Anne Bonny Top 5 #TravelWithBooks pick from the TBR pile @natashasolomons @thesailorsgirl @brazil_thriller @C_E_Lawrence @DominickGDonald @WindmillBooks @HarperCollinsUK @unbounders @amazonpublishing @HodderBooks

house of gold - Vienna
House Of Gold by Natasha Solomons ~ Location = Vienna
Available in HB/Ebook/PB
Synopsis ~

The start of a war. The end of a dynasty.

VIENNA, 1911. Greta Goldbaum has always dreamed of being free to choose her own life’s path, but the Goldbaum family, one of the wealthiest in the world, has different expectations. United across Europe, Goldbaum men are bankers, while Goldbaum women marry Goldbaum men to produce Goldbaum children.

So when Greta is sent to England to marry Albert, a distant cousin she has never met, the two form an instant dislike for one another. Defiant and lonely, Greta longs for a connection and a place to call her own. When Albert’s mother gives Greta a garden, things begin to change.

But just as she begins to taste an unexpected happiness, the Great War breaks out, threatening to tear everything away. For the first time in two hundred years, the family will find themselves on opposing sides. How will Greta choose between the family she’s created and the one she was forced to leave behind?

Black mamba boy - Africa
Black Mamba Boy by Nadifa Mohamed ~ Location = Africa 
Available in PB/Ebook
Synopsis ~

Named as one of the GRANTA BEST OF YOUNG BRITISH NOVELISTS 2013.

For fans of Half of a Yellow Sun, a stunning novel set in 1930s Somalia spanning a decade of war and upheaval, all seen through the eyes of a small boy alone in the world.

Aden,1935; a city vibrant, alive, and full of hidden dangers. And home to Jama, a ten year-old boy. But then his mother dies unexpectedly and he finds himself alone in the world.

Jama is forced home to his native Somalia, the land of his nomadic ancestors. War is on the horizon and the fascist Italian forces who control parts of east Africa are preparing for battle. Yet Jama cannot rest until he discovers whether his father, who has been absent from his life since he was a baby, is alive somewhere.

And so begins an epic journey which will take Jama north through Djibouti, war-torn Eritrea and Sudan, to Egypt. And from there, aboard a ship transporting Jewish refugees just released from German concentration camp, across the seas to Britain and freedom.

This story of one boy’s long walk to freedom is also the story of how the Second World War affected Africa and its people; a story of displacement and family.

the burning hill - Brazil
The Burning Hill by A.D Flint ~ Location = Brazil
Available in PB/Ebook
Synopsis ~

On the run from unjust court-martial back home, a young British soldier gets robbed and shot on Copacabana Beach. The bullet in Jake’s head should have been fatal, but miraculously, it saves him from a previously undetected condition that soon would have killed him.

Jake doesn’t believe in fate, nor does he feel he owes anything to anybody, but he does hate injustice. Vilson, the teenage favela kid who fired the bullet, is a victim of injustice, in a corner with a corrupt cop and a sadistic drug-lord after his blood.

With a turf war erupting in Vilson’s favela, fear stalks every narrow alleyway, and anyone dragged up to the notorious Burning Hill had better hope they’re dead before they get there. But it’s not just fear that shapes life in the favela, belief is also powerful, able to both save and destroy.

The Burning Hill is about the power of belief and one man’s desire for justice at any cost.

Edinburgh twilight - Scotland
Edinburgh Twilight by Carole Lawrence ~ Location = Scotland
Available in PB/Ebook/Audible & on Kindle Unlimited
Synopsis ~

As a new century approaches, Edinburgh is a city divided. The wealthy residents of New Town live in comfort, while Old Town’s cobblestone streets are clotted with criminals, prostitution, and poverty.

Detective Inspector Ian Hamilton is no stranger to Edinburgh’s darkest crimes. Scarred by the mysterious fire that killed his parents, he faces his toughest case yet when a young man is found strangled in Holyrood Park.

With little evidence aside from a strange playing card found on the body, Hamilton engages the help of his aunt, a gifted photographer, and George Pearson, a librarian with a shared interest in the criminal mind. But the body count is rising. As newspapers spin tales of the “Holyrood Strangler,” panic sets in across the city. And with each victim, the murderer is getting closer to Hamilton, the one man who dares to stop him.

breathe - London
Breathe by Dominick Donald ~ Location =London
Available in HB/Ebook/Audible/PB
Synopsis ~

A stunning debut crime novel for fans of Robert Harris, Philip Kerr and C.J. Sansom’s Dominion.

