Meet the Author: Sea Babies by Tracey Scott-Townsend

Today we welcome Tracey Scott-Townsend, traveling to Kingston-Upon-Hull, East Yorkshire as we learn how a writer’s shed, a camper van, making her own clothes, determination, and the Outer Hebrides unite to form the roots and day to day of Tracey’s life. Collect your thimble, needle and thread as we’re sewing our way through this one …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live in Kingston-Upon-Hull, East Yorkshire – the “Gateway to Europe”, if you like, and I do. (That feels rather sad now.)

In which genre do you write?

I write Literary Fiction.

How many published books do you have?

I have five novels published with two different small presses (Inspired Quill Publishing and Wild Pressed Books). The books are: Sea Babies, The Last Time We Saw Marion, Of His Bones, The Eliza Doll and Another Rebecca, as well as poetry pamphlets So Fast and Postcards from the Van. My novels have been described as both poetic and painterly – apt, as I did practise for more than twenty years as a visual artist.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

Reading and being read to as a child must have ignited my writer’s flame. My earliest memories are of my mum reading to us, and I remember being six or seven, and understanding that I could actually read by myself, and lose myself in the world inside the pages of a book. Sometime after that I began my first attempts at writing my own books. By the time I was ten, I knew I wanted to be a writer.

What is an interesting quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

I make a lot of my own clothes and I cut my own hair.

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?

I think I would choose a white Collie-shaped dog, like my own beautiful rescue-girl, Luna. She just seems to look directly into my eyes and connect, it feels as if with my very soul.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

My ideal writing space looks like a shed, and for much of my writing life it has been a writer’s shed, in which I would hang rugs on the walls and make it feel like my own special cave. However, the only shed I have at the moment is on my allotment, and I barely have the time when there to do any writing other than some musing in a notebook. Between my job as an editor for the small press I run with my husband, and various marketing activities, and posting books out, I tend to leave my desk in our shared office and take sanctuary in the spare bedroom to do my own writing.

What are you currently reading?

I’m reading Transcription by Kate Atkinson. I’m not far enough in yet to be able to say whether I love it as much as her previous books. (Edit: I’m further in now and I do!)

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

I love making my own clothes, reading, and working on my allotment or in my small garden. I also love going on trips in our camper van – getting away from it all.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

I’ve learned that I can and will commit to a task and see it through. I think I gave up on so many things when I was younger, and I’m proud of the way I’ve developed my self-discipline over the course of my writing career.

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? 

I’ve kept a personal diary, on and off, since about the age of thirteen, but the only ones I still have in my possession date from the age of eighteen. I don’t specifically write a diary now, but there are aspects of personal journalism scattered in my notebooks, of which I have many. I regret that the advent of my computer use, in the 1990s, began to impinge on my dedicated diary-writing. So many of my noted-down thoughts, whether in emails or personal notes, have been lost now as the technology developed and became discarded at such a fast pace.

What do you miss about being a kid?

I miss how long the summer seemed to be, and that there was no feeling of urgency about getting things achieved. There seemed to be all the time in the world!

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

My resourcefulness and determination have seen me through a lot of difficult times. A health professional recently remarked “I get the feeling you’ll do things the way you want to, anyway,” as though it was an insult. I’m happy that I’m self-reliant and able to think ‘off the hook’, but I sometimes do feel like a bit of an alien in a world of boxes that I don’t seem to fit into.

What’s your favourite place to visit in your country and why?

The Outer Hebrides, without a doubt! I love Scotland in general but I’m particularly fond of the Western Isles. We’ve travelled there often in our camper van and went there again in June, to promote my latest novel, Sea Babies.

Describe the perfect solo date you’d take yourself on … where, time of day, weather, place, etc.

I’d go and find myself a comfy rock to sit on, on an isolated beach, at the foot of a forest on the slope of a mountain. There would be an ultramarine-blue sky and it would be warm but not boiling hot. It would be a long late afternoon rolling into evening. I’d gaze out to sea and allow random thoughts and feelings to wash over me…

Tell us about your most recent book.

My latest book is Sea Babies, a Women’s Lit Fic novel set between Edinburgh and the Outer Hebrides. In the novel the main character, Lauren Wilson, has a chance encounter with someone from her past while on the ferry to Stornoway. Both of them are about to begin new jobs on the Isle of Lewis: Lauren as a social worker and Neil as a GP. Lauren has been involved in a recent, terrible accident, but meeting Neil again has also awoken memories of the tragic event in their past which finished their relationship.

Lauren settles in a cottage in Uig, overlooking the white sands of the bay. The scenery, nature and people of the area begin to heal Lauren’s emotional wounds, along with the reawakening of her relationship with Neil and the burgeoning affection she feels for a young client whose family own the cottage in which Lauren is living.

The history of the island and the former inhabitants of Lauren’s home play a part in the resolution of her story. But it could be either the past or the future that determines what happens next.

Thank you very much for interviewing me, Camilla, I’ve really enjoyed answering your questions.

You’re welcome Tracey! And, thank you for being a part of MTA! It was incredibly interesting to learn more about your life. –Camilla

Where to find the book:

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2AvIY5r

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2M3jyl2

Connect with Tracey:

https://twitter.com/authortrace
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTrace/

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

Buy Me A Coffee

Meet the Author: Last Orders by Bill Todd

Today we welcome Bill Todd as we travel to Brighton, on England’s south coast, to learn how being a journalist, travel writing, Solitaire, birdsong, Shakespeare, and Superman come together as part of Bill’s learning experiences and writer’s life. Pack your travel gear, let’s board this Bill Todd interview …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live in Brighton on England’s south coast and have a daughter and a magic grandson who celebrated his first birthday in June. I’ve been a journalist on local and national newspapers for most of my working life apart from brief bursts doing house removals, teaching and freelance photography. Travel writing has taken me to more than 40 countries and has been a fantastic learning experience.

In which genre do you write?

Mainly crime thrillers but I’ve also written three short military histories based on family papers.

How many published books do you have?

My Danny Lancaster crime thriller series about a wounded ex-soldier is currently seven titles with the latest, a novella called LAST ORDERS-Trapped in a pub with a killer, published in August. I have a full-length novel as a work-in-progress, possibly a standalone, and keep tinkering with a book based on my travelling experiences.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

I don’t know when it began. I was making up stories in my head long before I started writing them down. My grandfather was an inspiration. He wrote stories for my brother and I about the country adventures of two cave boys. The pages are yellow and fragile now but I still treasure them.

What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

I play a few games of Solitaire as fast as possible as a litmus of alertness before I start writing.

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?

I find birdsong very calming and often take a keyboard break to listen so a bird with a good voice would be my choice.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

I used to spend long hours in a rather gloomy upstairs back room with a PC, keyboard and two big monitors. Now I’ve gone miniature and mobile with my Samsung S8 phone and trifold Bluetooth keyboard so my office is everywhere.

