Book Shelf: The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick 

The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick 

Phaedra Patrick’s latest book. I read her first two and love each book more than the one before! I read the entire book in just a few sittings. I could not stand to stop. Just had to keep reading! I love a GREAT mystery; yet also want it to be a mystery that doesn’t involve murders or deaths. Phaedra does not disappoint with delivering a whopping mystery, with lovable characters to get to know (and some you’d rather not know). I’m already excited for her next book!!

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/32dmr9a

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/36C2CeT

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To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla

(The above are amazon affiliate links.)

Meet the Author: My Daughter’s Wedding by Claire Baldry

Today we travel to the East Sussex coast, in the UK town of Bexhill on Sea, to chat with Claire Baldry. She and I discuss how being a retired headteacher, type 1 Diabetes, the speaker circuit, poetry, Jane Austen, and being a compulsive multi-tasker come together as part of Claire’s past and current writing life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a retired headteacher and English Advisor, and I now live on the East Sussex coast in the UK town of Bexhill on Sea with my husband Chris. Chris has had type 1 Diabetes for most of his adult life, so we have done a lot of fundraising for Diabetes UK. In 2017, we were awarded the SE Diabetes UK fundraising Inspire Award.

I started writing light-hearted poetry when Chris was rushed into hospital in 2012, and I was confined at home for several months as a carer while he was recovering. He no longer needs full-time care, but once I began to write, I couldn’t stop. I’m now on the speaker circuit, performing my poetry, and talking to groups about my writing and how Chris’s disability impacts on our lives.

How many published books do you have?

I’ve now published five booklets of amusing poetry, an autobiographical novella and two novels. The poetry is mostly light-hearted, though I do throw in the occasional more serious verse.

In what genre do you write?

I enjoy writing about older protagonists, and both my novels have a central theme of ‘love in later life’. I’m passionate about promoting books and poetry with issues which appeal to readers in mid-life and beyond. I have created a popular website called ‘Books for Older Readers’ which contains a wide variety of virtual book shelves where readers can browse and discover books with themes such as second chances, intergenerational relationships, and career changes in later life.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

At home I have a large area with a desk in a spare bedroom which I have set aside for writing and I never use it. To me it feels too isolated. I always creep back into our living room with my laptop and write in a corner sitting on the sofa. I just cut myself off from anyone else in the room and concentrate on my writing. I think my years of primary school teaching taught me to ignore noise. Having said that, there are only two of us at home now. If I lived in a house full of noisy dogs and toddlers, I might be grateful for a bespoke writing space.

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

Definitely Jane Austen. I love her sense of humour and am sure she would make me laugh. There is so much hidden feminism in her writing. I would like to know what experiences gave her such an advanced perception of Victorian society.

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

I seem to have an unexpected interest in the psychology of people with traumatic pasts. I find myself wanting to empathise with them and understand their motives. So each of my seemingly conventional novels contain at least one character who has had a difficult past. Without wishing to give too much of the plots away, in ‘Different Genes’ there’s Bob who obsesses about the main female character with very dramatic consequences, and in ‘My Daughter’s Wedding’ we meet the lady who regularly goes to funerals and steals sandwiches.

What do you miss about being a kid?

Actually, not much. In childhood we have to take on other people’s values and obey their rules. I’m a bit of a control freak and I like to be in charge.

Describe the perfect solo date you’d take yourself on….

For me the whole idea of a ‘solo’ anything, fills me with horror. I hate being alone and always seek out company. I’m sure that’s one of the reasons I started writing after I retired. If I am not with other people, I make them up and write about them. My books and poetry are filled with my ‘pretend friends’.

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

I am a compulsive multi-tasker. Why do one thing when you can do so many more? I always have a multitude of tasks in hand. This does sometimes cause me stress, but it is enormously useful when I am writing and marketing at the same time.

Tell us about your most recent book.

My most recently published novel, called ‘My Daughter’s Wedding’ is about the preparations for a wedding from the point of view of the mother of the bride. It includes an ‘older generation’ love story, but also explores the relationship between bride and mother at this emotional time.

It was a pleasure getting to know you through this interview Claire. Thank you for being a part of MTA! – Camilla

Where to find the book:

You can find it on Amazon or order it from most bookshops.

