Anne Bonny #Author Q&A with @markhillwriter #HisFirstLie #ItWasHer #DIRayDrake #Series #AuthorTalks

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His First Lie by Mark Hill
Synopsis:

Do you want a thriller that grips from the first line?

Do you want a thriller to leave you gasping for air?

Connor Laird frightens people: he’s intense, he’s fearless, and he seems to be willing to do anything to protect himself and those he loves. He arrives in the Longacre Children’s Home seemingly from nowhere, and instantly becomes hero and villain to every other child there.
Thirty years later, someone is killing all of those who grew up in the Longacre, one by one. Each of them has secrets, not least investigating cop DI Ray Drake.
One by one the mysteries of the past are revealed as Drake finds himself in a race against time before the killer gets to him.
Who is killing to hide their secret?

And can YOU guess the ending?

My Review

Q&A:

Q) I mention at the beginning of my review, that the theme and nature of the crime does leave me with specific reservations about the scenes within. I do however think this novel was intelligently written and did not rely upon graphic scenes at all. As a writer and especially as a debut author, did you create a list of your own rules in the writing of this novel?

A) I think as a debut author, you’re always in search of that elusive u.s.p. What do you do well as a writer? What do you like doing? What is it that makes you different from other authors? A lot of those decisions are instinctive, so I’m not going to lie and say I had a very specific plan of what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to write in two timelines – the past and the present – and I knew that where violence is concerned, less is more. The odd, sudden burst of violence is more shocking than endless fisticuffs and fights. Everything else evolved without my ever quite noticing it. I don’t think rules are overly helpful Having completed two books now and nearly a third, I realise that as soon as you invent a rule for yourself as a writer, you end up breaking it almost immediately. And don’t let other people tell you what the so-called rules are, because there aren’t any. I love that W. Somerset Maugham quote: ‘There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.’ I love reading on social media so-and-so’s rules for writing, but I take them with a pinch of salt. Everyone does it differently.

Q) I also mention the comments I have read, regarding another novel. With it labelled as ‘uncomfortable reading’. I personally think if an author can resonate with a reader on such a level; the message of the novel has truly gotten across on the page. When the novel was released were you concerned that some readers may find the themes uncomfortable?

A) Not really. As you say, the abuse stuff happens off page. It’s not something I would be comfortable writing, it’s not something I really wanted to dwell on. It’s implied, and I think readers realise that it’s very much not the focus of the novel, which is hopefully the twisty thrills and satisfying investigation. And, of course, it’s meant to be kind of uncomfortable because you want to feel sympathy for the characters. But at the end of the day, His First Lie is intended to be an entertainment – it stands or falls by whether readers like the characters and the twisty plot and the mystery at the heart of it.

Q) The novel is a very accurate portrayal of victims and their psychology. Specifically relating to their ‘coming of age’. Did you research the background of institutionalised care settings? Did the research make for harrowing reading itself?

A) No, I didn’t! But we’ve all been teenagers. It’s a confusing period at the best of times. The Longacre Home in my novel is more of a fever-dream than based on any real place. I wanted to write a novel about dark childhood secrets coming back to haunt adult characters and a children’s home seemed to have more gravity as a choice than the circus! The former residents of the home don’t get an easy time of it in His First Lie, it’s true, but then nobody does.

Q) The character of Connor Laird, has so many layers. Was there a real-life inspiration behind his characterisation?

A) I do hope not! But I like Ray, he’s a little bit of an enigma and there’s plenty to explore. He’s like one of those icebergs, the vast majority of his personality is hidden deep, deep below the surface, and I look forward to mining further aspects of him in the future. But he’s not based on anyone in particular. True, he can be charismatic and charming, traits I’m often reminded of when I look in the mirror…

Q) Gordon Tallis is the very stuff of my nightmares. His reckless disregard for the children in his ‘care’ and his systematic abuse is terrifying. But his character is essential to portray the vulnerability of the young kids. Was Tallis based around any of the high-profile cases in the media?

A) No, but it was difficult not to be aware of the avalanche of allegations and revelations that filled the newspapers for a couple of years. I wanted to write a character who was an absolute shitbag, someone who knew he was damned and who was comfortable with the idea, and Tallis was that guy. I liked the idea of having someone long dead – more than thirty years at the time of the novel – and forgotten by the world, reduced to just a name in a newspaper report, but whose existence still casts a long, threatening shadow in the lives of a few people.

