Book Shelf: Fearless Flyer – Ruth Law and Her Flying Machine

Fearless Flyer – Ruth Law and Her Flying Machine by Heather Lang

Beautifully illustrated and wonderful book! We learned about Ruth Law and how on November 19, 1916 she took to the sky to fly from Chicago to New York in one day. Something no one had ever done. Especially not a woman.

“When I was a little girl I used to dream of flying, not with terror ….. but with wonder and delight. I would be a swallow flying south, or an eagle swooping down from the clouds, and then, all of a sudden, I’d wake up, just a little girl ready to cry because she had no wings.”

“I could anticipate what would happen to the motor by the sound of it.”

“To become an aviator one has to dismiss all fear.”

“The sky was my limit and the horizon my sphere. It’s any woman’s sphere if she has nerve and courage and faith in herself. She’s got to have faith in herself.”

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/31LE680

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/33HszrY

Meet the Author: Follow Me by Victoria Gemmell

Today we welcome Victoria Gemmell as we travel to Renfrewshire, Scotland to reveal how being a careers adviser, old school jotters, Jem and the Holograms, and Earl Grey tea each play a role in Victoria’s writing life. We’re digging deep for this one. Looks like we’ve got another mystery on our hands ….

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a writer based in Renfrewshire, Scotland. I work with teenagers on a daily basis as a careers adviser in Glasgow, supporting them to move into opportunities when they leave school. I feel my two careers complement each other, as I write for teenagers.

I have a particular passion for encouraging young people to discover the power of their imagination and explore the fun side of creativity.

In which genre do you write?

My Young Adult novels all have a mystery/thriller element to them, with a touch of romance. I enjoy placing teenagers at the centre of a mystery, with my protagonists trying to find answers that adults might have failed to discover due to not caring or digging deep enough for the truth.

How many published books do you have?

My debut Young Adult novel Follow Me was published late 2015, with the second, Promise Me, due for release in September 2019. Both are published by Strident Publishing Ltd, and are stand-alone novels. I’m currently writing my third.

I also enjoy writing contemporary short stories and flash fiction for older readers and brought out a collection, Exposure, in November 2018.

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

From a young age I always loved reading and it was my love of reading that really sparked my imagination and a desire to write stories. From the age of about seven I started to fill old school jotters with stories and short novels, (complete with my own illustrations). The flame probably really ignited, (and stayed ignited!), thanks to encouragement from my Mum, (who is also a writer), and supportive teachers. Watching my Mum start to be placed in competitions and be published was really inspiring. I feel lucky that I grew up in a creative household, surrounded by books. When I was seventeen my Mum encouraged me to join a local writers group and I also started to attend the Scottish Association of Writers’ conference. Meeting a wider circle of writers in my twenties and starting to enter competitions kept me motivated and inspired to follow the path to publication.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

In my head, my ideal writing space would be sitting at a big desk, with a window overlooking a beach. (A stormy beach on days where I’m writing a dark/dramatic scene; a calm beach on days I need to take walks to clear my head).

In reality my writing space tends to be at the kitchen table, with a cup of Earl Grey tea and some chocolate on hand, music playing in the background.

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

For years I kept a personal journal and an observational style blog which really kept my creativity alive. I traveled to Paris twice alone when I was in my twenties and wrote about my experiences on my blog. I later used some observations from this to feed into a fictional short story which was placed in a competition. A lot of ramblings from my journal and creative challenges I set myself for the blog fed into lots of short stories and flash fiction pieces, many of which were published.

Since being published I find it harder to allow myself space to do more fun creative exercises as I feel if I sit down to write it must be to work on my latest novel, or do something related to promotion!

What do you miss about being a kid?

I miss the lack of distractions and the feeling that days were endless (during summer holidays). I could sit for hours and really immerse myself in stories without a care in the world. It takes more effort now to turn off the ‘real world’ and switch off my ‘day job’ brain in order to get truly lost in my imagination. I find music helps though, and once I’m in the ‘flow’ five hours can fly by like I’ve been sitting for five minutes.

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

I love this question! I’m going to choose two. Jem and the Holograms because I love the idea of having a rock chick alter-ego and I always wanted to be in Jem’s band. The second would be Scooby Doo as I love to solve a mystery.

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

I’ve always been determined and hard working. You need both to get a book finished, and when you start sending it out to publishers/agents. I found the real hard work started after publication, balancing promotional activities with writing the next one, alongside a full time day job.

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

There’s so many places in Scotland I love to visit. Perthshire and Arran probably top my list as the scenery is beautiful, and I like being beside the water.

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

It would be a day everyone else was at work, in the hope the town centre would be quiet (er). I’d have breakfast in a local café with a book for company. In the afternoon I’d watch a film at the Glasgow Film Theatre and have a snack at the CCA, then browse some local art galleries. I wouldn’t mind if it was raining as then I wouldn’t feel guilty for evading the sun in a dark cinema.

Jinkies Victoria! Scooby Doo fan here too! Thank you for being a part of MTA. It was incredibly fun and interesting to learn more about you and your writing life. –Camilla

Blurb for Follow Me:

What is the deadly allure of the Barn?

