#CharacterProfile Serjeant Catchpoll Marked To Die by Sarah Hawkswood @bradecote @AllisonandBusby #HistoricalFiction #Mystery

cover
Marked To Die by Sarah Hawkswood 
A Bradecote and Catchpoll mystery
Synopsis:
October 1143. His task dispatched, a mysterious archer melts back into the forest leaving a pile of corpses in his wake. The lord Sheriff of Worcester cannot ignore such a brazen attack on the salt road from Wich, nor the death of a nobleman in the wrong place at the wrong time. And so Hugh Bradecote and Serjeant Catchpoll are dispatched to hunt an elusive killer and his gang, and put a stop to the mounting attacks.

But it is not easy to get the culprits in their sights with a reeve keen to keep his position at all costs, a lord with his own ends to serve and a distrusting and vengeful widow to whom Bradecote is increasingly attracted.

Character profile:

SERJEANT CATCHPOLL
I never wanted my detectives to be flawless, or Holmesian in their ability to solve the crimes placed before them. What is important is that they are human, and also men of their time. In fact Catchpoll is very much a ‘proto-copper’ in the mould of Terry Pratchett’s Sam Vimes. I always think ‘Vimesy’ and Catchpoll would understand each other perfectly, and have an equal disregard for the Police and Criminal Evidence Act. They both fight dirty, have a deep sense of justice, and side with justice over the Law, which are not always totally in agreement. Both also know the power of creating their own myth, though neither would phrase it in that way.

Catchpoll, in terms of looks, has always been one man to me, taken from an image in a newspaper way back when the idea of the series formed in my head, and I saw a black and white portrait in a newspaper of the actor about to play a leading role at the RSC. I knew instantly ‘he’ was Catchpoll, from the gash of a mouth as a grim line in the grizzled stubble to the hard eyes with the deep crow’s feet at their corners, and the straggling, untrimmed hair. When I write him I see him as that every moment, and since Matt Addis has brought his voice to life in the audiobooks of the first two novels, I can hear the Worcestershire accent in every word. When it comes to the actual character of the man, he is in part someone I have known all my life. I am the product of three generations of Royal Marines senior NCOs, and, as some reviewers have noted, Catchpoll is your classic senior NCO. I drew heavily on my father’s pragmatism, practicality, and humanity. Catchpoll fulfils what he knows the people of Worcester expect the Sheriff’s Sergeant to be, unflappable, sometimes omniscient, tough and intolerant of fools. His view is that the criminals have to know that however mean and clever bastards they think themselves, Serjeant Catchpoll is for certain a meaner and cleverer one. He actively encourages this belief as a deterrence to crime in ‘his’ Worcester.

Thus Catchpoll seems as hard as nails, and prefers to be seen that way, but some things get through to his inner softness, which he then rushes to conceal. He is inclined to be tetchy, is always cynical, frequently insubordinate, and he has an inordinate and apparently illogical dislike of the Welsh, though that is explained in the sixth book in the series. He also talks to corpses, not in a ghoulish way, but because he is in essence ‘interviewing’ them as he would someone who could speak, and by asking the questions that their physical condition can answer, he finds it easier to see and store the information gleaned.

His relationship with Hugh Bradecote, the new Undersheriff, is one that develops gradually, from antipathy to grudging acceptance and then respect and trust. It had to be an arc, and a natural one at that, not some ‘buddy cop’ scenario. It has to be remembered also that outside of the important crimes, or crimes involving important people, he works alone, though he has now got Walkelin as his ‘serjeanting apprentice’, and imparting his knowledge to his protégé is something he quietly enjoys, though he would not tell Walkelin that. It also saves his creaky knees, of which he often complains.