Q) Thank you for the hard-hitting and emotional read of His First Lie. It really will stay with me for a long time. Do you have a next release planned? And can we have any snippets of information?

A) People have asked me what happens after ‘that’ cliff-hanger, well, the answer is coming soon. The second Drake book, It Was Her, comes out in May, and it’s about a series of terrifying home-invasions. Someone is taking an inconvenient interest in Drake’s past. And, again, the inexplicable crimes at the heart of the investigation have their roots in the past, and in one woman’s desperate attempts to put back together the family who rejected her… I’m thrilled with this new book, and really can’t wait till people get to read it!

Thank you so much for taking the time to complete my Q&A. I wish you every success with your future writing career.

MH: You’re very welcome, Abby – and thank you for the lovely review!

 

Coming Soon!!!!! 17th May and just £1.99 for pre-order
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It Was Her by Mark Hill
Synopsis:

Do you want a thriller where nothing is as it seems?

Twenty years ago, Tatia was adopted into a well-off home where she seemed happy, settled. Then the youngest boy in the family dies in an accident, and she gets the blame.
Did she do it?

Tatia is cast out, away from her remaining adopted siblings Joel and Sarah. Now she yearns for a home to call her own. So when she see families going on holiday, leaving their beautiful homes empty, there seems no harm in living their lives while they are gone. But somehow, people keep ending up dead.
Did she kill them?

As bodies start to appear in supposedly safe neighbourhoods, DI Ray Drake and DS Flick Crowley race to find the thinnest of links between the victims. But Drake’s secret past is threatening to destroy everything.

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Mark Hill
Website
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Anne Bonny #Author #QandA Violet by @LSTateAuthor #Indie #NewRelease #LavenderBlues #ThreeShadesOfLove

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Violet – Lavender Blues: Three Shades Of Love by Leslie Tate
Synopsis:

The passionate, late-life love of Beth and James begins in 2003 on a blind date in a London restaurant. Attracted by James’s cheerful openness, Beth is drawn into an unlikely encounter between his larkiness and her own romantic faith. From then on they bond, exchanging love-texts, exploring sea walks and gardens and sharing their past lives with flashbacks to Beth’s rural childhood and her marriage to a dark, charismatic minister.

Telling stories runs in Beth’s family, so she keeps up with her friends, following their efforts to find love in a soulless, materialistic world. But Beth’s own passion for giving and commitment is pushed to the limits as she and James struggle with her divorce, problems with each other’s children, and life-threatening illness. In the end, tested by pain, they discover something larger than themselves that goes beyond suffering and loss.

Q&A:

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

A) I studied Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia and have been shortlisted for the Bridport, Geoff Stevens and Wivenhoe Prizes. I’m the author of the trilogy of novels ‘Purple’, ‘Blue’ and ‘Violet’, as well as my trans memoir ‘Heaven’s Rage’, which has been turned into a film. On my website https://leslietate.com/ I post up weekly creative interviews and guest blogs showing how people use their imagination in life, in many different ways. I run a comedy club, a poetry group and a mixed arts show in Berkhamsted, UK.

‘Violet’ is the third in my trilogy about modern love, but it stands on its own, without having to read the other two books. It’s a rite of passage novel about two fifty year-olds who meet and regain their youth together, only to find themselves tested by divorce problems, each other’s children, and life-threatening illness. In the words of the blurb: ‘The passionate, late-life love of Beth and James begins in 2003 on a blind date in a London restaurant. Attracted by James’s openness, Beth feels an immediate, deep connection between his honesty and her own romantic faith. From then on they bond, exchanging love-texts, exploring sea walks and gardens and sharing their past lives with flashbacks to Beth’s rural childhood and her marriage to a dark, charismatic minister…’

