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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.’

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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.

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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.

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Many thanks Shelley. Fabulous interview.

Happy reading,

Jenny xx

 


Interview with Carol Cooper: Hampstead Fever

It’s interview time again, and today I’m pleased to have the lovely Carol Cooper dropping by for coffee and cake. Why not take five minutes to join us?

 coffee and cake

What inspired you to write your book?

I wanted to write the kind of novel that I enjoy reading myself, with a diverse cast of characters, each one complex and flawed, with problems and dreams that people can identify with. Chef Dan, for instance, is on the up, with a new job in a trendy Hampstead bistro. But his partner Laure is wrapped up in their young son and has no time for him. You can tell that’ll lead to trouble.

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

In Hampstead Fever, as in my first novel, I’ve used my imagination to create the characters. But I’ve been inspired by real people, including the patients I look after in my other life as a doctor. I’d be lying if I said anything else. Writers can’t help being influenced by what’s around them, just like everyone one. It was a lightbulb moment when I learned that everything you ever see, hear, or experience creates new connections between brain cells. Basically, daily life subtly changes the anatomy of your brain. The only characters who are modelled on real people are Laure’s aunts, who are like my own great-aunts, two wonderful individuals who seemed to be crying out to be put in a book. They’re no longer with us, so they can’t read my book.

 Hampstead Fever FINAL EBOOK COVER

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

I used the internet to look up details like bus routes to make sure characters are going home in the right direction, and I’ve checked which songs hit the charts when. That’s important for Sanjay, who loves music. I also hung around Hampstead village a lot, which is no hardship because I live nearby and it’s a lovely area. There’s a lot I didn’t need to look up, like the medical details that appear in part of the story. That’s stuff I knew already.

Which point of view do you prefer to write in, and why?

The third person, but it‘s a deep and intimate third person. Hampstead Fever evolves from each of the six main characters’ viewpoint, and each scene takes you right into the mind and heart of that one person. I think I write multi-viewpoint fiction because for most of my working life I’ve tried getting inside other people’s heads. As a GP, every ten minutes I see someone with a new story and a different perspective.

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

A bit of both. I like to have the gist before I begin, but then the characters grow and take over, telling lies, jumping into bed with the wrong people, and generally getting into trouble that I hadn’t anticipated.

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

Rick Stein to supply me with fish and seafood dishes, Barack Obama for brilliant conversation, and hairdresser Nicky Clarke to make my hair look great.

Amazon link for Hampstead Fever http://mybook.to/HF

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Carol has a Goodreads running for Hampstead Fever until 3rd Sept- check it out here-

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30284643-hampstead-fever

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Blog http://pillsandpillowtalk.com

Twitter @DrCarolCooper

Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/onenightatthejacaranda/

There’s more about all my books on my Amazon author page https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dr-Carol-Cooper/e/B005C2ZZ10

Carol Cooper

Bio: Carol is a journalist, author and doctor. She graduated in medicine from Cambridge University. To support her studies, she worked at supermarket checkouts, walked dogs, typed manuscripts in Russian, and made men’s trousers to measure.

After a string of non-fiction books, including an award-winning textbook, she turned to fiction with her debut novel One Night at the Jacaranda. She is president of the Guild of Health Writers and has three amazing grown-up sons. Like her fictional characters, she lives in Hampstead and Cambridge. Unlike them, she remarried in 2013. She likes a happy ending.

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Thank you ever so much Carol. A fantastic interview!

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x

 


Guest Post from Karl Drinkwater: Thinking Manchester in the year 2000…

I’m delighted to welcome Karl Drinkwater to my blog today to chat about his writing, and the influence the city of Manchester has had on his words. Why not put your feet up for five minutes and join us for a chat?

Karl Drinkwater

Hi Karl, where are you from?

I’m originally from Manchester. Therefore I grew up miserable. This gradually softened to a perpetual grumpiness and a desire to create a better world through fiction. I now live in Wales. It’s like Manchester with hills and greenery.

Manchester (1)

Which books did you want to talk about today?

Cold Fusion 2000, and 2000 Tunes. They were my most recent novels, both set in Manchester in the year 2000, shortly after I left for Wales. When you leave a place you see it in a different light, the good and the bad. And you see yourself in a different light too. A teeny bit of that will bleed between the covers.

Karl Drinkwater ColdWhat inspired you to write the books?

