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Interview with Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn

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Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn has just had her latest book, ‘The Broken Road’ published.  I asked Lindsay a few questions.


Congratulations on the publication of your new book.  Can you tell me a little bit about it please?

Book Cover

The novel is about the clash between personal ambition and family demands; between loyalty and betrayal; between the past and the present.

Ollie’s life is in crisis. Estranged from his father when he refuses to take over the family hotel, his artistic career is floundering, and his marriage is under strain. His wife, Jess, blames him, but is she as innocent as she appears?

Louise, Ollie’s sister, takes on the hotel in his absence, testing her emotional fragility to the limit. She knows her father considers her to be second best, and her husband is hostile to her new role.

As the action moves between London, Plymouth and Venice, the family implodes under the weight of past betrayals. Can Ollie heal the fault-lines before it’s too late? Above all, can he salvage his relationship with his young daughter, Flo, before tragedy strikes?


How long did it take you to write?

This novel took me nearly four years in total. After about eighteen months and 50,000 words, I realised I was stuck. The novel was too big and unwieldy. I went on a course called ‘Stuck in the Middle’, where someone said to me ‘You sound as if you’ve got two novels there.’ And she was right! It was like trying to fit two feet into one sock. I had to unpick the two stories and decide which one to go with first. It then took me another year to write the first draft, and a further nine months of rewriting before I got there.


Was any research involved?

The main character is an artist who is passionate about watercolours. Although I enjoy looking at art, I can’t paint at all. I read a lot about watercolours, studied some online videos about watercolour techniques, and went on a course called ‘Watercolours for Beginners’. I wasn’t totally ashamed of my efforts, although there were others in the class who produced much better work than I ever could.

The novel centres round a family-run hotel in Plymouth. I enjoy staying in hotels, but I certainly don’t know how one works, However, there is a lovely family-run hotel where I live, and the owners were very generous with their time and the information they gave me was extremely useful. I hope I’ve managed to create a realistic sense of the pressures involved in running a hotel.


Where do you get your ideas from?

I’m fascinated by people and how they react to things. Characters are usually the starting point for me. Then I put them in a difficult situation and see how they get on. I like to challenge characters, to strew their paths with problems. Conflict is an essential part of fiction, so there’s always plenty of that!


Can you relate to any of your characters?

Yes, I always feel a lot of empathy for my main characters, even if they do something I don’t agree with that. It’s a bit like a friend who you think is about to make a disastrous mistake. You don’t like what they’re doing, but that doesn’t mean you don’t like them.


Are more books planned?

I’m hoping to start the other half of my two-in-one-novel in 2016. But it’s an ambitious topic, and I need a rest first. I will probably spend some time on short stories and flash fiction, and build up my stamina in order to start the next novel.


Where do you do the majority of your writing?

I’m lucky enough to have a study at the top of my house. It’s a lovely room with big skylights. If the writing won’t work, I certainly can’t blame the lack of somewhere to write!


What advice have you got for someone wanting to write their first novel?

  • Have a strong sense of who your characters are. Find out what frightens them; what excites them; what keeps them awake at night.
  • Study other writers and learn the craft of writing.
  • Turn up at the desk every day. As Picasso said ‘Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.’


How long have you been teaching creative writing for?

For about fifteen years. I used to teach English full-time in a further education college. Because I was interested in writing, I was given some creative writing classes to teach. In 2005, I left full-time teaching to do an MA in creative writing at Bath Spa University, and since then I’ve combined writing with teaching creative writing part-time.


What do you like to do in your spare time?

When I’m writing a novel it feels as if I don’t have any spare time! But when I manage it, I enjoy walking, theatre (especially Shakespeare), visiting interesting places – one of my favourites is Venice – and, of course, reading.


Author Bio

‘The Broken Road’ is Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn’s third novel. ‘Unravelling’ was published on 2010, and came second on The Rubery Book Award in 2011. ‘The Piano Player’s Son’ was published by Cinnamon Press in 2013, after winning their novel writing award. Lindsay also writes short stories and flash fiction. She has an MA in creative writing from Bath Spa University, and combines writing with her work as a creative writing tutor.



Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn’s Website – www.lindsaystanberryflynn.co.uk

‘The Broken Road’ is available to buy in paperback and eBook from Amazon – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Broken-Road-Lindsay-Stanberry-Flynn/dp/0993418201/

Guest Post by Helen Carey

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Today I would like to introduce all of you to the lovely Helen Carey who talks about why her novels are set in the Second World War.


Why do you set your novels in the Second World War?

I have always been interested in the Second World War. My uncle died in it as a glider pilot in the Sicily landings and my father had often told me about his experiences including how he kept chickens at his army camp and sold the eggs to his fellow officers! I had also met a wonderful neighbour who had lived in the same house in London right through the war. I happened to mention this to my agent and soon afterwards I was commissioned to write three wartime books, which became the LAVENDER ROAD series.

It all happened really quickly and at first it seemed a daunting task, but after months of research I began to realise that the Second World War is an amazing period to write about. So much happened during those six traumatic years, especially in London. As well as the bombing and the fear of invasion, there was also a kind of breaking-down both of class, and of traditional male/female roles. People, who previously would never have met, were thrown together, often in unusual circumstances. The privations of war and the constant anxiety for friends and family put extra pressure on everyone, and people coped in different ways.

I quickly realised that all of this makes a fantastic background for a novel. I have always been interested in the way people often show unexpected strength in difficult circumstances. The war offered me so many avenues to explore, whether it be a wannabe actress fighting for the chance to get into ENSA, or a girl determined to reopen her parents pub after it was bombed, or a society debutante deciding to put her languages to good use by volunteering to join the SOE.

My research gave me a plethora of stories, some poignant, some tragic, some funny, and led me to meet so many wonderful people who had lived through those difficult and challenging years.

Sadly many of those people have now passed on. And it was their memories that I found the most interesting element of my research when I first started writing the Lavender Road books. Yes, historical records are great, but nothing compares with someone telling you at first hand what it was like to be caught in an underground station when a bomb severed the water main, or to crawl through the cellars of a collapsed building searching for a trapped child, or to take a tiny riverboat over to rescue stranded soldiers at Dunkirk, or to be parachuted into occupied France. And it’s not just the big events, it’s the small memories too, Americans soldiers sticking their chewing gum on the door of a hospital ward while they visited injured colleagues, a precious pound of sugar carried in a tin helmet, the terror of a war office telegram, the delight in a fresh egg.

Last year I interviewed a ninety year old doctor who, as a medical student in Oxford in 1941, had been shown the laboratory where a little team of scientists developed the first ever usable penicillin. He told me they were having to use bedpans to grow the cultures in, they simply didn’t have anything else available.

Later on in our chat, he casually let slip that when he was crossing the Atlantic in 1942, the ship he was on was torpedoed at night, and he spent several hours tossing about in the dark on a makeshift raft in his dressing gown and slippers, before eventually being rescued.

That is one of the odd things about the war, people who lived through it often look back as though it was all quite ordinary. But it wasn’t, it was extraordinary and it forced people to show extraordinary amounts of courage and resilience. That’s what makes it such a fascinating period to write about.


About Helen Carey

Novelist Helen Carey is best know for her World War Two novels Lavender Road, Some Sunny Day and On a Wing and a Prayer, which has recently been voted the winner of the e-Festival of Words Historical Fiction Award.

Helen’s two contemporary novels, Slick Deals and The Art of Loving, are also available as e-books.

As well as writing Helen likes to paint and works from a small studio in a converted goat shed on the small Pembrokeshire coastal farm where she lives, and which she and her husband run as a wildlife haven. She also teaches creative writing at Trinity Saint David and Aberystwyth Universities.

