Category Archives: Interview

Author Interview: Astrid Arditi

allard_eng_0012I’m delighted to introduce Astrid Arditi, fellow Crooked Cat author, whose first novel, A Cunning Plan, is out on Friday.  It sounds like a delightful and insightful read, for both men and women…

  1. What are the main ideas or themes in your book?

A Cunning Plan is a romantic suspense with a strong dose of humor. It’s about women, their insecurities, their own brand of crazy, and how unexpectedly strong they can be.

  1. What is the setting or context of the narrative? Why is it important?

Sloane lives in London. Her life is small, predictable, and she likes it that way. She’s a normal woman to whom incredible things happen.

  1. Tell us more about the main characters and their dilemmas.

Sloane Harper has been married most of her adult life. As such she feels she can’t manage life on her own. She’s shy and weak willed, a human doormat. When her husband, the main reason for her insecurities, leaves her for another woman, instead of embracing it for the blessing that it is, she feels compelled to get him back. She stalks his mistress, which puts her in the middle of an investigation she wants no part of and threatens to shatter life as she knows it.

Cunning Plan - High Resolution

  1. How do you go about writing a novel? Is it a simple or complex process?

I write a novel like I’d do a puzzle. First I start with the outline then I start filling in the blanks. I spend a few weeks writing random scenes from the book, snippets of conversation, interactions between my characters. When the story begins feeling real enough that it can surprise me, then I write in a more linear process.

  1. What advice do you have for less experienced writers?

Write for yourself first. Get excited about your story. If you see writing as a job it will make the whole process tedious. Keep it fun. Publishing does not make you a writer, writing does.

  1. What are you working on currently?

Book 2 of the Sloane Harper series.

  1. What would your perfect day be?

An island, the feeling of the sun on my skin, a nice breeze and a nap! With a toddler and a newborn at home, I am so tired these days!

  1. Name a book or a film that means a lot to you.

Life of an Unknown Man from Andrei Makine. Just beautiful.

  1. If you could leave a message to the world, what would it be?

You don’t need a reason to be happy. Just decide to see how lucky you are to be alive.

BLURB FOR A CUNNING PLAN:

Cunning Plan - High ResolutionDetermined to put her family back together, Sloane Harper stalks her ex husband and his annoyingly stunning mistress, Kate. But she’s not the only one. Handsome IRS agent Ethan Cunning is surveying them too, but not for the same reasons. He is attempting to nail Kate’s playboy boss.

Ethan and Sloane decide to help each other, which sends Sloane’s wobbly life spinning out of control. She’ll have to face danger, humiliation, and scariest of all, the dating scene, to lure her daughters’ father home.

Losing control was the best thing to happen to Sloane… until it turned lethal.

AUTHOR BIO

allard_eng_0012Astrid Arditi was born from a French father and Swedish mother. She lived in Paris and Rome before moving to London with her husband and daughter back in 2013.

After dabbling in journalism, interning at Glamour magazine, and teaching kindergarten, Arditi returned to her first love: writing.

She now splits her time between raising her kids (a brand new baby boy just joined the family) and making up stories.

A Cunning Plan is Arditi’s first published work.

BUY LINKS

Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cunning-Plan-Astrid-Arditi-ebook/dp/B01D7H7O42/

Amazon US http://www.amazon.com/Cunning-Plan-Astrid-Arditi-ebook/dp/B01D7H7O42/

IBooks https://itunes.apple.com/fr/book/a-cunning-plan/id1102554468?mt=11

Nook http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-cunning-plan-astrid-arditi/1123657004?ean=2940152965568

Kobo https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/a-cunning-plan-5

CONTACT INFO

I blog at www.astridarditi.com

Facebook Astrid Arditi author https://www.facebook.com/Astridarditiauthor

Twitter @astrid_arditi https://twitter.com/astrid_arditi

 

Interview with an Author: Jenny Kane

Jen and Abi's House 1I’m delighted to welcome bestselling author, Jenny Kane, to my blog – here to tell us about her positively wonderful novels…

What are the main ideas or themes in your book?

A typical ‘Jenny Kane’ story works around the idea of friendship, kindness, and coffee. The modern world is full of television shows that are based on laughing at the humiliation of other people, soap operas designed to depress, and reality programmes that work off the exploitation of failure. I try and make my books an antidote to that current popularity of negativity.

Without being sickly-sweet or twee, my books are about good people, trying to make their lives, and the lives of other people better. Usually while drinking a cup of coffee!

What is the setting or context of the narrative?

At the moment I am proofing the final round of edits for my next novel, ‘Another Glass of Champagne’, which will be out in June.

This is the fifth book in my ‘Another Cup of Coffee’ series, which is set in and around the Pickwicks Coffee Shop in Richmond, near London. With the popularity of coffee shops and cafes continually on the rise, such an establishment seemed the ideal location to bring together a group of characters to base my stories around.

As a daily coffee shop visitor myself (I am writing this from my personalised corner in my local cafe), I know that cafes are a hotbed of inspiration for stories!

Another Cup of Coffee - New cover 2015

Tell us more about the main characters and their dilemmas.

In ‘Another Glass of Champagne’ the main characters are each facing a new challenge in their lives. When the first book, ‘Another Cup of Coffee’ was written, Kit, Amy, and Jack were all in their 30’s. Now they’re in the 40’s, and rather than their lives calming down- they are just as complicated as ever.

-Kit is coming to terms with her children leaving home.

-Amy is facing motherhood, just when she’d given up ever being a parent

-Jack on the other hand, is simply trying to start a brand new career- not to upset everyone- and maybe find himself a boyfriend that won’t let him down.

Why did you write this novel? Any other issues or ‘big ideas’ behind it.

I never dreamt that I would write ‘Another Glass of Champagne.’

When ‘Another Cup of Coffee’ was written it was going to be a standalone novel. It was a story that I had always wanted to write, about what might have happened to me if I didn’t make one major decision (that I did make) after university. I’m not going to tell you what that decision was- you’ll have to read ‘Another Cup of Coffee’ to find out!

I had no hopes to expand, it. But thanks to luck, and kind readers, I was asked to do a short Christmas sequel- and then another- and then another! ‘Another Glass of Champagne’, (a full length novel this time), will be the last one of this series.

How do you go about writing a novel? Is it a simple or complex process?

I find writing a novel fairly simple. The complex bit is finding the time to sit and write in between my three part time jobs and looking after my family.

What advice do you have for less experienced writers?

Be patient. Success in writing usually comes slowly- and it can’t be counted in monetary reward. Your success has to be assessed via the number of people you have made happy with your words.

What are you working on currently?

I am currently writing the sequel to my Cornish romance, ‘Abi’s House’. This new novel, ‘Abi’s Neighbour’, will be out in Summer 2017.

What would your perfect day be?

Coffee to hand, a fresh notebook and pen at the ready, and no ‘real’ work demands stopping me from writing!

If you could leave a message to the world, what would it be?

Be kind.