I think I was getting things out of my system with these books. They’re love letters to Manchester, its music, its city, whilst also being critical of some aspects. And they’re also more traditional love stories after a fashion, about nerds and difficult people being able to find love and happiness and contentment. Both books are set in the same summer with crossover places, themes, situations and characters that sometimes mirror each other.

Karl Drinkwater 2000 TunesWhat type of research did you have to do for your book?

Since both novels were set in a very real place I wanted to reflect that, and show how the geography of an area affects our perception of it. The difficulty was that the city centre had changed a lot in the last sixteen years. Many of the places in the novel have already been lost, renamed, altered or closed. 2000 Tunes opens outside The Haçienda, one of the world’s most famous nightclubs: just before it was demolished for luxury flats. I had to combine my memories of the city at the time with archival photos and discussions; my diaries were useful too. I built the city back up as it used to be and then let the characters breathe into that space.

There were also the elements related to the protagonist nerds. In Cold Fusion 2000 we have Alex, who is obsessed with with poetry … and hardcore physics. Luckily I’ve studied literature and astronomy at university, but I still had to learn more to fully get into his head. In 2000 Tunes Mark is obsessed with the music of Manchester. Again, it’s a love of mine, but the amount of detail I had to research so that I could draw parallels between songs based on dates, musicians, locations and so on as Mark does … that was a whole other level. Some of the research led to a series of blog posts all about the songs Mark thinks are the best examples of Manchester music (and which also form the chapter names in the novel). You’ll find the posts here.

Manchester (4)Why the year 2000?

It was a time when people thought the world might suddenly change for the better. What fools we were. But it’s an interesting liminal time, totally appropriate for coming-of-age stories about obsessive nerds, the amazing women they fall in love with, and the life-changing decisions they confront.

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

It has to be a bit of both. I plot so that macro-scale events work well, with escalation, reversals and so on. So if I sit down to write a scene I know that the two characters will begin arguing, and eventually come to blows, and say things they’ll regret, or reveal things they shouldn’t – but the details of what, and when, and how aren’t decided in advance. They come naturally from the characters interacting. Reviews often praise my realistic dialogue, and I think if you let the words and actions be authentic to the characters then the scene will flow; and often surprise the author.

Links

Website: http://karldrinkwater.uk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/karlzdrinkwater/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/karldrinkwater

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bIkYp5

Purchase: Amazon UK / Amazon US

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Manchester (6)

Extract from 2000 Tunes

Samantha Rees thrust money into the taxi drivers hand and hurried away. Stopped, smoothed down her black skirt. Was it too short?

Too late if it was.

The white-washed Presbyterian chapel was built on a hill and the graveyard sloped down to dry stone walls. A bank of dying daffodils bent their heads towards her in the breeze. When she was a little girl her uncle had tricked her, making her believe they were really called Taffodils. She shook her head and climbed the steep stone steps, worn from two centuries of comings and goings.

People in black milled around outside under incongruous sunshine. She spied smokers having a quick ciggie behind the holly trees. She’d have joined them if she wasn’t so late. Just a one-off to settle her emotions.

The mourners admitted her, welcomed her. Hugs and questions but she pushed her way through as quickly as she could without seeming rude. It smelt like a flower shop. Overpowering sweetness of the white lilies. Snippets of conversation heard in passing.

“Such a nice day for it …”

“Aye, booked the weather in advance, knowing her.”

“Joined her husband, that’ll be a reunion.”

“Always said they didn’t want to outlive each other.”

“Shouldn’t be in here really, I’m a pub man …”

Inside was dark polished wood set off against pale walls. Pews and a small gallery were filling with those too tired to stand around. She spotted her mam and they hugged. Seconds without words, but which said everything, before Sam moved to arm’s length. “Sorry I’m late. I dropped my bags off at your house first, and the trains were –” but Mam silenced her with a waved hand.

“I knew you’d be here, bach. We waited. She’d have wanted that.”

Despite all the murmurs the atmosphere was hushed, heavy, like a gap in sound before an approaching storm. Noises seemed further away than normal, vitality cut off from conversation, words disconnected from their source, just as Sam’s mother was now disconnected from her source. Organisation rippled through the crowd as people moved to seats. Some mourners had to spill over into the small gallery.

Mamgu was in the coffin at the front. It hurt to look at the box, to picture Mamgu’s face without a living smile on it; so when the minister stepped into the pulpit and began speaking Sam was glad to focus on him instead. The service was in Welsh. Soon there was sniffing and nose blowing as the eulogy continued.

