Meet the Book Blogger: Louise Cannon of Bookmarks and Stages

Today we travel to Menstrie, a small village in Clackmannanshire, Scotland to chat with Louise Cannon of Bookmarks and Stages about how the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, discovering authors and books, being shortlisted as Citizen of the Year, resilience, a bucket list, visiting museums, and exploring places come together as part of Louise’s past and current life.

A dedication from Louise who just recently lost her gran:

Dedicated to my wonderful, fun and strong gran – June Hoffman who died aged 90. On April 25, 2020, my wonderful gran died of Covid 19 in her care home. Gran worked for the NHS before retirement as a secretary to a Consultant. My blog will still go on as best as I can manage. My support to readers and authors and publishers is still there.

Why did you choose to be a book blogger or how did you come to be a book blogger? How long have you been bookblogging?

My blog is called Bookmarks and Stages. I became a blogger after meeting up with Scottish crime author – Wendy H. Jones at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Scotland, for what started off as an innocent coffee. I was then asked if I blogged/reviewed/tweeted by her and Kelly Lacy from Love Books blog tours. I didn’t do any of these things.

I returned home and a fortnight later, the idea mulled around my mind and so did some research and taught myself how to blog. My first blogs were at Bloody Scotland in Stirling, since I had tickets and then at Morecambe and Vice, since I was meeting Hugh Fraser there. I have done many book reviews since then and also was invited to return to Morecambe and Vice in 2019 to review it and Bloody Scotland now have me on their files. I have been blogging for just over a year and a half. My blog is called Bookmarks and Stages because I love books, festivals and theatre and love reviewing all of those.

Are you accepting requests at the moment? How do you prefer to be contacted?

I am accepting requests and there is a Contact button on my Bookmarks and Stages blog.

What information do you want to receive with the request?

The info I like is a bit about yourself and blurb and any photos you would like to appear on my blog. If there is a specific date you would like a review to be published on my blog, that is useful, but not necessary. These things can be talked about via email, after initial contact has been made.

What types of book blog posts do you offer? Reviews, interviews, book spotlight, guest posts, etc.

I offer reviews and interviews. I have not done spotlight or guest post, but I am absolutely open to them both.

What is your preferred book format to read? If digital, what digital file do you prefer?

I prefer print copy. I won’t necessarily say no to PDF or Kindle, if there is no other option, it just isn’t my first choice, especially if print is an option.

Do you only participate in official blog tours or do you accept requests from authors? Do you accept request from indie authors, or indie publishers?

I accept requests from Indie publishers and authors. I also accept request from larger, mainstream publishers and authors and I also participate in blog tours. I like to be inclusive to all.

What is your preferred genre? Do you read nonfiction, memoirs, or any style of poetry? What genres do you NOT read?

I read all genres of books and both fiction and non-fiction and occasionally poetry. I prefer not to review the more hardcore horror.

Do you write a review if you did not like the book? Do you use a star rating system for reviews you write?

I use a star rating – 1 to 5. 1 being poor and 5 being excellent.

Once contacted, when can the author or blog tour operator expect to hear from you?

On the whole, I respond either on the same day or the day after. I like to respond as quickly as I can, so not to have people waiting too long.

What is your favorite aspect of bookblogging?

Favourite aspect of blogging is hard. I love blogging so much, from having contact with the author, publisher, and/or blog tour operator to the reading of the book to the writing of the review/blog post, to the publishing and sharing of the review/blog post. I also love discovering authors and books I have not read before or considered before and being pleasantly surprised by them.

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading Journeys in the Wild by Gavin Thurston. The award winning cameraman who films for David Attenborough.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through reading and book blogging?

The most surprising thing I have discovered about blogging is that I may be alright at doing it and people actually seem to want and like to read my blogs. For all those people, I am forever grateful and thankful.

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

The most crazy thing, is that I come from a small village and am just being me and yet met so many lovely authors/actors and for where I come from, that’s not considered as all that average. Yes, that and that I was shortlisted for Citizen of the Year for volunteer work I do and have done. I’ve done nearly 19 years volunteer work so far. Always feeling grateful for all of that.

