Meet the Author: The Man in the Needlecord Jacket by Linda MacDonald

Today we’re traveling to Beckenham in south east London to chat with Linda MacDonald. She will share with us how alter egos, Dead Poets’ Society, nuisance phone calls, a broken wrist, and perseverance play roles in her life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’ve always been quirky on the surface, but my feet are firmly rooted. I’ve two alter egos that have played important roles in my life.

Firstly, my fictional twin sister, Lily May, married to a vet in Cumbria whom she used to get fed up with from time to time. On such occasions she would ‘come to stay’ and swap places with me in my science teaching role at a secondary school in Croydon. Lily would begin by telling the class that Miss MacDonald wouldn’t be in today. I never tired of seeing them suddenly jump to attention, aware that something different was about to happen.

I assured them that I, Lily, was also a trained teacher and we would carry on with the syllabus as normal. I used co-ordinates instead of names so I could ask them questions and reprimand if necessary – (this was in the days when the classes sat in rows). There were only certain groups one could do this with as they had to realise it was a game and play along. The younger children loved it. Lily was a bit crazy, often teaching from on top of a desk in the style of Mr. Keating in Dead Poets’ Society.

One Parents’ Evening, I thought I was in trouble. The mother sat down and said, ‘Danielle told me not to mention Lily …’. I panicked inside and said, ‘You must think I’m absolutely mad.’ She said, ‘I think it’s wonderful, you sound just like me!’ Phew!

My other alter ego is Victoria Falls, poet and gossip columnist, who pinned frivolous poems on the Psychology Departmental notice board at Goldsmiths’ where I was studying for my degree, and wrote satirical pieces about the staff in my first place of work.

I’m proud to be a Cumbrian from Cockermouth, on the edge of the Lake District, but I have lived for the past 34 years in leafy Beckenham in south east London. I’m a woman of a certain age, a Libran, a retired teacher of psychology and science and am very concerned for the future of the planet.

In which genre do you write?

Women’s Fiction with more than a smattering of issues related to relationship psychology.

How many published books do you have?

Four stand alone novels which also form a series.

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

I usually begin writing scenes with conversations that I hear in my head. I then work the narrative around them.

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

After my dad died, I received a series of nuisance phone calls, often waking me up in the middle of the night. They began with silence on the end of the line but quickly developed into threats and abuse. It was a woman and she would say things like, ‘Why were you ringing his phone at 11.40 at night?’ She clearly believed I was having an affair with her partner.

Once I realised it was a case of mistaken identity, I tried to tell her, but she wouldn’t listen and the abuse and threats became worse. I blocked the number but she used another phone. One night, when she woke me after midnight, I tried again to reason with her and after swearing at me, she hung up. I dialed 1471 and this time she’d forgotten to withhold the number. I called back and was diverted to answerphone.

The message was the voice of a man – a supermarket delivery driver. Then the penny dropped. After my dad’s death, and to coincide with my return home, I had placed an order for a late night delivery which had become stuck in the warehouse and the driver had called me to say it was going to be delivered even later. When it hadn’t arrived by 11.40 p.m., I tried to call back, but there was no answer and I hung up. Needless to say, this time I left a stern message.

There were no more calls. I try to use bad personal experiences in my novels and this one provided the inspiration for the stalking theme in The Alone Alternative. Truth is often stranger than fiction.

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

‘Remember you always wanted to change people’s lives with your writing? Don’t give up trying to spread the word about your books.’

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

In 2009, I broke my wrist badly (tripping over a classroom chair) and required an operation to fit a metal plate. This happened on the eve of London’s icy spell, and my operation was delayed for a week by the urgent need to treat people with injuries from falls and RTAs that threatened life or limb. It reminded me of the fragility of our existence, the shortage of time (I was by this time 53) and decided to publish independently my novel Meeting Lydia which I had been writing since 2001.

The wrist break and subsequent stress, followed the next year by the death of my father and yet more illness and stress, led to my having a breakdown in 2011. I was then compelled to take early retirement in 2012, even though I had originally planned to teach at least until I was 58. But for these unwelcome life events I wouldn’t now have 4 books published.

