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Archive for the tag “second novel”

Blog Tour – ‘Girlfriend, Interrupted’ by Patricia Caliskan ~ @SapereBooks @Caliskaniverse_

‘Girlfriend, Interrupted’ is being published as an eBook and in paperback on the 28th June 2018 by Sapere Books.  I am thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour and would like to thank the lovely Caoimhe O’Brien for inviting me to take part.  This sounds like such a fun book.

I have something very special for all of you today.  First off an extract and, wait for it, a chance to win 1 of 3 x copies of this book.  Before all that though here’s what ‘Girlfriend, Interrupted’ is about.

 

Book Blurb

Brown-eyed, brunette, 25.

Enjoys walking barefoot across shards of broken home. Likes loaded silences, resentment and insomnia. Dislikes romantic weekends, lie-ins and any chance of future happiness.

Former GSOH. Developing PTSD.

Ella Shawe was undomesticated, unattached and uninhibited.

Until she met Dan. Sexy, charming and funny, Dan ticked all the right boxes and Ella threw herself head-first into the whirlwind romance.

But now she’s moved into his family home, complete with two demanding children and a hyperactive dog.

Throw in Dan’s impossibly perfect ex-wife, Ella’s interfering sex therapist mother and the snooty and dismissive mother-in-law from Hell, and Ella is almost ready to throw in the towel.

But, ready or not, Ella is part of the family now, and getting it right for Dan’s kids means getting it right for everyone. She just needs to figure out how to include herself in the mix…

Girlfriend, Interrupted will have you laughing-out-loud, gasping in embarrassment and rooting for Ella all the way.

 

Extract

Chapter One: Capital Punishment

It hadn’t occurred to me that the love of my life would turn out to be somebody else’s dad. If I’d thought about it long enough I’d have realized, the best thing that happened to me ended up being the worst thing that happened to Dan’s kids. Well, at least since the divorce anyway. And, if it was any consolation to them, I got a second-hand romance. It wasn’t exactly the kind of thing you’d look out for in a dating profile:

 

Brown-eyed, brunette, 26.

Enjoys walking barefoot across shards of broken home.

Likes loaded silences, festering resentment and insomnia.

Dislikes romantic weekends, sexy lie-ins and any chance of future happiness.

Former GSOH. Developing PTSD.

 

But, as with all great love affairs, it hadn’t started out that way. Those two, very separate worlds had slowly collided. We never really talked about what that meant. I mean, how could a man love you if his children didn’t even like you? You’ve probably already guessed, but that was exactly the question I’d been trying to avoid lately as I made my way into the office Friday morning. Only a few hours ahead of being utterly useless around the children for yet another weekend. Although, I thought, glancing over at reception, it was a far better option than falling in love with somebody else’s husband…

‘I am going to leave her, Karen!’ Harry Collins, Head of Digital, was leaning over the reception desk. ‘I promise I will, but it’s not that easy. I’ve got three children to think —’ He flinched at my footsteps. ‘So, those er … those staples? We’ll need at least another two boxes up there…’

Suddenly scrutinizing her to-do list, Karen-From-Reception, all blow-dry and diamante earrings, rearranged her cardigan. Scribbling everything down with a professionalism bordering on the provocative.

‘And those A5 notebooks, please, like we said.’ He pretended he’d only just noticed me. ‘Not the A4.’ He raised a hand. ‘Ah, morning Ella!’

‘Morning, Karen. Harry…’

The three of us exchanged polite smiles as I carried on towards the stairs, avoiding the lift in case I ended up stuck in there with him.

Steen & Heard Communications was located on the second floor of a listed building on Hanover Street. Sunlight streaked through the blinds as I fixed my jacket onto my chair and opened my first email of the day:

 

URGENT!

FOR IMMEDIATE ACTION.

ACCOUNT DATA FOR PREVIOUS 12 MONTHS!!!

 

This was a typical greeting from Heather Constantine, Public Relations Manager extraordinaire. I’d found the best way to deal with her emails was to pretend they were computer-generated by a machine too primitive to know any better. Although, the ‘Read Receipt’ she included on every message was particularly annoying. Especially when she sat close enough to accept my offer of a Smint without leaving her seat.

I glanced over at her, peering behind her bifocals. Her short, sharp, red hair, hinting at her short, sharp disposition. She scrutinised her screen, searching out juicy worms of commission fit for the taking. First thing in the morning, her lack of hello, eye contact, please or thank you, had the same effect as having a jug of iced water poured over your head. In fact, I’d have chosen the ice bucket challenge every time.