17-year-old Kat Sullivan has been devastated by the loss of her twin sister, Abby, the most recent of five teenagers to have died in the town of Eddison, all within a year. No-one seems able to explain the circumstances surrounding her death.

As Kat struggles to move on, she is introduced to an underground hangout – the Barn – by Abby’s friends. There, she meets the enigmatic Rob and his friend Michael, art students who have re-created pop artist Andy Warhol’s infamous Factory, where creative types can construct art and socialise.

Drawn into Rob’s social scene, and seduced by the attention of this attractive stranger, Kat relishes the freedom and escape offered by the Barn’s non-conformity and creativity.

But the Barn holds a strange influence over those who frequent it, and soon Kat begins to realise how little she knew about her sister’s life.

Kat needs answers.

She also needs to stay alive.

Where we can find your books:

My most recent Young Adult mystery Promise Me won’t be released until September 2019. My debut, Follow Me, is available to buy in paperback and ebook.

Links to buy Follow Me:

UK Amazon (paperback): https://amzn.to/2YOHMbX

UK (Ebook): https://amzn.to/2N4NTC8 

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2YRb1uT

Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/follow-me/victoria-gemmell/9781910829035

Blackwells: https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/9781910829035?gC=5a105e8b&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI-ZLzvYjL4gIVbRHTCh3nkwWhEAQYBCABEgJlDvD_BwE

Foyles: https://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/fiction-poetry/follow-me,victoria-gemmell-9781910829035

Connect with Victoria:

Author website: https://victoriagemmell.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/victoriagemmellauthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/victoriagemmellauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/VikkiGemmell

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: Second Skin by Sue Bentley

Today we welcome Sue Bentley as we travel to Northamptonshire in the East Midlands of the UK. Join us as we discover how Daisy Meadows, the Northamptonshire shoe trade, mixed-media, being self-taught, and Hay-on-Wye contribute to the fairy tale of Sue’s writing life. Get comfortable and slip into your imagination. Let’s go …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live in Northamptonshire a County in the East Midlands of the UK, where I was born. I write in different genres. My series of children’s books are contemporary. But my books and short stories for Young Adults and Adults can have contemporary, historical or fantasy backgrounds – or a mixture. I enjoy a certain darkness and suspense in the books I read and my own books often contain these elements.

I have written around 80 books, plus a number of short stories, under various pen-names as well as my own – Sue Bentley is my own name. As Lucy Daniels I contributed to the Animal Ark series and as Daisy Meadows I wrote some of the early Rainbow Magic books. Having ‘cut my teeth’ and learned a lot about writing to length and making every single word work for its living, I wrote my Magic Kitten, Magic Puppy, Magic Ponies and Magic Bunny series – around 60 titles. They are all still in print and sell very well around the world.

For the past five years or so, I have been writing novels for Young Adults, which like Harry Potter are read by many adults.

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

Subconsciously I always knew I’d be a writer. I’ve been obsessed with books and reading since, forever. I went straight from school to work in a public library. It was the perfect job for a bookaholic. I immediately read everything on the ‘Restricted’ list! Each book had a big red stamp on the title page – very dangerous and exciting! I don’t think there is such a thing as a ‘Restricted’ book any more.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

My ideal writing place looks like my study would if it were better organised. I love my room – every writer should have one of their own. It’s quite large, with a desk and work space at one end. There’s a reading space and table and chairs at the other end, and far too many books. I still love actual books for research, there’s nothing like flipping pages and making notes – but I use on-line resources too. At the moment books are stacked all over the floor. It drives me mad. I’m constantly in a state of trying to sort them out and get more bookshelves. I will be doing it at any moment…but I have a book to finish writing first.

Do you have a current work in progress?

My work-in-progress (WIP) is entitled Frozen Charlotte and is a Victorian mystery inspired by the shoe trade in Northamptonshire. I am enjoying researching it and spend a lot of time at the local Records Office and visiting people in the shoe trade.

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

When about to speak publicly or read from my latest book, I’m usually fairly relaxed and looking forward to meeting readers. I scrub up a bit, so I feel I look my best and that helps me feel confident. No one wants to see me in my tracksuit or pyjamas, which I might stay in all day when I’m fully immersed in my WIP. But when appearing at Althorp Literary Festival a couple of years ago, I was suddenly struck by the most awful stage fright. I think it was the weight of history associated with the place. We live fairly close and the whole tragedy of Princess Diana dying was so terribly poignant. I’m not a great royalist, but she seemed to embody something we all related to. I stood by as the funeral cortege passed within yards. I had dreadful anxiety for an entire week before my Althorp event. On the day I took some Rescue Remedy – which I swear by for all kinds of emergencies great and small. Once I was there, I had a wonderful time, meeting readers, fellow authors and Earl Spencer was a most generous, warm and charming host. That year Althorp had their first ever Children’s Literary Festival. My event centred on my Magic Kitten series, and the lovely Bernie Keith from BBC Radio Northampton was my wing-man. The event was voted a great success. Phew – the relief! I’d probably be just as nervous if I was invited back, but would do it again in a heartbeat.

