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.

Mark_Hill-308
Mark Hill
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview and #QandA The Tin God by @ChrisNickson2 5* #HistoricalFiction #NewRelease @severnhouse #AnnabelleHarper #WomensRights #ThePoorLaw #Leeds Folk music, feminism and fire. . . .

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The Tin God by Chris Nickson
Tom Harper series
Synopsis:

When Superintendent Tom Harper’s wife is threatened during an election campaign, the hunt for the attacker turns personal.

Leeds, England. October, 1897. Superintendent Harper is proud of his wife Annabelle. She’s one of seven women selected to stand for election as a Poor Law Guardian. But even as the campaign begins, Annabelle and the other female candidates start to receive anonymous letters from someone who believes a woman’s place lies firmly in the home.

The threats escalate into outright violence when an explosion rips through the church hall where Annabelle is due to hold a meeting – with fatal consequences. The only piece of evidence Harper has is a scrap of paper left at the scene containing a fragment from an old folk song. But what is its significance?

As polling day approaches and the attacks increase in menace and intensity, Harper knows he’s in a race against time to uncover the culprit before more deaths follow. With the lives of his wife and daughter at risk, the political becomes cruelly personal …

My Review:

Folk music, feminism and fire!
A recipe for historical fiction, with a political spin.

1897 – Leeds, England. Is the era and the setting for the latest Tom Harper mystery. The series is of the crime fiction genre, with great historical accuracy. Annabelle Harper is a firm favourite of mine as a character. She is courageous, honest and a deep thinker. She knows exactly how she wants to change the world. If she can just get herself into a position where she can make a difference. Within this novel she sets her sights on being an elected poor law guardian. Only not everyone is happy about it.

‘Tories and the Liberals were deriding the women for trying to rise above their normal station’

In Leeds seven women are getting prepared to stand for election as poor law guardian’s. They face aggressive opposition from all side of the political spectrum. The opposition is backed heavily by the newspapers and they become well aware it will be no easy victory. But they cannot have foreseen it would turn deadly. . .

‘A woman’s place is in the home, tending to her family and being a graceful loving presence, it is not to shriek in the hustings like a harridan or to display herself in front of the public like a painted whore. . .’
– Letter sent to all seven women.

The women begin to receive anonymous and threatening letters. Local journalist Gerald Hotchkiss writes opinion pieces, lecturing women on their role in society. What we would call in 2018 ‘mansplaining’. He warns the women they should be guided by their husbands, live modestly and look solely to the welfare of their family. Gerald is condescending, using religious reasoning to attempt to control women.
But Annabelle Harper won’t be controlled by anyone!

The novel also has scenes with Harper’s old police partner Billy Reed. He has relocated to the northern coastal town of Whitby. Currently on the case of potential smugglers.
Harper provides police protection for the women and places undercover officers at the future meetings, within the crowd. However, before the police can reach the meeting at St Clements, there’s an explosion that leaves a man dead. Has the person sending the anonymous notes upped their game?

The political dominance and threats continue as the surrounding influences attempt to silence the women. Harper realises not only does he have a tough case on his hands with little clues, he also has a wealth of potential perpetrators. He calls upon the local barracks to provide assistance, in sweeping future meeting places for explosives. Will the bomber strike again?

Despite the terrifying threats Annabelle refuses to stand down.
‘I want to help the poor, not vilify them. They’re not outcasts. They haven’t sinned. They’re us. And that’s why I’d appreciate your vote, so I can do that. Thank you’

Vote Annabelle Harper for poor law guardian

Harper finds some notepaper at the scene of the explosion, some simple song lyrics scribbled down. But what does it mean? He requests the help of local music expert Frank Kidson, to decipher the lyrics and help with the creation of a profile, of sorts.

When one of the candidates is attacked by the railway and threatened with rape. Harper realises that it all just got a lot more sinister. What started has simple opposition has developed into political warfare. Harper has deep concerns for Annabelle’s safety. Across Leeds Annabelle continues to whoo the crowds, she has a determination like no other.