Heather Constantine was the reason I dreamt about being sacked the way other people dreamt about winning the lottery.

Initially, I had worked for James Steen (who was really posh and semi-retired, which is what really posh people aged around sixty seemed to do), and his partner, Audrey Heard, as a copywriter. I was initially hired to write press releases, manage website copy, oversee editorial pieces for our clients, that kind of thing. But within weeks, Heather made me into her unofficial personal assistant and psychological punch bag. Nowadays, I took care of her admin, weekly diary and, on one occasion, a furious outbreak of cystitis, rather than becoming some kind of capable business protégé to her wise mentor-figure, the way Audrey seemed to think it worked.

‘Morning, Ella!’

Leah, Office Support, walked in behind Harry. Her neon-painted grin brightened the shadow of Heather, looming permanently over the rest of our day.

‘Morning, Heather…’

The typing continued.

Leah hung up her coat and straightened her skirt.

‘Would you like a cup of tea, Heather?’

Heather glanced at her watch.

‘Ten minutes ago. I trust you’ll be deducting the time from your lunch hour?’

I gave Leah a sympathetic look. Heather classed five-past-nine as unforgivably late. The only time she’d left the office for anything other than a meeting was when she gave birth to her son.

‘Would you like a coffee, Ella?’

‘I’d love one, please.’ I was deliberately perky. I hoped Heather might pick up on more pleasant ways to interact with other human beings. ‘Thanks for asking. Hey, Leah — we made it! No matter what happens, they’ll never take Friday away from us…’

‘Make sure you use my almond milk.’ Heather’s fingernails clawed at high-speed across her keyboard.

Almond milk? I’d never heard of it. I wondered if they made it especially for people like Heather, who must have problems with turning the regular stuff sour.

‘Will do.’ Leah smiled, not wasting another minute. She paused briefly at Harry’s desk to take his order as he fired up multiple screens on the digital bank.

Harry headed up a team of three almost identical lads. They all wore beards, checked shirts and sprayed-on jeans. As far as I knew none of them had any interest in harvesting trees, but you’d’ve sworn they’d just trekked back from an Alaskan Lumberjack convention. Either that or been knitted as a matching set by someone’s well-meaning grandma. I’d tried striking up conversation with them in the past, but they only communicated in instant messages. And, while the rest of us lived on the stuff, none of them drank tea or coffee, even though it was the lingua franca of our offices. Maybe there’d been some sort of technological advancement, I thought. Apple had launched the iRefreshment while the rest of us still stood around, boiling the kettle.

‘Is almond milk good for you?’

Heather caught my eye, standing to unlock her filing cabinet.

‘Well, obviously.’ She inhaled a laugh, combing through an assortment of colour-coded files. ‘I wouldn’t be drinking it if it were bad for me, now would I?’

I wasn’t sure if she was trying to make a joke or not.

I’d never learned to speak fluent Dictator.

‘It’s vegan friendly. Cholesterol and lactose-free. Those things are bad for you,’ she explained as if talking to a three-year-old. ‘So, yes. It is.’

She shut the metal drawer with a thunk!

Heather was vegan? I was surprised. You’d have imagined most vegans being quite nice to the people they worked with, considering they were so kind to animals.

‘Good morning!’

All heads turned as Audrey Steen, lady boss and agency owner, walked in, looking chic as ever. All curled lashes and nude lip gloss. Wearing my favourite outfit of hers, the grey trilby and pastel pink trench combo.

Audrey was utterly fabulous. One of those gorgeous, older ladies who crystal and diamonds cried out for, rustling up timeless glamour every morning.

‘How’s everything going, Heather?’ She cast a brief smile of hello my way. ‘Apollo doing well?’

If we hadn’t already worked out Heather had a messiah complex, she’d humbly named her first-born after a Greek god.

‘He’s doing brilliantly.’

‘Good to hear it. Did I tell you Peter’s wife’s expecting in the next few weeks?’

‘You must be thrilled.’ Heather still managed to look glacial despite the baby talk.

I’d tried mentioning Dan’s kids, Grace and Ethan, to Heather once. She’d looked at me as if I’d been clipping my toenails at my desk. I’d decided to drop the topic indefinitely.

‘We are. We are.’ Audrey smiled. ‘Listen, we really must have that catch-up. I’ve been meaning to put some time aside, see where we’re up to.’

