A Life in Books with A H Richardson

 

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I am delighted to welcome Angela Richardson, author of Murder in Little Sheldon, my blog this evening.

 

Can you tell me a bit about yourself?

I was born and brought up in England, South London Wimbledon actually, where they play the tennis champion ships. The late and great British composer Clive Richardson, was my father, so music and art, sculpting and writing I think I inherited from my famous father.  I studied acting at LAMDA, was on the stage for three years, then in l962, I came to America. I love horses, dogs (I have three) painting and sketching in my cute little house in the mountains of East Tennessee.

 

What was your favourite book from childhood?IMG_1855

The favourite book from childhood days was ‘Jane Eyre’ – I read it over and over captivated by this story which had everything in it.  Great romance, sadness, tension and mystery, humour and pathos – it all resonated with me, and I was probably 10 years old when first I read it.  I was also madly in love with Mr. Rochester!

 

What type of books did you read as a teenager?

As a teenager I loved books about travels in Africa, wild animals, and books on horses.  I remember a favourite of mine was ‘Leopard in my Lap’ written by the Dennises – the title caught my imagination and the stories of their travels I found fascinating. I also loved Baroness Orczy’s ‘Scarlet Pimpernel’ and read all of those.  Secretly wishing I could be Lady Blakeney!

 

 IMG_1856When you were at school what was your favourite book you studied?

I was at boarding school in England (they were generally considered to be the best schools) and studied ‘Gulliver’s Travels’  ‘Silas Marner’, and most of the old classics.  My favourite was ‘Moby Dick.’

 

 What is your favourite classic book?

Favourite classic book was ‘Pride and Prejudice, without a doubt.

 

What would you consider to be one of the best books you have written over the last 5 years?

A book that I have written?  Is that what you mean? My first children’s book, ‘Jorie and the Magic Stones’ I think has been a success, and also in the murder mystery category ‘Act One, Scene One—Murder’.

 

What book to you think you should read but never get round to?IMG_1858

I think that I should have read more of the Sherlock Holmes’ mysteries, some of which escaped me, and I will make it a point to do so.

 

What do you consider to be your favourite book?

One of my favourite books is ‘The Painted Veil’ – I absolutely adore W. Somerset IMG_1860Maugham – now there was a writer!  I have read and enjoyed all his stories told with such flair and knowledge of his subject, and his brilliantly depicted characters.

 

 Is there a book that you have started but been unable to finish?

I have never started a book that I did not finish… that’s a big ‘no-no’ in my book, and leads to bad habits.

 

If you were stranded on a desert Island which 2 books would you want to have with IMG_1861you

Stranded on a desert island I would take the Bible, and the works of William Shakespeare… would I by any chance be allowed to take Antonio Banderas too?

 

 

11.  Kindle or Book?

Kindle or book? Oh, that’s easy, a book of course.

 

 

Murder in Little Sheldon is available to buy now.

Murder in Little Sheldon by A H Richardson

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Synopsis

In the picturesque English village of Little Sheldon, the peace and quiet is disturbed by the murder of local shopkeeper Mr Bartholomew Fynche.  The village is gripped by fear, villagers wondering who will be next, and who could have committed such a heinous crime.

Police Inspector Stanley Burgess is in charge of finding the perpetrator along with his friends Sir Victor Hazlitt and famed Shakespearean actor Beresford Brandon.  But who in the village committed the murder and why did they do it?

 

Review

Murder in Little Sheldon is a classic whodunnit set in post WWII.  Everything about this book epitomises the era in which it is set; we have the quintessential English village, very picturesque with quaint houses, a church a pub, the characters and  A H Richardson’s writing and dialogue.

I loved the cast of characters in this book, they were fairly stereotypical of what we would expect to find in a typical village; there is the wonderful Lady Armstrong, head of the village so to speak, the shy librarian, the retires army major, the spinster sisters and the vicar in his life.  What really distinguished the characters, as well as their standing in the village is the dialogue used for each character; their individual voices are very distinctive.

The murder of Mr Bartholomew Fynch is well explored in the plot, and it seems every character had a reason to kill him.  As each motive is explored you think you know who the murderer is, then you change your mind as someone else is put in the frame; it will keep you guessing until the final pages.  I really loved the epilogue, it was a nice touch to see what happened to the characters after the conclusion of the investigation.  Overall this is a brilliant whodunnit that pays homage to Agatha Christie, and will keep you engaged throughout;  a quintessential English murder mystery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

 
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 Synopsis

A Private Jet plunges into the sea with only two survivors: the young son of the family, J J Bateman, who chartered the plane….and a man who only chances to be on board at all, down on his luck artist Scott Burroughs, the hero who saved the boys life.  But is he a hero or a villain.  Why was he on the plane in the first place. and why did the plane crash?