Annabelle speaks with conviction, she seeks to humanise the way the poor are treated. Offering a dignified, respectful future with better quality of life. What will her enemies make of her progressive ideas for the future of Leeds?

The novel is very well researched, the era of politics and women’s rights really draws you into the story. Annabelle is such a great fictional ambassador for women. You can really get a sense for the real-life Annabelle Harper’s who would go on to inspire a generation of women. Which would ultimately fuel and evoke a passion in women, long into the future.

The novel raises many thought-provoking questions regarding women’s liberation and the political oppression the women faced. I think this novel would be ideal for book groups. But I could also see how it could assist the younger generation. The Tin God could create great debate in GCSE English lessons or history class. The emotions of the era are portrayed so well on the page.
A fabulous historical fiction crime read. 5*

Q&A:

Q) For the readers, can you give us a little bit of background behind the inspiration for this novel?

A) It was sparked by a suggestion from a friend, a suffrage historian, who suggested Annabelle should run for office. With that, it all clicked into place. I love Annabelle, she’s the soul of the series, to the point where I honestly think of her as a real person, and I wanted to be able to bring her more into a book, but do it organically, so this was perfect. And the law changed in 1894 so that the working-classes, both men and women could vote in some local elections and run for office – essentially the first steps of the system we have now, and it was one person, one vote. So it all made perfect sense, and Tom and Annabelle’s story is largely the same tale in this. Interestingly, the historian who made the suggestion is curating an exhibition called The Vote Before The Vote which will run all May at Leeds Central Library, celebrating the Victorian Leeds women who battled for equality and the vote well before the Suffragettes. The ‘official’ launch for The Tin God is part of that exhibition, and we’re melding fact and fiction by giving Annabelle her own board as part of the exhibition. She’s become a Leeds Victorian icon, and I’m incredibly proud of that.

Q) Annabelle Harper, although a secondary character in this series. Is firmly one of my favourites, as is Lottie Armstrong. What drives you to write female characters that embody the feminism movement in the differing era’s?

A) I’m not sure anything specific drives me to that. I was raised by a strong woman, I’ve been in relationships with strong women. The world needs more of them! I write the characters that come to me, so I suppose those are the types I’m naturally drawn to describe, people I admire. Annabelle is quite daunting, really, she’s so able at everything she does. Lottie is different, quieter, but strong in her own way. They just feel right to me, that’s probably the best way I can describe it.

Q) To try and summarise this novel at the start of my review, I tried to think of three of the themes. I used Folk songs, feminism and fire. What words would you use to summarise this novel?

A) For me, justice and compassion are the important themes. Annabelle wants the poor to be treated fairly by a system that’s weighted against them. She wants justice – equality – for women. When the book takes place she’s been a suffrage speaker for four years, she’s been insulted and threatened. She stands up, not afraid to be counted.

Q) The poor law guardian’s, was a minor form of election in regard to women’s rights. But was a fundamental part of the journey. Can you expand further, why the moral dilemma of the poor would strike so deeply within Annabelle?

A) It was a huge part of it, women being able to run for some offices and vote for them was a massive leap forward. One of the first women elected as a Poor Law Guardian in Leeds in 1894 was a coal miner’s wife. That’s a huge slap at the establishment. For Annabelle, who grew up in an Irish immigrant family in the poorest part of Leeds and lives and works in a working-class area, poverty is everywhere. She’s known it all her life, she’s worked in a mill and as a servant. As a pub landlady, she has money and influence now, but she sees the effect of having no money and the spectre of the workhouse every day.

Q) In my review I mention the novel’s potential use within the education system. My own teenage daughter is very well read on the topic of women’s rights and the various, current political systems. With young adults becoming more and more invested in politics and their desire to re-write history in some respects. Do you see novels with these themes appealing to the YA readers?