‘Everything’s back on track.’ Heather squinted at Audrey with what I think was meant to be a smile, unless the sun was in her eyes. ‘I’d like to schedule in a meeting with you today if that’s convenient, Audrey? Four o’clock?’

‘Right-o!’ Audrey said. ‘Well, nothing pressing springs to mind…’

‘Ella?’ Heather rearranged her desk. ‘Could you update my diary?’

‘Of course, Heather.’ I wished I could schedule her in for a routine personality transplant while I was at it.

‘And, by the way.’ Audrey took off her hat, running her fingers through her perfect hair. ‘It’s great to have you back, Heather. Oh.’ She glanced at Leah’s desk then looked my way. ‘Have I missed the first brew of the morning?’

‘Coffee?’

‘Please. Do you mind? I’m always in need of a complete transfusion by the end of the week.’

I noticed a faint sneer from Heather as I walked past her desk, possibly because I wasn’t taking IMMEDIATE ACTION on compiling her account data. Instead, I made my way into the staff kitchen and found Leah standing against the counter, mobile in hand.

‘What’s the matter?’

‘I’m fine.’ She put her phone inside her pocket and took a teaspoon from the drawer. Then stopped, eyes flooding. ‘I split up with my boyfriend.’

‘Oh. That’s not good.’

‘But then we got back together.’

‘And that’s bad?’

‘He’s just messaged saying he thinks we should leave it tonight. And.’ She checked her reflection in the mirror. ‘I just can’t handle Heather today. Urgh.’ She wiped inkblots of mascara from the corners of her eyes. ‘I missed the early train, doing my makeup. Now it’s ruined and I’m not even seeing him…’

‘Here.’ I grabbed another cup for Audrey. ‘You go and get yourself fixed up. I’ll finish the drinks.’

‘You sure?’

The kettle clicked to a halt as I busied myself at the counter.

‘Thanks, Ella. Oh.’ She paused on her way to the door. ‘Make sure you use her special milk, whatever you do. Heather’s almond milk’s in there. Bottom shelf. She’s labelled it.’

Of course she has, I thought. Even though everyone else in the office shared the same two-litre carton, it obviously wasn’t good enough for the Constantine constitution. Almond milk. I stared at the weird, peachy liquid. It didn’t look all that bad, but it definitely smelled a bit funny. Sod it. If Heather was going to stress us all out, the least she could do was lower our Cholesterol. I gave us all a free sample.

Back at my desk I found another email lying in wait to sabotage my happiness:

 

URGENT: FOR IMMEDIATE ACTION.

Re: SUBJECT HEADING.

Re: Previous email: Account data for previous 12 months!!!

 

I couldn’t help but look over again.

Not a flicker.

Working with Heather was like catching a virus. You started slightly off-colour and ended up wanting to crawl under the covers, slayed by a highly contagious case of her utter misery. I found the files on the system and opened a new document. It was so bad that the thought of meeting mum for lunch formed an emergency raft in my mind that saw me safely through to half-past twelve.

 

Competition

I really hope you enjoyed the extract.  Now for the competition.

Sapere Books are kindly giving away 1 of 3 x eBook copies of ‘Girlfriend, Interrupted’.  To enter just leave a comment telling me what you thought of the extract and why you want to read this book.

 

Terms and Conditions

This competition is open worldwide.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 3rd July 2018.

The winners will be chosen at random within 7 days of the closing date and their details will be passed on to Caoimhe O’Brien of Sapere Books.

 

About Patricia Caliskan

Following a childhood spent writing her first books, most notably, Our Book about Jesus – a self-help guide for fellow young Catholics, and, The Sleepover – a compelling tale of a midnight feast, shockingly intercepted by fictitious parents with badly drawn hands, Patricia Caliskan always liked to play with words.

Patricia first saw her name misspelt in print aged 17, interviewing hungover rock stars and illegible actors for an Arts and Entertainment magazine. After graduating from the University of Liverpool, Patricia joined Trinity Mirror Newsgroup, working as editor across a portfolio of lifestyle magazine titles.

Patricia likes a good pair of boots, wearing perfume with her pyjamas, and laughter. Lots of laughter. Because without it life feels far too grown up for her liking. Told with mischievous humour, Patricia’s stories explore family dynamics, office politics, and the divergent roles of women throughout their lives.

Girlfriend, Interrupted is Patricia’s second novel: her first, Awful by Comparison, will be reissued by Sapere Books this summer.