Solving murder would not be an easy task in the twelfth century, and in reality the ‘cases’ where killers were caught were those where a community hue and cry brought in the perpetrator, not the Sheriff’s men hunting for clues. Having ‘detectives’ is an invention, but then the mediaeval murder mystery as a genre has to have them in some form. It would be a world where every piece of information and evidence has to be stored in memory, rather than annotated in a notebook, and the detective’s almost sole asset would be his ability to observe with all the senses and ‘read’ his fellow man. Both attributes are as useful to the modern detective too, of course, but now there are written statements, evidence bags, SOCOs etc. Sometimes Bradecote and Catchpoll make errors in their mental filing, forget something, give it too much value or not enough. I think it important that they can do that, and if the reader works out who did it before they do I do not think it matters. What is important is enjoying taking their journey to the solving of the crime. I certainly enjoy working with them.

SH1
Sarah Hawkswood
Website
Twitter

#BlogTour #Review A Darker State by @djy_writer 5* @BonnierZaffre @bonnier_publish #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #Germany #1970s

Happy publication day David Young!

cover
A Darker State by David Young
Synopsis:

For the Stasi, it’s not just the truth that gets buried . . .

The body of a teenage boy is found weighted down in a lake. Karin Müller, newly appointed Major of the People’s Police, is called to investigate. But her power will only stretch so far, when every move she makes is under the watchful eye of the Stasi.

Then, when the son of Müller’s team member goes missing, it quickly becomes clear that there is a terrifying conspiracy at the heart of this case, one that could fast lead Müller and her young family into real danger.

Can she navigate this complex political web and find the missing boy, before it’s too late?

My review:

For the Stasi. It’s not just the truth that gets buried . . .

Under the secrecy and fear of a communist state, a murderer lurks. The prologue opens with one armed Polish dog walker Kazimierz Wojcik; stumbling across, the rat covered dead body of a young male, in a dark lake. It is within this terrifying political climate, that the man, even fears calling in the dead body to the police….

‘Keep you head down; keep out of trouble. That’s how Kazimierz had survived all these years, and he wasn’t about to change’

It is an eerie prologue that really sets the tone and pace of this historical novel. The author has done an outstanding job, of bringing 1976 East Berlin alive!
The novel is set within six months of 1976. With alternate chapters alternating the various months. The novel has many factual and historically accurate references. But the central theme is the skilfully woven, crime fiction plot.
One dead boy and another missing.
Things are about to get difficult for tough police major Karin Muller…….

Karin Muller is the newly appointed major of the serious crimes department in Keibelstrasse. Working alongside her deputy Werner Tilsner. Each having received double promotions. But is there more to this career fast tracking than meets the eye?

At the crime scene the pathologist quickly determines the body to have suffered fatal asphyxiation. There is a bizarre tattoo on the body and a sock stuffed down the throat of the victim. The police are left with more questions than leads.

The novel then jumps to six months previously. Where we meet Markus a bullied young student. We become aware that he is the son of a police man. He is helpless in his efforts to defend himself. Until one-day Oskar steps in and fends off the bullies. Having found a new and only friend, Markus believes his life is about to become a lot less lonely!

The body from the lake is finally identified as Dominik Nadel. Where the police officers believe his identification may throw up some clues. It only leads to further mysteries. Dominik appears to have led a sheltered life. He works at the local steel works and has hobbies such as football and a motorbike club. It is only when Karin appeals to the coach’s gentler side. Then he reveals crucial secrets surrounded Dom’s lifestyle and the motor bike club he is a member of…….

Karin’s personal life has changed, this is her first case back after her return from her twin’s birth. She is exhausted and blames herself for her long working hours away from her children. It is during this time, that the cracks begin to show in her relationship with Emil. He is distant and cold towards her. With everything Karin has going on, she does not even feel welcomed in her own home.

The case continues at a slow burning pace, but the alternative chapters keep you on your toes. We learn more about Dom’s activities prior to his death. Whilst also watching Markus fall in love for the first time.

The novel deals with some exceptionally moving themes. The manipulation of individuals, to achieve state goals. Also, the vile abuses a country can carry out on its own citizens. I think the author is very brave to address the concept within the historical era. It cannot have been an easy task.
But he has delivered a thought-provoking and complex 5* novel.

