Meet the Author: The Reach of Shadows by Tony J. Forder

Today we welcome Tony J. Forder as we travel to Peterborough, UK and we learn how a slug, a guitar, patience, and a taxidermist  are all clues that come together to form Tony’s full time writer life. Grab your guitar and let’s get comfortably numb ….

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am married, live in Peterborough, UK, where my main series character DI Jimmy Bliss works and lives. I now write full time.

In which genre do you write?

Crime/Mystery/Action-Adventure Thrillers

How many published books do you have?

Seven to date – with number eight due in September. Four of the seven form the DI Bliss series, there are two from another series, and one stand-alone.

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

When I was ten or so I read The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner. Although I had no idea at the time – because I’d never read Lord of the Rings – I guess it could be described as a fat free version of Tolkien’s masterpiece. A sort of LoTR-Lite, if you will. This journey into another world within my own made me realise that you could write about anything, and all it required was imagination.

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

I’d love my spirit animal to be an eagle or a bear, possibly even a penguin, but you don’t get to choose them – they choose you – and I strongly suspect mine would end up being a slug.

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

Play music – I play guitar. Listen to music. Go for the occasional walk. I like a nice pint, enjoy some sports and like a TV show binge watch – especially Bosch. Somehow, though, I’m always writing, if only inside my head.

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 love to have a chat with James Herbert. He and I grew up in pretty much the same area of London, had similar interests – like me he played music and was a decent artist. I’d like to ask him when he realised that someone from our kind of background could become a writer, because I think it took me far too long to take my writing seriously.

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

That I am more patient than I could ever have imagined. I take a great deal of time with my characters and research, even though most of what you learn never reaches the page. My impatience is one of my worst traits, but even though I still don’t have enough of it to be a genuine plotter, there’s enough to allow me to do the things I need to do.

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

I had to spend two hours on the phone with a taxidermist explaining to me how one might perform taxidermy on a human. His excitement over the subject increased so much I started to worry that he was going to hunt down a subject to practice on. It was fascinating hearing him expand his thought process to include the human form.

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’d love to say it was something like Eye of the Tiger by Survivor, Don’t Stop Believing by Journey, Search for a Hero by M People, or Lifted by the Lighthouse Family, but in reality it would probably be something more like Comfortably Numb, by Pink Floyd.

What do you miss about being a kid?

The lack of inhibition, the lack of fear, the absolute wonder with which I approached life, having just enough knowledge that I could enjoy what life has to offer, but not so much that it becomes a burden, the sense of adventure, and Spangles.

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

Roadrunner and Wile E Coyote. I love the thought of having anvils from Acme dropped on my head (I actually referred to this in my book Cold Winter Sun), falling off cliffs, being blown up by Acme dynamite, and running into fake tunnels only to confront real trains, and surviving it to do it all again the next day.

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 be DS Penny Chandler, because I would love to know what she really thinks of her boss, DI Bliss.

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

Sadly, it was John Wick 2 – on the advice of others whose opinions I will discount in the future.

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

He is there to canvas support for a brand new Lantern Fish-based Mexican cuisine restaurant opening up in the area, and is looking for my views on the subject and whether I’d be interested in a takeaway service.

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

Probably my ability to bounce back – there are many difficulties to overcome in life, but writing tends to throw up a whole new set of them and you have to pick yourself up sometimes and move forward.

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

The Pure Land Meditation Centre and Japanese Garden is just about the most relaxing and beautiful place I’ve been to here in England. It’s a privately-owned house in Lincolnshire, whose owner has developed a stunning Zen garden which you never want to leave. That and Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea Football Club.

Tell us about your most recent book.

My current book is The Reach of Shadows and is book #4 in my DI Bliss series.

The Reach of Shadows

Recovering from injuries sustained in a road collision, DI Bliss is taken directly from hospital to a fresh crime scene and ordered to investigate the vicious stabbing and murder of Jade Coleman.

When Bliss realises the victim had reported being stalked, and that two of his own team members had been drafted in to take her statement, he is then given the unenviable task of interviewing both of his detectives.

Increasingly it appears that the stalker may be their killer. However, several other people soon become part of the team’s suspect list.

Bliss also finds himself being questioned about his own past, and has to battle to defend himself whilst continuing to investigate the vicious murder.

Soon more questions arise.

Why would anybody target the victim, Jade Coleman?

Why are the team unable to identify her close female friend?

And why did Jade recently leave her job without any explanation?

With his work cut out, and his team under tremendous pressure, can Bliss solve the case before more victims show up? Or will the shadows of his own past reach out to drag him under before he can succeed?

Thanks Tony for stopping by Meeting the Authors. It was great to learn more about your writer’s life! –Camilla

Where can we find it?

It can be ordered from all online retailers, and can also be found in many branches of Waterstones. Book #5, The Death of Justice will be released in September. Thank you!

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2LD1NdI

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2JsG9Xa

More About Tony and Where to Connect:

Tony J Forder is the author of the critically acclaimed, international best-selling crime thriller series featuring detectives Jimmy Bliss and Penny Chandler. The first three books, Bad to the Bone, The Scent of Guilt, and If Fear Wins, are now joined by The Reach of Shadows, published in January 2019. The fifth book in the series, The Death of Justice, has now been commissioned and will be published on 9 September.

Tony’s dark, psychological crime thriller, Degrees of Darkness, featuring ex-detective Frank Rogers, was also published by Bloodhound Books. This is a stand-alone serial-killer novel. Another book that was written as a stand-alone was Scream Blue Murder. This was published in November 2017, and received praise from many, including fellow authors Mason Cross, Matt Hilton and Anita Waller. Before it had even been published, Tony had decided to write a sequel, and Cold Winter Sun was published in November 2018.

Tony lives with his wife in Peterborough, UK, and is now a full-time author. He is currently editing a new novel, and has also started on Bliss #6.

Website: https://www.tonyjforder.com/

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

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

Amazon Author: https://www.amazon.co.uk/l/B01N4BPT65

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16166122.Tony_J_Forder

Bloodhound Books: http://www.bloodhoundbooks.com/tony-forder

Tony can also be found on Instagram

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: Turning Japanese by Mark Arnold

Today we welcome Mark Arnold as we travel to the London area and learn how making music, Don Quixote, a bunny, and David Bowie come together to nourish the neurons of Mark’s writing life. Grab your humor, secure your sanity, and let’s go ….