 

Review

I’ve never read any of Noah Hawley’s books before, but based on this novel, I will be buying many more in the future. In short. I loved it.
It’s not often that a book absolutely grips me from the start and in fact in some places made me breathless with the pace of the story and the surprises coming along the way.
The style is similar to a Law and Order TV series type approach, of vignettes of seemingly unrelated scenes, with small pieces of crucial information that appear random at first, but knit together to become a fantastic story. I, in fact, imagined a lot of them in black and white.

The writing style is easy to read, though I did need to go back a couple of times in the initial chapters to get the hang of things.  Hawley is a very talented writer, describing the environment and scenery in such a way as to make you believe you are actually there with him. I especially enjoyed the portrayal of Scott Burroughs past and childhood with very evocative descriptions of his family and the seminal moment of his youth.

His characterisation of Scott, JJ and Eleanor is sympathetic but interesting and leaves you guessing until very near the end as to what the truth might be. I found the scenes with little JJ incredibly moving. I really liked Scott and Eleanor, both as people, and they way in which they interact in such devastating circumstances.

The descriptions at the start of the book of the victims and their lives was a really imaginative way to give us key information without belabouring the point.
I liked their characters, and found the relationship between, Maggie and David interesting and would have liked to know more which for me is always a good sign, whilst I really didn’t like Ben Kipling immediately and didn’t want to see him succeed in his schemes.

This novel is gripping, exciting, perplexing and fascinating and I can’t wait to read more.
I genuinely can’t recommend the book highly enough.

 

The Christmas Secret by Karen Swan

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Synopsis

Alex Hyde is the leaders’ leader.  An executive coach par excellence, she’s the person the Great and Good turn to when the pressure gets too much; she can change the way they think, how they operate, she can turn around the very fortunes of their companies.

Her waiting list is months’ long, but she can’t turn down the unorthodox but highly lucrative crisis call that comes her way a few weeks before Christmas, regarding the troublesome – and troubled – head of an esteemed whisky company in Scotland: Lochlan Farquhar, CEO of Kentallen Distilleries, is a maverick, an enigma and a renegade, and Alex needs to get inside his head before he brings the company to its knees.

It should be business as usual.  She can do this in her sleep.  Only when she gets to the remote island of Islay, with the winter snows falling, Alex finds herself out of her comfort zone .  For once, she’s not in control – Lochlan, though darkly charismatic, is unpredictable and destructive, her usual methods gaining no traction with him – and with Christmas and her deadline fast approaching, she must win his trusted find a way to close this deal.

But as she pulls ever close to him, boundaries become blurred, loyalties loosen and Alex finds herself faced with an impossible choice as she realises nothing and no one is as they first seemed.

 

Review

I love Christmas and its traditions, the tree, presents, special time with family and for me, over the past few years, a Karen Swan Christmas novel.  I don’t normally read Christmas books before December, but I was sent this proof copy of  The Christmas Secret by Pan Macmillan, so I have started early.

The Christmas Secret, as the other festive novels by Karen Swan, is a brilliant read; great plot, interesting characters, and beautifully written.  The plot centres around Alex, as she tries to save Kentallen Distillery and its CEO.  As well as the main plot there is a sub plot from 1918, World War I and a sunken American war ship.  Details are drip fed, at the beginning of many of the chapters, and it isn’t until the end of the book that you find out the significance of these events one hundred years previously.  Karen Swan has obviously done her research into the Whisky industry which enhances the narrative, it is a bonus in a book when I learn something new.

The central characters of Alex and Lochlan are both at the pinnacle at their careers; ambitious, driven and successful.  But are on opposite sides in this tale of power play with a battle of wills, but maybe more alike than they at first realise.  They both have secrets from their past which have driven them forward in the chosen profession, but which have also give them insecurities, left them isolated and  hiding behind their careers . There is  a full cast of supporting characters; Skye, Lachlan’s ex fiancee, Callum and Torquil, Lachlan’s cousins and members of the Kentallen Board, Louise, Alex’s superwoman PA, the Peggies whom Alex stays with whilst on Islay.  These relationships give insight in to the characters of both Alex and Lachlan, and also give a break in the tension of the relationship between the two main characters, and insert some humour into the proceedings.