 

Links

The eBook of ‘Girlfriend, Interrupted’ can be pre-ordered from:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07BZVC2YF?tag=geolinker-21

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Girlfriend-Interrupted-twenty-something-mother-two-ebook/dp/B07BZVC2YF/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1530001026&sr=1-1-spons&keywords=girlfriend%2C+interrupted&psc=1

 

Patricia Caliskan can be contacted via:-

Website – https://patriciacaliskanauthor.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Caliskaniverse_

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

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15574926.Patricia_Caliskan

 

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‘No Way Back’ by Kelly Florentia

‘No Way Back’ is Kelly Florentia’s second novel. It was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 21st September 2017 by Urbane Publications. I would like to say thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy to review.

Audrey Fox was due to get married, until that is her fiancé, Nick Byrne dumped her. Totally heartbroken and confused she jumps on a plane to join her parents in Cyprus so she can convalesce. But a chance meeting with handsome entrepreneur Daniel Taylor weaves her into a dating game she’s not sure she’s even ready for.

Audrey’s life is thrown into further turmoil when she finds out that Nick has been involved in a serious motorcycle accident. Should she go and visit him in hospital or not?

Though distraught, Audrey is determined to look to the future. She has to decide what to do, follow her heart or listen to the well-meaning advice from her family and friends. Because sometimes, no matter what, it’s the people that we love who can hurt us the most.

I loved, loved, loved this book. I really liked Kelly Florentia’s style of writing and from the very first page I just knew I was going to enjoy it. There were so many shocks and surprises throughout the story and I really didn’t know what to expect next. Just when I thought things had settled down a bit for Audrey, something else happened. Great cover too!

There were some interesting characters in this book. I warmed to Audrey from the start. She came across as a very caring and loving person despite what she was going through. Life became rather complicated for Audrey and she had some big decisions to make regarding her love life. At one point it felt like practically everyone was keeping secrets from her. I really liked Audrey’s parents too and her brother was just lovely.

The ending left me dying to know what is going to happen next and as a reader I really can’t wait for the sequel to come out. Will the shoes tempt Audrey? Kelly Florentia’s writing is magical and I could kick myself for not having read her first novel and her collection of short stories yet. This author is going to go very far indeed.

‘No Way Back’ is definitely one of my favourite books of the year.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

‘No Way Back’ is available to buy from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/No-Way-Back-must-read-intelligent-ebook/dp/B0745DM4GR/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1510411765&sr=1-1&keywords=no+way+back+by+kelly+florentia

Blog Tour – ‘No Way Back’ by Kelly Florentia

‘No Way Back’ was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 21st September 2017 by Urbane Publications.  I am currently reading this book and am enjoying it immensely.  For those of you who are planning to read ‘No Way Back’ I can tell you now that you are in for a real treat.

I am thrilled to be taking part in this wonderful blog tour for which Kelly Florentia has written a really interesting guest post.  First though here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

When two eligible and attractive men are vying for your heart, it should be the perfect dilemma…

Audrey Fox has been dumped by her unreliable fiancé Nick Byrne just days before the wedding. Heartbroken and confused, the last thing she expects when she jumps on a plane to convalesce in Cyprus is romance. But a chance meeting with handsome entrepreneur and father-of-one Daniel Taylor weaves her into a dating game she’s not sure she’s ready for. Audrey’s life is thrown into further turmoil when she discovers on her return to London that Nick has been involved in a serious motorcycle accident that’s left him in intensive care. Distraught yet determined to look to the future, Audrey must make a decision – follow her heart or listen to well-meaning advice from family and friends? Because sometimes, no matter what, it’s the people that we love who can hurt us the most…

 

Guest Post

Creating Characters

On the bus the other day, a pregnant lady sat opposite me with her little girl – about four-years-old, blonde hair tumbling over her narrow shoulders, blues eyes, incredibly cute. Her legs dangled over the seat, feet almost touching my legs.

“We used to go to that park,” she announced suddenly, pointing out of the window. “The one with the brown gate.”

“Yes,” Mum replied, smiling, “Highgate Woods, and we’ll go there again when the weather warms up.”

“Yes,” said the girl, “Highgate Woods.”

She gazed out of the window for a few moments, swinging her little legs over the seat, then took a sip of water, ate a few gummy bears that her mum handed. It wasn’t long before her pink canvas shoes collided with my knees. She looked at me, eyes wide, clinging to her mother. “I kicked that lady with my feet,” she said warily. Mum looked at me, apologised, and I smiled warmly, said it was okay.