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a full-time writer who lives just outside London, having paid my dues as a software engineer for more years than I care to recall. I try to keep a healthy vein of humour running through my writing – without, hopefully, it ever being too overt. Flat-out jokes are a no-no. I have two new novels in the pipeline, as well as two books already published (of which more below).

In which genre do you write?

I’ve never felt that working in a single genre would be enough to nourish my neurons so to speak, so have tried to avoid the typical touchstones that genre writing demands. Of course publishers are desperate to crowbar writers into one or other for marketing purposes – and it concerns me that they lack the imagination to market in another way.

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

I make music that nobody listens to (which is worryingly similar to writing books that nobody reads) under the name Lovedust.

How many published books do you have?

Two: Turning Japanese, a literary comedy/adventure. And Tales Of The Forgotten, a collection of dark and humorous short stories, including some prize-winning ones.

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

Reading Don Quixote helped a lot – realizing that a 500-year-old book could make me laugh out loud was a revelation. I still marvel at the wonderful, crazy sentences Cervantes cooked up. He was clearly pleasantly nutty, not unlike his main character.

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

It would be a rabbit – well, more honestly a bunny. Still I try not to let my fluffy side stand out in my writing, as the result would be twee and sickly sweet! Good writing walks a thin line between brutal honestly and pathos/humanity.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

It’s compact, simple and not overly adorned. The phone does not ring – and the skateboarder who passes down my road daily sounding like a jumbo jet (I genuinely often think a plane is landing!) is eradicated by earplugs.

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 would be David Bowie and I’d ask him if he’d like to work on an album with me. (Aim high, I say.) I was very upset when he died and it still saddens me to think of.

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?

‘Eye of the Tiger’, whilst beating my chest – that’s a joke, lest there be any doubt! More likely ‘Julie With …’ by Brian Eno. It’s very ‘floaty’, like a boat bobbing on a deep sea (which is what it’s about).

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

It would be trippy, with whirling pastel colours, like a dream I once had where I was flying over a weird and wonderful multicoloured cartoon world with spinning Tony Blairs (stylized like Andy Warhol portraits). Seriously, I’d like to go back there. It was truly psychedelic.

Tell us about your most recent book.

My latest novel is a modern-day Don Quixote, entitled Turning Japanese:

A nervous breakdown and the madness that ensues leads our hero on a crazed escapade in the Land of the Rising Sun. Convinced he’s possessed by the spirit of an ancient samurai warrior, he makes it his mission to rescue a remote Japanese village in peril – only to find himself embroiled in a conflict between Yakuza gangsters and a former POW bent on revenge for wartime atrocities.

Thanks Mark for joining us on Meeting the Authors! It was incredibly interesting to learn about the pieces that come together for your writer’s life. –Camilla

Where to find the books and connect with Mark:

Along with my short story collection, Tales Of The Forgotten, it’s available on Amazon –

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/30hW6pH

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

or visit Mark’s website:  http://www.verito.co.uk/markarnold.html

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 Authors: The Girl in the Baker’s Van by Richard Savin

Today we welcome Richard Savin to Meeting the Authors as we travel to a village in the South of France and the seaside in the South of England. We’ll see how journalism, strong women, Bugs Bunny, and bears align to create the landmarks of Richard’s journey up to this moment in time. Slip on your driving gloves and let’s go …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I started my working career in the City of London, training to be an underwriter; for me it turned out to be the world’s most tedious job. It was a compromise and after three years I quit.

From there I moved into journalism, my real love. Virtually the only channel available to most writers at the time was freelancing and so, as I was then involved in motorsport as an enthusiast club racing driver, naturally cut my teeth on articles for magazines like Autocar and Motorsport. From that stepping stone I landed a job as an agency journalist, working in the Middle East and Asia for a number of years before ending up as features editor on an education tabloid in Surrey.

In the 1980s I took a break from writing and threw myself into another of my passions: I opened and cheffed my first London restaurant, finally ending up with three.

I live with my wife in the South of France, where we have a house in a village midway between the cities of Narbonne and Carcassonne, and in the South of England where we have a seaside apartment. We commute as the fancy and commitments take us, driving the thousand miles between the two. Driving has always ranked among the great pleasures in life so we rarely do the journey by air.

In which genre do you write?

I write across genres but with a tendency towards recent historical mysteries. In particular I find the thirties and forties an interesting period for the world. Two world wars were shaping social thinking and women were beginning to emerge as an independent force; slowly but it was there. I watched my sisters kick over the boundaries of convention, and as such I write strong, competent women into my plots.

How many published books do you have?

Four with two more scheduled for later this year. My first (non-fiction) was published in 1980 by Canongate: it was autobiographical and recorded my time in Iran during the opening period of the Islamic revolution. It is now out of print but still extensively available in university and public libraries around the world. The other three are all novels and written since 2015.

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

Curiously as a child I used to fret over who would write the books after the grownups had died. I was at college when I first started to write. Things like short pieces for the college magazine. Occasionally these were controversial and I was not popular with my tutors. I had made up my mind that I wanted to be a journalist by the age of 17. I started out freelancing then later moved on to become an agency hack.

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

Not sure I have one.

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

No contest – a brown bear. Bears have such a sense of humour, especially when drunk. It’s not widely known but bears can get quite squiffy in the Autumn when fallen fruit begins to ferment into alcohol on the ground. I always include a reference to a bear somewhere in my novels. If it was good enough for Shakespeare then its good enough for me.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

A table, chair and a laptop.

What are you currently reading?

I’ve recently finished Sebastian Faulks’ ‘Where my heart used to beat.’

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

Cook, drive long distances and go for walks.

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?

The US Secretary of State for War who wrote to Orville Wright telling him he could see no future either militarily or commercially for his new invention: the aeroplane. I’d like to ask him what he was smoking when he came up with that one!

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

That I can actually get the job done.

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

Not any longer; I did in my earlier life and it was certainly useful when writing the Iranian book.

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

Being alive.

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?

Nothing, I’m a natural blabbermouth.

What do you miss about being a kid?

I’ll let you know when I grow up.

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

Bugs Bunny – I’ve always wanted to be able to say ‘what’s up doc’.

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

Red Joan – I like Judy Dench as an actor.