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

At this stage of my life, my young self would tell my mature self, I would say that bullying will reduce and life will become interesting. I would say that life challenges always present themselves, but resilience and determination will often kick in. I would also say that the bucket list was worth creating in your teenage years and sometimes good things will happen and some of the bucket list will be ticked off and other things may be at some point.

What do you do when not reading or writing book blog posts?

When I am not reading or writing a blog post, I work in the day job and do some voluntary work. I also like being in cafes and restaurants with friends. I love walking, visiting museums and art galleries. I also love going to the theatre, food and book festivals and gigs. I like exploring places. I also enjoy cooking.

It was wonderful to have you be a part of MTA, Louise. I am so very sorry that you lost your gran. Sending you much love as your family works through this loss. All the best to you .. – Camilla

Connect with Louise:

Blog link: https://bookmarksandstages.home.blog/

Twitter: twitter.com/Lou_Bookmarks

Facebook Page:
https://www.facebook.com/bookmarksandstages.home.blog/

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Meet the Author: Victorine by Drēma Drudge

Today we travel to Indiana in the Midwest of the United States to chat with Drēma Drudge about how corn, cows, hummingbirds, writing outdoors, a sombrero wearing penguin, journal writing, and the Indiana Dunes are a part of Drēma’s current and past life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m Drēma Drudge, author of the newly released novel, Victorine, about Victorine Meurent, the artist Édouard Manet’s favorite model who, history has forgotten, was also an artist. My musician and writer husband, Barry, and I live in Indiana in the United States. That’s in the Midwest, for those who aren’t familiar with it, the land of corn, cows, and us. We host a podcast, Writing All the Things.

In which genre do you write?

I write literary fiction, though my debut novel is also historical fiction.

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

Maybe a hummingbird, because I love to flit from idea to idea. My curiosity knows no bounds. Hummingbirds are beautiful, glistening, and yet if you don’t watch carefully, they are there and gone. Maybe as a person I’m a bit that way – I want to talk, but I also want to be off writing my next book. And, too, I probably flap my wings just as fast trying to stay airborne with my newest idea until I realize what it is I’m trying to say!

What does your ideal writing space look like?

On days when it’s warm enough, I go to our local café and write outdoors on their lovely porch all afternoon. Not only do I get visited by the café’s patrons, but by squirrels, birds, and a whole host of nature’s lovelies like butterflies and beautiful, fat bumble bees while being surrounded by the season’s flowers.

If you could have a coffee date with a famous person from the past, who would it be and what would you ask them?

I’d love to have coffee with Victorine Meurent, the main character of my novel. Since she was a real person, I’d ask her if I even came close to getting her story right – she’s someone who, because she was a woman and from a poor family in the mid-19th century in Paris, we don’t know lots about. Mostly what we know of her comes from the paintings others – men – did of her.

I’d ask why she went to art school, and how long she had wanted to. Was there one particular thing that drove her to it?

Until the past few years, it was believed that only one of her own paintings had survived. Now we know of four, most importantly, her self-portrait. What a triumph, getting to see how a woman who was painted dozens of times by men saw herself.

Her work was shown in the prestigious Paris Salon six times, and all history typically remembers her for is being a model. I would like to ask her how she feels about that, and if I’ve done enough to bring her back to life.

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

While my husband and I were in Paris, we stood in front of Manet’s painting of Victorine as Olympia, and I felt like there was more she wanted to say, but I couldn’t hear what. There was something strange with the model’s nose. I started crying, and then a tour group came by and the guide spoke about the painting. She said the one thing that explained what I was feeling: she claimed Victorine had dated a boxer who had messed up her nose, and it sent me off on this journey to write about Victorine. (Interestingly enough, I never found proof about that story, but it set me to researching her, so it did what it was intended to do, I suppose.)

Do you journal write? Has this helped with your published writings? 

