Latest News: Vacation Time


(Photo by Asad Photo Maldives from Pexels)

Hello MTA community! This is a quick post to let you know that I will be on vacation from Meeting the Authors from July 26th through August 9th.

I will most likely be on vacation from my personal blog, social media, and email during this time, too. No interviews, or other posts, will publish during this time. If you contact me during this time, please keep this in mind. Read more about the vacation time by going here …

Latest News: More on the Vacation Time

With the current situation we will not be traveling anywhere, but I hope to take advantage of this amazing place we call home, to read, read, read, and just take some time to not feel like I need to post something, or feel like I need to engage with others.

Thank you! – Camilla

 

Meet the Author: The Phantom’s Curse by Shelley Wilson

Today we travel to Solihull in the West Midlands, UK, to chat with Shelley Wilson about what a crazy black cat, Tudor history, being a content writer, Anne Boleyn, self-help books, werewolves, living in a converted cowshed, a holistic health spa, a spider bite, pizza, Scooby Doo, Warwick Castle, meditation, and Vikings have to do with Shelley’s current and past life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hello, I’m Shelley. I’m an English author of motivational self-help and young adult fantasy fiction. I’m a single mum of three, have a crazy black cat called Luna, and live in a beautiful town called Solihull in the West Midlands, UK. I’m obsessed with travelling, Tudor and Viking history, being by the ocean, VW campervans, vampires, and pizza! I’m also tall (5ft 10″) which surprises people when they meet me in person. They always say “you’re much taller than your profile picture!” HAHA.

In which genre do you write?

I’m a multi-genre author, so I get to wear a few different writer hats although they are as far removed as you can get! I write non-fiction self-help titles for women and children, my latest release being Meditation for Children. I also write YA fantasy/supernatural fiction, my new release The Phantom’s Curse came out in June. If you think meditation and werewolves, then I’ve got you covered!

How many published books do you have?

I’m currently writing my sixteenth novel which amazes even me! Thirteen books published so far, and another two written and with my publisher awaiting release dates. I self-published eight titles before signing with BHC Press in 2017.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

As well as being an author, I’m also a content writer for women in business. I love working on their brand storytelling and having the freedom to work from anywhere. My ultimate dream would be to start a travel blog, so my ideal writing space would be the back of a VW Camper Van parked up by the sea with a mug of tea and my laptop.

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

I would love to have a coffee date with Anne Boleyn. I love Tudor history, and if I had a time machine the first place I’d visit would be Henry VIII’s court (hopefully I’d keep my head!). I’d ask her if she truly loved Henry and if she ever thought he would do what he did. If Anne wasn’t free for tea, I’d invite some of my favourite authors to brainstorm ideas and talk about books. Karen Millwood Hargrave, Tomi Adeyemi, and Adrienne Young would be on that list.

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

I write the kind of books I love to read. My non-fiction self-help titles cover topics that are important for my personal and professional development. My YA novels are fast-paced and full of action, werewolves, and essential issues that need to be addressed. The most enjoyable thing is finding a reader who resonates with what I’ve written. I had so many incredible messages from women across the globe after my first book was published (How I Changed My Life in a Year). It was heart-warming to hear how my words helped them. To also chat with my younger readers at book fairs and events and listen to them talk about my characters with such passion is priceless.

List 3 interesting facts about yourself.

I lived in a converted cowshed in the Catskill Mountains, New York State for three months when I was in my early twenties.

I was an agony aunt in a popular women’s magazine for six months after answering the call for reader contribution. I loved it, and learned so much about working with editors, deadlines and writing fast!

I’m a fully qualified reflexologist, massage therapist, EFT practitioner, and Reiki Master Teacher and ran a holistic health spa for women for seven years. In 2015 I had to close it after developing an autoimmune disorder following a spider bite. My writing hobby became my full-time job, and I built my content writing career from scratch.

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

I’ve realised there are far too many to choose from. I adored the Flintstones, Looney Tunes, and Tom and Jerry, but I think I would rather be trapped in the world of Scooby Doo! In that world, I’d have friends around me, get to drive a camper van all day, solve mysteries, and still enjoy the supernatural (even if the werewolf, in this case, is Mr Stephens from the Library wearing a costume!).

I watched all of these as a child, Shelley. And I would also choose Scooby Doo. I’m not a fan of the modern version. Old school for me! 

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

One of my novels due for release in the future is The Last Princess, set in 866 AD and includes Vikings. I love anything to do with the Vikings and had so much fun researching this book. I would enjoy being Edith for a day. She’s a Northumbrian princess who rebels against the male-dominated regime. Her sword skills are as excellent as any soldier, and she’s feisty, hot-headed, and loyal. Not that charging into battle is high on my to-do list, but doing a ‘safe’ re-enactment would be fun.