Thanks, Jenny, for your thoughts and for telling us about your wonderful books. All the best with your writing projects.

Many thanks for inviting me along today, Jeff.

Jenny xx

Buy link for ‘Another Cup of Coffee’ – mybook.to/cupcoffee 

Jen and Abi's House 1

Jenny Kane Bio-

With a background in history and archaeology, Jenny Kane should really be sat in a dusty university library translating Medieval Latin criminal records, before writing research documents that hardly anyone would want to read. Instead, tucked away in the South West of England, Jenny Kane writes stories with one hand, while working for a Distance Learning Company with the other.

Jenny spends a large part of her time in the local Costa, where she creates her stories, including the novels Abi’s House (Accent Press, June 2015), Romancing Robin Hood (Accent Press, 2014), the best selling contemporary romance Another Cup of Coffee (Accent Press, 2013), and the novella length sequels Another Cup of Christmas (Accent Press, 2013), Christmas in the Cotswolds, (Accent Press, 2014), and Christmas at the Castle, (Accent Press, 2015).

Her next full length novel, Another Glass of Champagne, (Part 5 of the Another Cup of… series), will be published by Accent Press in June 2016.

Jenny Kane is also the author of quirky children’s picture books There’s a Cow in the Flat (Hushpuppy, 2014) and Ben’s Biscuit Tin (Hushpuppy, 2015)

Keep your eye on Jenny’s blog at www.jennykane.co.uk for more details.

Twitter- @JennyKaneAuthor

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/JennyKaneRomance?ref=hl

Jenny Kane also writes erotica as Kay Jaybee. (www.kayjaybee.me.uk)

 

EVE by SHANI STRUTHERS

Shani PicI’m delighted to welcome Shani Struthers back to my blog today.
Shani writes fantastically readable supernatural mysteries. Her brand new novel EVE: A CHRISTMAS STORY  is a stand-alone prequel to her Psychic Surveys series that begins with The Haunting of Highdown Hall. I also recommend her novel, Jessamine, a powerful romantic and supernatural tale.

 

Thank you for hosting me on your blog today! My new book, Eve: A Christmas Ghost Story launches on the 24th November on Amazon and is the prequel to the popular Psychic Surveys series. Featuring two of the Psychic Surveys team – Theo Lawson and Vanessa Patterson – it’s set between 1899 and 1999 and is loosely inspired by a true event.

In my fictional re-telling, Theo and Ness are asked to investigate a town weighed down by the sorrow of what happened 100 years before…

eve

Blurb

What do you do when a whole town is haunted?

In 1899, in the North Yorkshire market town of Thorpe Morton, a tragedy occurred; 59 people died at the market hall whilst celebrating Christmas Eve, many of them children. One hundred years on and the spirits of the deceased are restless still, ‘haunting’ the community, refusing to let them forget.

In 1999, psychic investigators Theo Lawson and Ness Patterson are called in to help, sensing immediately on arrival how weighed down the town is. Quickly they discover there’s no safe haven. The past taints everything.

Hurtling towards the anniversary as well as a new millennium, their aim is to move the spirits on, to cleanse the atmosphere so everyone – the living and the dead – can start again. But the spirits prove resistant and soon Theo and Ness are caught up in battle, fighting against something that knows their deepest fears and can twist them in the most dangerous of ways.

They’ll need all their courage to succeed and the help of a little girl too – a spirit who didn’t die at the hall, who shouldn’t even be there…

 Eve 2

Excerpt

As Theo turned round to face the double doors, she had a feeling that someone – something – was rushing at her, as fleetingly as whatever had been in Adelaide’s house. Refusing to let fear get a stranglehold, she turned back, her aim to confront it. A black wisp of a shape, like wood smoke, sideswiped her, before fading into nothing. Staring after it, wondering what it was, something else caught her attention. At the far end of the second room was something more substantial: a little girl, staring at her.

Theo’s eyes widened. “Oh darling, darling,” she whispered. She took a step forwards, tried to remember the names of the children on the list from earlier: Alice, Helen, Bessie, Adelaide’s ancestor, Ellen Corsby perhaps. Which one was she?

She inched closer still. “Darling, your name, tell me what it is.”

The little girl’s arms moved upwards, she stretched them out, her manner beseeching although she remained mute. Theo tried again, told the child her own name.

“It’s short for Theodora. I bet you’re called something pretty.”

The girl had a dress on; long, brownish, a course material – linen perhaps? Nothing special but if it was her party dress then maybe it was special to her. Her boots were brown too – lace ups, sturdy looking. She was around eight or nine but it was hard to tell. She could have been older just small for her age. Her hair was brown and tangled; she had a mane of it. Everything about her seemed to be brown or sepia, maybe sepia was the right word, as though she’d stepped out of an old photograph.

“I’m here now, sweetheart, I’ve come to help. You’ve been here for such a long time. Too long. You need to go to the light, go home, rest awhile.”

Up closer, Theo could read her eyes. The longing in them stirred her pity.

“Let me help you,” Theo persisted, her voice catching in her throat. As glorious as the other side might be, she still felt it unfair to be felled at such a young age. Often this was a good existence too and it deserved to be experienced fully.

She was close now, so close and still her arms were outstretched.

Harriet – the name presented itself whole in her mind.

“Your name’s Harriet. Is that correct? It’s lovely, it suits you.”

Was that a smile on the child’s lips, the beginnings of trust? Soon she’d be able to reach out and touch her. What would she feel like? Cold? Ethereal?

“Darling, I’m here,” she repeated, no more than a foot between them. “I’m here.”

Joy surged – one spirit had come forward – it was an encouraging start.

Just before their hands touched everything changed. Hope and joy were replaced with confusion as something sour – fetid almost – rose up, making her feel nauseous.

“Don’t be afraid,” Theo implored. Yet there was nothing but fear in her eyes now. No, not fear, that was too tame a word – terror.

“I’m not here to harm you,” she continued. “I’m here to help.”

As the words left her mouth, other hands appeared behind the child, a whole sea of them – disembodied hands that clawed at her, forcing her backwards.

“No!” Theo shouted. “Stop it. Leave her alone!”

But it was no use. Her words faded as the girl did. She’d been torn away, recaptured; the one who’d dared to step forward. Theo could feel sweat break out on her forehead, her hands were clammy. She clutched at her chest, her breathing difficult suddenly, laboured. Her heart had been problematic of late, a result of the pounds she’d piled on. She must go to the doctor to get some medication. Struggling to gain control, it took a few moments, perhaps a full minute, before her heart stopped hammering. And when it did, she remembered something else. The girl’s eyes – her sweet, brown, trusting eyes – when the expression changed in them they hadn’t been looking at her, they’d been looking beyond her. Was it at the thing that sideswiped her? Theo couldn’t be certain. She wasn’t certain either if that ‘thing’ was a spirit or much less than that – something with no soul, but with an appetite, an extreme appetite: a craving. Something, she feared, was insatiable.

