Meet the Author: The Twelve Man Bilbo Choir by Peter Staadecker

Today we travel to Toronto, Ontario, Canada to chat with Peter Staadecker about how Canada’s mountainous West Coast, mushroom picking, Cape Town, South Africa, vervet monkey thieves, being an unwilling soldier, and photography set the scenes of Peter’s past and current life.

Have you lived there in Toronto your entire life?

Not yet. I moved there in 1981 thinking it would be temporary because Toronto is flat and I missed the mountains. All these years later, it’s still flat, it’s still temporary. I’m still here.

Why are you still there?

Ask my wife. I would have liked Canada’s mountainous West Coast. My wife is from France. She says the West Coast is too far from her mother and family.

And you still believe Toronto is temporary?

Don’t trample on an old man’s dreams.

Tell us about yourself.

I was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa. Africa back then had (and still has) some very wild spots. One night four of us were camped in Botswana by the Chobe River under nothing but mosquito nets when a pride of hunting lions walked through the camp. We had thought our campfire would keep them away. It didn’t. Another night, vervet monkeys stole freshly baked bread right off our campfire. We had thought the fire would … I’m not even going to finish that sentence. One monkey also stole some crucial antibiotics out of our parked car. We had detoured three days from Botswana into what is now Zimbabwe to get those precious antibiotics for a sick friend. The monkey thief sat out of reach in a tree, calmly watched our tantrums far below, opened the childproof lid with ease, poured the pills onto the ground, and took off through the trees with the empty bottle, the childproof lid and an enamel mug.

There are also wonderful mountain ranges in Africa. Did I mention mountains?

I’ve had jobs as varied as mushroom picking, salvaging a sunken yacht, being an unwilling soldier, etc. I studied and became a mathematician, worked in business and am now retired with time to write.

What do you do when you’re not working on your books?

You mean aside from time for books, house, garden, wife, children, pets, etc.? It depends on the season. Right now it’s still winter, which is cross-country skiing time if I’m free. For those that don’t know cross-country skiing, if you do it right it’s like flying. Unfortunately, I often plummet. I recently put up a video clip of myself x-country skiing, here https://vimeo.com/393348449. It shows both the flying and the onset of the plummet stage. The clip also contains some of my photography—another hobby when I get time.

What have you been reading recently?

Last year, I was bowled over by J.L. Carr’s “A Month in the Country.” I’ve reread it three times to analyze it and to steal the secret sauce behind J.L. Carr’s magic.

And the secret is?

I don’t know. Each time I read it, I forget that my goal was industrial espionage; I become an entranced reader all over again. I’ve given up trying to analyze it.

Another thing that bowled me over recently was an award acceptance speech by the late poet/musician/singer Leonard Cohen. You can see a video version at

It’s a wonderful example of a poet using language to put a spell on his audience.

Did you like the movie version of A Month in the Country?

For me, the magic is in the book, not the movie.

Did you always write?

Not before the age of about five. But after that, yes. I tried to publish a magazine when I was about ten. I sold one copy. Since then I’ve written occasional journal or newspaper articles and published four books.

What genre?

My first book, and the one I’d like to focus on today, is called “The Twelve Man Bilbo Choir.” The closest genre it approximates is historical fiction. Specifically, it’s based on an actual historical event, but it fictionalizes the event and transports it into modern times.

How did you get the idea for it?

Toronto has no mountains—did I already mention that—so, I started sailing on Lake Ontario. As a sailor, I became aware of an 1884 sailing tragedy that set a legal precedent for much of the world. Three men and a cabin boy survived a shipwreck in the Atlantic. They were adrift in a lifeboat for 24 days. The digits 2 and 4 look so harmless in print, but think about it: twenty-four days. I won’t spoil the story by revealing the key events that took place during those 24 days. The survivors were rescued and returned to Britain. The British Home Secretary took an interest in the events. He decided to bring two of the men to trial in spite of the public support the men had received. Again, I won’t reveal details for fear of spoiling the story. What I will say is that I discussed the trial with my teenage boys. I told them why, although the case was controversial, I supported the judge’s ruling. I found to my surprise that my boys were totally opposed to the judge’s ruling.

Fair warning: do NOT EVER, ever, ever find yourself shipwrecked with my teenagers. They are savage little so-and-so’s. You have been warned.

Anyway, I couldn’t get the case out of my mind, so I wrote the book. I was delighted to find it shortlisted for the Kobo-Rakuten Emerging Authors prize. I’m also delighted that copies are held in the USA by library of The National Registry of Exonerations and by the Equal Justice Initiative.

What advice would your now-self give to your younger-self?

Don’t camp where lions hunt. That’s stupid.
If you like the smell of freshly-baked bread you’ll be at peace with all creatures.
If you like the taste of freshly-baked bread you’ll hate vervet monkeys.
Also, find out in advance where your future wife refuses to move to.

It was great having you be a part of MTA, Peter. I very much enjoyed your sense of humor and wish you all the best with your books! –Camilla

Where can readers find your books?

