Q&A with Laura Boon

Today I am lucky enough to be hosting a Q&A with Laura Boon. This Q&A is conjunction with the release of Laura Boon’s novel; Millionaire Mountain Climber.

So without further ado, lets jump in…

Where and when can we buy your book?

From 24 October it will be available as an eBook from the usual places such as Amazon, iBooks and Kobo, and as a paperback from Amazon and the publisher, The Wild Rose Press.
Amazon Australia: https://tinyurl.com/y9v28sq3
Amazon US: https://tinyurl.com/yabt9gww
Amazon UK: https://tinyurl.com/ya26ljwh
IBooks: https://tinyurl.com/ycjzhpks
Kobo: https://tinyurl.com/y9c93n6t
The Wild Rose Press: https://tinyurl.com/y7n7ghg5

Give us an insight into your main character?

Hailey Gordon is in her mid-twenties. She’s worked hard to achieve personal and professional success – a stable job, a solid relationship – and overcome the disadvantages of her chaotic childhood. When it all falls apart, she is left feeling like she’s having a ‘midlife crisis’, not knowing who she is or what she wants. She decides to take a working holiday in France to get away from it all for a couple of months and this changes the direction of her life. I’m interested in the increasing pressure we all face as a result of technology. We have to be available 24/7. There’s never any real downtime. Most of us have our work emails on our personal phones. Young people enter the workplace full of energy, enthusiasm and drive. It’s soaked up by companies, but at what cost to the individual? It impacts negatively on mental health and I believe the ‘midlife crisis’ is going to become a moment of reckoning much earlier in people’s lives.

Was there a particular moment or smell that spark your idea for this book?

I’ve been to the valley of Chamonix-Le Tour in France, and I thought it would be a wonderful setting for a book, glamorous, remote, beautiful. The colours are so vivid – the bright green foliage, the blinding white of the glaciers, hundreds of shades of blue, the stark grey and brown of the mountain rock. And, of course, there is French food and French presentation. Delicious!

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character/s from this book?

Hailey is a young, brunette Jessica Alba. Kit Harrington would be perfect as Matt Hanley.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I always loved reading and writing. Stories have been my escape and my education since I discovered the written word. However, it never occurred to me that I could be one of ‘them’, the storytellers, until I took a class in creative writing at university.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

I’ve started and stopped hundreds of times over the years, but I always got stuck in the dreaded middle. Shortly after we emigrated to Australia ten years ago, I discovered the Romance Writers of Australia (RWA). It was a life-changing moment. They offer a combination of support and education that is absolutely amazing. Without them, my desire to write and publish a novel might have remained a dream.

Do you have a special time or place where you like to write?

I have a little red desk in the TV room of our home, looking out over the garden. I like to write with the family around. Quiet makes me nervous. I always claim Jane Austen as my role model! I don’t have a regular routine, unfortunately. I am sure I would be more productive if I did.

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

Two thousand to three thousand words is a good writing day. However, achieving that depends on a host of things including other work.

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

I brainstorm and sketch out my plots on paper, in a variety of journals. However, I write the actual story on my computer. I find connecting my fingers to the keyboard helps ideas flow.

Where do your ideas come from?

My ideas often start with an individual in a difficult situation – in history, on TV or around me. I think about how I would react in that situation. The solutions I seek are emotional, not physical. I’m intrigued by relationships and how different personalities clash and combine. In Hailey’s case, there was a bit of wishful thinking involved. I’ve had several bosses I would love to have fired, but of course, the real question is, once you have done that, once you have stormed out, what then?

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

Ha! Interesting question. I always start with an outline, but it changes constantly as I write. I go through at least five plot outlines before I finish a story. My characters don’t seem interested in following my lead.
What is the hardest thing about writing?

Having the courage to keep going when I’m not convinced anyone will be interested in what I’ve written.

What is the easiest thing about writing?

Revision. It’s not the most interesting part of the process but it is straight forward.

Do you ever get writer’s block?

I think I suffer from writer’s fear more than writer’s block. Sometimes I’ll do just about anything to avoid the keyboard, including housework – and I hate housework. It’s not the fear of not having ideas but the fear that the ideas aren’t good enough.

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

Trust to process. If you sit down and start typing, something will happen.

What book/s are you reading at present?

I’ve always got a couple of books on the go. I just finished The Pursuit Of by Courtney Milan, which is a wonderful, sensitive same-sex historical romance. Now I’m reading Lionheart by Thea Harrison (amazing fantasy romance combining the contemporary world and Arthurian legend) and I’ve got An Elephant in My Kitchen by Francois Malby-Anthony and Katja Willemsen, a memoir about saving orphaned animals, at the top of my TBR pile.

What’s your views on social media for marketing?

I’m actually a big fan of using social media for marketing. A person has to be careful not to spam, and it is important to be clear about what is marketing and what is conversation, in other words be honest. However, social media is where people hang out these days, so it is where you get to talk to them, both personally and professionally. The traditional media is shrinking and becoming more and more niche – politics, news, high-end arts. If your business is retail or commercial, there’s no longer a place for you in the traditional media – unless you are a huge company with a massive advertising budget.