 Eve

UK http://tinyurl.com/nmnajss

US http://tinyurl.com/pe5f6db

eve3 

 

Author Bio

Brighton-based author of paranormal fiction, including UK Amazon Bestseller, Psychic Surveys Book One: The Haunting of Highdown Hall. Psychic Surveys Book Two: Rise to Me, is also available and due out in November 2015 is Eve: A Christmas Ghost Story – the prequel to the Psychic Surveys series. She is also the author of Jessamine, an atmospheric psychological romance set in the Highlands of Scotland and described as a ‘Wuthering Heights for the 21st century.’

Psychic Surveys Book Three: 44 Gilmore Street is in progress.

All events in her books are inspired by true life and events.

Catch up with Shani via her website http://www.shanistruthers.com or on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

 

Facebook Author Page: http://tinyurl.com/p9yggq9

Twitter: https://twitter.com/shani_struthers

Blog: http://shanisite.wordpress.com

Goodreads http://tinyurl.com/mq25mav

Eve 5

Emma Rose Millar – Five Guns Blazing

Sarah CI’m delighted to welcome the wonderful author Emma Rose Millar to my blog. Her second novel, Five Guns Blazing is out now from Crooked Cat Publishing. It’s a thrilling adventure that takes the reader from London to the Caribbean, exploring life as a slave and as a pirate. It’s a work of fiction that weaves some historical characters and situations into its action-packed narrative. Five Guns Blazing was topping kindle charts just from its pre-release sales, so don’t miss out on this treasure (luckily not buried). Click on the book cover to purchase it or the links below.

  1. Why did you decide to write Five Guns Blazing?

Hello, Jeff. Thanks for inviting me over. My first novel was extremely dark and for some time I’d wanted to write something more up-beat. I love historical fiction and I wanted to write an historical adventure, something that I could completely lose  myself in. Then one day I was at a barbeque and I had a chance conversation about an old Adam and the Ants song called Five Guns West, which contained the lyrics, Ladies can be captains and ladies can be chiefs, just like glorious Amazons, Anne Bonny, Mary Read. During that conversation I learned that Bonny and Read were both pirates. Not only were they pirates, some sources suggest they were lovers, and although John Rackham captained the ship, it was the women who were the most vicious members of the crew, wielding pistols and machetes, lighting fuses, cursing and swearing and ordering the men to kill their captives. Anne in particular was slippery as an eel and managed to escape execution on numerous occasions.

How does a woman become a pirate? I was intrigued. The more I read about the pair, the more fascinated I became.

fgb-cover

  1. Tell us more about the main character and her dilemma.

Laetitia Beedham is a pauper from the backstreets of London, the bastard child of two thieves, who in 1710 is transported to Barbados along with her conniving mother, Molly. Laetitia is a vulnerable but surprisingly resilient character who survives two years in the workhouse, seventy gruelling days on the open sea and a punishing regime on a Caribbean sugar plantation. On her eighteenth birthday, Laetitia is sold to pirate captain John ‘Calico Jack’ Rackham but soon finds herself torn between her admiration for the captain and her feelings for his beautiful but treacherous wife, Anne Bonny. As the King’s men close in on the pirates, Anne hatches a devious plan, set to speed Laetitia straight to the noose.

  1. How did you go about researching the sections about slavery and pirates?

Before I even got to that point I immersed myself in eighteenth century literature. I wanted an authentic feel to the book and for the narrative voice to be credible. I then carried out extensive research on conditions in eighteenth century London and in British workhouses. My grandfather was orphaned at age three and spent his childhood in a poor law school, so I’d grown up hearing stories of that type of communal living with its own doctrines and rules. I also read a lot about conditions at sea, especially for transported convicts. Luckily a friend of mine did his degree in Naval History and had a wealth of eighteenth-century maritime articles ranging from the treatment of scurvy to the fight against piracy and conditions on-board slave ships. I soon realised that slavery and piracy were intertwined. It was at that point I enlisted the help of Jamaican born author Kevin Allen, who had spent many years researching his own genealogy and the slave trade.

  1. What are the pros and cons of the ‘co-authoring’ process?

Co-authoring is great; it opens up all kinds of possibilities for a novel when two people from different cultural backgrounds work together. Five Guns Blazing is a story of a white woman from England who finds herself working among black slaves in the Caribbean. The story demanded co-authorship and I truly believe that without Kevin, the manuscript would still be sitting somewhere on my laptop, never to be read again. However, the writing has to be seamless, so once Kevin had finished his part of the story, I had to then weave that into the narrative. We have very different writing styles so it took a lot of adapting. You also have to put equal effort into writing and marketing, and you have to trust each other one hundred percent, which I think we do, and to be able to give, (and take) constructive criticism.

  1. How do you go about writing a novel?

I usually start a novel as a set of bullet points which I use as a basis for a short story of about five to ten thousand words. Then everything seems to mushroom out from there with me adding imagery and dialogue and incorporating bits of my research. It’s probably not a very methodical way of doing things, but I do seem to live in chaos most of the time, and this is probably reflected in my writing style.

aeolian

  1. What advice do you have for less experienced writers?

I wouldn’t class myself as being very experienced at all, but along the way I have learnt that even if you think your manuscript is finished and ready to submit, it probably isn’t. Finding a good editor is so important; they can make suggestions about character and plot, about weaker parts in the storyline and point out clunky phrases and grammatical errors along with many other things. Even after several drafts, I’m still seeing things that could be improved upon. Also, when the writing stops, the hard work really begins; marketing. There are millions of books on Amazon these days. It’s so difficult to make any book stand out.

  1. What are you currently working on?

I’m writing a novel called The Women Friends, which is based on a painting by Gustav Klimt of the same name. It’s set in Vienna between the wars; it too could do with a co-writer though. I also write children’s picture book texts for my five year old. I’d say children’s stories are my favourite things to write. I’ve completed a series called The Amazing Adventures of Nathan Molloy, which is based on the antics of a little boy who simply can’t stay out of trouble. I can’t think where I got the inspiration for that!

  1. What would your perfect day be?

I waited a very long time for my son to come along and now that I’ve got him really every day is perfect. But if I was going to have a day all to myself I would have a luxurious spa day followed by some Italian food and wine and then either some live comedy or live music – with more wine. I may have that day in about thirteen years’ time!

  1. Name a book or a film that means a lot to you.

I love Alice Walker’s The Color Purple – book and film. I saw the film when I was fifteen and I can’t even remember how many times I’ve read the book. The story has so many themes but Celie’s journey and the strong female relationships really resonate with me, even though the novel is set in a completely different time and place.

fgb-cover

Five Guns Blazing is now available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Five-Guns-Blazing-Emma-Millar-ebook/dp/B014LPAQ76/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1441922863&sr=8-1&keywords=five+guns+blazing

 

 

Author Interview: Alexander Zelenyj

I’m delighted to welcome author Alexander Zelenyj, whose short story collection ‘Songs For the Lost’ is published by Eibonvale Press, who published my own collection ‘A Glimpse of the Numinous’. Buy links are at the end.  I’ll hand over to Alex who will tell you more about his intriguing tales… 

alex

About the Author

Alexander Zelenyj is the author of the books Songs For The Lost, Experiments At 3 Billion A.M. , Ballads To The Burning Twins: The Complete Song Lyrics Of The Deathray Bradburys, and Black Sunshine. His fiction has appeared in magazines and anthologies throughout the world.