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

You need treatment’; I’m hallucinating.

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

No, everything is random.

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

What the hell are you doing here, I don’t have a pet, maybe I need help.

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

Anywhere by the sea – I’m attracted to water.

Tell us about your most recent book.

The Girl in the Baker’s Van: set in France in 1941, Evangeline Pfeiffer is on the run; her brother has been arrested by the Gestapo and now they want her. Taking the van from the bakery where she works in Alsace, she heads south for the Pyrenees and escapes into Spain. In Lyon she meets Grainger an SOE agent and asks him to help her get over the mountains. Grainger is reluctant; he has his own mission. Evangeline will have persuade him…

Thanks for joining us on Meeting the Authors Richard. It was incredibly interesting visiting a few of the landmarks along your journey! –Camilla

Where to Buy:

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

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2xhSvM3

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 Authors: How to Manage Your Manager: All the Credit, Half the Work by Milo Denison

Today we welcome Milo Denison to Meeting the Authors as we travel to Dublin, Ireland by way of Seattle, Washington. We’ll learn how career changes, an old typewriter, Ernest Hemingway, and a wolf play a role in Milo’s background and writer’s life. Grab your travel gear and let’s go …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

To keep it short, I’ve worked in technology, photography, customer service, coffee, and numerous other jobs. I tend to say, I’m good at everything but not great at anything. however, the career changes have given me something to use in my writing.

I am originally from Seattle, WA but currently live in Dublin, Ireland.

In which genre do you write?

Mostly non-fiction.

How many published books do you have?

Two

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

As a child. I used to sit down at my grandmother’s old typewriter and write out stories. I would also write plays and have the neighbor kids act in them.

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

I don’t think I have one. I have my writing system but it is not quirky in any way.

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

A wolf. Even though they are pack animals, I feel drawn to the lone wolf lifestyle. And they are cute and fluffy, and it makes me want to hug them. Except for the whole part where, if I did, one would bite my face off.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

Depends on my writing mood. I have an office I usually write in. It is very clean and organized. No pictures and stuff. I can’t work in a disorganized or not clean workspace.

Sometimes, however, I will write from a coffee shop. I find that tuning out the people around me with a cup of tea or latte, a good way to write as well.

What are you currently reading?

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull

Fascinating book. Coming from many years in the business industry it makes me envious of the people who work or worked for Pixar.

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

I’m a photographer. I shoot families, headshots, stuff like that. I also act a little so you might find me in a short film showing up at an occasional film festival.

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?

Jack Kerouac. I wouldn’t ask him anything, and we wouldn’t be drinking tea or coffee. I would just love to hang out in a quiet pub or bar, have a drink, and converse with him on all things.

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

That I have terrible grammar. Personally when I’m writing everything looks great, then when letting people read what I just wrote, or stepping away and going back to it, I see all the errors I make.

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’ll use music a lot. If I’m writing about something that happened I’ll play music relevant to the era or the situation. If not, I’ll play something that gets me into the right mindset. For example, today I was writing a story about a situation that happened to me 15 years ago, and I was playing the music that I would have been listening to at the time.

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

I journal but I’m very inconstant about it. I generally only journal when I’m feeling down about something. Or when I can’t think of anything to write about, I’ll journal to keep the brain juices flowing.

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

I don’t know if I have one specific. I have quite a few things that have happened that I’ve really enjoyed. Usually, these are around travel and the places I’ve been and people I’ve met. Zimbabwe and the animals for example. Or, the time I went to a Thai masseuse and thought I was supposed to strip naked but found out I was supposed to leave my shorts on when the girl came in and looked shocked.

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?

The tradition I picked up when doing theatre that I still do is I like to get to a venue well in advance before anyone arrives. Then just spend a few minutes on stage and just silently absorb the space.

What do you miss about being a kid?

Fun.

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

GI Joe probably. It was super fun, action, and adventure. Although, Allura from Voltron was a hottie. So maybe Voltron.

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

This might be a cliché answer, but probably Earnest Hemingway. He lived such as fascinating life that to bring him into one of my stories would be fun.

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

Avengers Endgame. Because everyone else is watching it and felt I needed to be in the loop.

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

He is probably there to offer some type of hallucinogenic that we would take before going on some adventure together.

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

No. If they did I would be super pissed right now.

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

My desire to see the world. I’ve met some amazing people as I have moved around, seen some amazing places, and had experiences I never would have had if I didn’t have a desire for travel.

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

Since I’m originally from the US, I’m going to say, New Orleans. Great history, fantastic music, and wonderful food.

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

Probably for a hike in the Cascades.

Tell us about your most recent book.

“How to Manage Your Manager: All the Credit, Half the Work”

A satirical look at being successful in a corporate environment told from the point of view of one who has done it.

Thanks Milo for stopping by Meeting the Authors. It was great having you here! –Camilla

Where to Buy:

Milo Dennison’s Website:  https://www.milodenison.com/

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2J3ghCh

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

Connect with Milo:

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

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

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: The Truth Waits by Susanna Beard

Today we are joined by Susanna Beard as we travel to Marlow in the UK where we learn how dogs, swimming, Margaret Atwood, and falling down a crevasse fit together in Susanna’s life. Grab your swimsuit and let’s go …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hello! I’m Susanna Beard, and I live and work in Marlow, a beautiful town on the river Thames, not far from London, UK. I have a background in PR and marketing and started writing fiction around five years ago – I’m now writing almost full time. I have two little dogs, who get me up and out in the morning and keep me company while I’m slogging away and two grown-up sons, one in London and one nearby in Henley-on-Thames. I love tennis, skiing, my family, my dogs and my garden. I once fell down a crevasse!

In which genre do you write?

I write psychological thrillers.

How many published books do you have?

To date I have two published: Dare to Remember (2017) and The Truth Waits (2018). There are two more in the offing! (Watch my space)

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

When I was seventeen, I told my father I wanted to write a novel. He said: “You can’t write a novel – it’s far too hard. You have to do tons of research, and it’s much more difficult than you think.” I wasn’t hurt, because I know he had great respect for novelists; he just thought people like us didn’t do that. But it stayed in my head, and throughout a successful career in PR, I always knew that one day I’d give it a go. I suppose I don’t like being told I can’t do something!