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

Discipline and perseverance. When I commit to a task and create my own deadlines, I am very good at sticking to my schedule. This is very beneficial to a writer.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on both books 5 and 6, two new standalones which also carry on the lives of some of the characters in my previous books. Book 6 was originally book 5, but has since moved up a slot as I have an idea for a novella that has persisted in telling me it wants to come next. It’s early days, but is beginning to take shape.

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

The Man in the Needlecord Jacket is about the depth of pain and damage that an emotional betrayal causes and the grey area of psychological abuse. It is written in the first person from the perspectives of two women in the life of an artist called Coll who is a womaniser and something of a narcissist. The reader knows exactly what’s going on but both women are kept in the dark until the dramatic dénouement. It’s the fourth standalone novel in a series.

It was incredibly interesting learning more about you, your background, and your writing life. Thank you, Linda for being a part of MTA! – Camilla

The Man in the Needlecord Jacket – Blurb

Felicity is struggling to detach from her failed marriage. When she meets Coll, a charismatic artist, she has high hopes of being distracted. What she doesn’t know is that he has a partner, Sarah.

Sarah is deeply in love with Coll, but his controlling behaviour and associations with other women have always made her life difficult. When Coll becomes obsessed with Felicity, Sarah’s world collapses and a series of events is set in motion that will challenge the integrity of all the characters involved.

The Man in the Needlecord Jacket is a story of emotional betrayal and mental abuse – never clear-cut and always destructive.

Where to find the book:

It can be found widely online as an eBook and also in paperback.

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2pi0nwn

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2BeSvy9

Earlier books in the series may be found here: https://author.to/Lydia

Connect with Linda:

Social Media Links:

https://www.facebook.com/LindaMacDonaldAuthor/

Twitter: @LindaMac1

Author news and reviews at Troubador Publishing: https://www.troubador.co.uk/bookshop/contemporary/the-man-in-the-needlecord-jacket/

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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

Meet the Author: There She Goes by Lynne Shelby

Today we welcome Lynne Shelby as we travel to London, England and discover how a garden, Jane Austen, a wolf, and the Trojan War act together to create the show of Lynne’s life as a writer. Grab the popcorn and let’s go …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m Lynne Shelby and I write contemporary women’s fiction/romance. I was first published when my novel French Kissing won the Accent Press and Woman magazine Writing Competition. I’ve done a variety of jobs from stable-girl to legal administrator, but now I’m lucky enough to write full time, which I think is the best job ever!

I enjoy traveling, especially exploring a foreign city with my writer’s notebook, camera and sketchbook in hand – among my favourites are Paris, New York, Rome, Venice, and Seattle. I live in London, England, with my husband, and I have three adult children who live nearby.

How many published books do you have?

I have three published books: French Kissing, The One That I Want and There She Goes (published 6 June 2019).

The One That I Want and There She Goes are both part of my Theatreland series of stand-alone novels set in the world of film and theatre. The books can be read in any order.

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

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a writer! I still remember the thrill of seeing a story I’d written in my school magazine when I was nine. When I was fourteen I submitted a manuscript (an adventure story about four teenagers discovering a mysterious island) to a publisher. They didn’t publish it, but a kind editor wrote me a lovely letter encouraging me to keep writing – I’m so glad I took her advice!

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

That would have to be a wolf. I find these beautiful and intelligent creatures fascinating, and have been lucky enough to visit a wolf sanctuary several times. I love the fact that they live in family groups and work together as a team. Hearing a whole pack howling at twilight was an experience I’ll never forget.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

My ideal writing space is my writing room – also known by my family as the spare bedroom (It does have a bed in it, but this is disguised as a sofa with lots of cushions!). My writing desk is by a window which overlooks my garden, so that even although I live in a town, I have a view of trees and flowers. The walls are lined with bookshelves containing my favourite novels.

What are you currently reading?

At the moment I’m reading a book about the Trojan War. My current WIP has an archaeologist hero who is an expert in the ancient Greeks, and I’m doing a lot of research into that era of history. Most of my research won’t make it into my book, but it’ll help me get to know my character.