What are you currently reading?

I’m working on several other projects and tend not to read when writing in case I unconsciously soak up someone else’s ideas.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

I enjoy walking, nothing too vigorous as I like to stand and stare at interesting things along the way.

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

Shakespeare, I’d love to know how he came up with all that cracking dialogue. I’m with Hamlet, words words words.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

Sleep is optional, up to a point.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve done or experienced to help create a scene or plot?

I try to be as accurate as possible without risking life and limb too much. One Danny Lancaster scene came from a travel writing trip. We were rocketing along a deserted African beach in a twin-engined aircraft. When I asked the pilot our altitude he said, ‘8 to 12 feet’. Crime thriller research can be very wide-ranging. My internet browser history would be a psychiatrist’s treasure trove.

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? Has this helped with your published writings? If so, how?

I kept a very intimate diary as a teenager. Still have it, locked safely away. Over my travel writing career I’ve written a detailed account of people and places and have drawn on this in my novels for scenes set outside the UK including Florida, Africa, Berlin and Gibraltar.

What is the most inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?

Impossible to choose between the birth of daughter Zoe and the birth of grandson Theo.

You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What do you do to prepare yourself?

I’m not a natural speaker and struggle with public events. My usual technique is to stare, unseeing, at some distant point till someone calling my name snaps me back to the now.

What do you miss about being a kid?

Not sure I’ve matured enough yet to miss anything.

If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?

Has to be Superman. I’ve always been fascinated by flying and super powers would avoid all that queuing.

If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why, what would you do?

I rather fancy an ordinary day in Brighton as my lead character, Danny Lancaster. We’re similar in many ways but Danny lacks my insecurities.

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

Bruce Willis in Tears Of The Sun. I have quite a few movies I watch regularly, often in the morning while I’m doing my digital paperwork and drinking coffee. They’re entertaining but don’t need my undivided attention as I know them so well.

A penguin knocks on your door and is wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he there?

He or she is recently returned from a vacation in a hot climate, has no food at home and would like to borrow from my well-stocked tinned fish cupboard.

Do you believe things happen for a reason? 

Back to Shakespeare for this one. Hamlet: ‘There’s a divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we will’.

If you could ask your pet three questions, what would they be?

What’s your real name? Do you actually like that tinned stuff? Where are my socks?

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

Sticking at it regardless although some family members think it sometimes Borders on obsession.

What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?

South Shields at the mouth of the River Tyne in the north east of England. My father’s family came from there. The locals are known as Sanddancers and the fish and chips are the absolute best.

Describe the perfect solo date you’d take yourself on … where, time of day, weather, place, etc.

Sossusvlei in Namibia’s Namib Desert, dawn as the rising sun turns the cloudless sky a brilliant blue and the giant sand dunes glow brilliant orange.

Thank you Bill for joining us on MTA. It was incredibly interesting to learn more about your history and writer’s life. –Camilla

Where to find Last Orders:

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/32Qgtf7

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Q9QihQ

Godlefe’s Cuckoo is Bill Todd’s sixth Danny Lancaster crime thriller. Here’s the
blurb:

Danny Lancaster has been missing since the fishing boat exploded. Police are closing their inquiry but Wanda Lovejoy continues her campaign to find the truth. An evil man kept alive by machines nurses a corrosive hate. As drugs and disease pull his dying mind apart he throws his crime empire into a scorched earth quest to find one man. If Danny Lancaster isn’t dead he soon will be.

DANNY LANCASTER crime thrillers on Amazon:

THE WRECK OF THE MARGHERITA –https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007OVUG6Q

DEATH SQUAD – www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0085V9HL4/

ROUGH DIAMOND – www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00DK7F6I6

ROCK HARD – www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00GXDU5DA

GARGOYLE PIXIE DOG –  www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B010T2CHK4

GODLEFE’S CUCKOO – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B079Z7Z4MW

MILITARY BIOGRAPHY

GUNNER, a soldier in WW2 Europe, 1944-45: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00LGSZQTU

A CROCUS FROM JERUSALEM, Fighting in Palestine, 1917:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B077P9DR7T

PIGTAIL PILOT, a young woman who almost became the RAF’s first female pilot: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B019H916OI

Connect with Bill:

Website: www.billtodd.co.uk

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreadscom/author/show/5804102.Bill_Todd

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/williamjtodd – @williamjtodd

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/@DannyLancaster3 – @DannyLancaster3

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/billtodd_writer/ – @billtodd_writer

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

Buy Me A Coffee

Book Shelf: Aunt Dimity & the Buried Treasure by Nancy Atherton

Aunt Dimity & the Buried Treasure by Nancy Atherton

It was in the 90’s when I became nearly obsessed with reading every Agatha Christie book ever published. I’m pretty sure I reached that goal (perhaps minus 1 or 2 hard to find books) and ended the obsession with reading her autobiography.

This book drew me in with similar feelings I remember having about Christie’s books … minus the always present mysterious deaths/murders. After I began reading the book, I realized that it was a part of the “Aunt Dimity Series”. I thought, oh no, if I like this, I will just have to read all of them!! Hahaha! Hopefully, I won’t like it.

Well, I did like the book, loved it, and deeply enjoyed it. I find I love traveling a journey of discovery, locating clues, putting them together, and ultimately finding what one set out to find. I just prefer that the mysteries don’t have to do with murder or mysterious deaths.

This did not disappoint as the main character, Lori, discovers an extravagant jeweled bracelet in the attic. This is the spark that lights the way for unravelling the truth behind the bracelet. Love, love, loved it!

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2O5ucu7

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2AnP8EF

Meet the Author: Where Rivers Meet by P.J. Roscoe

Today we welcome P.J. Roscoe as we travel  to North Wales to uncover how Shrewsbury castle, Ann Boleyn, night terrors, Micheal Fassbender, and a dog and three cats come together as part of Roscoe’s imagination and writer’s life. Make sure your footing is secure, let’s get acquainted ….

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am known as P.J. Roscoe in the writing world and Paula Roscoe in everything else! I live in North Wales and I am wife to my husband of 26 years, walker to my dog, Sid and butler to my three cats. We have a daughter with autism and dyspraxia who left home nine months ago to live in supported living and we are adjusting accordingly which ranges from night terrors to mad drinking games, from tip-toeing into her old room to touch her stuff left behind, to mad drinking games – well, you get the idea!! (Parents with children left home will get it!)

In which genre do you write?

I write in three genres. My main subject is supernatural/historical fiction because ghosts and I have been aquainted for the majority of my life.

I write historical fiction because I’m adopted, so I don’t have any history, so I delve into everyone else’s.

Children’s book, I write faerie books with morals for young kiddies to teach them how to live in this world and nature, or else!

How many published books do you have?