Helen has recently signed a fabulous deal with Headline Books. Her new novel, London Calling, the fourth in the Lavender Road series, will be published at the beginning of 2016.



Helen’s website: http://www.helencareybooks.co.uk

Helen’s blog: http://helencareybooks.wordpress.com

Or join her on Twitter: @helencareybooks

Or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/helencareybooks

Find Lavender Road on Amazon: http://viewBook.at/B0066DLQGM

Cover Reveal – ‘Tied Up With Love’ by Amelia Thorne


‘Tied Up With Love’ is Amelia Thorne’s new book and it is out on the 14th February 2015.  This is the cover and as you can see it is absolutely gorgeous.


Book Blurb

‘We’re from KMW. Do exactly as you’re told and you won’t get hurt…’

Being grabbed off the street, blind folded, tied up and thrown into a van was not what Izzy expected to happen when she stepped out the door that morning. But when an accidental kidnapping at the hands of the sexy Ethan Chase and his ‘Kidnap My Wife’ sexual fantasy business leads to just that, Izzy seizes the chance to turn her misfortune into a brilliant new job opportunity…

Since then, life has been one big tangle of new client meetings, fake kidnapping pick-ups, and handling the temperamental, but drop dead gorgeous ‘bad boy’ Mr Chase. But, as liberating as being tied up in Ethan’s life is, Izzy knows the time is fast approaching when she must make some decisions and take charge of her future. The only question is: will Ethan allow himself to be a part of it?


Here is the buy link:-


‘Stable Mates’ by Zara Stoneley


‘Stable Mates’ is Zara Stoneley’s latest novel.  It was published in eBook on the 4th September 2014.


Book Blurb

Secrets and scandals, love and lust – when the ‘Cheshire Set’ are up against the ‘Footballer’s Wives’ the only common ground is carnal…

Flirting and fun seem the perfect antidote for Lottie’s battered heart, and where better to find them than back in tranquil Tippermere, home of sexy eventer Rory Steel, the smiling Irish eyes of hunky farrier Mick O’Neal, and mysterious newcomer, model Tom Strachan?

But when landowner Marcus James drops dead unexpectedly, and the threat of his waggish wife Amanda selling the heart of the village out from under them looms large, things look like they’re about to heat up in and out of the saddle.

With tensions running high, and the champagne flowing as freely as the adrenalin, is it any wonder that love catches more than one of them unawares?


About Zara Stoneley


Bestselling author Zara Stoneley lives in deepest Cheshire surrounded by horses, dogs, cats and amazing countryside. When she’s not visiting wine bars, artisan markets or admiring the scenery in her sexy high heels or green wellies, she can be found in flip flops on the beach in Barcelona, or more likely sampling the tapas!

Zara writes hot romance and bonkbusters. Her latest novel, ‘Stable Mates’, is a fun romp through the Cheshire countryside and combines some of her greatest loves – horses, dogs, hot men and strong women (and not forgetting champagne and fast cars)!

She writes for Harper Collins and Accent Press.


Find out more about Zara:

Website     Twitter     Facebook     Google+


‘Stable Mates’ is available to purchase at the following sites:-

Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Kobo     Foyles     Waterstones

Sainsbury’s     Google Play     iTunes     Blackwells

Interview with John Bayliss


‘A Fistful of Seaweed’ is being published today.  John Bayliss kindly took the time to answer some questions for me.


Tell me a bit about your new book ‘A Fistful of Seaweed’.

My main character is a private detective called Springer, who operates in the sleepy (and slightly seedy) seaside town of Westerby-on-Sea. He knows he’s not the best detective in the world, and he’d much rather leave serious crimes (like murder) to the police. (In fact, the police would rather he left those sort of crimes to the police, too.) Unfortunately, his cases never seem to work out as smoothly as he would like, and he inevitably gets deeper and deeper into trouble.