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

I swim regularly for fitness, and as long as I can get a lane on my own and get into a rhythm, I work out my plot issues as I plough up and down. I don’t know if that’s a quirk, but it works for me!

What does your ideal writing space look like?

It looks like where I’m sitting now – my office! It has loads of natural light, white walls, pictures of my boys, books and magazines, and two little dogs snoozing in their beds. My desktop is at exactly the right height, I have a proper back-supporting chair, a cup of tea always on the go and in the winter it’s warm as it’s right next to the airing cupboard.

I sometimes crave a beautiful view, like the sea, or a wonderful wild countryside scene, but then I think I’ll just sit and look at it and not get on with the writing. Though last summer, when the weather was beautiful for days on end, I took everything into the garden and wrote and wrote. Being outside (in good weather) is the best!

What are you currently reading?

I’m reading Days Without End by Sebastian Barry. Brilliant.

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

I walk my dogs, twice a day, by the river or on the common, or anywhere in the countryside. I swim, play tennis, socialise and have as many holidays as I can possibly afford! Oh, and I read lots of other people’s books, usually ones that are much better than mine, because they give me something to aspire to.

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 would have to be Margaret Atwood. I think she’s fascinating, and she has a lovely sense of humour. I’d love to hear what she thinks about what’s going on in the world today, and where she thinks it might take us. I think she’s very prescient.

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

I’ve learned that I can actually stand up in front of people and talk confidently – something I would have run miles from before I wrote my first book. I actually like it now! I would never, ever, have thought I would.

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

This weekend I’m going to an event called Crime Scene Live at the Natural History Museum. You become a detective for the night and work with actual forensic scientists to solve a murder mystery! I’m so nervous, and so looking forward to it! (I’m taking my son, who’s cleverer than me, and will undoubtedly show up my agedness). I’m hoping to get inspiration and some practical understanding too!

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

No – I do neither. I had a diary at school but was hopeless at putting interesting things into it (it was a good record of the weather in certain years though). I’m much better at writing novels!

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

Apart from falling down a crevasse? I went to Australia and swam with whale sharks (they’re humungous, bigger than my sitting room and the biggest fish in the world), and also with manta rays and wild dolphins. It was the most fantastic experience; I’ll never forget it.

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 listen to Moondance by Van Morrison. It always lifts my heart, and makes me dance around the kitchen.

What do you miss about being a kid?

Not much – I’m just a big kid myself!

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

Ooh Tom and Jerry – all that dashing about and finding ingenious ways to confound Tom.

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

I saw The Favourite with one of my favourite actors, Olivia Colman. I thought it was brilliant, and I loved her portrayal of the mercurial Queen Anne.

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

“Hola conchita! Would you like a fajita?” (He’s going door-to-door selling Mexican food).

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

What IS it about fox poo that you find attractive?

Why oh why do you scratch holes in my carpets?

Why do you have to roll in the dirtiest, smelliest places you can find?

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

Determination, without a doubt. I think there are many wonderful writers, better than me, who are deterred by the many unexpected challenges of writing and publishing. You need resilience and determination in spades.

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

Cornwall (a western county in the UK) – it’s so full of wonderful things: The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Fowey, St Ives, Pastow, Tintagel, Roseland, Philleigh, I could go on! (Don’t go in high summer though, go in spring or autumn when it’s quieter).

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

I would go and sit somewhere (safe) on an African reserve, in the shade by a waterhole a couple of hours before sunset, and watch as the animals come and go. It would be warm and sunny, with a light breeze, and I would have a hat, plenty of water, binoculars, mosquito spray, and a comfortable seat on a Land Rover (to make a quick escape if necessary). I would hope to see all sorts: lions, giraffes, hippos, warthogs, jackals…and…and…

Tell us about your most recent book.

The Truth Waits is a psychological thriller partly set in Lithuania. It follows Anna, a successful businesswoman who finds the body of a young girl on a deserted beach in Lithuania. She is compelled to uncover the story behind the tragedy, despite concern from her partner, Will. Everything points towards sex trafficking, but as she searches, her own deepest secrets start to surface.

Why Lithuania?

Because it has the most beautiful, unspoilt, mysterious beach on the Baltic coast (on the Kuronian Spit). It’s miles and miles of sand, swept into strange patterns by the wind, without cafes or bins or rubbish or people, with a dark, lowering sky and a horizon that goes on for ever. The perfect place to put a dead body!

Thanks Susan for joining us on Meeting the Authors. It was wonderful learning more about you. I’m a huge Van Morrison fan too! And, now I’m left wondering about this whole falling down a crevasse incident!! It seems as if it all turned out okay! –Camilla

Book Blurb:

Anna has everything worked out – a successful company, all the comforts she needs and no ties. But when she stumbles across the body of a young girl on a deserted beach in Lithuania, everything changes.

Anna is compelled to uncover the story behind the tragedy, despite concern from her partner, Will. Everything points towards sex trafficking, but as she searches, her own deepest secrets start to surface.

When Will disappears without a trace, Anna is pulled further into the murky world of organised crime. Time is running out for them all, and there’s a killer out there who will stop at nothing.

Where to buy:

The Truth Waits is in all good bookshops and on:

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2J0NnCH

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

Connect with Susanna:

Website: http://www.susannabeard.com

email: info@susannabeard.com

Twitter: @SusannaBeard25

FB: @susannabeardauthor

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: Eat, Pray, #FML by Gabrielle Stone

Today we welcome Gabrielle Stone as we travel to Los Angeles, California and we learn how a unicorn, romantic love, Dee Wallace, being a foodie, and Robin Williams all play a role in Gabrielle’s life and how this book came to be. Pack your travel bag and let’s go ….

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hi! I’m an actress/director born and raised in Los Angeles. I’ve always loved poetry and creative writing but I never considered myself a writer. That has changed considering I have a book out now. 2017 was an absolute tornado in my life and the only thing that got me through it all was writing it all down…in this book!

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

I didn’t really realize I wanted to be a writer. My circumstances that prompted me to write Eat, Pray, #FML more or less happened to me. A shocking divorce after finding out my husband was having an affair with a nineteen-year-old for six months. Falling madly in love with someone new, only to be broken up with forty-eight hours before we were getting on a plane to Italy. Everyone in my life kept saying “you can’t write this stuff,” so, I did.

