Wednesday 26 July 2017

Unrequited Alice by Sarah Louise Smith

I picked up this gem by Sarah Louise Smith from Crooked Cat at 0.99p and I loved it!!
Amazon UK

Unrequited Alice is warm and welcoming and took me away to the Niagara Falls and New York, then gently deposited me back on my sofa after a most satisfying read. Alice is great; she's a down-to-earth girl making her way through life, is as sorted as she needs to be and I really felt like she'd be a good friend in real life. The book went at a good pace, never letting me put it down without a sigh when life insisted upon it. Everything described, the events, the places, the experiences all rang true for me and several times, I was nodding along with the book, so engrossed was I. The primary characters aside (I loved Toby!), Alice's friends were also great characters and for me this, more than anything, is what really made the read fantastic. The attention to detail to each person and each scene was minute and made for a well-rounded, interesting and a cracking read.

Perfect chick-lit to warm the cockles of your heart!

Friday 19 May 2017

A little fun with Katy Johnson, author of The Silence

Katy Johnson, a fellow Crooked Cat author has a hot new release on the 8th June and so I jumped at the opportunity to ask her a few fun questions about writing and herself as a person. First, let’s find out about the Book!!

The Silence is a psychological/coming of age story:

Doctor Abby Fenton has a rewarding career, a loving family, an enviable lifestyle - and a secret that could destroy everything.

When human remains are discovered in the grounds of an idyllic Tuscan holiday home she is forced to confront the memories she has suppressed until now and relive the summer she spent at the villa in 1992.

A summer that ended in tragedy.

The nearer she gets to the truth the closer she comes to losing her sanity. In order to hold onto the people she loves most, she must make sure they never discover what she did. 

But the reappearance of someone else from that summer threatens to blow her secret wide open.

Oooh it sounds very exciting--I'm looking forward to reading it!! But before we launch into the opening, I'd like to hear a little bit more about you :).

Do you have any writing quirks and if so, what are they?

When I'm using my notebook I usually have a pen stuck behind my ear. People sometimes find this funny but it's really very practical. I use a notebook in the early stages of writing/plotting although I actually write on my laptop. My brain is best suited to cut and paste! I also use different notebooks for jotting down blog ideas, useful tips, things to look up etc. I love my notebooks!

If you knew that no-one would ever read your writing, would you or would you not still write and why? Be honest!

Yes I would still write. I did for decades without anyone knowing!

That's great--did you write anything that could be in one of your books now?

A lot of stuff I've written is now sitting in landfill on redundant devices which is just as well. I have lots of bit and pieces I might use somewhere one day - character traits, job descriptions, ways people meet, story openings and endings, lists of my favourite smells - you name it! And I have bits of novels I would love to finish one day if I ever get time.

That's great--lots of inspiration for you! f you were told you could either read or write, but not do both, which would you choose, and why?

I would write although I would really miss the reading and my ideas well would probably run dry at some point. I have to get the words out. It's something I've always done.

Yes me too--it's lovely, isn't it. Very cathartic. So what is your favourite word, and why?

Serendipity - I love the actual sound of the word as well as it's meaning. It makes me feel happy.

Nice!! Which weather inspires you most to write?

Interesting - I've written one book set in the snow and The Silence which is being published on 8th June is set over a stifling hot summer. As the temperature soars, so does the tension.

Or in romance novels, the passion ;) When and why was the last time you giggled uncontrollably?

In bed the other night - just one of those silly conversations you have when you're half asleep.

I love those kinda silly conversations that sets you off laughing, such good fun. We all need a bit of uncontrollable giggling!! What’s your favourite season, and why?

I love the spring - love to feel warmth returning and those colours bursting out: camellias, magnolias, cherry blossom.

And just for pure, adolescent fun, which superpower would you choose?

Telekinesis - moving things around using my mind like Matilda by Roald Dahl.

Ah nice--you could really have fun with that! 