How do you relax?

I like to read. There’s something magical about being able to transport yourself to another world simply by opening up a book. I love playing with my dog. He’s a little Pekingese with the cutest personality. I also enjoy walking and traveling, when I can afford it.

What is your favourite book and why?

My favourite book is always changing, but I’ll stick with an old favourite. Devil’s Cub by Georgette Heyer. It’s perfect comedy although it does help to have read These Old Shades beforehand.

Which writers inspire you?

So many. Rhenna Morgan, Lucy Parker, Anne Gracie, Anna Campbell, Amy Andrews, Loretta Chase, Tessa Dare, Lisa Kleypas, Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. All women. All writers of romance. Romance is the romantic comedy of the writing world. Done well, it’s incredible because to balance light and dark, humour and pathos, is very difficult. Without the dark the light doesn’t shine, but people don’t seem to notice. It’s always the tragedy that wins the Oscar. I’d like to add crime writers Elly Griffiths, Donna Leon, Fred Vargas. And Andre Brink, a man who wrote with emotional sensitivity. He could be dark, but he wasn’t afraid of the light.

What is your favourite quote?

“For all I know, writing comes out of a superior devotion to reading.’ Eudora Welty, American novelist and short story writer, winner of The Pulitzer Prize for The Optimist’s Daughter, 1909-2001

What is your favourite film and why?

LadyHawke – adventure and romance in one wonderful package.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Be brave. Chase what you want and don’t let fear of failure and other people’s opinions hold you back.

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?

I’d like to meet two completely different South Africans, Olive Schreiner, the literary equivalent of Miles Franklin and Nelson Mandela, former president of post-apartheid South African.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. It was the first book I read where a female character was front and centre of the story. I love that Jane is regarded with disfavour by the world and yet true to herself. Stubborn and resilient are two characteristics I admire.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Join a supportive writing group and attend as many courses as you can. Keep learning and keep writing even when you think your work is too horrible to see the light of day. And don’t forget to read, your genre, other genres, anything you can lay your hands on.

Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

Thank you for the opportunity to talk to you and your readers. It’s made me think and taken me down memory lane. A wonderful journey in itself.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website and blog: https://lauraboon.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LauraBoonAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LollyRussell
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/laura-boon-russell-ae-6734145/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com.au/laurabrussell/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lauraboonrussell66/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18376534.Laura_Boon

Well that’s it from me. I hope you guys enjoyed today’s Q&A. Dont forget to check out Millionaire Mountain Climber by Laura Boon.

Until next time…

Happy Reading…

❤ Gem

 

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Q&A With Fiona Palmer

Today I am lucky enough to be hosting a Q&A with Fiona Palmer. This Q&A is conjunction with the release of Fiona Palmers’s book latest novel; Sisters And Brothers.

So without further ado, lets jump in…

Where and when can we buy your book?

You can buy the book from 28 August at all good bookshops. Link here: https://www.hachette.com.au/fiona-palmer/sisters-and-brothers

Give us an insight into your main character?

I have five characters in this book, but I think the main one might be Bill, the father in the middle of it all. The story starts in the mid 1970s when Bill meets the love of his life and their journey. Then the rest of the book is set in the current day with his daughter Sarah at the centre of the story and how her life changes. Sarah is a hard-working mum trying to juggle the pressures of mummy peer pressure, sure she looks like the perfect wife and mum with all her crap together, but underneath she is a shell, a lost unhappy person.

Was there a particular moment that sparked your idea for this book?

Yes, reading an article about a man looking for his biological father. He did a DNA test through a private investigator and found he had over a thousand half brothers and sisters also looking for their father. Who turned out to be a postman that had been very, very busy over the years on his mail run. It sparked many ideas combined with my own grandad’s adoption story. I had many ‘what if’s’ I wanted to explore.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character/s from this book?

Oh I haven’t thought that far yet. I have photos I found of the characters and used them when writing the book, so at the moment, that is who I see when I think of these characters.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I didn’t decide it, it chose me! It was never on my radar, being close to failing English because you can’t spell or understand grammar made it clear to me that writing was never on my agenda. But no one told me that had nothing to do with writing a story. Those I had plenty of. So much goes on in my brain, creating to the point I started writing it down just to free my mind. And learning to touch type at College made the task so much easier. Then before I knew it I had a story typed out. (Well it took three years between running a business and raising two babies!!) The next step seemed to be trying to get it published. It wasn’t like I started writing with a plan to publish a book. I wrote to free my mind and ended up with something that people told me to try to get it published. I haven’t looked back.

Do you have a special time or place where you like to write?

I have an office at the back of the house. It’s freezing in winter and hot in summer lol. But I find I write better at night when I’m not distracted by the outside and other jobs. At night its dark, dinner is done and I can put on some music and get lost in the words. I can waste a whole day trying to write 1000 words or at night I can spend two hours and write 2000.

What is the hardest/easiest thing about writing?