The Christmas Secret is an enchanting novel to get lost in in the build up to the festive season.  Like the whisky that is at the centre of the plot, this book is full of warmth, goes down easily and will leave you happy with a fuzzy feeling.  Another  superb novel from Karen Swan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Post; Love, Secrets, and Absolution by K.L. Loveley

Love

People in the village gossip about Grace’s son, Alfie.

He’s a lonely boy full of secrets, lies, and obsessive thoughts.

How far can a mother’s love go? Will she ultimately sacrifice her life for his?

Set in Nottinghamshire, this family drama follows the lives of Grace and Alfie as he transforms from a naïve, young boy into a teenager spiralling out of control.

Love, Secrets, and Absolution is a coming of age story with a difference.

Deceit, betrayal, love, and addiction, a family falling apart in the midst of teenage angst and torn loyalties; will anybody find absolution?

K.L Loveley is a former nurse, who has seen, heard, and dealt with a wide range of medical, social and family dramas. She has used her nursing experience, along with her excellent people-watching skills to create fascinating characters and intriguing scenarios within her books. She writes contemporary fiction, psychological dramas, and poetry.

Her debut novel Alice was published in February 2017, and the story tackles alcoholism head-on and presents the reader with an empathetic account of a spiraling addiction and the resulting pattern of hopelessness that many fall into.

K.L Loveley’s second novel Love, Secrets, and Absolution: An emotional and gripping psychological, family drama is a coming of age story with a difference. Deceit, betrayal, love, and addiction, this story is about a family falling apart in the midst of teenage angst and torn loyalties.

If you enjoy reading authors like Jodi Picoult and Diane Chamberlain, you will enjoy K.L Loveley!

K.L Loveley lives in Nottinghamshire, England and loves socialising with friends and family. She is an avid reader and enjoys a variety of genres including psychological, thrillers and historical fiction. Her favourite authors include John le Carré, K.L Slater, Marian Keyes and Philippa Gregory.

 

Ten things you didn’t know about K.L Loveley

Guest Post

I am one of four children and own the second position. The reason I use the words ‘own and position’, is because my wonderful late father had a great sense of humour and loved banter. He liked to call us his seeds – being second born, I was his number two seed.

My father loved giving everybody titles, however never the regal kind you understand – he never called any of his ‘Princess’ or ‘Prince’. After all, we were British working class and these types of titles may have encouraged us to think above our station!!! My title was ‘Miss Prim’. You may well ask why? Apparently, because I was always reading, writing, and pretending to be a teacher or a librarian, he felt that I was destined to be a prim and proper young lady.

I was born in the early fifties in England, and back then the British education system was far removed from our current system. I am not complaining – it was as it was! This was the years of the eleven plus exam and in retrospect, I now realise, how unfair the system was. I sincerely believe that most children who passed this all-important exam, were groomed to do so. Don’t get me wrong, some children were innately intelligent and deserved their place at the Grammar school.

At my junior school there was a teacher by the name of Mr Richardson whose pupils were well prepared for the eleven plus exam. These chosen students were provided with mock papers and taught what to expect in the exam and how to tackle the type of questions and math problems. The rest of us were shocked, when the eleven plus exam paper was placed in front of us. Being the second youngest in the class, I wasn’t quite eleven when presented with the exam. I clearly remember the exam. I had to sit on a hard-wooden double bench that was attached to an individual desk lid that opened both yours and your friends desk at the same time. I clearly remember the stained inkwells either side of the desk. It was late spring /early summer when I sat this momentous exam. Perfect for hay fever sufferers like myself as I snivelled my tired self through these questions that for the most part looked as though written in code. As a consequence, or maybe not. I did not pass my eleven plus. I went to the local secondary modern school where I stayed for four years.

I left school at the tender age of fifteen and a few weeks old, and I began working in a store the following week. My desire to be a teacher or nurse was put on hold, while I ‘earned my keep’.

 

After realising that education was the key to success, I set about educating myself! I passed the entrance exam into nursing and later enrolled at the local technical college, to study ‘O levels’. I studied: Biology, Psychology, Sociology, language and literature. I paid for my education from my own earnings. Imagine my surprise and absolute joy, when I was awarded grade A in all subjects. A good education was finally in my grasp. I went on to study to A-levels and eventually enrolled with The Open University. So, you see, although the formal education system let me down – I rose above the establishment by funding my own education.