He lives in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, and at alexanderzelenyj.com.

Songs For The Lost Book Trailer

  1. What are the main ideas or themes in your new collection of stories?

Thematically, the stories of Songs For The Lost are woven together by recurring themes of loss of innocence in a difficult and uncompromising world, and the characters’ subsequent need for escape from emotional trauma. These are the collection’s central and unifying themes, and also the tenacity of the human spirit to persevere despite tremendous hardship, a spiritual need for seeking solace and redemption at the end of a difficult life, often through the embracing of a higher power. This kind of desperate spirituality permeates the stories, and lies at the heart of the book, always from the perspective of people who have no organized religious background, who sort of give themselves up to an innate belief in some higher power as a desperate final means of salvation from their tragic lives, although often this salvation comes in a very dark and destructive form.

My poetry collection, Ballads To The Burning Twins, is a companion book to Songs For The Lost, and deals more specifically with the types of sometimes dangerous fringe spirituality that lure in people in great distress. It deals with troubled people seeking escape through the promises offered by cults and other deviant sources; it looks at some people’s spiritual connection to the rural and natural world, as opposed to the decadence of the city; and the perpetual struggle of human beings to find redemption for their past sins, and their seeking of a place where they can reclaim their fractured lives and sullied moral goodness.

  1. What is the setting or context of the narrative? Why is it important?

Well, being that Songs For The Lost is a fiction collection, it has a wide variety of settings, running the gamut from urban environments and rural locales of modern times (often in my home city, Windsor, Ontario, Canada), to stories set in far, far distant places and periods, including ancient Rome, colonial Africa, the Old West, 1960s war-time Vietnam, and to distant future settings. There’s even a story that takes place during prehistoric times.

The eclectic settings were important to me, because I wanted to emphasize the unchanging human element across all the myriad backdrops. That’s something that remains constant no matter where my stories take the reader.

  1. Tell us more about some of the characters and their dilemmas.

The vast majority of the characters of Songs For The Lost are deeply troubled and in search of some type of personal redemption and escape to a better place outside of their current lives. The stories examine these damaged people, and why they embark on these redemptive quests after living lives of woe, regret, and fury. They’re about the desperate lengths some people go to in order to escape the trauma of their experiences for a better place, a Paradise of some kind.

  1. Why did you write this book? Any other issues or ‘big ideas’ behind it.

The book was written in the years following the publication of my previous book, Experiments At 3 Billion A.M. They were somewhat difficult years for a number of reasons, and a lot of the recurring themes reflect those experiences. I wrote a huge amount of material during that time and from that compiled the stories that worked best together, and that best expressed the themes I wanted to talk about. It happened very naturally, and at some point I realized that the stories all worked together and that the book was finished, and that it said exactly what I wanted it to say.

Songs For The Lost - Cover Image For HWA

  1. How do you go about writing a collection and a novel? Is it a simple or complex process?

I find writing short fiction and compiling stories into greater collections somewhat more enjoyable than writing novels, I suppose because it’s an easy way to express a lot of the different ideas I have. Weaving it all together into a thematically concise collection is also really fun. I liken it in my mind to making a record that flows really nicely from the first song to the last.

That said, writing a novel is a very different kind of project altogether, and I really enjoy it once I’m immersed in it. At some point I find that the characters become so familiar to me that they seem to write themselves. In fact, I suppose I feel that way about my stuff generally – when I flip through one of my books I’m amazed that the stories exist, because they feel as if they wrote themselves. I have very little recollection of writing most of my stuff. It’s almost like the stories materialized out of the ether.

  1. What advice do you have for less experienced writers?

Write what you love, and read and write every day.

  1. What are you working on currently?

I recently finished work on two manuscripts – the first is a novel heavily informed by magical realism. It took quite a few years to finish, and went through a lot of changes over that time. The second manuscript is a collection much in the same vein, stories that combine the gritty and realistic with subtly surreal motifs.

Also, I’m putting together another collection that’s much more similar to the type of material of Songs For The Lost, much more slipstream in style that pulls in influences from a lot of different genres. I’m having a lot of fun with this one.

I’m also finishing up edits on a book by the late great Joel Lane – it’s an amazing collection entitled Scar City, due from Eibonvale Press later this year. I’m contributing an introduction to the book as well, along with author Nina Allan, who will be writing another introductory piece. It’s a huge huge honour to be involved with this project.

  1. What would your perfect day be?

A morning of writing; an afternoon spent walking in the woods with my other half, Elizabeth, followed by browsing in our favourite bookshop; dinner at home and a movie; good dreams until the following morning; and repeat.

  1. Name a book or a film that means a lot to you.

Film-wise, River’s Edge, Wild At Heart, and The Isle have always meant a lot to me, because their characters find themselves in situations so much out of their control that they’re forced to look for escape in deviant places. And for some reason that speaks to me, ha ha.

Book-wise, I’d say the dark fantasy stories of Robert E. Howard, because there’s no better and richer world into which I can escape whenever I need to. I’ve been doing it since I was a little kid, and the trips there only get better.

The television series Millennium by Chris Carter means a lot to me – its portrayal of protagonist Frank Black’s struggles to protect his family from the pervasive evil in the world really struck a chord with me. There’s never been a show like it, and there never will be again.
  1. If you could leave a message to the world, what would it be?

There is more than we know.

Songs For The Lost - Cover Image For HWA

What reviewers are saying about Songs For The Lost:

“Every once in a while – if you’re lucky – you’ll come across a short story collection that is so unique and stunning that it’ll make you marvel at its contents.  Alexander Zelenyj’s Songs For The Lost is such a collection.  It’s an exceptionally good and original collection of speculative fiction stories that are marked by intelligent storytelling, supernatural elements and beautiful literary prose.”

Rising Shadow

Songs For The Lost is that perfect, excellent blend of literary and dark that I am always looking for and in my opinion, it is an absolute must-read for anyone who loves dark fiction.  Highly recommended but not just for anyone.  Prepare to be gut punched, and do not read this book while you’re depressed.  Once again, it’s a small press that proves that literary and dark can indeed go hand in hand.”

Oddly Weird Fiction

“Complex and visionary writing…the book touched me with its beauty, its insanity, its soul, its melancholy…Songs For The Lost was one of the best books I have read recently.”

– Porta VIII

“Zelenyj is an absolute master of emotional horror, melancholy, passion, and the delicate art of drawing on classic pop-culture and genre forms to create something highly complex, challenging, and quite visionary.”

