Meet the Author

Sylvia Petter

I have the honour of welcoming Sylvia Petter to the blog today, as part of the blog tour for her novel, All The Beautiful Liars, arranged by Rachel’s Random Resources. I’ll tell you all about the book in just a sec, but first, let me introduce you to Sylvia.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

No, I wanted to be a vet, but I was too short and lousy in maths. So, I did languages at uni and started travelling at twenty.

Why did you start writing fiction and when? 

I was trained as a translator but wanted my own words. On the way up an international corporate ladder I did an MBA module on planning and managing change and decided to find something I could do for the rest of my life. Writing.

How did you start?

I was in Geneva at the time and I looked around for a writing group. I found a group just coming into its own run by the writer Susan Tiberghien. I say Susan gave me the right to write as I thought I didn´t have the right to write fiction, not having studied English literature. Funny the barriers one puts in one´s own way sometimes. Then I went online and worked for several years in Alex Keegan´s online Bootcamp -it was like doing an MfA.

What made you want to write a novel? 

Issues kept appearing in my short stories and I wanted to find out more about my family. But there were so many dead ends that the only way to do it would be as a novel.

How long did it take?

It took over 25 years. Oh, I did other things: published three collections of stories, one of which erotic tales under a pseudonym, tried my hand at novellas in flash, worked with other writers, tried poetry and flash fiction, wrote another novel, a novella, but I kept coming back to my original draft which itself was morphing.

Do you have an agent?

I secured an agent with the first draft of my novel and she nurtured and supported me in my writing over the years to help both me and the novel develop. I dedicate All the Beautiful Liars to her even though we have now parted ways. So now I no longer have an agent, and I doubt I would find such wonderful support again.

Thanks so much Sylvia for taking the time to talk to us today. Now, here come all the details about All The Beautiful Liars.

All The Beautiful Liars 3

BLURB:

How true are the family histories that tell us who we are and where we come from? Who knows how much all the beautiful liars have embargoed or embellished the truth?

During a long flight from Europe to Sydney to bury her mother, Australian expat Katrina Klain reviews the fading narrative of her family and her long quest to understand her true origins. This has already taken her to Vienna, where she met her Uncle Harald who embezzled the Austrian government out of millions, as well as Carl Sokorny, the godson of one of Hitler’s most notorious generals, and then on to Geneva and Berlin. Not only were her family caught up with the Nazis, they also turn out to have been involved with the Stasi in post-war East Germany.

It’s a lot to come to terms with, but there are more revelations in store. After the funeral, she finds letters that reveal a dramatic twist which means her own identity must take a radical shift. Will these discoveries enable her to complete the puzzle of her family’s past?

Inspired by her own life story, Sylvia Petter’s enthralling fictional memoir set between the new world and the old is a powerful tale about making peace with the past and finding closure for the future.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

All The Beautiful Liars - Author -1Sylvia Petter was born in Vienna but grew up in Australia, which makes her Austr(al)ian.

She started writing fiction in 1993 and has published three story collections, The Past Present, Back Burning and Mercury Blobs. She has a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of New South Wales.

After living for 25 years in Switzerland, where she was a founding member of the Geneva Writers’ Group, she now lives in Vienna once more.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Twitter – Sylvia Petter

Twitter – Eye & Lightning

For more information on the book, make sure you check out the other books taking part on the tour.

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Meet the Author

Louise Worthington

Today I am joining the blog tour for Distorted Days, and am delighted to be welcoming Louise Worthington to my blog for a chat. Many thanks to Louise for taking the time to do this, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of the blog tour.

As someone with experience of the publishing industry what would your top tips be for hopeful authors preparing their first submission?

 I have self-published Distorted Days. It’s literary fiction around 53,000 words so I felt it was best to self-publish. My next novel is commercial fiction/ thriller 73,000 words so I will be looking for a publisher.

Did your experience in the publishing industry make it more or less daunting when you submitted your own work for the first time?

Prior to self-publishing Distorted Days, Park Publications published a couple of short stories in their literary magazine and Fresher Press published a poem. Goodreads is a helpful site for feedback on query letters and synopsis.

Your books cover a broad variety of genres – do you have a favourite genre to write or one that comes easier to you than others?