I’ve just launched my fifth novel, I have three children’s books out and we’re working on the fourth in the Adventures of Faerie Folk series. I am finishing my first non-fiction book titled, Thirteen Haunting’s, which is my first step into my biography as a medium who is called into various ‘haunted’ locations to help spirit.

I am also nearing completion of my sixth novel, moving into the supernatural/fantasy genre.

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

Gosh, so many!! I’m going to be cheeky and answer this in two parts.

Past – Ann Boleyn – second wife of Henry Tudor  – I’d ask her what the hell was she thinking? Surely, she could see what a monster he was? I’d talk to her about how women love a ‘bad boy’ which Henry obviously was, and i ask her about his looks, was he letting himself go by the time he wed her? I’d ask her about her own dreams? Her own wishes and if she could change anything, would she? I mean, she must be proud of her daughter, Elizabeth. Then I’d chat about all the places she ‘supposedly haunts’ and ask her why? Then I’d order more cake, more prosecco, ( cause it’s become an afternoon tea!) and I’d try on some of her dresses!

Present – Micheal Fassbender – Gorgeous! Obviously, but I tried to contact him via his agent because he is perfect for a character in Echoes if ever it became a film. I’d discuss the character, James, and what he could bring to the role. I’d fight him for the last chocolate éclair and remind him he doesn’t need it because he has to look, ‘fit’, for the role! I’d ask him about all his other characters and discuss the film, ‘Frank’, which is absolutely brilliant and a definite favourite. Perhaps he could re- enact scenes from Jayne Eire to me while I ‘swoon’!

What’s the strangest thing you’ve done or experienced to help create a scene or plot or to help you remember something if writing a memoir?

I research pretty thoroughly when writing so I can be sure that if my readers visited the places within the books, they couldn’t complain that it isn’t possible. I want them to have the full immersion experience!

So, if a scene requires some extensive research then that is what I’ll do for my fans.

Echoes – I had to work out how fast it would take a woman to run down some pretty uneven steps at Shrewsbury castle – so yes, I ran up and down those suckers till I could barely breathe!

Where Rivers Meet – I had to act out a scene with my husband to see if it was viable that the character could lose her footing in a certain part of the mountain – for the record, yes it is!

As we have to keep it PG, lets just say, the love scenes in my books are thoroughly researched too!!

When I research, I interview anyone who has the knowledge i need to be sure I get it right. Doctors, hypnotherapists, police, archaeologists.

You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What song do you listen to before speaking? Or, what do you do to prepare yourself?

I get nervous before talking to groups, and I do a fair share of them. I give a talk based on my historical novel, Diary of Margery Blake. A fictional novel, set in Victorian England seen through the eyes of a young, reluctant bride. Women had no power, no voice, no rights and I use this book to show how life is not so different for women in this century. What has actually changed for women since we won the vote? How far have we really come?

I pace, a lot! And sweat, bad stomach from nerves and I do breathing exercises to try and calm my nerves whilst clinging to various crystals.

Song wise, I’ll listen to something soft, perhaps sing along to an All About Eve song, I like to sing, it also opens the throat chakra and lets me speak my truth.

What do you miss about being a kid?

The agility! I could move like a whippet, climb like a cat and run as fast as…Well, actually, I was terrible at running, but I could if I wanted to! Now, it hurts to get up off the couch, I look at trees and feel terror just contemplating stepping up to the first branch that is a few feet off the ground and running? Well, my breasts have rather a lot to say about such a notion!

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

I watched, The Magnificent Seven, the 2018 version. I love it! I love Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, heck, I love all of them. It’s a great story of men saving themselves and others. It’s about sacrifice, honour, togetherness and tough men caring about other people. Good versus evil. Definitely recommend it. I have seen it four times now. If I like a film, I can watch it again and again.

Do you believe things happen for a reason? Do you have an example from your own life to share why you believe this?

Yes, I believe things happen for a reason. I believe we meet the right people at the right time and have the conversations we’re meant to have at the right time. I have had too many experiences happen to me where I didn’t listen to my gut and it went wrong, but allow the natural unfolding of something, listening to my gut and it’s been amazing how synchronicity happened to get me where I needed to be.

Our son died just before he was born. His name is Jac. He had a rare genetic condition which meant his chances of survival were slim, he should never have survived past 10/12 weeks if that, but somehow he survived to 36 weeks. His strength to live, gave me the courage to keep going when I wanted to give up. His death began my journey into writing. My first novel, Echoes was written and it went on to win awards. That was meant to happen, regardless of how traumatic it was at the time, I am grateful for it now 22 years later, I am still going.

If you could ask your pet three questions, what would they be?

Eric, (black cat) Do you have to sit on my face every morning just to wake me up? Tabitha (tabby cat) Do you have to join Eric by sitting on my head to wake me up in the morning? Morganna (black & white cat) Do you have to join Eric and Tabitha by sitting on my chest in the morning to wake me up?!

Tell us about your most recent book.

Where Rivers Meet, A paranormal romance set in North Wales amidst the 19th century copper mines of Beddgelert, where injury, starvation and even death, are stark reminders of the time.

Abigail, a grief stricken young artist, returns to the Welsh village of her childhood to start a new life, but she finds an old suitcase from her past that pushes her beliefs to the limit.

Cain is in love with Abigail and will do anything to be with her. He has never questioned the dark tunnel that takes him forward in time as it brings them together.

Thank you Paula for joining us on MTA! It was interesting to learn more about you and great fun too! –Camilla

‘Where Rivers Meet’

Abigail Lloyd, is a talented, grief-stricken young artist, who returns to the Welsh village where she had spent many happy years with her beloved Nan. A home she had always felt loved and safe. A place she hoped she could begin her life again and find her own destiny; but on her return, she finds secrets that were long forgotten, locked away in an old suitcase. Secrets from her childhood that will push her beliefs to the limit.

Cain is in love with a woman he knows he can never possess. He has watched her grow into a beautiful young woman, but in his harsh world, she would never survive. He has never questioned the dark tunnel that allows him glimpses of another time, because it led him to her. It was their destiny to meet.

Set amongst the Welsh mountains and the ruthless reality of the 19th century copper mines where life is in the hands of the elements and injury, starvation, and death are stark reminders of the time.

‘Where Rivers Meet’ is a supernatural romance

Where we can find the book:

Available at Amazon, B&N, Waterstones, Crimson Cloak Publishing, and local book shops.

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Q4FTUC

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Aip6CK

Connect with P.J. Roscoe:

http://viewauthor.at/PJRoscoebooks
www.pjroscoe.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/storyladyauthor/?ref=bookmarks
Twitter – derwenna1
Instagram – derwenna45
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRGCNBK4Kqq8DbkGxtFRuQA

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

Buy Me A Coffee

Meet the Author: Apple Island Wife by Fiona Stocker

Today we welcome Fiona Stocker as we travel to Tasmania to learn how River Cottage, a sloth, The Time Traveller’s Wife, and Four Weddings and a Funeral are a part of Fiona’s business, life, and writings. Get ready to get in the zone ….

