Anne Bonny Q&A with @davidtallerman #Author of, The Bad Neighbour #CrimeFiction #Leeds @flametreepress

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The Bad Neighbour by David Tallerman
Synopsis:

When part-time teacher Ollie Clay panic-buys a rundown house in the outskirts of Leeds, he soon recognises his mistake. His new neighbour, Chas Walker, is an antisocial thug, and Ollie’s suspicions raise links to a local hate group. With Ollie’s life unravelling rapidly, he feels his choices dwindling: his situation is intolerable and only standing up to Chas can change it. But Ollie has his own history of violence, and increasingly, his own secrets to hide; and Chas may be more than the mindless yob he appears to be. As their conflict spills over into the wider world, Ollie will come to learn that there are worse problems in life than one bad neighbour.

Q&A:

Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?

A) I don’t know that there was a single idea, more a lot of nebulous somethings floating around a certain period in my life, when I moved back to the north of England and, like Ollie, bought a very cheap house in a relatively poor area, after months of looking at mostly grim and grotty properties. There was a lot in that experience that felt like it could be explored, and that I’d never really seen addressed anywhere else. But I guess the catalyst was the point when I found out, to my shock, that there was no dividing wall in my roof space and so nothing to separate me and my neighbour. That was really the point where all of the ideas began to swirl together and become the core of what felt like it could be a novel.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) Well, my favourite authors would take too long to list, but the ones that led me to shift toward writing crime after a decade as primarily a fantasy and science-fiction author were the excellent Charlie Huston, whose Hank Thompson trilogy was a definite influence, and Geoffrey Household, whose classic Rogue Male is surely the best thriller I’ve ever read. But, since I read a lot of nonfiction as research for The Bad Neighbour, I should put in a nod to that as well: Mathew Collins’s Hate was probably the best of those, a vital insight into what draws people to extreme right-wing politics and then what keeps them in that crowd when any idiot could see it’s not a great place to be.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) How far back are we going? At one time and another, I was a huge fan of Enid Blyton, Willard Price, series like The Hardy Boys and The Three Investigators, and C. S. Lewis’s Narnia books. All of which probably makes me sound a bit older than I am; I pretty much lived on second hand books! By the time I hit double figures I’d graduated to more adult fantasy and science-fiction – I remember Frank Herbert’s The Green Brain as making a huge impression, and Asimov was an early favourite – and also to classic authors like Joseph Conrad and Henry James. Somewhere in the midst of that muddle I think you can find the roots of the kind of stories I’ve grown up to tell!

Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?

A) I used to be quite shy, and one of the biggest shocks of being published was that suddenly I was expected to sit on stages and talk in front of crowds of people. My first panel was probably the biggest I’ve done and was a hell of a wakeup call! But I realised quickly that I loved doing that stuff, and went from being terrified to appear on panels to cheerfully moderating them at any chance I got. I think the ultimate point in that process was when my frequent editor Lee Harris talked me into an event where me and a bunch of other writers had to concoct stories based on random prompts in precisely sixty seconds. It was exactly as difficult and terrifying as it sounds, or maybe a thousand times more difficult and terrifying than that, I’d never put myself through something like that again, and it was a total blast.

Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?

A) I’ve had different readers on different books, and a great many people have been supportive in various ways over the course of my career, but the one person who’s always been willing to read my work, and critique it, and fight me like a sonofabitch if he feels something doesn’t work, is my friend Tom Rice. I think he’s beta read every book I’ve written, as well as a fair few short stories, and I honestly don’t know how I’d do this stuff without him anymore.

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David Tallerman
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour Q&A with #Author @NatalieGHart #PiecesOfMe #NewRelease #DebutAuthour #DebutNovel @Legend_Press

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Pieces Of Me by Natalie Hart
Review to follow
Synopsis:

Emma did not go to war looking for love, but Adam is unlike any other.

Under the secret shadow of trauma, Emma decides to leave Iraq and joins Adam to settle in Colorado. But isolation and fear find her, once again, when Adam is re-deployed. Torn between a deep fear for Adam’s safety and a desire to be back there herself, Emma copes by throwing herself into a new role mentoring an Iraqi refugee family.