They stood to sing. Calon Lân began, beautiful music and strong voices. Sam tried to sing along but her throat tightened so she mumbled, “Calon lân yn llawn daioni, Tecach yw na’r lili dlos.” A pure heart full of goodness, Is fairer than the pretty lily.

She had to look up as her eyes brimmed, lights hung in threes, the images spilt over and she realised she hadn’t brought a hankie but would definitely need one…

***

Bio

Karl Drinkwater is originally from Manchester but has lived in Wales for nearly twenty years, ever since he went there to do a degree: it was easier to stay than to catch a train back. His longest career was in librarianship (twenty-five years); his shortest was industrial welding (one week).

Sometimes he writes about life and love; sometimes death and decay. He usually flips a coin in the morning, or checks the weather, and decides based on that. His aim is to tell a good story, regardless of genre. When he is not writing or editing he loves exercise, guitars, computer games, board games, the natural environment, animals, social justice and zombies.

http://www.karldrinkwater.uk/p/about.html

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Many thanks for a great blog Karl.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x


Interview with Julia Roberts: Liberty Sands

It’s interview time today, and I’m delighted to welcome Julia Roberts to my blog. This is an excellent interview- I advise you to pop your feet up for five minutes to join us for a chat and a cuppa. What an amazing life!

Over to you Julia…

coffee and cake

What inspired you to write your book?

I have to be honest and say that it was a holiday to the beautiful island of Mauritius. I had been receiving treatment for almost a year for a type of leukaemia and the medication, whilst working effectively to bring the condition under control, made me very tired. What was needed was a relaxing ten days in paradise but on the first morning of the holiday I sat on the beach under the shade of a straw parasol, the sound of the waves crashing on the distant reef and the seed of an idea for a novel started to grow. Over the course of the holiday I lived and breathed the story and the characters, as did my poor long-suffering other half, and by the time we were waiting at the airport for the journey home I had the plot for not just one book, but the entire Liberty Sands trilogy. Book one, Life’s a Beach and Then… begins in Mauritius and the final book, It’s Never Too late To Say… concludes there, so it comes full circle.

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

A lot of people have said that two of the characters in Life’s a Beach and Then… reminded them of me. Rosemary is a sixty year old ex-dancer who has CML, but there the similarity ends, and Holly is like me in looks but twenty years ago. I think Holly’s son Harry was definitely modelled on my own son and our relationship, whilst the character of Amy has a lot of my daughter in her. I guess the answer to that question has to be a resounding yes – it’s a good job I know a lot of people.

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

All of my books to date have included far flung destinations as my main female character, Holly, is an undercover travel blogger. Fortunately I have travelled to all the places I have written about, either on holiday or for work, apart from Cuba which I had to rely on my daughter’s experience of. One of my characters in the first book had Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia, which I have firsthand experience of but in the final part of the trilogy I had to rely on the internet for my research into alcohol induced dementia.

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

At the moment all my writing has been in third person close. I like getting inside the heads of the various different characters. I hope as my writing skills improve I will feel confident enough to experiment and write in first person but obviously it will depend on the plot.

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

I like to have a general outline of the story rather than just sitting down to write but I have found with all three of my novels that some of the best passages of the book have just come to me during a writing session, almost as though they are being given to me. Sorry if that sounds weird.

What is your writing regime?

I have a full time job working as a presenter on QVC which means I don’t have as much time to write as I would like. My shift pattern is that I work eight days out of nine, which is tough, but I then get a five day break – these are my writing days, my creative days, although I don’t mind doing a bit of editing before or after my QVC commitments.

What excites you the most about your book?

Sharing it with my readers and getting their feedback. There is nothing better than when someone is so engaged in the story that they will come up to you and start talking about your characters as though they are real people. I remember one of our QVC guests, Gill, coming up to me and saying, ‘Don’t you let anything happen to my Rosemary.’ I had to avoid her for about a week after that.

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

Tom Hanks – he’d have some great anecdotes from all the movie stars he’s worked with and he might be quite useful at surviving based on his role in Castaway.

Bear Grylls – because he really does know how to survive in extreme conditions.

And the other Julia Roberts – just because I would like to meet her.

