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

In Her Shadow by Mark Edwards
Review To Follow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

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

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

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

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

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

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

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

Mark Edwards
Website ~ where you can sign up to get a free box set of scary short stories

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

***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the blog tour***

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

Jailbird Detective by Helen Jacey – Book 1
Review to follow

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

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

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

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

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Helen color
Helen Jacey
Shedunnit productions – Twitter

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Will Cate ever settle into living in the countryside?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

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

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hollie Anne Marsh

Anne Bonny #BlogTour Q&A with #Author @MarianneHAuthor #ALittleBirdToldMe #LiteraryFiction #CrimeFiction #Mystery #LittleBird @AgoraBooksLDN We’re all about secrets in this family. . .

A Little Bird Told Me by Marianne Holmes
Review To Follow

Besides, if you were one half evil, wouldn’t you want to know about the other half?

In the scorching summer of 1976, Robyn spends her days swimming at the Lido and tagging after her brother. It’s the perfect holiday – except for the crying women her mum keeps bringing home.

As the heatwave boils on, tensions in the town begin to simmer. Everyone is gossiping about her mum, a strange man is following her around, and worst of all, no one will tell Robyn the truth. But this town isn’t good at keeping secrets…

Twelve years later Robyn returns home, to a house that has stood empty for years and a town that hasn’t moved on, forced to confront the mystery that haunted her that summer.

And atone for the part she played in it.


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

A) My father was in the RAF so my family moved around a lot. I live in London now and really enjoy the fact that my neighbours might be from anywhere in the world; it’s liberating and exciting. I studied both Classics and Linguistics at university and have a lifelong love of things ancient, the way language evolves and how meaning is preserved in translation.
A Little Bird Told Me is really about the struggle of the narrator, Robyn, to make sense of the family secrets that resulted in tragedy when she was a child. The novel switches between 1976 and 1988 to tell both parts of the story.

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

A) The emotionally damaged Robyn and her brother Kit initially stepped off that train into a town that felt full of menace and secrets in a slightly spooky short story that I read out at my writing group. The story prompted questions that I didn’t know the answer to myself, so I set about working out exactly what Robyn was up to, how she had got her mysterious scar and why Kit was against their return. I wrote pretty much as the fancy took me and for the sheer joy of it.
I ended up with a huge tangle of plot and characters and had to edit heavily. When I was longlisted for the Bath Novel Award in 2016, I started submitting to agents. With every piece of feedback I received, I edited again.
Just when I was about to put it in the bottom drawer, Agora Books got in touch. Curiously, there’s a little mystery around how Agora Books came to know about Robyn and Kit – it seems it literally was a case of a little bird told me.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) This is such a difficult one and changes every day. I love The Secret History by Donna Tartt, All The Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy, A Song for Issy Bradley by Carys Bray, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell and anything by Iain Banks, Umberto Eco, Kate Atkinson, Margaret Atwood… I could go on for pages!

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) My mother found The Flambards trilogy, mentioned in A Little Bird Told Me, at the library for me and I thought it was fantastic along with the Nancy Drew stories and a great deal of pony and fantasy stories.
I lived in the library as a teenager and read pretty much whatever they had indiscriminately, from Mills & Boon to Iris Murdoch. I particularly enjoyed the mysteries of Mary Stewart, Daphne Du Maurier, Norah Lofts and all things Roman or Greek.

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

A) It’s a dead heat between watching my daughter take a copy into school because she wanted to show her friends and hearing from readers who’ve enjoyed the book. Making people happy is wonderful!

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

A) My husband and family, particularly my children who’ve had to get used to mummy ‘just finishing one more thing’ and who’ve remained accepting and good humoured throughout!
I also have a small group of writing friends with whom I share drafts and the ups and downs of writing life. It’s their encouragement that kept me going whenever it felt too hard.

Anne Bonny: Thank you for taking part in the Q&A on my blog, I wish you every success with your writing career.
MH: Thank you so much for having me, it’s been a real pleasure to answer your questions.

Marianne Holmes - Author Photo (B&W)
Marianne Holmes

Author Bio:

Marianne Holmes was born in Cyprus to RAF parents and bounced between the UK, Germany, Kuwait and Belgium until firmly basing herself in London – well, apart from those years in the Peak District.

A love of language led to degrees in Classics and Linguistics from the University of London but her desire to pay the mortgage steered her to a career in Marketing. After distracting herself in all sorts of ways over the years – sailing, flying, volunteering and running away to India – she is now definitely, absolutely concentrating on her writing. Well, that and making sure her children get fed, clothed and entertained. Obviously.

A Little Bird Told Me is Marianne’s first novel.