London, 1952. Dick Bourton is not like the other probationer policemen in Notting Hill. He’s older, having fought in Europe and then Korea. And he’s no Londoner, being from Cotswold farming stock. Then there’s Anna, the exotically beautiful White Russian fiancée he has brought back to these drab streets and empty bombsites. She may as well come from a different planet.

The new copper also has a mind of his own. After an older colleague is shot by a small-time gangster they are chasing in a pea-souper fog, something nags at Bourton’s memory. He begins to make connections which his superiors don’t want to see, linking a whole series of deaths and the fogs that stop the city in its tracks.

Desperate to prove himself and his theories, Bourton fails to notice the fear which his mysterious bride is doing her best to conceal – and overcome.

Soon both Anna and Bourton are taking dangerous paths into the worst fog London has ever known…

#BlogTour Q&A with @LRAllison77 #Author of, Twice The Speed Of Dark @unbounders #NewRelease #Literary

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Twice The Speed Of Dark by Lulu Allison
Synopsis:

A mother and daughter circle each other, bound by love, separated by fatal violence.

Dismayed by the indifference she sees in the news to people who die in distant war and terror, Anna writes portraits of the victims, trying to understand the real impact of their deaths.

Meanwhile Anna’s daughter, killed by a violent boyfriend, tells her own story from the perplexing realms of death, reclaiming herself from the brutality.

Anna’s life is stifled by heartache; it is only through these acts of love for strangers that she allows herself an emotional connection to the world.

Can Anna free herself from the bondage of grief and find a connection to her daughter once more?

Q&A:

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

A) Until I started writing this book in 2013 I had been an artist for most of my life. I exhibited my own work and also was involved with many collaborative projects as an artist. I have always been a big reader and passionate lover of books, but it didn’t occur to me that I would ever write one myself. Partly because I have the attention span of a magpie – very easily distracted by something new and shiny. Most of my work as an artist was temporary, quick to achieve, transitory. I like things that I could flick in and out of, without being tied down to a long period of commitment….

It was an art project that tricked me into writing a whole book. I had been thinking about the way news reports things differently depending on where the victims come from. British victims of terror were given much more time and care than those in Iraq or Afghanistan. So I began a project with the aim of challenging this. To think of those distant victims as real people whose deaths mattered, I wrote portraits of them, imagining the people they had been.

And I was hooked. It is one of the central aspects of Twice the Speed of Dark. Anna, the main character, is brittle, lonely, bound by unresolved grief. Her daughter was killed by a violent boyfriend. Anna’s life was thrown into disarray. In the wild anger of the months after the death and after the court case that convicted the killer with manslaughter, she was horrified to see how little attention people gave to the death of her only child. In searching the news she sees all the other unnamed dead, victims of terror in distant lands passed over as a mere tally of casualties. She starts to write portraits.

The book is the story of Anna’s struggle with the grief that has trapped her for so long. It is also the story of Caitlin, her daughter, who, from the dark realms of death, tells of how she became trapped in a violent relationship. It is in the end too, a book about love.

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

A) It took a year, mostly of rejections from agents and a major redrafting before I found and was accepted by Unbound. Some of the agents were incredibly generous about my writing, but even the ones who loved it didn’t feel they would be able to place it with a publisher. Luckily, having been involved with art all of my life, I am well versed in understanding that rejection, though it can be dampening and dreary, is part of the job. Literary fiction is not the genre that shifts units, and that’s ok. I am so thrilled, however, that innovative publishers like Unbound have come along to re-populate the territory that has been recently abandoned by traditional publishers, as some of us still love it!

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) It is difficult to answer this question without siting an author who rarely disappoints rather than the one whose individual books have blown me away, but an author who rarely disappoints is Ian McKewan – though I have a deal of catching up to do on his more recent books.
I absolutely love A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride and
Solar Bones by Mike McCormack. Both use language so utterly beautifully – but so that it is a tool of what they want to express, not just a showcase of their skill. The language has more than a formal beauty, it becomes a vehicle into interior worlds and profound, complex feelings. Two brilliant books.