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Links-

My twitter is @JuliaRobertsQVC

My Facebook page is www.JuliaRobertsTV

My current webpage is   www.juliarobertsbooks.co.uk  BUT we are currently working on a new website which should be up and running before this goes on your blog   www.juliarobertsauthor.com

My current WIP is a short story which will be available to download free on my new website.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lifes-Beach-Liberty-Sands-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00X8U1M9C

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B017V6PMZI/ref=series_rw_dp_sw

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Never-Late-Liberty-Sands-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B01FOFAUOQ/ref=pd_sim_351_1?ie=UTF8&dpID=515QlVN3-BL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_UX300_PJku-sticker-v7%2CTopRight%2C0%2C-50_OU02__BG0%2C0%2C0%2C0_FMpng_AC_UL160_SR105%2C160_&psc=1&refRID=MQ347317FRQBNYX9RGGG

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Julia Roberts QVC

Julia Roberts is probably best known as the trusted face of the UK’s most successful shopping channel, QVC, but she had enjoyed a rewarding and varied career in the entertainment industry for many years prior to launching the channel in 1993.

She was born in Nottingham in 1956. At fourteen months old she contracted the deadly disease Polio which left her fighting for her life and subsequently hospitalised for five months. Swimming and dancing lessons, which helped her to walk without the aid of a calliper, have both played an important role in her later life.

Julia started her professional career at the age of 16 as a dancer in a summer show in Guernsey. This was followed by pantomimes in Leeds, Croydon and Watford as well as further summer seasons in the Channel Islands. Deciding to leave the UK and see a bit more of the world, she danced on cruise ships, in a theatre show in Barcelona, and performed as a singer/dancer in a cabaret show in Hong Kong. In 1980 Julia appeared in The Song for Europe as part of a band called The Main Event performing alongside Cheryl Baker, who went on to join Buck’s Fizz the following year while Julia signed a record deal with her band Jools and the Fools before moving into television.

Having featured in various TV commercials, notably the Woolwich Building Society and Head & Shoulders shampoo, and small television acting roles in Citizen Smith and Doctor Who, Julia became a hostess on the first and second UK series of the hit American game show, The Price is Right. This was followed by becoming a member of the ‘Hit Squad’ on comedy series Beadles About before she took a short career break to have her two children.

Presenter

It was during this break in her career that Julia decided to try her hand at presenting. Her first presenting job was for Vauxhall motors at the 1989 Motor Show at Olympia during which she was approached and offered a job presenting several weekly ‘magazine’ style shows for her local television channel in Croydon. One of these was called Palace Chatback and led to her passion for Crystal Palace Football Club, a team she still supports today. In addition to this show, Julia has produced and presented several features for Sky Sports.

In 1993 Julia successfully auditioned to become a Presenter for a new shopping channel, QVC, and appeared in the opening sequences which launched the channel with co-presenter, Jon Briggs. Little did she know that this was the start of a long, successful career with the channel which now boasts over 25 million viewers in the UK alone, with over 1 million active customers. Throughout this time, she has shared the screen with many famous names, including the likes of the late Joan Rivers, Marie Osmond, Sir David Attenborough, Joan Collins and Lulu, to mention a few.

Writer

Julia has now written and released 4 books. Her first book, a memoir entitled One Hundred Lengths of the Pool, was published in 2013 by Preface Publishing for Random House and sold out of 5000 hardback signed copies exclusively on QVC. The title of this book was inspired by her battle against polio in her early years, and the huge part that swimming played in allowing Julia the chance to walk unaided. A percentage of proceeds from her book sales were donated to the End Polio Now campaign as well as the British Polio Fellowship.

Close to completing the finishing touches to her first book, Julia was faced with a new health challenge. She was diagnosed with a rare type of blood cancer, Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia. After such a tough year continuing to work full-time at QVC, signing her book deal, and battling her new illness, Julia needed some R&R so booked a much needed holiday for herself and her partner, Chris, to a place she had always longed to visit, Mauritius.

On the first morning of the holiday Julia had an idea. Using her recent experience of Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia as a basis for one of her main characters she began to write her debut novel Life’s a Beach and Then… she donates a percentage of profits from this book to the charity Bloodwise (formerly Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research).

Julia published Life’s a Beach and Then…, part one of the Liberty Sands trilogy, in May 2015, followed by If He Really Loved Me… in November 2015 and the final part of the trilogy, It’s Never Too Late To Say… in May 2016. All three books have featured in the top 100 Amazon Kindle Romance charts and enjoy an average 4.8 star rating from more than two hundred and fifty customer reviews.

Now living in Berkshire with Chris, her partner of 38 years, Julia divides her time between QVC, writing, Pilates, attending Crystal Palace matches and supporting the two charities that she holds close to her heart; British Polio Fellowship, for whom she is an ambassador, and Bloodwise.