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

When I’m not writing or marketing my books, I can usually be found reading – especially women’s contemporary fiction – or in the audience at the theatre. My favourite night out is to watch a show, either a play or a musical, and I visit London’s West End as often as I can.

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 love to chat to Jane Austen over a cup of tea. I’d ask her which of all the actors who have played Mr. Darcy would be her choice to play her hero.

What do you miss about being a kid?

I remember believing in magic as a kid – I miss that!

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

If I could turn into one of my characters for a day, it would be Julie Farrell from my latest novel, There She Goes. Julie is an exceptionally talented singer and dancer, while I can’t sing in tune and have two left feet! I’d use my day as a good singer to enter an open mic singing competition.

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

It’s hard to choose one favourite place to visit in England, but I’d recommend anyone who is interested in history to visit Hadrian’s Wall. A couple of years ago, my husband and I drove the length of the Wall, stopping off at the ruins of the various forts along the way. Standing on the remains of the Wall and gazing north, it was very easy to imagine what it would have been like for a Roman soldier stationed there nearly two thousand years ago.

Thank you Lynne for being a part of Meeting the Authors. I had a wonderful time learning about the acts that come together to create your writer’s life. Very interesting and inspiring! –Camilla

Lynne’s most recent book is There She Goes

Book Blurb:

When aspiring actress Julie Farrell meets actor Zac Diaz, she is instantly attracted to him, but he shows no interest in her. Julie, who has yet to land her first professional acting role, can’t help wishing that her life was more like a musical, and that she could meet a handsome man who’d sweep her into his arms and tap-dance her along the street…

After early success on the stage, Zac has spent the last three years in Hollywood, but has failed to forge a film career. Now back in London, he is determined to re-establish himself as a theatre actor. Focused solely on his work, he has no time for distractions, and certainly no intention of getting entangled in a committed relationship…

Auditioning for a new West End show, Julie and Zac act out a love scene, but will they ever share more than a stage kiss?

Find out more about Lynne Shelby and her books:

UK Kindle: https://amzn.to/31norwk

US Kindle: https://amzn.to/2F0jTm3

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Wr7221

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2XB0wHp

Website and Blog: www.lynneshelby.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/LynneShelbyWriter

Twitter: @LynneB1

Instagram: lynneshelbywriter

There She Goes Book Trailer:

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: Epona by Michelle Dalton

Today we welcome Michelle Dalton as we travel to Brisbane Australia and learn how horses, trolls, being dyslexic, and She-Ra come together to form the romantic herd of Michelle’s life. Grab your saddle ….

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am originally from Pretoria, South Africa. My family and I fled the rising violence taking over my beloved country and I now live near Brisbane, Australia with my husband and triplet sons. While also juggling a nursing career and teenage sons, I love to escape into my fictional world.

I have a deep love of horses and enjoy weaving them into dramatic stories with honourable men and strong women.  My other hobbies are gardening (usually trying to save my precious herbs and bulbs from an overactive miniature Jack Russell), painting, and reading.  I’m also a huge Star Trek and Marvel Comics fan, and as of recently a wee fan of DC too.

In which genre do you write?

Hmmm… *sigh* Not sure, well there’s always romance involved but I tend to dabble in a little paranormal/fantasy and probs a lot more women’s fiction and always African, no matter where the book plays out, there is a lot of South Africa involved. And Steampunk!

How many published books do you have?

As of today one – Epona. But there’ll be a second coming out in August this year – Simple Truths, oh yes and then a third under another pen name in November.

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

I didn’t realize it. I’ve always loved story telling – it’s in my blood but after I read Fifty Shades (Yes yes I did and I loved it, okay! You know these days confessing to having read Fifty Shades is like confessing to having had sex before marriage twenty years ago) I sat back and thought to myself. I can do better than this – and so I did. 😊

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

I’m boring love. I save all the interesting for my books. 😉

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

A horse – read Epona. 😉

What does your ideal writing space look like?

A bloody mess! Nothing like all those awesome bookstagram posts on Insta – gosh I wish! See I live with four philistines – that’s my triplet teenage boys and the hubster. Nothing is ever in it’s place! Drives me nuts but I love them so I just go with the smelly boy flow.

What are you currently reading?

The Three Musketeers – an old fave, and, Jasmine Sea by Phillipa Nefri Clark.

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

Picking up after teenagers and threatening them with the apocalypse if they don’t start acting like human beings instead of trolls. I paint/draw. Play with my mini Jack Russell chat with the hubster, and garden and do the washing and remind the hubster that he’ll have no clean clothes if he doesn’t hang it up and the usual suburban bliss kinda stuff… oh I also nurse. 😉

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?

Diana Gabaldon. I’ve already sat down with T M Clark. 😉

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

That I can. I’m dyslexic and was always told by teachers I’d never amount to much – showed them eh!

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

Nup and Nup. I don’t like the idea of my thoughts being in a place where people can easily access them. I’m cheeky enough in my writing. 😉

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

I had triplet boys – nuff said. 😊

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?

Drink wine. The soundtrack from my book trailer or Linkinpark. Drink Wine.

What do you miss about being a kid?

The freedom to simply be……..

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

She-Ra!

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

I can’t choose one. Basically it would be a mish mash of Sadie Munro (Epona) and Rochelle Le Roux (Simple Truths due for pub in August) Both these chicks rock. They are trend setters with balls of vibranium. They have seen the worst the world has to offer but still manage to beat the odds.

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

Shazaam (DC) and End Game (Marvel) – love me my comics and DC is getting better at it wouldn’t you say?

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

Trying to take over the world – “Smile and wave boys, smile and wave.”

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

Yes! Epona got shot down by 3 big publishers. I was heartbroken until I got picked up by a friend who self pubs. I have loads of success and 2 of the 3 trad publishers who shot me down came back and made an offer – was SO fudging cool to say “No thank you!”

PS Epona has hit the bestseller list on Zon.

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

Why my shoes? Why the socks? Why the undies?

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

My internal BS detector. Need I say more???

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

The beach! It’s Oz, no explanation needed.

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

Backyard. Sunset. Kids and hubster away. Bottle of wine. Dark chocolate. Bliss 😊

Thank you Michelle for stopping by Meeting the Authors. It was incredibly interesting (and cheeky fun … heehee) chatting with you about the things that come together to create your life. – Camilla

Epona

After a horrendous attack on her family farm in South Africa takes the lives of her loved ones and leaves her wounded, her only escape is to leave the country of her birth for the highlands of Scotland and her last living relatives.

But Sadie’s life may still be in danger.

Blane Buchan is an Englishmen living in the small highland town of Lairg, seeking a life away from the emptiness of London society and a past he’d rather forget.

When Sadie finds a mysterious blue roan mare, she must use the gift given to her from Epona; Protector of horses. But the mare just might be the one who saves her.

From the mountains of South Africa to the wintry Highland Moors this is a story of redemption, love and the powerful connection between humans and horses.

Find out more about Michelle and her books:

Book Trailer: https://www.facebook.com/MichelleDaltonAuthor/videos/771981623172852/

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

Websitehttps://michelledaltonauthor.com

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

bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/michelle-dalton-53ea0323-296f-4400-93d3-dd88b4150295

News Letter sign up: https://mcdalton76.us16.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=aa0ac495c7bfb8fb3314e252a&id=f975bfe782

US Kindle: https://amzn.to/2X3SgCU

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Wvk97f

UK Kindle: https://amzn.to/2XJsEIc

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

And NOW available on…

KOBO: https://www.kobo.com/au/en/ebook/epona-2#ratings-and-reviews

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Michelle_Dalton_Epona?id=XQuZDwAAQBAJ&hl=en_US&fbclid=IwAR1efpPoKvoOpSntrjzUUwK98LoKbwcXaL_WM_rz0t6Zh7pHk7SQQvAA6UE

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/epona-michelle-dalton/1130369180?ean=9780648046349&fbclid=IwAR1CrTCHjd-b05TT7VJOnyEr5KGblijGOP3PPljBWRd6BcnD_0dgksW0s4w

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!

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

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