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m an Englishwoman living in Tasmania. We moved here for a slower lifestyle. Last year I had a travel memoir Apple Island Wife – Slow Living in Tasmania, released by an independent publisher in the UK. It’s kind of like A Year in Provence or Driving Over Lemons, but in Australia. I live on five acres with my husband, two children, Alice the incompetent collie, Charlie the killer cat, and around thirty-five pigs.

In which genre do you write?

I have just published a travel memoir, about living in Tasmania – think A Year in Provence and Driving Over Lemons, and then add breastfeeding. It’s the wife’s tale. Long overdue.

How many published books do you have?

This is the first book I’ve had published in my own name. A couple of years ago I was commissioned to write a book for a women’s farming group here in Tasmania, which is jollier than it sounds. Farming women are full of grit, and their lives make for great stories. I’ve also worked as ghost writer and editor on a book of short travel stories about women traveling solo, and a couple of other books too.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

When I was sixteen my English teacher Mr. Warnett put a comment in red pen on an essay I wrote saying I had a particular way with words and would do well to nurture it. There wasn’t a big tradition of encouraging one’s children in my family or even talking to them and I spent a lot of time alone in my bedroom listening to Dire Straits. Mr Warnett’s comment was the first time anybody had taken an interest, and gave me a hint of what might be. (My parents are very loving, they were probably downstairs watching Morecamble and Wise. Parenting has changed a lot in the space of one generation, we’re all a lot more interested now.)

What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

I gaze furiously at my laptop screen when writing and if I’m in the flow with a deep frown on my face, my husband knows he must not interrupt me for fear of severe consequences.

I also think that good writing comes with practice. I’ve written professionally as an advertising copywriter, and write freelance journalism and press releases and other communications in my work now. I can do what I do quickly and efficiently and I know immediately and instinctively whether something is working or right, or not.

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?

I’d possibly have a sloth, as they get a lot of sleep, which I love, but they’re not good communicators and I’d find that frustrating. I have a teenage daughter, she’s fifteen, and doing a lot of internal adjustment which requires a lot of sleep. She reminds me of a sloth, another reason for choosing said creature, because it would remind me of the miracle of her.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

If I’m in the zone, I can write anywhere. I’ve written in the back of my car, in my very untidy office with piles of notebooks around me, in the foyer of a local college while my daughter and son do band practice with their college wind instrument band (think trumpets). If I’m below par, I write in bed. I channel Roald Dahl for this. He wrote in a shed at the bottom of his garden, but I dress it up the same way, woolen blanket, one of those breakfast trays for my laptop, a pile of paperbacks for my mouse to sit on, the curtains drawn, the cat at the bottom of the bed, and the electric blankets set on ‘toasty’.

What are you currently reading?

Anna Funder’s book All That I Am, about a small group of artists and writers fighting fascism in the second world war. It’s intense. Also Flesh Wounds by Richard Glover, an Australian journalist. This is his memoir. It’s very revealing and also very funny. I admire a man who can write personal detail unflinchingly. I believe a lot of men think they’re too important to do that, that the domestic and the familial is women’s realm and we should be left to it. Those men need to be given lots of the housework to do, have their pocket money taken away, and stick to a 5pm curfew until they shape up. (Removing self from soap box now.)

If you could have a coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

I’d have an afternoon coffee date with Henry from Audrey Nifenegger’s book The Time Traveller’s Wife. I’d ask him how his day has been. And I’d most definitely sleep with him.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

That I’ll do pretty much anything to make my writing and my book sell.

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? Has this helped with your published writings? If so, how?

When I began writing Apple Island Wife, it was as a blog. That really helped pull the book together because I had this huge bank of material – 135 posts. It had to be rewritten because the voices for blog and book are very different. That was a very long exercise which required a bit of discipline and determination. You’re in it for the long haul as a writer. Since then I’ve made sure I keep notes, some in notebooks, and sometimes for the next book I just collect info that’s relevant and shove it into a file in Word, with a well key-worded file name.

What is the most amusing, crazy or inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?

I met the man who is said to be the world’s sixth best chef last year. I interviewed him for eleven minutes for a newspaper article. He looked a bit scary during the research phase – he’s a serious, Brazilian ju-jitsu master. He turned out to be insanely genial, generous and completely absent of ego. I was completely smitten and loved the piece I wrote. The bloody editor who had commissioned it then never got back to me so it remained unpublished. So I put it on my blog recently. Shooting Star: Alex Atala Does Tasmania.

You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What song do you listen to before speaking? Or, what do you do to prepare yourself?

I always have a water bottle with drops of Rescue Remedy in it. That stuff is magic.

What do you miss about being a kid?

Nothing! My life gets infinitely better as I get older, know more and am prepared to sweat the small stuff less.

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

I watched Four Weddings and a Funeral the other day, for the umpteenth time. It’s brilliantly written. The dialogue is tight, it has fantastic running gags, and great characters. So clever the way Hugh ends up saying ‘I do’ – that’s very neat narrative making. I like the swearing too. And it was the first movie that depicted a gay couple respectfully. So much to like, and it never fails to amuse.

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

I’ve got quite strong willpower. Every so often I mess up and offend somebody,usually by saying something unguarded. I used to agonise and beat myself up and spend hours in deep self-recrimination. Now I just think this is me and I’ve got to like myself anyway, live with myself, forgive myself and get on. People forget things, and they get over things, and maybe they needed telling. Nobody is perfect, and this is what’s meant by that saying. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to hold the view that there’s not much time left. It certainly keeps you on a straight path to what you really want to wring from life!!

Thank you for joining us on MTA Fiona. It was interesting to learn more about you and your book! – Camilla

Where to find the book:

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2N9fqmJ

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2UMBynH

UA Amazon: https://amzn.to/2UItt3A

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

Buy Me A Coffee

Meet the Author: People Who Hurt by Celia Micklefield

Today we welcome Celia Micklefield as we travel to Norfolk on the east coast of England to discover how writing short stories, growing vegetables, complex characters, narcissism, a barn owl, and curiosity are a part of the fullness of Celia’s human experience. Slip into the gardening shoes, let’s go …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My real name is Celia Smith but I write in my maiden name: Celia Micklefield. I used to think that was a good idea but now I know how difficult it is to fit such a long surname on the book cover!

