The Perfect Blend: Coffee and Kane


Currently Browsing: Books For Children

Tiverton Literary Festival: 22nd-25th June

I am proud to be able to announce that the third Tiverton Literary Festival is only a few days away!

Started in 2015 by myself, Susie Griggs and Kerstin Muggeridge – I am delighted to see the festival going from strength to strength.

After two years at the helm, Kerstin and I have taken a step back to attend our families and our books (well, both actually) and the festival is now in the capable hands of Rachel Gee, Susie Griggs and Caro Bushnell.

The new team have got a fantastic line up- you will not want to miss out.

Check out the website for the full line up-

Here are a few of the events on offer…

Thursday 22nd June

7.15pm – 8.30pm.

Tiverton Library. Tickets: £5

TivLitFest Launch Event: Jane Corry in conversation with BBC journalist Simon Hall
Sunday Times bestselling psychological thriller writer Jane Corry will talk about her hit My Husband’s Wife and new book Blood Sisters with BBC South West crime correspondent Simon Hall.

Friday 23rd June

All day

Pop-up book swap @ CreaTIV Hub, Fore Street.
Pre-loved give a book, take a book event brought to you by CAG Devon Sustainable Villages.

 10am – 12 midday

Tiverton Library. Free Admission.

Author Showcase
20 authors from all over the South West all in one place, including Tiverton’s own Jenny Kane. (Ohh– me!!)  Lots of different styles and genres to suit all tastes. Come and meet some local talent and buy their books!

 

1.00 – 3.00pm

CreaTIV Hub, Fore Street. Free Admission.

Book Chat & Signing: Frank Westworth and Tyrrel Francis
Meet the authors of the Killing Sisters crime series and local combat sports drama Blood, Sweat and Tears

 

2.00 – 3.30pm.

Tiverton Library. Tickets: £15

WORKSHOP: So You Want To Be A Writer? Cathie Hartigan & Margaret James
How to give yourself the best chance of success. Have you entered competitions but got nowhere? Are those rejection letters pilling up? Read your opening paragraphs at this informal session and find out how to make your work stand out from the crowd. Come away with bags of hints and tips on how to find the best route to publication for you. Award winning writers themselves, Margaret James and Cathie Hartigan have many years of experience as creative writing teachers and competition judges. Apart from their own successful novels, they are co-authors of the #1Best Selling The Creative Writing Student’s Handbook.

4.30 – 6pm.

Elsie May’s Cafe, Phoenix Lane.

 £7.50 per child.

Elsie May’s Magical Teatime Stories: Family Event
Magical storytelling event aimed at under 10s and their families, older children welcome too. Come in your best party clothes for interactive stories, munch on high tea, make party hats, and experience magical surprises. Perhaps a tiger will come to tea!

High teas also available for adults by arrangement.
Book via facebook.com/elsiemaystiverton or call 01884 235935

7.00 – 8.00pm.

Tiverton Library. Tickets: £5

Crime Night: Rebecca Tope, L V Hay and James D Mortain
From Cosy crime in the Cotswolds, the suspense of an unsolved death in Brighton and strange goings on in North Devon our panel has something to offer all crime fiction buffs.

Saturday 24th June

All day

Brendon Books @ CreaTIV Hub, Fore Street.

New books available from the TivLitFest Book Shop, pick up titles from participating authors.

All day

Pop-up book swap @ CreaTIV Hub, Fore Street.

Pre-loved give a book, take a book event brought to you by CAG Devon Sustainable Villages.

 All day

The Oak Room Café

will be open all day for refreshments and book chat. Coffee and a cake anyone?

Meet at 10.30am.

Tiverton Library. Free: no ticket required.

Secret Story Trail: Family event
Start the trail with Amy Sparkes reading Ellie’s Magic Wellies, then visit some secret locations for more tales from Loreley Amiti and Olli Tooley. The trail ends with Exmoor Ponies writer Victoria Eveleigh at The Oak Room from 11.45am. Come in wellies or fancy dress. Free face painting from Alannah and craft session. NB. The end of the trail is not suitable for buggies. All children to be accompanied by an adult.

Start the trail with Amy Sparkes reading Ellie’s Magic Wellies, then visit some secret locations for more tales from Loreley Amiti and Olli Tooley

Loreley Amiti

11.00am-1.00pm.