Distorted Days is contemporary women’s fiction/ literary fiction. I’ve written a suspense/thriller which is being beta-read at the moment, and I have a third novel in the pipeline which is also a thriller. In addition to that I’m working on a novella-in-flash at the moment and a poetry anthology!

What books inspired you growing up?

I read a lot by Stephen King and Virginia Andrews. Thomas Hardy, Philip Larkin and   Shakespeare’s Hamlet made an  impression on my when I was studying A-level Literature.

Where do you do most of your writing? Do you have a particular writing regime?

MaddyI have an office at home where I do most of my writing. First thing in the morning I walk the dogs and use my phone to record ideas as they come to me. When I need a break from the office there’s a lovely coffee shop in Shrewsbury where I sometimes sit with a coffee, note pad and pen. I tend to write quickly to get the content down and then worry about the editing later, otherwise I think there’s a risk of writer’s block. I’m quite disciplined so start writing almost as soon as I get up and throughout the day for 8 – 10 hours sometimes late at night – which my faithful friend Maddy is never too happy about!

 

Thanks again to Louise for taking the time to answer my questions. Keeping reading for all the information on Distorted Days.

BLURB:

If she could speak to them, she would say they have exploded her heart, released firecrackers through her senses. She wishes she could call the police, the ambulance, the fire brigade, to arrest and anaesthetise and waterboard the bastards.

So what happens when your husband runs off with your best friend? When you discover the dead body of an old man halfway through your delivery round? When your house is burgled and you get beaten up? Doris, Andy and Colleen are about to find out. They’re also about to discover that you can find friendship and support in the oddest of places…

Heart-rending, humorous and above all authentic, Distorted Days is an exquisitely written account of the ways in which life can knock you off our feet – and how you can pick yourself up again. If you’ve experienced the fickleness of fortune, this is a book that you’ll never forget.

Distorted Days Cover

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Lulu

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Distorted Days Author PhotoLouise is the author of ‘Distorted Days’ and ‘Rachel’s Garden of Rooms.’ ‘The Entrepreneur’ will be available later in 2020. ‘The Thief’, a short story published by Park Publications, is available to download Louise Worthington’s website.

Before writing full time, Louise worked mainly as an English teacher after getting a degree in Literature and later, studying business and psychology at Masters level.

Louise grew up in Cheshire and now resides in Shropshire.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Facebook

Twitter

Website

For more information on Distorted Days, don’t forget to pop over to the other blogs taking part on the tour.

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Meet the Author

CM Angus

Today, as part of the blog tour for Overstrike, book one in the Fixpoint series, I am honoured to be able to share with you a Q&A that the author took part in for me. Many thanks to CM Angus for taking the time to do this, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of the tour.

What made you decide to move from writing technical non-fiction to writing fiction?

That’s probably not how I look at it. I guess I’m more of an opportunist. Back in 2006 I found myself working with a couple  of technologies which were new enough to have literally no books written about them. As I was learning the hard way to get to grips with these I saw there was an opportunity for a technical publication.

Likewise in 2014 when I found myself with the embryo of the story that went on to become Overstrike, I decided to give it a go.

It was certainly very different, but I believe the past is a dream that doesn’t define us – each of us has the capacity to continually reinvent ourselves..

What authors inspire you?

I’d have to say: Ones that make it happen against the odds. People like David J. Kowalski – whose 2007 debut The Company of the Dead I enjoyed a lot. The fact that he managed to write a pretty awesome novel whilst being a Obstetrician, inspired me to believe maybe I could somehow find time to write also.

Thank you David.

Do you have a literary hero? How about a favourite literary villain?

In a lot of ways, this is likely to be the stream of consciousness everyman like Bukowski’s semi-autobiographical Henry Chinaski, or The Narrator (Phaedrus) from Pirsig’s Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Whoever it is, they’re likely to be a thinker, a drunk and a little unhinged. In a lot of ways, I find characters, or for that fact, people in general, become far more interesting when they don’t conform. As for hero’s and villain’s, I tend not to think in those kind of binary terms, I think that there are angels and devils in all of us –  that everyone is both good and evil. The most interesting characters, for me, are ones that either fall from grace or seek redemption – whether that’s Milton’s Lucifer in Paridise Lost, Rowling’s Snape,  Jane Austen’s Mr D’Arcy, Dickens’ Scrooge or even Martin’s Jaime Lannister, the idea that a character’s drivers and motives are fluid, makes them interesting to me.