“The lady knows. It’s okay,” she told her.

The little girl studied me for a while, chewing on a gummy bear, then said, “Mummy, I think you’ve got bigger feet than the lady.”

Of course, I glanced down at mum’s feet, I think we all did, and yes, mum’s feet were considerably larger than mine. But I’m not sure she wanted to share this information with the entire bus.

“Yes,” Mum said dryly, “I think I have.”

And I smiled again because in that instant I recognised that little girl. She’s Lily from my second novel No Way Back. I took snapshots of her with my eyes and brought her to the forefront of my mind whenever I wrote a scene about her. And that’s how I create some of my secondary characters.

 

About Kelly Florentia

Kelly Florentia was born and bred in north London, where she continues to live with her husband Joe. No Way Back, released 21st September, is her second novel.

Kelly has always enjoyed writing and was a bit of a poet when she was younger. Before penning her debut The Magic Touch (2016), she wrote short stories for women’s magazines. To Tell a Tale or Two… is a collection of her short tales.

Kelly has a keen interest in health and fitness and has written many articles on this subject. Smooth Operator (published in January 2017) is a collection of twenty of her favourite smoothie recipes.

As well as writing, Kelly enjoys reading, running, yoga, drinking coffee, and scoffing cakes. She is currently working on the sequel to NO WAY BACK.

 

Links

‘No Way Back’ is available to buy from Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/2xGjZMe

Website – http://www.kellyflorentia.com

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

Twitter – @kellyflorentia

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/kellyflorentia/

‘No Way Back’ Spotify Playlist – https://open.spotify.com/user/11135145039/playlist/0IbxzB3L6ZPdbrFiUY5fAI

 

