Book Shelf: Butterfly Tree by Sandra Markle

**Throwback to 2016** – From the time Thomas and Lillian were born (2005 and 2001) I read to them nightly before going to bed; leading to some time in 2017 when we all decided to discontinue doing so. Their tastes in what interested each of them had solidified by this point. We all continue to be heavy readers, reading daily.

Butterfly Tree by Sandra Markle

Great story of the wonder and mystery of the migration of monarch butterflies. Made it into a great mystery! Cool!

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“Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Bookshop.org and I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.”

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

Meet the Author: The Black Fire Chronicles by Kim Rigby

Today we travel to Raymond Terrace in Australia to chat with Kim Rigby about how the Royal Australian Navy, Lupus, tropical fish, the realms of spirituality, Billy Connolly, a sense of community, roller skating, singing, Monet, and Sydney Harbour play roles in Kim’s current and past life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m Australian, and I live in a small town called Raymond Terrace, near Newcastle in New South Wales (approximately two hours north of Sydney). Raymond Terrace has been home for the past two years, but I’ve lived in many places in Australia, thanks in no small part to twelve years in the Royal Australian Navy. I’m married for the second time, with no children as I have the autoimmune condition Lupus. I’m the doting fur mum of a grey cat called Max, and of numerous tropical fish!

In which genre do you write?

For the past few years, I’ve written a fantasy adventure series called The Black Fire Chronicles. It started off being middle grade, but it seems my stories are ageing along with the readers, and they are now aimed at young adults and adults.

How many published books do you have?

There are currently five books in the series, plus a novella prequel.

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

I was young, probably eight years old. My brothers were much older than me and not interested in playing with their little sister, so life at home was filled with books. I also had a wonderful school teacher who read to us all the time. I caught up with him 20 years ago, and he presented me with a story I wrote in 1979. It was a blatant rip-off of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but it was the start of all my scribbles!

What are you currently reading?

I’m reading The Healer’s Awakening, an ARC historic women’s novel by the lovely Helen Pryke. This is the third in the series, and I love the gentle overlapping of time and place in each of the books, and the growing story of the healers, their triumphs and tragedies.

I’m also reading The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig. This man has a stunning writing style, and he’s my new idol.

Camilla: I’ve got The Midnight Library on hold at the library. Can’t wait until it’s my turn. 

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

My books revolve around hero Andrew Adler, his extraordinary pets Ralph (and Winston in my work-in-progress), and his human guardians Dorothy, Patrick, and Angus. I wrote Patrick the War Man in 2020 about a man who experienced nearly all theatres of war in the 20th Century through a trick of time. Patrick believed war was the answer to his own anguish. Instead he discovered, friendship, loss, and love. The book is part homage to my own grandfather, who fought at Gallipoli, and part homage to the men and women who have silently served in the defence force.

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

When I’m not writing or reading, you’ll find me in the garden, or pursuing knowledge within the realms of spirituality and self-help. I strive to become a better person, as I feel change must start within ourselves.

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

I’d love to sit down with Billy Connolly. He’s the consummate storyteller, famous but with immense humility, and now a certain fragility due to Parkinson’s Disease. I could learn a lot from him, and have a laugh along the way!

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

A sense of community with other writers. I’m a fairly shy person, so finding myself in a number of writer’s groups and pages has made all the difference. I’m deeply grateful to Helen Pryke Domi, Sarah Northwood, Kayleigh Louise Brown, and many others who have extended an extremely long arm of friendship all the way to Australia!

Camilla: I agree with you about the sense of community and the lovey group that Helen and the other ladies have created. That’s how you and I met, too! 

List 3 interesting facts about yourself.

I learned to roller skate when I was five, but I’m still absolutely rubbish at riding a bike.
I was a soccer goalkeeper at university, because no one else wanted to do it!
I love singing! I had a good voice, but if fails me sometimes, as my vocal chords were damaged when my thyroid was removed in 2011.