What is your favourite under-appreciated novel?

Not sure whether this counts, but I’d have to say The View from Gallows Hill by Nick Stead. I was lucky enough to be a beta-reader on this and liked it a lot – certainly one to look for when it comes out. 

Where do you do your writing? Do you have a special place to go for calm and inspiration or are you a write anywhere kind of guy?

I’d have to say wherever the muse takes me. But it’s more about finding the headspace than than a particular location or time. If things are too noisy I’ve got no chance. If things are too quiet – again; that’s an issue. So it feels like I’m forever in search of my own Goldilocks zone *laughs*. Sometimes I find it in my local park with a laptop, sometimes it’s in a bustling coffee shop – I seem to change like the wind. Invariably it ends up being stolen moments interspaced between other activities – I try to use technology so that I can switch between desktop, laptop, tablet and phone and keep going in between being Dad’s taxi! So I guess I’m a write anywhere kind of guy…

What is the strangest thing you have had to Google for writing research?

Man, now that’s going to be quite a list…

I guess it would include:

* Current theories on quantum entanglement and the plausibility of time travel.

* Elements of the Holocaust during WWII.

* Key players in early electroconvulsive therapy.

* Details of Schizophrenia.

* Large parts of London and its transport network. 

However I’m sure I must be missing something.

You seem to be a man of many talents – how do you fit everything in? I find I am easily distracted from one hobby or interest by another – do you find the same?

Definitely. It’s not just a question of passion. I need to set myself goals and make these public – actively throw myself under the bus, if you will, to force myself to complete things. Then its a case of multitasking and combining things, but it isn’t easy and without the support of my family I couldn’t do any of it.

At the end of the day though, it’s about setting realistic goals and keeping on with these – even if the progresses glacial. For instance: Overstrike has taken around 5-years, so I’d say it’s more to do with perseverance and pig-headedness than some kind of silver bullet.

Thanks again to CM Angus for taking the time to answer my questions. For more information about Overstrike, read on!

Fixpoint Overstrike

BLURB:

When Matt Howard’s grandfather told him he must alter history to protect his newborn son, Matt thought the old man was crazy…

…Then he realised it was true.

Overstrike spans 4 generations of a family haunted by the prospect of an approaching alternate reality where their child has been erased from history.

Touching on themes of retro-causality, ethics and free will, and exploring ideas of cause, effect and retribution, it follows the path of Matt Howard, whose child, Ethan, is at risk, as he, his father and grandfather attempt to use their own abilities to manipulate reality in order to discover and prevent whoever is threatening Ethan.

Overstrike is volume I of Fixpoint, a trilogy about a family who discover their inherited ability to manipulate reality. It enables them to effect changes in order to safeguard themselves and all that they hold dear. But even seemingly small changes in a timeline can have unforeseen and far-reaching consequences. Follow the stories of the Howards, on a journey exploring reality, time and our own sense of self.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

CM Angus author and writer of Speculative fiction, Sci-fi and Horror grew up in the North East of England and now lives in Yorkshire with his wife and children. He is interested in all things creative & technological.

Currently working on Fixpoint, a series of books with each piece tackling different aspects of discontinuities in time and is a Speculative Fiction spanning 4 generations of a family haunted by the prospect of an approaching alternate reality where their child has been erased from history.

Overstrike, Volume 1 of Fixpoint, will be published by Elsewhen Press in early 2020.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Twitter

Website

Facebook

Amazon

Goodreads

Publisher

GIVEAWAY:

Win 5 x Overstrike T-shirts  (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter link below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.

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To find out more about Overstrike, head on over to the other blogs taking part in the tour.

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Meet the Author

William Osborne

I am delighted to be welcoming William Osborne to my blog today, as part of the tour for Jupiter’s Fire. Many thanks to William for taking the time to answer my questions, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of the tour.

Your author bio states that you enjoy collecting odd things. Do you have any collections you would like to share with us? What made you start collecting?

Yes of course, I collect old military helmets from the Napoleonic time up to the first world war, British and German, shako’s, and ceremonial wear, mostly cavalry, Dragoons, Hussars, Lancers, but also Picklehaubs, including Life Guard Imperial German and Life Guard English. I also have a beautiful Bearskin, (Russian Bear) Coldstream Guards. 