Karin Muller is an awesome protagonist and I look forward to the next novels in the Stasi series.

DY
David Young
Authors Links:
Website
Facebook
Twitter

#BlogTour #GuestPost The Abandoned by @sharontwriter #NewRelease @Bloodhoundbook #HistoricalFiction #CrimeFiction

9781912175901
The Abandoned by Sharon Thompson
Synopsis:
Peggy Bowden has not had an easy life. As a teenager her mother was committed to an asylum and then a local priest forced her into an abusive marriage. But when her husband dies in an accident Peggy sees an opportunity to start again and trains as a midwife.

In 1950s Dublin it is not easy for a woman to make a living and Peggy sees a chance to start a business and soon a lucrative maternity home is up and running. But when Peggy realizes that the lack of birth control is an issue for women, she uses their plight as a way to make more money. Very soon Peggy is on the wrong side of the law.

What makes a woman decide to walk down a dark path? Can Peggy ever get back on the straight and narrow? Or will she have to pay for her crimes?

Set against the backdrop of Ireland in the 1950’s The Abandoned tells the story of one woman’s fight for survival and her journey into the underbelly of a dangerous criminal world.

Guest Post:

I didn’t know where I was headed when I started to write. So, it’s hard to believe that I’ve written a novel which people will read. It’s a strange turn of events and a scary but wonderful experience.

It all started when I thought maybe I could put ‘a book’ together for a charity close to my heart. Danny McCarthy from Mentor Books pointed out that books are a risky business, but I was adamant that in my future there would be books. After stalking and meeting Benji Bennett from Adam’s Cloud Publishing, he inspired me to start a blog. I had no clue what a blog was at the time but I wrote for hours and found I needed to write.

Then years ago, while on holiday I got up and just had to write about a female killer. She took over my fingers and my hours in the shade. It was as simple as that. My aim was to create a long work of fiction with this character and I let myself write. It seemed so natural and I was content.

While lost in Twitter, I came across Carmel Harrington – a successful HarperCollins author – who mentioned her online writing group and, after a long time, I picked up the courage to join. Carmel Harrington and the Imagine, Write, Inspire group became my secret writing family and I wrote blog posts, short stories and flash fiction. My writing group fuelled my cravings. We set challenges for each other and they made favourable comments about my ramblings. These lovely women also asked for more and more of my rampant 1950s female, serial-killer – Devina.

I wrote quite a few novel length manuscripts. Some may never see the light of day, but once I started I found it hard to stop. I learned as much as I could from other writers as I went along and tried hard to practice all I was taught or read about.

While staring in awe at other published writers at Louise Phillip’s book launch, Carmel Harrington dragged me over to tell Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin about my writing. It took me weeks to send Vanessa the first chapters of my manuscript, but she liked it and has mentored me as I have continued to write. Events like this are life-changing and yet I didn’t realise it. I had no idea how much each step would mean. It has taken a good while to built up the confidence to call myself ‘a writer’. But I daringly gave myself @sharontwriter as my Twitter handle!

Over the years, my short stories got into various publications. Some fabulous literary magazines have kindly published my work. I am proud of these stories. http://www.sharontwriter.com has links to them.

While tapping away, I studied various courses and thought about starting a writing tweet-chat. The tweet-chat king, Dr Liam Farrell joined me in making one. Turns out he’s a writer too and we established #WritersWise. Writing experts guest-host for an hour using our hashtag and give us some of their expertise in tweets. I learned from the experiences of my writing heroes and loved communicating with them and bringing their advice to other aspiring writers. We trend regularly and have a good following. Check us out on #WritersWise on select Thursdays 9-10pm on twitter and at http://www.writerswise1.wordpress.com .

While reading as much as possible, creating websites for #WritersWise and doing re-writes, I still didn’t dare call myself a writer. But when I threw in my teaching principal’s job people asked, ‘So what are you up to now?’ and I felt like a total fraud as I whispered, ‘I write.’