Guest Post by Rose Edmunds

Book Cover

Rose Edmunds released her latest novel earlier this year.  She has very kindly written a guest post for my blog about how her background as a child of a hoarder led her to write ‘Concealment’.

~~~~~

My mother is a hoarder.

You’ve seen the TV shows, or read magazine articles. So you all know what that means, or at least you think you do.

That’s a good start.

In the beginning there were no words. As far as I can ascertain, the first major research paper on compulsive hoarding was published in 1987 and it was not until 1996 that the term was fully defined.

As a child of the 1970s, this work lay in the distant future. All I knew was that after my father’s sudden death, our home descended into squalor and filth. And not only were there no words, there was no internet or support groups – only secrecy and shame. I thought we were the only family in the world to live this way and felt sure the mess was my fault – that was what my mother told me after all. Any attempts to clear up were fruitless – my good works were quickly undone. In any case, there’s a limit to what you can achieve if you’re not allowed to throw anything away. It seemed like my whole teenage years were spent making excuses why friends couldn’t come over, and hiding the Big Secret from the rest of the world.

I left home as soon as I could and spent the next twenty odd years frenziedly trying to prove how little my upbringing had affected me. I was the classic workaholic overachiever – a paragon of corporate virtue.

But what you try to suppress has a habit of catching up with you…

The turning point came when my mother fell, broke her hip and her unconventional lifestyle was rather dramatically outed. Predictably, I sprang into action, hired a firm to clear the house and ‘persuaded’ her to move into a retirement apartment with a weekly cleaner. I marvelled at the progress I’d made – it had been so easy to accomplish all this with my mother out of the way and unable to obstruct me. Finally, all sorted!

Except it wasn’t. Her apartment was gradually filling up and I sank into depression. For the first time, I began to confront not only how much my mother’s mental illness had impacted all areas of my life, but also the damage I was doing to myself by pursuing a high-flying career in finance for which I was not entirely suited.

I joined a support group for Children of Hoarders and against all the conventional wisdom, I quit my job to write thrillers set in the business world. My first novel Never Say Sorry was about a BigPharma conspiracy to suppress a cancer cure, and I completed it in little over a year. But I knew there was another book that only I could write, and now I was ready to embark on this more ambitious project…

The more I thought about it, the more I realised that the damage done by my dysfunctional childhood had cut deeper than I’d ever imagined. I had no wish to write a ‘misery memoir’ but began to ponder on what might happen if an outwardly successful child of a hoarder was pitched into a thriller plot, with murder, fraud, and a toxic boss. How would her insecurities hold her back – would her childhood adversity give her extra strength? Out of this germ of an idea my second novel CONCEALMENT was born.

On one level, it’s a corporate thriller, but Amy’s insecurities and the fear of her secret being exposed drive many of her actions and hasten her descent into psychological hell. Although the book is almost entirely fictional, it was extremely painful to lay bare Amy’s emotions, so much so that at one stage I put it aside for six months and began working on a new project. But I found myself inexorably drawn back to Amy and her dilemma. She is a strong character and she kept willing me to bring her adventure to a conclusion!

At this stage, I made some major structural changes, including introducing Amy’s fourteen year-old self as an additional character. Little Amy appears as a hallucination to grown-up Amy and gives the reader further insight into the damage that growing up in a hoarded environment has wreaked on her.

By the way, for those of you who think that growing up in a ‘messy house’ isn’t ‘a big deal’ – believe me, it is. Here is a picture (apologies for non-digital quality) of my mother’s living room taken in 2004. Do you think it’s reasonable for a child to grow up in that?

 

Picture 2

And for comparison purposes, here’s the same room after the intervention.

Picture 1

 

While I cannot blame my mother for an illness which she clearly could not control, I can hold her accountable for not seeking help. On the other hand, this was Britain in the 1970s, and there was little awareness of mental health issues… Perhaps it’s best to simply accept what happened, acknowledge how much it affected me, and to move forward on a neutral basis. In any case, my mother is now suffering from dementia and resides in the ‘Dunhoardin’ care home, where (in a final irony) newspapers are removed from the room daily. She has been the loser in all this, not me. Mental illness has wrecked her life.

It took me three years to write CONCEALMENT, but I don’t regret the time spent. This was the book that I was destined to write, the book that represents the coalescence of my professional, personal and secret lives. I am working on a sequel, which will be more of the thrills and less of the hoarding, and hence should be out about a year from now.

In the meantime, you can check out CONCEALMENT at http://ViewBook.at/Concealment

and find out more about me at my Amazon Author Page or

Website: www.roseedmunds.co.uk

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RoseEdmunds

Facebook: www.facebook.com/roseedmundsauthor

 

 

About Rose Edmunds

Author Picture

Rose Edmunds lives in Brighton with her husband David. She gained a degree in mathematics at the University of Sussex and a PhD from Cardiff University, before qualifying as a chartered accountant and embarking on a successful career advising entrepreneurial businesses together with their owners. She worked for Arthur Andersen and Grant Thornton, before being headhunted to join Deloitte as a partner.

In 2007, after more than 20 years in the business she jumped off the corporate hamster wheel and now writes financial thrillers with a strong ethical theme. Her writing draws heavily on her considerable insight into the business world and in particular the uncomfortable conflict between individual and corporate objectives. Concealment is Rose’s second novel. Her debut thriller, Never Say Sorry, about a Big Pharma cancer cure conspiracy,was published in 2012.