– Windsor Life Magazine

“Dipping into the bizarro universe woven by Zelenyj’s inebriating narratives is like peering beneath the cracked and peeling veneer of reality. Zelenyj is a mad yet marvellous seeker, an eccentric impresario, a conductor of dreams as charming and hypnotic as Rod Serling himself. Follow him and you will find yourself among lost souls touring abandoned hopes and forbidden dreams at the edge of an impossible paradise. Each story concludes with a wink signalling that he knows what you have always felt, deep down – that there is more to this life than meets the eye.

And therein lies the power of Alexander Zelenyj. We fill up our lives with the familiar, with mundane routines and ridiculous consumer products, laments and trifles and limitations. Through it all there is an ache deep inside of us. It is the ache of an unspoken truth, the key to surviving the destruction wrought by reality. Stories such as these share that truth, the promise that keeps us going. Life in this universe is more strange and dangerous and wonderful than you have ever been led to believe.”

– from the Foreword, by Brian A. Dixon, Editor, Fourth Horseman Press

“As you read these stories you will find them unexpectedly profound, challenging, harsh, painful, and thought-provoking. Indeed, more than once you might find yourself shaken to the core – summoned to think and feel, or deal with events on levels that are rare for this or any kind of writing. ”

– from “Three Billion And Six: An Introduction” by David Rix, Editor, Eibonvale Press, Author of Feather and  What The Giants Were Saying

Links:

alexanderzelenyj.com

Eibonvale Press

Fourth Horseman Press

Glimpse of the Numinous Prototype

Shani Struthers: Rise To Me

shanis books
Blurb for ‘Rise To Me’
:

“This isn’t a ghost we’re dealing with. If only it were that simple…”

Eighteen years ago, when psychic Ruby Davis was a child, her mother – also a psychic – suffered a nervous breakdown. Ruby was never told why. “It won’t help you to know,” the only answer ever given. Fast forward to the present and Ruby is earning a living from her gift, running a high street consultancy – Psychic Surveys – specialising in domestic spiritual clearance.

Boasting a strong track record, business is booming. Dealing with spirits has become routine but there is more to the paranormal than even Ruby can imagine. Someone – something – stalks her, terrifying but also strangely familiar. Hiding in the shadows, it is fast becoming bolder and the only way to fight it is for the past to be revealed – no matter what the danger.

When you can see the light, you can see the darkness too.

And sometimes the darkness can see you.

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I’m thrilled to be able to host fellow Crooked Cat author, Shani Struthers, on my blog today. She’s a best-selling author with a number of books to her name, including ‘Jessamine‘ and two books in the Psychic Surveys Series – paranormal mysteries that are capturing the imaginations of readers. These intriguing and exciting novels are set in our everyday world, populated characters we can all identify with, such as Ruby and Sarah; but Ruby has a gift which she wants to use to help others and this leads her into places she might regret exploring. I’ll hand over to Shani now, who has also kindly allowed me to publish below a free excerpt from ‘Rise To Me’.

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In Psychic Surveys Book Two: Rise to Me, we return to the past. Ruby’s mother, Jessica, also a psychic, had a breakdown when Ruby was seven – ‘I’ve seen the face of evil,’ she said, ‘and it’s real.’ Brought up by her grandmother, Sarah, Ruby has been taught to walk in the light, to believe in the light, that the light will keep her safe. And that’s exactly what she’s done ever since she can remember. But a recent encounter changes all that. A memory from childhood, of what Ruby has seen also, starts to surface, that memory rekindled by a Psychic Surveys client and what it is he’s experiencing. Strange things start to happen, things she can’t explain. Her trust in everything and everyone around her is eroding. Even a day out at the beach turns into something deadly…

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Swimming. Ruby was not a fan – never had been, never would be. She was a terra firma kind of girl but Cash had taken her by the hand and was pulling her forwards towards the less than blue sea. It was more of a green colour, murky, like a swamp she thought, not welcoming at all. On the contrary. It was distinctly unwelcoming.

She started to hesitate.

“Cash… I…”

“Come on,” he cajoled, clearly determined. “I’ll look after you.”

Again she had that sense she’d spoil everyone’s fun if she didn’t comply. She should just lighten up. Go with the flow.

The day might have been hot but the Atlantic Ocean was cold, bitterly so, causing her to catch her breath. Not that it deterred those around her. People were swimming, splashing and shouting at each other, so much so, the noise was deafening, immediately making her head ache. Someone splashed her, cold droplets like sharp needles against her skin and she felt a flash of rage, felt like shouting too, like cursing, screaming and lashing out.

Ruby! This is supposed to be fun!

But she couldn’t deny it; she’d had more fun at the dentist.

Cash had briefly left her at the shore’s edge and swum several strokes but now he’d returned.

“Come on,” he called. “The water’s lovely.”

“It’s not, it’s horrid. I’m going back.”

Rising out of the water, he grabbed hold of her wrists.

“Come on,” he repeated. “Come a bit further out.”

“Cash, don’t,” she said being pulled forwards.

The water, it wasn’t just cold, it had a slimy quality to it, as though it were filthy. It was filthy. Why hadn’t he noticed? Why hadn’t anyone noticed? Mothers, fathers, children, teenagers, how could they possibly want to splash about in this… this cesspit?

“Let me go,” she pleaded but he wasn’t listening to her – he was too caught up in the moment. Worse than that – he was laughing.

“Cash, I’m not joking.”

“Come on, babe, remember what I said earlier.”

Babe? His use of the word infuriated her more. She wasn’t anyone’s babe.

“Cash!”

She yelled his name at him but as she did so, the ground beneath her shifted suddenly, gave way. She plunged downwards, into the sea, her whole body immersed, her head too. Salt water rushed into her mouth and the taste was acrid. She started coughing, gagging, a reflex action but it only made things worse. She took in even more water. It was filling her lungs, drowning her. Where was Cash? Where the bloody hell was he? And how could she be falling so deep? She’d only walked out a few feet, but she was definitely sinking – as though she were an anchor, able to penetrate the sands below.

Cash! Please!

Despite her eyes stinging so badly, she forced them open, saw what she thought was a patch of sunlight. Relief cutting through the horror, she started swimming towards it. She’d break the surface soon. She’d get away from here, far, far away. Just as she was making headway, hands grabbed at her ankles and started pulling her down again. Cash, what the fuck…? Surely he hadn’t meant this when he said what they could get up to underwater. He wanted to kill her? Hands reached up further. Large hands. Cold hands. Much colder than the water. And their grip. It was like being caught in a vice – impossible to shake off. It had to be Cash. Who else could it be? He was trying to drown her! But why? Why, why, why? With all the strength she could muster, she continued thrashing, with her arms at least; screaming, unable to stop; swallowing more and more water, choking on it. Her mind became dark around the edges… hazy. It seemed ludicrous you could die surrounded by so many people, that not one person amongst so many would notice, wouldn’t respond. But no one did. Above her, where the light seemed to hover, so near and yet so far, everyone continued having fun – oblivious to her plight, her confusion, her sheer desperation. She was going to be killed. Her boyfriend was going to kill her. And still laughter rang out. Incessant laughter. Mocking laughter, as though the crowd were glad she was suffering so much. As though Cash was playing to the gallery, delighting them with his vile antics. He had duped her: lured her in; whispered words of love he didn’t mean. Hatred… she was burning with it.