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

I’m fortunate to live in the UK, which is rich in history and culture. There are so many incredible places to visit. Choosing a favourite is tough, so I’m going to cheat slightly (*cue big grin in the hope that Camilla lets this slide*). I live in the West Midlands, on the border of Warwickshire, which means I’m within a 20-minute drive of Kenilworth Castle, Warwick Castle, and Stratford-Upon-Avon. When I’m not visiting local attractions, you’ll find me at the seaside. Polperro, Whitby, or Bamburgh would be my absolute favourites.

It’s definitely okay. I nearly always cheat on these types of questions. I visited Warwick Castle in the year 2000 when on a two week vacation in England and Scotland. I didn’t make it to the seaside, so will have to add that to my bucket list!

What are you currently working on?

I’m working on another YA series at the moment using my favourite supernatural creatures as my characters – vampires. My publishing contract is for both fiction and non-fiction, so once book one of this series is complete, I’ll be working on my next non-fiction title. Following the incredible feedback I received from my Meditation for Children book, I’ll probably write a similar book aimed at young adults/teens.

It was wonderful to have you on MTA, Shelley. I enjoyed getting to learn a bit more about you. Wishing you all the best! – Camilla

Book Blurb:

An old evil threatens to rise from the depths of the warded city…

Sixteen-year-old Marianne lives a simple life as a healer in the Link, looking after her younger brother since their parents’ exile. Little does she know how everything will change after attending the blessing in the city of Obanac. After her brother is wrongfully imprisoned, Marianne seeks his release from Crawford Reign, the Lord of Obanac. But she’s faced with an impossible choice—the lord wants her in exchange. To save her brother she turns to the daring outlaw Robbie and his friends for help. Along with the help of Theo, the holy man’s son, a daring rescue soon uncovers rumors of an old sorcerer who may still live and whispers of the phantom’s curse—an evil that requires a host and seeks to destroy the world—threatening to resurface.

With the threat of an old evil rising in Obanac and the attacks of the Black Riders throughout the realm, nowhere seems safe. To save the people of the land and everyone she cares about, Marianne must unlock the secret to who she really is and embrace the mage magic that stirs within her.

Connect with Shelley:

Author blog, publisher blog, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., and my business information in one handy place: https://linktr.ee/ShelleyWilson72

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Book Shelf: When a Toy Dog Became a Wolf and the Moon Broke Curfew by Hendrika de Vries

When a Toy Dog Became a Wolf and the Moon Broke Curfew by Hendrika de Vries

Beautifully written memoir of a young girl’s journey through Nazi-occupied Amsterdam and the years beyond. Her father is deported to a POW camp in Germany and her mother joins the Resistance. I had no idea, didn’t learn about, or simply don’t remember learning about the Dutch living in Amsterdam, what they endured, and the “Hunger Winter” they experienced. I’m grateful that Hendrika wrote this book and look forward to a continuation of her story should she write one. – Camilla

U.S. Amazon: https://amzn.to/2ZT4DlB

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(The above is an amazon affiliate link.)

Meet the Author: The Cottage in a Cornish Cove by Cass Grafton

Today we travel to Switzerland to chat with Cass Grafton about how Cornwall, Richard Armitage, living in the USA for five years, Jane Austen, being a storyteller, Bagpuss, toilet brushes, Mr Darcy, the movie Fishermen’s Friends, and the alpine town of Zermatt come together as part of her past and current life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I was raised in England, in the Welsh border county of Shropshire, spent some time at college in London and then lived in the West Country and later the northwest, with my husband and children, before moving to the USA in 2001.

We spent five very happy years in Connecticut before returning to the north east of England for a while. Six years ago, we moved to Switzerland in the heart of Europe, where we live in a small rural town just north of Zürich.

It’s a beautiful and inspiring country, and living here has given me the chance to make writing my career. I work from home, and I love it!

In which genre do you write?

I’m in love with romance and always have been, so that’s my go-to genre to read or write, but I’m skipping around in the sub-categories, exploring and writing whatever speaks to my heart at any given moment. So far, I’m published in three sub-categories: contemporary romance, historical romance and—as a way to combine both—time travel romance.

How many published books do you have?

I have five out in my sole name, and three co-writes, two with my writing partner, Ada Bright, and one as part of a five-author team.

My most recent release is a heart-warming contemporary romance set in Cornwall.

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

I’ve always had a longing to live in Cornwall, but knew it would probably never happen, so I decided to do the next best thing I could: live there through my characters.

One of the other particular inspirations for The Cottage in a Cornish Cove, the first in this new series, was the male lead, a character I fell for from the beginning (and not at all influenced by the mental image I had in my mind of him looking like the gorgeous actor, Richard Armitage). No (shakes head), not at all…

The setting, a quaint fishing village on the south-east Cornwall coast, was inspired by all the many family holidays we had in Polperro with our children and the romantic couples breaks my husband and I also took there (my husband proposed to me in a restaurant in Polperro) and, more recently, in nearby Fowey.

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?

Can I cheat and pick two? Does everyone cheat on this one?

I’d love to sit down with Jane Austen and JK Rowling at the same time. I believe JK Rowling is an Austen fan (in fact, in the first of our time travel romances, Jane Austen reads the first Harry Potter book) and I’d be happy just listening to them talk. Just imagine the things they might ask each other!

I definitely cheat whenever I answer this type of question! Ha!

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

Rather oddly, that I am, in fact, a storyteller. This may seem odd coming from a writer, but to be honest, when I first started writing fiction (short stories initially, then novels) I had no idea if what I was writing was any good.

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

Without question, some amazing and wonderful writer friends. I can’t imagine my life without them, and had I not tried my hand at writing novels, I’d never have met most of them.

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

I’d be listening to Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive’! Seriously, this is the sort of thing that terrifies me!

I love, love, love this song, Cass! Just had to include the video. Plus, there’s roller skating in the video. Roller skating!

What do you miss about being a kid?

As I’m housework averse, I miss the days when the iron was something you were told to stay away from. Ditto the toilet brush. I miss those days. I also never had a hangover…

List 3 interesting facts about yourself.

1. If it hadn’t been for a Connecticut seagull, I would never have met my Californian co-writing partner, Ada Bright (full details upon application)!

2. In 2010, I raised a petition and sent it to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, asking if they could please reinstate the plaster bust of Mr Darcy (a movie prop recently moth balled as it was five years since Pride & Prejudice (2005) came out, where the estate stood in for Mr Darcy’s home of Pemberley).

I doubt the duke and duchess ever saw my letter themselves, but the team at Chatsworth were lovely and said they were happy to do it. Mr Darcy is still there today, in the Orangery Gift Shop, although there’s a sign on him saying ‘Do Not Kiss’. Apparently, the staff became fed up with having to wipe lipstick off it!

3. I’m an Ambassador, as well as a volunteer Programme Manager, for the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation, a registered not for profit organisation created by Caroline Jane Knight, Jane Austen’s (five times) great niece, to harness the global passion for Jane Austen in supporting literacy in communities in need across the world.

What a fascinating story of how you got them to reinstate the bust of Mr Darcy. And, lipstick on the bust!! Hahahaha!

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

Bagpuss, a British children’s television series, broadcast in the 1970s. The title character was “a saggy, old cloth cat, baggy, and a bit loose at the seams”. It was stop motion animation rather than cartoon, but I loved the world that woke up when he did (the scenery turning from sepia to colour), and I’m a sucker for any sort of cat, even pink and cream striped ones who hang out with musical mice and a wooden woodpecker bookend called Professor Yaffle.

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

Living in Switzerland often scuppers our plans for watching new films on the big screen (our local town only shows one film in English per month, and it’s rarely the one we want to see), so we catch up on DVD as and when we get a chance.

The last one was a British comedy called Fishermen’s Friends. It’s set in the Cornish fishing village of Port Isaac (which Doc Martin fans will know as Portwenn) and is inspired by a true story about a fishermen’s choir. It’s heart-warming and very funny and the location just made it a perfect watch one rainy Sunday afternoon.

This looks like my kind of movie, Cass! Adding it to my list to watch. Thank you.

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

Hmmm, tricky, because there are so many gorgeous places here where we’ve had such fun times. It’s a toss up between Weggis on Lake Luzern and the alpine town of Zermatt.

Weggis is at the foot of Mount Rigi—known as the Queen of the Mountains, and one of our favourite places for a day trip—and is a beautiful lakeside resort with lovely views of the neighbouring mountains from across the azure waters. It also has strong associations with Mark Twain, who spent some time there and fell in love with it.

Zermatt is a car-free alpine town near the Italian border, and home to the Matterhorn. It’s full of character, the scenery is stunning and the local food excellent. There are so many mountain trails to hike, whatever the season, and it just feels like you are a million miles away from the world, tucked away up there in mountains.

These both sound like wonderful locations. Mark Twain spent a great deal of time in Virginia City, Nevada, too (about a 15 minute drive from here). He sure got around. I’m adding these to my bucket list. 

Tell us about your most recent book.

The Cottage in a Cornish Cove is an uplifting contemporary romance filled with love, warmth and humour. It’s about discovering what you thought you always wanted isn’t necessarily what you need, and follows Anna in her search for happiness.

It came out in February and the reviews have been truly lovely.

It was wonderful having you as a guest and learning more about you, Cass. Best wishes for continued success! -Camilla

Blurb:

Orphaned as a baby and raised by uncaring relatives, much of Anna Redding’s happiness as a child came from the long summer holidays spent with an elderly family friend, Aunt Meg, in the coastal village of Polkerran.

With Aunt Meg’s passing, Anna is drawn back to the West Country, relocating to the Cornish cove where she was once so happy. Filled with memories, she hopes to perhaps open a B&B—and perhaps cross paths with Alex Tremayne again, a local boy she used to have a major crush on and who only had to walk past Anna to make her heart flutter.

Settling into her new life, and enjoying her work for the older, reclusive and—to be honest—often exasperating Oliver Seymour, Anna is delighted when Alex reappears in Polkerran and sweeps her off her feet.

The stars finally seem to be aligned, but just as Anna thinks all she’s ever wished for is within reach, a shock discovery brings everything under threat, and she discovers she’s living a dream that isn’t hers.

Can Anna rescue the new life she has made for herself and, when the testing moment comes, will anyone be there to hold her hand?

The Cottage in a Cornish Cove is the first in a series of uplifting romances. Get to know the warm and funny locals of Polkerran, wallow in the charm of a Cornish fishing village and fall in love with romance all over again.

Where to find the book:

It’s available in paperback or eBook through all the usual online outlets.

Buy Links:

Amazon Universal Book Link (should take people to their local Amazon site)

http://mybook.to/CottageCornwall

Kobo

https://www.kobo.com/ch/en/ebook/the-cottage-in-a-cornish-cove

Barnes & Noble Nook

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-cottage-in-a-cornish-cove-cass-grafton/1135981147?ean=2940163435333

Smashwords (for PDF, lrf, txt, pdb, html, Mobi or ePub files) on:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/998605

Apple iBookStore

https://linkmaker.itunes.apple.com/en-us/details/1493808675?country=us&mediaType=books&term=Cass+Grafton&type=book

Connect with Cass:

Social Media:

Website/Blogs

www.cassandragrafton.com

www.tabbycow.com

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/CassGraftonWriter

Twitter

@CassGrafton

Instagram

@cassgraftonwriter

Email

[email protected]

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

Meet the Author: Belvedere Crescent by Misha Herwin

Today we travel to Stoke-on-Trent to chat with Misha Herwin about how being a teacher, Potteries, being a trailing spouse, writing in short bursts, staging a fight with teddy bears, and draining rods come together as part of Misha’s past and current life.

Tell us something about yourself.

I’ve been a teacher, a stay at home mum and a trailing spouse, i.e. a wife/husband who follows their partner when they go to work abroad. I’ve moved house thirteen times and now live in Stoke-on-Trent with one husband and no pets. Not quite what we planned after we came home from Jamaica, but having no jobs and owning a house in city, which we’d bought for the son to live in and look after our stuff, this is where we’ve ended up. To my surprise I’ve grown to love the Potteries, though I do wish we were closer to the kids.

In which genre do you write?

I write Women’s Fiction, Time-slip and books for kids.

How many published books do you have?

So far there are two Time-slip books, two that would be classed as Women’s Fiction and seven children’s books. I’ve also published several short stories and plays.

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

I’ve always made up stories and once I started to read I tried my hand at writing them down. With my younger sister I would produce magazines, where I wrote the stories and she did the illustrations. She’s now an artist and I’m a writer. We started young.

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

That I write in short bursts and then go and do something else, like making the bed, while the words are bubbling around in my brain. That seems to give me another burst of creativity.

It’s lovely to meet someone else who works in bursts! I do this, too. Not just writing, but anything I’m doing. I’ve never thought about giving it a name. 

What does your ideal writing space look like?

I write in our smallest bedroom, which is done up as my office. The walls are crammed with bookshelves, photographs of the family and pictures I find inspirational. The desk, which I mean to tidy every night, is usually a mess. Puzzle the bear sits on one side of the PC looking at me soulfully.

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

The inspiration for “Belvedere Crescent” came from a gloomy row of Georgian terraced houses in Bristol. Once I’d been down that street I knew there was a story there, although it was years before I knew exactly what it was.

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

I read; spend time with family and friends; try to keep my garden in order and bake. Muffins are a speciality but my scones are pretty good too.

I’d love to meet up for a fresh baked muffin or scone. Sounds divine! Perhaps one day I’ll get to visit Stoke-on-Trent.

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

Being able to step out of this world and into another where I have some sort of control over what is happening.

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

Staged a fight with teddy bears to work out the moves that my characters would make.

What is the craziest thing that has ever happened to you?

Meeting an ex-pupil on an island in Thailand. We walked in to a beach café to have lunch and a voice piped up. “Hello Miss.” We both lived in Shropshire at the time and I was on holiday and she was on her way home from a gap year in Australia.

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 don’t listen to music. I practise my piece over and over again to make sure that it will sound interesting, so that people will want to buy the book.

What do you miss about being a kid?

Nothing.

List 3 interesting facts about yourself.

1 English is not my first language.

2 I once had five cats living with me.

3 I love cleaning out blocked drains. Give me draining rods and I am so happy.

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

Own up to being a writer and expect success. If you believe in yourself others will too.

Wow! I love this advice. Powerful words, Misha!

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

I’d be Letty Parker in “City of Secrets” one of my books for children. I’d love to be in her alternative Victorian Bristol, to experience the sounds and smells of the city, the threat of the Dark Ones and know that I’ll be home safe in time for tea.

Do you believe things happen for a reason?

No. Life is random and you do the best with what you are given. None of us can expect a pain free ride.

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

That is definitely determination plus a strong dash of patience. Without them I’d have given up on my writing career a long time ago.

What are you currently working on?

I’m writing the fifth book in “Adventures of Letty Parker,” a series for 8-12 year olds set in an alternative England with a dash of magic.

Tell us about your most recent book.

“Belvedere Crescent” is a Time slip novel. It is set in Bristol and is the story of twin sisters and a family curse that has repercussions through the centuries.

Abandoned as babies, twins Sadie and Thea have been brought up by Great-Aunt Jane and when she dies, they inherit her house in Belvedere Crescent. They plan to sell the only home they have ever known, but the house and its past will not let Thea go.

Haunted by the woman with the red-hair she is drawn into half understood secrets and the more she probes the greater the danger.

As everything fractures around her, she slips back in time where she finds herself alone and fighting for her very existence.

To save herself she must come to terms with her family history and let go of the person she loves most in world.

Yet the bond between sisters is one that not even time or tragedy can break.

It was lovely to have you on MTA, Misha! I really enjoyed getting to know you better. Wishing you all the best! – Camilla

Where to find the book:

The book is available at https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=Belvedere+Crescent+Misha+M+Herwin&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss

And other digital booksellers. It can also be ordered from any bookshop.

Connect with Misha:

https://www.mishahewin.wordpress.com/

FB page is http://www.facebook.com/misha.herwin

Twitter @MishaHerwin

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Friday with Friends: Doing the Tango and Writing Historic Novels

Welcome to a new series on Meeting the Authors …. Friday with Friends. On select Fridays we will feature a unique guest post/interview with an author that has previously been interviewed on MTA. Welcome to Tom Williams to help kick off this new series.

When Camilla was kind enough to offer me space to write on her blog, I asked if she had any idea what people would like to read about. She replied, “If you want to write about your passion of dancing, that may be fun.”

Well, I always love writing about tango, but I also want to encourage you to read my books. And although I keep wanting to write a book about tango, I never have yet. So can I write about my dancing and link it to any of my novels?

Oddly enough, maybe I can.

A very, very long time ago, I used to ice dance. Here’s a photo of a much younger me posing with wife, son and competition cup (we all danced on the same recreational competition team).

One of the other ice dancers had taken up Argentine tango and started teaching it and she persuaded Tammy and me to give it a go. That was over 20 years ago.

It’s fair to say that we got quite enthusiastic about it. In 2003 we made our first trip to Buenos Aires and life was never quite the same again.

We’ve been back more times than I can remember since then. We’ve danced in France, Iceland, Portugal, Turkey and Romania. We’ve tangoed for fun in parks in Barcelona and hotels in the Highlands and semi-professionally in an Army base and on a narrow-boat. Tammy has even gone dancing in Korea. Here we are dancing where we live. (Please be gentle with us – it was 10 years ago.)

As I took up writing, the idea of a book about tango obviously came up once or twice. I even started on one, but I was never able to make it work. Instead I ended up a writer of historical novels.

My first book, The White Rajah had just been turned down by all the major publishers on the grounds (mainly) that it was “too difficult for a first novel”. My agent suggested I write something more straightforwardly commercial.

But what? I started asking around my friends if they had any ideas.

On one of our trips to Buenos Aires we had met an Alaskan woman who was even more passionate about tango than we were and was living there for six months. (The most we have ever managed has been six weeks.) It was her suggestion that there were lots of interesting figures linked to the early history of European colonisation of South America and the struggles for liberation from Spain. So it was that I discovered the real-life British spy, James Burke, and his role in the 1806 British invasion of Buenos Aires. His Argentinian adventures were to become the basis for Burke in the Land of Silver.

I had a lot of fun following his footsteps around the town, exploring the remains of the old fort (now hidden away under the presidential palace) and riding out into the Andes, which he crossed on horseback. Sadly, my research into his life didn’t allow any room for tango. James Burke was active in Argentina early in the 19th century and tango only arrived almost a century later. The South American poet and historian of tango, Horacio Ferrer, writes:

“Nowadays, it is thought that between 1895 and 1900, Tango was born as a musical art clearly predestined and unmistakable.”

(Argentinian poets write like that.)


High in the Andes: not ideal dance conditions

Leaving aside issues of historical authenticity, there is limited potential for tangoing in the snow at 3,000 metres on the road to Chile, though we did get the odd dance in back in Buenos Aires. Poor James Burke, however, doesn’t get to dance at all, though he does join a group of gauchos, the cowboys of Argentina, as they sing after a cattle drive.

The guitars began to play again and everybody joined in singing long, slow songs about the loneliness and loss that seemed an inescapable part of living in this vast emptiness at the bottom of the world. The words were sad and the melodies plaintive but the singing evoked the beauty of the landscape and the passion with which they loved it.

In Argentina, many people believe that tango is principally about the songs and only secondarily about the dancing. The music of tango is the soundtrack of Buenos Aires and the songs are still songs of loss and loneliness; the struggle to find love and the inevitability of its loss. They are sad songs that somehow make you feel happy. It is true, as the great tango composer Astor Piazzolla said, that “Tango is darkness made light through art.”

The real James Burke may never have got to tango, but he did go on spying until well after the Napoleonic wars were over. He carried on in my books, too. In fact, I have just re-published the first three books (starting with Burke in the Land of Silver) ahead of publishing two new ones later this year. I’ve carried on dancing, too: the photo shows Tammy and me celebrating our Ruby Wedding two years ago.

James Burke, spy

James Burke’s published adventures take him from South America to Egypt and, inevitably for any Napoleonic wars hero, to Waterloo. His further adventures will see him up to dark deeds in Spain and Ireland. You can find out more about Burke and his world (and my other books) on my web-site: http://tomwilliamsauthor.co.uk/.

Burke in the Land of Silver

Burke and the Bedouin

Burke at Waterloo

Tom Williams

Tom Williams used to write about business but he’s given that up to indulge himself and write historical novels. Besides three books about James Burke he has three others set at the height of Empire in the mid-19th century: The White Rajah, Cawnpore and Back Home.

He lives in Richmond and, when he’s not dancing (or teaching people to dance), he spends a lot of time street skating.

Thank you for this great post! I absolutely love it, as I find it inspiring to learn more about the past and current lives of authors.  I adore the video of you and Tammy dancing. You two are beautiful! Wishing you all the best, Tom! – Camilla

Social Media Links

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

Twitter: @TomCW99

Blog: http://tomwilliamsauthor.co.uk/blog/

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Latest News: Top Interviews With Most Views for June 2020

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Meet the Author: Gina’s Therapy by Silvia Sbaraini

Today we travel to Canterbury, Kent, in the UK to chat with Silvia Sbaraini about how answering questions, ideas in the middle of the night, an elephant, an attic bedroom, listening to the radio, transcendence, tarot-reading workshops, advice from Grandma, sand martins, and chocolate truffles come together as part of Silvia’s current and past life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hello! My name’s Silvia and I live in Canterbury, Kent, in the UK. I’ve lived in the same house for over twenty years and feel I know it like an old friend (and occasional enemy, when bits of it go wrong). It’s 7 pm on a Wednesday evening during lockdown: Grown-up Daughter Number 2 is downstairs assembling dinner, complete with swearing and the radio turned up loud; my husband is in the front room watching reruns of old football matches because there’s no live sport; and I’m sitting at my desk looking at lists of all the life admin I need to do, but still haven’t got around to. And deciding to answer Camilla’s great questions instead …

Sounds wonderful. Everyone doing their own thing, with a bit of swearing and procrastination thrown in! HA!

In which genre do you write?

I write women’s fiction.

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

Ideas or beginnings, particularly for short stories, wake me up during the night. Then I have to get up and start writing, otherwise I’m guaranteed to forget them. I don’t know how many stories I’ve lost because I didn’t want to get out of bed at 4 am!

What would you choose as your spirit animal and why?

An elephant. Aren’t they amazing? Their size, their build, how they live in their social groups. I wouldn’t fancy being pregnant for twenty-two months though.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

Light, bright and uncluttered, with a great view. Sometimes I write upstairs in the attic bedroom, which has a view of rooftops, the cathedral and an expansive sky. It’s a lovely place to work.

What are you currently reading?

I’m just about to begin The Gyspy Bride by my friend and fellow author Katie Hutton. It’s a romance-cum-family saga set in Oxfordshire between the wars. I’m really looking forward to this one as Katie writes the most beautiful, evocative descriptions. I’m not sure I’d have the confidence to write historical fiction – I’d be too afraid of getting the period details wrong!

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

Well, it’s about a woman in her forties who is just getting on with her life – like we all do – when she receives a serious health diagnosis out of the blue. I’d been listening to the radio and they were talking about living with serious illness. And I thought: how would you cope? What would be the impact? Would it make you live life differently? This was the spark for the story.

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

Being a bit of a perfectionist/obsessive is quite helpful. To do anything creative well, it’s actually positive to have these characteristics – the desire to makes something as good as it can be, even if that means rereading and re-writing the same sentence a hundred times.

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

Escape or transcendence. When fully in the flow of writing I’m transported into that other world. It’s totally absorbing – nothing else exists and I lose track of time. My husband always says I’m happiest when writing. Also, I get a tremendous amount from reading, whether that be entertainment, being immersed in a completely different world or a sense of not feeling alone. Words have such power.

I absolutely agree with you … Words have incredible power!

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

Well, one of the central characters in the book I’m currently writing is an eighty-three-year-old psychic who reads tarot cards. So, in the interests of research, I’m taking part in regular tarot-reading workshops. I have to say, I’ve met a lovely, welcoming bunch of people, and I’m becoming much more familiar with the meanings of the cards. I haven’t discovered any latent psychic ability though (I think I was secretly hoping I would).

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

I love the way you’ve reversed this question! When I was a teenager, I’d ask my grandma what she’d learnt about life, what advice she’d give about how to live it. All she’d ever reply was, ‘Enjoy yourself while you’re young.’ Now, this might seem to be advice that my Old Self should give my Young Self, but, seeing as Grandma classed everyone under retirement age as ‘young’, it’s still advice my Young Self could give my Old Self. I’m fifty and not one of those people who ‘still feels twenty inside’. No. I feel every one of my fifty years but, sometimes, it would be good to remind myself that fifty is young to an eighty-year-old.

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

I initially chose a female character I’m writing at the moment, but – do you know what? – I think I’d choose Olly, a male character in my most recently published book: Gina’s Therapy. He’s the hopeless ex-husband of the eponymous heroine; he’s handsome, an artist, popular with the ladies and, unfortunately, Gina is still in love with him. I’m choosing him because I think it would be amazing to experience being the opposite sex. Would I find it actually made little difference to my sense of self, my drives and outlook or would I feel fundamentally different?

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

I absolutely love where I live – Canterbury, in Kent. We’ve been going for lots of walks in local woods due to lockdown, and it’s been wonderful to see them gently unfurling into new life – with wild flowers dotting the undergrowth and a fresh canopy of vibrant green leaves. There’s a great coastline walk from the local town of Herne Bay to Reculver. Here, the grassy cliffs meet the pebbly beach and your eye is drawn to the twin towers of a ruined church. At this time of year (May) there are lots of sand martins nesting in the cliffs, darting over the tuffty grasses and scrubby, sea-loving plants catching insects. Canterbury itself is an historic city with the cathedral at its heart and the River Stour winding through it. There are ancient churches, beautiful public parks and secret gardens, not to mention fab shops and a brilliant theatre. I’ll stop now, as I’m beginning to sound like a tourist brochure!

It sounds amazing. Now you’ve got me adding this to my bucket list!

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

In bed with a book. Maybe with a storm lashing at the windows and howling down the chimney, removing any guilt about retreating into bed. And a box of chocolate truffles …

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

My most recent novel is called Gina’s Therapy and it was released in April 2020. As it came out during lockdown, it’s currently primarily available as an ebook on Amazon. But, when lockdown eases and book distributors and bookshops begin to operate again, the paperbacks will be available. I think the blurb on the back cover sums it up best:

Gina has enough to deal with for one week: a disapproving daughter, her ex-psychotherapist living next door and a hopeless ex-husband she’s still in love with. Without a diagnosis of cancer.

Catapulted into the unknown territory of surgery, chemo and support groups, Gina faces her predicament with strength, wit and a faithful pair of elasticated-waist trousers. As treatment progresses, Gina finds herself asking surprising questions. Will she ever be able to concentrate on what her oncologist is saying, without being distracted by his enormous moustache? Should her best friend’s thirty-year love of David Essex prevent her advice from being taken seriously? And how will she explain her bald bonce to her seven-year-old granddaughter?

Blessed with the ability to delight in life’s absurdities and contradictions, Gina’s Therapy is a warm-hearted exploration of the things that matter most in life and the power of stories to transform our experience.

Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to take part in Meet the Authors – it’s been an absolute pleasure!

It was great having you on MTA, Silvia. I truly enjoyed your interview, laughing out loud! And, now I know what a bonce is … I had no idea and thought you had made a typo. Decided I better look it up before “fixing” it for you. Ha! – Camilla

Book Trailer:

Connect with Silvia:

www.silviasbaraini.com

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

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Meet the Author: That’s Our Home by Jude Lennon

Today we travel to Liverpool to chat with Jude Lennon about how being a former teacher, having a storytelling business, writing Christmas plays, a lamb, eating chocolate, drinking gin, a VW campervan, and beaches come together as part of Jude’s past and current life.