Thanks so much for being here today, Katy, it's been lovely finding out some nice things about you. The very best of luck with The Silence, I can't wait to read it. 

Thank you for having me - I've really enjoyed being at Cait's Place!

The opening paragraph of The Silence

On those rare occasions when Abby allowed herself to think about Philippa, it was never as a pile of bones but as a girl of fourteen. A girl who was very much alive. A girl who could burp the National Anthem (well, the first couple of lines), hurl herself off rocks, catch scorpions with her bare hands, hold her breath until she fainted, and who always slept with one arm straight up in the air.

A girl who rolled her eyes and pulled faces behind people’s backs, and spurted her drink over everyone when she laughed. Being with Philippa meant laughing until you were sick, sharing your deepest, most thrilling secrets, keeping each other awake with disgusting jokes and gut-wrenching stories. And, of course, planning the perfect murder...

Come along to the online launch party on June 8th and find out more!

Buy the book at Amazon - The Silence

Tuesday 4 April 2017

Tango, and single mums...yes there is a link!

So today, the 4th April 2017 (awesome date, don't you think), the second of my full length novels, Taming the Tango Champion hits the digital book shelves.

And I'm really excited about it.

I have been wondering what to blog about in honour of its birth into the publishing world, and I thought that in order to do it justice, it should be something, yanno, big. Dare I say it, personal. And I never Get Personal.

But today, I do.

In honour of Ava, and Mathias, and heck, all single mums everywhere.

It ties in with my favourite scene, the risotto scene (no, it's not salacious--I tend to leave food out of my sex scenes ;) ).

Ava is a single mum, and this scene follows one of the two park scenes where her daughter meets her dad for the first time, unaware he is her dad. For the first time since discovering she's pregnant, Ava is with the only person in the world jointly responsible for her child.

Taming the Tango Champion was written at a time when I discovered myself to be a single mum. Writing it was very cathartic, although it's only now in hindsight I realise that--and even more, realise that a lot of my emotions were channelled through Ava. I remember looking at my three-month old on the floor, with her two-year old sister in the garden and this great big chasm opening right in front of me. A chasm of oh-my-god how on earth can I do this. Scrabbling back from that chasm in fear of falling in, doing my best to fill it in so I could pretend it wasn't there anymore.

Didn't work. Ta-daa, a single mum was born.

And so I got on with it as from that day forward, the great boulder that that chasm calved? It settled squarely on my shoulders. Only my shoulders.

That park scene, with Ava, Mathias and Bella? That was me, on a rare day when my ex-husband spent it with us. We were in the park, my eldest ran off whilst my youngest was feeding and my ex went after her. I remember thinking 'this is what happens when there are two of you involved, it's so much easier'. For that afternoon, that boulder broke. But then when it re-assembled? Bigger and heavier than ever, for now I knew what nuclear families had.

It's really tough being a single Mum, needing to make decisions on your own for the best of your little family, trying to hold it together when things go pear shaped but you don't want your children to notice and so the brave face goes on, the excuses for wet eyes get trotted out (oh, I have an eye infection; the wind is too cold against my eyes; I read a sad scene in a book) hoping that your ever-more-perceptive children don't notice the wobble in your voice because you know if they hug you or kiss you, you'll just melt into a puddle of upset.

Tango is close to my heart for that single reason. I got on with my life and didn't let these realisations knock me back because I was lucky and could put them all in a book...all those hurt emotions could go somewhere, and not sit and stagnate in me. Don't get me wrong though, there's a lot of joy in the book too, a quite a lot of passion, and dancing and pretty clothes and hair and makeup and lots of deliciously girly stuff.

So for all the single mums out there, I raise my cup of coffee to you! It's a tough job, but ultimately highly rewarding. And what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger, right.

Like Ava, my life has moved on and I am no longer a single mum (don't know what you'd call me now...hmm maybe I need to write a book to figure it out ;) ) but happy ever afters do exist.

Thanks for reading...and I hope you enjoy Taming the Tango Champion <3

Buy link for Tango