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Links:

Rise To Me

UK http://tinyurl.com/n9q352z

US http://tinyurl.com/nzjz62x

highdown

The Haunting of Highdown Hall

UK http://tinyurl.com/lak4ub2

US http://tinyurl.com/l29wj78

 

shaniAuthor Links:

Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/p9yggq9

Twitter: https://twitter.com/shani_struthers

Blog: http://shanisite.wordpress.com

Goodreads http://tinyurl.com/mq25mav

TSU https://www.tsu.co/shanistruthers

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Author Interview – JD Martins

It’s wonderful to introduce a new author to my blog – JD Martins. He has written a new adult romance in Tirgearr’s City Nights series, which my good friend, Jaz Hartfield also contributed to with his own One Night in Amsterdam. Please click on the links at the end to buy JD’s book, One Night in Madrid, or on the  logo below for more information on the entire series. Each book in the series is a stand-alone story.

See all CITY NIGHTS books

CITY NIGHTS books

 

Let’s hear now from JD Martins himself…

Which romantic themes are explored in One Night in Madrid?

I wanted to explore the idea of getting second chances at finding someone – or at least to try to woo them – and the notion of how our ignorance as young men and women (but men especially, I suspect!) can create prejudices inside us that influence our opinions of potential partners years after we first meet them, and impede our ability to actually get to know them.

What is the main character’s dilemma?

As a teen in college, Danny fantasized about a classmate Aisling, but she never gave him the time of day. He has long since dismissed her as a snob. When she turns up in a bar in Madrid where he now lives, he hopes to finally seduce her and at the same time prove to her that he would have been worthy of her attention back then.

Why is the setting so important?

The characters meet out of their normal context, and in such situations people often act differently to how they might have if they met in their former haunts. Danny and Aisling are able to start anew in some respect, because of that, and actually have a conversation for the first time. Danny knows Madrid well after living there for a couple of years, while Aisling is just a visitor, and so she’s got an extra incentive to stick with him for the night. The fact that bars and clubs are open all night long in Madrid gives them the time get to know one another before they have to part again.

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Is writing adult romance difficult or fun?

It’s fun until you get to writing the sex scenes! That part was difficult for me. It’s funny for a few seconds when you realize that your characters are not the kind of people who go in for plain vanilla sex, and you bang your head against the desk because now you’ll have to write more adventurous scenes for them.

I’ve heard some say that it’s easy to distinguish a male and female writer of erotica, because the woman will put in 80-90% emotion and 10-20% physical. So it stands to reason that in general readers of the same gender will want to read that proportion. Since it’s also generally true that women make up 80-90% of erotica readers, my challenge as a male writer is to put that extra 50% in that I wouldn’t normally think necessary. The other major difficulty is avoiding repetition when basically describing something so common and quotidian in such great detail. Everyone already knows what happens during sex (at least the vanilla kind). That’s really hard. It’s similar to writing poetry rather than prose in that sense: always looking for new ways of saying the same thing. And it took me as long to write 25k of prose, as it would have 25k of poetry.

Why write this particular book?

This is my first erotic story, and I did this because I heard about the City Nights Series that Tirgearr were producing and I decided to try my hand at it. It was the first time I’d written anything for a specific reason other than just for my own pleasure. I used to live in Madrid back in the day. I spent my fair share of time in bars there. I had written a short story about looking for people you know when you go to bars, and if you were in a place where nobody knew you, whether meeting someone from your former life would be a good thing or not. I decided to turn my story into an erotic romance, taking the story a few paces further along from where it had originally trodden and developing the characters a bit more.

Can you tell us about your current work in progress?

I have submitted a synopsis of a novella set in Pamplona – another town I’ve lived in – and have been asked to submit the rest of the story, which I am editing at the moment. I also have a story set in Boston bubbling in the back of my mind that I hope to get to as soon as I have finished editing this draft of One Night in Pamplona.

Good marketing tips for other authors?

I wish I did. I’m just finding my feet in all this myself. I think that for erotic romance, websites and blogs of well-known authors and pioneers of the field, which is still growing exponentially, are closely followed by readers waiting to get their hands on more stories. Until the genre becomes more mainstream, that’s one place to concentrate promotion, perhaps.

Why should people read the City Nights Series?

The concept is brilliant in its simplicity: a new city, with a new slant every time. As a reader, you know you’re going to get a great story with a new setting, a different atmosphere and ambience every time. As many different writers are contributing to the series the perspectives are even wider. Yet, you know you can expect an interesting story, with hot scenes and a satisfying ending in every city.


One Night in Madrid Blurb:

Danny left Dublin for Madrid two years ago, but still scans the crowd in the Irish pubs for the face of someone from home. Though doubtful he’ll ever recognise anybody, one evening he sees Aisling, a girl he’d known – or wished he’d known – at university. Beautiful but haughty, she’d always ignored Danny, and though he’d fantasised about making love to her, she’d never so much as smiled at him.

To his amazement, Aisling is extremely friendly when she meets him all these years later and away from home. She is still snobby and condescending, but Danny decides to make her night as enjoyable as he can, hoping for one last chance to impress her and make his teenage fantasies come true. As the sultry Madrid night progresses, mere lust grows into affection, and Danny begins to see her snobbery as something else entirely. Will Aisling see Danny as more than just a way to pass her night in Madrid?

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Excerpt (suitable for all readers):

Draining the glass, Danny placed it on the bar, debating whether to have another pint, or stroll home and have a glass of wine while he prepared dinner. The plan was just one pint, but he needed to tell himself that twice; once when he went into the bar and again when he’d finished the drink.

And then he saw her.

She stood quite near, surrounded by a tight knot of people at the edge of the dance floor that had parted momentarily. She wore a cotton summer dress that showed the sweep of her shoulder blades and spine. The dress was floral, red with splashes of black and dark blue. She wore soft brown leather sandals that were almost invisible against her tanned feet. Her toenails were painted red but her fingernails were French polished. A silver or white-gold bracelet hung from her right wrist, and on her left she wore a silver wristwatch, which a discreet look later told him was a Patek Philippe. In her ears she had diamond stud earrings, and on the ring finger of her right hand was a silver ring with a blue stone he couldn’t identify.

He didn’t see her face straight away, yet something deep inside him said it had to be her.

In college, he’d often stared at this girl’s long blonde hair from a few seats behind in the lecture theatre, while far below them a maths professor droned on about matrices. He knew the shape of her head and neck, had observed her tie up that hair, amazed at the beauty of the fine, straight filaments, the way the strands slid like silk over one another, yet held as one tight rope. When she was an infant her mother had clearly decided ever cutting such hair would be a sin, and she’d concurred. She plaited it, put it in a ponytail, tied it up around a clip made of what seemed to Danny like a piece of wood and two chopsticks, or simply a spare pencil. Sometimes it splayed out across her shoulders like a cascade of spun gold. Now it was pulled up in a silver clasp, to reveal the nape of a long, fine neck, and soft-skinned shoulders.