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

I am a serious foodie. If I didn’t care about the shape my body was in, I would literally out eat most of the men in my life. I definitely didn’t hold back on my Europe trip (and paid for it when I got home). For the record, I regret nothing.

What is the most beautiful memory you have of something shared between you and your mother, Dee Wallace?

That’s a tough (but great) question. There are so very many. Were best friends. My mother has been the one constant in my life that has always shown up for me no matter what. So while we have a million light hearted and beautiful memories it’s the times where she had to help me pick up the broken pieces that truly matter the most.

For one, taking care of me when my father passed. I write about how strong she was at handling that whole situation in the book. When my high school sweetheart was killed in a car accident. My divorce. I don’t know how I would have ever made it through any of it without her.

What is the most inspiring advice your mother has shared with you to date?

-Again, THERE’S SO MUCH. If I had to pick one, it would probably be to not be a victim. If I hadn’t learned to not succumb to the victim-ness in situations I probably would have lost my mind a long time ago. It has shaped me into who I am and how I handle situations. This is the reason I am as strong as I am.

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

A unicorn. Cause I’m freaking magical.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

I wrote Eat, Pray, #FML in a leather bound journal on my Europe trip. There were days I wrote in cafes, on beautiful balconies, in the Gardens of Versailles, long train rides, incredible restaurants, and beautiful beaches. Because of this I would say that anywhere with rich culture and beauty is my ideal space. I think I definitely got spoiled in that sense 😉

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?

Robin Williams. What Dreams May Come is one of my all time favorite films. He had such a light about him that was inevitably taken over by the dark. He was one of the true geniuses of our time.

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

Writing this book quite literally uncovered every deep rooted belief I have carried with me since I was a child. My fear of abandonment, how I handle intimacy, not feeling okay by myself. I have never learned or healed more than I did while writing this book. It was like therapy for me.

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?

This entire book is a collection of strange and ridiculous experiences that happened over a few months in my life. A divorce, romantic love story, a last minute solo adventure, sex, mistakes, growing, traveling to seven different countries by myself, and learning how to love myself. Every single thing on this adventure lead me to something I needed to either heal or learn. I came back from that trip an entirely different human, in the best way possible.

What do you miss about being a kid?

LITERALLY EVERYTHING. The simplicity of life, mostly. Not having any inhibitions or fear of being judged for things. Being a kid is one of the most pure and innocent times in our lives. I was always in such a rush to grow up and get older. While there are things I love about being an adult and my current life, I definitely miss not having a care in the world. And being able to eat whatever I wanted.

At this stage in your life, what advice would your young self give to your more mature self?

Don’t let anyone dim your freaking light.

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

Ha! What a fun question. Probably Rugrats. I was obsessed. Or The Berenstain Bears. I had every book and VHS.

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

MY ENTIRE BOOK. From the moment I found out I would be taking this trip on my own, I knew it was all happening for a reason. I have always been scared to be by myself–the Universe delivered a clear way for me to go force myself to deal with that head on. Every single decision I made on that trip lead me to exactly where I needed to be. Every person that crossed my path crossed it for a reason. If I hadn’t have made certain decisions things would have ended up so differently, and I would not be where I am now.

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

Somewhere out of the country, by the water, on a sunny day with a light breeze. Preferably with lots of pasta and lots of wine.

Tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it.

Eat, Pray, #FML is available now exclusively on Amazon in paperback and ebook! I love hearing what people think, during and after the read, and love sharing it on my social media, so please tag me and the book so we can see and share!

Thank you Gabrielle for joining us on Meeting the Authors. It was wonderful to learn a bit about your background and the parts that come together for the role of your life.

I am a huge Dee Wallace fan. Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, the most memorable role for me of your mother, is the mom in the movie E.T. I loved that movie as a kid! It was not until about 7 years ago that I re-discovered Dee through a friend. I have been inspired and moved by her ever since through her newsletter and blog talk radio. And, her newsletter is how I heard about your book! Good stuff! –Camilla

Synopsis:

A year and a half into our marriage, I found out my husband had been having an affair with a nineteen-year-old for six months. I filed for divorce and left.

Two weeks later I met a man, and we fell madly in love. It was a fairy-tale romance for a month and a half, and he convinced me to join him on a romantic month-long vacation in Italy. Forty-eight hours before we were supposed to get on a plane, he told me he needed to go by himself. I was devastated. So, I had a decision to make. Either stay home and be heartbroken, or go travel Europe for a month by myself. And staying at home heartbroken? F%*k. That.

What does a woman do when her life has fallen apart and her heart has been ripped out and stepped on twice in two months? She goes on a wild adventure, makes some bad decisions, and does a sh*t load of soul searching. But most importantly? She finds out how to love…herself.

This is so not Eat, Pray, Love.
This is Eat, Pray, #FML.

Where to buy and connect with Gabrielle:

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

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2J1egXc

Website: http://www.EatPrayFML.com

Social Media:
@gabriellestone
@eatprayfml

Book Trailer:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8m2K2LJJPE&t=3s

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 Authors: Story of a Country Boy by Val Portelli

Today we welcome Val Portelli as we travel to London. No, wait, Kent. No, London … Well, you get the idea. While there, we learn how unicorns, a freak accident, Elvis Presley, and a hot air balloon come together to create the magic that is Val’s writing world. Slip into your quirkiness and let’s get going ….

Tell us a bit about yourself.

As well as having several books both traditionally and self-published, I’m a writer of short stories who gains inspiration from the most unlikely places, (which is author-speak for procrastinating on Facebook.) I act as referee between the characters currently living in files on my laptop, who demand their story be next, and the long-term residents of my 100,00-word book, who sulk because they have been neglected.

In between writing, I breed unicorns, (Twinkle insisted on coming along,) and we live in a very old house which has a London postcode, but comes under Kent, purely to confuse your pin map.

In which genre do you write?

I like to experiment so I’m gradually working my way through most of the fiction categories, especially with my short stories. Is there a genre called ‘Quirky?’

How many published books do you have?

Five and a bit. I have a short story included in an anthology, a book I co-wrote with another author, one which is being withdrawn as I’m in the course of republishing it, and three others which sort of makes six. Anyone got a calculator?

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

I had my first rejection letter aged nine when I naively submitted to a woman’s magazine. The editor took the time to send me a personal, hand-written encouraging letter, which with hindsight, was a lovely thing to do.