Procrastinating. That’s why I like to keep busy. I go to my farm job, fill my days in so I have to make the most of the writing time I have. If I find myself with a week off work and can spend the whole time writing…I find I’ll write one day and spend the rest binge watching TV shows!!!! I can be soooo lazy!

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

Music helps me. Helps to get me motivated and clear any other wayward thoughts in my head. Then I re-read the last chapter I wrote and then just try to write…anything…even if its crap. You can always fix crap… you can’t fix a blank page.

What book/s are you reading at present?

I’ve just started Pachinko by Min Jin Lee as it’s our bookclub book. I also had Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine on audio book. I think the reader made the story even better!

What is your favourite book and why?

Tough one, it changes depending on my mood. Years ago it was Vampire Academy. Now it’s Sarah J Mass’s books; the Throne of Glass series. I love reading YA, fast-paced exciting novels.

Which writers inspire you?

Some writers I read and their books are so good I just feel like a failure. It’s not so much writers that inspire me but life itself. Nature, people, situations and moments in life. It was these things in the first place that led me to writing and still do.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t give your kids a mobile phone! Stay tuned for a book related to this issue.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

Harry Potter because this book drew me back into reading. I’d forgotten the joy and the excitement of living through a book. So glad she wrote a whole heap! Plus then I wouldn’t have to work again!

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Just keep writing. Write what you love, what you are passionate about and what you love to read. Don’t stress the small stuff. Edit the book when you are done. First, get it down.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

http://www.fionapalmer.com

Facebook: FionaPalmerRuralAuthor

Twitter: @fiona_palmer

Instagram: @fiona_palmer

Well that’s it from me. I hope you guys enjoyed today’s Q&A. Dont forget to check out Sisters And Brothers by Fiona Palmer.

https://www.hachette.com.au/fiona-palmer/sisters-and-brothers

Until next time…

Happy Reading…

❤ Gem

Q&A with Anne Allen

Today I am lucky enough to be hosting a Q&A with Anne Allen. This Q&A is to publicize Anne Allen’s book The Betrayal – The Guernsey Novels Book 6.

So without further ado, lets jump in…

Where and when can we buy your book?

All of The Guernsey Novels are available in print and kindle versions on Amazon worldwide and can be ordered from Waterstones and other good booksellers in the UK. My latest, The Betrayal, book 6 in the series, was published in October 2017. Each book is a standalone story, but is linked to others by characters and the setting of the beautiful island of Guernsey.

Give us an insight into your main character?

The Betrayal is a dual-time novel meaning there are two main characters. The earlier part is set in 1940s Guernsey, when it’s occupied by Germans. My character is Leo Bichard, married with a baby and the owner of a successful antique business. He married late in life and is devoted to his family, but has to send them away before the Germans arrive.

In modern Guernsey the main character is Fiona Torode who together with her twin brother, Nigel, buy a long-established antique shop in Guernsey after he is diagnosed with MS. Fiona finds his body in the shop soon after they find what appears to be a valuable painting and suspects foul play.

Was there a particular moment or smell that spark your idea for this book?

Not a smell, but I was drawn to the idea of writing a story based on Renoir who spent weeks in Guernsey in 1883 and produced a number of paintings.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character/s from this book?

Ah! What a thought! Fiona could be played by Carey Mulligan, Leo by Brad Pitt and Fiona’s love interest, Michael, by Ryan Gosling

When did you decide to become a writer?

It wasn’t a particular decision. I was a psychotherapist but wanted to try my hand at writing a novel. I’d always been creative – sculpture, mosaics, painting furniture – and writing seemed a good follow-on. It became a reality about 10 years ago,

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

I read a book which reminded me of Guernsey – ‘Coastliners’ by Joanne Harris and I knew I wanted to set a story in the island I’d loved and lived in for 14 years, but had now sadly had to leave. At this time I also entered a true-story competition run by Prima magazine in the UK and won, which spurred me on to finish the novel. This was ‘Dangerous Waters’, which was finally published in 2012.

Do you have a special time or place where you like to write?

I have a small study where I write but no special time. I’m at the computer most days but it isn’t always very productive!

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

Not when I start a book, but towards the end I aim at 1-2000 words a day.

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

I jot down the outline for each chapter and then start writing directly onto the computer.

Where do your ideas come from?

Guernsey is a main character in all the books and I draw on its history and beauty for the stories. I usually start with something that happened in the past which affects people and events in the present and ideas just seem to materialise.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

I always work to a plot and write a sketchy outline before starting although sometimes the story goes off piste!

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Sitting down at the computer and waiting for the words to flow.

What is the easiest thing about writing?

The fact that I’m in control and can choose what happens to my characters.

Do you ever get writer’s Block?

I get stuck occasionally in that I know what I want to achieve, but the story doesn’t flow.

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

It can help to walk away from the computer for a while, either for minutes, hours or even days. Do something different to free your mind from the problem. I tend to go for a walk and have a coffee in a pretty café by the sea and let my mind wander where it wants. Seems to work ☺

What book/s are you reading at present?

I’ve just finished re-reading ‘The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society as the film is shortly to be released. Although I enjoyed the book for its quirkiness and unusual characters, it isn’t really authentic Guernsey.