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

When I’m not writing or marketing my books, I’m thinking about writing, making notes for the next book or researching it. I love to read for pleasure whenever I can and always learn something new from every book, which I’m sure translates to my own writing. Writing is what I do, and what I am. I’m hard-wired to make sense of the world through the written word. Even in the early days writing was never a hobby for me. I make my living from writing and, like most successful authors, have completed a long apprenticeship. I am entirely self-taught, did not go to university. So I’m living proof that anyone can become a writer.

In a conversation with a published author, he told me he was not going to write any more as he had, ‘other hobbies to take up his time’. I had to resist telling him to, ‘wash his mouth out with soap!’ I’m sometimes asked if I’m still writing – fair enough if I haven’t seen someone in a while – but my pet hate is reference to my ‘little hobby.’ (It’s the ‘little’ that really gets to me) I doubt if anyone ever asks a plumber, ‘You still fiddling with taps and wash basins, mate?’ or a brain-surgeon. ‘Still messing about inside people’s heads?’

I’m also a sometime artist in mixed-media, but I’m a writer first and foremost. I’m sure if I cut myself I’d bleed words – it would be a paper cut, obviously!

What do you miss about being a kid?

I suppose the sense of freedom of living in the present. The lack of worry about this complicated and troubling world. I love children; their innocence, their honesty, the joy they take in every new discovery. I hope I’ve retained some of that. I do find joy in simple things like a butterfly in the garden and along with The Other Half (OT) laugh at the absurdities of life.

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

I love the UK in all its aspects. I am a very English writer and feel a strong sense of place. I do love the green and pleasant hills and forests of my homeland, Wales, Ireland and Scotland also have such individual beauty. I’m particularly fond of Dorset, with its rolling countryside and Jurassic coast. We visited Lyme Regis recently, a favourite of mine where we scoured the beaches for fossils washed in on the tide. I found one small perfect Ammonite in the wet sand, while the dark cliffs sulked behind me and leaked trails of blue-ish clay onto the beach. Those cliffs are scary and prone to rock falls, but the wild seas, wind and rain are exhilarating. I also love Hay-on-Wye. It’s my perfect town where every shop is either a book shop, an antique/vintage shop, or a café. Bliss. I simply browse for days.

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

If I could turn myself into one of my characters for the day, it would be either Flame the Magic Kitten from my children’s series. Or Aledra from my novel, Second Skin. Both characters have special abilities, so I could have a brilliant adventure travel to the bottom of the sea with Flame or fly beneath moon with Aledra. How wonderful, before I then returned to writing.

My new novel Second Skin, was recently published, Summer 2019. It’s the first book in a new series, entitled Bridge of Fire. I adore its beautiful book cover!

Thank you Sue for joining us on MTA. It’s been wonderful getting to know you through this interview and connecting on social media. My daughter, Lillian Darnell, loved (and still does) the Rainbow Magic books and the other children’s series you mention. I am incredibly inspired by your path to success! Thank you for sharing with us! – Camilla

Book Blurb for Second Skin.

Young-Lady Aledra Jewel-Wing is Drakkoni, one of a race of shape-shifters who rule over Esra, a wild and beautiful continent. Aledra has grown up on a remote farmstead, is about to meet her estranged father; the commander of the king’s army. When attempting to save a life she rises into her fearsome soul-double, and soon becomes a fugitive, on the run from her father and a pitiless bounty hunter.

Where to Buy Second Skin:

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/31DlPcP

UK Amazonhttps://amzn.to/2Z5rkiP

We Other, published by Endeavour Media is out now. It’s a dark re-working of the fairy-tale tradition. I’m in love with its wonderful new book cover for the Anniversary edition.

Book Blurb for We Other.

Jess Morgan’s life is chaotic. When a shocking new reality cannot be denied, it’s clear everything she believed is a lie. Life on a run-down housing estate with her alcoholic mum and violent boyfriend becomes the least of her worries. A dark and powerful destiny awaits that will test her to the limit.

Website and Social Media links.

https://www.suebentley.co.uk

https://instagram.com/therealsuebentley

https://twitter.com/suebentleywords

https://facebook.com/suebentleyauthor

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: One Hundred Miracles by Wendy Holden

Today we welcome Wendy Holden as we travel to Suffolk and learn what dogs, Goldie Hawn, Ganesh, a woodland cemetery, and The Wacky Races mean to Wendy. Slip on your gardening gloves. Let’s go …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a British author, originally from London but now living in Suffolk, three hours north east of London, near the sea. I was a journalist for almost 20 years, including time as a war correspondent, and have been writing books full time for 22 years. Have more than thirty titles published, ten of which are bestsellers.

In which genre do you write?

Non-fiction historical and war biographies mostly but also fiction, humour, celebrity memoirs and novellas. I have written two bestselling books with the actress Goldie Hawn and I wrote Lady Blue Eyes with Frank Sinatra’s widow Barbara.

I also love to write about dogs, who are one of my great passions. I wrote the number one bestseller Haatchi & Little B, about a disabled boy and his three-legged dog, and Uggie: My Story, about the canine star of the Oscar winning movie The Artist. I also wrote Mr Scraps, the little dog with the big heart, a novella about a dog caught up in the London Blitz –

How many published books do you have?