I was born in the county of West Yorkshire in the north of England where folks call a spade exactly what it is. I’ve lived in Scotland, near Aberdeen, where for the most part I couldn’t tell what people were saying at all and for nine years I lived in southern France where my schoolgirl French improved considerably. Now I live in Norfolk on the east coast of England. It’s a wildlife wonderland with its inland waterways, wooded areas, windmills and quaint villages. I often use inspiration from nature in my short stories. That’s how I began: writing short stories for a UK women’s magazine. Since then I’ve published two short story collections, three novels and one non-fiction book. I’m currently working on my fourth novel with another two in the pipeline.

Leisure time is usually spent in my garden. I love growing vegetables but have to make sure the deer can’t get at them or they’d eat the lot.

In which genre do you write?

I suppose you could call my work Women’s Fiction but they’re all different.

How many published books do you have?

I have six self-published books. I used to have an agent but it didn’t work out so I went ahead by myself.

My first novel, Patterns of Our Lives, is a UK saga set partly during World War Two.

It’s essentially a multi-generational story about love and the sacrifices people make in its name.

My second novel, Trobairitz – the Storyteller is harder to classify. Trobairitz were female troubadours in France during the 12th and 13th centuries. My Trobairitz is a contemporary woman entertaining other truck drivers at an overnight stop in Languedoc by telling them a story. Her main character is an ex sex worker, now in her seventies who has a running battle with the current mayor of the village and his grandfather.

My third novel, The Sandman and Mrs Carter is a psychological mystery. Narrated by five main characters the story of Wendy Carter unfolds through their different points of view.

All my fiction is character-led. I love stories with multiple threads and complex characters with problems to solve. There’s usually a mystery woven in and maybe a tragedy or two. Life isn’t all sweetness and light so I hope to reflect the fullness of human experience in my work.

My two collections of short stories feature work that isn’t suitable for women’s magazines as they prefer, if not a happy ending, at least a hopeful one. Women’s magazines fiction tends to shy away from difficult subjects too but I love to jump into the dark stuff every now and then. In Arse(d) Ends you’ll find dark comedy, sexual harassment and sibling rivalry. In Queer As Folk the story Lemon Meringue captures sisterly love when one suffers from dementia, for example.

My sixth book, People Who Hurt is non-fiction. Part memoir, part informational the book outlines covert, passive aggressive narcissism and the abusive patterns of behaviour individuals with this personality disorder inflict on their partners. I make this book free as often as Amazon allows and I’m pleased to know it’s helping others realise that not all abuse is physical.

What is an interesting writing quirk you have that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

I’m slow. In everything I do I’m slow. In 2013 I was hit and knocked down by a careless driver. My bones mended but my central nervous system didn’t and I’m in pain all the time. My condition’s been diagnosed as CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome) so on low pain days I write as much as I can. On other days my energy is used up by just getting up. It’s taken me a whole week to fill in this questionnaire. I can’t sit in one position too long or my muscles spasm and my joints lock. That’s how slow I am.

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal or avatar and why?

The barn owl.

After I’d left the abusive relationship I lived with friends until the legalities were finalised. It took three years to get my money out of the property we’d bought together because of his delaying tactics and spurious claims against me. I began looking for a place of my own but was anxious it should be the kind of home where I could find peace.

As I drew up in preparation to park outside the cottage I wanted to view, a barn owl flew low over the roof of my car. I watched it fly down the lane ahead of me. Its wings were majestic, beating slowly, calmly. It wasn’t in any kind of rush. I felt it was an omen. If a beautiful creature like that was happy meandering along this country backwater then this was the place for me.

What does your ideal working space look like?

Ah, it’s beautiful. Deep in the forest there’s a hidden clearing beside a lake. Distant mountains rise in misty mauve beyond the tree line. There, like Snow White surrounded by cute animals, I sit in my cottage and the words flow like magic.

In reality I’m in the spare bedroom with my trusty iMac up against the window. I can see cute animals, though. Except for when they’re eating my vegetables. They’re not cute then!

What are you currently reading?

Currently I’m not reading anything other than research for my next book but I have The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes by Ruth Hogan on my Kindle ready to begin.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

Not a lot. I like a quiet life. But I do like visiting foreign countries when I’m able. I usually pay for it afterwards and have to rest but I love the Greek islands in particular. I can look at that turquoise water for hours!

If you could have a coffee date with an author from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

I’d choose Daphne du Maurier. I keep a copy of Rebecca near my work station to remind me of the power of character. I’d like to ask her what she’d change about the book for today’s readers.

Do you believe things happen for a reason?

I do now. Everything is a learning experience. I like to think we are spiritual beings having a human experience. If I hadn’t experienced loss, grief, betrayal, bereavement, etc. how would I know what it felt like? I want to write well about how these emotions affect my characters and the things they do. My research following time with an abusive partner opened my eyes to a hidden world of domestic abuse and it pleases me that my story is helping others in similar situations to come to an understanding of what happened to them.

Which of your personality traits has been the most useful and why?

I think I must name two things:

Curiosity. I have to look things up. I want to know the reasons, meanings, backstory, processes, outcomes etc. etc. I love learning. Very useful for writers.

Patience. Without it there’d be no number one!

What is your most recent work and what is your work in progress?

My most recent book is People Who Hurt and the link is above. My work in progress is A Measured Man, an unsentimental, passionless romantic comedy aimed at mature readers. At the rate I’m going it could be finished in 2020!

Please drop in and say hello at my website or facebook page. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

Thank you for being a part of MTA Celia. It was wonderful learning more about you and your writing style. –Camilla

Where to find Celia’s books:

People Who Hurt:

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2ZP5LaA

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/31dYw9C

Patterns of Our Lives:

getBook.at/POOL

Trobairitz:

getBook.at/TTS

The Sandman and Mrs Carter:

getBook.at/TSAMC

Arse(d) Ends:

getBook.at/AE

Queer As Folk:

getBook.at/QAF

Website: www.celiamicklefield.com and Celia has an author page on Facebook also.

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

Buy Me A Coffee

Book Shelf: The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick

First of all, I fell in love with the title of this book. And, after reading the synopsis I just knew it was for me. I thoroughly enjoyed the journey with Arthur Pepper as he gets to know himself, his late wife, and his two kids while embarking on the adventure of a life time. An adventure that has him following one clue after another as he heals and discovers much more than he anticipated. Loved it! Phaedra has two other novels currently and I read those after this one. 

I interviewed Phaedra Patrick on this website in June 2019. You’ll want to check that out too! –Camilla

Meet the Author: The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/313MtvM

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/3110KZT

 

Meet the Author: The Lost Town of Man’s Crossing by Katrina Hart

Today we welcome Katrina Heart as we travel to the east of England and we learn how cats, magical meetings, daisy chains, and walks with her granddad are a part of Katrina’s past, present and how she marches to the beat of her own drum. Hear it? Let’s read on …

Tell us a bit about yourself. How many published books do you have and in which genre do you write?