What’s your views on social media for marketing?

Well, writers have to get on board with social media. It’s a useful tool for connecting with readers and potential readers as well as other authors although it might not improve book sales. I see it as a way to increase an author’s visibility rather than selling books.

How do you relax?

Naturally I love reading! And I chill in the evening by watching good dramas or documentaries on television – we have a good choice here in the UK. I also enjoy going to the cinema and theatre with friends or family.

What is your favourite book and why?

It’s difficult to choose from so many I’ve enjoyed over the years. One that does stand out is ‘The Quincunx’ by Charles Palliser. I read it some years ago and I was enthralled. It’s a sprawling tome with shades of Charles Dickens and Anthony Trollope, with a complex plot and myriad characters. It certainly kept my brain cells ticking over!

Which writers inspire you?

There have been a few. I’ve loved books by Barbara Erskine, Erica James, Mary Higgins Clark, Katie Forde and Robert Goddard to name a few.

What is your favourite quote?

“Inspiration is wonderful when it happens, but the writer must develop an approach for the rest of the time… The wait is simply too long”.

Leonard Bernstein

What is your favourite film and why?

Another difficult choice! I have a soft spot for ‘Ghost’ with the lovely Patrick Swayze. Having lost my own husband suddenly when I was young, it makes me cry every time.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Keep going!

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?

William Shakespeare. I want to ask him if he was the real author of the plays and if not who was?

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

‘Quincunx’ as above – so intelligent, a book to be proud of.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write for your enjoyment and hone your craft before thinking of sending it out to the world. Don’t worry about what’s ‘hot’ at the moment, write the book YOU want to write.

Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

My current work in progress is a dual-time again, but moving to Victorian Guernsey when Victor Hugo lived there in exile and finished off his masterpiece, Les Miserables, together with a connection in the present day. Could be of interest to you, Gem ☺

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website: http://www.anneallen.co.uk

Blog: Ditto

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Anne-Allen-Author-176883759173475/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnneAllen21

Instagram: anneallen4351

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5830010.Anne_Allen

Well that’s it from me. I hope you guys enjoyed today’s Q&A. Dont forget to check out The Betrayal by Anne Allen.

Until next time…

Happy Reading…

❤ Gem

 

Q&A with Tammy Robinson

Today we have a Q&A with Tammy Robinson. This Q&A is part of a blog tour for Tammy Robinson’s book Differently Normal.

So without further ado, lets jump in…

Where and when can we buy your book?

Differently Normal will be out January 30th in Australia and New Zealand. In Australia, it will be available in all good bookstores and online including Dymocks and Booktopia. In New Zealand, it will be in all Paper Plus stores, plus Whitcoulls, Warehouses and Independent bookstores.

Can you give us an insight into your character Maddy?

Maddy has been forced to grow up quickly from a young age. With no father on the scene, she and her mother are full-time cares for Maddy’s younger sister Bee who has autism and other health issues. Maddy is cynical and used to being a loner, as she has barely had time for friendships and those she had fallen away due to her family obligations. She is resigned to always putting her sister first. Then she meets Albert.

Was there a particular moment or smell that sparked your idea for this book?

Yes, I had the idea of a young woman whose life was in limbo because of family obligations. Her mother was originally going to be very flighty and unreliable, but that didn’t sit well with the book so I changed it. The rest came from there.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing Maddy and Albert from this book?

For Albert, I’d say Alex Pettyfer. He is gorgeous but has that down to earth natural appeal. Plus, he looks like he’d be at home on a surfboard. For Maddy, someone like Rose Leslie, or an unknown. I quite like the idea of someone new to the scene taking on the role.

When did you decide to become a writer?

Before I can remember. It’s just something I’ve always wanted, and always known I’d be. It’s who I am. I could never NOT be a writer.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

I’ve written on and off since my teens, although when I worked on cruise ships and for Club Med resorts I had no time for it, so it was put on the back-burner for later in life. After I came home, married and settled, the time was right and as soon as I had the idea for my first book I was away Haven’t stopped since!

Do you have a special time or place where you like to write?

At the house we owned in Rotorua, I had my own little writing room and I was so in love with it! It looked out over the mountain and it was my peaceful place I could lock myself away in and just focus on writing. However, we moved to a farm last year and the house we’re in is much smaller, so I’m sharing an office with my baby boy Leo and his cot. It’s not ideal but it will do for now. As for a special time to write, whenever I can basically! With three young children aged five and under, time is hard to come by. SO whenever my husband has time off he’s on daddy duty and I’m writing.

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

Not usually, but with the book I’m currently working on, PHOTOS OF YOU, I have a deadline so I’m aiming for two thousand words a day. Sometimes it’s over, sometimes under. I’m hoping it will balance out.

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

Computer, always. I wish I could write longhand as well but my thoughts are too quick for my fingers to keep up with.

Where do your ideas come from?

