Meet the Author: Purr-fectly Home by Kimberly Palmucci

Today we welcome Kimberly Palmucci to Meeting the Authors as we travel to New England. We’ll talk about how pink glitter lipstick, ice hockey, shelter pets, being a freelance reporter, and Glacier National Park play a role in Kimberly’s life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I have been described as a walking oxymoron. You will find me at most of my book signings with bold pink glitter lipstick and a Venti Strawberry Acai from Starbucks, but I also play ice hockey and listen to heavy metal music. I play piano, but can’t read music. I was told in journalism school to always remain unbiased when covering a story for the news, but often found myself crying while conducting interviews on heart-breaking stories. I believe we are who we are and should never apologize for being ourselves.

In which genre do you write?

Picture story books and soon, narrative nonfiction!

How many published books do you have?

I currently have three books in the Purr-fectly series published and am working on my next project.

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

I have always been passionate about helping shelter pets, but truly committed myself to the cause when I adopted my cat, Meesta. He is funny, smart, loving, strong, and perfect in every way—and he has three legs. He was passed up in the shelter simply because he is different, and I was inspired to write my books to share a narrative of positivity about shelter pets and celebrate all the qualities that make us unique and amazing.

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

If you looked around my house at all the cat paraphernalia, cat T-shirts, cat jewelry accessories, and cat home décor, you’d assume I would answer “cat” to this question. But my answer, much to everyone’s surprise, is…cat. Quite shocking, I know. I absolutely love cats. They are feisty and independent, but so loving and affectionate (only when they choose to be). I love all animals, but there’s something about receiving love from a cat that is ultra-special—they could be anywhere else they want, doing anything else they want, and yet they choose to spend time with the ones they love. This is how I feel about myself; I’ve reached a point in my life where I feel wildly independent and free, with myself and my career, yet my favorite place to be is with my husband and family.

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

I am a freelance reporter in addition to being an author, so I spend a majority of my time writing.

When I’m not writing, though, you’ll find me visiting my parents’ shepherd mix puppies, shopping at my new favorite home décor store, reading my brother’s books (he is an author as well), or taking my daily walk down our extremely long dirt driveway through the woods to the mailbox.

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

Writing is cathartic for me. I write to express myself and connect readers to narratives of positivity. But the best part of this whole process for me has been when readers share their own stories, or tell me that my books inspired them in any way. I gravitated toward reporting and authorship for the same reason—because I believe we each have beautiful and unique stories to share, and it’s my job to share those stories. I tell all of my readers—you matter, your voice matters, and you can inspire others through your words.

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

Be you, girl. Your imperfections make you perfect. Don’t spend any time focusing on the negativity in this world; choose kindness and positivity, but be fierce and stand up for yourself when it matters. Be confident and bold in your decisions and love yourself completely. Try to read positive intent in situations; don’t apologize when it’s not necessary. When you find that peace within your own mind, you will begin to attract the kinds of people who constantly build you up and make you the best version of yourself. And leave your eyebrows alone.

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

1. Is there anything under the couch that I’ve lost?

2. Would you mind not standing on me at 4:00 a.m. aggressively meowing for food? Or is that non-negotiable?

3. Did it hurt when you fell from Heaven, my purr-fect angel kitties?

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

Most definitely my sense of humor. My mom thinks I’m the funniest person in the world and laughs at all my jokes. Thanks, mom, you’re the real hero.

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

Well, this may be avoiding the question completely, but I would choose a date with my husband, Dominick, any day over a solo date. Don’t get me wrong, I love my “me” time at home with the cats, self-reflecting, and binge watching re-runs of Law and Order: SVU, but I’d still choose him, every time. A perfect date would be: hiking a trail called Scenic Point at Glacier National Park in Montana on a beautiful, sunny day in late June. Temperatures are higher than average, a heat wave bringing a scorching day to the towns below us, but on top of the mountain that sits 7,500 feet above sea level, there’s a crisp breeze that calls for us to pull out the jackets we have stuffed in our bags. Ideal circumstances include just me and him sitting together, no one else around as far as the eye can see, eating snacks, him making me laugh as he always does, looking down at the world around us wondering how it’s possible to feel this free and this in love. He’s my breath of fresh air.

What are you currently working on?

I decided after the Purr-fectly series that I wanted to write something a bit different than picture story books. I absolutely love the lyrical way I am able to write with my picture books, but I have heard so many beautiful stories on my journey from others, specifically animal adoption stories. I am currently writing a narrative nonfiction book that shares a compilation of true and inspirational adoption stories.

Tell us about your most recent book.

My latest published work is Purr-fectly Home, which is the sequel to my first book, Purr-fectly Lucky, and the third book in the Purr-fectly series. The book follows Lucky years after he was adopted…and a new friend who comes into his life! I was inspired to write this story after we adopted our second three-legged cat, Princess. She was initially a shy, timid little girl who had a rough start, but she blossomed within a week into an outgoing, independent, loving member of our family. All she needed was a little love, and Meesta immediately fell in love with her, too. They became best friends almost instantaneously—he even took her on a tour of the house after they first met. I was so inspired by this bond that I had to write a sequel.