In ‘A Fistful of Seaweed’ Springer has the task of searching for a missing teenage girl. At one point it appears that the girl he’s looking for doesn’t even exist – until he gets a visit from the missing girl’s big sister, who tries to persuade him to drop the case. From then on, things just spiral out of control – what with an encounter with an old adversary, a lost (possibly stolen) wallet, and a weird, space age religious cult. It’s not too long before Springer uncovers what seems to be a nasty case of people trafficking, and although he doesn’t want to get too involved, he feels obliged to do something about it. Oh, and then there’s the body of an unknown man found beneath Westerby’s historic pier, too.


Where did you get your ideas from for this novel?

Many years ago it occurred to me that most of the detectives in fiction tend to be very clever, if not hyper intelligent – think of Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot – or at least accomplished investigators.  I wondered: would it be possible to write a crime novel in which the detective wasn’t that clever? Not stupid, by any means, but just an ordinary sort of person who sometimes misses the obvious clues and gets side tracked by red herrings. Would a crime novel with such a hero work? There was only one way to find out: I had to write it for myself.

So that’s what I did, and not only did it seem to work, but it gave me the material for what could, potentially, become a series of six or seven novels. Also – as the Springer novels quickly started to take a more satirical turn – they give me the opportunity to poke a little gentle fun at some of the conventions of crime fiction, especially film noir and the ‘hard-boiled’ detective genre.


Did you have to do much research for it?

Not a great deal. I did some research into the kind of work that a real private detective does (most of it being very routine fact gathering and not particularly exciting, at least not from a novel writing point of view), and – as the novel is set into 1962 – I had to do some research to get the period details correct. For instance, I found out that a pint of beer cost around two shillings (10p in modern money).

Otherwise, ‘Westerby-on-Sea’ (the town where the novel is set) is largely a fictitious creation of my own, which means I basically make things up as I go along. The procedures followed by the Westerby-on-Sea constabulary would probably make a real policeman cringe with embarrassment – it’s a good job it’s not a real police force that I’m writing about.


How long did it take you to write ‘A Fistful of Seaweed’?

This is hard to answer, because I actually wrote the first version of ‘A Fistful of Seaweed’ some time ago, in around 2002, and that draft took around six months, I think. In that version, Springer was a serious detective in the Philip Marlowe mould – in fact, he wasn’t even called Springer in those days. I have been tinkering with the novel, on and off, ever since. The character of Springer slowly changed into what he is now, and the story evolved in some interesting ways, too. Preparing the final version took about six weeks, but by then I had several older drafts to work from, so most of the characters and the plot were already well defined. So perhaps the honest answer to your question is ‘Somewhere between six weeks and twelve years.’


Where do you do most of your writing?

Anywhere I can find a plug for my laptop. I do 99% of all my writing directly onto my laptop (if you saw my handwriting you would know why), so if there is a comfortable chair, electricity (it would be annoying to get a flat battery when inspiration is in full flow) and (preferably) a source of coffee, then I’m happy. I do like silence, however – some authors like to listen to music as they write, but I find even instrumental music a distraction.

I have a table and a chair in a nice shady nook in the garden, so, if the weather is fine, I plug in an extension lead and write there – that’s probably my favourite place to write, but the British climate tends to limit my opportunities to use it.


Would you like to see either of your novels made into a film?

Yes, I would. I wouldn’t even mind if the producers decided to relocate the film to somewhere exotic like California, or even make up an original story – just as long as the character Springer remains as I wrote him. Although I understand than an actor must be allowed to find his own way of playing the rôle, I would like the Springer on the screen to at least be recognisable as the character  I’ve written about.


Are you currently working on any other writing projects?

I am always working on other projects. I think I must have a short attention span, because to me the thought of working exclusively on one project right from start to finish, without some other project to distract me, would be utter purgatory. I can concentrate on one project for perhaps six weeks to two months until I have exhausted all my ideas; then I put that project to one side and work on something completely different for a while. When I do return to the original project, I can approach it with fresh eyes and fresh inspiration.