Rose is also a trustee of Brightside, a charity helping young people to access career and education opportunities they might not have believed were available to them.

 

Interview with Katie Stephens

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The lovely Katie Stephens expressed an interest in being interviewed for my blog.  I thought her novel, ‘Catching Lightning’ sounded really good and wanted to know more about it.

 

Your new book ‘Catching Lightning’ sounds really interesting.  Can you tell me a bit about it please? 

Catching Lightning follows the story of Mel who has spent the past 14 years resenting her parents for abandoning her at a boarding school in England while they went back to Kenya, a country she hates, to run an orphanage and school for their charity.  A tragic accident forces her to return to Kenya for her parents’ funeral but meeting the gorgeous, English educated Sam was not part of the plan.   Finding her mother’s diaries reveals a lot of unanswered questions and the discovery of a detailed itinerary of a trip round Kenya that her parents dreamed of making with her makes Mel realise that maybe she had things wrong.  But will taking the trip make her fall in love with the man, the country, neither or both?

 

Where did you get the idea for this book from? 

I wanted to look at what would happen if you fell in love with a man who lived in a country you hated and whether love could win over hate.  I also wanted to show how secrets used to protect someone can ultimately create more problems than they solve.

 

Have you ever visited Kenya? 

Yes I was very lucky to go to Kenya in 2001.  I had the most amazing holiday there and completely fell in love with the country.  I feel very honoured to have been able to relive that holiday through writing this book.  Kenya is a beautiful country that will always hold a very special place in my heart – especially as it is where my husband proposed to me!

 

Can you relate to any of your characters? 

I think a lot of us have been in the situation where we have fallen in love with someone but know that the time and place seem so wrong.  Mel really believes that her feelings for Sam are wrong but thankfully love does find a way of making things right!

 

Are there any more books in the pipeline? 

Yes I am writing book three at the moment and it is very different from my first two as it is actually based in England.  I am enjoying writing it but am missing the chance to escape to Italy or Kenya in the way I did with my first two!

 

Describe a day in your life. 

A typical day in my life involves getting up early to get some exercising done before the family wake up.  It is then a case of getting children to the right place, at the right time, and if it’s a work day, me to the office.  If I’m not working them once the girls are at school, and I have any errands that need doing finished, I am at my computer, with my chocolate and get as much writing done as possible before it is back to the school run and afterschool activities.

 

Have any authors influenced your writing and if so who?

I’m not sure whether any authors have actually influenced my writing but I would certainly say that Carole Matthews, Lisa Jewell and Adele Parks have inspired me to put my writing out there and let people read it.

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

As a working and writing mum spare time is limited but my Kindle goes everywhere with me so while I am parked up waiting for school or activities to finish I get some reading done.  I also love the cinema so will often sneak off during the day to watch a film.

 

About Katie Stephens

Katie Stephens

Katie Stephens works in PR and lives in Surrey with her husband Will and two young daughters.

In 2008 Katie signed herself up for a creative writing course and absolutely loved it.  She then found herself spending all her spare time (not much with 2 young children) at the computer.  Her first novel Candles on the Sand, set on the Amalfi Coast, was published in 2011 went on to become an Amazon bestseller.

 

Links

Website – http://www.katiestephens.co.uk

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Katie-Stephens-Author/222608691088931

Twitter – @KatieStephensGB – https://twitter.com/KatieStephensGB

 

‘Catching Lightning’ is available to buy on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Catching-Lightning-Katie-Stephens-ebook/dp/B00SBG7LC0/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1421491327&sr=1-1&keywords=catching+lightning

‘The Mill River Redemption’ by Darcie Chan

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Today is the first day of this blog tour in which we are celebrating Darcie Chan’s second novel, ‘The Mill River Redemption’ which is being published tomorrow by Sphere.

 

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I was asked if I would like to review ‘The Mill River Redemption’.  I had never heard of Darcie Chan until then but the book sounded both interesting and intriguing so I decided to give it a go especially as it is recommended for fans of Maeve Binchy whose books I absolutely love.

Josie DiSanti had no idea about what was about to happen and she certainly didn’t expect to lose her husband.  With no way to support herself and her two young children, Josie has little choice but to go and live in the small town of Mill River with her Aunt Ivy.  Rose and Emily, Josie’s daughters, are totally inseparable and look out for each other whilst they are growing up.  But then something tragic and unforgiveable happens which tears the two sisters apart and they go their own separate ways.

Many years later, Rose and Emily are contacted with news that their mother has died and they find themselves back in Mill River for the reading of her will.  Josie tried her best to get her daughters talking again but was unsuccessful in her attempts.  Still determined she has left them a task in which she hopes they will work together and reconcile their differences.  In order to comply with her wishes Rose and Emily must move to Mill River and live in neighbouring houses.  The two sisters reluctantly get on with the task at hand.  But will they succeed in completing it and will it bring them together?

I really liked the cover.  The colours go well together and it is such a lovely peaceful image.  I wouldn’t of minded living in one of those houses.  Set in 2013, this novel goes back and forth from 1983 onwards so that the reader gets to learn the whole story.  The chapters which are based in the past are clearly marked.