I truly loved this interview so very much. Anyone who knows me will understand why. Having a child with a disability, this topic is close to my heart and am deeply moved that Kimberly is raising awareness of differences in our pets. My son, Thomas, and I volunteer at The Nevada Humane Society (which is a no-kill shelter). His favorite section to be? The cats. Thank you Kimberly for being a part of MTA. Here’s wishing you much success! –Camilla

Blurb for Purr-fectly Home:

Lucky is purr-fectly happy with his family in a cozy house in the middle of the woods, but he doesn’t realize something is missing until a new friend comes into his life. Purr-fectly Home is inspired by the true story of Meesta and Princess, two three-legged cats who formed an immediate and inseparable bond. Their adventures together help each of them overcome fears and discover hidden strengths, and their journey proves that anything is possible with a new friend at your side.

Kimberly’s books can be found and purchased on her Amazon author page

Connect with Kimberly:

Instagram and Facebook @kimberlypalmucci

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Meet the Author: Finding Rose by Julie Ryan

Today we welcome Julie Ryan to Meeting the Authors. We’re headed to rural Gloucestershire to talk about what a degree in French Language and Literature, the Greek Isles, chocolate, the local amateur dramatic society, and Robin Hood mean to Julie.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My roots are in a small mining village in South Yorkshire, England. After a degree in French Language and Literature, wanderlust kicked in and I lived and worked in France, Poland, Thailand and Greece. My spirit enriched, my imagination fired, I started a series of mystery romances; thrillers set in the Greek Isles.

In which genre do you write?

I write the kind of books I enjoy reading. As I love thrillers, romance, mystery and historical novels my books don’t fit neatly into any genre. My first three books have been described as ‘ not quite thrillers, not quite chick-lit’ and my latest book is a historical novel told from a contemporary viewpoint.

How many published books do you have?

Three in the Greek Island Mystery series, a Christmas rom-com and a historical novel.

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

I’ve always loved cats ever since we got our first pet when I was 10. I adore the big cats too, although not as a pet obviously, so I’d choose a tiger or a leopard for their beauty and grace in the hope that some of that would rub off on me.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

The opposite of my current writing space. At the moment I’m writing this on the edge of the cluttered dining table as I have breakfast. In my dreams, I have my own room overlooking a garden or water and the room is tidy but I’m surrounded by all my books.

What are you currently reading?

Having read ‘Mythos’ by Stephen Fry, I’m just about to start his other book,’Heroes‘. I love anything about Greece, fiction or non-fiction and as this book has been on my TBR shelf for months, I’m really looking forward to it.

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

I belong to our local amateur dramatic society and when not reading or writing, you’re likely to find me treading the boards in panto! Oh yes, you are! Last year in Robin Hood I had a whale of a time playing the baddie Soothsayer.

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’d probably be so overawed my mind would go blank and I’d clam up.

What do you miss about being a kid?

Having my mum cook all my meals and do my washing. Adulting is pretty hard! Seriously though, life seemed much more carefree when I was a kid than it is for kids today.

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

Worry less, enjoy life more and take every opportunity.

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

Definitely. As a child, I always wanted to be a writer but as an adult, I’d only ever written a few short stories when I crossed paths with another author who moved into my very small village. She became my mentor, helped me navigate my way through self-publishing and when her job was done, she moved on. I’m convinced we were meant to meet and become friends.

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

I’ve just come back from the perfect solo date to an unspoilt part of Crete. There I would wake early without the aid of an alarm to take photos of the most beautiful sunrise from my balcony. Then I’d go back to bed for a couple of hours or read for a while. After a leisurely breakfast, I’d go for a stroll into town enjoying the views and the warm, sunny weather – just perfect in May or September. I’m not a beach person but sitting watching other people is great for plot ideas. With no one to disturb me, I could write to my heart’s content. I’d have dinner in a fish restaurant with a sea view before watching the sunset with a cocktail and counting my blessings.

What are you currently working on?

A new series set around a hotel in Greece.

Tell us about your most recent book.

‘Finding Rose’ tells the story of three estranged sisters who are brought together at their father’s hospital bed. There, they are forced to confront not only the prospect of a life without him but also the secrets of a past that have kept them apart.

Their father, drugged up on morphine, seems to be rambling but could he, in fact, be reliving previous lives as a Tudor monk and as a soldier on the Front in WW1? Struggling to speak he reveals that he has a secret and urges his daughters to ‘Find Rose’. Can the sisters put aside their differences to fulfill his last wish?

I enjoyed learning about your history and writing style Julie! Thanks for being a part of MTA! – Camilla

More About Julie Ryan:

A prolific and well-known book review blogger, Julie does her writing and reviewing from rural Gloucestershire, where she lives with her husband, son and rescue cat. She manages to write a book a year although without their help, she would probably write more quickly. She is a book addict and will soon need either a bigger house for her collection or a new husband!

When not writing or reading or eating chocolate, she can be found treading the boards in the local amateur dramatic society – Oh yes she can!

