Meet the Author: The Duke’s Regret by Catherine Kullmann

Today we’re traveling to Dublin to chat with Catherine Kullmann. She and I discuss how retirement, family trees, table plans, elephants, Jane Austen, dreaming of scenes, and a travel notebook come together as part of Catherine’s life and writing style. Get ready as we’re stepping back into the first quarter of the nineteenth century for this one.

Tell us a bit about you.

I’m Irish and live (again) in Dublin in my old family home. I have been married for over forty-five years, the first twenty-six of which I spent in Germany, my husband’s native country. We returned to Ireland twenty years ago this year. I worked as an administrator in the public and private sectors and took early retirement ten years ago. It was only then that I had the time to write.

In which genre do you write?

I write historical romantic fiction set in the extended Regency period in the first quarter of the nineteenth century.

How many published books do you have?

Four novels and a gothic short story that was the result of a challenge to write about ‘period zombies’.

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

I have always loved writing, and drafting was an important part of my professional life. I did not have the time, energy and mental space to write fiction until my retirement.

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

I draw up elaborate fictional family trees for my main characters, going back several generations. If I am writing an important scene at a dinner, I’ll draw up a table plan, working out who sits next to whom and I draw floor-plans of my characters’ homes. The odd thing about this is that I am hopeless at drawing!

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

I love elephants and have quite a collection of small ones in all sorts of materials. I think they would be good guardians and protectors.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

I am very fortunate to have a lovely study with a bay window. Bookcases for my research library and framed engravings of my period vie for space on the walls. I don’t have a radio or CD player; although I love music I find it too distracting when I write.

What are you currently reading?

Martin Walker’s latest book in his Bruno, Chief of Police series; The Body in the Castle Well. We know the Dordogne area of France where they are set quite well and it is always a joy to return there in spirit. Unfortunately, every time I read one of his books I say, ‘We must go back to the Dordogne’ although there are so many other places we want to visit and revisit.

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

I read, listen to classical music, travel, go to the opera or concerts, meet friends.

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?

Jane Austen. If she did not think it too presumptuous a question, I would like to know why she avoids showing how her characters arrive at their happy end. She tells rather than shows, at times very briefly. No modern editor would let her get away with it. I would love to read another couple of chapters of Mansfield Park, showing us how Fanny’s and Edmund’s relationship change and to hear what Anne and Captain Wentworth said on their walk in Persuasion.

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

That I had the stamina and self-discipline not only to write the first draft of a novel of one hundred thousand words but also to continue through the arduous refining process of editing, editing and editing again. And having done it once, to do it again! And also that I had the courage to present my writing to the world.

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

I have dreamt at least two scenes, out of sequence, but waking with such a vivid impression of them that I have written them down at once and then left them until I reached the appropriate part of the draft. If I’m writing an elaborate dance scene, say with the Regency waltz, I get my husband to walk through the steps with me so that I am sure the arm positions and turns are correct.

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? 

I have a travel notebook where I jot down impressions and ideas when I am away from home but that is all.

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

I practise my talk aloud over and over again. I also read aloud the extracts I propose to read to the group and note if there is any section I am inclined to stumble over. Before I start, I square my shoulders, take a deep breath and smile.

What do you miss about being a kid?

Nothing. I had a happy and unremarkable childhood and was more than ready to reach adulthood.

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

None, really, but then the only cartoons I remember are Bugs Bunny and Micky Mouse.

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

He says, “Can you tell me the way to the Ice Bar?”

Do you believe things happen for a reason?

No. I don’t believe in fate but in free will, even if the consequences are sometimes harsh. It is up to us to deal with what happens to us as best we can.

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

I am clear-minded and honest, also with myself.

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

Glenmalure, a valley in Co. Wicklow. You can sit on a grassy bank beside burbling stream and listen to the bird-song as peace envelops you.

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

On the rare occasions where my husband is away for a whole day, I enjoy having the house to myself. I potter a little, cook a nice meal, open a bottle of wine and, ideally, settle down with a new book by a favourite author that I have saved just for this.