Another non-fiction writer I love is Nick Tosches, who writes, loosely, about the American south. He wrote biographies of Sonny Liston (Night Train) and Gerry Lee Lewis (Hellfire) that I absolutely loved.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) My first favourite book was King Arthur and the Round Table by Alice M. Hadfield, given to me by my grandpa, along with some small plastic knights to play with! I loved it, but was so baffled and upset that Lancelot and Guinevere had to ruin things in a way that, as a child, I couldn’t really grasp..!

As a teenager I loved E.M. Forster, the gentle optimism and what seemed like a hope for the human spirit, weighed down by the foolish expectations of society. Humanely romantic, if a little heavily Empire era.

And here is a question: I read a Puffin book, I think it was in translation from Polish. It was certainly set in Poland, I think during World War Two. There were three or four boys, and they may have been helping someone hide from the occupying Germans. There was a mill where they would meet up. The cover had a painting that I remember as being Stanley Spencer-esque. I can’t remember what it was called, but would love to find it again – any clues anyone?

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

A) It is still a very new thing so I don’t have many experiences to go on. All of them have been fantastic and weirdly dreamy. Today, being official publication day, I will have the book launch; my daughter Lilian is a wonderful dance and spoken word artist and she has made a performance based on the words of Caitlin in Twice the Speed of Dark. I cannot wait to see that – I will report back!

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

A) One of the best resources an Unbound author has is the other Unbound authors. We gather on our Facebook page to whinge and wa-hay in equal measure. It is wonderful to have access to more experienced writers. And it is also great to have a place to moan, when you’ve already banged on until your partner is sick of hearing it, about how difficult x is or how unfathomable y is.

I don’t know how I would’ve coped without friends and family and my husband Pierre.

LA: Thank you for these questions Abby!

LA
Lulu Allison
Authors links:
My website: https://luluallison.net
Twitter: @lrallison77
Instagram: @lrallison77
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/writerLRAllison/

Author bio:

Lulu Allison studied at Central St Martin’s School of Art. She then travelled and lived abroad for a number of years, playing in bands in New Zealand, teaching scuba diving in Fiji, making spectacle hinges in a factory in Germany before settling in Brighton. She exhibited her art and worked as a community artist for Towner Gallery and Fabrica Gallery whilst raising two children.

In 2013 what began as an art project took her into writing and she unexpectedly discovered what she should have been doing all along. The art project became Twice the speed of Dark, which on completion, was taken up by Unbound and published in the autumn of 2017.

Twice the Speed of Dark is her first novel. She is currently writing a second called Wetlands.

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

AnneBonny

#BlogTour: Q&A with, author of new release The Sewing Machine, Natalie Fergie.

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The sewing Machine by Natalie Fergie

Synopsis:

It is 1911, and Jean is about to join the mass strike at the Singer factory. For her, nothing will be the same again.

Decades later, in Edinburgh, Connie sews coded moments of her life into a notebook, as her mother did before her.

More than 100 years after his grandmother’s sewing machine was made, Fred discovers a treasure trove of documents.  His family history is laid out before him in a patchwork of unfamiliar handwriting and colourful seams. 

He starts to unpick the secrets of four generations, one stitch at a time.

Q&A:

Q) For the readers, can you give a summary of yourself and your debut novel The Sewing Machine?

A) It is 1911, and Jean is about to join the mass strike at the Singer factory. For her, nothing will be the same again. Decades later, in Edinburgh, Connie sews coded moments of her life into a notebook, as her mother did before her. More than 100 years after his grandmother’s sewing machine was made, Fred discovers a treasure trove of documents. His family history is lad out before him in a patchwork of unfamiliar handwriting and colourful seams. He starts to unpick the secrets of four generations, one stitch at a time. That’s what is on the back of the book and I think it’s perfect.