Where to find the book:

‘Finding Rose’ is available on Amazon as an ebook and a paperback.

UK Amazon

US Amazon

Connect with Julie Ryan:

Twitter @julieryan18
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/julieryanauthor
Blog https://www.allthingsbookie.blogspot.com
https://www.JulieRyanBooks.blogspot.com
http://www.julieryanwriter.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

Book Shelf: The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce

A parallel story to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. The story of the one he was on a pilgrimage to see. I truly enjoyed getting to know Queenie and her journey to forgiving herself and how she found solace in a garden by the sea. Caused me to wish I could visit this garden by the sea. In fact, live there myself. Deeply enjoyed this journey.

US Amazon

UK Amazon

 

Meet the Author: Devil in the Wind by Frank Prem

Today we welcome Frank Prem to Meet the Authors. We’re travelling to Beechworth, in the North East corner of Victoria, Australia to hear what storytelling, Psychiatric Nursing, playing the ukulele, photographs, and the Grampians mean to Frank.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I describe myself as a storytelling poet with a forty year apprenticeship behind me. That’s about how long I’ve been writing my poetry – mostly in an idiosyncratic free verse style, that is part poetry and part storytelling.

I live, together with my wife Leanne, in a pretty little town called Beechworth, in the North East corner of Victoria, Australia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beechworth). Beechworth attracts thousands of tourist visitors every year because of its gold mining and bushranging background during the mid to late 1800s. A bushranger is the Australian equivalent of an wild west outlaw, or a highwayman, and we had quite a few around this way, most notably Ned Kelly and the Kelly gang about whom much has been written.

By profession, I’m a Psychiatric Nurse, and have worked across a wide range of roles in Psychiatry though my working career. My next published poetry collection will be a personal memoir of my experience in Psychiatry, tentatively titled – The New Asylum.

In my early days as a poet, I sought out as many opportunities as I could to get my work published, and had a good number of successes, but I grew weary of having my work not accepted, without knowing the reason, so I largely stopped seeking publication, in favour of developing my own writing style and voice, until just three years ago beginning to post my work on a personal creative blog (https://www.frankprem.wordpress.com) and using that as both, an online archive for my work, and as a way of attracting readers to find and engage with my work.

In the six months since December 2018, I have published two collections in book and ebook form. These are:

1. Small Town Kid – a free verse memoir of growing up in a rural setting in Australia in the 1960s and 70s.

2. Devil In The Wind – a free verse poetic rendition of the voices of survivors and victims of the catastrophic Black Saturday bushfires we experienced in 2009.

In which genre do you write?

I write almost exclusively in my own free verse poetry form. I write using very little punctuation, and in quite short lines.

As I’ve gone along I’ve developed my approach so that my line breaks and stanza breaks serve as a form of punctuation – encouraging pause and nuance in the reading, and giving a cue for taking a breath.

I don’t often write a line longer than about 4 words in length, these days.

Regardless of genre, though, I believe every piece, long or short, needs to convey a sense of story – beginning, middle and end. This can be a challenge, at times.

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

I was always a good reader at school and was very engaged with the stories that I read. That interest extended to story writing in English classes at high school as I progressed through the grades.

There was an occasion where, out of sheer laziness, I believe, I decided to cut corners and several hundred words off my assignment by doing it in the form of a poem. Very quickly and very easily.

I was a little dumbstruck to receive a high grade for the work and I think that may have been all the encouragement I needed to set me on the trail of experimenting with poetry as a genre.

I attempted to self publish some of my work in book form quite a few years ago, but the technology wasn’t helpful and the costs were enormous, so nothing much came of the first attempt. Print On Demand technology makes a world of difference to an up and coming poet like myself, but is probably a whole different discussion in its own right.

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

For a few years now, I’ve been playing ukulele and singing in a community choir/ensemble, here in Beechworth.

It has always been a delight to me to sing, but until I started playing the uke, I rarely managed to sing in tune. The uke has changed that.

Last Spring we recorded ourselves in a couple of songs that were pasted on Facebook. Readers might enjoy a listen, so I’ll pop in a couple of links to the songs:

Dog and Mob (written by Leanne and myself): https://www.facebook.com/springsingbeechworth/videos/20339179721516/

Boris and Maria – a very short little love song: https://www.facebook.com/springsingbeechworth/videos/765584533788001/UzpfSTEwMDAyNTI1MTY3NTExMzpWSzoxMzkxOTQ3NDE3NjA2NTU1/?q=boris%20and%20maria&epa=SEARCH_BOX

What does your ideal writing space look like?

At the moment it is my dining room and dining table – very impromptu quarters, but I don’t really need all that much.

We’ve begun planning to build a sort of Men’s Shed outside the back door that will become my Writer’s Den, but that is still to happen. I’m looking forward to it because my needs are changing. As I become more ambitious in my writing endeavours, I think dedicated space will be helpful.

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

I’ve been surprised at something that has become something of a skill for me, which is allowing photographs and other pictorial images to inspire interesting poetry. There is what feels like a kind of empathy that I am able to apply to allow a story to emerge.

