A Lover of Books

Archive for the tag “sequel”

Guest Post by Alex Johnson

Alex Johnson

Today I have the lovely Alex Johnson on my blog with a guest post in which she talks about her love of perfume.


A Love of Perfume

I’ve wanted to write a novel with perfume as its main theme for a long time, but always knew it would be a tricky subject to tackle. How can you truly put into words what a perfume smells like? As a journalist, writing about the marketing and selling of perfume every day, you might think I would be well qualified to put into words the mysteries of fragrance. But it’s much harder than you might think.

Take a sniff of your favourite scent. What does it smell of? Do you notice the individual “notes”, such as lavender, rose, or sandalwood? Do you get a rush of memory when you catch a whiff of it? Are there fragrances that strongly remind you of the person who wears it?

All these things and more I find fascinating and want to put into words. Rather than write a non-fiction book about fragrance (and there are plenty of those around!) I decided to put perfume as the central theme of my novel The Perfume Muse.

But first, I needed to do some research, and where better than in Grasse, the world’s perfume capital? It was the perfect excuse for a weekend away.

Nestled between the hills on the French Riviera, Grasse was everything I’d imagined it to be and the perfect setting for my characters Julie, Olivier and Jean-Jacques. The ancient winding streets, the narrow yellow buildings with their pastel blue shutters, the breathtaking views of the rolling hills and of course, the smell of perfume that wafts down the street from the world famous Fragonard perfumery in the centre. I took a tour round the Fragonard museum where I learnt about the ancients methods of making perfume before immersing myself in more fragrance history in the tiny dedicated perfume museum across the road.

But the best bit was visiting the perfume museum gardens outside Grasse and getting up close to the many wonderful plants, flowers and herbs used in perfumery. It was an absolute gem, with its miniature lavender and jasmine fields and plant specimens from across the world, which the visitor is encouraged to smell, feel and even taste. I’d read and written about ingredients such as ylang ylang and tuberose, but seeing, smelling and touching them up close helped me appreciate why perfumers prize these blooms and want to use them in their gorgeous creations.

Not many people have a perfume created just for them, because it’s a lengthy and costly experience. It can also be incredibly intimate and it was this that I wanted to get across in The Perfume Muse. The story is about the difficulties of falling in love: how Julie is torn between two men, both perfumers, who tangle with her affections through the creation of perfume inspired by and exclusively for her.

It was a journey for me as much as for Julie.

We both learnt so much about perfumery, but also about ourselves.

When you let perfume into your life, you must be prepared for the consequences.


About Alex Johnson

Alex Johnson arrived on the writing scene in 2012 with the launch of her first novel Run Away, a story which took root and grew after spending many anxious weeks waiting for emails from her teenage son who was on his Gap Year travelling round South East Asia. Some of his adventures were hair-raising, to say the least, and, in retrospect it was probably a good thing she wasn’t able to follow his travels on Facebook or on twitter!

Run Away also draws on Alex’s “main” career as an award-winning beauty journalist and she has a passion for perfume and cosmetics. By the end of the novel, she felt there was another story waiting to be told, with perfume as its central theme.

So, The Perfume Muse is a sequel to Run Away and takes her main character Julie to the beautiful Grasse region of France, the heart of the perfume industry. Alex was able to explore the mysteries of perfume and its impact on memory and love – with devastating consequences.

Alex has recently finished writing her third novel on a completely different theme that takes her deep into her mother’s past and survival during the Dutch Hunger Winter in World War 2.

Follow Alex on twitter: @oxfordnovelist

Book Launch – ‘The Perfume Muse’ by Alex Johnson

The Perfume Muse

‘The Perfume Muse’ is Alex Johnson’s new book.  It is out on the 2nd April 2015.


Book Blurb

The Perfume Muse is the sequel to Alex Johnson’s debut novel Run Away: this first story is about the break-up of a family and how Julie, the protagonist, copes with life as a single mother and her wayward teenage daughter. Julie falls in love with gorgeous French perfumer but must decide whether he can offer the future she longs for.

The Perfume Muse sees Julie and Olivier move to Grasse, the French perfume capital, but her dreams are dashed when, almost straightaway, he accepts a job in New York. Their relationship is tested by long periods apart and Julie finds comfort in a budding friendship with the intriguing and sexy Jean-Jacques.

Both men, both acclaimed perfumers, vye for Julie’s affections through perfume: each create romantic, sensual perfumes inspired by and especially for her. How can she possibly choose between them?

Julie’s resolve is further tested by the unexpected arrival of Olivier’s son, Michel.

What were his reasons for Michel turning up out of the blue?

Can the disappearance of the perfume formula Olivier invented for Julie be connected?

And to top it all, it looks like Michel is falling in love with Julie’s daughter, Lisa.

Julie must get to the bottom of this.  She flies out to New York to confront Olivier about the son he’s never mentioned and to determine whether her future lies with him or with Jean-Jacques.


‘The Perfume Muse’ can be pre-ordered on Amazon – http://amzn.to/1BLJXF0

Book Launch – ‘Last Child’ by Terry Tyler

Last Child

Congratulations to Terry Tyler who has just published her new book, ‘Last Child’.


Book Blurb

LAST CHILD is the sequel to Kings and Queens, Terry Tyler’s modern take on the story of Henry VIII and his six wives.

Harry is gone, his legacy passed on to his children ~

Thirteen year old JASPER, who views the directors of Lanchester Estates as Harry Potter characters, and finds out that teenage love affairs are no fairytale.

ISABELLA, the eldest daughter; lonely and looking for love, she returns from a holiday in Spain with more than just a suntan.