But when Adam comes home, he brings the conflict back with him. Emma had considered the possibility that her husband might not come home from war. She had not considered that he might return a stranger.

Q&A:

Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?

A) Hello! Thanks for having me on the blog. I am currently based in London, but I often spend time travelling for work. Wherever I am in the world, I like to start my day by writing. My first job out of university was in Baghdad, which is where part of my novel is set.
My book follows protagonist British woman Emma, who meets and falls in love with US soldier Adam while she works in Iraq. Eventually she moves to the US to be with him, but when Adam is redeployed their relationship starts to struggle. My book explores the impact that conflict has on individuals and personal relationships, and the way that the effects of war linger long after the battle is over.

Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?

A) I started writing the novel on a writing workshop in Mexico in January 2015. I had been thinking about the idea for a while, but the writers leading the workshop (particularly Magda Bogin and Owen Sheers) gave me the confidence to start it.
I met my agent, the wonderful Ella Kahn, at the London Book Fair where I won the Write Stuff competition in April 2016. Having an agent made the writing process both more focused and more enjoyable. Ella encouraged and reassured me every step of the way.
Legend Press bought my manuscript in February 2018. I got the call while I was at an airport in Morocco and promptly burst into tears because I was so overwhelmed. From the first time I met my editor I knew that she was totally on board with my vision of what I wanted the novel to be.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) My favourite book this year has been When the Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border by Francisco Cantú, which is the memoir of a US border patrol agent. It resonated with me as a book that gives a real human experience to an international political issue, as I have tried to do myself. Cantú’s writing is a delight and his descriptions of the vast, beautiful and treacherous landscapes of the desert on the US Mexico border evoked feelings that have lingered long since I finished the book.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) Dick King-Smith’s Sophie series were my favourite books as a child. The series follows a young girl who spends lots of time in the countryside and constantly works towards her ambition of being a ‘Lady Farmer’, which was also my goal at the time! I remember having an intense feeling of familiarity and being understood while reading those books. I think it’s the first time I experienced how writing can reflect and make sense of people’s realities, which is a major motivator for me in my writing today.

Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?

A) When I was a teenager I worked in a small bookshop in East Sussex called Barnett’s of Wadhurst, owned by a man called Richard Hardy-Smith. My favourite moment of the publishing journey was telling Richard that he would finally be able to sell my book in his shop. I think my next favourite moment will be when I actually see my book on the shelves there!

Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?
A) I am very, very lucky to have so many people who have supported me through the writing process. Different people offer me different things. I rely on some for emotional support, others for writing advice, and others still when I need a voice of reason. My family are particularly good at teasing me and reminding me not to take life too seriously.

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Natalie Hart
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour Q&A with @mredwards #Author of #NewRelease In Her Shadow #Suspense #Psychological #Thriller @AmazonPub #InHerShadow

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In Her Shadow by Mark Edwards
Review To Follow
Synopsis:

Isabel’s life seemed perfect. Successful business, beautiful house, adoring husband. And then she was dead.

For four years Jessica has never doubted that her sister Isabel’s death was an accident. But when Jessica’s young daughter seems to know long-forgotten details about her aunt’s past, Jessica can’t shake the feeling that there’s a more sinister truth behind the tragedy.

As Jessica unearths disturbing revelations about her sister, and about the people she loved and trusted most, it becomes clear Isabel’s life was less than perfect and that Jessica’s might also be at risk.

Did someone murder Isabel? Are they now after Jessica and her family? The key seems to lie in the hands of a child. Can Isabel reveal the truth from beyond the grave, or is the answer closer to home?

Q&A:
Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?

A) I come from Hastings on the Sussex coast, famous for its battle. I’m not sure if that has any relevance but it’s possible that the salty air combined with constantly hearing stories about a man getting an arrow in his eye may have done something to my brain and imagination.