Sounds a bit mumbo jumbo, but perhaps I can illustrate with a small poem.

This one was taken from a series of photographs I took while walking through a collectibles barn. I later sat down and wrote the story that each picture suggested.

Voices #15: chill factor

people say
I am cold

my demeanor

my manner

cold

I hardly consider them
worthy
of my time

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 prepare by reading my material aloud several times in the lead up to a speaking engagement. On the occasion itself, I’m generally a little numb with performance anxiety. It always feels very important to me to present as knowing my material and also my limitations as a presenter, so the audience feels I’m within my range of competence at all times.

Where music is important to me is in the actual writing.

I find I write much better if I can find some music in my head – not a song as such, just music, as I believe that our language is musical and I need to be able to sing my way through the poem, in order to know that it will read well after I put my pen down.

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

I truly do believe things happen for a reason. I went through a long lifetime, doing the best I could – sometimes ok, sometimes not so good – but it was only after passing through a very low ebb that I met the lady who completes my life.

The whole of my life was spent, I now believe, preparing me to be the man I needed to be from that point on.

As an aside, we met at a poetry open mic session in Melbourne. I was reading my 3 poem set and she sang a song. Life is sweet, sometimes.

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

We have a quite wild part of our state named the Grampians (indigenous name – Gariwerd). Strange rock formations, wonderful wildlife and bush. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grampians_National_Park

This area is about a half days travel from where we live and we always find it to be a spiritually uplifting place.

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

My most recent collection is titled Devil In The Wind. This book is a free verse collection of poems that are my interpretation of the voices of survivors and victims of the catastrophic Black Saturday bushfires that took place here in Victoria in 2009.

I personally feel that the fires have left my whole State traumatised and that we haven’t psychologically recovered from the experience yet.

I enjoyed learning more about you, your life, and writing style. I also write poetry inspired by photographs, with a bit of twist from your style as mine are using the nature photographs I make. It’s wonderful to meet someone else who has a similar style. The Grampians sound like my kind of place to visit. I look forward to reading your poetry collections Frank! It was a pleasure having you be a part of MTA! –Camilla

Book Trailer:

I also have recently started a YouTube channel which I’ve begun to populate with a few videos of myself reading from Devil In The Wind.

The link to that is here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvfW2WowqY1euO-Cj76LDKg

Blurb for Devil In The Wind

Devil In The Wind is an account of catastrophic fire and its immediate aftermath.

In this 21st century, the whole world seems to be on fire. America burns. Europe burns. Greece is reeling after its own tragedy of fire.

And Australia burns, as it has always done, but now so much more fiercely.

In February 2009, wildfires burnt through entire communities, taking 173 lives and injuring hundreds, while destroying thousands of houses and other buildings. Up to 400 fires destroyed 450,000 hectares of forest, native fauna and habitat, livestock and farmland.

In the aftermath of the fires, the voices of people who had lived through the experience — victims, rescuers, and observers — were spoken and were heard.

Devil In The Wind is Frank Prem’s poetic anthology of the personal, and very human, accounts of those who themselves experienced and survived Black Saturday. Poetry writing that interacts directly with readers emotions.

The collection is available in paperback book form at all the good online retailers, and in e-book form through Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.

Devil In The Wind (ISBN 978-0-9751442-6-8):

Amazon (Available in all markets): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/097514426X/

Booktopia: https://www.booktopia.com.au/devil-in-the-wind-frank-prem/prod9780975144268.html

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Devil-Wind-Frank-Prem/9780975144268?

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1130932330?ean=9780975144268

Small Town Kid (ISBN 978-0-9751442-3-7):

Amazon (Available in all markets): https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07L6114KS

Booktopia: https://www.booktopia.com.au/small-town-kid-frank-prem/prod9780975144237.html

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Small-Town-Kid-Frank-Prem/9780975144237?

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/small-town-kid-frank-prem/1129995806?ean=9780975144237

Connect with Frank:

Author Page: https://FrankPrem.com

Poetry Blog: https://frankprem.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/frank_prem

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/frankprem2

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 – Founder and Host of Meeting the Authors …

Buy Me A Coffee

Meet the Author: Horseshoes & Hand Grenades by S.M. Stevens

Today we welcome S.M. Stevens to Meet the Authors. We’re headed to Massachusetts and New Hampshire to talk about how PR and Marketing, a run of “bad luck”, the #MeToo movement, the Boston zoo, the USS Constitution Museum, and the Jetsons play a role in S.M. Stevens life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a born and bred New Englander, from Maine originally and currently splitting my time between Massachusetts and New Hampshire. I have lived in Italy and in the U.K. (twice).

While I love reading all kinds of books, when it comes to writing, I want my stories to be thought-provoking but “accessible” reads. I don’t like it when I can’t figure out what the author intended to say. I’ve read V by Thomas Pynchon twice and still don’t get it…

When I’m not writing fiction, I provide PR and Marketing to solar energy companies.

How many published books do you have?