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Wow!! What a CV!!!  Many thanks for joining us today Julia.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny xx

 

 

 

 


Interview with Marie Evelyn: The Turtle Run

It’s interview time at my blog today, and I’m delighted to welcome Marie Evelyn to the chair. Let’s pop the kettle on- but how many cups are we going to need/

Over to you Marie…

coffee and cake

What inspired you to write your book?

The Turtle Run was inspired by something my mother once witnessed in Barbados (described in the book). She came across barefooted, blue-eyed, fair-haired children struggling to carry buckets of water from a standpipe to their chattel house and learned that they were the descendants of the Monmouth rebels, who were exiled from England to Barbados in 1685.

This experience encouraged my mother to study more about the Monmouth rebellion, led by Charles II’s illegitimate son, the Duke of Monmouth. Although the book is contemporary, and has a strong romantic element, the theme is about how people’s lives are influenced by the fate of their ancestors. Certainly the miserable situation of many ‘Redlegs’ (to give them their politically incorrect name) was the legacy of their exiled forebears.

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

The self-interested Francesca was based on a neighbour and school classmate of mine in Barbados. (Name changed – of course). To be fair, she may have matured into a wonderful woman fighting for human rights since I was on the island, but when I knew her, all the indications were that she would take ‘shallowness’ to new depths.

The Turtle Run cover

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

My mother had a long association with Barbados and we lived on the island throughout my childhood. There was also a family connection to the Redlegs. My mother did a little research out there to try and discover more about the original exiled Monmouth Rebels but it was only many years later – after we had moved to the UK and my parents had retired to Dorset – that she was really able to research the beginning of the story, which has so many local connections with south-west England.

The Somerset Heritage Centre (http://www1.somerset.gov.uk/archives/) was a useful source of information and this short event in British history has inspired some really interesting books. But for a ‘Monmouth fix’, I would leave the non-fiction books and turn to Lorna Doone.

What excites you the most about your book?

The book has a strong theme of trying to understand the present through understanding the past. Although I am more interested in the challenge of writing a story where there is a connection between a contemporary character’s situation and the situation of his/her ancestors from hundreds of years before, just having characters uncover a secret about their own immediate family can be really engaging.

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

Enid Blyton would be one as I have a rather complicated relationship with her. Of course, several of her books were on the theme of children living on islands, though as practical guides to island-survival they would be pretty hopeless as the children never seemed to have much problem finding food, and never had go to the loo. I should be very grateful to her for firing my young imagination, but the problem was that I assumed her stories had some basis in reality. As my image of what England would be like was entirely informed by her books, I experienced no small disappointment when we did finally move here, and as for my subsequent experience of boarding school – let’s just say that I felt very misled. I would probably end up chasing her around the island pelting coconuts at her.

I would also choose Louisa Dixie Durrell – who must have been a real character but was reduced to ‘Mother’ in Gerald Durrell’s books and who seemed to have a very placatory role during her children’s squabbles.  I imagine she would act as peacekeeper on the island, and would try to persuade Blyton that I wasn’t throwing coconuts deliberately. Finally, I would have Baroness Elsa Schraeder (Captain Von Trapp’s fiancée in the Sound Of Music) to add a touch of style and class. She could enjoy the child-free island and use the time to reflect on her extreme good luck at losing Von Trapp and his warbling children to an ex-nun with a guitar.

I guess our survival would depend upon Enid Blyton’s expert naturalist knowledge, and I would have to hope that she’d forgotten the whole coconut-pelting episode.

Links

https://www.facebook.com/Marie-Evelyn-920546144697589/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Turtle-Run-Marie-Evelyn/dp/1783753277

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28330185-the-turtle-run

 Marie Gameson photo

 

Bio

Marie Evelyn are a mother and daughter team originally from the Caribbean but now based in the UK.

Mother Margot (Margot Gameson née Evelyn) has been published previously as Mary Evelyn and daughter Marie Gameson was longlisted for The Bridport First Novel Prize in 2015. The Turtle Run is their first novel together and is based on their firsthand experiences of growing up in Barbados, showing a side of the island probably unknown to most visitors.

A former journalist, Margot in particular has seen the island go through a lot of changes, especially in the lead up to independence – Barbados celebrates its 50th anniversary as an independent nation this year. However The Turtle Run shows there are still resonances of its lesser known history on the island today.

The family moved to the UK in the 1970s and eventually settled in an area where many of the Monmouth rebels originally came from. Margot is now retired and Marie works in IT.

***

Wonderful interview, many thanks Marie,

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny xx


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