I collect English modern first editions fiction, Ian Fleming, Huxley, Orwell, Robert Graves, for example, authors I love basically. 

My youngest son and I love to build Lego, we have a Creator Street of fifteen buildings, accessorized by him with additional figures and planes in my office. It is one of the Seven Wonders of the World to me.  

I am starting now to look at military ceremonial daggers from the Second World War, Italian and German, but good ones are very expensive.

Where do you do most of your writing?

In my office at home, when I can, but I love to write anywhere, and correcting manuscripts somewhere hot and near the beach is special. I have never had an “office” office except when my children were very young and I had to work out of the house for a few hours a day.

I love working from home so long as there is somewhere quiet and I can turn off the phone and the Internet for a few hours and put on some music quietly in the background.

Do you find that different writing routines and practices work better for novel writing than for screenwriting, and vice versa?

Not really, the way I write has me plotting both novels and screenplays quite carefully before I start and often just thinking about the story I want to tell just in my head for a quite a few weeks or months. 

I do write outline cards, even if the next scene/chapter is just a line or two and then I set to at the computer to write.  Screenplay writing is so less dependent on description and more on just scene setting with a few visual details that the camera can pick up on, whereas novel writing requires you to paint a fuller picture of the scene.

So for example, with screenwriting you can write – ‘ext. downtown street – day’ – and then the art director, location manager, property buying, director, lighting cameraman will decide what that street actually looks like. But if you were writing that in a novel, you would have to do all of those things, the shops, the cars, the weather etc. Does that help?

What works for one that doesn’t work for the other?

I refer the honourable person to the answer I already gave.

You live in a beautiful part of the UK (I enjoyed a week in Norfolk earlier this year). If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be? Or is your heart firmly in Norfolk?

I came to Norfolk to go to school here when I was 13 in 1973. It was a very different place in many ways to what it is now, though it is still beautiful, remote, unspoilt and timeless.  Back then it was the end of the line, literally. The train stopped here and unless you had a reason to be here, no one came. It seems like a different world looking back and I suppose it was.

I do love it still, I can walk for two hours from where I live with my dogs and see no-one and I love that sense of isolation and solitude with the sea in the distance, now filled with lines of wind farms.

If I could, I would spend three months of the year in Italy, probably in the south, Naples and beyond, down the Amalfi coast, the most beautiful coast in the world for me and also the most wonderful people, timeless too in a way but drenched in history from the Saracens, Etruscans, Romans, Neapolitans, French, Spanish. Watch The Leopard, the greatest film ever made about Sicily and Naples, the twin Kingdoms at the time.

More beautiful to me even than Big Sur and Monterey where I spent a year as an exchange student aged 18 and where Robert Louis Stevenson lived for a time and used the landscape to write Treasure Island and other stories. 

I love the Italians, their culture, their style, and their philosophy.  But I am happy right now where I am.

There is a saying isn’t there, wherever you go, there you are.

What have been your biggest sources of inspiration in the writing of your novels?

Many, my family, love of history, a love of story, be that books, fiction and non-fiction, or film/tv from childhood onwards.

But most of all love.  

I believe all great stories in whatever medium have human love at their heart, the yearning for it, the importance of it, the loss of it, the rejection of it, the betrayal of it, but it is the ultimate thing that gives meaning to all of our lives, rich or poor. Every great story has that at its heart. And that is how it should be.

Sorry, but you did ask.

Hope you enjoyed the answers; I thoroughly enjoyed writing them on a cold November evening, with the east wind whistling around and the dogs barking a bit for attention or maybe at the sound or smell of a pheasant or a fox at the end of the field.

Best wishes, William.

I don’t know about all of you, but just from getting to know William a little through his answers, I am certain that I want to discover more about his books. If you are tempted, here come all the details for Jupiter’s Fire.