Five. Horseshoes and Hand Grenades (Women’s Fiction/New Adult) will be released by TouchPoint Press in Sept. 2019. I have self-published a Middle Grade novel for animal lovers, and three Young Adult novels for musical theatre lovers.

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

Writing was always the favorite part of my PR and marketing work, but a full-time job and two daughters made trying my hand at fiction unrealistic. Then, in 2009, I broke my pelvis in three places in a horseback riding fall, and was couch-ridden for three months. That injury was the catalyst for the first novel I published.

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

I had a run of “bad luck” a few years back. First, I broke my pelvis, as I said above. Almost a year to the day later, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. And less than a year after that, my car was rear-ended at high speed on the Massachusetts Turnpike.

But I chose to see myself as lucky. After all, I didn’t get a head injury during the fall from my horse. Surgery and chemotherapy cured my cancer. And I was not severely hurt in the car accident. Plus, it was something of a miracle that my car was pushed across three lanes of traffic without hitting any other vehicles!

What does your ideal writing space look like?

I feel quite fortunate that I can write almost anywhere, in any situation. I attribute that to my years as a business writer, when my train of thought was constantly interrupted by phone calls and people stopping in my office. I learned to write in five minute spurts, which came in handy when I was writing my first novels and watching children at the same time!

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

What was your first year of life as a street dog like?

Do you cry incessantly in the car because you’re on sensory overload, or because you’re hot, or for reasons even you can’t explain?

What are you thinking right now?

What are you currently reading?

Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham. Not sure how I feel about it yet; I’m about halfway through. But I found it on my bookshelf — I think I bought it during college — and decided it was time to actually read it!

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

The #MeToo movement, when it began in earnest in 2017. As I watched the news coverage of Harvey Weinstein etc., it hit me that society was asking the same questions of workplace sexual harassment victims that it asks of incest victims: Was it partly your fault? Why did you wait so long to speak up? And was it severe enough to really count? I hope that Horseshoes and Hand Grenades answers some of those questions.

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

“I know you’ve always wanted to see penguins in the wild. But you best hurry. It’s getting so warm at the South Pole that I need this hat to stay cool. Oh, and can you do something about climate change please?”

List 3 interesting facts about yourself.

1 – I worked at the zoo in Boston for several years. The highlight of that job was helping move gorillas from sub-par accommodations into a new, multi-acre, indoor/outdoor rainforest exhibit. It was very moving. That scene is actually in my new book.

2 – During a job at the USS Constitution Museum, I worked with National Geographic on a story about the first dry-docking of Old Ironsides in 20 years.

3 – I lived in Italy and commuted to my job in London for seven months so my two dogs wouldn’t have to be put in a kennel in the U.K.

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?

Toni Morrison. I would ask: Do you consciously reach for the poetic/musical language you use in your novels, or do your words just fall onto the page without conscious effort?

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

A tie: The Jetsons, because I loved their futuristic gadgets. Every time a new app or smart phone capability is introduced, I think we’re one step closer to living like the Jetsons. But I also loved The Bugaloos, because they were a band and had wings like fairies.

Tell us about your most recent book.

Horseshoes and Hand Grenades is, to my knowledge, the first story with a #MeToo theme that features women in their 20s. Plenty of YA novels introduce girls to sexual assault-related topics. I don’t know why more novels don’t focus on young women starting out in the workforce, because that’s when we first experience the corporate hierarchies and power plays that lead to harassment.

Here’s a brief synopsis:

Fragile but practical 22-year-old Shelby Stewart is damn sure “mild” childhood sexual abuse by her stepfather—a respected teacher and revered coach—didn’t change her. She succeeds at her new PR job in 1980s Boston but sucks at romance, sabotaging relationships with men her friends insist are not good enough for her.

Shelby’s co-worker, ambitious and confident Astrid Ericcson, says she wrote the book on How to Get Ahead by Flirting. But when her boss’s innuendoes escalate to not-so-subtle touching and under-the-table footsie, she finds both her career and her safety at risk.

Together, the women build their careers, friendships and romances while facing their respective demons.

I’d like to add that, despite the heavy themes, my early reviewers tell me the book is entertaining, funny and a “safe” place to deal with sexual trauma. Another great compliment came from a reviewer who said the book inspired her to tell her husband about a workplace incident she’d been keeping secret. I hope this book inspires more such conversations!

This was a deeply meaningful interview to host as I am part of the #MeToo movement (although not in a workplace setting). I had always mistakenly thought if I ignored what happened and just “forgot” about it; it would go away. Which means I never truly processed and felt the wide range of emotions concerning what happened. I never shared as I was ashamed, thought I had done something wrong, and feared getting into trouble (at the time).

I spent 2017 and some of 2018 allowing myself to process, feel, and let go of much from my childhood, young adult, and teenage years, including the #metoo incidences. I’ve pretty much processed and felt what I needed to feel at this point. I am grateful to see this book be published as it may assist those who are still in need of healing.