Two of the books, including “The Twelve Man Bilbo Choir”, can be found on kobo.com in epub format

All the books can be found on Amazon sites world-wide in Kindle format, and in paperback wherever Amazon sells paperbacks

Most bookshops can special-order the paperback versions

Some New Zealand and Oz readers use a paperback ordering service called https://www.bookdepository.com/

Connect with Peter:

My photography is at https://gallery.staadecker.com
My blog on photography, writing and random musings is at https://blog.staadecker.com
My publishing website is at https://publishing.staadecker.com
My author Facebook page is at https://www.facebook.com/staadecker.books/
On twitter I’m @PeterStaadecker

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Latest News: A Break from Author Interviews

I’m late with posting this. However, I’ll be taking the month of December and beginning of January off from posting author interviews. Since the website launched in May 2019, we’ve shared two to four interviews per week.

2020 will see many more author interviews, along with the addition of book blogger interviews. I’m quite excited  about adding this new feature of interviewing book bloggers.

Stay tuned for an announcement as to when the contact form opens for book bloggers and authors to submit for interviewing.

Until then, I’ll be busy launching and marketing my latest book, ‘Words of Alchemy’. This beautiful book has just been published, with the official launch happening in mid January 2020. Here are a few fun photos of myself and the proof book.

Please let me know if you would like to help spread the word about the book or if you are aware of any bloggers who would like to host a guest post, interview, excerpt, or has time to review the book. Go here to learn more about the book …

Words of Alchemy

I deeply thank you for supporting this website and the authors interviewed! Here’s to a wonderful, successful, prosperous, and joyful 2020!! –Camilla

 

Latest News: November 2019 – Meet the Author Interviews with Most Views

Meet the Author Interview with Most Views for November 2019:

#1: Butterflies by Lily Hayden

Meet the Author Interview with Second Most Views for November 2019:

#2: Stella’s Christmas Wish by Kate Blackadder

Meet the Author Interview with Third (Tie) Most Views for November 2019:

#3 The Magic Carpet by Jessica Norrie

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#3 Rogue’s Holiday by Regan Walker

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Thank you for taking the time to read more about these authors and sharing the interviews on this website. A great deal of work goes into these interviews by the authors and by me. Deep gratitude! –Camilla, Founder & Host

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Latest News: Support the Authors Interviewed and Meeting the Authors

Meeting the Authors has had an incredibly successful beginning. The website launched in May 2019 with interviews from the get go. It has been a pleasure to meet such a wide and diverse group of authors from around the world.

Thank you for being a part of the MTA launch and thank you to those who have asked how you can help. Here’s to many more fun and quirky interviews in 2020! – Camilla


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Latest News: October 2019 – Meet the Author Interviews with Most Views

Meet the Author Interview with Most Views for October 2019:

#1: The Man in the Needlecord Jacket by Linda MacDonald

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Thank you for taking the time to read more about these authors and sharing the interviews on this website. A great deal of work goes into these interviews by the authors and by me. Deep gratitude! –Camilla, Founder & Host

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Meet the Author: Last Village by Audla English

Today we travel to the North East of England to chat with Audla English. She and I chat about how picture books, Tom and Jerry, England’s smallest train station, Roald Dahl, Marsden Bay,  and the special bond with her wonderful grandmother come together as part of Audla’s writings and her life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Lovely to meet you Camilla and thank you again for the interview. I am Audla English- which is quite apt as I am English and live in the glorious North East of the country; a beautiful part which is steeped in history, greenery, sea, sand but perhaps not sun!

In which genre do you write?

I write love stories but with a historic angle so the genre which I fit into most easily is historic fiction: romance.

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

I have always wanted to be a writer and used to make picture books of stories when I was a child, some of which I still have. It took me 15 years of being a ‘grown up’ until I reminisced about those happy days and I was brave enough to write again.

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

The idea for ‘The Last Village’ came from two sources; my truly wonderful late gran and the North East coastline.

To start off I will talk about the coastline. The following things are all included in my novel and incredibly, at one time all actually existed in less than a one-mile long stretch of coastline in South Tyneside, North East England:

· the world’s first electric lighthouse

· the natural phenomenon of a proud coastal arch

· a hidden cave bar

· England’s smallest train station

· the site of a thriving mining village

To understand the area further, I will give a little bit of a history to it. Marsden was the name of this village which was placed precariously on an open clifftop and basked in the glow of Souter Lighthouse whilst looking out onto an uninterrupted blue sea. The village was built by the Whitburn Coal Company in the 1870’s and was a thriving mining community. However, by the 1960’s it had been completely demolished. This in turn also led to the demolition of ‘The Rattler’ which was the small hardworking train which carried the fresh coal linking the town of South Shields to the mine and was also host to England’s smallest train station.

The iconic Marsden Rock, with its arch in full display, was also only a stone’s throw away from the village. This was a naturally formed arch which succumbed to marine erosion in 1996 causing the arch to collapse and splitting the rock into two stacks. By 1997, the second stack was declared unsafe for the public and it was sadly demolished. The cave bar that hides in Marsden Bay and the shadow of the great rock still remains there to this day and is now also a boutique hotel. The remaining Marsden Rock and its surrounding area now holds the status of being the largest mainland breeding colony of seabirds between the Tweed and the Tees rivers.