Thirty-two, most of which are listed on my website –  www.wendyholden.com

         

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

I always wrote poems and kept a diary but wrote my first school play when I was six years old. It was called The Queen’s Birthday Cake and featured a naughty knave who switched the baker’s flour for cement so that the Queen broke a tooth when she bit into it.

The play won a schools’ competition and was put on by the drama students so my career path was set. It was not as if I ever had a choice. Writing comes as naturally to me as breathing.

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

I’ve worked with Goldie Hawn who introduced me to meditation and to the Indian elephant god Ganesh, who is said to remove obstacles on your life’s path.

Twice a day, I stop writing and meditate for 10 minutes, slowing my breathing (and my thoughts) and then I rub my little Ganesh’s feet for good luck.

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

My two adorable German wire-haired pointers, Eli and Huxley.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

The one I work in now – upstairs in our 17th century oak-beamed cottage with green-painted walls. I write at my grandfather’s leather-topped desk with my father’s oak desk to one side and am surrounded by the framed book jackets, photos, cartoons and art that mean the most to me.

What are you currently reading?

Educated by Tara Westover and The Pianist of Yarmouk

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

Walk the dogs on the beach, read, garden, cook, entertain friends, travel, and paint.

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

Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women whose character Jo I immediately identified with. I have been to her house in Concord, Massachusetts, and see the tiny table where she sat and wrote longhand and I would love to invite her to tea and ask her how a young woman with very little life experience from a rural background was able to conjure up such vital, life-changing characters.

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

How much of myself comes out in the books I write, even when they are about other people. There is something of everyone in each of us and when you really focus on someone you often realise that the nature of the human condition is universal.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve done in researching for a book?

I found myself deep in a woodland cemetery in rural Poland on the edge of dark hunting for the grave of someone I was writing about in quiet desperation. I found it just as the light was fading and then had to feel my way back to the car and civilisation.

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary?

I did up until my teens but I found that I have such a visual memory so that I no longer needed to.

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

Meeting my husband and accepting his marriage proposal three weeks later. I was 19 and we have been happily married ever since.

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

I do ten minutes deep breathing to clear my mind of clutter. I remind myself to talk slowly and take deep breaths in the pauses. If I were to listen to any music it would be Paul Simon’s Late in the Evening and I would have a dance to loosen myself up.

What do you miss about being a kid?

My dearly departed parents who were my greatest champions and blessed me with a happy childhood, from which I emerged feeling invincible.

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

The Wacky Races. I wanted to be Penelope Pitstop, but I also loved Mutley.

If you write non-fiction or memories, what fictional character would you invite into your story and why?

Jo from Little Women so that I could spend time with her and tell her how much she inspired me as a girl.

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

Tolkien. It was on locally and we went because I love films about writers. I was much more impressed than I’d expected and gave real insight into his life and inspirations without hardly mentioning The Hobbit (of which I am not a great fan). It is a lovely, well-rounded film.

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

He escaped from the local zoo when his keeper went for ice cream and accidentally left the gate open, so the penguin waddled off down the road looking for something to eat.

At the seaside, he accidentally caused a commotion outside one of those stores that sells everything from joss sticks to water pipes, backed into a hat stand and a sombrero dropped onto his head.

Hardly able to see, he staggered on and – lifting his beak – detected the unmistakable scent of fish. Padding up to my front door, he tapped his beak on it and made his little penguin cry so I opened the door with a fillet of sole in my hand.

Before I knew it, he had snatched it from fingers and gobbled it down in one. He has lived with me ever since. We have called him Charlie because he looks and walks like Charlie Chaplin in his little penguin suit.

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

I always have and I always will. Whenever one door closes for me, another opens, often taking me in a direction I never expected and which excites and challenges me.

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

Why don’t you ever get a cold?
What do you dream of when you twitch and whimper?
Why can’t you live as long as us?

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

Resilience and fearless optimism

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

Suffolk, England, which is why we moved here having had no previous connections. Endless beaches. Huge skies. Fabulous stars. Great seafood. Lovely people. Old-fashioned atmosphere. What’s not to like?

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

Umbria, Italy. Early autumn. Watching the sun set over the golden hills and ripened vineyards with a chilled glass of prosecco in my hand.

Tell us about your most recent book.

I have three books out this year:

A relaunch of my novel The Sense of Paper. A Novel of Obsessions, it is set in Suffolk and is full of passion, secrets and lies. Please see the trailer —

One Hundred Miracles, a memoir of music and survival with Zuzana Ruzickova, published by Bloomsbury UK and several European publishers. The remarkable story of a Holocaust survivor and internationally renowned musician who not only lived through the war but under Communist ant-Semitic rule for decades. This is my first Holocaust book since writing my international bestseller Born Survivors: Three Young Mothers and Their Extraordinary Story of Courage, Defiance and Hope

   

A Woman of Firsts, the woman who built a hospital and changed the world with Edna Adan Ismail, to be published in this month. The story of the ‘Muslim Mother Teresa’, an indomitable force of nature who survived great hardship and civil war only to return to her ravage country and create something wonderful.