I would love to join the coffee date with Toni Morrison too!! Thank you S.M. Stevens for joining us. It has been a pleasure! – Camilla

Blurb:

Horseshoes and Hand Grenades touches on #MeToo subjects, wherein women reach new highs and lows in life, work, and romance, while struggling to make sense of the abusive relationships that haunt them.

Where to find the book:

US Amavon: https://amzn.to/2m4Mosh

UK Amavon: https://amzn.to/2m50rOv

TouchPoint Press: http://bit.ly/2K8nMYY

Connect with S.M. Stevens:

Website/Blog: https://authorsmstevens.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SMStevens17

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/s.m.stevens/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/s-m-stevens/

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 – Founder and Host of Meeting the Authors …

Buy Me A Coffee

Meet the Author: Embracing Life After Loss by Allen Klein

Today we welcome Allen Klein as we travel to San Francisco, California to learn how short poems, a messy desk, gardening, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and New York City are part of Allen’s past and current life. Call upon your inner Jollytologist®, we’re gonna be more playful with this one ….

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live in a Victorian house in San Francisco where I write books that show readers how to use humor and positive thinking to deal with not-so-funny stuff. In addition, I am an award-winning professional speaker as well as a TEDx presenter and blogger on happiness. Comedian Jerry Lewis has said, “Allen Klein is a noble and vital force watching over the human condition.”

In which genre do you write?

Non-fiction / Self-Help / Inspiration

How many published books do you have?

Twenty-Eight (28)

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

I used to write short poems in grade school, so I suppose my writing started there, but my real writing started when I had a passion to write about how humor helped me get through the loss of my wife when she was 34-years-old.

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

Sometimes I put things that interest in a folder, never knowing if I will ever use them again. When the folder gets real fat, I use those articles and notes to write something about that subject.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

Messy desk, computer on it, me facing the wall to avoid distractions. Sometimes ear-plugs to avoid outside noises.

What are you currently reading?

The Energy Code. It has a lot of what I’ve believed in for years…that we are all energy, all connected.

It is very much aligned to the principles taught by Unity, which is a worldwide new-thought spiritual organization and which is my spiritual home.

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

Walk my dog, garden.

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?

Woody Allen. I love his quirkiness and wonder if that is his persona or is he really that nutty and neurotic. I’d want to know if he was happy.

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

Although it has happened to me so many times, I probably should not be so surprised by it now, but I am. I have been able to create amazing things in my life, things that many might call mini-miracles. Some of them are:

-Wanting to march in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and getting to do so.

-Drawing pictures of Victorian houses and getting one when I moved to San Francisco.

-Having no place to stay when I vacationed in New York City and being offered a free apartment when I go there each year.

-Having a division of my publisher close their doors, thus stop publishing my books, and finding the ideal one by affirming “The perfect publisher will find me.”

-Adding that I wanted to do a TEDx talk in January to my bucket list and being asked to do one the following month.

What do you miss about being a kid?

I was a very serious kid, so I don’t miss much. I try to make up for it now by being more playful and having more fun. And also helping people to get more laughter and joy in their life. I’ve branded myself a Jollytologist®, so now I’m forced to come up with jolly stuff.

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

Since the publisher of my first book, The Healing Power of Humor, is now part of the Penguin publishing empire, the penguin is there to tell me that my book will be made into a major motion picture and to hand me the million-dollar advance. The sombrero is a fun way to indicate that the movie will be made in Mexico.

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

Definitely. My wife died at a very young age. I certainly didn’t want that to happen but her wonderful sense of humor, even during her illness, lead me to investigate the therapeutic value of humor, even in loss. As a result, I started writing about it. My first book, The Healing Power of Humor, is now the quintessential book in the field and has helped scores of people. I know there was a reason why my wife was in my life and why her death was instrumental for me, and as a result of my writing, to so many others too.

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

I’d ask my dog, what it’s like to be a dog, how does she handle never knowing exactly when I’ll return after I’ve left the house, how did she get so cute?

Tell us about your most recent books.

Two most recent books are:

Embracing Life After Loss, and Positive Thoughts for Troubling Times

Thank you Allen for joining us on MTA! It was great to learn more about you and your books. –Camilla

Embracing Life After Loss

Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult things you can deal with in life whether it is a spouse, a parent, a child, or a friend. Winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor, Jollytologist® Allen Klein knows how it feels—just like you, he’s lost loved ones. Inspired by Klein’s experience with the loss of his wife, Embracing Life after Loss will help you recover from grief and loss—just like author Allen Klein did. You never forget the people you lose. But you can grow stronger, wiser, and more appreciative of life as you move forward. And, believe it or not, you can even laugh again. Embracing Life after Loss will show you how to navigate the difficult times—how to take a break from the pain of your loss and find joy in life again.

Available on Amazon in both hardcopy and Kindle.

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

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2mkTw3q

Positive Thoughts for Troubling Times

The words in this book are the prescription you need for a daily dose of the positive. Words can warm our hearts and fire us up or clam us down when we are worried and stressed.

The inspired ideas and power thoughts in this book will provide you with hope, a renewed spirit, and a new perspective in which to view our worrisome times.