Jupiters Fire cover v1

BLURB:

When Franco, a teenager living in the monastery at Monte Cassino in 1944 uncovers a long-lost Roman Eagle, the fabled Aquila for the Jupiter Legion, he sets in motion a desperate struggle to prevent the Nazis from using it to win the war. In a do-or-die mission, Franco and Dulcie, a teenage mountain girl, must steal the Eagle back and escape before its deadly power is unleashed. Pursued by the implacable forces of the SS they will discover not just the secrets of the Eagle but also themselves.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

William Osborne – Born 1960 – educated at Greshams School, Holt, Norfolk and Robert Louis Stevenson, Pebble Beach, California,  studied law at Cambridge,(MA),  barrister at law, Member of the Middle Temple. Screenwriter and member of Writers Guild of America (West) – Author (published works, 1994, 1998, Hitler’s Angel, Winter’s Bullet, Jupiter’s Fire).  Lives in Norfolk, enjoys life, film, dog walking, cold water swimming, lego, collecting odd stuff, driving his beach buggy.

Many thanks again William, for taking the time to answer my questions so thoroughly.

If you would like to find out more about Jupiter’s Fire, why not head over to the other blogs taking part in the tour.

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Meet the Author

Madeline Dyer

I am doing my happy dance today because I have an interview with the wonderful Madeline Dyer to share with you all. Grab a cuppa and a biscuit and come on in and join us.

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What inspired you to create the Untamed world? 

The initial premise of the first book evolved when I saw the music video for “La La La” by Naughty Boy and Sam Smith. More specifically, there’s a scene in that video where what appears to be a human heart is being sold at a market, and it got me thinking about what would happen if all the things that a heart represents—such as love, happiness, and lust—could be bought at a market, just as easily as clothing and food. This idea became the basis for the augmenters—artificial emotions that only allow the user to feel positive qualities, at the expense of their humanity—that the majority of mankind are addicted to, and thus the distinction between the Enhanced Ones (those who take augmenters) and the Untamed (those who don’t) was born.

From here, I added more and more layers to my worldbuilding—predominantly by asking myself questions about how a society like this would operate and function. But I wanted to make this dystopian world a little different too, and I always knew I wanted there to be spirits in this world too. I love fantasy, and creating a world that is both dystopian and has strong fantastical elements was something that really appealed to me. And, thus, this series is set in an alternate present-day earth where augmenters have been around for hundreds of years, but it’s also a world where spirits walk the land and are very much part of the landscape. There’s a whole mythology and religion that the Untamed have created around the spirits and nature and other Divine beings (a mythology that the Enhanced Ones have rejected in favour of technology). It was really fascinating seeing how this world managed both the conflict between the Enhanced and the Untamed, and between technology and spirits.

Everything about the Untamed world feels so real. How did you go about the worldbuilding required to create something that feels so authentic? 

I’m so happy you think this world feels so real! That was something that was really important to me, and something I considered carefully when creating this world. Because my worldbuilding requires so much suspension of belief—you’ve got spirits, Gods and Goddesses, the prophetic bison, and the Dream Land—I knew that I absolutely needed to be as detailed and factual as possible in many other areas, as well as making sure that this book is as visual as possible.

I spent months and months researching and fact-checking different areas to make sure that everything but the fantasy elements were as fact-based as they could be, realistic, and familiar. Thus, a lot of the survival skills that the Untamed use to survive are real-life survival skills, and many of the plants Seven and Corin come across are also ones readers will recognize—and I made sure to include their descriptions within my imagery when establishing setting, so even if it was a plant that was unfamiliar to the characters (and so they didn’t know the name of it) readers who are familiar with that terrain may still identify it.

The volcano in Fragmented (book two) is based on a real-life volcano, and I talked with numerous volcanologists and professors at universities, to make sure my depictions of this volcano and the old lava tubes—from the type and colour of the rock, to the smells and temperatures inside the old tubes—were accurate and realistic.

Including little things like this which readers can use to ground themselves in this world that is both similar and so different, is something I think really helped to give a strong sense of ‘place’.

What made the original Enhanced create the augmenters?

So, it’s human nature to strive toward perfection and improve the human condition. This can already be seen in the medical advances in the last few centuries, in particular. This desire to live a better life, free from pain, suffering, etc., was what drove the creation of the first augmenters in my Untamed world, as they were designed to make people stronger and faster. It wasn’t until a little later that they focused on making people happier too, and thus ‘positive emotions’ became the main focus of the augmenters, as well as a line that allows for phenotype change, under their belief that a more ‘beautiful’ appearance allows the person to feel happier as well.

But it’s important to remember that the first augmenters were actually created by the Untamed, as the Enhanced are the result of the augmenters and their humanity-destroying effects.

