time. Either we’re busy writing, or we’re busy promoting, marketing, chatting with our publishers or writer friends, hanging out on twitter, Facebook, Goodreads…and if we’re not being an author doing all the things that come with the job, we’re playing around with new ideas, having lengthy discussions with our characters, taking in new settings, watching people…the world is our office!

 

Have any authors been an influence in your writing?

I don’t know. I honestly don’t know.

My reading is pretty eclectic. I love SciFi and fantasy for reading, but it’s not something I’d ever attempt to write. There are so many fantastic SciFi writers out there, with such wonderfully imaginative minds, I don’t think I’d ever be able to reach their level, let alone be better.

I really love China Mieville, Peter F. Hamilton, Lois McMaster Bujold…but I also love the works of Nagib Mahfuz, Marcel Proust, Sigrid Undset, John Galsworthy. And I’m a great fan of Vikram Seth and Margaret Atwood!

 

If you could be invisible for a day what would you do?

Oh…difficult!

I’ve just spent a good fifteen minutes debating this with my husband and sons but the things they came up with—18yo: sneak into the girls’locker room at school, hubby: be present at a confidential political meeting—don’t appeal to me. Honestly.

So to be quite candid, I can’t think of anything that I’d like to do, being invisible.

I’m quite happy with the way things are right now. I don’t need invisibility at all.

 

You have been told you are only allowed to keep three possessions. Which would you choose?

Possessions, as in material things, right? We’re not talking family or cat? Because I’d always want to keep those first.

Okay, so material possessions. Hmm…nearly everything material is replaceable. I love my MacBook Pro a lot, but this is my second one, which means I replaced the first, and so this one can be replaced, too.

Let’s imagine I have to fly to the US (I live in Germany) on really short notice. What would I take? What would I need to take?

My passport (obviously!)

My MacBook (because it has everything I need on it: my projects, my favorite movies, my music collection, and all seven seasons of Doctor Who.)

My noise-canceling Bose headphones.

Some money wouldn’t be bad, either. Can I have four things?

 

Below are some useful links:-

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Mariam-Kobras/e/B006ZNYT3A

Twitter: @Mariam_Kobras

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

Blog: http://mariamkobras.blogspot.com

Publisher: http://www.buddhapussink.com

 

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