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2mKu1sP

Connect with Allen Klein:

AllenKlein.com

Social media links:

Facebook: facebook.com/allen.klein

Twitter: @allenklein

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/allenklein

Instagram:  allenklein22

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

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

Buy Me A Coffee

Book Shelf: The Right Word – Roget and His Thesaurus

The Right Word – Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant

**Throwback to 2015** – From the time Thomas and Lillian were born I read to them nightly before going to bed; leading to some time in 2017 when we all decided to discontinue doing so. Their tastes in what interested each of them had solidified by this point. We all continue to be heavy readers, reading daily.

Just another great book I read to Thomas and Lillian – Wonderful book of the life of P.M. Roget and how Roget’s Thesaurus came to be. –Camilla

“Measured on the vast scale of the universe, the globe we inhabit appears but as an atom; and yet, within the compass of this atom, what an inexhaustible variety of objects is contained; what an endless diversity of phenomena is presented; what wonderful changes are occurring in rapid and perpetual succession!” – P.M. Roget

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/352eh6c

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/34Z4RIu

Meet the Authors: Not the Life You Imagined by Anne Pettigrew

Today we welcome Anne Pettigrew as we travel to north Ayrshire overlooking the lovely Firth of Clyde, learning how Glasgow University, a career as a GP, The Herald, a meerkat, Judi Dench, Snow White, Ailsa Craig, and the Exuma Cays in the Caribbean come together to form Anne’s past, her present and her writer’s life. Come in closer, we’re sharing all the secrets in this one …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am Glasgow-born, haunted local libraries as a child, graduated in medicine from Glasgow University in 1974 and enjoyed a career as a GP in Greenock for 31 years. I also dabbled in homeopathy, acupuncture, BMA media stuff, wrote columns in The Herald and medical press (mostly funny) and tried to improve patient care by serving on many (tediously un-funny) committees up to EEC level.

In 2001 at a crusty old 52, I shot off to Oxford for a sabbatical MSc in Medical Anthropology looking for new ideas for health promotion. To my surprise, I found the best thing you can do to improve a society’s health is to educate its girls past 12, hence my sponsorship of girls in India and the channelling of funds from my novel into PlanUK who aim to help the 130 million denied schooling.

My other passions are travelling (although mosquitoes find me so attractive my husband doesn’t need insect repellent), painting wonky landscapes, gardening and my writers groups: one local, of inspiring, if bonkers, people, and one in the city, of candid editors.

The novel would never have seen light of day without them and the Creative Writing tutors at Glasgow Uni, where the undergrads egged me on to write of a life before mobiles, the internet and the pill (unavailable for the unmarried on the NHS in the 60s). How did we manage? Not sure I’m managing now with all this web/social media stuff – see my blog post at http://annepettigrew.co.uk/social-media-can-do-your-head-in/

I live in north Ayrshire overlooking the lovely Firth of Clyde and am the proud owner of a new titanium knee (never jump off a boat in Kerala).

How many published books do you have?

My debut novel Not The Life Imagined has been published by Glasgow non-profit Ringwood Publishing as ebook (December 2018) and paperback (January 2019).

I also had some award-winning short stories published in a 50th anniversary Anthology by Greenock Writers Club in 2018. My second novel Not The Deaths Imagined is in editing.

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

My first novel was written age eight: an illustrated medieval whodunnit called Bridget’s Key. Sadly I knew little about the Middle Ages and couldn’t draw for toffee!

But by ten, I’d decided on being a doctor and didn’t start Not The Life Imagined until retirement. This book was ignited by the discovery that there were no books about UK women doctors, only pioneers, pathologists and the odd Mills & Boon. I felt the struggles of female medics in the 60s was worth recording, though decided it had to be fiction, not memoir, since I was reluctant to write about living people without seeking their permission; doctors of course, are taught to keep secrets.

The first book concerns an arrogant womanising surgeon; the second has a Shipman villain, also unmasked by the main protagonist Beth. I discovered writing about complete monsters can actually be quite fun.

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

I am prone to ‘tics’ as my tutor called them, first drafts are awash with excess ‘just’ ‘seem’ ‘merely’ ‘very’ ‘somehow’ ‘maybe ‘and ‘quite’ which need ruthlessly eliminated.

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

An albatross; they can fly for hundreds of miles effortlessly out to sea, mate for life and are the longest-lived bird by far. Or maybe a meerkat… they are very cheeky and bossy.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

See attached photo – Big desk with wireless keyboard and mouse, hate the narrow laptop one. Behind laptop I have a propped-up pinboard with teaching prompts eg ‘Hook -Move- Intrigue- Paint a picture- Pace- Perspective – Voice’ to remind me what I am meant to be doing as I write- not ambling endlessly through Twitter or checking my emails.

What are you currently reading?

Just started Middlemarch by George Eliot after being told it’s one of best novels ever written.

Love eg Joanne Cannon, Joanne Harris, Martin Walker, Peter James, Andrea Camilleri, Anthony Horowitz, Chris Brookmyre, Daphne Du Maurier, Philippa Gregory, Taylor Caldwell, John Le Carre, Douglas Kennedy etc

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

Cook, walk or snooze in front of Scandi-noir TV… do lunch.