Do you have any favourite quotes from any of the books?

Yes! This is from Destroyed (book four).

Raleigh laughs. “You are not a killer.”

“You don’t know what I am.”

I absolutely love these lines as they show both Raleigh’s pretentious nature in that he assumes he knows what Seven is or isn’t capable of, while also revealing how controlling he is as he tells Seven she is not a killer. To him, it’s not a question, and there’s no doubt about it. It’s a fact, and he assumes he knows her better than she herself does. This definitely plays into the cat-and-mouse chase between the two of them that we’ve seen across all four books, and the mind-control and mental manipulation he exerts over her in books one and three.

But Seven’s reply is what I think really makes these lines really fantastic. She’s no longer the scared or vulnerable girl she was in book one. She has grown into herself, her powers, and books three and four are where we really see her as a confident and determined character. Now she has the power to face Raleigh on her own terms, and she directly confronts him and challenges the foundations that he’s stood on for so long (as he has always told her he knows what’s best for her).

This is definitely the moment where the power-balance shifts and readers see who Seven really is now.

What was your favourite book to write? Why?

I’d say it’s a draw between Fragmented (book two) and Destroyed (book four). I particularly liked writing the Zharat culture in Fragmented, as well as seeing how Seven is recovering from both the addiction that stole so much of her in book one and the loss of her family. But I also really liked writing Destroyed. With it being the final part of Seven’s story, there was a lot I wanted to fit into this book, but it also had to feel like a satisfying end to the series and have its own plot, rather than just tying up all the loose ends and being exciting purely for the sake of going out on a bang. Destroyed certainly shakes up what readers think they know about the Untamed world, raises new questions (and answers), and with new layers of worldbuilding being explored, I hope it’s an engaging and thrilling ride.

Which book did you find the hardest to write? Why?

Divided (book three), definitely!

This is the book where Raleigh (the antagonist) really gets inside Seven’s head. There’s a lot of mental manipulation and mind games, and its tone is greatly darker than the other books. Its structure is also very different to Untamed (book one), and the majority of the action takes place in an Enhanced town (unlike the other books which have more of a road-trip feel to them as the Untamed are on the run), so we really get to see inside the enemy. There’s a lot of worldbuilding that’s solely focused on the Enhanced society, whereas in Fragmented (book two), in particular, it was solely the Untamed society that was explored. I really liked writing this contrast, but found it very hard as Seven’s situation in this book means that most of the action is centred around her internal conflict as she fights the mind control Raleigh has over her, rather than externally (such as in the fast-paced car chase scenes in book one).

Do you have a playlist for your books, or songs that you associate with a particular character?

Yes! Well, only for some books. I’m weird. Whether I create a playlist as I write and edit depends completely on the book that I’m writing—and I remember distinctly that Divided, book three, didn’t have a playlist. I required absolute silence when writing that.

Destroyed did however have a playlist, and it can be found here: https://madonreading.blogspot.com/2018/11/blog-tour-destroyed-by-madeline-dyer.html

I also have a playlist for A Dangerous Game! This is my standalone novel that’s set in the same world as my Untamed series, and although it has a different narrator, Seven and Corin do make appearances in it. The playlist can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnEZs7UwfVAk82LPChnpL-tBX4EDXMtkw

As you know, I am a massive Corin fan, but do you have a favourite character of your own?

Hmmm…so I like all my characters, but I particularly enjoyed writing the intense scenes with Raleigh! Although Divided was the hardest book to write, I found it fascinating learning so much about him in that book.

Writing from Keelie’s POV in A Dangerous Game was also really fun, and it was refreshing to see such a familiar world through the eyes of another character who’s so different to Seven.

You have spoken of a love of prehistoric fiction. Did this influence you to use the bison as the symbol for seer dream and for how the dreams appeared? I always imagined the dreams as having a cave art quality to them, even before I knew that you were a fan of prehistoric fiction.

The bison was very much influenced by my love for prehistoric art. I studied Ritual and Religion in Prehistory at Oxford Uni, and I loved the modules on cave art. As so many prehistoric paintings focus around animals, and there’s so much evidence to suggest that animals were very important to them (their bones have been found in the foundations of many prehistoric buildings and settlements), I wanted the Untamed culture to be focused around an animal too. I chose a wood bison as I love the symbolism this animal has.