I journal often. Not every day, but every few days, at least. It helps me to empty my mind of the tedious and everyday and prepares me for creating. I wish I wrote erudite, meaningful journal entries, but I don’t. My journals would be worthless to anyone but me.

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

I think the penguin would take me by the hand and tell me it’s time for an amazing adventure. He’d say “Let’s go,” and we would waddle down the street, stopping to say hello to everyone. At the end, what I’d discover is that everything I’m writing about is alive, too, is out there, in one way or another, and my penguin friend was sent to invite me to enjoy the real world, which, too often, writing can cause one to forget.

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

I adore the Indiana Dunes. Going there is like visiting the ocean, though it’s really on Lake Michigan. I can relax there in a way I can’t anywhere else. My mind gets to recover there, something it doesn’t often do, because it races all the time, seeking writing material. But at the beach I sit (or collect shells and stones, or climb the dunes) and I may read or I may not. I may just sprawl on my towel and forget about everything, or I may have a deep, philosophical conversation with my husband about literature, about life. Or maybe we buy chocolate-covered bananas and flip through magazines. It’s pure paradise to me.

Tell us about your most recent book.

My debut novel, Victorine, features Victorine Meurent, a forgotten, accomplished painter who posed nude for Edouard Manet’s most famous, controversial paintings such as Olympia and The Picnic in Paris, paintings heralded as the beginning of modern art. History has forgotten (until now) her paintings, despite the fact that she showed her work at the prestigious Paris Salon multiple times, even one year when her mentor, Manet’s, work was refused.

Her persistent desire in the novel is not to be a model anymore but to be a painter herself, despite being taken advantage of by those in the art world, something which causes her to turn, for a time, to every vice in the Paris underworld, leading her even into the catacombs.

In order to live authentically, she eventually finds the strength to flout the expectations of her parents, bourgeois society, and the dominant male artists (whom she knows personally) while never losing her capacity for affection, kindness, and loyalty. Possessing both the incisive mind of a critic and the intuitive and unconventional impulses of an artist, Victorine and her survival instincts are tested in 1870, when the Prussian army lays siege to Paris and rat becomes a culinary delicacy, and further tested when she inches towards art school while financial setbacks push her away from it. The same can be said when it comes to her and love, which becomes substituted, eventually, by art.

The best place for people to learn more about my writing, about art history and news, is through my mailing list. Sign up on my website at: www.dremadrudge.com. When you do, I’ll send you a free historical fiction story.

Thank you for being a part of MTA, Drēma. It was wonderful to learn more about you and how Victorine came to be. The Indiana Dunes sound beautiful and wonderful. I think I’m going to add that to my bucket list! All the best to you! – Camilla

Victorine is a compelling rendering of the life of a model working for Edouard Manet in the 1860s, who longed to be a painter in her own right. In this book, you will feel paint flow onto the canvases of Manet, Monet, Degas, Morisot, Stevens, Meurent, and others. You will imagine life on the streets of Paris in all its beauty, harshness, and fragility. And you will see a relationship between painter and model unfold with remarkable clarity and sensitivity. Victorine Meurent s body is the vehicle for Manet s artistic vision, while her robust courage, irreverence and honesty, and her longing for her own agency, shapes the painter s vision. The intimate collaboration between two artists creates life-changing revelations on both sides this dance of color and light complicated, sensuous, and intense. –Eleanor Morse, author of White Dog Fell from the Sky

The model for great impressionist artist, Manet, the sassy, sexy, smart and artistic Victorine is as vivid as his best paintings. Yearning to paint herself, she questions Manet and his artist friends closely annoyingly about what they paint and how they paint it, treating the reader to a sequence of fascinating exchanges about art, its creation and demands. In a gallery of episodes, narrated in the gaudy, evocative voice of the protagonist, author Drema Drudge renders Victorine Meurent from flesh to soul. Applying bold strokes of language, Drudge animates the story of a life lived at high intensity sparkling, inventive, imaginative, ambitious a totally original life. You can t help but love them both. –Julie Brickman, author of Two Deserts and What Birds Can Only Whisper