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Cfd3r4

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2rdQ9hp

Connect with Claire and discover more about her writing:

http://www.clairebaldry.co.uk

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Meet the Author: The Rift Between Us by Rebecca Marsh

Today we travel to Dallas, Georgia in the United States to chat with Rebecca Marsh. We talk about how gaining life experience, having a family, telling stories on the playground, Francesca Battistelli, the beach, and the local writer’s group come together as part of Rebecca’s past and present life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live in Dallas, GA in the United States. I’m a wife, a mother, and an animal lover. I write emotional stories that mostly revolve around healing, forgiveness, and redemption. I first started writing when I was twelve and wrote short stories all through middle school and high school.

A couple years after that, I largely stopped writing for two reasons: first because I didn’t feel ready to write the stories that I had in mind. I needed to gain more life experience. One can certainly write about things that they haven’t experienced personally, but to do a good job, you have to use the experiences you have had as well as using what you have learned from the people you know and the things you have read or seen. There are lots of ways to learn about different human experiences and the emotions that go with them. I needed time to do that.

The second reason was that I had another dream to have a family and I was working on making that dream come true. When my daughter started pre-school, I began to write again. The idea for my first novel had been in my head for years, but it had always been like a scattered puzzle. The pieces were there, but I hadn’t been able to put them all together.

Right before the pre-school year began, though, the pieces of that story started falling into place, so the timing seemed perfect. It was slow since I didn’t get much time to work on it, but eventually I finished my first novel and I’ve continued writing since then. But my journey into publishing my work was also slow in coming since I wasn’t sure I wanted to do it all myself. But after meeting some other local writers who had done it themselves and learning about it, I decided to take that leap.

It isn’t easy and I’m still learning, but every time someone tells me that my book was meaningful to them, it is worth the effort.

In which genre do you write?

I write contemporary fiction. It also fits the mold for women’s fiction, but I don’t really like that genre name because it makes it sound like men shouldn’t read it.

How many published books do you have?

Two with the second released on July 8th.

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

I was 12 when I first began to write, but I think it was in me even before that. I was a kid that didn’t make friends super easy and I can look back and remember times when I didn’t have anyone to play with on the playground. I would walk around and tell myself stories.

As far as igniting my author’s flame, well, I guess that varies. A lot of times I don’t really know where my story ideas come from. They are just there. But I think the characters developing into unique people in the story is what I love the most.

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

Spend time with my family would be first and foremost.

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

I will be speaking soon in releasing my second book. I don’t love public speaking, but it gets easier each time. One song I repeat in my head in preparation for speaking is Francesca Battistelli’s “The Breakup Song”. It begins with the line, Fear you don’t own me …

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

That’s a tough one. In the stories I write, the main characters all have some pretty big issues that I wouldn’t ask for. However, there are characteristics they have that I wouldn’t mind having. Beth, the MC from my first book is strong and resilient. Lauren, in my second book, is super dedicated to her craft as an artist (though sometimes to the point of having tunnel vision).

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

I would ask my dog: why do you roll around in that same spot in the backyard?, and: why do you bark at some dogs we see and not others?, I would ask my cat: who do you think you’re looking at when you stare at your reflection?

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

Though it isn’t always easy, I’d have to say that the ability to accept constructive criticism and learn from it are the most useful traits that I have developed. It was hard at first and I wanted to be defensive (sometimes I still do), but I find that when I sit back and take in what others are saying about my work, I learn and grow. I get a lot of that from my local writer’s group and I thank them for all their help.

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

The beach, any beach. I love how peaceful it is to sit and listen to the waves.

Tell us about your most recent book.

My most recent book, The Rift Between Us, released July 8th on Amazon. It is the story of three estranged sisters who are brought back together by a stipulation in their father’s will. It is a story of a father’s love that moved him to set up such an elaborate plan. And it is a story about how siblings can grow apart because they hold onto old grudges and fail to see the changes in each other. It is also a story of hope and healing. There’s a bit of romance in there as well.

It was wonderful to learn more about you, Rebecca. Thank you for being a part of MTA! – Camilla

Blurb for my second book, The Rift Between Us: 

After a family dinner turns into a bitter fight, sisters Maria, Lauren, and Avery decide to go their separate ways. Their father warns them that someday they will need one another. When he dies suddenly, they learn that he intends to make sure that they do. He’s left them a substantial inheritance, far more than any of them ever imagined.