I submitted to events like Date with an Agent and dared to dream I’d find a literary agent. Finally, after many trials and tribulations, I found my home with Tracy Brennan at Trace Literary Agency. I could shout about my progress on social media now. This was the turning point for me. It all started to feel real.

Waiting around is a big part of being a writer and people were starting to ask where they could read my ‘stuff’. Still tentative about sharing my writing, I somehow convinced the Donegal Woman website that they needed a flash-fiction/opinion slot. Now every Sunday, I can be found having fun on our successful Woman’s Words segment at http://www.donegalwoman.ie.

While some fictional characters come and go, others stay a while and Peggy set up camp on my keyboard. Peggy is a backstreet abortionist and brothel owner in 1950s Dublin and she demanded to be a character. I wondered how women in 1950s might have tried to keep their independence when society just wanted them to marry and give up their jobs. I agreed with Peggy that we should explore her story together.

I’m so thrilled that Peggy’s story has been published by Bloodhound Books a leading UK publisher for thrillers and crime fiction. I hope readers take to Peggy’s story. It is called The Abandoned’ and is out on 25th January 2018.

XPpijWaR
Sharon Thompson
Authors Links:
Website
Twitter
Facebook

Author Profile:

Sharon Thompson lives in Donegal, Ireland. She is a member of Imagine, Write, Inspire. This is a writing group, under the mentorship of HarperCollins author Carmel Harrington. Sharon’s short stories have been published in various literary magazines and websites. #WritersWise is her collaboration with writer, Dr Liam Farrell. This is a trending, fortnightly, promotional tweet-chat with corresponding Facebook page and website (www.writerswise1.wordpress.com). Its mission is to encourage and support writers to reach as wide an audience as possible. Although she mostly writes crime fiction, Sharon does have a fun-side and she writes the quirky Woman’s Words column for the Donegal Woman wesbite. Sharon Thompson. Writing Fun is her writing page on Facebook and she tweets @sharontwriter.

***Check out the other fabulous blogs on the #BlogTour***
BLOG TOUR

 

#Review The Crow Garden by @Ali_L Alison Littlewood @JoFletcherBooks @QuercusBooks #HistoricalFiction #Literary 4*

Cover
The Crow Garden by Alison Littlewood
Synopsis:

Susan Hill meets Wilkie Collins in Alison Littlewood’s latest chiller. Mad-doctor Nathaniel is obsessed with the beautiful Mrs Harleston – but is she truly delusional? Or is she hiding secrets that should never be uncovered . . . ?

Haunted by his father’s suicide, Nathaniel Kerner walks away from the highly prestigious life of a consultant to become a mad-doctor. He takes up a position at Crakethorne Asylum, but the proprietor is more interested in phrenology and his growing collection of skulls than the patients’ minds. Nathaniel’s only interesting case is Mrs Victoria Adelina – Vita – Harleston: her husband accuses her of hysteria and delusions – but she accuses him of hiding secrets far more terrible.

Nathaniel is increasingly obsessed with Vita, but when he has her mesmerised, there are unexpected results. Vita starts hearing voices, the way she used to – her grandmother always claimed they came from beyond the grave – but it also unleashes her own powers of mesmerism . . . and a desperate need to escape.

Increasingly besotted, Nathaniel finds himself caught up in a world of séances and stage mesmerism in his bid to find Vita and save her.

But constantly hanging over him is this warning: that doctors are apt to catch the diseases with which they are surrounded – whether of the body or the mind . . .

My review:

Welcome to Crakethorne Asylum…………

Set in 1856, this novel offers a literary insight into the world of asylums. It details the ‘inmates’, doctors and a growing relationship between one doctor and his patient, the illusive Mrs Victoria Adelina Harleston.
Crakethorne Asylum is perfectly described, and you feel immersed inside its crumbling walls. Set in northern England, West Riding, Yorkshire. The author has done an outstanding job of portraying the opinions and attitudes held by many in the era.