Book trailer:

https://animoto.com/play/tygbwF6hU7OSTakpSLHMEw

Connect with Drēma:

Facebook: The Painted Word Salon

Twitter: @dremadrudge

Instagram: Drema Drudge

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Meet the Author: The Roommates by Rachel Sargeant

Today we travel to Gloucestershire, England to chat with Rachel Sargeant about how a fortune teller, mother-and-baby group days, riding a bicycle, speaking German, life in student halls, swimming, coffee shops, going to the theatre, and Captain Hastings are a part of Rachel’s current and past life.

Tell us about yourself.

Hello, Camilla. Thank you for inviting me to Meeting the Authors. My name is Rachel Sargeant and I’m a full-time author, living in Gloucestershire, England. Brought up in Lincolnshire, I have also lived in London, Shropshire, Germany and Wales and like to feature places I know in my writing. My psychological thrillers are published by HarperCollins and I also have a police procedural published by them. My historical fiction title, based on the 1915 Gallipoli diary of my husband’s grandmother, is self-published.

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

Right from the reception year at primary school, writing was my favourite school activity. But I drifted away from it in my teenage years when I had to do homework and exams. Twenty years ago I returned to it for the craziest reason. For a bit of fun at a party, I had my palm read by the fortune teller who had been hired in to provide entertainment. She was most insistent that I give writing a go – so I did. The very first short story I wrote won Writing Magazine’s Annual Crime Short Story Competition. That palm reader knew her stuff!

What are you currently reading?

The Mothers by Sarah J. Naughton. This book takes me back to my mother-and-baby group days. How I used to envy the yummy mummies with their immaculate clothes and sleeping-through-the-night babies. This story is about five such mummies. As the story progresses and we see something of their home lives over a three-year period, it turns out that maybe they’re not so yummy after all. When one of the husbands disappears, we smell something decidedly off among the Yankee candles and aromatic supper parties.

List 3 interesting facts about yourself.

I can’t ride a bike.

I have practically no sense of direction.

Oh dear, those two facts are quite negative, aren’t they? A positive one is that I speak German. Sort of.

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

I got the idea for The Roommates when I started attending university open days with my children. The atmosphere of my student days came flooding back and I decided a university campus would make a great setting for a novel. My son and daughter ended up having a brilliant time at their chosen university and they had hilarious tales to tell of life in student halls. However, because I’m a psychological thriller writer, I saw real potential in a dark and twisting story that featured lead characters who were away from home for the first time.

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

I love swimming, visiting coffee shops and going to the theatre.

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

Captain Hastings, the great chum of Agatha Christie’s Poirot, would be my guest for afternoon coffee. I’m hopeless at small talk so wouldn’t know what to ask him, but I suspect he would be a great raconteur with tales to tell of his travels in South America and of his exploits with Hercule. I could just sip my drink and listen.

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 love to be Tegan from The Roommates. She’s witty, feisty, entrepreneurial and she has fabulous hair. I’d spend the day bombing about in her open top Mini Sport.

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

The last time I went to the cinema was on my daughter’s birthday to see Daniel Radcliffe in The Woman in Black. As that was several years ago, it’s fair to say I’m not a big movie buff. However, now that the cinemas are in lockdown, I really want to go again and will make it a priority when next we have the chance. There are so many things I hope never to take for granted again.

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

The British seaside on a summer’s day. Sunshine, beach and ice cream. Perfect.

Tell us about your most recent book.

The Roommates is a psychological thriller set on a fictional British university campus during freshers’ week. Four new students, each hiding a secret from their past, find themselves sharing a flat. When one of them suddenly disappears, the others must trust each other and work together to find out what has happened. Little do they realise the danger ahead.