If your Mum or your Auntie or your Granny had a black Singer sewing machine, or if you like looking at old things at jumble sales and charity shops and it makes you wonder who might have owned them, this book is for you. Me? That’s a hard one. I avoided sewing at school and spent a whole term telling the teacher I had left it at home. I prefer cheese and crisps to chocolate or ice cream. I can’t sing for toffee, not even in the shower, but I can coil a sixty-metre climbing rope without thinking about it. I have a motorbike licence and I can build dry stone walls. I’ve been a shop assistant, a barmaid, a nurse and a hand-dyer of wool, cotton and linen threads. I have two grown up sons and I live near Edinburgh with my husband and a black Labrador called Boris.

Q) The novel opens in 1911, What was significant about this era for you and your inspiration behind the setting?

A) I collect old sewing machines. There are currently nine vintage machines dating from 1898 to 1963 in the house, and as they arrive I try to find out as much as I can about the history of the period in which they were made. In the drawer of one of the treadles, alongside a receipt for wedding flowers (Sweet Peas) from 1931, I found a Singer catalogue from 1929, in which all the models for the time were listed. I started to research each one in turn and when I came to the 99k, I saw that it was first produced in 1911. When I did an internet search for “Singer Factory 1911”, the first page on google was full of websites about the strike, and that was the start of the story. It was a time before women had the vote, a time where many were in private service as housemaids and a time when all women, whether they worked in factories or in shops, were paid far less than men for doing the same job. It was a different world. The book is set in Clydebank, where the Singer factory was, and in Edinburgh and Leith. I live just a dozen miles from Edinburgh so it was easy to get into the city and walk around all the locations.

Q) Within the novel we learn Jean is to join the mass strike at the Singer sewing factory. With hints of feminism and inspirational women of the past. I have to ask who are your favourite feminists and inspirational women?

A) If we are talking about famous women, then Victoria Wood is definitely on the list. She made me laugh in Dinner Ladies and Acorn Antiques, and made me cry on Comic Relief, and again when she died. She did the Moonwalk, and spoke in a documentary about how she was raising money and awareness so that women didn’t have to sit in a breast cancer clinic on a horrid plastic chair, alone. That horrid plastic chair image really hit home, and the next year I did the Moonwalk too, with one of my friends. We weren’t very fit and we got blisters and could barely walk down a flight of stairs for a week afterwards. But it wasn’t anything like as hard as sitting on a plastic chair. For me though, the most inspiring women are the ones I know in real life. Many of them have dealt with personal challenges with grace and honesty. I think it’s important to understand that some people are talkers (online or in person) and others are more private. None of us have lives which are totally straightforward or Instagram-perfect. I’m sure that we all have friends or colleagues who will never know how much they have quietly contributed to our lives, simply by being there.

Q) The novel spans four generations, was important to you to have characters with exceptional depth and detail?

A) Yes, although I have painted each character’s appearance with a light brush. We know that Alf is tall, that Donald has muscular arms from working in the Foundry and that Kathleen has long hair, worn in a twist at the back of her neck. However, I quite deliberately kept the details to a minimum. I want the reader to create Jean and Fred and Eva from how they behave or speak rather than from a long-winded physical description from me! I think of the characters as my friends now. I chose the locations carefully, and let my friends sort of settle in. Sometimes they are add odds with their environment and on other occasions this dissonance brings them alive. We’ve all been to car boot sales on a cold day, sticking our hands in our pockets because we left our gloves at home. Most of us have strong likes and dislikes; Marmite, porridge, jam roly poly pudding, carrot cake. I allowed my friends to reveal themselves in other ways instead of just describing their ears or their freckles.

Q) Your debut novel The Sewing Machine was published by Unbound on 17th April this year. So I have to ask, are you working on a new writing project? Can we have any hints?

A) I have a notebook labelled Book Two. The buying of the notebook is a statement of intent, I suppose. And there’s a file on the computer which is called Book Two Research. And I have the kernel of an idea for Book Three (but no notebook). I can’t give you more than that yet, I’m afraid.

*Huge thanks to Natalie for taking part in this Q&A on my blog. I wish you much success with the release of your novel.

NF
Photo Credit: Alison Gibson

Authors links:
Web: www.nataliefergie.com
Instagram: www.instagram.com/theyarnyard (lots of photos of locations and objects from the novel)
Twitter: www.twitter.com/theyarnyard @Theyarnyard
amazon link https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XWWM7TG/ref=sr_1_cc_1
(It can be ordered from amazon, or from any UK bookshop. It may not be on the shelf, but it can be ordered.)