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

A) ‘Violet’ began as ‘Beth’ and was partly written on my University of East Anglia course. I wanted to capture the experience of older people falling in love, partly because it’s so common in today’s society, but also because I’d experienced it myself when I met my wife and author, Sue Hampton.
I wrote it very slowly, editing as I went – something I do because I write by feel allowing the characters to lead me, so one false step could easily send me off in the wrong direction. I aim in a novel to find a route in and out of unknown territory, rather than following a preconceived plot line.
I’m lucky if I complete 250 words a day, so the book grew slowly. The first half, switching between Beth’s late-life love affair with James and her unhappy first marriage, took two years to write. The second half, Beth’s diary ten years on when she’s ill, came more quickly. I then put on a sprint to reach the finishing line, followed by another six months of revisions.
Writing a book is a major feat of endurance. Only writers know the feeling of weariness at the beginning of the day, the hours spent agonising over single lines, and the double-edged feelings that follow after publication when the book goes off into the world and leaves the author behind. It’s like bringing up a child whose growing up travels the full story arc – from complete parental absorption to pride, separation and sudden loss of purpose. In the end the book stands in the world on its own, but the author can always see the child it used to be. So a book is a gift, a portion of someone’s life that cannot be measured by the bottom line or market forces.
Publication with Magic Oxygen Press, my green publisher, was all about spotting errors and didn’t involve rewrites. If I’d had a larger publisher the chances are I’d be told what to put in and what to cut out.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) Carol Shields, particularly The Republic of Love; Drusilla Modjeska, The Orchard; Toni Morrison, Beloved; Marilynne Robinson, Home; Anne Tyler, Breathing Lessons; Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient and my classics – Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway and James Joyce, Ulysses.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) Alice in Wonderland stretched my imagination, Arthur Ransom’s Swallows and Amazons offered adventure, and Jules Verne took me to other worlds. I moved on to Sons and Lovers by D H Lawrence and Portrait of an Artist by Joyce. These last two teenage reads allowed me to fantasise about being an author myself, something I didn’t achieve till much later in life.

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

A) When I watched the first showing of the film of ‘Heaven’s Rage’, based on my book of the same name. I’d acted in it, side by side with a 13 year-old boy playing my younger self, and experienced the long waits and endless retakes of tiny actions. But the result, when I saw it, was uplifting – full of wild, soulful, dream-like images. The director, Mark Crane, is a friend who used to work in Hollywood. Like the book, his film explores the power of the imagination.

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

A) My wife, Sue Hampton, who has written 30 books for both children and adults. We listen and suggest ways around blockages, comment on each other’s scripts and give each other love, support and pep talks on the way.

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Leslie Tate
Website
Facebook – ‘Leslie Tate’ where I post weekly interviews with people about their creativity
Facebook – ‘Violet by Leslie Tate’ where I offer pre-publication extracts from my forthcoming novel with commentaries revealing how I worked on them.
Twitter

Leslie Picture

 

Q&A with @olivertidy #Author of The Prole Soldier #RainbowCity #Dystopian @CarolineBookBit

The Prole Soldier - Oliver Tidy - Book Cover
The Prole Soldier by Oliver Tidy

Q&A:

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

A) Is it OK if I just give you the blurb for the book? I’m worried that if I start going on about me or this book most of the people reading this won’t get to question two.
Theo lives and works in the Blue Zone of Rainbow City. He is almost sixteen at which age he will begin four years conscription – military or mines. He wants neither. He hates his life and despises the cruelty, injustice and inequality that prevails. When the opportunity arises for Theo to be involved in the fight for change he grabs it, knowing that failure will cost him everything.

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

A) Generally, I have an idea. I give it some thought. I start writing. And then, usually, it pours out of me like a broken pipe. That’s the way most of my books get written. On the Creative Writing MA courses I believe they call it ‘making it up as you go along’. That’s me. I think through my finger tips as I type.
I’m essentially a self-publisher. But I’ve always wanted to be traditionally published. I really believed The Prole Soldier was a book that was worth touting to literary agents. So I did. Three of them. And then I got fed up waiting three months not to hear back from anyone and decided to self-publish. Because life is too short and I could get killed by a bus next week and then no one would get to read my story.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) As the title of this novel suggests (I hope) the story is strongly influenced by George Orwell’s 1984. I read other books that encouraged me for this one: We by Yevgeny Zamyatin. The Iron Heel by Jack London. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. There were also films, notably The Hunger Games trilogy. I was going through a phase. Actually, I’ve been rather susceptible to a good dystopian tale for as long as I can remember.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) I cannot remember the title of a single book I read as a child/teenager. I did read but it’s all a blur. I can say that my earliest reading memories are of when I was a young man and devouring Wilbur Smith, Dick Francis, Desmond Bagley and others like them.