It was wonderful to have you on MTA and to learn more about you and your writing style. I love that you returned to writing due to a fortune teller reading your palm. That’s pretty wild! All the best to you, Rachel. – Camilla

Back cover copy:

THEY LIVE IN YOUR HOUSE
University is supposed to be the best time of your life. But Imo’s first week is quickly going from bad to worse.

YOU SHARE EVERYTHING
A stalker is watching her flat, following her every move, and Imo suspects that her new roommates are hiding dark secrets…

BUT DO YOU TRUST THEM?
When one of them suddenly disappears, the trauma of Imo’s recent past comes hurtling back to haunt her. And she begins to realise just how little she knows about the people she lives with…

FOUR ROOMMATES. FOUR SECRETS. ONE DEVASTATING LIE.

Where to find the book:

The Roommates is available in paperback to order from all good bookshops and in ebook from all platforms, including Amazon.

Links to Rachel’s Books:

The Roommates – https://bit.ly/TheRoommatesRS

The Good Teacher – https://bit.ly/TheGoodTeacherRS

The Perfect Neighbours – https://bit.ly/ThePerfectNeighboursRS

Gallipoli: Year of Love and Duty – https://bit.ly/GallipoliRS

Connect with Rachel:

Website – https://www.rachelsargeant.co.uk/

BookBub – https://bit.ly/RachelSargeantBookBubfollow

Twitter – https://twitter.com/RachelSargeant3

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/rachelsargeantauthor/

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

Book Shelf: tapestry of fortunes

tapestry of fortunes by Elizabeth Berg

Stepped out of my usual genre with this one … again. I was pulled in by the cover. It’s an incredibly beautiful cover. Truly enjoyed this tale of 4 women confronting life. It felt as if I were on the journey with them. Loved it. – Camilla

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

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

(The above are amazon affiliate links.)

Meet the Author: The Lilith Trilogy by Kim ten Tusscher

Today we travel to Enschede, a small city in the Netherlands, to chat with Kim ten Tusscher about how traveling, nature, the Northern Lights, the Narrows in Zion National Park, dog sledding, a costume designer, being a go-getter, and trusting her inner voice fit into the plot of Kim’s current and past life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hi, my name is Kim ten Tusscher. I’m a writer from the Netherlands. I
live in Enschede, a small city near the German border. I’m going to tell
you more about my stories in the following questions, but before that,
let me tell you some other interesting things about myself.

I love to travel and explore. I’m most happy when I’m camping surrounded by beautiful nature. I have slept near a thunderous waterfall, my tent was almost taken down by deer and I’ve camped in places where you can only see a faint light in the distance. I have been husky sledding and seen the Northern Lights. I’m so fortunate that I’m able to do that. And the best part is, I can use all these things in my stories. Lilith goes dog sledding, other characters hike like I did the Narrows in Zion National Park and sometimes I just smell the Icelandic sulfur when I write. Am I weird that I like that smell?

I grew up in a family with two elder brothers. I remember us all sitting
around the dinner table when we were younger. Doing all kinds of things: drawing, making puppets out of clay, painting. I still do those things when I find the time.

Also nice to mention: I have been involved in several movies and series as a prop and costume maker. I made flags for Born of Hope, costumes for Ren – The Girl with the Mark and for A Royal Love. I love the movie world, but not as much as I love writing. That’s why I never went on building a career as a costume designer.

This love for costumes, movies, and stories came together when a friend and I started Hunter’s Prey. She is the singer of a band and wrote a song for a story of mine. We started a crowdfunding campaign and made an epic video clip. You can watch the end result here:

In which genre do you write?

I write epic fantasy. I like my stories to be a bit dark. You might have
a clue who is the hero and who is the villain when you start the story,
but I assure you that will change when you learn more about my
characters. The line between good and evil gets very blurry.

How many published books do you have? What are you currently working on?

I have published nine books so far. Four of them have been translated
into English: City of Illusions (a stand-alone) and the Lilith trilogy.
My translator is currently working on book number five: Blood. That is
the first part of The Tales of the Downfall. It will be released later
this year.