Out of the two sisters, Emily was my favourite.  I found it hard to warm to Rose even though she had issues and needed help desperately.  I absolutely loved Aunt Ivy and reading about her bookstore.  I could have spent hours in there!  I wasn’t sure what I thought about the twist towards the end of the story.  It was a bit of a shocker and rather drastic.

This story is about family, love, forgiveness and facing up to your problems.

Having enjoyed ‘The Mill River Redemption’, I do hope to get round to reading ‘The Mill River Recluse’ at some point soon as it is about one of the earlier character’s mentioned in this story.

I give this book 4 out of 5.

 

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Darcie Chan is the New York Times bestselling author of The Mill River Recluse. Her second novel, The Mill River Redemption, is also set in the fictional town of Mill River. Darcie has been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal. She writes fiction full-time and lives just north of New York City with her husband and son.

Follow her on twitter @DarcieChan

 

‘The Mill River Redemption’ by Darcie Chan (Sphere) is available as an eBook from tomorrow.

Interview with Linda Bolton

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Linda Bolton writes contemporary romance.  She has just recently published her second book and I was interested in learning more about it.

 

What genre of book do you write?

Contemporary Romance mostly. I am dabbling in memoirs, a true life murder story, and some erotica.

Can you tell me a bit about your second book which was released on the 25th June.

In my first book, TAKE 2, you meet a character called Tristen Bane. My second book, Incantation, is Tristen’s story. He’s a magician in Las Vegas and he meets Christina, a reporter, that steals his heart. She’s worried her attraction to him is only a hypnotic spell and she fights him every step of the way.

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How long did it take you to write?

It took about 11 months to complete. I don’t write full time so sometimes its hard to pin down a moment to write.

Where did you get your ideas from?

All around me. Since my stories are contemporary, everyone becomes an idea. Movie stars, entertainers, artists, my friends and co-workers…..everyone has a story.

Did you have to do much research?

Tristen Bane is framed for a famous magician so I spent hours watching dvd’s of him performing, learning his personality. I, also, research the locations quite a bit. Usually, I’ve been to a few locations in my books but I don’t want the reader to be able to tell which ones are all research and which I have actually been to. The research, to me, is the best part!

Can we expect more books from you?

Oh, yes. You meet an artist in Incantation, Ethan Hawk – he’s my third book. My goal is to have it out before Christmas or right after. I’m also working on a true life murder story. I hope to have that out in a year.

Describe a day in your life.

Well, I work 8-5 at an office, doing customer service. When I’m off, I try to work out, maybe write a bit and I might catch a movie.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love Marvel movies, any kind of movies actually, I love to read all kinds of books, I love to cook and I spend a lot of time with my granddaughter.

 

Links

‘Incantation’ is available to buy on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Incantation-Linda-Bolton-ebook/dp/B00L8A3DF0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403566223&sr=8-1&keywords=incantation+by+linda+bolton

Linda Bolton’s blog – www.lindabolton.blogspot.com

Facebook Pages – http://www.facebook.com/lindaboltonauthor and http://www.facebook.com/linda.bowersbolton

Twiiter – www.twitter.com/!#/lindalou42

‘Public Battles, Private Wars’ by Laura Wilkinson

Public Battles, Private Wars

I read and reviewed Laura Wilkinson’s first book, ‘BloodMining’ a while back and so was delighted when she asked me if I would like to review her second novel ‘Public Battles, Private Wars’ which was published by Accent Press on the 9th March 2014.  Set in Yorkshire, Fenley Down in the 1980’s, ‘Public Battles, Private Wars’ tells the story of the miners’ strike.

Mandy is 23 years old, married to Rob who works in the mines, and has children.  Mandy feels as if she is stuck in a rut and wants to do more.  However, a life as a housewife and bringing up the children seems inevitable.  Mandy’s childhood friend, Ruth, who left Fenley years ago, returns with her Falkland’s war hero husband, Dan.  But something just doesn’t add up and Ruth isn’t the person she appears to be.

Conflict with the Coal Board turns to war and the men go out on strike.  The community and its whole way of life is badly threatened and Mandy finds herself joining the Fenley Action Group (FAG) which gives her a whole lot of confidence.  As the strike goes on relationships are tested and Mandy discovers just who her true friends are.

The first thing I want to say is that this book is so different from Laura Wilkinson’s first novel.  I really enjoyed it and I liked her writing style.  I could actually hear the Yorkshire accent.  Whilst this story was about the miners’ strike it also took a good look at the people affected by it and their families, bringing with it a couple of interesting plots.

Mandy was one of my favourite characters.  She was of strong character no matter what life threw at her and a woman to be admired.  The cakes she baked and the descriptions throughout the book are enough to make anyone’s mouth water.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

 

Book Launch – ‘Addicted’ by Nigel May

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Nigel May, author of the fantastic ‘Trinity’ which I reviewed last year has just published his brand new book, ‘Addicted’.

Synopsis

Getting clean is a dirty business

The wine heiress, the faded entertainer, the operatic diva, the politician’s wife – four women who can’t say no….

Four women who should be happy with what life has given them. Success, beauty, money and fame. But never judge a book by its cover, because on the outside they may all seem to be completely in control of their lives, but under their fashionable facades, deep within their souls, they are all battling with a common demon…they are all addicted. Addicted to things that could ruin their very existence. In fact for one, it will snuff it out for good.

Four women…one death, one killer…

 

‘Addicted’ is available to buy on Amazon at the special price of 99p.  Just click on the link below to be taken there:-

http://t.co/d54S8imuF5

 

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