Thank you for having me, Camilla. I’m Katrina but most people call me Katie. I live in the east of England with my two cats Smokey and Holly and my mum. I started off writing Epic- Fantasy and later discovered I enjoy writing romance. Currently I have published two full length fantasy novels called Finding Destiny released in 2015 and The Lost Town of Man’s Crossing released in 2019. I have also published a short story called The Naked Sleepwalker’s Christmas and two romance novella, Love in Little Snow and The Flower Angel.

What is the most crazy and inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?

The craziest and inspiring thing that has ever happened to me was meeting my boyfriend. See back in 2015 was the release of Finding Destiny by Pilrig press. It was my first book and so as an author I was discovering a whole new world of marketing including Goodreads groups. I joined one where authors could put their book in a pool and readers could pick one to read. To be honest I was very shy with how it worked, but looking down the pool, I got enchanted by a book called 3SISTERS. It really called to me so I chose to read it and enjoyed it, expressing that to the author. Later I read his other book and it was good too and he emailed me to thank me for the review I’d posted on Goodreads. After we got talking and we shared a lot in common, we loved to write, had a romantic side and were both creative. So that Christmas I wrote a story for him. It was the first time I’d written a story for someone and I remember I felt very shy sending it. But I was pleased he liked it and then he wrote me a letter asking me out and four years on we are still very much in love. It was magical because our books brought us together from different sides of the world. But since then I’ve had the pleasure of meeting his parents who came all the way from India and they are truly beautiful people. I feel blessed to know them. See releasing Finding Destiny brought me the joy of being a writer and meeting the love of my life.

If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why, what would you do?

Hmm! Now this is a hard one, I can’t pick just one, so I’d have to hope I’d get to be two characters. First is Missy Talk A lot from Finding Destiny because she starts life in a dark place and has to fight for a life where I don’t think she truly knows if she’s good or not and then her life changes and she grows into a whole other person. If I were Missy Talk A Lot, I’d want to be gifted to someone who loves horror movies and just as the intense screaming scene starts jump up and say ‘Hello Cutie Pie, welcome to your worst nightmare!’

Secondly, I’d choose Suzy from The Lost Town of Man’s Crossing. Suzy has lived a human life and has a deep connection with the next one. She carries around guilt, pain and secrets and yet she is gifted with a crossing creature to give her a chance of redemption from the darkness in her soul. If I were Suzy, I’d go in to a dream with my crossing creature and watch one of my favorite memories with my Nan and Granddad and I play out from when my Nan was still on this earth as I miss her with all my heart.

If you could ask your pet three questions, what would they be?

I’d ask my cat, Smokey: 1) why don’t you like the Ginger cat that visits your garden? 2) Why do you like jumping at people when they are walking down the stairs? 3) Why do you only like one brand, one flavor of that brand of food?

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?

My spirit animal would be a cat because they march to their own drum; they like people with good energy and can tell those not so friendly. When a cat gives you love, attention, or affection it’s because they see something in you worth their heart’s time and you can always trust a cat to be honest to you and be themselves without worry what others think of them. Like cats, I value those I love and believe in honesty.

What are you currently reading?

Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan and a few other books.

What do you miss about being a kid?

I miss all the time I spent with my cat Fluffy. He would snooze in my dolls pram while I pushed it around the living room, and he used to snuggle with me all night. He was very special and had a way of always making me feel better and understood. I also miss making daisy chains and look about my Nan’s garden for fairies. Also walking with my granddad and his dog Max in the evening because spending time with those I love has always meant a lot to me.

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? Has this helped with your published writings? If so, how?

I do write a personal diary and always have since a very young age. I feel it does help me with my novels because writing a diary helps open up my sense of emotions when writing. So when it comes to writing emotional scenes with my characters, I am able to better express their emotional reactions.

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

Halloween was the last movie I watched. I chose to watch it because my boyfriend and I like watching horror movies on our movie night.

Tell us about your most recent book.

My latest novel, The Lost Town of Man’s Crossing, was published on 3rd March 2019. It’s an epic fantasy about a woman named Suzy and the crossing Creature that give her a chance to live again in the new world. But this world has many dark secrets to uncover. Suzy must face her past and discover those secrets before her stay in this new land runs out.

Thank you Katie for joining us on MTA! It was great to learn more about you and your writings. What a magical story of how you and your boyfriend met one another! Here’s to your continued success and a lifetime of love with your charming boyfriend. –Camilla

Blurb:

Would you cross a land of magic, dark creatures and hidden secrets to face your own deepest fear?

After being shot, Suzy and her friend, Bill, are offered a second chance at life in The Lost Town Of Man’s Crossing, a land to which the chosen few are transported by their personal Crossing Creatures. There, Suzy encounters the evil Cole, who is all-out to gain the highest power of the land.

But Suzy comes from a magical family: her grandmother, Miss Hollow, founded a coven called Hollow-Wings, and her grandfather left her a secret, life changing pouch. Soon, Cole craves that secret pouch more than anything.

It’s Suzy versus Cole – and one of them has met their match.

Where to find the book:

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Zw78f0

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2NJiJjP

About Katrina Hart:

My name is Katrina Hart but my friends call me Katie. I live in the East of England with my family, my two cats–Holly and Smokey–and our dog, Jessie. They are a nutty bunch but I love them all the same.

I have always had a passion for reading. I could easily spend a whole lifetime
engrossed in a good book. In my twenties I joined an online writing class where I fell in love with writing my own stories.

Since I started writing I have discovered a new love for quotes. A quote that really inspired me was from Toni Morrison. Toni said: “If there’s a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

I came across this quote whilst I was studying. It was one of the many things that inspired me to begin writing Finding Destiny, my first novel.

In addition to Finding Destiny, I’ve written a number of other stories.

Connect with Katrina:

Blog link: http://katrinamarie25.wordpress.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Katrina-Hart-1785712648319624/

Amazon link to all books: https://amzn.to/2ZuwxGe

Snippet of a chapter from Katrina Hart’s latest release The Lost Town Of Man’s Crossing:

Prologue

I pressed the black button and waited to be let into Myths Retirement Home. I felt excited and nervous to see my grandad on his seventy eighth birthday. One of the frazzled looking carers pushed open the door and led me into a white waiting area.

“Your grandad has been talking about you nonstop, he can’t wait to see you!” she said, flashing me a reassuring smile. I followed the carer towards his closed door.

A bubble of excitement made its way to my heart at the thought of hearing grandad’s stories of the battles he had fought, and the adventures I should take. I slipped off my coat, and his carer pushed open the door to his room and announced that “I had arrived.”

I hurried inside grandad’s plainly furnished room. His high backed chair was facing a large window and for a moment I wondered if he could see the leafy man of spring, who he always told me appeared through the trees, like the face of a worldly man ready to see life start up again after the harsh deaths of winter. Grandad always told me he felt like the leafy man as he watched the world move around him from his chair.