Those shoulders had been bared before, in a hot September of their freshman year, and later, during the intense study month when the cherry blossoms bloomed and fell across the lawns of campus. Danny had fantasised about slipping off that shoulder strap, letting the silky string fall down along her arm, trailing his fingers along her collarbone and ribs and pushing aside the top to expose her breasts.

When she turned around in the bar and he saw her face, Danny instantly searched through his memory to match her visage, and see all six numbers of recognition. It came out a winner. She stared back at him, her brain no doubt doing the same. Although still early, and most—apart from the pre-marriage revellers—were only on their second or third drink, Danny thought she must have been fairly merry already, because as she recognised him she smiled.

She’d never smiled at him before—not in four years of college. Then again, they’d not interacted much. They’d never really talked, never attended the same classes after second year. He’d always told himself she’d never smiled at him because she didn’t know him. Once or twice, of course, she’d turned around, casually, and seen him. But she’d seen lots of others sitting behind her, too. The back rows of the lecture theatre were filled with Danny’s friends, who’d varying levels of interest in her hair and the maths lecture; from zero to all-absorbed.

The chance to get to know her had never come around. She’d majored in chemistry, Danny in computer science. He had taken a chemistry class in second year, but she’d always seemed to sit on the opposite side of the theatre then. His gaze had often paused upon her face as he searched through those assembled in a lecture the way he did through the throng of a bar.

She was stunning. Her frame was that of someone who was fit without effort. A swimmer or a gymnast at some point, she had a fine body, breasts the way Hemingway described, wide womanly hips and a behind that eyes or hands could never tire of. She had crystal blue eyes like deep Antarctic ice, and a button nose. Her mouth was perfect. Her teeth had had money spent on them, but her lips were natural; she had a dazzling smile. But before that moment in a Madrid bar, Danny had only received the coldness of those glacial eyes.

 

Purchase Links:

Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/JDMartinsauthor

Author page on Tirgearr Publishing: http://tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Martins_JD/index.htm

Purchase links for all formats:

http://tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Martins_JD/one-night-in-madrid.htm

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00RY328RY

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00RY328RY

 

Click on this cover to purchase Jaz Hartfield’s One Night in Amsterdam:

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Daithi Kavanagh: Guest Blog & Giveaway

Welcome to fellow Tirgearr author, Daithi Kavanagh, whose new thriller, ‘The Gun’, is out now. Not only does Daithi highlight some of the background to his own writing life, but also offers us an extract and a free giveaway at the end! Please follow the buy links to purchase a copy. Over to you, Daithi…

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Inspiration

My wife Caroline and I have been married for eighteen years. She is the person who has inspired me to believe in myself. When I started to play music as a hobby  I wanted to try and make a living from it and Caroline was behind me all the way. I was working as a Builders Labourer at the time and as I was getting older was finding it more and more difficult physically to do the work. I had always played music and sang and I found the courage and belief in myself (with Caroline’s backing) to look for work playing music.

I eventually found work and gradually built up the business. It gives me great satisfaction to know that I was able to contribute to the support of my family by doing something that I loved.

In the same way when I decided to write ‘The Gun’ Caroline was there pushing me along. I would write in long hand in my kids old school copy books, dictate it to her and she would type it up. She sent my book off to every publisher she could find and eventually I was contacted by Tirgearr Publishing who have been a great support to me.

Now she is my secretary and is doing all of the behind the scenes work in promoting ‘The Gun’. I can honestly say that if she  hadn’t been behind me as much as she was that ‘The Gun’ might not have come to the fore so quickly. It would have taken me about 10 years to type it up for starters! I am now learning to type (albeit very slowly) while I am doing a degree in Irish Culture and Heritage Studies. I have just completed my second book in The Tadhg Sullivan Series called The Brotherhood and have started on the  third book. I am actually typing the third one myself which is a challenge for me and a relief to Caroline I’m sure!

My writing space is varied. Due to my hectic life style I tend to write wherever I can but as I said earlier my preferred space for writing is in bed. Here I get the best of all worlds. I get comfort, inspiration, imagination and the odd cup of tea from Caroline! There is nothing i like more than to wake up and have nothing to do but write. This alas is not always possible but when it is, it’s  great. I wake up, head downstairs for breakfast. While eating I usually get the news on the internet, then head back to bed.

Long may my writing career continue for me and my family. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to write and to Tirgearr Publishing for giving me that opportunity.

The Gun

Book Blurb

Garda Detective Tadhg Sullivan leads a special unit that investigates politically motivated crime. A man known only as The Deerstalker is a cancer who has infected the Irish political system.

Sullivan teams up with journalist Helen Carty, and together they try tracking down the mysterious killer. Carty adds to Sullivan’s problems, when he finds himself falling in love with her. And further complicating things, he starts losing trust in his partner, Detective Pat Carter, who appears to be on the side of the Garda Commissioner, who Sullivan is rapidly falling out with.

Sullivan’s case is further thrown into confusion when a copycat killer, Tommy Walsh, is shot dead by the CIA. When the CIA discovers that they’ve killed the wrong person, the two agents involved–Simon, who has become disillusioned by his time stationed in the Middle East, and Joey, a psychopath who confuses zealotry with patriotism–are also in pursuit of The Deerstalker.

Sullivan finds himself in a race against time, if he is to arrest The Deerstalker before the CIA take him out, and use his death as a pawn in a political game of chess.

Who will win out in the end?

Buy links

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NU8MDTA/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00NU8MDTA&linkCode=as2&tag=lucyfelt-20&linkId=SMT3D7VGVKSDFY72

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00NU8MDTA/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=19450&creativeASIN=B00NU8MDTA&linkCode=as2&tag=lucyfelthouse-21&linkId=FHMA2UNOYPQ7XB24

http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Kavanagh_Daithi/the-gun.htm

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/480887?ref=cw1985

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/gun-tadhg-sullivan-mystery/id924662452

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-gun-a-tadhg-sullivan-mystery-book-1

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-gun-daithi-kavanagh/1120426981

The Gun

Excerpt

He stared at the gun lying on the bed.  It was in his possession for nearly half his life and he’d never known what to do with it.  The funny thing was, he’d always hated guns and yet, here he was.

He heard his wife moving around downstairs and knew that very soon she would call him for a cup of tea.  He had to get the gun back into its hiding place.

He thought back to the first time he’d seen it.  A late night knock at the door and a man from down the street had handed the gun and ammunition to him, wrapped in fertiliser bags.

“What the hell is this?” he’d blurted out.

“It’s a gun,” the man had said showing no expression.

“What are you giving it to me for?” he’d whispered, not wanting his family to hear them.”

“Because I trust you,” he’d replied.