Today, there is sadly no trace that a village and its thriving community existed in this open grassy space except for the odd piece of brick which may be found lurking in the long marram grasses and which hide a well of memories.

I was always fascinated that this open and sparse piece of land used to house a full community and it was this intrigue which led me to writing ‘The Last Village’. I would often imagine what it must have been like to live there. Despite the harsh Northern winters with no central heating and the hardship of those who lived there, it must have been such a wonderful place to wake up to and witness the impressive view of Souter Lighthouse and the powerful North Sea.

Secondly, I must mention my wonderful gran. I think most people would agree that there is a special bond between grandparent and grandchild and if they have sadly passed on, a grandparent will always hold a special place in their hearts. My gran was North East England born and bred, coming from a coal mining family, to others she will have just been another old lady but to me, she was exceptional. I wanted to convey the love between a grandmother and granddaughter and also love between families and how this love can span generations.


(Audla’s gran)

This is reflected in the novel which is a moving love story and is dual timeline between the 1940’s and present day, telling the story of Lily, the Gran, who lived in the village and Anna, the Granddaughter, who discovers her Grandmother’s past. The change in the area and the attitudes towards love can clearly be seen between the two different timelines, as well as some really nostalgic references. Nevertheless, the novel also highlights how some aspects of love have not changed at all, even across three generations.

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

I would without hesitation, have a cup of tea (English Breakfast Tea) with my absolutely favourite author Roald Dahl. I know that Roald Dahl would often draw on real life experiences in his writing and I would ask him which character he most enjoyed creating.

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

The most enjoyable thing is the escapism that writing brings. I love that writing can take you to places that you can only dream of and that you can fully unleash your mind and your feelings.

What do you miss about being a kid?

I miss the freedom of imagination and innocence of being a child. How brilliant was it when you could spend an entire day making tents (masquerading also as caves, royal ships or lion’s dens) out of old blankets, only emerging ravenous for lunch or for an often-desperate toilet break, to then fully submerge yourself back into that world.

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

I would tell myself to stop worrying about some of the small stuff; it really doesn’t matter!

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

I would choose Tom and Jerry. I would want to be a mouse and be friends with Jerry, he is hilarious and so clever how he outwits Tom. I also could sit and eat cheese all day (Brie please)!

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

I watched X Men: First Class. I know this might be quite surprising as a writer of romance but I absolutely love all things Marvel. I also think this film has an outstanding cast.

A giraffe knocks on your door and is wearing a bowler hat. What does he say and why is he there?

Mr Pomphrey, the gentleman giraffe, has of course arrived wearing his bowler hat, pinstripe suit and monocle, to take me out for afternoon tea. As I open the door, he says “Jolly good to see you, it has been too long, I am quite simply ravenous, shall we?” He then leads me to his open top vintage British racing green jaguar car and off we go!

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

My favorite place to visit is South Tyneside. As I mentioned previously, it is an area of natural beauty with its golden sandy beaches and coastal formations, it has a cave bar serving fresh seafood overlooking a bay which houses the incomparable Marsden Rock, Souter Lighthouse (the world’s first electric lighthouse) is always welcoming, as well as a rich history and it is not far from my home. I am very very lucky.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on a new novel which will also be a dual-time line historical fiction set in the North East of England around the milling and ship merchants’ industries. The genre will also be romance, focussing around the life of the best friend of the Gran of the modern-day character. The modern-day character will unearth a decades long secret…

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

‘The Last Village’, A Chill with a Book Premier Readers’ Award winner and 2019 American Fiction Awards Finalist, is available to purchase on Amazon in both Kindle and Paperback format. The cover photo depicts Souter Lighthouse today alongside the Leas, the former site of Marsden Village.

South Tyneside sounds like a wonderful place! Thank you for sharing about your writing and this amazing place! It was great to have you on MTA, Audla. All the best to you! – Camilla

The majestic Souter Lighthouse stands proudly at the edge of the cliff top surrounded by open grassy empty fields and overlooking a vast blue wilderness. Anna Charles knows nothing of the life that her grandmother once had here. It wasn’t until an unexpected engagement, that Anna discovered the past of her Gran and the truth behind an enduring love.

Seventy years earlier, Lillian Smith, had been part of the close-knit community that once thrived in the village that existed next to the lighthouse. A chance meeting with a sailor one day, would change the course of her life forever.

A moving novel set in the North East of England. The Last Village is an enduring love story which spans the 1940’s and modern day, binding the generations.

Where to buy the book:

Amazon UK:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Last-Village-Audla-English-ebook/dp/B07JDS2SYC/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1EB3CBN6EICIX&keywords=the+last+village+by+audla+english&qid=1568055985&s=gateway&sprefix=the+last+village%2Caps%2C161&sr=8-1

Amazon USA: https://www.amazon.com/Last-Village-Audla-English-ebook/dp/B07JDS2SYC/ref=sr_1_2?crid=1XB2EVA92O3Q2&keywords=the+last+village&qid=1568056041&s=gateway&sprefix=the+last+village%2Caps%2C217&sr=8-2

Connect with Audla:

Facebook AudlaEnglishAuthor

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