There’s just one catch. If they want the money, they will have to spend two weeks together at a secluded lake house and follow all of their father’s instructions—no matter how strange.

Their task seems simple enough, but each one is holding onto painful secrets and old grudges the others know nothing about. But if they can learn to trust each other again, they might be able to mend the rift between them and give their father his dying wish.

Where to find the book:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07TGF9P4F  and on Rebecca’s website: https://www.rebeccalmarsh.com/

First book:

Blurb for my first book, When the Storm Ends: 

Beth thought her violent childhood was something she left in the past—until she met Erin. Now the abuse of her step-father has returned in terrifying nightmares.

Beth became a child psychologist so she could help children who are broken and hurting, but Erin, the fifteen-year-old who killed her father, is different. If Beth can’t reach her and find out why she did it, Erin will spend the rest of her childhood behind bars. To most people, it looks simple—Erin is either crazy or evil, but when Beth looks into Erin’s haunted eyes, she’s sure that something terrible was done to this girl. Erin, however, isn’t talking.

Beth believes Erin might open up to someone with whom she feels a kinship. Of course, Beth knows she shouldn’t share her own past with a patient, but the clock is ticking toward Erin’s trial, and Beth is out of options.

Little does Beth know that taking this terrifying leap will not only reveal the truth about Erin, but will rip Beth’s past wide open as well—and a connection between them that will shake Beth to the core.

Link to my first book on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2pwxCMY

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40807015-when-the-storm-ends?ac=1&from_search=true 

Connect with Rebecca:

Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/RebeccaLynnMarsh/?modal=admin_todo_tour

Website: https://www.rebeccalmarsh.com/

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To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla, Founder and Host

Meet the Author: Buried Deep in Our Hearts by Tracie Barton-Barrett

Today we travel to North Carolina in the US to chat with Tracie Barton-Barrett. She and I discuss how Walter Farley, journaling, Smurfette, being a life-long animal enthusiast, a licensed Professional Counselor, and being in the woods fit into Tracie’s life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

As a life-long animal enthusiast, I’m a speaker, Licensed Professional Counselor with a specialty in pet loss, and former psychology and sociology instructor. Buried Deep in Our Hearts is my debut novel, and I hope it will help the reader to relate, reflect, and heal after the loss of a beloved animal. I’ve facilitated pet loss support groups and presented and written articles on the subject. I’m originally from Michigan and my husband and I live in North Carolina in the US and am owned by our two cats, Rutherford B. Barrett and Oliver Monkey.

 In which genre do you write?

Contemporary/Women’s fiction. The next book will be more YA.

How many published books do you have?

Just one, thus far! (BURIED DEEP IN OUR HEARTS)

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

Sometimes I feel like a horse. Sometimes I feel like a tiger. And, then sometimes I feel like a pigeon and sometimes I’m the statue!

What does your ideal writing space look like?

It really depends upon my mood. Sometimes I’m in my office, sometimes I’m outside or at the library. Sometimes I’m sitting in my chair in the bedroom, and sometimes on the floor. Just depends!

What are you currently reading?

I usually read local/indie authors whose writing is comparable to best-seller’s. Just beta read for my friend who will be releasing INVISIBLE GIRL soon.

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

I love to be in the woods or in/near the water, spend time with friends and family. I also love to travel, pet any animal, horseback ride, Christmas, learn about history, laugh, and watch really good shows and movies, including ones I’ve watched so many times, I can quote the lines! Huge Disney fan here, too!

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?

Since I geek out to anything television or movie, this is a difficult question. As of this writing, I would love to spend time with Betty White and ask her about her time when television was first making its debut and her experience on Golden Girls, one of my favorite sit-coms.  She’s also a huge animal supporter, so we wouldn’t be at a loss for topics to discuss. As for a former author, I’d love to talk with either Harper Lee, since TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is one of my all-time favorite novels. Or, I would talk with Walter Farley, who wrote THE BLACK STALLION books. And, would love to sit down with Walt Disney. So many things I’d love to discuss with him!

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

That I’m writing fiction! I always read non-fiction as a child, so when I told my mom I was writing fiction she asked me, with a glint in her eye,  “You do know what fiction is, don’t you?”

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

I’ve journaled every morning for about 27 years. I think it helps get the juices flowing. But, it’s amazing, it seems as though the day isn’t complete if I don’t journal, and I almost feel “backed up” when I don’t!