Just at the moment, in addition to three more Springer novels (one finished all but for a final polish, one in a rather chaotic first draft, and one in the form of a few rather sketchy ideas), I have a science-fiction novel partly complete and another novel started which I find hard to classify but will probably be considered fantasy. There are several other ideas rattling around in the back of my head, too, all desperate to get my attention and become my next big project. They are definitely going to have to wait a while, however, until I can get some of the current projects finished.


Did you always want to be a writer?

Ever since I can remember. I think I must have been around eight years old when I made my first attempt at writing a novel. I was writing Tolkien inspired fantasy epics throughout my teens and wrote my first ‘serious’ novel in my twenties – one that (at first) I thought would win literary awards and make me famous, but I quickly discovered that it was pretty awful and no one would want to read it.

I didn’t make a serious attempt to get published until comparatively recently. I have become my own harshest critic where writing is concerned and I thought that if I didn’t consider my writing good enough to be published, then I was pretty sure that a publisher wouldn’t, either.



John Bayliss was born in Staffordshire and spent most of his life in the English Midlands. He now lives in a seaside town in the West Country and still can’t get over how close he is to the beach. One of his earliest memories was writing a story in primary school, and he basically hasn’t stopped writing since. A veteran of many writers’ groups and creative writing courses, he’s tried his hand at historical fiction, science fiction and fantasy and now he’s having a stab at crime–though with a comic twist.

‘News from Westerby’ website: http://johnbaylissnovelist.wordpress.com/

Twitter: @johnbayliss5

Cover Reveal – ‘One Hundred Proposals’ by Holly Martin


This is the cover of Holly Martin’s new book, ‘One Hundred Proposals’.  It is being published on the 25th June 2014.


‘Is there really such a thing as a perfect proposal?

Over the next hundred days I intend to find out. I will find one hundred ways to propose to our Chief Proposer Suzie McKenzie and post the results here for your enjoyment. One thing’s for sure, not one of my proposals will be on top of the Eiffel Tower with a dozen red roses.’

Best friends Suzie and Harry are partners in romance. That is, they run the.PerfectProposal.com, coming to the aid of would-be grooms to create the ultimate marriage proposal.

But when Harry decides to catapult the business into the big leagues with a PR stunt all Suzie can see is a hundred days of heartbreak stretching ahead of her. But however exotic the location, or breath-takingly romantic the setting, Suzie has to keep remembering that ‘Marry Me?’ is the one question she can’t say yes to.

This business proposal should come with one hundred broken heart warnings…One hundred proposals, one hundred chances to say yes.


Watch this video to find out more about ‘One Hundred Proposals’:-


‘One Hundred Proposals’ is available for pre-order.  Just click on the link below:-


Interview with Neal Doran


Tell me a bit about your new book.


Not What They Were Expecting is just out, and it’s the story of Rebecca and James, a young couple who have just found out they’re having a baby. The excitement of that gets derailed, though, when Rebecca’s dad Howard gets himself involved in a gay sex scandal, and asks her to lie for him, then James’s parents get involved in a media campaign supporting Howard. And then James loses his job, and things get really difficult… So life throws a lot at this couple all at once, and they have to battle through everything life is throwing them with a sense of humour intact.

Where do you like to write?

At our kitchen table. I get up an hour or two before the rest of the house does so I can write in peace and before there are many things happening on social networks to distract me. Also, at that time of day nobody else can see if I’m stealing all the biscuits.

What book project are you working on next?

Details are still a bit vague, but I’m hoping to write something funny with a big cast of characters all at different stages of life trying to work out if life is working out quite how they planned it. That’s not much to go on is it? I have a working title, but can’t even mention that yet for fear of jinxing it…

Describe a day in your life.

Crumbs. OK, here’s an average day, even though I was tempted to make out that I was actually an international jet setter.