My new novel, In Her Shadow, is about a woman, Jessica, who lost her more glamorous older sister, Isabel, a few years ago. Isabel was found dead beneath the balcony of her beautiful home and the death was ruled accidental. But now Jessica’s four-year-old daughter seems to be communicating with Isabel. She knows things she can’t possibly know. She is acting up at school. And as Jessica is forced to question everything she believes, she starts to investigate what really happened to Isabel.

Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?

A) This is my eighth solo novel; fourteenth if you include the books I co-wrote with Louise Voss. I came up with the idea for In Her Shadow when I was halfway through my previous book, The Retreat. I thought of it as Big Little Lies – with its focus on female relationships and school gate drama – crossed with The Sixth Sense, with its child who sees dead people. My regular readers will know that there is always, in the end, a rational explanation for everything that happens in my books, and the big challenge was figuring out what was really going on with Olivia. Once I worked that out, it was relatively easy to write. It was also influenced by a big story that was happening in the news at the time I was writing it, a story about sex and power, but it would be too spoilery to reveal what it was.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) I read loads and I’m always worried about missing people out when I start listing my favourites, but a few books I’ve read recently that I loved are Skin Deep by Liz Nugent, Take Me In by Sabine Durrant and A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne. All beautifully written and, most importantly, utterly gripping.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) I used to read lots of Doctor Who books when I was about 11 or 12. I collected them and read one or two a week. I was obsessed with Doctor Who! Then I moved on to Stephen King and James Herbert. The scarier, the better…Herbert’s The Fog had a profound and disturbing effect on me. Also, his books were pretty rude and we used to read the most outrageous scenes out in the playground. Ah, the good old days!

Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?

A) I could mention my seven No.1 bestsellers or receiving an award from my publisher for selling two million books but don’t like to show off. The best moments are usually spent at festivals with my writer friends, especially at Harrogate, which I attend every year. The crime writing community is filled with funny, clever, irreverent people and I love hanging out with them, drinking too much and, occasionally, doing karaoke!

Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?

A) My wife, Sara, is incredibly supportive and helpful. She has to put up with me rambling on about my writing, talks to me about my plots and helps me untangle the knots I’ve created. She listens to me and, most importantly, locks me in my office until I’ve written my daily 2000 words.
I’m joking about that last bit. Kind of.

ME
Mark Edwards
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Thank you for taking part in the Q&A on my blog, I wish you every success with your writing career.

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Anne Bonny #Author Q&A Jailbird Detective by @helenjacey #CrimeFiction #NewRelease #WomenSleuths 1940’s #Noir @shedunnit

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Jailbird Detective by Helen Jacey – Book 1
Review to follow
Synopsis:

A female sleuth crime thriller set in the 1940s featuring edgy female protagonist Elvira Slate, a former criminal and gangster’s moll, who trades Holloway Prison to become a Hollywood Private Detective.

Former south London moll, Jemima Day (Elvira’s real identity) flees England as she’s released from Holloway Prison on VE Day. Her plans to make up for lost time are foiled when she confronts a sexual predator. Caught by a corrupt cop, she is given a choice – face the hangman in England or become his personal errand girl with a phony identity.

Jemima becomes Elvira Slate, but she has no intention of being controlled by any man for long. When she discovers foul play leading to the death of innocents and the law turning a blind eye, Elvira risks her life to investigate.

Ex-con and part vigilante, Elvira follows her own moral compass to put things right. Knowing what it’s like to be judged and live by patriarchal double standards, Elvira can read both motives and men like no other.

Jailbird Detective is feminist crime noir and the first in the Elvira Slate Investigations crime detective series. It follows one woman’s odyssey of reinvention and self-determination to become the most unlikely 1940s female detective.

Q&A:

Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?

A) After studying an MA in Screenwriting in 2001, I’ve written for TV, feature film, advertising, brands and radio drama. When I realised there weren’t any writing guides that discussed female characters and stereotypes, I wrote one myself! The Woman in the Story: Creating Memorable Female Characters 2010 became very popular in the film and TV industry, and I branched out into story consultancy, script editing and training. I run Shedunnit Productions which develops content across media with a female gaze.