Tiverton Library. Tickets: £15.

WORKSHOP: Writing for Children – Breaking Through with Amy Sparkes
A workshop with successful children’s author Amy Sparkes whose work has been published by Scholastic, Egmont and HarperCollins.

2.00-3.30pm.

Tiverton Library. Tickets: £3

Dan Metcalf – Code Breakers Workshop (age 7-11 years): Family Event
Meet author Dan Metcalf, listen to him read one of his books from the Lottie Lipton Adventures series and try your hand at code-breaking . Great fun for children aged 7-11 years.

2.00-3.00pm.

Tiverton Castle.

Tickets: £5 including refreshments

Historical Anecdotes and Research
Conversations with M J Colewood about the Chester Bentley medieval mysteries and local historian Douglas Rice about ‘The Siege of Tiverton Castle’. Sorry no wheelchair access inside the castle.

3.45pm (approx. 1 hour).

Meet at Tiverton Castle.

Free – no ticket required.

Guided History Walk – Tiverton Civic Society
Historical walking tour. Learn about Tiverton’s merchants and wool and textile heritage. The walk will end at The Oak Room where you will have the opportunity to buy refreshments.

3.30-5.00pm.

The Oak Room. Tickets: £15.

WORKSHOP: Exploring the young adult market with Alison Knight.
The market for books written for young adults (12-18 year-olds) is growing, thanks to the popularity of authors like JK Rowling, Bella Forrest and Anthony Horowitz.  As well as creating fantasy worlds that have caught the imagination of millions of teenagers and adults alike, a wide range of YA fiction also tackles life problems head on, providing emotional support and growth for young people.  Author Alison Knight will lead a workshop looking at YA stories, with writing exercises for teens and adults who are interested in writing for this market. This session is suitable for beginners and experienced writers and anyone who wants to know more about the growing YA book market.  Bring along your favourite YA book to add to the discussion! Sorry no wheelchair access at The Oak Room.

4.30 – 6.00pm.

Elsie May’s Cafe, Phoenix Lane. 

£7.50 per child

Elsie May’s Magical Teatime Stories: Family Event
Magical storytelling event aimed at under 10s and their families, older children welcome too. Come in your best party clothes for interactive stories, munch on high tea, make party hats, and experience magical surprises. Perhaps a tiger will come to tea!

High teas also available for adults by arrangement.
Book via facebook.com/elsiemaystiverton or call 01884 235935

Judi Spiers and Christopher Biggins

7.00 – 10.30pm.

The Oak Room.

Tickets £10 (includes canapes).

TivLitFest Party with Christopher Biggins, Judi Spiers & Lucy English
Showbiz legend Christopher Biggins in conversation with Judi Piers, award winning performance poet Lucy English, acoustic vibes from local music acts. Join us at this fabulous festival fundraiser and mingle with other festival supporters. Licensed bar. Over 16s only please. Sorry no wheelchair access.

Sunday 25th June

12.30 – 2.30pm.

Tiverton Town Hall. Tickets: £15

WORKSHOP: Who, what, when, where! Jenny Kane & Alison Knight
Experienced novelists Alison Knight and Jenny Kane will help you to shape four of the most vital elements for any story; be it long or short. Characters, situation, time period, and location.  For beginners and those who wish to finesse their writing technique.

2.45 – 4.00pm.

Tiverton Town Hall. Tickets: £5

Female Author Panel
Exeter Novel Prize winner Su Bristow, #1 Bestselling writer Cathie Hartigan, Jan Ellis and Alison Knight. Listen to this lively panel of women writers talk about their work and books. Refreshments available from Gin & Jam WI.

4.30 – 6.00pm.

Elsie May’s Cafe, Phoenix Lane.

£7.50 per child.

Elsie May’s Magical Teatime Stories: Family Event
Magical storytelling event aimed at under 10s and their families, older children welcome too. Come in your best party clothes for interactive stories, munch on high tea, make party hats, and experience magical surprises. Perhaps a tiger will come to tea!
High teas also available for adults by arrangement.
Book via facebook.com/elsiemaystiverton or call 01884 235935

 5.00 – 6.30pm.

Tiverton Town Hall. Tickets: £5.