There was a time after gaining my Biology degree, that I considered leaving my nursing career and becoming a teacher. I studied a Diploma in teaching with this in mind. However, my heart was set, to continue working for our wonderful NHS.

I lived and worked in West Germany for a few years as a consequence of my husband being posted to RAF Laarbruch. I enjoyed my time living in an alternate country, it enriched my life. “Sprechen Sie Deutsch” anyone?

 

I rather enjoy attempting to learn different languages, much to the delight of my family. Over the years, it has helped tremendously when choosing gifts for me. Including books on how to swear in a variety of languages. I can’t profess to be anywhere close to being fluent, it is all just a bit of fun!

As much as I enjoy music and dance, I do not have a musical bone in my body. My sense of rhythm is not good and my singing voice is pitiful. Despite this, I live in hope to learn to play at least one tune on my guitar before I die. It is actually on my bucket list, which I can report with most sincerity, is getting shorter as I tick off each of my wishes.

 

At the magnificent age of sixty, I enjoyed my first and last tandem parachute jump. This is high on my list of memorable experiences. It was the most amazing experience of my life to date. As I soared through the clouds, free-falling at an incredible speed, the clouds decided to give up their contents. For a short time, I was surrounded by millions of tiny hailstones, battering my face. The sensation was of tiny pricks of pleasure and was an absolute delight. I appeared to be moving faster than the hailstones were falling. As a consequence, it was a surreal experience, as the hailstones appeared to be floating around me. I could almost reach out and pluck them from the sky.

 

 

Thank you to Globeflower agency for asking me to be part of this blog tour.  You can find out more about them at

www.globeflower.co.uk

@globeflower

Facebook The Globeflower Agency & Globeflower Books

A Life in Books with Nicola Cassidy

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This evening author Nicola Cassidy pops over to Bookliterati Book Reviews to discuss A Life in Books.

 

Can you tell me a bit about yourself?

My name is Nicola Cassidy, I’m a writer and blogger and launch my debut historical fiction novel December Girl with Bombshell Books this autumn. I’m a Mum to two small children and writing keeps me sane – it is the little part of the day for myself and feels far more productive than housework! I work in marketing and I’ve dreamed of publishing a book since I was a child. My novel is set in late 19th century Ireland and London and follows the life of Molly Thomas who was evicted and finds herself pregnant and turning to prostitution. Parts of the story are based on true events.

 

 What was your favourite book from childhood?

I read lots of book as a child, I was an early reader, although my best friend had to convince me to move beyond picture books at a certain point – I thought books with just words looked very boring! I loved The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and Under the Hawthorn Tree, a book set in the Irish famine by Marita Conlon McKenna. I also adored Roald Dahl, The Witches, was my favourite of his.

 

What type of books did you read as a teenager?41z7LcO9ifL

I loved anything by Jude Blume, as she could communicate and reach out to teenagers in a very special way. I liked historical fiction and read lots of Catherine Cookson – I enjoyed learning that she had been rejected many times before being published. I discovered Helen Forrester in my teens too; she wrote wonderful biographical accounts of her impoverished childhood in 1930s Liverpool. I also went through a ‘anything set in world war 2’ period.

 

When you were at school what was your favourite book you studied?

We were lucky with our curriculum. To Kill A Mockingbird was on our junior cycle and I thought it was fabulous. On our senior cycle we read Doris Lessing – The Grass is Singing and it was wonderful too. We also studied an Irish novel called December Bride and I think this probably influenced in some way, the title of my own upcoming book.

 

IMG_1446What is your favourite classic book?

Does the Great Gatsby count? That’s one of my all time favourites. I also enjoyed Gulliver’s Travels and The Secret Garden. I should read more classics.

 

What would you consider to be one of the best books you have had over the last 5 years?

I’ve really only gotten back into reading in recent years – I’m annoyed at myself for falling off the reading bandwagon – but I went through a long phase, before I became involved with writing and publishing again in my 30s of not being able to find books I liked. I’m a bit fussy, as I’m not a big fan of crime or romance – I generally prefer literary works. I’ve just finished Jo Baker’s latest A Country Road, A Tree and that would certainly be one of the best books I’ve read in the past five years. It’s stunning. I loved the Miniaturist by Jessie Burton too. Another book I couldn’t put down was Red Dirt, by EM Reapy, an Irish author. It’s so lovely to find a book that you can’t wait to go to bed to read at night.

 

What book to you think you should read but never get round to?