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

Hands down I’d turn into Andrew Adler’s kooky neighbour, Dorothy Jordan. Dorothy’s childhood was my childhood, but I envy Dorothy’s ability to time step and visit Monet in his glorious garden, and Vita Sackville-West in her famous White garden at Sissinghurst.

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

My favourite places always involve some form of history, so for me it’s Sydney. You’ll find Sydney popping up in my stories again and again because there are many places where you can stop and imagine yourself stepping into the past. This overlap of time and history has always fascinated me, and you’ll see examples of this in The Rocks area, the older suburbs like Balmain and Paddington, and down by the water on Sydney Harbour.

What are you currently working on?

My current WIP is a continuation of hero Andrew Adler’s story. In The Black Fire Chronicles – The Hag, Andrew discovers he is a key figure in an ancient prophecy. Meanwhile, his personal life is torn apart by the reappearance of a dark and devious character, the Hag. Who is she, and why does she plague Andrew and his guardians? And who is her new and dangerous henchman? If you like a fantasy adventure with love, loss, time travel, and history, The Hag will be out early 2021.

Which book should we read first in the series?

Start reading The Black Fire Chronicles – Origins.

It was lovely learning more about you and your writing style, Kim. Wishing you all the best and I look forward to our blossoming friendship! – Camilla

Where to find the book:

Amazon: http://mybook.to/BFC1

Connect with Kim:

Website: https://kimrigby.com/

Social Media:

facebook: https://facebook.com/kimrigbywriter
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kimrigby27/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/kimrigby27
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Meet the Author: Christmas Island by Natalie Normann

Today we travel to Oslo, Norway to chat with Natalie Normann about how hygge, living in Spain, watching dubbed TV, dragons, Viking ships, writing a book in English, and book treasure hunts come together as part of Natalie’s current and past life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hi. I’m in Oslo, Norway, where it’s getting darker and colder by the minute. We have a saying in Norway – well, it’s a line from a Christmas song – that Christmas will last until Easter, and with the year we’d all had, I wouldn’t mind. I need all the cosy and hygge I can get.

In which genre do you write?

I write contemporary romance in English and historical romance series in Norwegian.

How many published books do you have?

I had to use a calculator for this. By the end of 2020, I will have published 63 books, and finished another that will be out early next year.

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

When I was twelve we moved to Spain and I had to live without books for three years. I went to a Norwegian School and I had read all the books in the tiny school library already. The public library only had books in Spanish, which didn’t help me at all.

We had a TV, but everything on it was dubbed, we couldn’t understand a word, but that didn’t stop us from watching. We would guess what the characters said and have a grand time trying to figure what the story was, and from there I started writing what would now be called fanfiction.

Later, when I saw movies that I had only seen dubbed, the story was usually very different from what I had imagined. Three years later we returned to Norway, but by then I was in the habit of writing and I wrote my first novel at 14. It was not very good, but it was a whole story.

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

I have the TV on while I write. It keeps the restless and unfocused part of my brain occupied, while I write. That usually mean I only see bits and pieces of a movies, but I can live with that. It works best if it’s something I have seen before, so I don’t get engaged in the story.

What would you choose as your mascot, and why?

A dragon, no contest. Viking ships had dragon heads, my grandfather carved dragon heads that he put on his garage roof, and I loved the dragons in Cardiff when I lived there.

Dragons are awesome.

What are you currently reading?

One Kiss Before Christmas by Emma Jackson. It’s lovely.

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

It showed up when I was writing Summer Island. Throughout the story, Jack, my British main character, talks to his sister Holly on the mobile. She’s fascinated by his adventure on a Norwegian island. So, of course Holly needed her own story. It grew from there.

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

I’m basically a lazy person, and I’m really good at thinking about doing things, and not so good at following through. When I became a full time writer – with a contract to write six books a year – and I actually managed to find the self-discipline to do that, nobody was more shocked than me. But it was fun and it was paid work, and I had a great time writing. Still do.

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

I got to write a book in English. That’s pretty crazy and something I never thought I would be able to do. And now I have written two!