Maeve Haran and Liz Fenwick in conversation with Judi Spiers
This event is sponsored by Five Cedars Health & Beauty.
International Bestseller Maeve Haran and author of sweeping Cornish sagas Liz Fenwick will be in conversation with Judi Spiers, discussing their new books An Italian Holiday and The Returning Tide. Refreshments will be available from Gin & Jam WI.

7.30-9.00pm.

Tiverton Rugby Club.

£9 in advance, £10 on the door.

Johnny Kingdom’s West Country Tales: Festival Finale
An evening with man of Exmoor Johnny Kingdom. Watch clips from his wildlife filming and listen to some West Country Tales from the very entertaining and much loved Johnny. You will also have to opportunity to buy his books, DVDs and prints and chat to the man himself! Licensed bar. Free Parking.

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All further details are on the Tiv Lit website. www.tivertonlitfest.co.uk

You can order tickets online or you can buy tickets in person from Tiverton Library or Reapers Health Food shop on Bampton Street, Tiverton.

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See you there!!

Jenny xx


Mother’s Day: Quick Gift Guide

On March 26th Mothering Sunday is celebrated here in the UK.

If you fancy a change from buying your Mum a bunch of flowers, how about treating her to something to read while she puts her feet up and you cook her dinner? (Well, it’s just a thought!!)

Here’s a few quick and easy suggestions to help things along.

COSY COFFEE TIME READS

Another Cup of Coffee

Another Cup of Coffee - New cover 2015

Thirteen years ago Amy Crane ran away from everyone and everything she knew, ending up in an unfamiliar city with no obvious past and no idea of her future. Now, though, that past has just arrived on her doorstep, in the shape of an old
music cassette that Amy hasn’t seen since she was at university.

Digging out her long-neglected Walkman, Amy listens to the lyrics that soundtracked her student days. As long-buried memories are wrenched from the places in her mind where she’s kept them safely locked away for over a decade, Amy is suddenly tired of hiding.

It’s time to confront everything about her life. Time to find all the friends she left behind in England, when her heart got broken and the life she was building for herself got completely shattered. Time to make sense of all the feelings she’s been bottling up for all this time. And most of all, it’s time to discover why Jack has sent her tape back to her now, after all these years…

With her mantra, New life, New job, New home, playing on a continuous loop in her head, Amy gears herself up with yet another a bucked-sized cup of coffee, as she goes forth to lay the ghost of first love to rest…

Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Another-Cup-Coffee-Jenny-Kane/dp/1783751126/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1377605533&sr=8-1&keywords=another+cup+of+coffee

Amazon US – http://www.amazon.com/Another-Cup-Coffee-Jenny-Kane/dp/1783751126/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1377605667&sr=8-1&keywords=another+cup+of+coffee+jenny+kane

Romancing Robin Hood

 RRH- new 2015

Dr Grace Harper has loved the stories of Robin Hood ever since she first saw them on TV as a girl. Now, with her fortieth birthday just around the corner, she’s a successful academic in Medieval History, with a tenured position at a top university.

But Grace is in a bit of a rut. She’s supposed to be writing a textbook on a real-life medieval gang of high-class criminals – the Folvilles – but she keeps being drawn into the world of the novel she’s secretly writing – a novel which entwines the Folvilles with her long-time love of Robin Hood – and a feisty young girl named Mathilda, who is the key to a medieval mystery…

Meanwhile, Grace’s best friend Daisy – who’s as keen on animals as Grace is on the Merry Men – is unexpectedly getting married, and a reluctant Grace is press-ganged into being her bridesmaid. As Grace sees Daisy’s new-found happiness, she starts to re-evaluate her own life. Is her devotion to a man who may or may not have lived hundreds of years ago really a substitute for a real-life hero of her own? It doesn’t get any easier when she meets Dr Robert Franks – a rival academic who Grace is determined to dislike but finds herself being increasingly drawn to… 

Amazon.com- http://www.amazon.com/Romancing-Robin-Hood-love-story-ebook/dp/B00M4838S2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1409936409&sr=8-1&keywords=romancing+robin+hood

Amazon UK- http://www.amazon.co.uk/Romancing-Robin-Hood-Jenny-Kane-ebook/dp/B00M4838S2/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1407428558&sr=8-1 

Abi’s House

abis-house-new-cover

Newly widowed and barely thirty, Abi Carter is desperate to escape the Stepford Wives lifestyle that Luke, her late husband, had been so keen for her to live. Abi decides to fulfil a lifelong dream. As a child on holiday in a Cornwall she fell in love with a cottage – the prophetically named Abbey’s House. Now she is going to see if she can find the place again, relive the happy memories …maybe even buy a place of her own nearby? On impulse Abi sets off to Cornwall, where a chance meeting in a village pub brings new friends Beth and Max into her life. Beth, like Abi, has a life-changing decision to make. Max, Beth’s best mate, soon helps Abi track down the house of her dreams …but things aren’t quite that simple. There’s the complicated life Abi left behind, including her late husband’s brother, Simon – a man with more than friendship on his mind … Will Abi’s house remain a dream, or will the bricks and mortar become a reality?

***
HISTORICAL FICTION as Jennifer Ash
outlaws-ransom-final
A historical novella by Jennifer Ash, set in the lawless English countryside during the 1300s.
When craftsman’s daughter Mathilda falls foul of the infamous Folville brothers, a local family who run the district as their personal kingdom, her life is in danger…but surely not all the stories about the Folvilles are true…are they?
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Outlaws-Ransom-Jennifer-Ash-ebook/dp/B01LZDKPQM/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1475660907&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Outlaw%27s+Ransom+Jennifer+Ash 
https://www.amazon.com/Outlaws-Ransom-Jennifer-Ash-ebook/dp/B01LZDKPQM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1475660990&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Outlaw%27s+Ransom+Jennifer+Ash
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I hope that’s given you a few ideas. If you want more, then just check out my Amazon author page – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jenny-Kane/e/B00HYZIL1E/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1
Happy last minute gift buying!
Jenny x

Who the hell are you?

Hello, it’s Jenny Kane here – or is it?

Last week I was lucky enough to go to the Exeter Writer and Blogger Meet Up, organised by the lovely Kim Nash and Holly Martin. It was a relaxed affair, with the only request made of us being that we wore name badges. I decided, in the interests of simplicity, just to use two of my many names- more for my sanity than anything else!

It was so busy – really wonderful! However, I had an attack of shy syndrome, and so I sat and chatted to many of the folk I’d met before- despite telling myself I must be brave and mingle!

This situation was not destined to remain however…

The pub in which was all met was open to the public as well as to us writer types. Unbeknown to me (as I had my back to the bar and am as deaf as a post), a stag party had come in. There they were, all dressed as characters from Top Gun, merrily ( I use the word advisedly) chatting to some of my fellow writers. Then, suddenly, there was a tap on my shoulder, and the words, ‘Hey, you’re the porn woman’ were being hurtled towards me at high speed…

Cue some good natured banter with said stag party.

Letting my inner Kay Jaybee take over, I coaxed the lads outside, where I took lots of photos for them – of them I hasten to add- and was about to make my way off when one of them produced a Sharpie…A little clothing signing later and I bid them a fond farewell and returned to the writer throng.

It was at that moment when a lady – who I regretfully didn’t catch the name of- turned to me and uttered the immortal words ‘Who the hell are you?!’

And so…maybe it’s time for a recap…

Jenny Kane writes RomCom style contemporary fiction – with a hint of romance and a healthy spattering of coffee drinking included. (Tea drinkers are also welcome)

book-pile

Jenny Kane also writes children’s picture books of the very quirky variety. There is no coffee on offer, but cookies are involved by way of compensation.

title-page

Jennifer Ash writes fourteenth century medieval mysteries– also with a hint of romance, but with no coffee whatsoever. There is ale though – lots of ale.

The Outlaw's Ransom

Kay Jaybee writes award winning, full on, adult only, erotica (not porn, despite the claims of the aforementioned stag party). It has been known to include coffee… Enough said… If you wish to learn about Kay, then feel free to visit her at www.kayjaybee.me.uk You should NOT visit Kay unless you are over 18. If you are under 18 and you visit her, you’ll make her very cross- not something I’d advise you doing…

best-of-kjb

There is another ‘ME’, but that name is not shared…ever…

And then of course, there is me. The actual me, who looks remarkably like Jenny and Jennifer and Kay. I can’t tell you that much about her except she works 12-14 hour shifts as a writer every day, and goes to work, and runs a house, and has a family (pretty much like every other writer I know). She often has moments of total forgetfulness, is very clumsy, drinks WAY too much coffee, loves Malteasers, and is rather keen on all things Robin Hood…Oh, and she is generally a very happy person.

Hope that’s helped a bit.

After the stag do incident I became much braver, and I spoke to some wonderful people in Exeter- although not as many as I’d have liked to as time ran out on me. Maybe next time.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny/Jennifer/Kay/Me xxx

crazy

 

 


Meet Sammy Rambles!

Today I’m delighted to be joined by fellow Devon author, Jenny T Scott. Jenny has written a great children’s series, of dragons, magic, and mayhem. If you loved The Dragon Slayer’s Academy series, or Harry Potter, then you’ll love Sammy Rambles.

Greetings! Thank you Jenny Kane for the opportunity to talk about castles and dragons on your blog!

To start at the very beginning, Sammy Rambles is a ten year old boy who is being bullied at school. His parents decide he must change schools and by chance, they meet Sir Lok Ragnarok, headmaster of Dragamas School for Dragon Charming and things change very quickly.

In book one, Sammy Rambles and the Floating Circus, Sammy receives a dragon egg on his first day at school, which hatches into his very own dragon. But as he settles in and makes new friends, he learns of a dark fate hanging over the school. An enemy, known only as the Shape are trying to destroy all the dragons and close the school.

Not wanting to return to the bullies and his old school, Sammy sets about finding out who or what is behind the Shape and trying to stop them.

There are five books in the Sammy Rambles series and free sample chapters available to read at www.sammyrambles.com. Sammy has five problems to solve and he uncovers things about himself and his family along the way. Although the books weren’t written for a specific audience, I’ve had feedback that children as young as six are reading the Sammy Rambles books and their parents and grandparents are also enjoying the story, which takes place on multiple levels. Apparently, the oldest Sammy Rambles reader is aged ninety-six!

I wrote the whole Sammy Rambles story, around half a million words split over the five books, by hand, using pen and paper, filling many notebooks. As I’m not tied to a computer or laptop, I can write anywhere at any time and then type it all up later, preferably sitting on the floor beside the fire.

 

I used to write on my commute to work, in every room in the house, while walking around or sat on the sofa. There were times when it was too dark to write, so I bought a pen with a torch attachment and carried on writing. I even tried writing with my left hand as the ideas for the Sammy Rambles story, the characters, the plot and endless dialogue conversations just coming and coming and more than once I have fallen asleep with a pen in my hand.

Some of the characters definitely have traits of people I know, although no character is modelled on any one person. I remember sitting in a transport café and a father and his twin sons sat at the table next to me. The boys were being rather naughty jumping around the seats and backchatting their father. They were the inspiration for Sammy’s classmates Gavin and Toby. Some of Sammy’s teachers are loosely based on teachers I had, or would like to have had, at school. I challenge anyone not to have wanted Commander Altair as their housemaster.

At a recent ‘meet the author’ event, I was asked why Sammy was a boy and whether I had considered using a strong female role model instead. Looking back, I had many good role models, both male and female, if you look closely at the books, there are strong female characters, Sammy’s best friend, Dixie Deane, (who also has her own problems and story within the story). I have given Sammy’s mother a prestigious car and career as well as her caring nurturing side and a talent for baking iced buns and cookies. There are also strong female enemies in the stories so whether the protagonist was male or female, I feel I have a balance, even if it wasn’t something I consciously set out to achieve.

However, I definitely feel inspired to write about dragons, castles and mysteries and these are the types of books I enjoy reading the most. My favourite childhood books were by Alan Garner, Jill Murphy, Rosemary Manning, CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien. I spent hours on the Internet researching the etymology of names, places, delving into mythology, crystals and supernatural powers, which have spilled out into my writing. As the story progressed, I found I was writing about friendships, relationships, good times and bad times.

At the end of book three (Sammy Rambles and the Angel of ‘El Horidore), Sammy faces an impossible choice and throughout book four (Sammy Rambles and the Fires of Karmandor), Sammy endures much death and the destruction of his precious dragon world.

I didn’t set out to write a book of morals but there is the underlying theme of good versus evil and even the enemies have good traits which makes them harder to dislike. In Sammy Rambles and the Floating Circus these themes are introduced and I give the reader a flavour of the person Sammy will grow up to be. His wish “put wrongs to rights” is echoed throughout the series and it is not easy at times for Sammy to do the right thing.

I love visiting National Trust properties, English Heritage castles and taking long walks on Dartmoor. With a little imagination, you too could be driving down one of Devon’s narrow country lanes. Perhaps you are following a huge orange tractor like Sammy and his parents, and then suddenly, around the corner, there is a tall, towering castle complete with battlements, turrets and towers with flags flying from the top of the coned rooftops.

But, as in the books, not everyone believes in magic and not everyone can see the castle or the dragons flying around the turrets.

Thank you for reading this blog and I hope you believe in dragons. If you would like to read free sample chapters of the Sammy Rambles series, please head to www.sammyrambles.com. Or if you would like to meet at a Sammy Rambles event, please see www.facebook.com/sammyrambles. The Sammy Rambles books are available in paperback and Kindle versions and book one has just been released as an audiobook, recorded by Tracey Norman of Circle of Spears. The books are available on Amazon as well.

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Many thanks Jenny, for such a great blog. Good luck with all Sammy’s exploits!

Happy reading,

Jenny xx 

 

 


Interview with Oliver Tooley: Devon writer at work!

It’s interview time again!

Today I’m joined my Devon based writer, Olli Tooley. Why not grab a cuppa, take a seat for five minutes, and have a read?

coffee and cakeWhat inspired you to write your book?

The original inspiration was when my boys were looking round a cheesy gift shop on holiday. You know? The kind where you can buy gemstones and seashells, and crystal swans, and resin models of fairies with sparkly wings.

Each of my three boys had a favourite colour; blue, red, and green, respectively, and eventually we relented and bought them a little dragon each. It was so long ago now I can’t recall if I suggested it, or one of them did, but the idea was born to write a story featuring the three brothers. There was “a legend of a magical stone” which had been shattered by an ancient powerful wizard and the three parts had been scattered in different directions.
Each boy would fight a different coloured dragon to recover a different part of the stone. Red, green, and blue, would then be reunited to repair the magical stone and save the blah-de-blah-de-blah, it was AWFUL. It still gives me goosebumps just thinking about how cheesy it would have been.

It sat in a computer file for years untouched while I worked on other ideas.

Do you model any of your characters after people you know? If so, do these people see themselves in your characters?

Well naturally, the original basis for the main three boys in the book were my three sons. Their sister was based on my younger daughter, who was tiny when we bought those dragons.  
Their father was based on me, but all of them have developed differently, for example my counterpart is as hard as nails; while I am a complete wimp.

Almost every character I write has elements of real people, but none of them are closely based on any one person. Of course a few are real people from history, and for those, I need to be careful not to ignore known facts.  children-of-wise-oak

What type of research did you have to do for your book?

I research to a ridiculous degree but I regret, I am not in the luxurious position of being able to fly off to Rome, or join an archaeological dig, to get first-hand knowledge. I have managed to go to Celtic re-enactment days, and did visit Pompeii once so It’s not all armchair knowledge. I spend a lot of time on the internet, using everything from Wikipedia to expert forums, as well as reading specific books that promise to give me more details. Some of the books I have read are insanely expensive, but my local library is a lifesaver for this.

I am a bit of a dilettante with a passing interest in all sorts of subjects including; comparative linguistics, history, folklore, politics, human relationships, and more. Even when I know broadly what I am writing about, I constantly check the precise details to ansure I don’t get a fact wrong.

The hardest thing for me, writing fiction set in a real historical setting, is knowing when I can allow my imagination to take over. For example, I wrote a passage in which a Celtic warrior stabbed a sword through the walls of a roundhouse into the back of a man outside. It was only a few months after publication that I met up with the Dumnonika reenactment group and was shown an authentic reproduction Celtic sword. The demonstrator explained how Celtic swords were always rounded off and could only be used for slashing. Spears were used for stabbing and thrusting. As a writer, I feel like I want to burn every copy of the book that retains the mistake, but most are in the hands of satisfied readers and who knows, perhaps one day they will be worth money?

Which Point of View do you prefer to write in and why?

Would it shock you to know that I have never really thought about this properly?