Thank you Wendy for being a part of MTA. It was incredibly interesting to learn more about you, your history, and writing style. I am a Goldie Hawn fan, as well as having a mindfulness and meditation practice. I found your interview to be deeply moving. And, oh my goodness! I LOVE the short story you created with the penguin question! Thanks again! –Camilla

Where to find One Hundred Miracles:

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/31xG9wc

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/31v9VSm

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: A Rhyme of Dark Words by Jeremy Smith

Today we welcome Jeremy Smith as we travel to Oxfordshire, England to learn how The Forgotten World, Cthulhu, an octopus, and Warwick Davis fit into Jeremy’s writing life. Grab your flashlight. Let’s go ….

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live in Oxfordshire, England only about 5 miles from where I was born and grew up. I did venture away to college for a few years and then to London to work but, as the saying goes, “there’s no place like home”.

In which genre do you write?

I write contemporary fantasy for teen/YA.

How many published books do you have?

I have three! A Rhyme of Dark Words is the first in the Tilly Hart series and is available on Amazon as is Rise of the White Witch (Tilly Hart book 2). The third in the series, The Witchfinder’s Betrayal, was published on 30th June 2019.

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

I guess I realised I wanted to be a writer when I was about 7 years old and got my dad to type up my personalised version of The Forgotten World. It took him quite some time using just one finger on a clunky old typewriter!

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

I like to insert references to Cthulhu into the Tilly Hart books. They’re not too difficult to spot if you know what you’re looking for.

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

I would have an octopus because they can change colour and fit inside a jam jar.

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading, “The Revenant Express” a Newbury & Hobbes investigation by George Mann.

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

I go to pub quizzes and also play computer games. I once appeared on the ITV quiz show, “Tenable” where I had to answer a question about kedgeree! It was all worthwhile though as I got to meet the actor Warwick Davis who I’m a huge fan of.

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

That I can write a whole book. I still can’t really believe I’ve done it – three times!!

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

I walked through a graveyard at midnight. As one of my character’s observes in Rise of the White Witch, “Why does it always have to be when it’s dark? ………. We never get to be anywhere spooky when it’s light”.

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? 

No, just in case it falls in to enemy hands.

What do you miss about being a kid?

The freedom of endless summer days and the excitement of Christmas.

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

I would choose the world of Scooby-Doo so I could solve mysteries with my dog, Jack, and eat a stack of burgers without putting on a pound.

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

‘I’m sorry about the sombrero, I couldn’t find my bowler.’ He’s come round to visit the walrus.

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

Where are my slippers? Why did you eat my dinner? Do you want to go back to the dog home?

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

I love Oxford for the dreaming spires, coffee shops and museums.

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

A trek in the woods on a golden, autumn day, with a flask of coffee and a cheese sandwich.

Thank you Jeremy for being a part of MTA. It was wonderful to learn more about you and your background! –Camilla

Blurb for A Rhyme of Dark Words:

Tilly Hart is grieving for her mother when she moves to the ancient village of Witheridge. Finding friendship and love, she also finds a place steeped in witchlore and the legend of a beast that stalks the moor. Supernatural events and a hidden diary guide her to a village lost in time, a place where magic exists and demons walk the land.

With her newfound friends and the deadline of Halloween drawing near, she sets out to prevent an ancient evil destroying all she loves.

Being both the hunter and hunted, she discovers she can control magic. But magic is an addiction that can lead to evil.

A Rhyme of Dark Words has been longlisted for the 2019 Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition.

Where to buy “A Rhyme of Dark Words”:

UK Kindle: https://amzn.to/31yjzUo
US Kindle: https://amzn.to/2H0VU7c
Paperback for the UK: https://amzn.to/2Toe8nU
Paperback for the US: https://amzn.to/2KIM4bf

Connect with Jeremy:

Website is https://jeremysmith-writer.com/

Pinterest address is www.pinterest.co.uk/Jeremy_Smith_Writer/

Twitter address is https://twitter.com/lanticcrossing

Facebook address is https://www.facebook.com/Jeremy-Smith-Writer-1282723938575171/

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 Girl in the Dark by Susan Willis

Today we welcome Susan Willis as we travel to a small town in Co-Durham, North East England to learn how recipes, setting an alarm, the garden shed and Cinderella comprise the ingredients of Susan’s writing life. Get the simmering pots ready, let’s get cookin’ ….

List 3 interesting facts about yourself.

I didn’t start writing until I was 48 years old.

I develop new recipes and products for food companies, mainly Marks & Spencer.

After ten years I still love the fact that people enjoy what I write. Good reviews to me are like winning the lottery.

What was the first thing you ever had published?

Lamb in a Pot, a short story in a USA magazine 2009. I’d written the story on a long train journey because I’d been using sensory terms for lamb at work. I decided to weave them into a cook’s story when her boyfriend turns the tables and makes a meal for her. Caramelising onions, garlic and rosemary, majestic chunks of tender lamb, pebble-like new potatoes, black olives, and plump juicy tomatoes: all simmered for hours. Mama Mia! The cook had cried – this is the type of food to make me feel faint with pleasure and desire!

Do you have a writing routine?