“The north, despite its bluff inhabitants, austere weather and desolate landscapes, has indeed rather favoured the mad”

Dr Nathaniel Kerner is a new ‘mad doctor’ in post. He has an interesting backstory and is determined to absolve some inner guilt by creating a family legacy. Nathaniel/Nate is idealistic in his approaches and has felt inspired by the nearby York Retreat. He hopes to radicalise mental health. To do away with the notion that Bedlam Asylum has created, that all those considered ‘mad’ are lost causes with no hope of saviour.
He begins his post under the watchful eye of Dr Algernon Chettle. The Asylum houses 39 ‘inmates’ of various conditions. From epilepsy, to female hysteria and a child patient whom believes he is a dog!

“All physicians face the risk of succumbing to the diseases they battle” Dr Chettle

“Guard your mind – or you may discover one day it is entirely lost, and you may not find it again!” Dr Chettle

Mrs Harleston arrives with her husband, she has an interesting backstory and you become fascinated with her plight. Is she mentally ill? Is she manipulating the inexperienced Dr Kerner? Why is her husband so abrupt and callous towards the staff?
Mrs Harleston forms question after question, in the readers mind. But not just the reader, Dr Kerner’s fascination is also growing day by day………….

The novel details the workings of the asylum. The class structure, treatments available and meagre privileges afforded to the mentally ill. The other ‘inmates’ lives are detailed, almost as if you are reading their patient files. The chapters themselves include patients note/observations and entries from the doctor’s journals.
Which makes for brilliant reading!
Dr Chettle is obsessed with the physiology study. A study which believes a person’s afflictions can be predicted from their skull etc. A bizarre study but reflective of the era.

Dr kerner becomes convinced that talking therapy would work best with Mrs Harleston. That simply breaking down the walls of her defence, will provide a solution or cure to her current crisis.
As their conversations develop, I began to wonder, who is teaching who?

“How much of a woman’s life, do you think is spent being buried alive?” – Mrs harleston

Various therapies are explored with Mrs Harleston and each give an insight into her psyche. Her childhood, marriage and outlook on life are all fully explored. Other characters are slowly introduced into the story, they provided added deception, scandal and lies. I was glued to the page.
Then suddenly one dark evening, Mrs Harleston disappears………..

Who is the threat to Mrs Harleston? Or is she a danger to herself? Can Dr Kerner find her and return her to the asylum? Where/who would a woman with the odds stacked against her run to?

“The weight of society and authority was all on his side, what proof could I offer” Mrs Harleston

A fantastic historical fiction novel, offering an insight into mental health in the Victorian era. I think the ending is one for much discussion, but may leave some readers baffled.
I would be delighted to read more by this author!
Recommended.

AL
Alison Littlewood
Authors links:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alison.littlewood.3?ref=tn_tnmn
Twitter: @Ali_L
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4655152.Alison_Littlewood
Website: http://www.alisonlittlewood.co.uk/

Author bio:
Alison Littlewood was raised in Penistone, South Yorkshire, and went on to attend the University of Northumbria at Newcastle (now Northumbria University). Originally she planned to study graphic design, but “missed the words too much” and switched to a joint English and History degree. She followed a career in marketing before developing her love of writing fiction.

Alison Littlewood’s latest novel is The Crow Garden, a tale of obsession set amidst Victorian asylums and séance rooms. It follows The Hidden People, a Victorian tale about the murder of a young girl suspected of being a fairy changeling. Alison’s other novels include A Cold Silence, Path of Needles, The Unquiet House and Zombie Apocalypse! Acapulcalypse Now. Her first book, A Cold Season, was selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club and described as ‘perfect reading for a dark winter’s night.’

Alison’s short stories have been picked for Best British Horror, The Best Horror of the Year, The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror and The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror anthologies, as well as The Best British Fantasy and The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime. They have been gathered together in her collections Quieter Paths and in Five Feathered Tales, a collaboration with award-winning illustrator Daniele Serra. She won the 2014 Shirley Jackson Award for Short Fiction.