What do you miss about being a kid?

I miss the times I spent with my brother. We still are connected, but now that he’s older, with a family of his own, it’s more difficult. But, when his kids are grown (my awesome niece and nephew), then he’ll have more time. Life often turns full-circle.

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

I do remember wanting to be Smurfette for a while. All those guys around you–quite a ratio!

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

Christopher Robin, with Ewan McGregor. As a huge Winnie the Pooh fan, I was thrilled when it was on Netflix (or one of the streaming services we have!).

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

  1. To Oliver Monkey: Why don’t you like the new food we got you?
  2. To Oliver Monkey: Why do you lie on your back when playing with your brother? You could never make it in the wild!
  3. To both Oliver Monkey and Bubby: Do you really know and feel how much we love you?

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

I think perseverance!  One must be able to pick oneself up after all the twists and turns of being an author!

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

I have soooooo many because our country is so diverse. But, I’m a water baby at heart, so any type of water, and I’m there! I used to live in Virginia Beach and went to the Oceanfront daily.

If this question were any question in the world, what question would you want it to be and how would you answer it?

The question I asked my students: Who would you like to play you in a movie if they did a biopic of your life? Most of my students said they think Tina Fey for me. What an honor—she’s such an amazing and talented woman. Not to mention, hilarious!

The other question is: What is the best compliment you’ve ever received? Because we tend to remember negative things people say about us, also known as the negativity bias, many students needed a minute to think. Truthfully, so did I. But, when I heard my students say that something I said changed, or even saved their life, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Tell us about your most recent book.

My debut novel, BURIED DEEP IN OUR HEARTS, celebrates the connection we have to our animals and honors their memory.

I am also a water baby and loved the movie, Christopher Robin! It was a great pleasure having you on MTA. Thank you, Tracie! – Camilla

Where to find the book:

Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Buried-Deep-Hearts-Tracie-Barton-Barrett-ebook/dp/B01EARJ59A

Social Media Links:

Email: TBartonBarrett@gmail.com

Website: www.TracieBartonBarrett.com

FaceBook: www.facebook.com/TBartonBarrett

Twitter: @AnimalsConnect

Instagram: traciebartonbarrett

Note from Tracie: Please buy new copies. Used copies only benefit seller –  Paperback & Kindle: https://goo.gl/eXERyq

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To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla, Founder and Host

Book Shelf: Aunt Dimity and the Duke by Nancy Atherton

Aunt Dimity and the Duke Nancy Atherton

I am in love with this series. Haven’t read one yet that I did not devour. I was unsure I’d enjoy this one, but once I got started, there was no turning back. It was great going on this journey with Emma, learning more about her, the new characters introduced, and getting reacquainted with characters from the other books. – Camilla

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/34eABIx

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

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To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla

(The above are amazon affiliate links.)

 

Meet the Author: No More Lies by Robert Crouch

Today we travel to the south coast of England to chat with Robert Crouch. He and I talk about how being an environmental health manager, To Kill a Mockingbird, Sue Grafton, quitting smoking, Scooby Doo, visiting a Medium, and his sense of humour come together as part of his past and present life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m Robert Crouch, author of the Kent Fisher mysteries. I live on the south coast of England at the edge of the beautiful South Downs National Park, where my novels are set.

In which genre do you write?

My books are contemporary murder mysteries at the cosy end of crime fiction.

How many published books do you have?

Five in total – four in the Kent Fisher mystery series and a collection of humorous blogs, entitled Fisher’s Fables, a fictionalised account of my experiences as an environmental health manager. Most of the characters in the blog went on to populate the mystery series.

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

I suspect I’ve always been a writer. My father taught me to read at a young age and I immersed myself in fiction as a child. I won a national short story competition at the age of 12, but it was To Kill a Mockingbird that inspired me to become an author at the age of 16. It was the first time I realised that writing could change lives and opinions.

From those enthusiastic beginnings many years ago, it’s been a long and challenging journey to published author. Though the belief may have wavered a few times, the desire never faded.

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

It has to be a West Highland white terrier. They may be small, but they’re spirited, determined and not afraid to go their own way, like my dog Harvey.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

I have a small office, which allows me to treat writing as a job, which means I don’t work weekends. Notebooks – currently fourteen – dominate my desk. I scribble notes all the time so I don’t forget anything. This means my desk has become a constant source of inspiration.