“One hour, then you must go,” said his carer and she pulled the door shut, leaving us alone. I pulled out grandad’s present from my bag and walked round to stand in front of him.

“Grandad-happy birthday,” I said.

“Suzy, child, come sit. I have something to tell you,” said grandad. His wrinkled eyes met mine as I leaned down and gave him a hug, before taking the chair beside him.

“Child, you have to listen to me, and listen well. Today I have seen your life is about to change. Something dark has shadowed you since you were small. Now I can see it’s coming for you,” said Grandad. He coughed weakly and rested his travelled face in his hands.

“I know, grandad, but the black shadow been gone for a long time now,” I said, as he closed his eyes like he didn’t want to listen to me anymore.

I waited thinking of my life and how no-matter what I had touched unpleasant things were made to follow. I remembered the first night I had spent at grandad’s, he had sat me down and explained that I was born in a coven. On the night of the visiting dead. Shortly after that night, my mother had fled her coven family. I never knew if that was true or not as I had no memory of
those times. But grandad always swore his life to it whenever he told me the story.

“Child, could you get me that case from my desk over there?” said grandad, breaking me out of my thoughts.

I got up and laid his present on his lap and then went over to his desk. I picked up grandad’s worn brown case; as I did so I felt something sway from inside.

“Child, don’t be scared, you know I have always looked out for you.” Grandad stumbled to his feet and took his case from my hands, then he faced it towards me.

My heart skipped beats and my body and mind screamed “run.” But from what? Was there any point in running anymore? I tried to find my voice as the latch of the case clicked apart, and grandad’s fingers shook as he swung it open.

“I call Miss Cridwyn to join me in this room. I beg of her to gift Suzy with the last creature of new beginnings,” bellowed grandad.

My mouth opened and black and orange mist flew about the room like a tornado circling grandad. The room felt as hot as an open oven and sweat pooled down my back and face. The mist started to clear, and I could have sworn I heard growling, like a rampaged dog had been let in. Grandad’s face came back into view and the growling got louder and louder. I looked into the orange flashing eyes of the critter. Her pointed ears twitched and her blue and pink skin seemed to pulsate as she flapped her black wings.

“Child, Cridwyn is an outcast creature of death. We have loved each other for a long time. Now she is going to help you,” said grandad as he blew her a kiss.

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

Buy Me A Coffee

Meet the Author: Everything She Wants by D A Nelson

Today we welcome D A Nelson as we travel to Loch Lomond Scotland to learn how a big desk, a blackbird, knitting, Wacky Races, and Edith Nesbit play roles in D A Nelson’s life and imagination. Stretch out, get comfortable, and read on …

Where do you live and which genre do you write?

I live near Loch Lomond in Scotland.

I write both fiction and non-fiction for adults and kids. My kids’ books are the fiction fantasy trilogy DarkIsle, DarkIsle: Resurrection and DarkIsle: The Final Battle plus my non-fiction book, A Children’s History of Glasgow. For adults, I’ve got my adventure romance, Dusting Down Alcudia (this is the first in a series of novels starring a female archaeologist, the second one is due out this year), and the dark comedy, Everything She Wants.

How many published books do you have?

Six so far. Many more to come!

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

The simple answer to that is when I learned to read. I’ve always loved books and reading, and have wanted to be a writer since I was about eight and realised this was something a person could do. As a kid I used to write and illustrate my own books. I’ve kept them all and they are funny to read. Let’s just say I am a much better writer than an illustrator!

What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

Ooh, that’s an interesting question. Let me think. Well, I have a lovely big desk to write on, but don’t use it. Instead I prefer writing on our dining room table. I think it’s because there’s more room to stretch out – if you know what I mean. Plus I can keep a better eye on the kids!

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?

My spirit animal would be a blackbird because I think they are such funny little birds with a beautiful song. We have some that nest in our garden and I love watching them as they hop about the garden.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

A huge library in an ancient castle packed full of leather bound books, large comfortable leather reading chairs and a huge fireplace where I would sit to stare into the flames and make up stories. My desk would be one of those large, antique desks with a comfortable chair. On top of the desk would be a bell which I would ring for the butler to bring me tea.

What are you currently reading?

A World Gone Mad, Astrid Lindgren’s wartime diaries. A really good and interesting book.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

I take my dogs out a walk, I look after my kids. I’m currently doing an Open University degree in English Literature and Creative Writing, which I am loving, so that takes up a fair bit of time. In the evening, I like to knit in front of the television.

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

I would want a date with Edith Nesbit and I’d ask her where she got her energy from to write all the stories, articles and books she did. I loved E Nesbit books as a kid, I think I’ve read them all at least twice! I’d love to chat to her about reading and writing.

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? 

No, but I do keep an ideas book, which has some crazy ideas for stories in it.

What is the most inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?

I won the 2018 Royal Mail Book Awards for Scottish Children’s Books in 2018. It was for DarkIsle. I was really, really pleased to have won it, not just because of the winning, but because it was an award voted for by kids. I could hardly speak when I went up to collect my award, I was that surprised and emotional. Anyone that knows me will tell you I am never short of words!

You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What do you do to prepare yourself?

I get very, very nervous. I really don’t like being in the limelight like that, so I do a lot of deep breathing to calm my nerves.

What do you miss about being a kid?

Having no responsibilities and being able to read all day, every day.

If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?

Wacky Races because I always wanted to be Penelope Pitstop. I thought she was so pretty when I was wee.

If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why, what would you do?

I would turn into Morag from DarkIsle for the day because she’s immersed in a world of magic, with talking animals and wizards and witches. I think that would be fascinating.

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

The new How to Train Your Dragon. I watched it because me and my kids love the series of films. I love the idea of dragons, so much so that there’s a dragon in my DarkIsle trilogy.

A penguin knocks on your door and is wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he there?

He would check the address with me and once I told him he was in the right place, he would whistle to his companions and all the Penguin Mariachi Band would enter my house. They would be there to provide the music for my Mexican themed party,

If you could ask your pet three questions, what would they be?

Do you love me or are you just sucking up because I feed you? What is it that you dream about? Is dog food as rank as it looks?

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

My imagination because without it I couldn’t write books. I have a pretty healthy imagination, which is why I don’t watch horror films or tv series – I would never sleep again if I did. Every bump, creak and swishing sounds would be a zombie or a serial killer trying to break into my house.

What’s your favourite place to visit in your country and why?

Glen Coe because it’s truly amazing and awe inspiring. You learn just how insignificant humans truly are when you are standing in the glen looking up at those huge mountains. You should go there some day, it’s beautiful.

Describe the perfect solo date you’d take yourself on … where, time of day, weather, place, etc.