Who/what are your favourite authors/books?

My favourite authors include Virginia Woolf, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, Charlotte Bronte, Jean M. Auel, J.V. Jones, Rick Yancey, Richelle Mead, C.L. Taylor, and Ruth Ware.

If you could have dinner with any three authors, alive or dead, who would they be and why?

Only three? Hmm. I’d probably go with Virginia Woolf, A.A. Milne, and Anne Sexton. I think that would be quite an interesting combination, and just listening to their conversations would be fascinating.

Now that the final book in the Untamed series has been released, what comes next? 

I can’t believe that Seven’s story is finished! I’ve got tentative plans for a second Untamed standalone—possibly focusing around a character we meet in Fragmented—but nothing solid on that yet.

And in terms of non-Untamed books, I’ve been working on the first book in a YA science fiction trilogy. Hopefully, I’ll have news on that soon!

I also really want to write a YA thriller.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Madeline Dyer lives on a farm in the southwest of England, where she hangs out with her Shetland ponies and writes young adult books—sometimes, at the same time. She holds a BA Honors degree in English from the University of Exeter, and several presses have published her fiction. Madeline has a strong love for anything dystopian, ghostly, or paranormal, and she can frequently be found exploring wild places. At least one notebook is known to follow her wherever she goes.

As well as this interview, Madeline has lots more exciting stuff happening on her Destroyed blog tour, so make sure you visit all the other blogs taking part.

Copy of Copy of July 11, 2017 (1)

Meet the Author

Isabella May

As a massive fan of all of Isabella’s books, I was thrilled when she agreed to take the time to answer a few questions for me.

Oh What a Author Pic

The covers for your books are so distinctive, and are all incredibly appetising. How much input do you have with the design?

Thank you so much! That’s one of the loveliest things you could ever say to a new-ish author; to any author. The beauty of working with a small and independent publisher like Crooked Cat Books is the fifty-fifty decision making process on aspects such as cover art. I love the way the (almost) aerial shots of the food and drink montages hint at the comedy and chaos to come in the story – as well as the delicious culinary thread. I’d never have considered using photographic cover art before but it really does work well and my novels just wouldn’t have the same feel to them with illustrations. I mesh a lot of different subjects together and so it’s important that my books have a brand and identity to help them stand out in a very crowded literary world. Hopefully we have succeeded!

Your books always include beautiful locations and equally beautiful sounding food and drink. What would be your dream destination and culinary experience?

It may seem an obvious choice, but I’d have to plump for Italy every time. The versatility and simplicity of the food, the vast array of stunning backdrops; there’s nowhere on Earth quite like it! Every course is equally delicious. Not to forget the gazillion styles of coffee. And then the Aperol and Limoncello…

Were the café/bookshop in Oh! What a Pavlova and the cocktail bar in The Cocktail Bar based on real locations and can I have their addresses please (shh, it will be our little secret)?

Haha – I am happy to reveal all…

The café/bookshop in ‘Pavlova’ is partly a figment of my imagination and partly based on a gorgeous little den of a café/bookshop which used to exist in Bath. They served the best Frosted Banana Cake I have EVER eaten. I can’t work out why they closed down. It’s an absolute crime that the people of Bath didn’t rally together to buy the place!

The Cocktail Bar is based on a Glastonbury institution. Gothic Image is an eccentrically gorgeous shop which has been going since I was in nappies. It can be found in the High Street and I recently got goosebumps when everything came full circle and the owners agreed to stock copies of… The Cocktail Bar!

Did you learn to flamenco dance as part of your research for Costa del Churros?

I can’t dance for toffee! Neither can my husband. I won’t tell you how much money we spent having lessons for the first dance at our wedding… and still we did it wrong! But somehow we have managed to produce an eleven-year-old child who is a very talented dancer – tap, ballet, jazz, pop, musical theatre; you name it, she does it. She used to take flamenco lessons too… until we ran out of days of the week (more’s the pity). Still, I gleaned quite a lot from watching her classes and teachers in action. The rest I have learned from living in a part of Spain where this glorious art form is engrained in the culture. I won’t rule out lessons one day, but I’ll need to find a very patient teacher!

If you could have a meal with one author, alive or dead, who would you choose and what would you like to ask them?