First there’s the early start for my writing, then I wake up my wife with a cup of tea (this certainly helps increase the support for my writing in the house…), then we get the kids ready for school. I work from home in the morning, writing about the telecoms industry as a day job, then I head out to get the boys from school, help with homework, sort out dinner, clear up while Jo gets the kids get ready for bed, then collapse with a glass of wine or a beer. Or a martini if it’s been a particularly tough day…Bed, repeat.

I can only apologise if that’s sent all your readers to sleep.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I wouldn’t say always, but probably from when I was a teenager. Getting up the nerve to say it was what I wanted to do, and to actually take the steps needed to do it, took a couple of decades more though. Those procrastination skills have stood me in good stead for the writing life.

It does seem crazy to me now that I couldn’t really admit to wanting to be a writer because I was scared I wouldn’t be good enough. I’m glad I finally realised the only way to find out was to really give it a go and try and do it, and also that I decided it didn’t matter if I wasn’t any good. So what if I wasn’t? Bad writing is not, as far as I know, a criminal offence…

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Aside from writing that’d involve sleeping, reading, and catching up on the ever-growing pile of box sets. If I get a lot of time, a game of poker doesn’t go amiss…

What are you currently reading?

The Shining by Stephen King. It’s fantastic, but freaking me out on a page by page basis and I can only read it in little bursts or I get too traumatised.

If you were only allowed to keep one book which would it be?

I don’t suppose I could get around this by keeping a Kindle with everything I love sneakily stored on it could I? Failing that an impossibly large collection of PG Wodehouse, that should keep me happy and busy for a long time….



Not What They Were Expecting is available at Amazon and other e-book retailers. Buy it here: http://amzn.to/PsHM8H

My first novel, Dan Taylor Is Giving Up On Women is also available here: http://amzn.to/1pbcbpl

I’m also on Twitter: @nealdoran, and sometimes on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/nealdoranwriter


I would like to thank Neal Doran for taking the time to answer my questions.


Competition – ‘Kings and Queens’ by Terry Tyler

K&Q9-master-reduced Terry Tyler published her new book ‘Kings and Queens’ last month.  You can read all about it here:-



5 very lucky people now have a chance to win an eBook copy of ‘Kings and Queens’.  To enter this competition please answer the following question by leaving a comment.  What would you do if you were Queen for a day?

Please note: You need to have a Kindle or a Kindle reading app.


Terms and Conditions

This competition is open worldwide.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 25th May 2014.

Winners will be notified within 7 days and their email addresses will be passed on to Terry Tyler.


Good luck! 🙂

Book Launch – ‘Kings and Queens’ by Terry Tyler


Terry Tyler’s brand new novel ‘Kings and Queens’ is out today and is available on Amazon.  Just click on the link below:- 


Terry Tyler’s seventh novel is a romantic drama spanning the years 1971 – 2007, with an unusual echo from history …

KINGS AND QUEENS tells of the life and loves of charismatic Harry Lanchester, which just happen to mirror the story of Henry VIII and his six wives. All the passion and suspense of the Tudor court, but set in modern times!

Harry’s realm is his south of England property developing company, Lanchester Estates, while his ‘wives’ are the twentieth century sisters of their historic counterparts: Anne Boleyn is reincarnated as the equally intriguing Annette Hever, and Henry VIII’s fifth wife with the risque past, Catherine Howard, lives again in 1999 as Keira Howard, a former lap dancer.

The saga is narrated by each of the six women, in turn, interspersed with short chapters from the point of view of Harry’s lifelong friend, Will Brandon.

Don’t worry if you know nothing of this period in history – Kings and Queens can be enjoyed just as a contemporary family drama, very much in the vein of Ms Tyler’s previous novels. Readers with an interest in the Tudors, though, will pick up on many similarities and references, some very subtle, and some amusing ~ a rock band called Traitors’ Gate, for instance! For those non-Tudor fanatics who would like a brief look at the life of Henry VIII before reading, the author has included, in the Kindle book, a link to a mini-biography on her blog.

A sequel, following the lives of Harry’s three children, is already planned.

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