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

Some characters slip into your books unplanned and unheralded only to play a pivotal role there. So it was with Flora, the young Duchess of Gracechurch. Flora’s own story reveals itself more slowly. Married before she was seventeen and trapped in a loveless marriage, she befriends young wives whose husbands are ‘distant,’ helping them find their feet in the ton. The Murmur of Masks and Perception & Illusion Books One and Two of the Duchess of Gracechurch Trilogy, tell the stories of two of these wives. My latest book is Book Three, The Duke’s Regret, and Flora herself takes the lead.

Thank you for your interest in me and my writing.

Thank you Catherine for sharing insights into your life and writing style. It was such a pleasure having you be a part of MTA. All the best to you! – Camilla

The Duke’s Regret

A chance meeting with a bereaved father makes Jeffrey, Duke of Gracechurch realise how hollow his own marriage and family life are. Persuaded to marry at a young age, he and his Duchess, Flora, live largely separate lives. Now he is determined to make amends to his wife and children and forge new relationships with them. Flora does not know how to respond to her husband’s suggestion. Can Jeffrey break down the barriers between them and convince her that his change of heart is sincere? Flora must decide if she will hazard her heart and her hard won peace of mind for a prize of undreamt of happiness.

Where to find the books:

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2VCLaFc 

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Hme2YD 

Connect with Catherine:

Website: https://www.catherinekullmann.com
Facebook: fb.me/catherinekullmannauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CKullmannAuthor

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Meet the Author: The Stars in the Night by Clare Rhoden

Today we’re traveling to Melbourne Australia to chat with Clare Rhoden. We’ll talk about how a wolf, a teddy bear, Aurealis Magazine, and reading really, really quickly come together as part of Clare’s life. Watch out for the cow pats … Let’s get going …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a writer and book reviewer from Melbourne Australia. I write historical novels, science fiction, fantasy, odd short stories, and a whole load of highly unusual genre-mush stuff that I intend to keep in the bottom drawer.

Like, forever.

How many published books do you have?

Nowhere near enough yet! 🙂

My fourth novel will be published in the second half of 2019. Being published is a dream come true.

What would you choose as your spirit animal and why?

I have decided that the wolf is my spirit animal, and I very much hope that the wolf would agree. I’ve collected so many fabulous wolf pictures on my Pinterest boards! They are the most magnificent creatures.

But probably my spirit animal is a teddy bear.

As a child I burst into tears every time my mother washed my teddy and hung him on the line. Poor Big Ted. He looked so miserable pegged out by his ears. As you would.

What are you currently reading?

I review fantasy and science fiction for Aurealis Magazine (https://aurealis.com.au), and at the moment I’m reading the hilarious satire ‘The Year of the Fruitcake’ by Gillian Polack. An alien is trapped in a menopausal human body while researching the planet. No more needs to be said!

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

Even if the scene I am writing is dire, the act of writing takes me to a calm place. For me, writing is a physical kind of solace for the anxieties of the mind. I didn’t realize that before I went full time. Now a day without writing makes me itchy. Really itchy.

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

The dog who lives with me and my family is a seven-year-old golden cocker spaniel/poodle cross called Aeryn. Or Muppet Face, Fluffy Bum, Smoocher. And also Bionic Miss and Ka-ching!, because she has had two complete knee replacements that cost thousands of $$$$s.

I would like to ask her: ‘Why do you hate the rubbish truck so much?’, ‘Why do you have to sit in my lap when I’m typing?’, and especially: ‘What’s so good about rolling in cow pats?’

BTW, she responds to all her names.

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

My only super power is that I can read really, really quickly. I know it’s an unfair advantage, but I’m keeping it.

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

The Stars in the Night is the my latest publication. It’s historical fiction starting with WWI, with a bit of a love story, a fair amount of family saga, quite a bit of tragedy, and the odd bit of wry humour. The characters have lived with me for quite a while and I sometimes take Harry’s advice when I’m dealing with difficult situations…

I’m thrilled to bits to see this book out in the real world. Plus I’m completely in love with the cover.

Thank you so much Camilla. It’s so interesting to see what other writers are thinking and doing.