Different places. One was sparked by a dream. Some the character will just form in my head, usually with a sentence of piece of dialogue that I just love, and the entire book will come from that. Others have come from news articles I’ve read.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

I never have an entire book in my head to start, just a snippet of something, and I have to work out the story from there. When I first started writing, I rarely knew how a book would finish until I got there.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

The worry of whether anyone will actually like what you have to say.

What is the easiest thing about writing?

For me, coming up with new ideas. I always have a few ideas brewing in my head at any one time.

Do you ever get writer’s block?

Not so far, touch wood!

What book/s are you reading at present?

Buddhism for the unbelievably busy, by Meshel Laurie.

What’s your views on social media for marketing?

Invaluable. Difficult to get your name out there without social media these days.

How do you relax?

Believe it or not, by writing! I get angst if I go too long without being able to Crafting stories is what makes me happy.

What is your favourite book and why?

Benny and Shrimp, by Katarina Mazetti. I’m not sure exactly why I’s my favourite, but it is and has been since I read it on the beach quite a few years ago now. It is one I can read again and again. Simple storytelling done well. Ordinary people living ordinary lives and yet quite extraordinary.

Which writers inspire you?

The ones who actually make a living doing what they do!

What is your favourite quote?

‘I hope to arrive to my death late, in love, and a little drunk.’ Atticus

What is your favourite film and why?

The Notebook. Can’t beat a good love story. Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams just made perfect sense together.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

This is a tough one, because I’ve been through a lot of stuff that, while tremendously difficult at the time, shaped who I am today. So as hard as it was, I wouldn’t change it.

I guess I would just tell myself to stay positive, everything works out ok in the end.

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?

Oprah. I feel like she could teach me a lot, especially about The Law of Attraction which I have recently taken an interest in.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

And Terry Pratchett book, because he must have had a hell of a great time coming up with the Discworld and all the colourful characters. Love his books, very funny stuff.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write, write and write some more. You will learn as you go and, like a fine wine, get better with time. Write what you like to read and that enjoyment will show through the pages.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Facebook: Tammy Robinson Author

Twitter: @TammyRobinson76

Instagram: Tammy Robinson – Author

Goodreads: Tammy Robinson

Well that’s it from me. I hope you guys enjoyed today’s Q&A. Dont forget to check out Differently Normal by Tammy Robinson.

Until next time…

Happy Reading…

❤ Gem

Q&A with K.L. Loveley

Today we have a Q&A with K.L. Loveley. This Q&A is part of a blog tour for K.L. Loveley’s book Love, Secrets and Absolution.

So without further ado, lets jump in…

Where and when can we buy your book?

Love, Secrets, and Absolution is available via Amazon from November 1st.

Give us an insight into your main character?

The main character of Alfie is adorable and complex on a number of levels. He sees the world differently from his peers and at times suffers the consequences of this. This is a story of his coming of age and the difficulties, he encounters along his own personal journey.

Was there a particular moment or smell that sparked your idea for this book?

There was no defining moment for me. It was a germ of an idea that grew, alongside my desire to write fictional stories about real life gritty situations.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character/s from this book?

Throughout the story we see the character of Alfie grow and develop from a baby to a teenager. Love, Secrets and Absolution’ is a coming of age story. The teenage Alfie I would like to see played by Nico Mirallegro, a young actor who played a Goth in the TV drama, Killed for being different.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I have always written since I was able to put pen to paper. As a child I wrote short stories, kept a diary and later a journal. In terms of becoming a published writer, this was always my dream. I guess, in answer to your question, nature decided that I was to become a writer. It is in my blood.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

Once again, I can honestly say that there was no trigger for me to sit down and write. For some reason, I felt driven to do so.

Do you have a special time or place where you like to write?

This is an easy question for me. My husband and I own a narrowboat. This is my special place to write. The best time of day is when the natural light shines through the windows, which is usually anytime until late afternoon, depending on the time of year.

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

No, not at all. I write as much or as little as time allows or for as long as my inspiration continues to flow.

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

I always write directly on my laptop, using Microsoft Word.

Where do your ideas come from?

My ideas come from a variety of sources. For example: a current public health concern, such as an increase in children’s mental health conditions or a reported change in women’s drinking habits. In addition, I might read an article in a newspaper or magazine that inspires me to fictionalise a topic that may be of interest to readers.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?

Generally, I have a rough outline in my head. As the characters within the story develop, so does the plot. Sometimes, I surprise myself and develop a subplot that enables me to expand the story, which hopefully, the readers will find interesting.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Some would say that it is the isolation of working alone. However, for me this is not the case. What I find hard, is ensuring that my husband does not get too lonely while I am frantically typing away at my keyboard.

What is the easiest thing about writing?

These days I would say that the use of the keyboard has made writing easy, along with spell check and Grammarly as virtual assistants. Goodness knows, what it was like, to write everything free hand.

Do you ever get writer’s Block?

Not yet, thank goodness.

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

Having not experienced it, I am not in a position to advise. However, should this occur, I guess that I would take a short break from writing, do a spot of travelling and try to find inspiration from life in general.

What book/s are you reading at present?

I am currently reading The Mistake written by another Nottingham author. K L Slater.

What’s your views on social media for marketing?