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

I’m very confident and calm before something like this, especially if it’s not happening for a while. And then, about half an hour before it starts, I have an anxiety attack, and if there’s nobody there to either introduce me or ask me questions, I freeze like a deer in headlights. It’s really embarrassing and so annoying, because I would like to do well, I love talking about books and writing, and I keep hoping I’ll get used to it. Maybe one day.

What do you miss about being a kid?

I miss all the reading time I had, the wonderful excitement of discovering new books and new writers. It was like a treasure hunt. I would read everything I could get my hands on. Now, I have to manage my time and that’s not fun at all.

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

I would tell myself not to take everything so serious and to have more fun.

Tell us about your most recent book.

It’s the story of Holly, a very stressed, just graduated doctor, who has an episode at the hospital where she works. She is suspended while the hospital tries to figure out what to do with her. Her brother suggest that she comes to the Norwegian island where he lives, for a change of scenery, cozy surroundings and good food.

It was great wonderful to have you on MTA, Natalie! I very much enjoyed learning more about you and your writing style. Wishing you all the best! – Camilla

Book Trailer:

Where to find the book:

Christmas Island is published on the 30th of November as an ebook.

It will be available everywhere they sell ebooks.

Connect with Natalie:

Twitter: @NatalieNormann1

Instagram: natalienormann

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/NatalieNormannAuthor

Pinterest: Natalie Normann

http://mybook.to/ChristmasInNorway

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Book Shelf: Anywhere That Is Wild – John Muir’s First Walk to Yosemite

Anywhere That Is Wild – John Muir’s First Walk to Yosemite – edited by Peter & Donna Thomas

Apparently Muir never published details of his first walk to Yosemite. This husband and wife team poured hours into researching Muir’s writings to put together this short book detailing his walk, in Muir’s own words. It was interesting to read his descriptions of seeing the area for the first time.

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Meet the Author: The Foley Chronicles: Files from the 8th District by Nathan E Bush

Today we travel to south Alabama, USA, to chat with Nathan Bush about how the Army, having five kids, Tolkien, Dungeons and Dragons, writing for his high school newspaper, coffee, music, the American Bald Eagle, spending time outside, and feeling connected to the people he has created are a part of Nathan’s past and current life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

–Hey, hello there! Thanks so much for inviting me over, Camilla. Whew, I wasn’t expecting such a large audience. I sure hope I don’t make a fool of myself in front of all these people.

–A brief intro, huh? Well, I guess that’s why we’re here. So these fine fans can get to know me. Oh, where to begin. Simple is best. My name’s Nathan Bush, but some call me Poppa Nate. Most assume it’s because I’m old and have grandkids (we have 2, for now, hint hint), but it actually stems from the time my wife Tammy and I spent working with the teens at our church, which lasted for ten years (and can definitely make you feel old). Oh, yeah, I’m s’posed to be giving my intro. Let’s see…I’m an indie author living in south Alabama, US. I’ve lived here since separating from the Army in ’97. During the last 23 years I’ve met my best friend, and married her, increased the family from two kids to five (our oldest is about to turn 30 and the youngest is almost 6), worked my butt off for others and myself, and basically lived a life that I wouldn’t change for any reason.

In which genre do you write?

–Hm, my genre? My flash fiction, which I put on my WordPress blog, is all over the place. But my main work, The Foley Chronicles: Files from the 8th District, is dropped into a tiny niche that I’ve dubbed faith-based crime, with an attitude. Basically, I have taken crime fiction and tossed in a bit of the thriller, action, humor, a fraction of romance, and religious genres for a little extra oomph. And while my writing is clean, it’s by no means G rated. As fans of my work can tell you, I go into some detail describing the murders in my stories, as well the crime scenes, and most importantly, why my antagonists do what they do (which is where the attitude comes from – well, that and one of my detectives is not your run of the mill goody two-shoes).

How many published books do you have?