***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the blog tour***
A Little Bird Told Me blog tour poster 1

Anne Bonny Q&A with @karinamelvin #ArtfulEating The psychology of lasting weight loss #EatingDisorders #Recovery @bwpublishing

Artful Eating by Karina Melvin
Book description:

This book can change your life forever!
Rediscover the magic of eating for pleasure and enjoy a life of balance with the freedom to eat the foods you want without dieting.

Artful Eating will take you on a journey filled with stories, life lessons, practical tools and strategies all rooted in the most up to date scientific and psychological research. Learn how to reprogram your mind to lose weight and achieve the body you desire, by changing your thoughts, behaviours and approach to pleasure.

Successful weight loss is not about what you eat, it’s about why and how you eat. We are missing the most vital ingredient in the weight loss battle: the mind. It is our mind that fuels every decision we make about food and by focusing solely on the symptom, the excess weight, we have lost sight of the cause.

There is no strenuous exercise regime, no food elimination, no strict meal plan, just powerful psychological tools and strategies which will create lasting change. You will be amazed at how easy it is to achieve the body you desire and truly deserve.


Q) Who is your perfect reader?

A) I wrote my book for anyone who is tired of ‘trying’ to lose weight. What I mean by this is anyone who has spent years feeling dissatisfied with their body and uncomfortable around food. My hope is to emancipate people from restrictive eating and the oscillation between being ‘good’ and ‘bad’ when it comes to dieting. What my readers consistently tell me is that they feel such freedom after reading this book, so I guess the perfect reader is someone who feels trapped in their relationship with food and their body. There is another way- and its all about enjoyment!

Q) What books are on your bedside table?

A) Jacques Lacan’s Seminar VIII On Transference, which is full of post-it notes and coloured tabs as I’m lecturing on it in UCD. Lacan is a psychoanalyst and his writings are notoriously challenging to read, but so worthwhile. I’m also dipping in and out of Audrey at Home: Memoirs of my Mothers Kitchen, which is written by Audrey Hepburn’s son, Luca Dotti. Its a gorgeous book, filled with anecdotes, beautiful home pictures and delicious recipes. Finally I just finish the Elena Ferrante Neapolitan novels and I am so saddened, I cant bring myself to take them off my nightstand! I cannot recommend them highly enough, her writing is sublime and I was completely immersed.

Q) Do you have a writing routine?

A) I used to, before my daughter was born and when she was newborn and breastfeeding, writing was a doddle! Now my routine consists of grabbing time whenever its quiet, I do need it to be quiet to write. I’ve taken recently to waking up at 5am as its very bright and peaceful and I can get so much written before the hustle and bustle of the day begins.

Q) Where do you write best?

A) In my old place it used to be at this big old bankers desk I bought in a warehouse sale for 80 euro, the thing is a beast! So solid, huge and welcoming. But since we’ve moved I now enjoy sitting at the table in our front room facing the window. We’re currently in an apartment in a very grand, old Georgian house so the rooms are huge, with very high ceilings and large sash windows, so its light, bright and airy. The Irish writer Patrick Kavanagh used to live here, so I feel in very good company when I’m writing.

Q) Where did your inspiration for Artful Eating come from?

A) There were a lot of little “bread crumbs” which amassed over time to come together in the form of Artful Eating. I think the penny really dropped for me though in Barcelona. We were there for a long weekend and I was really struck by the mini versions of everything. Their cortados, which are sort of micro lattes or the una caña which is a very small beer – and of course their tapas. We ate like kings over the weekend, not denying ourselves anything, but also never over indulging. I’d been to Spain before; in fact I spent a wonderful summer in Madrid when I was 16, so I was familiar with their approach to food, but the inspiration to create Artful Eating happened while I was away that weekend. It was actually my 33rd birthday, now that I think of it! Around that time I had been noticing how so many of my clients, regardless of their size, were struggling with their relationship with food and their body and the idea hit me like a lightning bolt in Barcelona that I had to do something about it. After a lot of research and trials I created an online program and it was through the course that I got approached to write a book!

Q) What would your top ten store-cupboard ingredients be?

A) Oooh… This is a good question! And one which probably changes depending on my mood…
Butter- everything tastes better with butter!
All- purpose Flour
Chickpeas- great for anything- curries, hummus, salads…
Seeds and nuts
maple syrup
dried mushrooms
tinned tomatoes

This is too hard! I always think it’s incredibly helpful to have a well stocked pantry and I love collecting different jars of preserves and chutney’s, herbs and spices, sauces and alcohol when I’m travelling- way better than a fridge magnet or a postcard!

Q) What are you working on next?

A) I’m working on another book, which is a slight departure from Artful Eating. It’s all about enjoying life and I cannot wait to share it with you.

Karina Melvin