When I’m not working and intend to write, I set my alarm for one hour only to do emails and social media. I need to limit this because it can take over your day and reduce the time left for actual writing, and, after all, that’s what I love to do!

Do you have any writing rituals?

I try to move from my chair every two hours and take a walk around the garden to think. If it’s raining, I end up in the garden shed! I often find if my character is stuck in a certain situation the fresh air helps to clear my mind and I can usually think of a way forward.

Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?

A couple of years ago I decided to move more into relationship themed stories instead of focusing on food. I enjoyed writing the conflict scenes and, teasing the reader so much that I’ve moved into romantic suspense. The Girl in the Dark, is based in a photography studio with a food stylist and two photographers. I read somewhere that Alfred Hitchcock was dubbed, The Master of Suspense, and was one of the first to move away from, the who done it concept, knowing exactly how to manipulate the viewers in the cinema to keep them watching the film. I was intrigued and delved into psychological suspense.

Who was the first person you shared your book with?

My dear friend, Rosie Jones, who is also a writer. I’d waited in trepidation for her comments knowing she’d tell me the truth, warts and all. Thankfully, she loved the story, and told me it was the best thing I’ve written!

Do you have a current work in progress?

Yes, I have a new novel and am looking for a publisher. It’s called, His Wife’s Secret. Does anyone know where I could submit?

Do you have any advice for budding authors?

Don’t Give Up! If you have a story to tell, then do it!

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?

George Clooney! Do I need to say more, girls? I think I’d just sit and drool….

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

Cinderella – I love shoes!!

Thank you Susan for joining us on MTA. It was wonderful to learn more about you. –Camilla

Book Blurb

The Girl in the Dark is the latest Grip Lit novel from Susan Willis. A thrilling romantic suspense story that will keep you turning pages long into the night.

When Kim goes to old friend, Sidney’s, photography studio to start a new food styling contract she meets his new assistant, Alex. Kim is catapulted from her mournful existence into an explosive romantic relationship with Alex. Sidney, however, is wary. He thinks, there’s something not quite right about Alex, and urges caution.

Will Kim look back and wish she’d listened…

Where to buy the book:

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

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2GT7EbH

About Susan:

Susan Willis is a published author of three novels, and five novellas’. She lives in the North East of England surrounded by family and friends. Following publication of a love story about a chef and her boyfriend, she wrote more foodie-based love stories and wove them into her first novel, ‘Yes Chef, No Chef’.

Now Susan has ventured into romantic suspense with her latest novel, The Girl In The Dark.

Set in her hometown of Durham City, this storyline is not a who done it thriller, but, a psychological page-turner which she loved writing.

Connect with Susan:

Website: www.susanwillis.co.uk
Twitter – @SusanWillis69
Facebook – m.me/AUTHORSusanWillis
Instagram – susansuspenseauthor

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: Mysterious Monsters Series by David Michael Slater

Today we welcome David Michael Slater as we travel to Reno, Nevada USA to discover how Jorge Luis Borges, being a teacher, unplanned stories and Richie Rich come together to create the foundation of David’s writing life. Buckle your seat belt and let’s get this ride started …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m originally from Pittsburgh, PA. I lived in Portland, Oregon for 20 years, but have been in Reno, Nevada for the past eight.

In which genre do you write?

I’ve written fiction for children, teens, and adults, along with some nonfiction for adults. Lots of different genres.

How many published books do you have?

Heading toward 25!

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

I did not grow up dreaming of being an author. But in graduate school I read some short stories by Jorge Luis Borges, and they just blew me away. I decided to try to write some myself, and things just kept going from there.

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

I don’t plan out my books. I just start the story and when I run into a dead end, I just start revising from the beginning. That usually gets me a bit further into the story, and when I end another roadblock, I start over again. I just repeat this until I find my way to the end.

What are you currently reading?

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

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

I’m a full-time teacher. I teach 7/8th grade English in a middle school in Reno.

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

I love the thrill of reaching the end of story that I never saw coming.

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

Getting a publishing offer never gets old! My adult novel, Fun & Games, was recently optioned for film and a screenwriter is working on the script right now. That’s pretty exciting for me.

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 don’t get too nervous. I just always have my thoughts written out ahead of time.

What do you miss about being a kid?

The time and freedom to be 100% engaged in whatever excited me.

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

I used to love reading Richie Rich comics. I’d love to live his life for a while!

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

Rocketman. I am a die-hard, life-long Elton John fan. And I was so happy that the movie was great.

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

Just one, for my cat, Ruby: Do you actually love us, or do you just tolerate us?

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

I’m pretty even-keeled and also stubborn — both are important traits if you want to endure the constant rejection that is part of must authors’ lives.

What are you currently working on?

I’m working on my first (I think) YA book, a fantasy called Sparks.

Tell us about your most recent book.

Book four of the Mysterious Monsters series was just released. (There will be six books total.)

The Mattigan kids don’t believe in things that go bump in the night. After all, their dad is famous for proving such things are impossible. But, when their long-lost Grandpa Joe shows up with his Mysterious Monsters journal, begging for help, the siblings find themselves drawn into a search for Bigfoot.