Wild, independent ERIN, the girl of Transport manager Rob Dudley’s dreams, whose priority is not a husband and family but the continuation of her father’s work.

You will also meet the ambitious Jim Dudley, ex-nanny Hannah Cleveley, Rob’s long suffering wife Amy, and Raine Grey, whose nine days as PR manager for Lanchester Estates have a devastating effect on her life.  LAST CHILD takes the drama, passion and intrigue of Kings and Queens into the present day, with echoes from the past ~ and a glimpse or two into the future….


‘Last Child’ is available to buy on Amazon.

UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00TV1YBSQ?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

US – http://www.amazon.com/Last-Child-Terry-Tyler-ebook/dp/B00TV1YBSQ/ref=sr_1_1_twi_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1424516648&sr=8-1&keywords=Last+Child+Terry+Tyler

‘Squaring Circles’ by Carolyn Mathews


‘Squaring Circles’ by Carolyn Mathews is the sequel to ‘Transforming Pandora’.  It was published yesterday by Roundfire.


Book Blurb

Free spirit Pandora is shaken by the sudden death of her mother and the presence of a mysterious stranger at the funeral. When her mother’s grave is disturbed, she turns detective and finds herself drawn into a world of intrigue, centring round a devious couple’s plot to exploit a healing circle for their own ends. Her partner Jay’s collaboration with a sexy singer and her own encounter with an old flame add to the confusion. Will she succeed in her quest to restore equilibrium to her family circle or will the decisions she and Jay make set them up for more heartache?


Author Bio


Carolyn Mathews’ English Language writing and teaching career included a stint with a class of ‘Harry Potter’ extras at the local Warner Bros. studio, Hertfordshire. With so much magic in the air, it’s no wonder she now writes fiction with more than a hint of the supernatural.



Buy Links:-



Author Links:-





If anyone wants an autographed copy they can email Carol. The address is on the contact page of her website.

Carolyn Mathews


There is a Facebook event today to celebrate Carolyn Mathews new book:-


Interview with Deborah Bogen


Deborah Bogen is a poet and a novelist. Her poetry books, Landscape with Silos; Let Me Open You a Swan; and Living by the Children’s Cemetery are all prize winners. Her new book THE WITCH OF LEPER COVE is YA novel set in 13th Century England.

Bogen grew up in Montana and North Dakota. At 15 she moved to San Francisco where she was exposed to a lively art scene that was engaged with both the personal and the political.

Deborah Bogen expressed an interest in being interviewed for my blog.


Can you tell me a bit about your latest book please?

The Witch of Leper Cove, a tale of 13th century England



When their parents disappear, sixteen-year-old Lily and her younger twin brothers are farmed out to three different households in the small English village of Aldinoch. Grappling with grief, loneliness and even guilt they finally come to terms with their new lives and each one is sure that nothing worse can happen to them.

Lily is apprenticed to Alice, the village healer who cares for both Aldinoch’s sick and the lepers who live downstream. Her hard-won knowledge of herbs and poultices has saved many lives.

But it’s early in the 13th century. Fearing heretics, Pope Honorius has just launched the Inquisition, sending the Dominicans out into Christendom to root out heretics. Even the good and useful are not safe. When Alice is accused of witchcraft and imprisoned in an ancient dungeon, Lily and her brothers are forced into action.


Where do you get your ideas from?

I have always loved reading about the Middle Ages, the time when much of western culture had its start. Whether you look at medicine or architecture or government, you will find the roots of much we take for granted today.  This particular book was prompted by two students who asked me to write an adventure tale that would also teach them with this period of history. I hope that’s what Witch does.

My other books have been poetry volumes and those are prompted by my own life, and your life, and the greater world.


How long does it take you to write a book?

The time varies. Poetry books take years.  This novel took about 8 months to write and re-write – but I had also been researching the time period for decades.


How long have you been writing for?

I started writing late – at age 47. Now I’m 64! So the past 15 years have been dedicated to writing.  But I have been a reader since I was 5 and that teaches you a lot. If you have been reading all your life you have seen a lot of examples of good writing, and less-good writing.  The experience enriches your own writing practice.


What are you working on at the moment?

Right now I’m writing the sequel to The Witch of Leper Cove. My characters aged two years in that book so in the new book they are fully functional adults (in the middle ages teenagers did not really exist as an idea. You were a child till you were an adult – which happened between 15 and 18.) One of the main characters, Edric, was training to be a priest in Witch but now he has changed his mind as has taken to find out what he wants to do.


Describe a day in your life?

Days are varied when you do not have a full-time day job.  I have periods when I write for long hours each day, but many times I am thinking of new ideas for the book or reading other books I love or doing research.  Some days I do work to promote Witch – and that is real work and like most writers I do not love it.  But I also work out, play music and see my family.


What do you like to do in your spare time?

We have a pretty fine family band in which I sing and play ukulele. I love jazz and most Thursdays my husband and I can be found at CJ’s – a jazz club in Pittsburgh with truly amazing musicians. I do mosaic work, read, garden, bake, and do all the chores you do.


If you were only allowed to keep three books which would they be?

Let’s see….since I began as a poet I own hundreds of books of poems. I would not want to be without at least one Robert Bly book, one W.S. Merwin, and I’d have to have Anne Carson’ s The Economy of Loss, and then Kurt Vonnegut is a must have so already I am over your limit.



The Witch of Leper Cove

Deborah’s Amazon Author Page

Deborah’s website 


All proceeds from Deborah’s books fund medical research for Crohn’s Disease and Lupus.


Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: