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Currently Browsing: Interview

Interview with Jennifer Macaire

I’m delighted to welcome Jennifer Macaire to my place today for coffee and chatter. Why not grab yourself a soothing beverage and some cake, and come and join us? Then you can read the fabulous book extract at the bottom of this page…

Hi Jenny, thank you for having me as a guest blogger! I’m here to talk about my upcoming book “The Road to Alexander”, the first in a series about a time traveller who is sent back to interview Alexander the Great. He mistakes her for Persephone, goddess of the dead, and kidnaps her, stranding her in his time.

What inspired you to write your book?

It started out as a short story – I had been writing and selling short stories to magazines, and I just had an idea of a sort of alternate history short story where Alexander the Great is never bitten by the mosquito that caused his fatal malaria. I wrote it from the viewpoint of a woman time-traveler/journalist, but when I came to the part where she slaps the mosquito away…I just kept going. In fact, I kept going for seven novels which became the Time for Alexander series. In the first book, The Road to Alexander, I even left the part about the mosquito in and you can catch it if you’re paying attention, although it’s no longer part of the plot! I ended up shifting everything around, because he dies in Babylon and I needed to introduce the time-traveling character at the beginning of his great adventure.

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

I used Alexander the Great as the hero, but I took a lot of liberties. In fact, I used my husband’s character to flesh out the great hero (please don’t tell my husband, he’s quite conceited enough as it is!) I had a lot of fun imagining how my husband would react to such-and-such situation, and I have to admit he did really well. It helps that he’s a high goal polo player, so a fantastic rider. He also loves to travel, is charismatic, and speaks several languages fluently. But I also tried to stay true to history’s Alexander, and so (unlike my husband) he has terrible flashes of temper, is bi-sexual, and is polygamous.

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

I researched extensively. I used several books on Alexander the Great, including “In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great”, but Michael Woods, which was produced by the BBC. It was extremely helpful, because the author literally took the path Alexander’s army took across Persia and Bactria, and so was indispensable for calculating how long it took to get from one place to another. More research was done on the army, how it moved, who was in it, and how Alexander fought his battles. Still more was for daily rituals, things like food, medicine, clothes, money, toothpaste, and religious ceremonies. I researched constantly – every time I had a question I’d either write to an expert or hit the library and search out books. I’m not big on Internet research, too hard to verify facts, but I did use the Internet to put myself in touch with authors and historians. Everyone was very helpful, and I learned a great deal about ancient Greece and Rome!

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

I am a plotter and use outlines. I’ve written a couple books just “going with the flow”, but they took forever to finish because I kept getting distracted.  I much prefer a chapter by chapter outline.

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

My husband, of course, and then it would be fun to be stranded with the Swiss family Robinson couple – because, did you ever see their tree-house in Disneyland? It’s amazing.

If I had to be stranded on an island, it would have to be with someone who could build a really luxurious shelter, find food, and be easy to get along with. My husband is fun to be with, but he can’t build a lean-to – he’s hopeless with a hammer and nails!

Links:

The Road to Alexander: https://authorjennifermacaire.wordpress.com/category/tme-for-alexander-series/

Tree house in Disneyland: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xlsW6WQkYI

Author site: https://authorjennifermacaire.wordpress.com/

Blog: https://jennifermacaire.wordpress.com/

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Bio: Jennifer Macaire lives in France with her husband, three children, & various dogs & horses. She loves cooking, eating French chocolate, growing herbs and flowering plants on her balcony, and playing golf. She grew up in upstate New York, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. She graduated from St. Peter and Paul high school in St. Thomas and moved to NYC where she modelled for five years for Elite. She went to France and met her husband at the polo club. All that is true. But she mostly likes to make up stories.

You can see her books at her author site, and read her blog here.

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Excerpt:

Alexander tilted his head. “There’s something so strange about you,” he said, and he sounded almost sad.

I looked at him and wished that I could tell him everything. But I knew that if I changed the course of history, the people at the Time-Travel Institute would activate their infernal machine and erase me from time, as easily as Alexander was taking out the small villages on his map with the poke of a stick. I would cease to be. I didn’t want that to happen.

Marrying Alexander might change a few things, but nothing radical. Alexander had had numerous wives; supposedly he married one woman in every city he conquered. No one knows for sure how many he married. Officially, there were Roxanne and Darius’s daughter. However, marriages at the time were not like our marriages. They weren’t written contracts. They were often, as he’d said, politics. His heirs would be the boys or girls he cared to claim. Alexander had been born to his father’s concubine.

I wasn’t worried about suddenly appearing in the history books. The written word was rare. I was in an aural society, where speaking was more important than writing; where people chose what they said with care. Pledges were made orally, and they held as much power as a document would centuries later. When someone asked a question, he listened carefully to the answer because survival could depend on what was said. Stories were told, but lies were few. People in this time picked up every nuance in speech. When they talked, it was to communicate. They would gather and discuss religion and philosophy, and the latest way to make purple dye. Everything interested them. They had come to a point in history where the world was changing and people were traveling more than ever. New ideas were coming from the four corners of the known world, and all ideas were considered. Everyone embraced everyone else’s notions. They were new, different, and amusing. It was a time of expansion and people were ready.

Alexander’s army had been carefully chosen. As a soldier, he wanted fighting men. However, as a keen politician, he wanted men who would impress people in other lands. He wanted his men to be educated, so he would often talk to them about the things he’d learned from Aristotle. And the men listened. Most were young men eager for travel and change, open-minded and curious. They remembered his words. Afterward, when they were left behind in a garrison town, either because they had been wounded or had been married to a local girl, they continued Alexander’s mission. They repeated everything he’d told him, and people listened and told their families and friends. So, much faster than you would expect, Greek civilization swept across Asia.

With Alexander’s army were doctors, biologists, priests, merchants, historians, minstrels, actors, whores, soldiers’ wives, children, and diplomats. And then there was myself.

I was an only child of elderly parents; a freak accident that my mother, well into menopause, could never explain. She found she was pregnant when it was too late to do anything about it, and she resigned herself to being a mother at an age when most women are grandmothers.

To say I was an embarrassment would be an understatement. My mother hardly dared tell her closest friends. I believe most people thought I was the cook’s daughter. When I was old enough to be toilet-trained, I was shipped off to boarding school. I came home for vacations and wandered around our huge, empty house alone. I had no friends in the neighborhood, and my schoolmates were never allowed to visit. Summers were the worst. Our house was the biggest one in the village, my parents were the richest people, and the other children hated me. My mother had our chauffeur drive me to the country club for my lessons every day. I had swimming lessons, golf lessons, riding lessons, and tennis lessons. At home, there were piano lessons, and I was tutored in French and Italian. Everywhere I went I was alone, except for my various tutors and our ancient chauffeur, whose only attempt at conversation was to ask me every day if “Mademoiselle was well”.

My father died of old age when I was ten. I dressed in black and paraded down the street behind the hearse to the cemetery. It was the first time I’d ever walked through the village. I walked behind the hearse, alone. My elderly mother rode in the car. I must have looked ridiculous, but the people lined up along the streets nodded sympathetically to me. I remember seeing them and wondered where the parade was. When I realized I was the parade, I was glad of the black veil hiding my face.

At the cemetery, my mother and I stood in front of a huge crowd of mourners. I didn’t cry. I had already learned to smother my feelings. The mourners walked back to the house where a huge banquet was set up on the lawn. It was mid-July, and the whole atmosphere was like a garden party. Except for the black clothes, you would have thought it was a fiesta.

After my father’s death, my mother took a bit more interest in me. It was the sort of interest one takes in a rough gemstone. She decided to polish me and put me in the best setting she could find. That’s how, when I was only sixteen years old, I found myself married to a French Baron.

Married. I had been standing still, thinking about all this, while Alexander watched me. He had stopped poking holes in the map and his eyes had their jaguar look.

I blushed. “I’m sorry, did you say something?”

He shook his head. “No, but some day you’ll tell me about it. You’re face is thawing, my Ice Queen. You are turning into a human being.”

***

Many thanks Jennifer- great interview and fabulous taster…

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny xx


The Path Keeper

Today N J Simmonds launches her debut novel ‘The Path Keeper’, part of her thrilling new fantasy romance series. As a romance writer myself I have always been interested in what inspires other authors to write about love. Here’s what N J Simmonds had to say…

The Path Keeper’ is much more than just a romantic tale about two young people. It has passion, suspense, drama, humour and a dash of the esoteric running through every page. You’ve been quoted as saying that the book is not a romance novel but a love story. What’s the difference?

To me there’s a big difference. When you write a traditional ‘romance novel’ you generally have two people that fall in love, you have a bunch of obstacles getting in their way and then you have a happy ending. From Cinderella to Fifty Shades of Grey and everything in between – ultimately you are following the journey of two people’s love until they reach their Happy Ever After. But ‘The Path Keeper’ isn’t just about Ella and Zac. I wanted to cover the topic of love in all its guises – unrequited love, friendship, the bond between mother and daughter, lost love, first love and of course soul mates. My writing isn’t linear, probably because my mind thinks more like a collection of crazy fireworks than a straight line, so readers dip in and out of seemingly random people’s lives – zipping back and forth from The Blitz to the 90s to the present day – until it all comes together in the end. Writing romance has a formula, writing about love has endless possibilities, because ultimately every decision we’ve ever made in our lives has been governed by love or fear…and every decision has a consequence.

 

With all the negativity in the media lately, how do you get into the happy mindset to write romance?

I love love, it’s my escape. I tend to shy away from conflict and anger, it makes me feel ill, so when I don’t want to watch the news any longer I switch on a lovey dovey film. Or I put down my newspaper and pick up a romance novel instead. The thing about love, whether you watch it, read it or write about it, is that it fills you with hope. From the teenager who longs for their first experience of true love to the old lady who is reminiscing of happier days, having someone to love and being loved in return is the best feeling ever.

As a writer you not only have to move the images from your mind to the mind of your reader, but make them feel what your characters are feeling. It’s not enough for me to have my readers follow a storyline; I want them so absorbed that they are the characters. To do this I love to watch romantic movies. One of my favourites is ‘Before Sunrise’. Not only is the dialogue so clever but it’s what isn’t said that speaks volumes. The way Jesse looks at Celine when she isn’t watching, the contradiction between what they are saying and their body language, those tiny subtle pauses, touches and unspoken words are what pulls you into the story and make you feel that all encompassing emotion. That’s what I attempt to get across in my work.

The love between your main characters Ella and Zac is very unique. How is writing fantasy romance different to regular love stories?

To be honest I didn’t approach it any differently to writing a normal love story. In fact using fantasy elements makes writing about love easier as it opens the story up to endless possibility. Being in love, especially the first time when everything is so intense and raw, is truly magical….so adding a touch of the mysterious and unexplained to it feels totally natural to me. Unlike a lot of YA fantasy romances like ‘The Vampire Diaries’ and ‘Twilight’ my book doesn’t have vampires, werewolves or witches – it’s a lot more realistic (if you believe in the unbelievable, that is). Isn’t that what love is all about, striving for that ultimate fantasy?

Did you have to sensor yourself once you discovered that ‘The Path Keeper’ was being categorised as YA (Young Adult)?

I never wrote ‘The Path Keeper’ intending for it to be a Young Adult book. I wrote the kind of story I like to read, which just happens to have a nineteen year old girl as the main character. When my publishers said they wanted it for their YA division I was worried – there’s swear words and sex and some really adult themes – but they kept it in. Then I realised that I don’t write for children, I write for older teens. They aren’t stupid, they know about sex and F words and violence so why keep it away from them? I show love in a realistic light; hopefully I can give my younger readers a taste of what is around the corner and my older readers can be taken back to a time when life was simpler and more exciting.

What do you love the most about writing romance?

The escapism. To be a decent writer you have to do more than just choose the right words – you have to feel everything your characters feel in order to describe their emotions effectively. So I could be doing something mundane like walking to the shops or ironing but in my mind I’m imagining what the taste of Zac’s kisses are like or whether his lips are firm or soft. Likewise I may be imagining the pain of losing someone I love or being on the receiving end of an unloving mother. It can really take you to the brink and back, many a night I’ve been typing with tears splashing on to my keyboard. But I love it; the drama and the intensity – what other job gives you such a ride?

Ella’s love interest Zac is a character that no one will forget in a hurry. What makes a perfect  leading male character?

Lots of things. I guess it depends what people want from their dream guy. For me I wanted to write about someone who was far from perfect. Zac is a very complicated character. Yes he’s beautiful to look at and he adores Ella with a ferocity that can be quite suffocating at times but he’s troubled. He is torn between the life he has and the life he wants with her. He wants her in every way, but knows that he shouldn’t be with her…that makes for some very impulsive decisions that create all sorts of problems for our star crossed lovers. Saying that though, he really is gorgeous! Who doesn’t love a guy with olive skin, dark hair and bright blue eyes?

And finally, what can you tell us about the sequel ‘Son of Secrets’?

I wrote ‘The Path Keeper’ knowing that it would be the first in a series of books…I wasn’t sure if it would be a trilogy or more, but I as I began to explore the characters I realised that the story had the potential to run and run. Except ‘The Path Keeper’ doesn’t start at the beginning, it starts at the moment that Zac and Ella meet for the first time. But they have a bigger past, and we see that in the second book. We also see how they learn to live with their new lives and we find out what happens to the truly vile Sebastian. Best of all we meet Luci, one of the most exciting and original characters I have ever created. She is both petrifying and beguiling in equal measures, even I’m not sure what I think of her yet…but I’d definitely want her on my side!

The Path Keeper’ is available from all good bookshops or click here to order from Amazon. To find out more about the series and follow N J Simmonds’ writing adventures check out #thepathkeeper on social media. To read the first chapter of ‘The Path Keeper’ visit njsimmonds.com.

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Many thanks for such a wonderful interview! Good luck with The Path Keeper.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x

 


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.

tttlcovertn

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.

 lrcovertnttatsscovertn

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 

 


Interview with Heidi-Jo Swain

It’s interview time again, and I’m delighted to welcome Heidi Swain into my coffee and cake space today. Why not put your feet up for five minutes, and join us for a cuppa and a chat!

coffee and cake

Hello Jenny, thank you so much for inviting me to feature on your blog this week. I’m delighted to be able to join you and finally share some news I have been sitting on for quite some time!

What inspired you to write your book?

I have wanted to write a book set around a farm for as long as I have been writing novels so when my wonderful editor, Clare Hey, said those magical words ‘we’d like to offer you a two book deal’, I knew exactly what that second book was going to be about.

I have such fond memories of growing up in the countryside, harvesting crops for my grandad and then as an adult raising chickens and growing vegetables of our own whilst enjoying the ever changing seasons.

I knew it would be wonderful to be able to write about those experiences and hopefully, if they hadn’t really thought about it before, help make people aware of how they could get out there and forge a connection with the countryside around them.

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

I always write in first person although my planning is in third. I never made a conscious decision to write from the point of view of my main protagonist but I love climbing right inside the story and living and breathing whatever it is the main character happens to be going through, good or bad.

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

I like to have the book plotted out to a certain degree. I make organised notes which form the basic ‘story skeleton’ but it is when I actually start writing that the book takes shape and develops a life of its own. There is always plenty to add and I never try to twist and manipulate the characters to fit in with my original ideas. There would be no point because they would only refuse to cooperate until I let them have their own way!

Cherry tree cafe green cover

What is your writing regime?

I’m pretty strict when it comes to my protecting my writing time, especially if I’m buried in the frantic scribbling and total absorption that comes with writing the first draft.

On ‘day job’ days I will get up an hour early to ensure I can write for at least forty minutes before leaving the house and then I will write again during my lunch break in my car and then type up what I have written in longhand during the evening.

Designated writing days are spent pretty much chained to the keyboard. Head down, words (hopefully) flowing with no interruptions allowed.

Short story writing, blog posts and features are composed during the weekend as I can write them with a little more disruption happening around me.

Skylark Farm final cover

 What excites you the most about your book?

Summer at Skylark Farm is a novel I have long dreamt of writing. In fact, my first attempt at writing a novel was set around a farm, although now consigned to a memory stick and gathering dust. Skylark Farm has proved far more successful than that early effort and it really is a dream come true to read reviews and meet readers who tell me how much they have enjoyed it. It has always been my hope, with all of my books, that if I love the characters and the settings, then the readers will as well and so far so good!

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

I am absolutely delighted to be able to finally share the news that Summer at Skylark Farm is currently on sale in paperback format in Sainsbury’s stores up and down the country! This has been an absolutely wonderful surprise courtesy of my fabulous publishers and even more thrilling as both Skylark Farm and The Cherry Tree Café were originally going to be e-book publications only.

Links

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Heidi_Swain

Blog: http://www.heidiswain.blogspot.co.uk/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WriterHeidiJoSwain?ref=hl

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Heidi-Swain/e/B00YNN3LDI/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1468151958&sr=8-2-ent

Heidi-Jo Swain

Bio

Although passionate about writing from an early age, Heidi Swain gained a degree in Literature, flirted briefly with a newspaper career, married and had two children before she plucked up the courage to join a creative writing class and take her literary ambitions seriously.

A lover of Galaxy bars, vintage paraphernalia and the odd bottle of fizz, she now writes contemporary fiction and enjoys the company of a whole host of feisty female characters.

She joined the RNA New Writers’ Scheme in 2014 and is now a full member. The manuscript she submitted for critique, The Chery Tree Café, became her debut novel and was published by Books and The City, the digital imprint of Simon and Schuster in July 2015.

Her second novel, Summer at Skylark farm was published in June 2016 and her third, Mince Pies and Mistletoe at the Christmas Market will be released in October. She is currently writing her fourth book which will be published during the summer of 2017.

She lives in Norfolk with her wonderful husband, son and daughter and a mischievous cat called Storm.

***

Many thanks for taking the time to chat with us today Heidi.

Good luck with your wonderful novels.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x


Interview with Shelley Wilson: Guardians

I’m delighted to welcome Shelley Wilson into the hot seat today- to talk vampires….Time to pop on the kettle and have a read…

Coffee blog- Full Bean Cafe Somerton- Hot Choc

Thank you so much for letting me invade your lovely blog, Jenny. I promise to behave myself.

What inspired you to write your book?

I write for two genres so have to call upon my split personality to find my inspiration. My personal development non-fiction books tend to come from real life events, issues, and my self-help motivational tools, whereas my young adult fantasy fiction comes from a deep desire to be Buffy the Vampire Slayer!

I’ve always loved mythology, the supernatural, and all fantasy subjects and have an insatiable thirst for young adult fiction. Although I’ve always wanted to write for this genre, it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I finally published my first YA book. I’m a great believer in ‘if there’s a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it!’ I think this was the driving force before my YA trilogy.

Having three teenagers under my roof is also a huge inspiration. If I can get them engaged in the writing process, then they will become more voracious readers – they are also very handy to have around when I get stuck on dialogue and have often told me ‘kids wouldn’t say that mum, try it this way.’

51PaHr+4uyL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_

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

I think my characters are a blend of everyone I’ve ever met. The ‘bad guys’ tend to be the bullies that often linger in the recesses of your subconscious right through to adulthood. My main character in the Guardian Series, Amber, is how I wish I would have been at sixteen. She is much stronger and more opinionated than I ever was.

If my children say something that I think would be quite humorous in the book, I will ask them for permission to use it. I also asked one of my daughter’s friends if I could use her name for one of the characters in my current WIP – she was thrilled.

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

In the Guardian Series, I opted for third person so I could capture the thoughts, emotions, and actions of a wider circle of characters. It ended up being the right thing to do as I needed the third person POV for a specific scene at the end of book three, Guardians of the Lost Lands.

The YA book I’m working on at the moment is written in the first person. I’ve found it quite easy to switch, which surprised me, as I’ve only ever written in third person. I sent the first three chapters off to my editor for a developmental edit as I was worried that I’d mess it up, but she loved it, so I’ve stuck with it – I’m delighted with the result.

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

Plot, plot, and then plot some more! I used to go with the flow but ended up with hundreds of unfinished projects. It was as I prepared to take part in my first NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month whereby you pen a 50,000-word novel in 30 days), that I stumbled upon the art of plotting. It’s revolutionised my writing output. I couldn’t go back now.

What excites you the most about your book?

I would have to say the most exciting thing is how it evolved to become a trilogy. I never intended to write three books, but I became so immersed in the fantasy realms that additional ideas began to bubble up to the surface. As I got to the end of Guardians of the Dead (book 1), I began to picture another ‘big bad’, and the plot of a different story presented itself around the same characters. I had to keep going. The same happened when I wrote book two, Guardians of the Sky. I wrapped up this story but left a thread that led to the grand finale. It was the most fun I’ve had!

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

First off, I would have to say Dracula but only if we have enough shade, so he doesn’t burst into flames under the hot sun! I’d love to get to the truth of his origins and find out how he keeps his fangs clean.

Then, I’d choose J.K.Rowling so we could chat about magic, writing, and muggles for hours on end and be totally oblivious to the fact we are stranded.

Finally, we’d have Johnny Depp – not just because he’s gorgeous, but because he knows where the Rum is!

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

 Guardians of the Lost Lands, book three in the Guardian Series is out on 11th November in eBook and paperback. Here are the blurbs for all three books in the series.

The Guardian Series by S.L. Wilson

Guardians of the Dead (Book 1)

One girl holds the key to an ancient pact that could destroy the world…

When sixteen-year-old Amber Noble’s dreams begin to weave into her reality, she turns to the mysterious Connor for help.  His links to the supernatural world uncover a chilling truth about her hometown and a pact that must be re-paid with blood.

As her father alienates her, and the Guardians take her best friend, her true destiny unfolds, and she begins a quest that will see her past collide with her present.

Drawn deeper into the world of witchcraft and faeries, it is only at the end of her journey that she realises how much she could lose.

Guardians of the Sky (Book 2)

Can one girl sacrifice herself to save the one she loves…

Following their daring escape from the demon realm, Amber and her friends become caught up in a war between good and evil.  They must join forces with the Queen’s warriors to overthrow a malevolent force that has spread across Avaveil, the land of the Fae.

As her powers grow, Amber is faced with the real possibility that she is a danger to the ones she loves.  Her full strength is yet to be tested in a way she can’t comprehend.

Dragons, faeries and humans stand side-by-side as they are drawn into a cunning battle of magic and surprising revelations.  Can Amber survive long enough to see her dreams fulfilled?

Guardians of the Lost Lands (Book 3)

Amber’s final quest could claim her soul, but it’s a journey she must make.

The evil that lurks in the Lost Lands threatens to infest the realms unless Amber, Redka, and Connor can destroy it. But Amber is more concerned about her father’s safety as he is held captive by the wickedness that terrorises them all.

Amber faces isolation and mistrust from her friends as they travel across land and sea to meet their most dangerous foe.

Will she be able to stay true to her destiny as the last Oracle, or will she be tempted by the darkness? The fate of the realms is in her hands.

Amber’s final quest will be her most terrifying yet. This time, it will be deadly.

***

Links:

My Website is http://www.shelleywilsonauthor.co.uk

My Author/Reviewer Blog is http://www.shelleywilsonauthor.com

Twitter http://www.twitter.com/ShelleyWilson72

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson

Amazon Author Account http://amazon.co.uk/Shelley-Wilson/e/B00G5KPMJI

Instagram http://instagram.com/authorslwilson

Goodreads YA http://goodreads.com/author/show/13524443.S_L_Wilson

Goodreads http://goodreads.com/author/show/7362789.Shelley_Wilson

 

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Bio

My name is Shelley. I divide my writing time between non-fiction for adults and the fantasy worlds of my YA fiction.

My books combine lifestyle, motivation, and self-help with a healthy dose of humour. My approach to writing is to provide an uplifting insight into personal development and to help you be the best you can be.

I write my YA fiction under, ‘S.L. Wilson’ and combine myth, legend and fairy tales with a side order of demonic chaos.

I also write a motivation and lifestyle blog http://myresolutionchallenge.blogspot.com

I was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire but raised in Solihull, West Midlands, UK, where I live with my three teenagers, one fat fish and a black cat called Luna.

I was asked during an author interview to list my favourite things:

  • Pizza
  • List Writing (yes, it’s a thing)
  • Anything supernatural or mythological – especially Vampires!
  • Watching Game of Thrones/The Walking Dead/Vampire Diaries/Shadow Hunters
  • Johnny Depp!
  • Chocolate – in large quantities.

***

Many thanks Shelley. Fabulous interview.

Happy reading,

Jenny xx

 


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