Alison lives with her partner Fergus in deepest Yorkshire, England, in a house of creaking doors and crooked walls. She loves exploring the hills and dales with her two hugely enthusiastic Dalmatians and has a penchant for books on folklore and weird history, Earl Grey tea and semicolons.

Cover
Available now in Ebook and hardback. 

#Review #NewRelease Brighter Days Ahead by @Authormary 5* Mary Wood @panmacmillan #Saga #ww2Fiction

*I received an arc via the publisher in return for an honest review*

cover
Brighter Days Ahead by Mary Wood
Synopsis:

War pulled them apart, but can it bring them back together?

Molly lives with her repugnant father, who has betrayed her many times. From a young age, living on the
streets of London’s East End, she has seen the harsh realities of life . . . When she’s kidnapped by a gang and forced into their underworld, her future seems bleak.

Flo spent her early years in an orphanage, and is about to turn her hand to teacher training. When a kindly teacher at her school approaches her about a job at Bletchley Park, it could be everything she never knew she wanted.

Will the girls’ friendship be enough to weather the hard times ahead?

My review:

Brighter Days Ahead, is a saga by genre, but it tackles some thoroughly complex and very modern themes. Mary Wood has shown that she is not afraid to tackle the reality of the era. The attitudes and social behaviours are thoroughly explored. From the harsh domestic violence scenes, to the pre-LGBTQ generation, this novel has layers of depth.

The novel focuses around two young women, struggling to make their way in a male dominated society. However, the outbreak of world war 2, saw more women than ever before, enter the work place. For the first time in a very long time, women were staring to see equality on the horizon.
This novel tells the personal story of two of those women and their journey towards that horizon……

Molly is from the unforgiving east end of London. She has a brute and drunkard for a father, who with his roaming hands, makes life unbearable. The novel details her backstory, the man she holds a torch for, her best friend and her god-awful father’s decline into criminality.
It is when she is kidnapped by local black market racketeers, that she learns just how cruel, violent and barbaric, life can truly be!

“Please, god, don’t let what happened to Phyllis’s mate happen to me….. please!” – Molly

In Leeds we meet orphan Flo (Florence), who has not had the easiest starts to life. Flo is determined to make something of her life. She is intelligent, caring and hard working. When her night school tutor Mr Dinkworth (Roland), offers her a glimmer of hope with a potential job at Bletchley Park.
Roland is a fascinating character all my himself! Roland has a secret love, a love so powerful, the generation simply wasn’t ready for its acceptance.
Roland has a lover at Bletchley and his name is Simon……..

The novel revolves around the main two protagonists Molly and Flo. But the background characters are simply too strong to be held in the backstory and the novel, then details all of their journeys throughout the war. This unusual mix of friends and their individual stories, makes for extremely interesting reading.
Molly has a crush on her employer’s son David. But with David being of the Jewish faith, there is little hope for romance. Hettie, Molly’s closest friend and confidant, pushes the two together which leads to a surprising twist.
Roland and Simon must live a life of the upper most secrecy. Which means involving Flo and Simon’s half-sister Lucinda into their secret. With Lucinda as a cover story, the two men manage to arrange secret liaisons. That is until Kitty Hamlin decides to out them! When you think of the social and criminal repercussions for gay men in the 1940s, you wince with every comment that leaves Kitty’s mouth.
It is an outing that will lead to violence and heartbreak.

The novel details the hardships faced by women and gay men in an honest, realistic portrayal. All the characters will come to face great hardships, emotional pain and suffering. But it is their resilience and triumph over adversity that drives the narrative. The power of strong bonds of friendship and hope for a brighter future after the war.
This saga really is a blend of contemporary themes such as gay rights, but set within the ww2 era. It shows the power of two women, whom refuse to give up or ‘know their place’. It really is an incredibly read and definitely one to curl up with on the sofa over the Christmas period.