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

A) I can’t say that there has been one special experience about being a writer. But I consider that my greatest achievement as a writer involves The Prole Soldier. I had a real and well-known literary agent ask me for the full manuscript for the book after I’d submitted it for consideration. (Yes, one of them got back to me.) That was amazing. She wasn’t interested in taking it any further, which wasn’t so amazing. Apart from that, every time I hear from a reader who has enjoyed one or more of my books is a very special moment. I know that sounds cheesy, but it’s true. It’s a ray of sunshine in my day.

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

A) Undoubtedly it’s my readers, most of whom I have never met. The encouragement and ongoing support I’ve received from a good many regulars has been touching and motivating and among the most rewarding aspects of being a writer. There are a number who have gone the extra distance in their support, but I shan’t mention any names for fear of embarrassing them and missing out others. If you’re reading this, you know who you are. My sincere thanks for everything.

Oliver Tidy Author Image
Oliver Tidy
Website
Facebook
Twitter

Author bio:
Crime writing author Oliver Tidy has had a life-long love affair with books. He dreams of one day writing something that he could find in a beautifully-jacketed hard-cover or paperback copy on a shelf in a book shop. He’d even be happy with something taking up space in the remainder bin, on a pavement, in the rain, outside The Works.

He found the time and opportunity to finally indulge his writing ambition after moving abroad to teach English as a foreign language to young learners eight years ago. Impatient for success and an income that would enable him to stay at home all day in his pyjamas he discovered self-publishing. He gave it go. By and large readers have been kind to him. Very kind. Kind enough that two years ago he was able to give up the day job and write full-time. Mostly in his pyjamas.

Oliver Tidy has fourteen books in three series, a couple of stand-alone novels and a couple of short story collections. All available through Amazon (clickable link to Am Author Page). Among his books are The Romney and Marsh Files (British police procedurals set in Dover) and the Booker & Cash novels, a series of private detective tales set in the south of England and published by Bloodhound Books. Oliver is back living on Romney Marsh in the UK. His home. He still wakes in the night from time to time shouting about seeing his books on a shelf in Waterstones

***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the #BlogTour***

Blog Tour Poster The Prole Soldier - Oliver Tidy

Q&A with @deb_lawrenson #Author of #300DaysOfSun

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300 Days Of Sun by Deborah Lawrenson
Synopsis:

Travelling to Faro, Portugal, journalist Joanna Millard hopes to escape an unsatisfying relationship and a stalled career. Faro is an enchanting town, and the seaside views are enhanced by the company of Nathan Emberlin, a charismatic younger man. But behind the crumbling facades of Moorish buildings, Joanna soon realizes, Faro has a seedy underbelly, its economy compromised by corruption and wartime spoils. And Nathan has an ulterior motive for seeking her company: he is determined to discover the truth involving a child’s kidnapping that may have taken place on this dramatic coastline over two decades ago.

Joanna’s subsequent search leads her to Ian Rylands, an English expat who cryptically insists she will find answers in The Alliance, a novel written by American Esta Hartford. The book recounts an American couple’s experience in Portugal during World War II, and their entanglements both personal and professional with their German enemies. Only Rylands insists the book isn’t fiction, and as Joanna reads deeper into it, she begins to suspect that Esta Hartford’s story and Nathan Emberlin’s may indeed converge in Faro—where the past not only casts a long shadow but still exerts a very present danger.

Q&A:

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

 A) I had a bookish but chaotic childhood, though my parents would be horrified to see it described as such. They were in the diplomatic service, and my sister and I went with them on every move across the world, from Europe to the Far East. I went to ten different schools, and ended up begging to be allowed back to England to boarding school at sixteen, so I could do my A-levels. After university, I worked as a journalist because it was a way of writing and telling stories for a living. I never told anyone I wanted to be a novelist until I got my first book deal in 1993.

As it happens, crossing borders and starting again is a powerful theme in 300 Days of Sun.

On the southern coast of Portugal, journalist Joanna Millard hopes to escape an unsatisfying relationship and a stalled career. At language school in Faro, she meets Nathan Emberlin, a charismatic younger man. But nothing is quite what it seems. Behind the atmospheric Moorish buildings, Faro has a seedy underbelly, and Nathan admits he has an ulterior motive for seeking her company: he is determined to discover the truth involving a child’s kidnapping that may have taken place on this dramatic coastline over two decades ago.