My authorish (a word my spell checker has been instructed to let me use) career really took off about seven years ago following a freak accident. Bed-bound and stir crazy I started writing seriously to ease the frustration, resulting in my first book being accepted for publication.

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

I tend to go to bed around 4.30 a.m. and find the peace and quiet of the early hours is a good time for writing. The only distraction is chatting on social media to the other side of the world who are just waking up. I turn back into a human around midday, but only after three or four coffees. Until then a grunt is my only vocabulary.

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

You’d probably guess ‘Unicorn,’ and you’d be right. Perhaps because we share an affinity in being both shy and confident. A second choice would be a tiger; my father talked about seeing them when he was in Burma, and passed on his love of them to me.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

A desk and comfortable chair on a veranda looking out to sea, with the background hush of waves undulating on the sand, warm sun, a gentle breeze and invisible minions auto-replenishing my every need. Sorry. I got carried away for a minute.

What are you currently reading?

I tend to read mostly Indie published books these days, including beta reading for fellow authors. The traditionally published one I’ve just finished had around sixty reviews, nearly all 5*, and nothing less than 4*. To me it scraped a 3* so it might be politic not to mention the title and author.

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

Write short stories. I love socialising but logistics make travelling difficult now, so I don’t get out as much as I’d like to.

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?

Elvis Presley. I’d ask him where was the key to lock him in with me, and leave the rest to your imagination.

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

That I’m actually quite good at it. Friends and family always said I was, but I’ve only just started to believe them. Marketing is another matter, but I knew that anyway from my earlier career.

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

I’ve kept a personal diary since I was very young. Some of the original entries were only a few words, ‘Went to school, raining, had math exam,’ but over the years they developed as I tried to make them more interesting. It was probably a good grounding for my books and stories, and I still keep one today. They are also useful for solving disagreements over which events happened at what time.

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

I was in a hot air balloon and listened carefully to all the safety instructions. Trying to take a picture of the sky I didn’t realise we were descending, and was standing with both hands on the camera when we literally came down to earth with a bump. Whoops.

What do you miss about being a kid?

I’ll tell you when I stop being one.

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

‘Delivery for you lady. One chocolate bar and a new hat as ordered. Sorry it’s a bit late; the traffic between the South Pole and Mexico was horrendous.’

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

I no longer have dogs, but I do have foxes visiting every day. I’d ask Chico if it was possible to bang on the dog flap a little more quietly at three in the morning when he’s demanding chicken.

I’d ask Rosie if Chico is faithful (I think he is.)

I’d ask them both if they could explain to the local supermarket that the fortune I spend on cheap chicken wings is actually for them, not me.

Chico and Raj 

Do you have any trailers for your books?

Pending republishing, ‘Changes,’ isn’t currently available, but this is the trailer.

Tell us about your most recent book.

At the moment, ‘Story of a County Boy’ is my latest release. Here’s the blurb:

The hard-hitting story of a naive young man’s journey as he escapes from a traditional, old-fashioned family life, and discovers the seedier side of London in the 1960s.

How much will he gamble to achieve his dream of becoming a major player in a very different environment?

With each re-telling, the legend evolves.

I made it 18+, not because of excessive sex or violence, but younger readers might find it hard to understand what was accepted as normal behaviour at that time.

Thank you Val for being a part of Meeting the Authors. It was loads of fun getting to know you and learning about your magical unicorn writer’s life. – Camilla

Where to Buy:

Amazon Kindle US: https://amzn.to/2YdqRf0

Amazon Paperback US: https://amzn.to/2X7sEpt

Amazon Kindle UK: https://amzn.to/2JhZRVx

Amazon Paperback UK: https://amzn.to/2RwV7Pd

I post a short story every week on my Facebook author page which you can read here:

www.facebook.com/Voinks.writer.author

My blog is mainly short stories with occasional news, chat and writing related posts:

www.voinks.wordpress.com

The publishing company web site is a showcase for the works of myself and other Indie authors, (as you can see these Unicorns get everywhere.) 😀

www.quirkyunicornbooks.wordpress.com

All my books are listed on my Amazon author pages:

www.amazon.com/Voinks/e/B01MVB8WNC

www.amazon.co.uk/Val-Portelli/e/B01MVB8WNC

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 Walk in Wildflower Park by Bella Osborne

Today we welcome Bella Osborne to Meeting the Authors as we travel to The Midlands, UK and learn how finding the humor in the darker moments of life, board games, biscuits, Scooby-Doo, and conversations in the toilet weave into Bella’s writer’s life. Grab the large bag of popcorn and get comfy ….

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I have been jotting down stories as far back as I can remember but decided that 2013 would be the year that I finished a full length novel. Since then I’ve written four best sellers and been shortlisted twice for the RNA Contemporary Romantic Novel of the Year Award.

I live in The Midlands, UK with my family who thankfully, accept me as I am (with mad morning hair and a penchant for skipping).

In which genre do you write?

I write romantic comedy with a bit of a punch. My stories are about friendship, love and coping with what life throws at you. I like to find the humour in the darker moments of life and weave these into my stories.

How many published books do you have?

A Walk in Wildflower Park was out on 27th June and it is my fifth novel.

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

Apart from feeling guilty that I’m not writing or marketing my books I can usually be found trying out new recipes to the dismay of my family, getting beaten at board games by my daughter or expanding my gin knowledge with friends and family.

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

I can get through an alarming amount of biscuits. I also learned that I loathe editing. I love writing the first draft when it’s all new and fresh and exciting but rereading my book for the tenth time makes me want to set fire to it.

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

I met Katie Fforde, bestselling romance author and president of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, in a toilet and during our conversation I proceeded to jump up and down with excitement as I told her that an editor had just asked to see my full manuscript. Thankfully it all ended well – the manuscript went on to be my debut novel and Katie didn’t take out a restraining order.

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

Scooby-Doo! I loved that programme. It had a great mix of fun and mystery and who didn’t want to be part of a cool gang that went around in a van?

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

It was ‘Isn’t It Romantic’ on Netflix and it was hilarious. I chose it because I’d heard good things about it and it was a different take on the classic romcom. As a writer of romantic comedies I see this as essential research not an opportunity to veg out on the sofa with a large bag of popcorn (although, obviously I did that too).

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

Why do you have to join me in the toilet?
Do you know that none of the other cats play fetch?
You know I don’t eat mice, right?