I absolutely love the cover too Clare! The color combination and scenery is beautiful. I’m glad you’re enjoying the interviews put forth here. That means a great deal to me. Thank you for joining us on MTA!! – Camilla

Book blurb:

Harry Fletcher is a confident young man, sure that he will marry Nora, no matter what their families say. He will always protect Eddie, the boy his father saved from the gutters of Port Adelaide.

Only the War to End All Wars might get in the way of Harry’s plans…

From the beaches of Semaphore to the shores of Gallipoli, the mud of Flanders to the red dust of inland South Australia, this is a story of love, brotherhood, and resilience.

Where to find the book:

Universal Amazon link: viewbook.at/clarerhodenbooks

Connect with Clare:

clarerhoden.com

Twitter: @ClareER

FB: https://www.facebook.com/clareelizabethrhoden/

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Meet the Author: The Orange Grove by Kate Murdoch

Today we’re traveling to Melbourne, Australia to chat with Kate Murdoch. We’ll talk about how a secret desire, a dream about a vivid character, painting, tenacity, and tarot cards come together as part of Kate’s background and her writing life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m an artist turned writer living in Melbourne, Australia.

In which genre do you write?

I write historical fiction.

How many published books do you have?

Two

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

I’d always had a secret desire to write a novel and had written stories since I was a child. However, I was swept up in various careers along the way, mainly as a visual artist, but also as a graphic designer. It wasn’t until after my children were born and I had reached a pivotal moment in my art career, that the impetus to finish a novel came. I had a dream about a vivid character and began to write about him. Eight months later I had the first draft of a supernatural thriller. I never looked back.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

It would be a couch with a lap desk, looking out to the sea. There would be potted plants around the room, paintings, scented candles and a blazing fire. A small dog would be nuzzled up next to me as I worked.

What are you currently reading?

Imperfect, by Lee Kofman. It’s a book about people who have scars or other imperfections, and how this influences their sense of self, along with the way they interact with the wider world. The author’s honesty and candor, along with her astute observations, make this a wonderful read.

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

I paint, read, travel, lunch with friends, spend time with my family, and keep up my yoga/pilates/running.

What do you miss about being a kid?

Unlimited time to be creative along with the lack of inhibitions and self-doubt in my creativity. I miss the feeling of unlimited possibilities.

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

Yes, I do. It’s played out in my life in a number of ways. One example is the fact that I came to writing after a career in painting. I feel that being an artist prepared me, in a much gentler way, for being a writer. In both professions, you have to put yourself on the line, because what you create is so personal. Yet in writing, there’s a lot more self-disclosure surrounding this. In coming to writing later, I had time to win and lose, try and fail and become accustomed to being visible in the arts.

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

I’m tenacious and determined – I rarely give up when something is important to me. Many things I value in my life have materialized as a result of this trait.

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

Port Douglas, Queensland. It’s full of intensely-coloured tropical plants, it’s very warm and the people are relaxed and friendly. It has style and also a spiritual heart – you can buy designer clothing, have a reiki session, then amble along Five Mile Beach at sunset, listening to the roar of the waves.

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

I taught myself to read tarot cards so that I’d be able to write the tarot reading scenes in The Orange Grove. Initially, I was sceptical, but now use them regularly to guide me.

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

I do a number of things because I do feel anxious about public speaking. I meditate, listen to binaural beats and read through my notes at length. I find it’s getting slightly easier and I hope the nerves continue to lessen.

Tell us about your most recent book.

The Orange Grove is about the rivalries and intrigues of mistresses in 18th century France. Henriette d’Augustin lives in the chateau of the Duc d’Amboise with four other mistresses. When the duchesse undermines a new mistress, Henriette is forced to choose between morality and position.

It was wonderful learning more about you Kate. Your ideal reading space sounds nearly identical to mine. I also love that your taught yourself to read tarot cards for The Orange Grove, and that you continue to use them! Thank you for being a part of MTA! –Camilla

Book Blurb for The Orange Grove:

Blois, 1705. The chateau of Duc Hugo d’Amboise simmers with rivalry and intrigue.