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?

It was kind of a dream come true when I contacted my favourite author, Sue Grafton, on Facebook Messenger, never expecting her to reply. But she did and we conversed for several months, discussing many aspects of writing and her Alphabet murder series, featuring Kinsey Millhone.

I should add at this point that Kinsey Millhone is the inspiration behind the Kent Fisher murder mystery series.

I asked her all the usual questions about where she got her ideas from, how did she avoid duplication after 25 books, but it’s the question she posed that provided a fascinating insight into her writing.

“Have you faced writer’s block yet?” That’s suffering in its truest sense.

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

That’s a challenging question for someone who looks out rather than in.

I don’t know if this makes sense, but I’ve learned how to succeed as an author by being me instead of trying to be a writer.

It took me a long, long time to get a novel published. For decades I thought there was some magic formula to being a successful author – a formula I didn’t have. I read books on writing, spoke to authors, analysed novels, searching for those elusive elements that would get me published.

Then I was forced to give up writing for about a year when I quit smoking. I couldn’t write without having a cigarette on the go, you see. Then, somewhat ironically, I did an interview for a local radio station on the public ban on smoking that was being introduced in the UK. I was the environmental health officer tasked with introducing the ban in my area.

More for fun than anything else, I wrote a blog, basing the first post on that radio interview. Rather than put it out in my name, I fictionalised the blog and let my creation, Kent Fisher, write it. Fisher’s Fables ran for about seven years before I realised I’d found my author voice.

This was me, writing a humorous blog that lots of people read and enjoyed. I then took the first Kent Fisher novel and rewrote it in this new voice. It was accepted by a small independent publisher in the US and my career as an author started.

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

No contest – Scooby Doo. He’s the cutest, funniest dog ever, and makes the most amazing snacks. He solves mysteries, and he makes me laugh and feel good. That’s what I try to bring to my novels.

When we were on holiday in Florida, we visited Universal Studios, where Shaggy and Scooby were posing for photographs with children. I asked if I could have my photo taken with them, much to the embarrassment of my wife. For me, it remains one of my treasured moments.

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

I think it’s tempting to believe in fate, especially when things don’t go the way you want them to. It takes away responsibility, handing it to some unknown entity with the power to decide how your life will be.

None of this stopped me visiting a medium many years ago. I went to her house, rang the bell, and waited, not sure what to expect. This lovely, warm and uplifting woman answered the door, looked at me and asked me why I was worrying about a particular issue.

I hadn’t told anyone about this issue, so how did she know? Did she have a divine power, a channel to the other side? Or was she simply a mind reader? Whatever the answer, she was so accurate in what she told me, so detailed about events and issues, it was like she had access to my inner secrets and personality.

She told me I was meant to visit her, to seek her help. Who am I to argue?

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

My sense of humour and the irreverent way I look at the world have never deserted me, helping me to stay positive (most of the time) and entertain readers. Murder is a serious business, so it’s good to lighten it a little.

Determination, or stubbornness as my wife calls it, has kept me going when I could have given up. When it was easier to give up, I kept going, writing and rewriting, submitting and resubmitting.

Tell us about your most recent book.

No More Lies is the fourth Kent Fisher mystery.

Kent Fisher gets more than he bargained for when Detective Inspector Ashley Goodman enlists his help with a ten year old murder. She’s on a mission and needs a big case to put her career back on track.

And they don’t come much bigger than Miles Birchill, Downland’s wealthiest and most divisive resident.

Not for the first time, Kent has doubts about the case, forcing him to make choices. But who do you trust when everyone has something to hide?

Caught in the middle, he has no alternative but to solve the murder, unaware that his every move is being watched.

The Kent Fisher novels offer a fresh and contemporary reworking of the classic whodunit and murder mysteries of authors like Agatha Christie.

I find your path to becoming a published author deeply inspiring Robert. I am moved by how you rolled with life experiences in such a way that they blossomed into your author’s voice. Thanks much for being a part of MTA! – Camilla  

Where to find the book:

Connect with Robert:

Website – https://robertcrouch.co.uk
Amazon Author Page – https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B01HFPCYOM
Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/robertcrouchauthor
Twitter – https://twitter.com/robertcrouchuk

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To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla, Founder and Host