My novel Jailbird Detective is what I’m calling vintage feminist crime noir genre, and it’s the first in the Elvira Slate Investigations series.

It follows the life of ex-convict and gangster’s moll Jemima Day who is released on probation from Holloway Prison on VE Day, 1945 and goes on the run to LA. Using a fake identity and determined to make up for lost time, things are looking up in LA until she is arrested. She becomes a corrupt cop’s undercover errand girl under the name of Elvira Slate, but she won’t be controlled by any man again, so she quickly develops a secret life – investigating a crime the law has ignored. Soon she’s immersed in a very female world, the little known side of old Hollywood.

Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?

A) In 2010 the PhD was finished, and The Woman in the Story was about to be published. I was sitting in the sunny south of France when the character of Elvira literally walked into my mind and wouldn’t leave! I was reading Raymond Chandler at the time and loving being back in 40s Hollywood, but somewhat put off by the extreme male gaze of Philip Marlowe. So maybe Elvira was my subconscious antidote.

Jailbird Detective was begun in 2010, and by early 2012 I was almost done. The completion of the novel entered a fits and starts phase for eight years! By 2018, I knew it was Jailbird Detective’s time. I had interest in the series from an agent and a publisher, but I eventually decided it should be Shedunnit Productions’ first project, as it is clearly a female gaze story and I want to develop it across media. Editing was complex and laborious – you can’t underestimate the work it takes!

My plan is to write one book a year in the series and the next in the Elvira Slate series will be out in 2019.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) I love any kind of underdog and outsider fiction. Jean Rhys 1930s novels, such as Good Morning Midnight.

I love Tony Morrison, Beloved and Jazz are up there with my favourites. For the sheer warmth and humanity in the Tales of the City series, Armistead Maupin is another much-loved author as is Zadie Smith for White Teeth.

I wouldn’t be a crime writer without some favourites. James Ellroy (LA Confidential, Black Dahlia), Walter Moseley (Devil in a Blue Dress). Edward Bunker’s No Beast So Fierce is a gripping exposure of a doomed criminal justice system which is neither restorative or rehabilitative. John Grisham’s Street Lawyer is another top book. On the female author front, I love anything by Lynda La Plante, PD James and Sara Paretsky.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

When I was very young, I was enthralled by rather strange doll Flora McFlimsey, who got in all sorts of antics. I loved the Worst Witch Series, was hooked on Blyton’s Mallory Towers. So you can see the theme – rebellious females who go on adventures. In my teens I became a Bronte, Austen and Elizabeth Gaskell fan. Francois Sagan’s Bonjour Tristesse and Rosamund Lehmann’s Dusty Answer spoke to my teenage self. I discovered the female modernist poets, Gertrude Stein, HD, Marianne Moore and Mina Loy. I loved Dorothy Parker too for her witty cynicism.

Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?

A) I was invited by the Norwegian Film Institute to give a keynote tribute lecture at the inaugural Liv Ullman symposium. Liv Ullman was sitting in the front row and it was quite nerve-wracking dissecting some of her roles. She was really lovely about the one-hour lecture I gave and it was a privilege to meet her.

For Jailbird Detective, I have been touched by very talented author and screenwriter friends reading the book and telling me they can’t put it down. It’s an unbelievable feeling of validation.

Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?

A) My husband Patrick Altes, who makes every day special. He’s an artist himself, so understands the pain, frustration, sacrifice, dedication and single-mindedness demanded by the creative process. He makes me laugh when I’m stressed, takes over the cooking, reads every draft of Jailbird Detective (and there’s been quite a lot of those over the past 8 years). He’s also very literary-minded, and great at giving notes!

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Helen Jacey
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Anne Bonny #Author Q&A with @Hollieannem #Sweetbriars #LeavingTheCity #YA #Equestrian

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Sweetbriars – Book 1 – Leaving The City by Hollie Anne Marsh

Q&A:

Q) For the readers, can you provide a synopsis of your new novel?

Sweetbriars – Leaving The City
It tells the story of Cate Sullivan and her new friends Violet and Tabby, at the wonderful Sweetbriars horse farm in the English countryside. It is a ‘coming of age’ story which features ‘growing up’ themes around three fun, relatable, but also different twelve-year-old girls.

A Tale of Sweetbriars.
Welcome to the yard! Come and meet the girls… Cate, Tabby and Violet and their beautiful horses.

Cate is uprooted from life as she has known it. Along with her family and her gorgeous palomino show horse Odette, she moves to a charming farm deep in the English countryside.

Cate is torn. Upon moving to horse heaven, she had to leave behind her best friend Beth and her beloved horse-riding instructor Bridget. On the other hand, she has fallen in love with Sweetbriars, the farm her family has bought to make their dreams come true.

Setting up an equestrian centre at Sweetbriars is fun to Cate but settling into a new school and having a stern Pony Club riding instructor that teaches dressage is less so. At school, Cate makes friends with Violet, who is confident and wacky, and through Pony Club she gets to know Tabby, who is sweet and popular. The girls’ lives will be intertwined in ways they could never have imagined thanks to their shared passion for horses and Cate’s determination to make Sweetbriars a success.

Will Cate ever settle into living in the countryside?

Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?

A) I wrote the manuscript for Sweetbriars almost fifteen years ago in Australia. I remember sending the manuscript to a literary agency for an appraisal, and they wrote back to me encouraging me to take more writing classes! I was encouraged at school to pursue a career in writing as my teacher thought I had some talent – but school English is a little different to studying writing at University or through specialist courses.

My dream was to create a new Saddle Club series as I loved these types of books… books with fun, addictive characters that love horses, and evolve as the series progresses.

I did go on to study writing more formally… but as part of a business degree where I had some ‘free’ subjects and somehow was able to choose creative writing subjects. Which I enjoyed a lot and did well in. After finishing my studies, I went into a career in marketing working for international companies / brands.

A year and a half ago I had a baby and I hadn’t forgotten my book dream… so I dug out the manuscript and worked on it a few hours each day, whilst I was at home with my baby.

My last professional job was not creative at all, so doing something creative was enjoyable and a welcome change.

As I’d lived in England for almost ten years I changed the book to be set in the stunning countryside of Devon – where my Oldenburg foal was bred. The book is based on the many experiences I had whilst enjoying horse life in the UK – competing in dressage competitions, exploring bridleways and spectating at big horse shows. Also growing up riding ponies, going to Pony Club and having so many fun adventures with my friends.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) Well there are a lot! I actual like to read a lot of motivational / spiritual books and find I can read the late Wayne W. Dwyer and Esther Hicks books over and over. For some time, I was loving Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, as at the time I was living a similar kind of life… taking a year off to travel and I had some unique and wonderful experiences. Since living in Barcelona I discovered The Cathedral Of The Sea by Ildefonso Falcones – a classic and what an incredible storyteller. For people that have visited Barcelona and loved it, I highly recommend this book. That was probably the best last book I read – although Shadow Of The Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon is almost as amazing. I have a wide and varied reading taste and I think enjoy most genres of books if they are good!

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) The Saddle Club followed by The Baby Sitters Club – I was totally addicted to these books… they were like T.V. in a book. I used to trade the books with my friends once we were finished and we would talk about the characters and stories for hours, finding common ground between our lives and theirs! Ha ha.

I also adored more classic books such as Flambards by K.M. Peyton and Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.

Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?

A) Getting great reviews. That is an incredible feeling as a debut author. Totally surreal at first.

Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?

A) Our family of four – my partner, baby boy and horse Frieda. I’ve taken time out from my professional career and a good part of it has been spent finishing this book. My partner has been supportive, believing in me and my baby boy inspires me with his pure love of life. As for Frieda, the best way for me to clear my head and feel ‘at home’ is by sitting on a horse. Feeling that partnership with such a special animal, in nature, has always been grounding for me.

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Hollie Anne Marsh
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