At the same time, I’m working very hard to meet the deadline for my
tenth book. It’s called Storm, which means exactly the same in Dutch as it does in English. It is the final part of the Tales of the Downfall.

Where did the idea for The Tales of the Downfall come from?

Soon after I finished the Lilith trilogy back in 2012 the fans asked me
if I was going to write another story about Lilith. At first, I said I
would never do that. I liked the fact that the readers could have their
own ideas about how her future would be. And I was already invested in another story at that time.

But the fans kept asking me that same question again and again for
years. I finished the series I was working on and started to think: What
would have happened to Lilith? How can I continue her story? And so the ideas came and I started writing this new series with her as the main character.

It was an awesome decision. This story has so much depth and has learned me so much more about the world I created. It’s a tale about war and deceit and despair, but also about hope and working together and looking past prejudice. I’m writing the final chapters at the moment and I’m having so much fun with it.

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

You might have heard about plotters or pantsers? Plotters think through the whole story before they start writing, pantsers make up the story as they go along.

I’m somewhere in the middle. I called myself a traveler once. When I go
on vacation, I always prepare. I look up things worth visiting, make a
travel plan, pack cloths fit for what I think I will encounter. But my
trips never go as planned. I will see the highlights and will arrive at
the final destination in time. But between start and finish, I get
distracted. The weather is different than I imagined so I have to change the plans, I find a path that looks very promising and I want to follow. And some attractions may be closed.

This is how I write. I start with a plan, but some things just don’t
work out the way I thought they would. Other paths are way more
interesting and the local people (my characters) are not who I thought
they would be. I explore the story the same way I would explore a new
place. With expectations, but open-minded to better opportunities.

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

I have always been keen to prove to myself and the world that I can
achieve things. I am a go-getter, I think it’s called in English. I know
what I want and I won’t stop until I reach that goal.

It’s a trait that is very useful for a writer. Writing is lonely and it
takes a long time to finish a story. Especially before your work is
published you have to have a clear picture of what you want to achieve.
If not, it’s easy to get distracted and not finish.

You have to give up many things to meet your deadlines. When I’m finishing a story, I’m not very social for the people in my surroundings. At those times there is only one thing I’m doing: writing. And I even gave up a steady income to improve my skills to succeed as a writer. I do believe I have it in me to do this.

This may sound like I am overconfident, but I am not. There are many times I doubt all my decisions. I suffer from imposter syndrome like most people who create things. But my go-get attitude prevents me from giving up.

What advice would your more mature self give to your young self?

Trust your inner voice. I have been paying too much attention to people who I thought would know how to do things. People who said I should be using a pen name. That you have to plot a story because that’s how to write a cohesive one. That you have to write short stories first to learn the craft. I could come up with more examples.

But I can’t plot, I can’t write short stories and I wanted to publish under my own name. And all these so-called good bits of advice put doubt in my heart. Was I really doing it right?

Well, with ten books written and published and many fans I know I am doing something right. In hindsight, all these doubts did cost me a lot of energy. Energy that I should have directed towards something more constructive.

I would want to say to me (and to you): believe that you know how things work for you and what is the right path for you. This is your path to walk and not somebody else’s. It’s a good thing to have mentors, but be picky.

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

I would invite Robin Hobb to a tea date. I really admire her writing skills and love the characters she created. I read her books when I’m in the final stages of my own stories and during editing. Her stories are packed with details without becoming boring. I sometimes skip too much. So reading her work while editing my own, gives my stories the right balance of what to describe and what to leave out.

What would I ask? I’m not sure I would be able to ask anything. Big chance I would be star struck and I even might run.

Actually, I met Robin Hobb once. It was on a fantasy festival in the Netherlands and if it wasn’t for a colleague writer, I wouldn’t have been brave enough to go to her. But my colleague knew I wanted to thank her for the inspiration she gave me and the lessons I learned while reading her books, so he dragged me to her table. I gave her one of my own books as a present and we exchanged a few words. She is such a lovely person, so if I can get my nerves under control, it will be an awesome tea date.