–Currently I have 4 books out in The Foley Chronicles series, as well as 1 short story in another series that’s called The Foley Chronicles: Dark Side of Foley (kind of like having side stories that will give extra information on certain characters that doesn’t get into the main books). I’m also working on book 5 for the 8th District series and number 2 in the Dark Side series, not to mention the innumerable ideas floating around in my noggin’.

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

–I would say that reading Tolkien, King, Burroughs, Anthony, and tons of other amazing authors sparked the kindling for my writing. Also, playing Dungeons and Dragons and Dark Tower (if anyone remembers that awesome electronic game bonus points for you) as a kid helped, as well. Most of my early writing was in the fantasy genre. Actually, my first complete short story was fantasy (in the 8th grade). I started writing in middle and high school, all short stories, and flash fiction (of course I didn’t know what flash fiction was back then, so I called everything a short story). I wrote for the high school newspaper and literary magazine, so technically I’ve been a published author since the 80’s 😉.

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

–Well, I don’t know if it could be called a writing quirk, or even interesting for that matter, but I don’t overload myself with research for my books. Not that I’m saying I wing it, either. I like to get just enough crime scene science, and other pertinent information, into the stories to make them believable, without becoming overly tedious with details. For example, I’ve picked the brain of my Pastor to make sure the Scripture I used wasn’t out of context. And I’ve picked the brain of a FANmily member who’s a lawyer and contacted a line manager of a forensics tools company to make sure I used their equipment correctly (for my current WIP). I also have four things that go into every book (if you don’t count the use of Scripture): coffee, music, specific medical facts, and there’s always some unrelated misdeed being brought to light because of the murders taking place (that’s my little way of showing that there are no secret sins, they will always be found out).

What would you choose as your mascot, and why?

–Finally, something simple to answer! I use the American Bald Eagle for my “publishing” logo, which is plastered on the back cover of my books (not a real publishing company, but it looks impressive, I think). I chose the Eagle because my life verse is Isaiah 40:28-31, which basically says that God’s got unlimited strength and power that He gives to the weak and weary when we need it, so we can carry on.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

–Well, my ideal writing space would be neat, clean, comfortable and inviting. What do I have? A jumbled up desk covered with books, photos, papers, and assorted bric-a-brac, and an impossibly uncomfortable chair, all crammed into half of our guest bedroom. But I can’t complain too much. The desk and chair were free, the books are my published works and assorted research reading material, the pictures are of my family, and the room is so crowded nobody ever stays in it when they do come home to visit. So, it’s basically mine…all mine! Hahahaaaaaaa.

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

–Where they all come from…out of my…no, no, JK. My current WIP came about while writing book 4, Preying Games. I threw in a non-related murder scene for two of my detectives that weren’t critical to book 4, just to give them something to do when their current case ended (can’t let these guys languish – there’s no telling what kind of trouble they’ll get themselves into if left to their own devices). It is actually making the current WIP a little more difficult, since it has to coincide with the last one (the timelines of the two books overlap – a first for me).

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

–Marketing? What’s that? Ha ha. JK. Nope, not really. Who’s got time for that? So, when I’m not writing I’m working or hanging with the family. Both activities keep me busy. I work full time outside the home ☹. Now, now, don’t be too sad, it pays the bills…mostly. After work, the majority of the afternoon/early evening is spent helping take care of our youngest daughter, who’s been diagnosed on the Spectrum (ASD). She’s a challenge and a handful, but I wouldn’t trade her for anything. Not that I’d give up any of my other kids, either. We spend quite a bit of time outside, since she loves swinging, jumping on the trampoline, and playing in her pool. Once she’s down for the night, the wife and I usually veg out in front of the TV, and sometimes talk during commercials (if we aren’t too tired, that is).

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

–Probably that I can affect/entertain other people with what comes out of my head, and not just me. And the fact that I can feel so connected to people that I’ve created. Getting emotional while reading or watching something someone else made is one thing, but to feel those emotions for my own characters…WOW, certainly never expected that. I still get misty eyed when I reread my first book, Written in Blood.

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

–This goes back to the quirky writing question where I mentioned my Pastor. I actually used him, via email, to create realistic conversations in two separate chapters of book 3, Twisted Christian. One chapter was between the Christian detective and another nonbelieving detective. The second was between the Christian detective and the [Twisted]Christian antagonist, who’s scriptural interpretations were slightly skewed (hence the name of the book). I wanted the scenes to be genuine and spontaneous. I set up the scenes, then we just conversed. I think it worked perfectly.

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

–There you go, making this hard for me again. My youngest daughter coming along. She is truly an inspiration to me. Her arrival in our home was a game changer and showed us that God answers prayers in His own time, and how He chooses. The fact that she perseveres through difficulties, grows daily in her abilities, and has come so far in such a short time, brings a lump to my throat and pride into my spirit. She has a long way to go, and probably won’t ever be classified as “typical”, but that will never diminish who she is, and what she’s meant to be. And if you want to learn more about my thoughts and ramblings on what life on the Spectrum is like, you can catch it on my blog, www.nathanswritingagain.wordpress.com, in the Unexpected Spectrum folder.

Sorry if I’m rambling too much. Shall we end on a few simple questions, then? Shoot, I’ll do my best to entertain.

What do you miss about being a kid?

–Oh, that’s easy. No responsibilities. And no responsibilities. And…yep…no responsibilities.

List 3 interesting facts about yourself.

–I could try, but there really aren’t any.

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

–Whoo boy, you opened a can with this one. I’d probably have to say Berg Anderson. Aside from John Filcher, the great Christian leader, he’s the next favorite character. Mainly because he doesn’t give a single hoot what other people think about him. He’s who he is and won’t apologize for it, regardless of how many times it gets him into trouble. And though he’s had a turbulent career, he gets the job done. As for what I’d do, it certainly wouldn’t be what Berg does. Not if I want to have a clean conscience. I just think it’d be such a change to be able to just be, without the worries of who it affects. Truth be told, I kinda live vicariously through him. Just don’t tell anyone I said that, cause I’ll deny it 100%.

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

–Hey, first of all, a penguin in my tub is really no ones concern but my own. However, if you must know, he was returning my sombrero. Secondly, he wanted me to know that Paula Barr misses me. Paula’s from the South Pole, if you couldn’t tell.

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

–Funny you should ask that. I don’t have any pets.

One more? I suppose so. Go ahead.

Tell us about your most recent book.

–Okay, I guess this is a good way to end things. Well, Preying Games, book 4 in my series, was just recently published in July of this year. It took way longer to complete than I wanted, due to some medical setbacks with my wife. I usually average about a book a year, but this was one two years from start to finish. It’s all about a woman (Amy) who’s tired of being trampled on by the men in her life, so she sets about to get even. She creates a profile on a dating site to lure in her would be victims, then chooses those she deems to be high profile targets, because she wants the world to see just how jacked up the rich and powerful men of Foley really are. She wants to rid the population of their presence, but more than that, she wants to humiliate them in death. Lucky for her (and me), she’s a tech wizard, so tracking her down is no simple matter for the crime fighting detectives. You can find out all about Amy, the other degenerate killers hiding out in Foley, as well as an assortment of colorful characters, and follow the lives of the Eighth District Homicide Detectives by going to author.to/NathanBushAuthor. You can also become a FANmily member by following me on FB @ Nathan Bush-Author; www.nathanswritingagain.wordpress.com.

Well, it’s been a blast being grilled like a suspect. The polygraph didn’t help. Thanks for having me over anyway. I think I learned a lot. Like, maybe next time we do this through Skype. See ya round, Camilla. Thanks for joining us everybody.

It was great to have you on MTA and to learn more about you and your writing style. Wishing you all the best, Nathan! – Camilla

Where to find the book:

www.amazon.com/nathanbushthefoleychronicles

Connect with Nathan:

author.to/NathanBushAuthor

FB @ Nathan Bush-Author

www.nathanswritingagain.wordpress.com

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Book Shelf: Itch by Polly Farquhar

Itch by Polly Farquhar

My daughter, Lillian, read this book and suggested it for me, as she thought I might like it. Remember being in sixth grade, not fitting in, being a misfit? Isaac’s just trying to fit in, but he’s got this itch, an itch that strikes without warning. The story begins with a tornado hitting Isaac’s Ohio town, progressing to the point of Isaac having to decide just how far he’ll go to fit in, and make friends. I enjoyed reading this one. The story kept me engaged throughout!

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Latest News: Bookshop – Supporting Local, Independent Bookstores

Have you heard of Bookshop.org?

From their website:

“Bookshop.org is an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores. We believe that bookstores are essential to a healthy culture and we are a benefit corporation, a company dedicated to the common good.

Bookshop is a new company—just ten months old—and we have been blown away by the support we’ve gotten from people like you, who have driven over $8.4 million dollars in profit to local, independent bookstores this year

Starting now (Friday, November 27, 2020 – Monday, November 30, 2020), Bookshop is offering FREE SHIPPING on all orders placed through our website with standard mail. No special code needed. It’s the perfect opportunity to shop for everyone on your list and support independent bookstores at the same time!”

I have signed up as an affiliate for Bookshop as I fully support and believe in their mission. From this point forward whenever I post in the Book Shelf category, I will link to the book on Bookshop.

I have a storefront on the site, one in which I am slowly populating with books I’ve read and books I wish to read. If you’ve not heard of Bookshop, head and over check it out: https://bookshop.org/shop/CamillaDowns.

You can use this feature to search for books …

If you’ve created, or when you create your storefront, let us know about it in the comments section. Thank you!

Meet the Author: The Last Day of June by Edward Yeoman

Today we travel to a small stone house just outside Caunes Minervois, in the South of France, to chat with Edward Yeoman about how a science background, a portfolio career, naturism, being a storyteller, a love of music, a bee, olive trees, running a holiday gite, Portugal, and the Indian Ocean come together as part of Edward’s current and past life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I did the school and university thing, a science background, before having decided what I wanted to do. As a result, I had a bit of a portfolio career; as the current term for jumping from one line of work to another is described. Then I retired, invented Ted Bun and started writing stories about a naturist policeman, a series of light, amusing romances.

Other stories followed, most involving naturism, but some not. There was a story I wanted to write that was more serious.

That story was “The Last Day of June”.

It is very different, no naked people, no big laughs. So different I decided to bring myself out of retirement and publish in my given name.

Currently, you can find me living, with my wife, in a small stone house just outside Caunes Minervois, in the South of France.

In which genre do you write?

This is fun!

I can’t settle on what genre the Last Day of June fits into … I’d go for Romance if pushed or Historical Fiction or Political Fiction or Family Fiction. The one thing I’m sure of, it is definitely Fiction.

Romance or Romantic Comedy or Cosy Crime would encompass most of the rest of my output; (as Ted Bun) The Uncovered Policeman is a love story in ten parts and another one in two parts. Even my Dystopian Fiction piece has an undoubtedly romantic thread running through it.

How many published books do you have?

This is my first in my real name … however Ted Bun has 25 books out, plus several Short Stories on Kindle.

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

I am not really an author. I am a storyteller. I write my stories down to share my amusement with other people.

It started with a play on BBC Radio 4, I was in the car and had an appointment to keep. Be late or hear the end of the play? I was professional and missed the ending. Stuck in traffic on the way home I made up my version of the ending.

Years later I had the time to compose whole narratives.

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

My love of music, that results in songs being referenced (note referenced never quoted!) through my books. A tool I use for giving a feel of time and place or to put ideas into my characters heads.

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

A Bee.

The female lead in my first story is named Beatrice, Bea. Ashe developed into the character that I built a world around. A character that influences the lives of others, even people she never meets.

The Bee, of course, is an industrious creature and I try to match its work rate!

What does your ideal writing space look like?

It is a warm sunny corner of the garden, near the swimming pool. The nightingales are giving it large in the olive trees that protect the area from public gaze. There is a comfortable sunlounger and a small table with room for a cool drink, a notebook and a pencil.

I create stories in my head, sometimes even redrafting them three or four times before I commit them to the keyboard, sometimes days later. I am after all a storyteller, not an author!

What are you currently reading?

On the recommendation of my wife, The Chateau of Illusions by Guy Hibbert, a story set in France during roughly the same period as The Last Day of June. I am only halfway through and it is keeping me engaged.

If it is the same story … I published first!

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

One autumn evening in 1974, I sat on the Dining Hall floor in Elliott College at the University of Kent, Canterbury to watch a concert performance by Al Stewart.

During the show, he performed most of the songs from his just-released album “Past, Present and Future.” Out of all the incredibly good material he performed that night two songs stuck out for the wonderful images they created in my mind’s eye. “Soho, Needless to Say” was one, the other was the inspiration for this book “The Last Day of June 1934”.

 

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

My wife and I run a holiday gite in the summer. I’m kept busy looking after the pool and the gardens plus cooking for our guests a couple of times a week.

During the winter we cuddle up in front of the log burner.

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

Companionship, I joined a writer’s group, here in the Occitanie. We find a great deal of pleasure in sharing and critiquing each other’s work. Even in the dark days of ‘Le Confinement’ we have carried on through the medium of Zoom!

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

For three years I ran a holiday centre in Portugal, the place was only held together by the paint that my team of helpers applied every spring. Despite that, there was a special spirit about the place.

I took that spirit and transferred into a setting that matched it. The fictional L’Abeille Nue resort that becomes the location of many of Ted Bun’s books.

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

Would you believe it was Shirley Valentine. As I was writing Problems and Passions I found that there were echoes of my memory of the film and the story I was writing. I finished the final draft, then watched the film. I decided that there was enough clear, blue water between the two stories for Pauline Collins and Melody Fabricant (my heroine) to swim safely.

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

Somewhere in the Indian Ocean. The sun is setting on what has been a hot, clear, da. I am sitting on the deck of boat, a cold drink in hand watching the flying fish playing in the wake.

Something I have always wanted to do since reading a very old book of my father’s. It was about two children on the old Queen Mary, a toy sailor and falling into a book they were looking at. I think it must have been published during the Second World War from one picture.

What are you currently working on?

I am writing my first YA Fantasy story in between a new story for crime busters (Mick) Cooke and (Samantha) Loch and a cookery book (don’t ask!)

Tell us about your most recent book.

The Last Day of June was inspired by the 1974 song by Al Stewart, The Last Day of June 1934.

Each of the three verses is a beautifully described vignette of the day from the point of view of three young men: a French farm labourer, a well-to-do English socialite and a young German. The three verses inspire the first three chapters of story. From there we follow the main characters through the years.

From the Night of the Long Knives, when forces loyal to Hitler removed all effective opposition to his rule in a single bloody night – 30th June 1934. Through the brutality of World War 2 into the years of peace that followed. They fall in love, have children and grow older. Their lives intertwining, bringing them closer … again!

It was great having you on MTA, and learning more about your books and background. Wishing you all the best, Edward! – Camilla

The blurb

On the notorious Night of the Long Knives forces loyal to Adolph Hitler moved to eliminate opposition and challengers to Hitler’s position as leader of the Nazi party. Eighty-five political figures were executed without trial. The threatening power of the irregular SA, the thuggish Brown Shirts, was curtailed. Any potential opposition had lost all senior leadership overnight. In a single swift action, Hitler had consolidated power in his hands. The date?

Last Day of June 1934

Three narratives, each starting from an image inspired by a verse of the Al Stewart song ‘The Last Day of June 1934’ twist and cross over the years that follow.

The decades roll past; dangerous times. times for loving, sad times, times of joy, lives lived.

A journey through the sixty years that saw Europe torn apart through warfare and rebuilt; from the viewpoints of three very different families!