Along the way, they’ll have to deal with meddling babysitters, suspicious psychics, a YouTube disaster, and their furious father. To solve this mystery, Maddie, Max, and Theo must rethink what’s possible ― and make lots of peanut butter and banana sandwiches.

Thanks for joining us on MTA David. It was incredibly interesting learning more about you, your books, and your writing style! David was our “neighbor” at the Barnes & Noble book signing this past June 2019 (for my daughter Lillian’s debut book, Where Would You Fly). He and I chatted about traditional schooling vs homeschooling. It was wonderful to have you as our book signing neighbor and wonderful to interview you here David! I’m incredibly excited to hear about and follow the journey of Fun & Games to the big screen! Very cool! –Camilla

Where we can find the book?

You can get it wherever books are sold.

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2GR61eC

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/31qc9m8

Connect with David:

Website: www.davidmichaelslater.com
Social media links: @DMSauthor

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: Dinner at the Happy Skeleton by Chris Chalmers

Today we welcome Chris Chalmers as we travel to South West London and learn how copywriting, Greg Rutherford, the Dutch Embassy in Prague, the Galapagos Islands, and Dr. Who share roles in the life of Chris. Tighten your funny bone and get ready for a bit of quirkiness. Let’s go ….

In which genre do you write?

Contemporary fiction. Quirky stuff for grown ups like me, who have difficulty finding books they like. Helicopter crashes, tsunamis, aging porn stars, the celestial manifestation of Margaret Thatcher — it’s all there…

How many published books do you have?

Three for adults, one for children. Two more coming down the pipe.

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

At school. I was good at creative writing, not so good at anything else.

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

I can see trams while I’m writing.

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

Meet Larry. We keep washing him but he’s always dirty. I don’t know why.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

I’m lucky, I have a study overlooking the garden (and the trams en route to IKEA). But mostly, I think worrying about the perfect writing space is an excuse, and you should get your arse down and write.

What are you currently reading?

Nature Girl by Carl Hiaasen. Hmm…

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

Copywriting, currently for Holland & Barrett.

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?

Louis Smith, gymnast or Greg Rutherford, long jumper. To be honest, I’d be lucky to ask them anything before I poured coffee in my lap.

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

God I’ve got some stories!

Do you write a journal or keep a personal diary? Has it helped with your writing?

Every night since 1st January 1976. Never missed. It’s kept me sane and probably helps the memories stick.

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

Amusing: An incident involving me and two boxers at the Dutch Embassy in Prague. See Dinner At The Happy Skeleton.

Crazy: On my first trip to Australia, my suitcase went to Abu Dhabi. It was returned to me in Melbourne two days later by a van driver who shared my name.

Inspiring: Visiting the Galapagos Islands. See Five To One.

What do you miss about being a kid?

Dr. Who was scary.

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

Eight Grade. It’s about how teens use social media. Worth knowing in case I have to write about one.

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

I used to be terrified I’d still be single when I was 40. People always say the right one comes along when you’re not looking — so I told myself I wasn’t looking, but it never worked. Then I reached a stage when I was 39 where I was actually, honestly, genuinely happy being single. I met my husband a fortnight later.

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

A natural inclination for sticking to routines.

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

Stromness, Orkney. I see myself living there one day.

Tell us about your most recent book.

Dinner At The Happy Skeleton is the story of Dan the advertising man. Made redundant just before his fortieth birthday, he decides to spend his payoff tracking down the ex he blames for the thinly-veiled chaos of his life … Via misadventures on and offline from London to Ljubljana, Helsinki to Trieste, Dan seeks closure on his past — and meets his destiny where he least expects it.

It was wonderful to have you be a part of MTA! I enjoyed learning more about you and your history Chris! –Camilla

Blurb for Dinner At The Happy Skeleton:

Dan is the kind of gay man for whom the Noughties might have been named. Warm, witty and serially promiscuous, his heart melts at the sight of a chocolate brown Labrador — but with men, it’s a different matter. He’s thirty-nine and as single as ever, not counting the couple he just met online. An arrangement that looks oddly like it’s going somewhere, until Dan gets fired from his job in advertising. With time out and a payoff in his pocket, summer presents a world of possibilities; just as memories surface of the ex he blames for the thinly-veiled chaos of his life.

From London to Ljubljana, a yen for closure sets Dan on the trail of the man who fed his ego into a shredder. Through an eerie encounter at the home of the Olympiad and a sleepover at the Dutch Embassy, run-ins with a fading porn star and the celestial manifestation of Margaret Thatcher, he ultimately confronts his past. Until, with his Big Four-O rapidly approaching, destiny beckons from where he least expects it.

‘An eye-opening, always entertaining romp through modern sexual mores, with a sweet beating heart of true feeling at its core.’ Suzi Feay, literary journalist

‘Full of wit, comedy and unflinching honesty … Like reading a gay Nick Hornby. This is clever contemporary fiction at its finest.’ Bleach House Library

Where we can find it:

Dinner At The Happy Skeleton is available in paperback and ebook.