I am a huge Joanne Harris fan but my favourite author does have a tendency to get opinionated on Twitter… so it might not be the most relaxing of dinners!

I’ll go for Nigella instead. Her cookbooks read like literary works of fiction, after all, and I would love to ask her JUST HOW she manages to adapt recipes on a whim without everything turning pear-shaped. I’d love to have the ability to cook like that.

This might be like asking you to choose a favourite child but, which of your books are you most proud of and why?

I am fond of them all for completely different reasons. But If I could narrow it down to two, then I’d say The Cocktail Bar because it was my second novel, and therefore the book which (hopefully!) proved I wasn’t a One Trick Pony. And my current WIP (book 4) because it feels like my best writing yet…

What can you tell us about what is coming next for you?

Well, book 4 is written and ready for editing. It’s another foodie adventure with a magical/spiritual thread. There may be a bit of Capri and Bath involved in this one… However, it’s off on a brand new publishing journey. All will be revealed (one way or the other!) in 2019. Watch this space…

Thank you so much for your time Isabella!

 

Meet the Author

Lily Mae Walters

As part of the blog tour for Josie James and the Teardrops of Summer, I was lucky enough to have a virtual sit down with the author, Lily Mae Walters, so that we could all get to know her a little better. Before I share what we “chatted” about, here is the blurb for Josie James:

Josie James is an ordinary 13 year old until something extraordinary happens during her summer holidays.

Whist staying at her Great Grandmother’s cottage in the country she finds herself swept into the cursed world of Suncroft where it is perpetual winter.

Her new friends believe she could be the Chosen One who it is foretold will lift the curse, but there are more pressing matters.

The Teardrops of Summer – magical crystals that render the owner immortal – have been stolen.  Along with her telepathic husky-dog Protector Asher and her new friends, Josie must race to find the Teardrops and prevent catastrophe for their world.

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About the Author:

Lily Mae Walters chose her pen name in honour of her beloved grandparents who also stare in the Josie James series.

She is married with two teenage children, and two huskies that are the inspiration behind Murphy and Asher in the books.

Lily Mae lives in Nuneaton, England and finds herself using local  places and even her old school in her stories.

Family and friends mean the world to Lily Mae and many will find themselves popping up throughout the series.

Lily Mae also writes for adults under the name of Florence Keeling.

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Q&A:

I know it is important to you to include your friends, family, and the places where you grew up in your writing, but are you ever tempted to include people who you are, let’s say, less fond of, as the villains in your writing?

I have included people and situations in my writing that I am less fond of. I find a lot of my writing is based on my own experiences or those of people I know.  I quite enjoy using someone I don’t like as a “villain” but of course I change the names.

How do you manage writing two different genres? Do you ever find that the two get confused, or that there is a crossover between them?

Because the 2 genres are so different and also different age groups, I do find it quite easy to switch. Lily Mae is much higher fantasy than my Florence books so I find it quite easy to switch between the two.

How do you like to spend your time when you are not writing?

I love reading although find very little time for it these days. Music, films and TV dramas are a great passion.  My family, friends and 2 dogs are my absolute world.

Have you been or would you ever go on a writers retreat? What would the perfect retreat look like for you?

I would love to go on a writer’s retreat. It would be in the middle of nowhere with lots of outside spaces to write.  A mug of tea brought to me every hour and someone to remind me to eat because I can forget when caught up in my writing.

Which authors, alive or dead, would you have at your dream dinner party? What would you cook for them?

I wouldn’t have a dinner party, I would have a mad hatters tea party and invite Jill Murphy, Philippa Gregory, George Eliot (because I would love her views on where I now live and why she chose to write as a man), Beatrix Potter as long as she brought Peter Rabbit with her. Charles Dickens I think would be very interesting to talk to and all my author friends who I have interacted with on Twitter and Facebook because then it would just be total chaos. There would be tea, gin and never ending plate of sandwiches, cakes and biscuits.

Well, I don’t know about everyone else, but I will be checking my post for an invite to that tea party! It sounds great. If you still want to find out more about Lily Mae, here are her social media links:

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

Giveaway  to Win a Signed copy of Josie James and the Teardrops of Summer  (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions
 –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter link below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Don’t forget to check out the other blogs taking part on the tour, organised by the lovely Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources.

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