“I started to read it and couldn’t put it down!” Robert Whiston-Crisp

“Definitely a book to curl up with as the nights draw in.” Richard Savin author of the Girl In The Bakers Van

“War is hell, yet stories about the war can be fascinating” An American reader

“WOW” Bryce Mclean, USA

Where to find the book:

http://mybook.to/LDJune

or

The Shop Counter

Who is Edward Yeoman

Edward Yeoman is the given name of Ted Bun. The writer of the highly successful Uncovered Policeman books and many more 5 star reviewed stories.

Connect with Edward:

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Mr_Ted_Bun

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mrbuns49/

Amazon: author.to/TedBun

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Friday with Friends: Writing Inspired by Travels – Lynne Shelby

Strolling along the banks of the Seine on a summer evening, I knew that this scene – the river almost too bright to look at, the lengthening shadows, the young couples sitting on the stone quay, their legs dangling over the water, the murmur of French conversation, the Eiffel Tower a silhouette on the Paris skyline – was one I wanted to capture in my writing.

Of course, these days it’s possible to research a location on-line, but I love travelling, and if I can, I like to visit the place I’m writing about to absorb the atmosphere – the scents and sounds that you can’t get from a video on the internet. I’ve been lucky enough to visit Paris, one of my favourite cities several times, but when I was writing the Paris chapters of my debut novel, French Kissing, I knew I had to visit it again. In the book, Anna, who is English, accompanies Alexandre, who is French, to Paris so that he can show her the city he adores, and I wanted to see the city through her eyes, and to make certain that their route through the city, could be followed by anyone exploring Paris for the first time – not that I need an excuse to visit Paris!

It was some years since I’d last visited the city, and as I walked the same route as my characters, I realised I’d forgotten the color of the bouquinistes on the Left Bank (dark green), how loud is the roar of the traffic as it circles the Place de la Concorde, and also how beautiful the Eiffel Tower looks when it glitters at night – all things that ended up in the book. And it was only when I was climbing up the steep winding streets of Montmartre, looking at all the typically Parisian apartments, with their French windows and iron balconies, that I knew this was where Alexandre lived.

It was a trip abroad that inspired the location of my current WIP. When I travelled from London to Athens and then on to Santorini, Crete and Kefalonia – my first visit to Greece – I knew I simply had to write a novel set in this beautiful country. I took lots of photos, wrote brief descriptions of white sugar-cube houses and silvery-leaved olive groves in my writer’s notebook, and also made quick pencil sketches – I find that drawing a scene means that I notice all sorts of details that hopefully will give my story a real sense of place when I’m back home in England, writing on my laptop.

Looking now at the sketches I did of the places I visited in Greece – beaches with black volcanic sand, glorious views from a hill top in Athens, fascinating ruins of ancient Greek temples – I can feel again the fierce heat of the Mediterranean sun, and the hear the chirping of cicadas, and this all helps me to recreate the scene in my writing.

Not everything I see on my travels makes it into my stories, but it’s all there in the back of mind, inspiring me as I write.

It was wonderful having you share your inspiration, Lynne! I can certainly understand how these locations were so inspiring. Here’s hoping for many more travels once things have settled. Wishing you all the best! – Camilla

To see Lynne’s interview previously posted, go here:

Meet the Author: There She Goes by Lynne Shelby

Biography:

Lynne Shelby writes contemporary romance/women’s fiction. When not writing or reading, she can usually be found in the audience at a theatre or exploring a foreign city – Paris, New York, Rome, Copenhagen, Seattle, Reykjavik, Athens – writer’s notebook, camera and sketchbook in hand. She lives in London with her husband and has three adult children who live nearby.

Her novels are available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

Connect with Lynne:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/LynneShelbyWriter

Twitter: @LynneB1

Instagram: lynneshelbywriter

Website: www.lynneshelby.com

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Book Shelf: The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey

This is my third time reading this book. I think I first read it in 2016 or 2017, found during a volunteer session at the library while pulling holds. It’s just such a calming, fascinating story that also taught me much about snails. Thomas and Lillian both love this book too. They read it the first time around. Simply a beautiful book and story.

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