Oh I have a library full. I get sent books for review and I’m a pretty slow reader, so there’s always a pile of books that I feel I SHOULD be reading. I would like to finish Ulysses though – just to say I did it! I haven’t moved off page 73 in about a year.

 

 What do you consider to be your favourite book ?41vY8T3-7jL

I think it would be Star of the Sea by Joseph O’Connor. It has so much depth to it. I met him at a literary festival recently and got him to sign it – he was highly impressed at how battered it looked. I love his writing style.

 

Is there a book that you have started but been unable to finish?

In recent times I have forced myself to finish everything I start – simply because I hate to leave something unread. (Ulysses will be seen to!) Sometimes if I’m not enjoying a book I will speed read it – by scanning the pages and quickly turning towards the end – that way, I feel I’ve read it, but not invested in it. There are two books I’ve done that with recently but I wouldn’t like to say which ones as the author community is small! I’ve come to learn though, that everyone has their own likes and dislikes, some books I rave about, others really disliked, and books they’ve recommended completely fall flat for me. It’s very subjective. That’s why there are so many books!

 

What are you reading now?

I’m reading a review copy of The Fourth Monkey that I was sent ages ago. It’s quite good so far.

 

Kindle or Book?

Both. But usually paperbacks. My Kindle got damaged recently and I have to get a new one. I’ve also been reading books on my phone. (I spend half my life on it anyway!)

 

You can follow Nicola on Facebook and on Twitter@LadyNicci

Her debut novel The December Girl is available to buy now.

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A Life in Books with Jill Watson

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This morning  welcome author Jill Watson to my blog to discuss A Life in Books.

Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
My life in books has spanned over seventy years. I grew up in rural Surrey during the 1950s where I developed a passionate interest in nature and wildlife. My mother bought me a book when I was about seven, ‘Birds’ by MKC Scott, sparking off a hobby that has remained with me all my life.
I have always enjoyed writing and dreamed of writing a book one day. However life got in the way – nursery training college, various jobs, marriage, children and divorce. In 1984 I suffered a serious back injury which put paid to my chosen career. That was when I decided to write seriously.
In 1990 I moved to the small Channel Island of Alderney to live with the new man in my life who was an islander. Life in the islands is very different to here in the UK and I found plenty to write about. On a small island it is easy to get published and I wrote nature, bird and local history articles for local publications. I was the Alderney Bird Recorder for ten years, wrote reports for Bird Watching Magazine and produced a small booklet ‘Birdwatching on Alderney’ which was very popular with tourists.
Sadly, my partner died in 2010 and I returned to England to be near my children and grandchildren. I attended creative writing classes at our local Adult Education Centre, discovered I enjoyed writing fiction and my dream of writing a book was finally realised.
I self-published ‘Gache and Gossip – A Year in the Life of a small Channel Island’ as a paperback in 2016, at the age of seventy four. The story was inspired by my extraordinary life on Alderney and is about a fictitious island, Ormerey, and the people who live there.
What was you favourite book from childhood?91HkT+EvLZL

My mother was a teacher and our house was full of books – wonderful childrens books including the Little Grey Rabbit series by Alison Uttley, all the AA Milne books about Pooh, R L Stevenson’s ‘A Child’s Garden of Verses’ and, of course, Beatrix Potter. I loved them all! I guess my favourite children’s book is ‘The Island of Adventure’ by Enid Blyton. My mother read this to me while I was lying in a darkened room with a bad attack of measles. It was such an exciting story, I couldn’t wait for the next chapter. I still have my very batterd copy, the pages are dropping out it has been read so often! I was a huge Blyton fan.

What type of books did you read as a teenager?

I don’t remember any YA books in the 1950s. I went straight from children’s to adult books and worked my way through Neville Shute, Monica Dickens, Hammond Innes and Rumer Godden. Then a marvellous series appeared in paperback, the Whiteoaks of Jalna by Mazo de la Roche. There were sixteen books in all and were very popular at the time. I have read them several times.

51TAIa7pAELWhen you were at school what was your favourite book you studied?

‘Ivanhoe’ by Sir Walter Scott. We had a school trip to see the film starring a very young Elizabeth Taylor. It made the book come alive though we were all quick to point out how the film did not stick to the story in the book!

What is your favourite classic book?

‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ by Victor Hugo.

 What would you consider to be one of the best books you have had over the last 5 years?

This is hard! I think I would have to say ‘The Clan of the Cave Bear’ by Jean M Auel.  She has an amazing imagination that appealed to my love of earth history and the natural world. The whole series of six books is brilliant.