Social media has opened up a whole host of opportunities that were otherwise not available in terms of marketing. In a nutshell, I think that used correctly, social media is amazing.

How do you relax?

Reading, sewing, swimming and socializing with family and friends. I also enjoy watching a good drama on TV and going to the cinema.

What is your favourite book and why?

Anna Karenina, written by Leo Tolstoy. It is so profound and well written. A sentimental tragedy full of love, passion and drama.

Which writers inspire you?

There are many wonderful authors, both male and female. However, when asked to name an author who I truly admire, I turn to history and nominate Jane Austin, who died at the early age of forty-one in the year 1817.

By today’s standards, such a short life and yet, her writing suggests a life well lived, in terms of the experience she poured into her books.

As a woman, dependent first on her father and then her brothers in terms of her financial security, there is no doubt, that her writing was, both a means of escapism and a desire to provide her own income. Considering that she was the daughter of a clergyman, I am in awe of the width and sophistication of her observations. I would imagine that Jane was exposed to a limited amount of acquaintances, bearing in mind the limitations of her social circle. Despite this and other variables, she created such interesting characters, who to my mind, are as interesting today as the time they were written

What is your favourite quote?

To thine own self-be true’. Polonius in Hamlet, written by William Shakespeare.

What is your favourite film and why?

There are so many good films to choose from, however for some reason the one that constantly springs to mind is, The Shawshank Redemption. A 1994 American drama film, written and directed by Frank Darabont. The reason I love this film, is linked to the word ‘redemption’.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

The truth is, if only I knew back then, what I know now would I have done things any differently? I have no regrets; therefore, my advice would simply be. “Don’t worry about a thing, because every little thing will be alright”. Lyrics from Three Little Birds, written by Bob Marley.

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?

Our Queen Elizabeth, so I could congratulate her on a job well done.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

Pride and Prejudice, written by Jane Austin. Because it is a great classic and timeless.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Never give up trying.

Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

Just a huge Thank you.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website: http://www.klloveley.com Twitter: @K_L_Loveley Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/klloveley/ Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16289732.K_L_Loveley Google + https://plus.google.com/102442535506497572378 LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/k-l-loveley-439296136

Well that’s it from me. I hope you guys enjoyed today’s Q&A. Dont forget to check out Love, Secrets and Absolution by K.L. Loveley.

Until next time…

Happy Reading…

❤ Gem

Q&A With Alex Ratt…

I was lucky enough to get the chance to do a Q&A with Author Alex Ratt. Alex Ratt’s book The Stinky Street Stories was released yesterday. I have a review for The Stinky Street Stories that went up earlier this week. I hope this Q&A ties you over untill you can get your hands on The Stinky Street Stories.

Where and when can we buy your book?

The Stinky Street Stories will be filling bookstores with foul fumes from 28 March.

Give us an insight into your main character. Why does he want to be called Brain?

Brian has a rather over-inflated sense of his own brilliance. (In fact, it is really his sister Brenda who is the brainy one.) But he means well!

Was there a particular moment or smell that sparked your idea for this book?

Who would have thought that walking down a street lined with rubbish bins stuffed full of prawn shells would lead to a book idea? But it was a very STINKY STREET!

When did you decide to become a writer?

I have actually been writing for more than ten years (as the more fragrant Frances Watts; Alex Ratt is a pen name). In fact, the inspiration for my first book, a picture book called Kisses for Daddy, also came while walking down the street. In that instance, witnessing a funny moment between a cheeky little boy and his dad sparked a story idea.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

I started writing almost immediately after seeing the boy and his dad mentioned above. Although I have always loved reading and writing, I never thought of writing a book myself until that first story started bubbling away in my head.

Do you have a special time or place where you like to write?

I find mornings are the best time to write (which is strange, because I am not a morning person). And though I’d love to be one of those people who writes in cafes, I’m much more productive at my desk.

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

When I’m writing something long I try for 1500–2000 words a day…Wouldn’t it be wonderful to actually achieve that?! Really, I’m happy with 1000 words a day. And that’s only the first draft, of course; I usually do three or four drafts at least.

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

I always start longhand, writing ideas and random scenes and passages of dialogue in my notebook. The ‘proper’ writing takes place on the computer though.

Where do your ideas come from?

Well, it seems that just walking down the street is my best source of inspiration! But I also draw on my memories and experiences, things I see while travelling, my love of history…even language itself—a lovely sequence of words that rolls off the tongue in a delightful way (usually involving alliteration: putrid pongs, rotten reeks and foul fumes can be found in abundance on Stinky Street!).

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

A bit of both…I usually have a general sense of where the plot is going, but I don’t quite know how I’m going to get there. Sometimes I’m quite surprised by the result!

What is the easiest thing about writing?

Ideas for stories! I have so many stories in my head I’m eager to tell.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

There are times when a story just won’t go where you want it to. (Stories can be stubborn like that.)

Do you ever get writer’s block?

Oh yes!

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

Walking. It’s funny how many writers say the same thing: going for a walk always helps. And it turns out it’s no coincidence. Researchers at Stanford University have found recently that walking really does help boost creativity.