“What the hell do you mean, you trust me? You hardly know me! And all I know about you is that you’re mixed up in the IRA.  I have a family and I don’t give a damn about the North.  Now please get away from my door and take that thing with you.”

The man had stared at him, but all calm had disappeared from his features.  Then he spoke through gritted teeth.

“Now listen to me.  The guards are going to be here shortly.  Something serious happened tonight and now you’re mixed up in it, whether you like it or not.  If you don’t take the gun from me now, when the guards arrive here and see us together, I’ll implicate you.  Even if they don’t believe me, it will mean that you’ll have to stand up in Court and give evidence against me. Do you want that for your family?   It would be much easier for you to stick the gun in the boot of your car drive off somewhere and hide it.  But you’d better make your mind up fast, before they drive up and arrest us both.”

He often wondered why he’d taken it.  Was it because he’d had sympathy for the man?  He didn’t think so.  Maybe it was the fear of being implicated, or like the man had said, being branded an informer.  He wasn’t sure, but whatever the reason, it seemed like providence.

BIOdaithi kavanagh

I am 56 years old and I live with my wife and two teenage children in Trinity, Wexford. Up to 2012 when the recession hit Ireland I was making my living as a musician. I then went back to adult education and completed my Leaving Certificate in 2014. I am now studying for a degree in Culture and Heritage Studies at Wexford Campus.

While I was studying for I began writing ‘The Gun’ which is the first book in The Tadhg Sullivan Series.  I have just completed the second book in the series.

I play guitar and sing in many of the pubs in my hometown of Wexford where I am often joined by my two children Ella and Rory who play fiddle and flute.

In my spare time (which I do not have a lot of) I like to walk my two dogs with my wife Caroline.

Links

www.daithikavanagh.blogspot.com

www.facebook.com/carolinekavanagh.543

www.facebook.com/pages/The-Gun-by-Daithi-Kavanagh

www.twitter.com/Daithik3

www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/kavanaghdaithi

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GIVEAWAY!

Please follow this link for the GIVEAWAY…

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/8b9ec5be97/

 

 

 

 

 

Shani Struthers: we need to talk about ‘Jessamine’.

10250224_627368490715417_4618049168164641621_nI’m delighted to welcome Shani Struthers to my blog. Her brilliant new novel ‘Jessamine’ is now out. It’s a supernatural romance, full of intrigue and mystery. There’s an interview below, and please click on the cover images and links at the end for more details.

Born and bred in the sunny seaside town of Brighton, Shani (pronounced Shay-nee) enjoys reading, writing, eating and drinking – all four of these hobbies keep her pretty busy. After graduating from Sussex University with a degree in English and American Literature, Shani became a freelance copywriter. Twenty years later, the day job includes crafting novels too. She is the author of contemporary Cornish romance – The Runaway Year – published in 2013 by Omnific Publishing and paranormal mystery – Psychic Surveys Book One: The Haunting of Highdown Hall – published by Crooked Cat in April 2014. All events depicted in the latter are fictitious … almost.

 

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Interview:

What are the main ideas or themes in your book?

‘Jessamine’ is primarily the story of love, loss and acceptance, told from a subtly supernatural angle. Yep, it has ghosts in it, I just can’t help myself! But it’s not just actual ghosts we’re talking about, it’s metaphorical ghosts too, ghosts from the past, which haunt us, or perhaps we haunt them. Perhaps we cling to them, keep them alive somehow, when actually they’d prefer if we let them go. That may sound a bit airy-fairy, but ‘Jessamine’ is a very human tale about coming to terms with loss.

Tell us more about the main characters and their dilemmas.

There are four main characters – Jessamin Wade (note there’s no ‘e’ on the end, it is not a spelling mistake!), whose husband is dead, a death she feels wholly responsible for. There’s also Fionnlagh Maccaillin, who has returned to the village of Glenelk, in the Scottish Highlands – where the book is set – after fifteen years in the army, bearing scars that are obvious and not so obvious. Stan is his grandfather, who has also suffered a recent loss, the death of his beloved wife, Beth and last, but by no means least, there’s Maggie, who runs the village store, an enigmatic character with an ability to ‘catch’ thoughts.

Why did you write this novel? Any other issues or ‘big ideas’ behind it.

Having spent time on the west coast of Scotland, a mysterious place if ever there was one, I knew I wanted to set a novel there. Glenelk is based on the village Glenelg, which overlooks the Isle of Skye. Spectacularly beautiful, it has a haunting quality to it but a healing one too, it’s possible to feel a lot closer to something more ‘spiritual’ when out in the wilds as opposed to being surrounded by neon. These four characters need to ‘heal’ because of recent events and events in the past but first they have to find a way to ‘let go’ before moving on.

How do you go about writing a novel? Is it a simple or complex process?

When I sit down to write a novel, I start off with a theme usually, a title and a rough idea of how the first three chapters should be. I don’t bother to outline a novel beforehand, I find that as I write they tend to take on a life of their own and the best thing to do is just go with it – connect to the flow and let it write itself! So, in a way it’s a simple process, although there’s nothing simple about being immersed in a fictional world whilst trying to live in the real one!

What advice do you have for less experienced writers?

Don’t think too hard, don’t worry about spelling mistakes, grammar, how rough or disjointed it is, just sit down, write the story in your head and try and write it as quickly as possible to keep the flow. After that, you can go back and ‘sculpt’ it to your hearts content. Once ‘sculpted’, give it to a few carefully selected test-readers, get their feedback, ‘sculpt’ it once more and then find an editor to knock it into the best shape possible.

What are you working on currently?

I’m finishing up the final book in the Runaway series, my contemporary romance trio and then, from 2015, it’s paranormal all the way! As well as writing Book 3 of the Psychic Surveys series (Book 2 has just been accepted by Crooked Cat Books), I plan to do a few dark spin-offs from the series, concentrating on single case studies and making them very dark indeed! I’ve also got a reincarnation thriller I’m working on, so very busy times.

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What would your perfect day be?

I have two kinds of perfect day – one is sitting down and working on a novel, the other is a big family day out, perhaps in London or simply down at the beach, weather pending!

Name a book or a film that means a lot to you.

There are lots of books/films that mean a lot to me, I could write an entire blog post just about that. But one of the most touching books/films I’ve ever read/seen is ‘What Dreams May Come’. The book is by Richard Matheson, the film stars the late, great Robin Williams. Similar to ‘Jessamine’, love, loss and acceptance are themes but Chris Nielsen, the protagonist, goes one step further, he goes to the ‘other side’ to find his wife, who has committed suicide, to save her, to bring her back from an eternal nothingness. A story of life and the life-after. It’ll make you cry!

If you could leave a message to the world, what would it be?

Have fun and plenty of it! At the end it’ll be great to think ‘Wow, what a ride!’ before heading into the great wild yonder and the next adventure!

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Links:

Shani’s Website

Shani’s blog

Crooked Cat Publishing

Amazon UK

Amazon US