What book to you think you should read but never get round to?81rXNphWbSL

‘War and Peace’.

What do you consider to be your favourite book ?

‘The Greengage Summer’ by Rumer Godden. Inspired by an event in her own life it is written in the first person by a thirteen year old girl and captures all those turbulent emotions of adolesence.

 Is there a book that you have started but been unable to finish?

‘The Stranger’s Child’ by Alan Hollinghurst.  So boring and the parts don’t fit together, no proper story. I gave up half way through.

51WldkYTlULIf you were stranded on a desert Island which 2 books would you want to have  with you

‘The Complete Verse’ by Rudyard Kipling and a good reference book about the fauna and flora of the island. That would give me plenty to study (to fill the time) and tell me what was edible (to ensure my survival).

Kindle or Book?

Book!

‘Gache and Gossip’ is available as a paperback from www.ypdbooks.com or from Amazon.

Gache – a traditional Guernsey fruit loaf.

In the summer of 1990 Lizzie Bayley moves to the tiny Channel Island of Ormerey to live with Raoul St Arnaud, a man she has met on only four previous occasions. Surprised by the hostility she encounters, Lizzie finds it hard to settle down but she is befriended by Raoul’s cousin, Francesca Saviano. Francesca has problems of her own. The man she loves, who dropped her without explanation forty years earlier, suddenly reappears in her life and wants to resume their relationship.
On a wild and beautiful island where land is precious, the community is divided by a controversial planning application to build a large hotel in the green belt. Against a background of public dissent and personal feuds, Lizzie and Francesca both struggle to find a way to happiness and fulfilment.

www.facebook.com    Jill Watson author

 

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A Life in Books with John Marrs

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After my review this morning of his latest novel, The Good Samaritan, I welcome author John Marrs to my blog to discuss A Life in Books.

 

Can you tell me a bit about yourself?

I live in Northamptonshire with my partner (also called John) and our dog, and I commute to London each day where I work as a journalist for Express newspapers. I write film and television interviews for S Magazine, TV Life, Big TV and I’ve previously written for Q Magazine, Total Film, The Independent, Guardian and Now. Writing books began as a but of fun. I started almost five years ago, but now it’s become a parallel career.

 

What was you favourite book from childhood?51ZfYslio6L

I didn’t have just one, it was anything written by Franklin W Dixon, the creator of the Hardy Boys series of books. I was obsessed with them and when I grew up I wanted to be him. It was only when I got older that I learned he didn’t exist – it was a conglomerate of writers writing under than name! It explained why he managed to rattle out 190 full-length novels…

 

What type of books did you read as a teenager?

I was more about the comedies at that point. Like everyone my age, we devoured the Adrian Mole series and I remember loving Tom Sharpe’s novels like Blott On The Landscape. They seemed a bit saucy back then, but if I was to re-read them I bet they’d be quite tame now. I was also really into The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.

 

716H93UGfNL When you were at school what was your favourite book you studied?
The Catcher in the Rye. That really spoke to me, a book that’d been written some 35 years earlier (when I first read it for my GCSE English class). I haven’t read it for some years but I plan on reading it again before the year is out.

 

What is your favourite classic book?

I’m going to refer you to the answer above. This book will never date. Each time I go to New York, I still smile when I think about Holden Caufield.

 

What would you consider to be one of the best books you have had over the last 5 41iDtPN0WwLyears?

There are few which have made an impression on me. Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith (who I’ve had the pleasure to interview a couple of times) or The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson stand out. I also adored Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Dicker. I’d say my favourite of late has been The Circle by Dave Eggers. I wish I had written that book.

 

 What book to you think you should read but never get round to?

There are two on my bookshelf – Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. They’ve been there for ages but I’ve never had the time to pick them up and dive in.

 

91ZsVHLoatL What do you consider to be your favourite book ?

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S must be up there, I read this when I was backpacking around the US for a year when I was 21. I also adore The Beach by Alex Garland. From start to finish, this book never let me down. I think it’s brilliant.

 

 Is there a book that you have started but been unable to finish?

There are a few that if I don’t enjoy, I’ll stop reading. I can’t continue with a book if it’s just not resonating with me. Most recently it’s been The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton and Paula Hawkins’ Into The Water.

 

If you were stranded on a desert Island which 2 books would you want to have with 41cPLlShj7Lyou

I’d take Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts as I’d like something to sink my teeth into, and the complete set of the Hardy Boys adventures – just for old time’s sake.

