Sunday, 26 March 2017

Guest Post: One Piece of Advice I Wish I'd Been Given by Bella Osborne

If you're an eagle-eyed follower of the blog you'll have noticed that I have been part of the blog tours for parts 1 & 2 for Bella Osborne's Willow Cottage series so when I was invited to be part of the blog tour for part 3 A Spring Affair I didn't hesitate to say yes.

Thank you for being on the blog tour, it’s great to be here today.

I have been asked to write a piece about the one piece of advice I wish I’d been given when I started writing. Seriously they want me to pick just one piece of advice?! I’ve decided it’s too hard so here’s 5 pieces of advice that would have helped me at various stages of my writing journey.

1 – When I started writing. Seeing as I was circa ten years old when I started writing stories the advice I wish I’d had then is a little different to the advice I would appreciate later on in life. So to my ten year old self I wish somebody had said – This isn’t normal. The reason I wish they had told me this is because I spent many years assuming that everyone elses brain worked the same as mine. That they too were making up stories about the people around them. That they also had these ideas that had to be written down straight away and characters that got into the most amazing scrapes and went on unbelievable adventures. It would have helped me to rein it in at times and not look like a total nut job.

2 – As a teenager looking at career choices. At this stage in my life I would have liked someone to tell me – Being a writer is a valid career option. It was always seen as my odd little hobby and it took years before I did anything about it. People like me simply didn’t become writers. If only I’d known that it was a valid career choice perhaps my life path would have turned out differently, who knows?

Saturday, 25 March 2017

The Write Stuff with... Laura Madeleine

Today it's my pleasure to be hosting Laura Madeleine on the latest leg of her blog tour for her second book Where the Wild Cherries Grow which is out now in eBook, paperback to follow this Summer.  As both of Laura's books have featured food heavily in them she has written a piece for us about Writing & Food Memory.      

© Rachel Sherlock Photography
For me, one of the most effective ways to write about food is to evoke memory. Almost everyone can recall scents and tastes from childhood, whether it’s the gritty sweetness of a spoonful of Calpol or the malted, butteriness of biscuits after school. I, for one, can’t smell the green muskiness of tomato vines without being transported straight back to my grandparent’s greenhouse. That’s not to say every taste-memory is a good one. I vividly recall being made to drink milk at kindergarten, and hate the taste of it to this day. My sister will never forget a disastrous encounter with an exploding chicken kiev, and my aunt is haunted by memories of the grey mince served up by my great-grandmother…

There’s no telling where food memories might take us. Like the bittersweet caramel and vanilla of the first canelé I ever ate in Saint-Émilion. That little pastry went on to inspire my first novel, The Confectioner’s Tale. Likewise, my father can pinpoint the moment he fell in love with my mother, as they shared a meal of freshly baked bread, prawns and white wine in the sun one lunchtime. 

Food and memory, love and landscape are often inextricably linked. When I was writing Where the Wild Cherries Grow, I was keen for Catalan food to play a pivotal role in the lives and emotions of the characters. Their intimate knowledge of the land is their way of belonging:
“Clémence could tell where a llangostin had come from by the colour of its shell, where a goat had grazed by the taste of its cheese. She knew the town in the same way: as a collection of individuals, each influencing the complex whole.” 

Friday, 24 March 2017

Emma's Review: Shipyard Girls at War by Nancy Revell

Reviewed by Emma Crowley

1941

It takes strength to work on the docks, but the war demands all hands on deck and the women are doing their best to fill the gap. 

Rosie is flourishing in her role as head-welder while still keeping her double life a secret. But a dashing detective is forcing Rosie to choose between love and her duty.

Gloria is hiding her own little secret – one that if found out, could not only threaten her job, but her life.

And the shipyards are proving tougher than Polly ever imagined, while she waits for her man to return home safely. 

Amazon links: Kindle or Paperback

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Emma's Review: The Idea of You by Amanda Prowse

Reviewed by Emma Crowley

With her fortieth birthday approaching, Lucy Carpenter thinks she finally has it all: a wonderful new husband, Jonah, a successful career and the chance of a precious baby of her own. Life couldn’t be more perfect.

But becoming parents proves much harder to achieve than Lucy and Jonah imagined, and when Jonah’s teenage daughter Camille comes to stay with them, she becomes a constant reminder of what Lucy doesn’t have. Jonah’s love and support are unquestioning, but Lucy’s struggles with work and her own failing dreams begin to take their toll. With Camille’s presence straining the bonds of Lucy’s marriage even further, Lucy suddenly feels herself close to losing everything…

Amazon links: Kindle or Paperback

Author Interview: Louise Walters

Today it's my pleasure to welcome Louise Walters back to the blog so that we can find out about her new book A Life Between Us which is published next week.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your writing journey?
I’m a mother and wife, a “homemaker”, and my passions in life are reading and writing.  My first novel Mrs Sinclair’s Suitcase was published in 2014 by Hodder. I’m now bringing out my second novel A Life Between Us, as an indie, or hybrid, author. 

If you had to give an elevator pitch for A Life Between Us, what would it be? 
Middle-aged woman seeks the truth about the death of her twin sister forty years before, and uncovers some dark family secrets.

Where did the inspiration come from to write a story about twins?
I started off with a single character, Tina, and the twin sister came to me later on. At first Meg was Tina’s friend. But I felt the bond needed to be stronger, so she became Tina’s twin sister.   

Did you do much research into twin relationships and the impact of a sole survivor?
To be honest, I didn’t research that topic much. I researched more on the social history side of things, in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Tina is just Tina, and I feel I got to know her inside out, so I didn’t feel I needed to research her situation. I did look into bereavement counselling and how that tends to work. 

I love the cover for A Life Between Us with its shadow of one twin facing the surviving twin, did you have much creative input into its design? 
I knew I wanted a strong cover image, and when I hired the super-talented Jennie Rawlings to design it, I sent her a few stock photos I had been looking at. I told her a bit about who I thought my readers are, and we took it from there. This was the first concept Jennie came up with and I was, and always will be, thrilled with it. 

Monday, 20 March 2017

Emma's Review: Our Little Secret by Claudia Carroll

Reviewed by Emma Crowley

Sarah Dee has the perfect life. A high-flying job in a law firm, a beautiful daughter and a house to die for. So how does she find herself looking in through the kitchen window while another woman enjoys it all?

When Sarah takes pity on a struggling young graduate who can’t get a job, she thinks she’s doing the right thing. She’s being kind, generous and helpful to others, as she always is. But as Sarah allows the younger woman into her home, her law firm and even her family, is there more to this pretty youngster than meets the eye? And could this be a good deed that goes further than expected?