I would take myself to Sir Walter Scott’s house in the Scottish Borders and spend a happy day wandering around his house. I’m a big fan of his novels. I’d then go for a nice lunch where I’d eat a delicious two course meal (three course would be just too much for me) and wine with a companion who loves books and reading as much as I do. So, we’d sit and discuss novels we were reading and finish the day with wine in front of an open fire at a five star hotel. Sorry, I know you said a solo date, but I hate to eat alone.

Tell us about your most recent book.

Everything She Wants is a new dark comedy starring the bored and put upon housewife, Susan. She decides there’s more to life than housework, her bullying husband and selfish teen daughter, so she runs away to join a Wham tribute act. There’s the chance of happiness with a new man, if only she could get around his huge ego.

Thank you for joining us on MTA! It was an incredible pleasure to learn more about you and your books! – Camilla

Where to find the book:

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2HDB0v1

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2LelFDl

Connect with D A Nelson:

 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1351494.D_A_Nelson

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

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Meet the Author: The Old Dragon’s Head by Justin Newland

Today we welcome Justin Newland as we travel to South West England to discover how supernatural forces, the ancient land of China, pillars of historical record, and The Bridge over the River Kwai become the foundation and walls of Justin’s writing. Take three deep breaths, we’re going deep into the secret history of the supernatural forces that shaped the modern world …..

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I was born during the last embers of 1953. I was awarded a Ph.D. in Maths from Imperial College, London, England in 1981 and I live with my partner in plain sight of the Mendip Hills, South West England.

In which genre do you write?

I write historical fantasy; in particular, secret histories in which historical events and people are guided and motivated by supernatural and numinous forces.

What books have you published?

My debut novel, The Genes of Isis (2018), is a tale of love, destruction, and ephemeral power set under the skies of Ancient Egypt. It is a secret history of the origins of the human race, Homo Sapiens Sapiens.

The Old Dragon’s Head (2018) is my second novel and is set in Old China during the Ming Dynasty against the background of a bitter war of succession for the Emperor’s throne; it narrates the secret history of the supernatural forces that shaped the modern world.

What inspired you to write The Old Dragon’s Head?

I have long been intrigued by the ancient land of China. I was fascinated by the Chinese people’s overriding belief in the supernatural, something that shot through the whole of their society from Emperor to wood gatherer. There’s the pervasive mystery of the Bagua, the mysterious eight trigrams of the I Ching, the book of divination. There’s the Tao, and its enigmatic adherent, Lao Tzu, riding on an ox. Then there’s the stoic wisdom of Mencius and Confucius. Into the mix, put the great religious beliefs of Buddhism, and all their colourful and obscure ceremonies. All in all, China remains an enigma, even unto its own people. And long may it remain so!

The Old Dragon’s Head is not fiction. It’s a real place. The Great Wall of China is home to a supernatural beast – the Old Dragon or Laolong. And just beyond the fortress of Shanhaiguan, the far eastern end of the wall protrudes into the Bohai Sea – that’s the Old Dragon’s Head or Laolongtou.

The fortress of Shanhaiguan, which means mountain-sea pass, was built by the Hongwu Emperor in the 1380, to bridge the gap between the Yanshan Mountains and the Bohai Sea.

The novel is not only about physical walls and boundaries; it’s about meta-physical, psychological and supernatural ones.

Curiously, my inspiration to write the book came after writing a short story, Vallum Hadriana, about another wall, this one much nearer to home – Hadrian’s Wall.

What are you currently working on?

The Coronation is my work in progress; it’s set during the Enlightenment and reveals the secret history of what is perhaps the single most influential event in modern times – the Industrial Revolution.

What are you currently reading?

The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende.

I like to base my books in the historical record. They become the pillars of reality around which I like to weave the fantastical, supernatural elements of the story. This format is quite close to Magical Realism, which is why I’m reading The House of Spirits.

What is the most enjoyable thing you’ve found through writing?

Meeting interesting and helpful people – this is most definitely an unexpected, but added bonus of being a writer. Through marketing and promotion of my work, I’ve met all sorts of people, all with their stories to tell, people I would never have met were it not for writing.

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

The Bridge over the River Kwai directed by David Lean.

Alec Guinness won an Oscar for the portrayal of the lead character, Lieutenant Colonel Nicholson. I love the moral ambiguity of the Colonel’s actions: at one level, he is disciplining his troops, and following good British Army policy, on another, larger level, he’s actually thwarting the war effort of his own side. He is not unique; he is one of us, and to my mind his character reveals the moral dilemma of the human condition. At one level, we are doing just fine, on another level….?

Justin Newland with copies of his books.
Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Thank you for joining us on MTA Justin! I find your books fascinating and am adding them to my ‘to be read’ list. It was a great pleasure and joy to learn more about you and your writing. -Camilla

Back cover blurb:

Constructed of stone and packed earth, the Great Wall of 10,000 li protects China’s northern borders from the threat of Mongol incursion. The wall is also home to a supernatural beast: the Old Dragon. The Old Dragon’s Head is the most easterly point of the wall, where it finally meets the sea.

In every era, a Dragon Master is born. Endowed with the powers of Heaven, only he can summon the Old Dragon so long as he possess the dragon pearl.

It’s the year 1400, and neither the Old Dragon, the dragon pearl, nor the Dragon Master, has been seen for twenty years. Bolin, a young man working on the Old Dragon’s Head, suffers visions of ghosts. Folk believe he has yin-yang eyes and other paranormal gifts. When Bolin’s fief lord, the Prince of Yan, rebels against his nephew, the Jianwen Emperor, a bitter war of succession ensues in which the Mongols hold the balance of power. While the victor might win the battle on earth, China’s Dragon Throne can only be earned with a Mandate from Heaven – and the support of the Old Dragon.

Bolin embarks on a journey of self-discovery, mirroring Old China’s endeavour to come of age. When Bolin accepts his destiny as the Dragon Master, Heaven sends a third coming of age – for humanity itself. But are any of them ready for what is rising in the east?

Where to buy the books:

Both books are available from Waterstones, and are available as paperback or e-books from good online bookstores such as Wordery or Amazon.

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2zF5PeF

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2UrR6gz

Reviews of Justin’s novel The Old Dragon’s Head:

https://booksbeyondthestory.wordpress.com/2018/11/23/should-you-wake-a-sleeping-dragon/

http://www.britishfantasysociety.org/reviews/the-old-dragons-head-by-justin-newland-book-review/

https://discoveringdiamonds.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-old-dragons-head-by-justin-newland.html

https://ayjaypagefarerbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/04/08/review-the-old-dragons-head-by-justin-newland/?fbclid=IwAR1_PVfj-7–J79ShHGkUr5jmbHhJB96x9bKY61s63X6nr7wGYdRDHgD61o

http://zooloosbookdiary.co.uk/release-day-blitz-of-the-dragon-head-by-justin-newland

Connect with Justin Newland:

https://www.facebook.com/justin.newland.author/

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

Buy Me A Coffee