Perfect for fans of sagas, historical fiction and the world war two era.
Not to be missed! 5*

MW
Mary Wood
Authors links:
Twitter: @Authormary
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HistoricalNovels
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4336970.Mary_Wood
Website: https://www.authormarywood.com/

Author bio:
Born the thirteenth child of fifteen to a middle-class mother and an East End barrow boy, My childhood was a mixture of love and poverty. This encouraged me to develop a natural empathy with the less fortunate and a fascination with social history.

I was educated at St Peter’s RC School, where, at the time, the emphasis was on instilling the 3 R’s plus 1 – Reading, Writing, Arithmatic and Religion. When I left school, I was ill-equipt for a future career, as most girls of my background were. Life had to become a learning curve.

Mine took the path of factory work, then office work as I learnt to type and write words in little squiggles. After marriage, cleaning, catering and pub jobs fitted in best with family life, as did party planning – Tupperware and Pippa Dee. There was later a stint in the caring industry, and then pub and hotel management. Until finally, I went back to my office skills and through an agency, worked in the office of the Probation Service. When a post for admin became vacant I was offered it, and from there rose to be a Community Service Officer and finally a Probation Service Officer. This took me to retirement, from 9-5. However, there ws no stopping me. Through most of this time I had been writing and trying to get publsihed, now I could spend much more time pursuing that dream.

I met my husband, Roy when I was just fourteen and he was nineteen. In 1963 we married and have four children, eight grandchildren, and five step grandchildren. Great granchildren, and step great grandchildren, is an ever changing number as we welcome more each year. Each one is a blessing and enhances our lives.

An avid reader, I first put pen to paper in 1989 whilst nursing my mother through her last months, but only became successful in receiving rejection letters, until the dawning of kindle and the innovation it offered to authors to self-publish their work.

At last, I could call myself an author! And a very successful one at that, as my books soared to the top of their genre.

This changed my life. I was living as an ordinary pensioner, eeking out our pensions, and the little I could earn by freelancing as a Creative Writing Editor, and wasn’t even able to afford to run a car – I loved my bus-pass…. Then another author encouraged me to put my work on kindle, and suddenly, I was doing what I loved – telling stories, and earning money for doing so! My life changed as now I could fulfil another dream – to live in Spain for half of the year.

I love to travel. I go to many places in the world on holiday and more importantly, to carry out my research. All of this was now open to me. But more was to come:

In 2013, I was spotted by Pan Macmillan Publishers and offered a seven book deal!!!

This entailed, two new books and all of my five backlist. To date, two backlist have been published in paperback and two new novels.

I have since been given a further two book deal.

Two of my books a year are being published. Below are the ones that are in the shops now – WH Smiths and some supermarkets as well as all good book stores.

My most successful kindle book, An Unbreakable Bond, is coming out May 19th 2016. This book is a sequel to To Catch A Dream. And then, In November/December 2016, In Their Mother’s Footsteps, will be published. This book is a sequel to All I Have To Give.

I began my career writing northern sagas along the lines of Catherine Cookson, whom I loved and admired. Now I have branched out and write thrilling novels with a wartime setting. I usually set these novels in London, the north, and with a fair bit of the action happening in France, and Poland.

I would say that I am a gritty writer, who takes her readers to live the situations my characters find themselves in. Parts of my books are not for the feint-hearted. I bring my stories alive, and take my reader into the depth of them. I would feel as though I am letting my characters and my readers down if I didn’t do this, so be prepared to feel many emotions as you read my novels. Be prepared too, to tackle issues head on, to fight in world war one and world war two as if you are that nurse, that munition worker, that special agent. And in my northern sagas, be ready to experience what it was like to be a woman, in an era when it is was thought that there was no such thing as rape, and domestic violence was a man’s right to keep his missus in check. But you will also see the downtrodden triumph, and the just win through. I hope you enjoy my books. I hope too, that you will become a friend. Much love, Mary x

cover
Available now in kindle and paperback!