A) Honestly, I’d never thought about that, and I’m flattered you think it might. I’d be very gratified if some political historical fiction did make classroom discussions. But right now, I think the older generation has more to learn from the young than the other way round. During the last election, when Corbyn spoke in Leeds, in a student area, he drew 3,000 people most of them young. They’re tired of a system that excludes them. The young people in Florida are a shining example. They’ve grown up always knowing school shootings and they’re saying enough to the old white men who run things. Change is rumbling, and hopefully the activist will remain more deeply-rooted than it did in the 1960s. My own generation has mostly failed, I admire the young and I hope they succeed.

Q) What is next for Tom and Annabelle Harper?

A) Well, I’m just revising the next Tom Harper book, which is quite different to this one, although Annabelle does play a part, albeit a much smaller one.
That’s probably as much as I should say about that…

CN
Chris Nickson
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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.

jEMMA leslie-6
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.
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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
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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

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Blog Tour Poster The Prole Soldier - Oliver Tidy

#BlogTour Q&A with Ellie Dean #WithAKissAndAPrayer @arrowpublishing #NewRelease #saga #WW2Fiction #Cliffehaven

With a Kiss and a Prayer Jacket
With A Kiss And A Prayer by Ellie Dean
Synopsis:
Cliffehaven, May 1944

The tension is rising for Peggy Reilly and the inhabitants of Cliffehaven as the planes continue to roar above the town and there is still no news of the long-awaited Allied invasion into France. There seems to be no end in sight of this war which has scattered her family and brought conflict right to the door of Beach View Boarding House, but Peggy cannot work miracles and the toll of the war is beginning to weigh on her slender shoulders.

Meanwhile, Ron Reilly has landed himself in hot water with his sweetheart, Rosie – and this time, his Irish charm will not be enough to get him out of trouble.
The war has forever changed the lives of Peggy’s loved ones, but with the promise of an Allied invasion comes the hope that her beloved husband and family will at last be coming home. It will take an enormous amount of spirit to keep that hope alive and bring harmony back to Beach View.

FIND LOVE. FIND HOPE. FIND CLIFFEHAVEN.

Q&A:

Q) What made you want to become a writer?

A) I’ve always loved reading and making up stories. I am an only child, raised by my grandmother and her sisters, who opened up the world of books to me. Yet it was the family story which always intrigued me and I knew that one day I would have to sit down and write it. I eventually achieved this, and it was the start of me realising that storytelling was something I could really do well. The rest, as they say, is history!

Q) Describe your writing routine and where you like to write?

A) I have black coffee for breakfast, at least two cups, and make a point of reading the newspaper before doing the Sudoku, and the cryptic crossword. This gets me into a working frame of mind and wakes up my brain. I have an office in my house that overlooks paddocks and the South Downs, and I sit down there before ten every morning. I check my emails and Facebook, and then read through what I’ve written the day before. Editing this gets me into the next scene that I want to write. I work through from ten until around six, five days a week. If a deadline is looming however, then I might work over the weekend and at night. I find that sometimes I do my best work after midnight!

Q) What themes are you interested in when you’re writing?

A) The theme of family, and of the intricate threads that bind people together or tear them apart. People react differently to situations, and I find it fascinating to watch my characters evolve throughout the book.

Q) Where do you get your inspiration from?

A) Inspiration comes from everything and anything. A conversation overheard – a newspaper article, a line in a book or a song.

Q) How do you manage to get inside the heads of your characters in order to portray them truthfully?

A) Once I have the plot and the title, then I must have the actors playing their parts. I wait for them to come to me, to show themselves and tell me about their lives. It might sound weird, but that’s how I work. It’s like meeting new friends. You don’t know everything about them immediately, but as they talk, you can discover who they are, where they come from, their social background, their aspirations, their failures, etc. As an author I become this person, with their viewpoint, their likes and dislikes and the reactions they will have to any given situation. An author must evolve into these characters to make them fully rounded, and it doesn’t matter what gender they are – people are very similar underneath the skin.

Ellie Dean
Ellie Dean
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