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?

Judi Dench- ‘What would you like to drink?’

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

I can be wide awake at 2 am if on a roll with an idea.

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

For my second book I Google-searched ‘Where are the saunas in Edinburgh?’ for my seedy villain, and the next night around eleven I was playing solitaire on my iPad, when up popped an Ad showing a well-rounded young lady in suspenders offering a hotline for her services in my locality. Big Brother Google indeed watches us!

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? 

Never- the girls in my book, however, keep them.

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

The only one I remember is Snow White- of which I was terrified! Not going there ever again, I mean, those red pointy talons on the Wicked Stepmother? I was taken out of the cinema screaming by my Dad when I was 4.

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

Rosie maybe- she doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her. She is also very smart and doesn’t need to study as hard as I did!

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

Wild Rose – about a Glasgow girl who follows her dream to become a country and western singer. I liked the parallel to Beth in my book following her dream to be a doctor; Rose’s life turned out not to be the life she imagined either. I enjoyed it, but felt it but it had scope for more humour.

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

I don’t give him a chance but shut the door immediately: all that ‘inspirational’ Sauvignon is obviously giving me DT hallucinations. I will go and have a wee lie down and some vitamins .…

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

The cliff walk at Culzean Castle down the Ayrshire coast from here; wild sea, distant misty island on the horizon (Paddy’s milestone aka Ailsa Craig- halfway between Ayrshire and Ireland): tall grasses whisper in the breeze beside my bench beside the path, purple and red wild flowers dance, seabirds cry as they whirl overhead and dive off the cliff. There may be a seal or two on the beach. No traffic. Of a morning, usually no people either.

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

A seaplane trip down the Exuma Cays in the Caribbean, obviously best if it’s not hurricane season. Lunch time? Calm azure blue sea and cloudless sky- solo picnic on a deserted island- iced fresh lemonade and today-caught prawns barbecued with crusty bread. Sitting under a palm tree with pink crabs scurrying past. Mind you, I couldn’t be completely solo- there would have to be a pilot since I can’t fly a plane! Tom Hiddlestone would do.

Tell us about your most recent book.

Not The Life Imagined is a darkly humorous, thought-provoking story of Scottish medical students in the sixties, a time of changing social and sexual mores. None of the teenagers starting at Glasgow University in 1967 live the life they imagine.

Beth Slater is shocked at how few female medical students there are and that some, like Conor Towmey, think they shouldn’t be there at all. Devastated by a close friend’s suicide, Beth uncovers a revealing diary and vows to find the person responsible for her death.

Struggling with the pressure of exams while supporting friends though disasters, Beth charts the students changing, often stormy, relationships over two decades against a contemporary backdrop of Free Love, the Ibrox Football Disaster, the emergence of HIV and DNA forensics. In time, indiscretions surface with dire consequences for some. A Ten-Year reunion is a watershed: devastating crimes past and present are exposed.

Relevant to present-day narratives concerning mental health and #MeToo, this award-winning novel (runner-up in the Constable Award 2018) has wide appeal and already has attracted 5 star reviews (see below).

Thank you Anne for joining us on MTA! I had a great time getting to know you and learning more about your debut book and upcoming book! –Camilla

Where to find the book:

Available from Amazon, Ringwood, and Waterstones.

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

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2LDrF95

Connect with Anne:

Email: annepettigrew@gmail.com

Website and blog: http://www.annepettigrew.co.uk

Facebook @annepettigrewauthor

Instagram anne.pettigrew.author

Twitter @pettigrew_anne

Amazon and Goodreads reviews:

***** Superb ***** difficult to put down

***** Cracking read ***** such a great book

***** A Must read … ***** a whirlwind of wit and emotional ups/downs

***** Entertaining tale ***** a really good read

***** Up market rite of passage *****a good picture of sexual discrimination

***** The light and dark lives of medics  ***** A great read, super pace

***** Medics with a twist ***** A compelling read ….

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: Sea Babies by Tracey Scott-Townsend

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

Tell us a bit about yourself.

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

In which genre do you write?

I write Literary Fiction.

How many published books do you have?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What does your ideal writing space look like?

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

What are you currently reading?

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

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

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

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

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

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? 

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

What do you miss about being a kid?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tell us about your most recent book.

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

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

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

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

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

Where to find the book:

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

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

Connect with Tracey:

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

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

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

Buy Me A Coffee

Meet the Author: Last Orders by Bill Todd

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

Tell us a bit about yourself.

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

In which genre do you write?

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

How many published books do you have?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What does your ideal writing space look like?

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

What are you currently reading?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sleep is optional, up to a point.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you miss about being a kid?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you believe things happen for a reason? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where to find Last Orders:

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

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

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

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

DANNY LANCASTER crime thrillers on Amazon:

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

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

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

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

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

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

MILITARY BIOGRAPHY

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

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

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

Connect with Bill:

Website: www.billtodd.co.uk

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy Me A Coffee