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

Planning. I am a huge planner and this comes in very handing for plotting my novels. I spend a lot of time getting to know my characters and working out the plot before I start to write. It also means I have a legitimate excuse for indulging my post-it note obsession.

Tell us about your most recent book.

It’s titled A Walk In Wildflower Park – a feel good summer read.

When Anna is dumped by her fiancé, she moves in to her own place on the edge of the gorgeous Wildflower Park and pledges to stay off men and focus on her career, but a handsome new colleague seems to thwart her attempts at every turn. And when she receives an accidental text from a mystery man, could it be the new start she needs? Or someone she really shouldn’t be falling for?

Anna’s neighbour Sophie is a stressed-out mum-of-two with a third on the way. Her husband is a constant frustration, and their children are a regular source of newly-invented swear words and unidentifiable sticky surfaces.

Luckily, Anna and Sophie have each other – and Wildflower Park proves to be a sanctuary as they map out a path to find the happiness they both deserve…

Thank you Bella for joining us on Meeting the Authors. It was great fun learning more about you and your writer’s life! – Camilla

Where to buy:

It’s available in paperback from Sainsburys and all good bookshops from 27th June 2019 and also online:

Amazon Kindle US – https://amzn.to/2J4d83F

Amazon Paperback US – https://amzn.to/2Nb1CJ8

Amazon Kindle UK – https://amzn.to/2ZFWPRd

Amazon Paperback UK – https://amzn.to/2J3mXis

KOBO – https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/a-walk-in-wildflower-park-wildflower-park-series

Connect with Bella Osborne:

Website – www.bellaosborne.com

Twitter – https://twitter.com/osborne_bella

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/BellaOsborneAuthor/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/bellaosborneauthor/

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: The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick

Today we welcome International Best Selling author, Phaedra Patrick, to Meeting the Authors. We travel to Saddleworth, in the North West of England and learn how stained glass, library shelves, aristocrats, Howard Hughes, and a local cricket pitch come together to form Phaedra’s curiously quirky writer’s life. Grab your library card and magnifying glass. Let’s go sleuthing …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hi. I’m an International bestselling writer who lives in Saddleworth, in the North West of England. It’s a pretty, very green area with lots of hills, but is only 12 miles away from the bright lights of Manchester. I firstly qualified as a stained glass artist before gaining my professional marketing qualifications and working in communications.

I enjoyed my first real writing success when I entered and won several short story competitions and my work is now published in twenty-two languages worldwide. I am the winner of the ‘Prix des Lectrices Milady 2017’ in France, and two of my books have been optioned as films in the USA.

In which genre do you write?

I like to call my work ‘curiously charming fiction.’ It’s commercial and feel-good, about everyday people and their life journeys. If you like heart-warming, quirky stories, you’ll probably like my books.

How many published books do you have?

The Library of Lost and Found is my third published book and I’m currently writing number four. My publisher in both the UK and US is HarperCollins.

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

I was around eight years old and I remember visiting my local library and thinking that, one day, I’d like to have a book on the shelves too. However, I didn’t think people like me became writers. I come from a town that’s one of the most deprived in the country, and I convinced myself that all authors were aristocrats. Because of these beliefs, I didn’t tell anyone about my ambition, and it wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I finally decided to give it a go. I wrote seven or eight novels, until one got picked up for publication, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper.

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

I’ll let you into a secret here, but when I’m stuck for words I walk around and around a local cricket pitch talking into my phone. It may make me look a little crazy, but it works. I also sit in a small shelter at a local bowling green when no-one is around. The fresh air helps to clear my mind and sets my ideas flowing again.

What are you currently reading?

I’ve just started to read The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell. I’ve always been interested in the business side of books, as well as writing them.

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

I’ve always been creative and originally studied art at college. I got so fed up of shopping for clothes in stores and finding them to be too big or small, that I’ve started to make my own dresses. I find cutting out the fabric to be therapeutic. I also paint, walk my dog and make sure I catch up with friends for lunch and chats.

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’ve always had a fascination with Howard Hughes. It’s a shame he’s probably best remembered for his mental health issues and shutting himself away from society for many years. In his time, he was an aviator, film director, inventor, pilot, and business magnate. I’m sure his illness could have been better diagnosed and helped today. I’d ask him about his life story and how his health issues affected him.

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

I was surprised to discover how tenacious I am. I’m kind of a quiet, gentle person, but when it comes to writing, I can be totally determined. I think it’s the main difference between people who write, and people who are published authors. It’s that continuous pushing forward through all the rejections.

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

One day at work, in my old job in marketing and communications, my friend and I heard that Will Smith was going to be attending a lunchtime premiere at a cinema in the city. Our boss wasn’t around that day, so we took a long lunch break and waited for him. Will’s limo pulled up and he headed straight over to us to shake our hands. It was years ago now, but I’m still excited by it.

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 usually have a chat to the hosts of the event, grab a glass of water or wine, nibble a biscuit and I’m good to go. I’m very low maintenance.

What do you miss about being a kid?

A world without social media. I find it to be both a blessing and a curse. When I’m trying to write, I hate how my hand is so tempted to reach for my phone, and I miss the simplicity of the days when you had to knock on people’s doors, or speak to them on the phone. On the plus side, writing can be very solitary, so social media provides a connection with the outside world. Being able to liaise with bloggers, readers and fellow writers across the globe is amazing.

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

I always had a soft spot for Scooby Doo! Daphne was so glamorous and we both have red hair, so she was a bit of a role model for me. I think a day spent solving mysteries with Scooby, Shaggy, Freddie and Thelma would be great fun.

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

I have a thirteen year old son, so it was Avengers Endgame. We worked out that we’ve actually seen all twenty-two of the Marvel movies. My favourite in the series is Iron Man. The script and story are brilliant, and Robert Downey Jnr eats up the screen.

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

I would ask my little terrier – Why on earth do you bark so much? What are you actually saying? Why do you wag your tail and bare your teeth at other dogs, at the same time? It’s very confusing.

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

Somewhere hot. I’m like a lizard that needs to soak up sunshine. I am only truly happy if I can wear sandals, so I would choose Croatia or Spain. I like the weather in the early evening, when it’s still hot but the sun is setting a little. An ice cold glass of white wine and a fine cheese board would be perfect.

Tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it.

The Library of Lost and Found tells the story of volunteer Librarian Martha Storm whose discovery of a mysterious book of fairy stories sparks the journey of a lifetime. It’s available as a paperback, ebook and audio in the UK, and can be found in Waterstones, other bookstores, Amazon, Kobo, Google Books and Apple Books.

Thank you Phaedra for stopping by Meeting the Authors. Quirky curiously charming fiction is right up my alley. Once I discovered you and your books about a month ago, I requested all three of your books from our local library.

I’ve just finished The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper and I thoroughly enjoyed Arthur’s journey. Just brilliant! Looking forward to reading The Library of Lost and Found! I’m so excited and thrilled that our paths crossed and I got the opportunity to interview you here. It was wonderful to uncover a few of the clues that lead to your curiously charming writer’s life! – Camilla

The Library of Lost and Found

A librarian’s discovery of a mysterious book sparks the journey of a lifetime. Librarian Martha Storm has always found it easier to connect with books than people―though not for lack of trying. She keeps careful lists of how to help others in her notebook. And yet, sometimes it feels like she’s invisible.

All of that changes when a book of fairy tales arrives on her doorstep. Inside, Martha finds a dedication written to her by her best friend―her grandmother Zelda―who died under mysterious circumstances years earlier. When Martha discovers a clue within the book that her grandmother may still be alive, she becomes determined to discover the truth. As she delves deeper into Zelda’s past, she unwittingly reveals a family secret that will change her life forever.

Filled with Phaedra Patrick’s signature charm and vivid characters, The Library of Lost and Found is a heart-warming reminder that even the quietest life has the potential to be extraordinary.

Learn more about Phaedra and her books: 

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

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Fg50Mz

AU Amazon: https://amzn.to/2WQ0vOG

Website: www.phaedra-patrick.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/phaedrapatrick

Facebook: www.facebook.com/phaedrapatrick

Instagram: www.instagram.com/phaedrapatrick

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 Single Woman by Maggie Christensen

Today we welcome Maggie Christensen to Meeting the Authors as we travel to Australia on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast and learn how teaching in the sun, a mortar board, ironing, and happily ever after come together to help Maggie create the heroines and heroes of her stories. Grab your iron and let’s go …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

After a career in education, I began writing contemporary women’s fiction portraying mature women facing life-changing situations. I write about mature heroines coming to terms with changes in their lives and the heroes worthy of them – heartwarming tales of second chances.

In my mid-twenties, I was lured from my native Glasgow to Australia by the call ‘Come and teach in the sun’ and a poster of a sexy man wearing swimmers, gown and mortar board. Once there, I worked as a primary school teacher, university lecturer and in educational management.

Now retired, I live with my husband of over thirty years on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. My days are spent surrounded by books, either reading or writing them – my idea of heaven!

In which genre do you write?

Mature Women’s Fiction – heartwarming stories of second chances.

How many published books do you have?

Eleven, one of which – A Brahminy Sunrise – is a novella. I write the sort of books I enjoy reading. My heroines are all in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s –women who have life experiences to draw on. They are real people – ones I hope my readers would like to become their friends.

Although all my books can be read as standalone, many of my characters reappear in other books, like old friends. My books are set in places with which I am familiar – Florence on the Oregon Coast, where my mother-in-law lived for many years, Scotland where I grew up, Sydney where I lived when I first came to Australia, and Queensland’s Sunshine coast where I live now.

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

I always wanted to write but became caught up in work – writing course materials, conference papers, reports and submissions. It was only when I was close to retirement that I made time for my true love – writing fiction.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

I share an office with my lovely husband who is also a writer – he writes non-fiction. Our desks face each other and I often ask his help when I’m searching for the right word. When I get stuck on a plot, I can often find answers by doing ironing – a task which I hate – or moving to write on my laptop in another part of the house.

What are you currently reading?

I’m making my way through Lucinda Riley’s Seven Sisters books. I discovered her through her latest book, The Butterfly Room and love her writing.

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

Read – I’m a voracious reader. And I enjoy walking along the beach with my husband or having coffee with him overlooking the ocean or the river. I also volunteer at our local library and select and deliver books to the housebound.

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

I’d love to meet three of my favourite authors who have inspired my writing – Liz Byrski, Joanna Trollope and Marcia Willett. I would ask them for any advice they have to offer.

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

Girl in a Café – I discovered the DVD in our library and saw it featured Bill Nighy who I like. It’s a great movie.

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

In my late thirties, I was teaching in a regional college of education which was being amalgamated with another some distance away. I did not want to move and was worried about losing my position so was madly trying to find a position in the city and buy a house there. It was when I did make the move that I met the man who became my husband. – my own Happy Ever After story.

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

Perseverance. Once I start something, I don’t give up.

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

Any place on the ocean. I love where I live close to several beautiful beaches.

Tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it.

A Single Woman – This is the third in my Scottish collection and while it can be read as a standalone, it is a sequel to Isobel’s Promise

“The thoughtful and touching story of the developing relationship between two rather damaged people.”

Thank you Maggie for joining us on Meeting the Authors. It was most lovely learning about the pieces of your life’s puzzle and how they fit together perfectly for you and your writer’s life. – Camilla

A Single Woman Book Blurb:

Isla Cameron, headmistress at an elite girl’s school in Glasgow, is determinedly single, adroitly avoiding all attempts at matchmaking by a close friend.

Widower Alasdair MacLeod is grieving for the wife he lost two years earlier, struggling as the single father of two teenagers, and frustrated by the well-meaning interference of his in-laws.

When a proposed school trip to France brings Isla and Alasdair together, they find a connection in the discovery that each is suffering the loss of a loved one, but neither is interested in forming a relationship.

As their friendship grows, Alasdair struggles with his increasing attraction to the elegant schoolmistress, while Isla harbours concerns about the complications a relationship with him would bring.

Can Alasdair overcome his natural reserve, and can Isla open her heart to love again?

Learn more about Maggie and her books:

Available on all digital platforms: books2read.com/ASingleWoman

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Rkpw3r

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

UA Amazon-Kindle: https://amzn.to/2FeMljW

Website: http://maggiechristensenauthor.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MaggieChriste33

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/maggiechriste33

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8120020.Maggie_Christensen

Amazon Author Page: https://amzn.to/2Lt8fkL

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