Joanna’s search leads her to The Alliance, a novel that recounts an American couple’s experience in Portugal during World War II and their entanglements both personal and professional with their German enemies. At first it seems unlikely this book could have any bearing on the present, but soon she and Nathan find the past not only casts a long shadow but still exerts a very present danger.

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

 A) I went to Faro with my daughter, who is a keen linguist and had booked herself on a Portuguese language course lasting two weeks. She was only seventeen at the time and I didn’t think I could let her go on her own. While she went to class every morning, I wandered around Faro with my notebook and camera, wondering if I could make it a setting for a novel. In the afternoons, we went exploring: to the beaches on the ferries, the islands across the sea marshes and the narrow streets of Faro’s old town.

Once I had the idea for a story, I spoke about to my literary agents, and to my editors in New York and London – this would be my eighth novel, so they knew I could deliver. A deal was done in August 2014 with HarperCollins in New York, and I was away – or rather, I thought I was. I had no idea of the challenges that lay ahead when I accepted a first draft deadline of Feb 1, 2015.

At the end of September, just as I was getting into my stride, my beloved mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. From then, I wrote on doggedly between hospital visits, and then caring for her at home until she died in mid-December. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. I delivered the book on time. Four months later, just as I completed the first set of edits, my father died.

The novel was published in April 2016 in the USA. Last October, it was selected for National Reading Group Month Great Group Reads in America. That was a lovely boost. It has also been published in translation in Portugal, where readers and reviewers really seem to have enjoyed the view of their country through foreign eyes, and found it authentic and life-affirming. I never did get a UK deal for this novel, but I had considerably more to be upset about at the time. It was published as an independent e-book, with the US print copies available here.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

 A) I really hate this question because it’s so hard to answer! I read constantly and always find much to admire.

Carol Shields was a very fine writer. Her novels are intelligent and engaging, even when the subject matter is quiet. Mary Swann is my favourite: a story of a Canadian housewife who wrote poetry but is murdered by her husband before she is published. It’s a literary quest, on one level, as four diverse people who knew her, or know her work, try to unravel the secrets of her writing life.

Armistead Maupin. I just adore the Tales of the City series with its great, exuberant cast of lovable characters. Maupin writes pin-sharp prose that can capture an ambiance or a foible in a finely-tuned phrase. The fog rolling in across the San Francisco Bay presses itself against a window “like a fat lady in ermine”.

Penelope Lively and her elegant dissections of time and memory and history. Evelyn Waugh and Nancy Mitford. In French, Marcel Pagnol and Jean Giono, the great chroniclers of Provence. Daphne du Maurier for her dazzling storytelling. Lawrence Durrell for his dazzling prose.

Contemporary writers: Maggie O’Farrell, Deborah Levy, Julian Barnes, William Boyd.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

 A) I was unashamedly an Enid Blyton fan. How I loved those page-turner mystery and school and adventure stories! Gerald Durrell’s My Family and Other Animals was the funniest book I’d ever read. F Scott Fitzgerald and George Orwell were the writing heroes of my teenage years.

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

 A) After the excitement of a transatlantic bidding war for the rights to The Lantern, my modern gothic set in Provence, I went to New York to attend Books Expo America, and sign early copies. I researched the subway route and made a note of taxi numbers just in case I got stuck – it never occurred to me that HarperCollins would send a shiny black limo to collect me from my hotel! I really felt I’d made it as we bowled down Fifth Avenue.

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

A) My constants in recent years have been my fantastic agents, Stephanie Cabot in New York, and Araminta Whitley in London. They both combine encouragement with pragmatism and tough love for a manuscript, which is absolutely invaluable. Jennifer Barth, my editor at HarperCollins in New York has been the most amazing person to work with: rigorous and determined that any book should be the best it can be. You can’t ask for any more than that. My husband Rob is a trusted, critical early reader, as was my much-missed mother, Joy.

DL
Deborah Lawrenson
Author links:
You can find out more about the book on my website here: http://www.deborah-lawrenson.co.uk
I have a blog with lots of background photos to all my recent novels at http://deborah-lawrenson.blogspot.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DeborahLawrensonAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/deb_lawrenson
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/deborah.lawrenson/
Goodreads page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/591375.Deborah_Lawrenson
Amazon link: http://mybook.to/300days

*Huge thanks to the author for agreeing to be part of a Q&A on my blog 🙂