Henriette d’Augustin, one of five mistresses of the duc, lives at the chateau with her daughter. When the duc’s wife, Duchesse Charlotte, maliciously undermines a new mistress, Letitia, Henriette is forced to choose between position and morality. She fights to maintain her status whilst targeted by the duchesse who will do anything to harm her enemies.

The arrival of charismatic tarot reader, Romain de Villiers, further escalates tensions as rivals in domestic politics and love strive for supremacy.

In a society where status is a matter of life and death, Henriette must stay true to herself, her daughter, and her heart, all the while hiding a painful secret of her own.

Where to find the book:

Available online and in bookstores.

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

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2OL6WlO

Kate Murdoch is the author of Stone CircleShe exhibited widely as a painter both in Australia and internationally before turning her hand to writing. In between writing historical fiction, she enjoys writing short stories and flash fiction.

Her short-form fiction has been published in various literary journals in Australia, UK, US and Canada.

Stone Circle is a historical fantasy novel set in Renaissance Italy. It was released by Fireship Press December 1st 2017. Stone Circle was a First in Category winner in the Chaucer Awards 2018 for pre-1750’s historical fiction.

Kate has been awarded a KSP Fellowship at the KSP Writers’ Centre in 2019 to develop her third novel, The Glasshouse.

Her novel, The Orange Grove, about the passions and intrigues of court mistresses in 18th century France, was published by Regal House Publishing in 2019.

Connect with Kate:

Website: https://katemurdochauthor.com/

Blog: https://kabiba.wordpress.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KateMurdoch3

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com.au/katemurdoch73/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/katemurdoch2/

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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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Meet the Author: The Old Dragon’s Head by Justin Newland

Today we welcome Justin Newland as we travel to South West England to discover how supernatural forces, the ancient land of China, pillars of historical record, and The Bridge over the River Kwai become the foundation and walls of Justin’s writing. Take three deep breaths, we’re going deep into the secret history of the supernatural forces that shaped the modern world …..

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I was born during the last embers of 1953. I was awarded a Ph.D. in Maths from Imperial College, London, England in 1981 and I live with my partner in plain sight of the Mendip Hills, South West England.

In which genre do you write?

I write historical fantasy; in particular, secret histories in which historical events and people are guided and motivated by supernatural and numinous forces.

What books have you published?

My debut novel, The Genes of Isis (2018), is a tale of love, destruction, and ephemeral power set under the skies of Ancient Egypt. It is a secret history of the origins of the human race, Homo Sapiens Sapiens.

The Old Dragon’s Head (2018) is my second novel and is set in Old China during the Ming Dynasty against the background of a bitter war of succession for the Emperor’s throne; it narrates the secret history of the supernatural forces that shaped the modern world.

What inspired you to write The Old Dragon’s Head?

I have long been intrigued by the ancient land of China. I was fascinated by the Chinese people’s overriding belief in the supernatural, something that shot through the whole of their society from Emperor to wood gatherer. There’s the pervasive mystery of the Bagua, the mysterious eight trigrams of the I Ching, the book of divination. There’s the Tao, and its enigmatic adherent, Lao Tzu, riding on an ox. Then there’s the stoic wisdom of Mencius and Confucius. Into the mix, put the great religious beliefs of Buddhism, and all their colourful and obscure ceremonies. All in all, China remains an enigma, even unto its own people. And long may it remain so!

The Old Dragon’s Head is not fiction. It’s a real place. The Great Wall of China is home to a supernatural beast – the Old Dragon or Laolong. And just beyond the fortress of Shanhaiguan, the far eastern end of the wall protrudes into the Bohai Sea – that’s the Old Dragon’s Head or Laolongtou.

The fortress of Shanhaiguan, which means mountain-sea pass, was built by the Hongwu Emperor in the 1380, to bridge the gap between the Yanshan Mountains and the Bohai Sea.

The novel is not only about physical walls and boundaries; it’s about meta-physical, psychological and supernatural ones.

Curiously, my inspiration to write the book came after writing a short story, Vallum Hadriana, about another wall, this one much nearer to home – Hadrian’s Wall.

What are you currently working on?

The Coronation is my work in progress; it’s set during the Enlightenment and reveals the secret history of what is perhaps the single most influential event in modern times – the Industrial Revolution.