Tell us about your most recent book you’ve published.

My most recent story in English is the Lilith trilogy (Bound in Darkness, Broken in Twilight and Born in Light). It is the story of Lilith, a Dragon shape shifter. She was kidnapped when she was a baby and given to a sorcerer to use in the war he is fighting. I think you can understand what damage a fire breathing dragon can cause. Lilith has burned down cities and villages for years and killed thousands of people. The story starts when she decides to run away. She dreams of a peaceful future. To achieve that, she has to defeat her master. But if she does, she may end the world…

When I started to write about Lilith I wanted to create a story without the typical good versus evil plot I see in many fantasy books. Don’t get me wrong, I love to read a good hero story from time to time, but as a writer, I’m not interested in flawless protagonists and evil villains. I love to explore the greyness that everybody has inside them. In the right – or should I say wrong? – circumstances everybody is able to do horrible things and even the villain tries to save his world. The conflict is where their personal goals clash.

Lilith’s story is one of trust and finding your own path in life. Of still seeing the good, when everything goes dark. Standing up for yourself is often the bravest thing you can do. So will Lilith succeed and at what costs?

Did I make you curious?

It was wonderful to have you be a part of MTA! I absolutely adored our interview, Kim. I’m also a go-getter who lets the imposter syndrome sneak into my thoughts a bit too often. I’ve befriended it though, not letting it slow me down. I have two friends who live in the Netherlands and it’s on my bucket list to visit some day. Wishing you all the best! – Camilla

Book blurb:

Being trained as a lethal weapon isn’t enough to stay safe… Lilith needs to be stronger than a dragon to escape.

In a world torn apart by battle, being the only dragon shape shifter known to mankind should be an advantage. But in the hands of a cruel sorcerer, Lilith lives her life in terror. She is scarred by the war she is forced to fight and haunted by the thousands she has burned to death.

But even her deepest fears aren’t enough to keep Lilith in her cage.

Being hunt down by the uncompromising Kasimirh and his followers, Lilith tries to build a new life in hiding. If she fails to stay out of their hands, they’ll return her to a life of terror.

But if she defeats them, the consequences could be even worse… The whole world might come to an end.

Kim ten Tusscher’s books are renowned for the rich characters and the twisted plot. You’ll love this epic fantasy series by one of the best dark fantasy authors of the Netherlands. Click the BUY button and get your copy of this exciting, fast-paced story now!

Where to find the books:

You can find the books on Amazon and in Kindle
Unlimited.

Book Trailer:

Connect with Kim:

website: https://kimtentusscher.com/en.php

social media links:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/554104335409940/
https://www.facebook.com/kimttee/ 
https://www.instagram.com/kimtentusscher/

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Meet the Author: Wishes Under a Starlit Sky by Lucy Knott

Today we travel to Manchester, England to chat with Lucy Knott about how being a professional wrestler, Jack Kerouac, being a twin, Johnny Depp, learning Italian, Harry Styles, dance parties for one, and Hulk Hogan come together as part of Lucy’s past and current life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Lucy Knott. I am a former professional wrestler turned Author. It’s just me in my cosy little house in Manchester, England, where you will most likely find me hugging books, drinking lots of coffee and occasionally indulging in a little dance party for one while I whip up recipes from my Nanna and Grandad’s cookbook. Along with my twin sister, Kelly, we run theblossomtwins.com where you can find book reviews each and every week, in addition to lots of delicious Italian family recipes.

How many published books do you have?

I have had three books published with HQ Digital UK. Those being ‘How to Bake a new Beginning’, ‘The Ingredients for Happiness’ and ‘Wishes under a Starlit Sky’.

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

I’ve always loved reading and writing and enjoyed scribbling in notebooks as a kid. I adored the likes of Harry Potter and was very much a book worm growing up. However, I read Jack Kerouac’s book ‘On the Road’ when I was sixteen, because I was going through a Johnny Depp phase and he happened to mention it, and I fell in love with the book and built up a fascination with the Beat Generation and Kerouac’s love for and style of writing.