 

Kindle or Book?

Considering I started writing for eBooks, it should be the former. But as I don’t actually own one (only the App on my iPad), it’s books all the way for me. It would make more sense to love the Kindle but I like looking at a book on a shelf – and most recently my own, something I never thought would happen.

 

The Good Samaritan by John Marrs

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Synopsis

Laura Morris works at  End of the Line, a charity phone line for those who need to speak to someone and get reassurance when they are contemplating suicide.  She bakes to raise money to keep the helpline going and gives the impression of being the perfect wife and mother to those she works with.

But Laura has not had an easy life, she has been unwell, she is having problems in her marriage and is fast approaching forty.  She also has a secret, she doesn’t want to reassure those who call End of the Line and save them, she wants them to die so she can hear their last breath.

Ryan’s wife, Charlotte is one of those who was unlucky and got through to Laura, and is now dead, committing suicide with a stranger.  Ryan wants to learn more about his wife’s death and the man with her.  What he doesn’t take into account is how far Laura will go to protect her secret, after all who would suspect a Good Samaritan of murder.

 

Review

After reading John Marrs’ The One earlier in the year I was excited to be given the opportunity by Tracy Fenton from TBC on Facebook, to review this latest novel.  The Good Samaritan is an erudite, dark, tense, psychological thriller with a cast of flawed and interesting  characters.  The plot is fast paced, and disturbing with many twists and turns to wrong foot you at every chance.  John Marrs’ writing style grabs your attention and keeps it throughout the book both with the changes of direction and the flawed narrators.

The plot is narrated by Laura and Ryan, with an input from Johnny, Ryan’s brother.  Laura is a multi faceted character and  is obviously traumatised by her past and has a warped sense of reality.  She is very manipulative to those vulnerable people who call End of the Line, using them to validate her own life and get her kicks from life.

Ryan is character I had sympathy for, he falls to pieces after loosing his wife, convinced she wouldn’t have taken her own life, and especially not with a stranger.  We get the contrast of Ryan’s life both before Laura’s death and after, which enables the reader to see the extreme change in his personality and the way his life has changed beyond recognition; almost study in grief and its effects.  In his quest to seek answers he completely underestimates Laura, and finds himself in a dangerous game of cat and mouse.

I don’t want to say too much about this book in fear of giving too much away.  What I will say buy The Good Samaritan and read it. This is a  fantastic, stomach churning edge of your seat thriller; perfect for these dark winter nights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interview with Lucinda Riley

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To celebrate the release of The Pearl Sister, the fourth instalment in the Seven Sisters series, I was very excited to be given the opportunity to interview Lucinda Riley.

 

 

Where did you get the idea the write a series of books based on the constellation of the Pleiades star cluster?

Just after New Year in 2013 I was searching for my next story but wanted to find an overarching angle to add another element to my past/present writing, something that would challenge and excite me – and my readers. I have always watched the stars – especially the Seven Sisters cluster near the belt of Orion – and on that frosty night in North Norfolk, I looked up to the heavens. Thinking also of our own seven children, I was struck with the idea for a seven book series based allegorically on the legends of the Seven Sisters constellation.

 

Do you have a favourite sister and her story?

For me, choosing a favourite sister would be like choosing a favourite child, so I’m afraid it’s impossible to say. Although I must admit, because I am currently working on Tiggy’s story, The Moon Sister, I probably feel closest to her right now. I adore her compassion and her spirituality.

I love to hear from my readers, and many of them tell me they have a sister with whom they particularly identify; for example, for some it is Star’s determination to come out of the shadows, for others it is Ally’s bravery and positivity. The wonderful thing about writing a series of seven books is that we don’t have to say goodbye to any of the sisters for a while yet.

 

Do you have a plan or diagram of the timelines for the stories so there are no inconsistencies?

No, I very rarely write anything down; it’s all in my head. Although I do have a tiny notebook the size of my palm which I keep with me to jot down an idea when it strikes.  Of course, in a series of this scale, potential inconsistencies crop up quite a lot – I always need to make sure that the sisters are in the right place and don’t contradict things that have happened in previous books. But these things are all taken care of in the editing process. After writing my first draft, I edit the book at least twenty times, to ensure that it is as perfect as I can possibly make it.

 

Which sister are you writing about now, and which countries has it taken you to?