What are you currently reading?

The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende.

I like to base my books in the historical record. They become the pillars of reality around which I like to weave the fantastical, supernatural elements of the story. This format is quite close to Magical Realism, which is why I’m reading The House of Spirits.

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

Meeting interesting and helpful people – this is most definitely an unexpected, but added bonus of being a writer. Through marketing and promotion of my work, I’ve met all sorts of people, all with their stories to tell, people I would never have met were it not for writing.

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

The Bridge over the River Kwai directed by David Lean.

Alec Guinness won an Oscar for the portrayal of the lead character, Lieutenant Colonel Nicholson. I love the moral ambiguity of the Colonel’s actions: at one level, he is disciplining his troops, and following good British Army policy, on another, larger level, he’s actually thwarting the war effort of his own side. He is not unique; he is one of us, and to my mind his character reveals the moral dilemma of the human condition. At one level, we are doing just fine, on another level….?

Justin Newland with copies of his books.
Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Thank you for joining us on MTA Justin! I find your books fascinating and am adding them to my ‘to be read’ list. It was a great pleasure and joy to learn more about you and your writing. -Camilla

Back cover blurb:

Constructed of stone and packed earth, the Great Wall of 10,000 li protects China’s northern borders from the threat of Mongol incursion. The wall is also home to a supernatural beast: the Old Dragon. The Old Dragon’s Head is the most easterly point of the wall, where it finally meets the sea.

In every era, a Dragon Master is born. Endowed with the powers of Heaven, only he can summon the Old Dragon so long as he possess the dragon pearl.

It’s the year 1400, and neither the Old Dragon, the dragon pearl, nor the Dragon Master, has been seen for twenty years. Bolin, a young man working on the Old Dragon’s Head, suffers visions of ghosts. Folk believe he has yin-yang eyes and other paranormal gifts. When Bolin’s fief lord, the Prince of Yan, rebels against his nephew, the Jianwen Emperor, a bitter war of succession ensues in which the Mongols hold the balance of power. While the victor might win the battle on earth, China’s Dragon Throne can only be earned with a Mandate from Heaven – and the support of the Old Dragon.

Bolin embarks on a journey of self-discovery, mirroring Old China’s endeavour to come of age. When Bolin accepts his destiny as the Dragon Master, Heaven sends a third coming of age – for humanity itself. But are any of them ready for what is rising in the east?

Where to buy the books:

Both books are available from Waterstones, and are available as paperback or e-books from good online bookstores such as Wordery or Amazon.

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2zF5PeF

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2UrR6gz

Reviews of Justin’s novel The Old Dragon’s Head:

https://booksbeyondthestory.wordpress.com/2018/11/23/should-you-wake-a-sleeping-dragon/

http://www.britishfantasysociety.org/reviews/the-old-dragons-head-by-justin-newland-book-review/

https://discoveringdiamonds.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-old-dragons-head-by-justin-newland.html

https://ayjaypagefarerbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/04/08/review-the-old-dragons-head-by-justin-newland/?fbclid=IwAR1_PVfj-7–J79ShHGkUr5jmbHhJB96x9bKY61s63X6nr7wGYdRDHgD61o

http://zooloosbookdiary.co.uk/release-day-blitz-of-the-dragon-head-by-justin-newland

Connect with Justin Newland:

https://www.facebook.com/justin.newland.author/

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: With Face Aflame by A. E. Walnofer

Today we welcome A. E. Walnofer as we travel to Southern California to discover how white-barked aspen trees, plantar calcaneal regions, Jane Austen, and The Black Swan replenish and massage Walnofer’s days. Grab your tea and get comfortable.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live in Southern California, but wish I was established in the Pacific Northwest where the mountains are green and the rivers actually have water in them.

In which genre do you write?

Historical fiction

How many published books do you have?

Two, but I got an idea recently that just might turn into a third! I’ve actually got 47,000 words of another story written but I’m rethinking it before I surge forward with it.

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

Before I could read or write, I was composing stories. My mom recorded me on a cassette tape telling a tale when I was three. It’s pretty cute!