Now I think about it, I believe I usually write from the point of view of a camera. I certainly know that, despite the microscopic chances of it ever happening, I tend to visualise the film or TV version of a scene as I write. I suppose it doesn’t hurt to dream?
Recently, I have been writing a story in the first person. That is because it is based on a real memoir of a Victorian lady.

Do you prefer to plot your story or just go with the flow?

I am definitely a “pantser” but there is always a skeleton of a plot that guides my writing. Currently, I am constrained by historical events as the redoubtable and slightly sardonic Gwenn, attempts to follow the early life of Gaius Julius Caesar. He has to go to Bythnia to secure a fleet from Nicomedes, and he has to be captured by pirates in the Aegean. All I have to do is write a plausible narrative as to why and how Gwenn goes with him. “All I have to do!”

What is your writing regime?

Hang on, “regime”? I’m just looking it up….

Oh, no. I don’t have one of those. Most days I will write two or three thousand words. More if somebody is being really stupid on Facebook. On a good day, more than half of those words will end up in my book. On a bad day they will all be on social media.

Sometimes I wake up at three in the morning with an idea that won’t wait. Other times, I will be writing at sic in the evening and not stop until well after midnight. Then I can go weeks stuck on a difficult part of the story. Fortunately, I also have other writing projects on the go. Sometimes I have two or three different stories open in Word and will dabble in all of them in the space of an hour or two.

What excites you the most about your book?

Umm, oh, err. Well, I’ve read it already, so I sort of know what happens now. I get more excited about other author’s books. Loving the Ruso series by Ruth Downie, and just getting into Troy by Ben Blake. But there are loads of fantastic books, I could go on to write a ridiculously long list.

If I had to pick something that really pleased me about my own book, I’d say the cover art by Iver Klingenberg, the cover design by Andy Jones, and the proof reading by Sarah Dawes. (Ha ha! Modest or what?) All local Devon and Somerset people. The printers are in Exeter as well, so yes, the very strong local team effort to produce it, is a big deal for me.

If you were stranded on a desert island with three other people, fictional or real, who would they be and why?

Captain Carrot Ironfoundsperson – for his indefatigable good humour and strength of character.

Leonardo Da Quirm – for his inventive genius.

Rincewind – because if he’s with me, at least I will know which way to run to avoid death

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

My little publishing imprint Blue Poppy Publishing is interested in teaming up with other self-publishing authors to try and create a sort of local co-operative publisher.
There is no money yet, and so it only applies to self-publishers who see a benefit to them of being under the Blue Poppy umbrella.

 blue-poppy-web

I am also the author of four short books for junior school (middle grade) readers.

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The Time Tunnel series features the adventures of David Johnson who stumbles across a series of holes which allow him to visit different periods of history. The first two; “Time Tunnel to Londinium” and “Londinium Revisited” obviously look at Roman Britain, “Time Tunnel at the Seaside” visits World War Two, and “Time Tunnel to West Leighton” covers the Anglo Saxons. All these aim to cover aspects of Key-Stage Two school history, while also being enjoyable stories.

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More books are planned for the series, including “Time Tunnel to Ironbridge” which will look at Victorian England.

 

 

Links

www.bluepoppypublishing.co.uk

www.facebook.com/ollitooley

www.twitter.com/OTooleyAuthor

Bio

Oliver was born in London where he grew up next to a bombed out church.  At the time he never thought it odd that there was a world war two bomb site still there in 1965. He was usually described by teachers as brilliant but lazy, and they said he would forget his head if it wasn’t screwed on. After attempting to unscrew his own head, he decided that most teachers were stupid but bigger than him. It was long after leaving school that he found out he had undiagnosed mild autism.

He had always hated writing at school because he found holding a pen for longer than the time it took to write “Happy birthday, from Olli” was painful. In addition, he would almost invariably lose any homework before being able to submit it.

The advent of modern computers was a turning point; allowing him to write at length and not lose documents. His first ever paid writing job was a contribution to “The Great Explorers” Robin Hanbury-Tenison (Thames and Hudson) 978-0500251690

He now lives in Devon with his wife, four offspring, and a demented spaniel.

***

Thanks for a great interview Olli – love the Terry Pratchett choices for your desert island!

Happy reading,

Jenny 

 


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