Tell us something about yourself.

I’m Jude Lennon a former teacher who loved writing who is now an author who loves storytelling. I live in Liverpool with my partner Dom. He’s a musician so it’s a very creative but not particularly tidy household. I was a teacher for 18 years before leaving the chalk face to set up my storytelling business. When not in Lockdown, my days are spent visiting schools to deliver storytelling sessions, meet the author talks, writing workshops and drama workshops. I also run writing courses for adults and a yearly writing retreat. I try to write every day, even if it’s just a few hundred words.

In which genre do you write?

Mostly children’s picture and chapter books but I’ve written a collection of short stories for adults and my current WIP is a full length novel for adults.

How many published books do you have?

19

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

I’ve written for as long as I can remember and my career as a teacher (I taught 3, 4, 5 and 6 year old’s) gave me the opportunity for lots of writing. I was always making up stories for the children in my class or writing the Christmas play or assemblies. It was actually other people including work colleagues who suggested I should try to get my work published. I entered a writing competition, was crowned The Disney Winnie the Pooh Laureate for the North West of England and that was that.

What would you choose as your mascot, and why?

I’m a professional storyteller as well as writer. The storytelling business is Little Lamb Tales and I have a mascot called Lamby. He and his girlfriend Flossie accompany me everywhere and I mean everywhere. They even came with us to South America for a 6 week adventure a couple of years ago.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

Although I have an office at home, I’m very much a pen and paper girl initially so I like to have a notebook to hand and just write when the feeling takes me. Sometimes in bed, sometimes on a beach, sometimes at the dining table looking out of the window. As long as I have a notebook and pen I’m happy. When I come to type my stories up and editing it’s the laptop in my office.

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

That’s Our Home! is a children’s picture book about keeping the beaches clean. The idea came from my sister-in-law who was doing a beach clean and found a whole picnic wrapped in a towel and buried in the sand. I was so outraged I felt compelled to write a story.

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

Read, eat chocolate, drink gin, go walking, have jam nights with my friends where we sit around sing, laugh and talk (and drink gin). Preferably combine all of the above on a camping trip.

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

Children’s faces when I read my books to them and being told my books were like Julia Donaldson! I ate out on that for a week ha ha.

What do you miss about being a kid?

I’m still a big kid. Play and using my imagination is still important but having the time and freedom to really devote time to it like I did as a child is what I miss the most.

List 3 interesting facts about yourself.

I own a beautiful 1974 VW campervan named Buttercup who appears in one of my books.

I once drove a different VW campervan called Poppy around Australia. The stars look amazing from a campfire in the outback.

Yes I am related to you know who.

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

“Hi I believe you sell hats. As you can see this one is a little small for me! Have you got anything bigger?”

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

The beach. I don’t even mind which one. I just love being by the sea. I grew up in Southport which is 30 miles up the coast from Liverpool. The sea doesn’t really come in but the smell of the sea has been in my nose since I was born. If I had to choose one beach location – Hell’s Mouth on the Llyn Peninsular in Wales.

What are you currently working on?

A full length novel with the working title Tea is the Cure for Everything. Due for release in 2021 ish.

Tell us about your most recent book.

I published my latest book ‘That’s Our Home!’ on 20th March. Great timing hey?! It’s a children’s picture book (illustrated by the wonderfully talented Lisa Williams) written in rhyme which explores the issue of keeping our beaches clean. The three main characters Seagull, Crab and Starfish have a very important message to spread.

It was wonderful to have you be a part of MTA, Jude. It sure sounds like you have tons of fun! Wishing you all the best! – Camilla

Where to find the book:

It’s available from Amazon and of course all good bookshops when they re-open. https://littlelambpublishing.co.uk/product/thats-our-home/

Connect with Jude:

Facebook – www.facebook.com/JudeLennonAuthor

Twitter – www.twitter.com/JudeLennonBooks

Instagram – www.instagram.com/JudeLennonBooks

Ko-fi – www.ko-fi.com/JudeLennon

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Book Shelf – Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Ever read a sentence in a book (or any writing) that reaches into your heart, gently opening a place where longing and sadness stay in hiding, something you’ve forgotten is even there (or pretend isn’t there), until you read just the right words, in just the right moment?

This sentence did that to me (for me?) yesterday. “I bet you could sometimes find all of the mysteries of the universe in someone’s hand.” Reading this sentence caused my eyes to sweat.

I absolutely loved this book, devoured it even. I’d had it on my list for over 2 years, as part of a list of books to read before suggesting them to Thomas and Lillian. I read it in two days, finding it hard to set aside. Beautiful, powerful book. – Camilla

U.S. Amazon: https://amzn.to/2BuBl3a

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(The above is an amazon affiliate link.)