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

Hmm…well, when I’m writing, I spend A LOT of that time at the computer telling myself to focus instead of going into the kitchen to get something to eat. Pretty inspiring, huh? 🙂

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

Never considered this before. Can I choose a tree? They’re not sentient, but they’re beautiful and replenish our oxygen supply. Yeah, I’m going to say my mascot is a white-barked aspen tree with green leaves that flutter in the breeze.

What are you currently reading?

I recently finished “London” by Edward Rutherfurd. Wow, what a massive and amazing book! I got the ebook version so my wrists wouldn’t break after a half hour of reading. I highly recommend it for any Anglophilean history buffs.

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

I work as a physical therapist assistant all week long, which doesn’t leave much time to write because there are always more upper traps and plantar calcaneal regions to be massaged.

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?

Perhaps this answer isn’t very original, but I’d love to talk with Jane Austen. She was such a clever and talented woman.

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

Oooh, I like this question. I wish I had some hilarious or crazy story to answer it with. I’ll simply say that last fall, my husband and I went to the UK to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. The whole time I was there — walking on the ancient walls of York City, gazing on the site within the Tower of London where Lady Jane lost her head, sipping tea at a 500 year old pub called The Black Swan, sampling 20 different cheeses in the Yorkshire Dales — I was trying to imagine what it was like to be there way back when. To be in a place where you can feel the wind in your face, smell the scent of the trees, run your fingertips over the moss covered rock walls, instead of just imagining it, is a magical experience and helps you formulate details for your stories to make them come to life.

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

I think I’d have to be Madge from “With Face Aflame” so I could sing beautifully to a crowd of people, and so that I could understand her heartache a bit better.

Do you believe things happen for a reason? 

I don’t necessarily think things happen for a reason, but I see how we can learn and grow because all sorts of things happen.

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

I’m fairly in tune with what’s going on with the people who are around me — whether it’s at work, at the movie theater or in my own kitchen — how they’re all interacting with each other verbally and non-verbally, how they’re feeling about themselves and each other. That has served me well because it helps me write scenes where a lot of emotion or meaning is conveyed through a simple look or a two word sentence between characters.

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

Oh my goodness. There are so many places I want to go or want to return to. I HAVE to go back to Yellowstone before I die. Everyone should see that place. There are lots of places in Washington State and Oregon that I want to visit. Then there are national parks in Canada that are calling my name. Pretty much any lush place with temperate weather and gorgeous trees is on my list.

Tell us about your most recent book.

“With Face Aflame” was published in April, 2018. Set in England in the 1680’s, it’s a historical, body-positive, coming of age tale about a young woman with a large birthmark on her face.

If you’re in to poetry, visit my site at aewalnofer.com and get your fill of it there. Thanks for reading about me and my work!

Thank you Aimee for joining us on MTA. It was incredibly interesting to learn more about you. I’m a tree lover and adore the sound of the aspen leaves blowing in the wind! I love that your mom recorded you telling a story. I did that too when my kids were younger. I’m so happy I did this as these are beautiful memories to have. All the best to you! –Camilla

Here’s the blurb:

Born with a red mark emblazoned across her face, seventeen-year-old Madge is lonely as she spends her days serving guests and cleaning rooms in the inn her father keeps.

One day, she meets an unusual minstrel in the marketplace. Moved by the beauty of his song and the odd shape of his body, she realizes she has made her first friend. But he must go on to the next town, leaving her behind. Soon after, while she herself is singing in the woods, she is startled by a chance meeting with a stranger there. Though the encounter leaves her horribly embarrassed, it proves she need not remain unnoticed and alone forever.

However, this new hope is shattered when she overhears a few quiet words that weren’t intended for her ears. Heartbroken and confused, she flees her home to join the minstrel and his companion, a crass juggler. As they travel earning their daily bread, Madge secretly seeks to rid herself of the mark upon her cheek, convinced that nothing else can heal her heart.

Set in England in 1681, With Face Aflame is the tale of a girl who risks everything in hopes of becoming the person she desperately wants to be.