What book/s are you reading at present?

I am obsessed with a picture book at the moment: We Found This Hat by Jon Klassen. (It’s all in the turtles’ eyes…)

What’s your views on social media for marketing?

Well, I know I could be better at it than I am!

How do you relax?

Reading. (Of course!) Plus travelling and cooking.

What is your favourite book and why?

Russell Hoban’s The Twenty-Elephant Restaurant. It’s hilarious.

What is your favourite quote?

‘Sometimes it’s a one-man circus and sometimes it’s a twenty-elephant restaurant. And that’s life.’ (from Russell Hoban’s The Twenty-Elephant Restaurant)

Which writers inspire you?

Writers like Jackie French and Russell Hoban, who have written for all ages in a variety of genres, have made me feel free to do the same.

What is your favourite film and why?

There’s this French film called Conversations with My Gardener…It sounds exciting, doesn’t it?! I’m a big scaredy-cat, so I prefer films with no drama or tension. (A bit of lovely scenery is a bonus.)

 What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Find your creative satisfaction in the act of writing itself. Whether your book will be a commercial or critical success is outside your control, but you can control how much work and care and passion you put into your manuscript. Write to please yourself first.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website: http://www.franceswatts.com/alexratt.html

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Frances-Watts-305102072863691/
thumbnail_Alex Ratt Author Image                                                       thumbnail_Stinky Street Stories cover image

Thank you so much to Alex Ratt for participating in this Q&A.

The Stinky Street Stories by Alex Ratt is available now.

Q&A with Tiffany McDaniel

This Q&A is with author Tiffany McDaniel in the lead about to the release of her debut novel The Summer That Melted Everything.

Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984: the year a heat wave scorched Breathed, Ohio. The year he became friends with the devil.

Sal seems to appear out of nowhere – a bruised and tattered thirteen-year-old boy claiming to be the devil himself answering an invitation. Fielding Bliss, the son of a local prosecutor, brings him home where he’s welcomed into the Bliss family, assuming he’s a runaway from a nearby farm town.

When word spreads that the devil has come to Breathed, not everyone is happy to welcome this self-proclaimed fallen angel. Murmurs follow him and tensions rise, along with the temperatures as an unbearable heat wave rolls into town right along with him. As strange accidents start to occur, riled by the feverish heat, some in the town start to believe that Sal is exactly who he claims to be. While the Bliss family wrestles with their own personal demons, a fanatic drives the town to the brink of a catastrophe that will change this sleepy Ohio backwater forever.

Hi Tiffany, welcome to gemsbooknook. Lets get started and let readers get to know you and your new book.

Where can we buy your book?  

I encourage readers to support their local indie bookstores.  You can find your nearest location as well as the larger retailer links to Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and other US and UK locations on my website at:

www.tiffanymcdaniel.com

There you can also learn where to purchase the audiobook and foreign editions of the novel based on your location.   

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

The narrator of The Summer that Melted Everything is eighty-four year old Fielding Bliss.  He’s looking back on his life and the summer of 1984 when he was thirteen-years-old.  What makes him and that summer special is that was the summer Fielding’s father, Autopsy Bliss, put an invitation in the local newspaper inviting the devil to their town of Breathed, Ohio.  The one come to answer the invitation is a thirteen-year-old boy who arrives with the start of a hell-hot heat-wave.  The events that unfold that summer will haunt Fielding his whole life.  Across the waters of melt, Fielding is ferried back to answer to his ghosts.    

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character/s from this book?

I would love to see Anthony Hopkins or Jack Nicholson take over the role of older Fielding.  For the role of the mother I’d love to see Kate Winslet play her.  The father could be anyone from Michael Fassbender, Hugh Jackman, or a straight-faced Jim Carrey.  As far as the younger characters, those will probably have to be new comers to the Hollywood scene that fit that age range.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I never decided to become a writer.  Writing was the first thing I remember doing as a kid outside of any external influence or direction.  I had an innate desire to read story, create story, to live with story.  I’m lost without it.   

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

I spent my childhood and adolescent writing shorter pieces like plays, poetry, and short stories.  I was eighteen when I wrote my first full-length novel.  It was the right time to write a novel for the first time.  I was no longer a child and I needed to prove that to myself.  I needed to prove I could be a proper writer.  Plus eighteen is really that time in life when you fit yourself for those wings you hope will fly you to your dream.    

Do you have a special time or place where you like to write?

I just have a small space in my bedroom where I write at a desk.  Nothing fancy, though I dream about that perfect writer nook amidst shelves of books.  Sometimes I think a desk balanced by the sea would be perfect.  Other times, in the middle of a tall grass field.  But as of now it’s the corner of my bedroom.  I don’t have a specific time I write.  I have eight completed novels.  Working on my ninth.  For the most part, the novels have been written during the day.  But one novel I wrote mostly in the night hours from midnight on.  Sometimes the moon is my partner.  Sometimes the sun is.         