**Dinner At The Happy Skeleton ebook is currently 99p on Amazon.

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Khvb8w

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

Connect with Chris:

Website: www.chrischalmers.net

Social media links:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/chrischalmersnovelist/
Twitter: @CCsw19

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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Latest News: May 2019 – Meet the Author Interviews with Most Views

I am incredibly late with posting this. However, I hope to get us caught up through July in the following couple of weeks. – Camilla

Meet the Author Interview with Most Views for May 2019:

Dropzone by Stewart Giles

Meet the Author Interview with Second Most Views for May 2019:

Barefoot on the Cobbles: a Devon tragedy by Janet Few

Meet the Author Interview with Third Most Views for May 2019:

In Bloom Not Broken by Katie Maylea

Top Three Countries With the Most Traffic to Meeting the Authors:

If you enjoy the content provided here, 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 Watson Letters Volume 4: Revenge of the Hooded Claw by Colin Garrow

Today we welcome Colin Garrow as we travel to north-east Scotland, uncovering how Santa Claus, back trouble, a mandolin, and Tom and Jerry all have past or present roles in Colin’s life. Check your posture and your breathing, time for action …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I was brought up in Northumberland, England, during the sixties and seventies, but have lived in north-east Scotland for about fifteen years. I’ve done a lot of different kinds of jobs, including working in a fish factory, driving a cab and masquerading as Santa Claus in a large department store. My background is in theatre and drama and I’ve done quite a lot of creative arts work, but most recently my day job is in occupational therapy. For years I wrote stage plays (some of which were performed by my theatre company in Aberdeen) but in 2013 I turned to writing novels and currently have seventeen books available on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble etc.

In which genre do you write?

I write mainly murder mysteries and historical adventures (for adults and children), a bit of horror and a lot of adult humour and innuendo in my spoof Sherlock Holmes series ‘The Watson Letters’.

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

For a long time I’ve had back trouble and sitting at a desk to write is not comfortable. A couple of years ago I was offered a ‘standing desk’ at work and when I moved to my current house, I bought one for home use too. Though I still have occasional issues around pain, the act of standing up to write has made a huge difference. It worked for Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, Nabokov and Winston Churchill, and it’s said that standing rather than sitting is better for posture, breathing and supposedly adds several years to your life.

What are you currently reading?

I usually have three books on the go at a time – one to read during my lunch break, one to read at home and an audiobook to listen to when I’m driving. At the moment I’m reading Lee Child’s ‘Gone Tomorrow’, Robert Crouch’s ‘No More Lies’ and listening to ‘Zodiac’ by Robert Graysmith.

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

I play several musical instruments – guitar, banjo, mandolin, ukulele and bouzouki. I also have a saxophone which I can’t play.

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

About thirty years ago, I had some mental health issues. In 2009 I co-wrote a play called ‘No Phones on Planet Pluto’ which explored different aspects of mental illness. The play consisted of ten monologues and one of these focused on the events that led to my treatment for depression. Writing the piece was extremely cathartic and although I’d originally intended it to be performed by another actor, I decided to do it myself and found the experience liberating in ways I hadn’t expected. It made me realise that writing about my own life could be really useful in allowing me to move on.

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

While studying drama at university, I took part in a play written by a friend of mine. The play required me to appear totally naked on stage. This is probably the scariest thing I’ve even done, and I remember throwing my guts up before the first performance. However, the feeling I had afterwards, made me think I could do absolutely anything, and the experience gave my confidence a massive boost.

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

It would have to be Tom and Jerry (the Fred Quimby produced ones, not the later episodes which I don’t think were as imaginative). These cartoons were a huge part of my childhood and the whole family looked forward to them because they were such fun. One of my favourites was ‘Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Mouse’ which had Tom mixing up a magical concoction to stop Jerry drinking his milk. Classic.

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

I’m generally a fairly quiet person and am very comfortable in my own company. This is useful as a writer as (unless you’re part of a comedy writing team), working alone is the only way to do it.

Tell us about your most recent book.

The most recent book is the fourth volume in my spoof Sherlock Holmes series. ‘The Watson Letters volume 4: Revenge of the Hooded Claw’ finds the intrepid due tackling an ocean-going mechanised iceberg, Moriarty and his henchmen and an American Werewolf. The next volume is ‘Murder on Mystery Island’ and finds Holmes and Watson involved in a murder spree with a plot that sounds awfully familiar.

Thank you Colin for joining us on MTA. It was wonderful you and your writing style. –Camilla

The Watson Letters Volume 4: Revenge of the Hooded Claw

Intrepid investigators Holmes and Watson continue their fight against crime in a not quite Post-Victorian, steampunk parallel universe.

In three more adventures, the tenacious twosome encounter an ocean-going iceberg, an American werewolf and a gigantic metal fish, as well as facing old enemy Moriarty, who plans to finish off Sherlock Holmes for good. Adult humour throughout.

Revenge of the Hooded Claw is book #4 in this Victorian comedy adventure series.

Where we can find it the book:

All my books are available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, and Kobo.

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2M00xm9

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

Connect with Colin:

Website/Blog: https://colingarrow.org/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B014Z5DZD4

Twitter: https://twitter.com/colingarrow

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/colingarrow

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/colingarrowthewriter

The Watson Letters: https://thewatsonletters.com/

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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