Where to buy the book:

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

UK Amavon: https://amzn.to/2KU4W7c

It’s only $2.99 on Amazon and if you belong to the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library, you can read it for free! My first novel, A Girl Called Foote, is also available on Amazon for $2.99, so feel free to check it out, too!

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: Back Home by Tom Williams

Today we welcome Tom Williams to Meet the Author. We’re headed to Richmond in south west London to learn how dancing, the Andes and Buenos Aires come together with the Argentine tango to the beat of Tom Williams life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live in Richmond, in south west London. I street skate and ski and can dance a mean Argentine tango. I’ve spent a lot of my life writing very boring things for money (unless you’re in Customer Care, in which case ‘Dealing With Customer Complaints’ is really, really interesting). Now I’m writing for fun. I blog regularly, mainly about history, but quite a bit of random stuff as well (link below for my website).

In which genre do you write?

Historical fiction, although I’ve been experimenting with something contemporary.

How many published books do you have?

Six – three about a spy in the age of Napoleon and three set in the mid-19th century.

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

I’ve always wanted to write, but I found it very difficult to write fiction around other stuff, especially when I did a lot of non-fiction writing for my work. As I got older, I found that I could afford to work less and write more, so that’s what I did.

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

I’m a spectacularly lazy writer. I spend far too long staring out of the window. I aim for a thousand words in a day, which really isn’t very many.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

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

I dance a lot of tango and do a little bit of dance teaching.

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

I have a very dark sense of humour.

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

In ‘Burke in the Land of Silver’ my hero rides across the Andes rather too late in the year and is nearly caught in the snow. This is based on something that really happened but I just couldn’t visualise it so I went to Argentina and rode up into the Andes at a stupid time of year when there would be snow around. I spent three nights in an unheated stone hut at 3,000 metres and I have never been so cold in my life. In the end it contributed less than a page to the book but I wouldn’t have missed it for worlds.

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary?

Not regularly. I take a lot of photographs and use these instead of a diary.

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

I went to what I suppose you could call an immersive theatre performance in Buenos Aires. It was set in a famous bar and various people came in and recreated life in a famous tango bar during the Golden Age of tango. There were quite a lot of people in the bar but it slowly became clear to my wife and me that we were the only actual audience and everybody else was actors. It went on for hours and was most surreal experience of my life.

What do you miss about being a kid?

Nothing. Anybody who thinks that their childhood was the best days of their lives has done remarkably little since.

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

‘Blind Date’. (Un peu, beaucoup, aveuglément.) I like watching rom coms with my wife and French rom coms can be very good. We both loved this one.

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

“You really need to cut down on the drugs.” Because you really need to cut down on the drugs.

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

Some things happen for a reason. You work to make something happen and then it happens. Other things are completely random. A few friends have died over the years. In many cases it was totally unexpected and at a time when they were full of life and plans for the future. Stuff just happens. Life is not fair.

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

My pet ferret has been dead for years and I still can’t face owning another. So in the unlikely event of ever being able to talk to him, I’d have to ask him about the after-life.

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

Mid-Wales (if you could call that my country because I live in England). My wife lived there when she was a girl and we often go back. Where we stay is almost totally off grid (no main water, no landline phone, very limited Internet access, no TV). It’s beautiful and peaceful and I always feel better for being there. There are some photos on my website at (link for my website below).

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

The last book I had published was ‘Back Home’ which completes my cycle of three books about a mid-Victorian character whose adventures take him into the real-life worlds of the white ruler of Borneo (in ‘The White Rajah’) and the Indian Mutiny (‘Cawnpore’). It completes the trilogy but it stands alone if you just want to read a book set in London in 1859 – a world which had astonishing parallels with the England of today.

There are a couple more books about James Burke which are awaiting publication.

Thank you Tom for being a part of Meeting the Authors. It was a whirlwind dance doing the interview tango with you. – Camilla

Learn more about Tom Williams and where to purchase to the book:

Tom Williams website: http://tomwilliamsauthor.co.uk

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

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

In America it’s distributed through Simon & Schuster: https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Back-Home/Tom-Williams/9781682994146

Tom on Twitter: @TomCW99

Tom on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTomWilliams/

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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