Tiggy is the most spiritual of all of her sisters, as we have seen in previous books. In The Moon Sister, readers will discover more about her work with animals at a secluded Highland estate in Scotland, but her journey will also take her to heat of Spain. Characters from earlier in the series will reappear in very unexpected ways.
At the end of The Pearl Sister, there is a short titbit of Tiggy’s perspective, which may shock some readers. You will have to wait until The Moon Sister is released in 2018 to find out more…

 

Apart from The Seven Sisters books, I understand you have another book coming out next year, can you tell me a bit about it?

Yes, The Love Letter will be published in the UK in July 2018, and it is rather different to my previous books. It’s a thriller set in the 1990s in London and Ireland. I originally wrote the manuscript a long time ago when I was living in West Cork, where the landscape is so inspiring.

The main character is a young journalist, Joanna Haslam, who is sent to report on a memorial service held in honour of the renowned actor Sir James Harrison, who has recently died. There, she meets an elderly lady who gives her a package of old documents — including a fragment of a mysterious love letter that hints at a dramatic back-story. Joanna’s curiosity is awakened and she begins to investigate. Little does she know that she has embarked on a mission that is not only dangerous, but one that will also throw her own heart into turmoil — because Marcus Harrison, Sir James’s grandson, is as charismatic as he is enigmatic….

 

When writing, do you have a particular place where you write, and do you have to be strict with yourself about sitting down to write?

After I’ve completed all my research, I begin writing the first draft – although ‘writing’ isn’t actually accurate, because I narrate the story into my trusty Dictaphone. I work best outside in the open air, but even if I’m indoors, I’m always pacing and on the move. I spend weeks talking to myself – my kids think I’m crazy, although they’ve got used to it over the years. I then hand it over to my assistant, who has the task of converting my verbal ‘vomit’ into words on a page.

I do work extremely long hours, and sometimes it’s a hard slog, for example if a particular section isn’t going well. But generally once I’ve started on a book, I don’t find it difficult to discipline myself because I become so involved with the characters and the story and can’t wait to get back to them. I feel privileged to be able to do this for a living.

When writing I also have a strict timetable of drinks – English Breakfast tea in the morning, coffee at 11am, and rosé wine from Provence at lunchtime!

 

What was your favourite book as a child, and why?

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett and Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild. They both have fantastic heroines whose imagination and kindness helps them make their way in the world. Both books feature orphans, which perhaps may have subconsciously influenced me to write The Seven Sisters series about adopted young women.

 

Do you have much time to read, and what are you reading now?

I read every single night before going to bed – I believe that in order to be a good writer, you have to be a good reader, and I’m a bona fide bookworm. I’m currently working my way through the ‘Inspector Lynley’ mystery series by Elizabeth George.

 

Which writers have inspired you to become an author?

My favourite period is the 1920s/30s and the wonderful authors such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Evelyn Waugh who wrote so evocatively about that part of world history. They have inspired my love for the historical. Most of my books are therefore told in dual narrative format, with powerful back stories and an underlying moral of forgiveness, acceptance and understanding of one’s past – in order to live happily in the present and also to embrace the future.

Going back to The Seven Sisters series, you have recently launched a charm bracelet and a set of charms that represent each sisters heritage, I recently purchased one and it is a beautiful piece of jewelry. The profit from the sale of the bracelet and charms are going to the charity Mary’s Meals, could you tell me a bit about the charity and why you chose it?

Mary’s Meals is wonderful charity that provides more than one million children across 14 countries with a meal at their school or place of education. Providing food in this way attracts children to the classroom and helps give them hope for a brighter future. This means that children who were once too hungry to concentrate now have the energy to learn. Parents who were anguished at not being able to feed their children themselves have more peace of mind and encourage them to go to school.

Writing the Seven Sisters series has taken me across the globe, and the more I travel and experience, the more I realize what privileges we in the Western World so often take for granted. When I heard about Mary’s Meals, I loved the simplicity of the idea behind it. It gives hope to children, and nourishes their bodies as well as their minds.

Every penny of profit from the sale of each Seven Sisters bracelet goes towards providing the £13.90 needed to feed a child at school for a year. If anyone reading would like to buy a charm bracelet, simply go to https://thesevensistersshop.com/

So far, the response from my readers has been fantastic, and I would like to thank all of them for supporting this amazing cause. We have now raised enough money to sponsor Assembly of God Mission School in Liberia for a whole year.

Thank you for answering my questions, I am a huge fan of your writing.

 

You can learn more about Lucinda and her books at www.lucindariley.co.uk