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

I don’t set a certain amount of words or pages per day.  I feel like doing that forces the writing out, and in that it can feel strangled on the page.  So I just sit down and type.  Sometimes there’s a lot there that day.  Other times not.  But I like the natural flow of allowing the characters and scenes to come out on their own.  That way I’m not putting a hook in the fish and yanking, so to speak.  I’m just opening the door between myself and the sea and letting the fish swim in on its own good time. 

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

I write on a laptop.  I’ve always wanted to use a typewriter, I think they’re so beautiful, but technology has ruined me for that medium.  But there’s nothing better than feeling closer to literary greats than sitting in front of a typewriter and hearing that clank of the keys.  You feel like you’re calling Hemmingway to your side.    

Where do your ideas come from?

From the elements that make me.  Somewhere in the thread of my DNA and my soul, the ideas exist.  I’m not really sure where else to say they come from.  I just know it’s out of reach, existing as fragile as a cloud, as strong as iron. 

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

I never outline or pre-plan the story.  What you read on the page is what was in my head that moment I sat in front of the laptop, typing away.  I just see where the idea takes me, as you say.  Let the cave lead me into the darkness.  Let the stars lead me into the light.    

What is the hardest thing about writing? 

For me writing isn’t hard. It’s the getting published that’s the hard part.

What is the easiest thing about writing? 

Falling in love with my characters. 

Do you ever get writer’s Block

I’m pretty superstitious, so I don’t even mention it.  It feels like ‘Bloody Mary’ to me, as if you call its name it’ll appear.  It’s my boogeyman, so I just avoid saying its name. 

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

Shhh…can’t speak its name.

What book/s are you reading at present?

I’m reading Alice Munro’s collection of short stories, Family Furnishings.

What’s your views on social media for marketing?

I don’t have social media.  My only online presence being my author website: www.tiffanymcdaniel.com  So I’m afraid I can’t speak to the benefits of social media for marketing.  But I think the obvious benefits are reaching that wider online community of readers and fellow authors. 

How do you relax?

Reading is a big relaxer.  But also watching TV and movies.  Sometimes you just want a bag of BBQ potato chips and a good movie.

What is your favourite book and why? 

There’s so many.  I’d say Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury.  I want to be buried with this book.  It’s Bradbury so the prose is beautiful and one of things he does so well is that subtle melancholy.  It’s a book that speaks to all those fleeting moments in life.  All those moments that will never come again.

Which writers inspire you?

I came around to the literary heavyweights late in life, having spent my childhood and adolescent glued to R.L. Stine books.  So I can’t say any one author inspired me, but I will say my favorite authors include Ray Bradbury, Donna Tartt, Toni Morrison, Shirley Jackson, Poet James Wright, Agatha Christie, and Kazuo Ishiguro.

What is your favourite quote? 

There are so many.  I can’t say my absolute favorite, but F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote magic when he penned this ever so beautiful last line:

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

Is there anything more breath-taking than that?  He’s gotten us all beat. 

What is your favourite film and why?

Oh, gosh, that’s difficult.  I love Beetlejuice, Misery, Little Shop of Horrors, Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.  Don’t ask me to decide.  We’ll be here for eternity.  But I will say my favorite films are simply my favorite because they have something that speaks to me, that keeps me wanting more, that flaps like a trapped bird against my soul until I open my eyes to see it. 

What advice would you give to your younger self?

To not grow up so fast.  It all goes by in an instant.    

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?

There are so many I’d love to meet, but because I’m in a literary state of mind at the moment I’d love to hang around with Ray Bradbury.  We could talk about Martians and dinosaurs and how paper burns at 451 degrees Fahrenheit. 

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

There are so many books I love.  Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury, We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, The Secret History by Donna Tartt, Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison.  But what makes these books, and every book special is the fact that they were written by these very people.  Every book has its true author.  The stories and characters belong to them.  There’s no book I wish I would have written, because their true author has already written it so much better than I ever could. 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

To never give up.  I wrote my first novel when I was eighteen.  I wouldn’t get a publishing contract until I was twenty-nine.  So it was eleven years of rejection and fear I’d never be published.  It’s a hard journey to get a foot in the publishing door.  Especially when you write literary fiction, like I do.  Publishers don’t want to take risks on literary fiction because it could be a financial loss as it’s not as lucrative as say genre or commercial fiction.  I really believed I’d never get published.  I know I’m so fortunate, about to see my book on the shelf for the first time.  I feel for those writers still on the journey to publication.  To them I say never, ever give up.  Never turn your back on your dreams.  You owe it to yourself to stay the course.  It will happen for you.  You will get that rocket ship ride into the stars one day. Believe it. 

Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

I think you’ve covered it. 

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

http://www.tiffanymcdaniel.com

A Ohio native, Tiffany McDaniel’s writing is inspired by the rolling hills and buckeye woods of the land she knows. She is also a poet, playwright, screenwriter, and artist. The Summer that Melted Everything is her debut novel.  

 

A huge thank you to Tiffany for giving me her time for this Q&A. Please check out Tiffany’s debut novel The Summer that Melted Everything out on the 26th of July. I look forward to reading many more novels from Tiffany in the future.