From that moment I dreamt of being able to write like him and absorbed many of his other books. It wasn’t until I was in my late twenties though that I actually sat down to write. I was in a really happy place in my life and was consuming some wonderful romantic books by the likes of Rebecca Raisin and Holly Martin. I’d had an idea brewing for a while and decided that I would put pen to paper and see what I could do.

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

I am a teaching assistant which keeps me busy. I’m always thinking of ideas and activities for the kids and planning for the next day. But 7 days a week I am up at 5am to get my writing in, which I love, and then my evenings are usually spent learning Italian, hanging out with my family, cooking and reading or creating crafts for work. Ooh and I do love watching movies too.

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?

This is where I get excited and have to roll out my giant list and be naughty, cheat and not pick just one…

Author from the past would be Jack Kerouac or Louisa May Alcott. That would be a dream. I have so many questions and feel both conversations would be rather splendid in completely different ways. I think I’d just want to sit and listen to Jack talk and try and figure out how his brain works and Louisa May Alcott, arrgh, I wouldn’t know where to begin.

Author from the present would be Maxine Morrey as I’d very much like to pick her brain on how she writes the most beautiful, kick ass leading ladies and the most lovely men.

Famous people would be Harry Styles. I have a bunch of questions about the differences and similarities between writing books and writing songs that I would love to ask him.

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

I guess it’s not so much of a surprise but really one of the biggest things I’ve learnt, and continue to learn through writing, is that no matter how much my mind tells me I can’t do it, or when I have days where I want to cry and think I’m rubbish, or even when I feel overwhelmed with edits, I actually can do it and I can get through it. It might seem silly or maybe a little obvious but sometimes I’ll sit and stare at my books and think ‘oh wow, I did it’ and I have to remind myself of that occasionally. I think it’s a great lesson for anything in life too.

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

My twin sister, Kelly, and I were professional wrestlers for thirteen years. We had a lot of crazy things happen during that time but I feel one of the craziest/inspiring things was getting to work with Hulk Hogan on TNA British Bootcamp. We had a lot of pinch me moments where we were like ‘Hulk Hogan is watching us wrestle right now and giving us advice’. We also met our childhood hero Jeff Hardy and that was an incredibly inspiring moment too, one that my sixteen year old self will forever be grateful for.

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

Right now it would most likely be Harry Styles ‘Adore You’ or ‘Treat People with Kindness’ just because those songs make me happy and get me dancing and feeling positive. I love it when songs just make you feel confident and giddy on life.

If I was being specific to my books maybe for ‘How to Bake a new Beginning’ and ‘The Ingredients for Happiness’ I would put on some Fedez, how about ‘L’Italia per me’. I played that song for my Nanna sometime last year and she smiled listening to it. As both those books are based around an Italian family, I think that song would be perfect while at the same time it would probably make me cry.

For ‘Wishes under a Starlit Sky’ lets have some Little Mix, either ‘Shout out to my ex’ or Breakup song’ to get a little girl power going.

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

Probably to remember that there was a time when I was thirteen years old where I believed whole heartedly in becoming a professional wrestler and that I went for it without worrying so much about what if’s or that I might not be able do it. I think somewhere along the way to adulthood, all these doubts creep in and we let fear take over when we should remember that we still have the capability of achieving our dreams no matter how big or small. No dream seems too silly or far fetched when we are kids and I always want to hold on to that as an adult.

If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why, what would you do? If you write non-fiction or memories, what fictional character would you invite into your story and why?

I think it would be fun to be Sabrina from ‘How to Bake a new Beginning’ and ‘The Ingredients for Happiness’ for a day because she is the manager of Rock band ‘San Francisco Beat’ and I think it would be quite cool to step into that world and see how it all works. Maybe I could swap places with her while they’re recording their album so I can see what goes into writing, recording and producing a song. Plus, she has the cutest wardrobe filled with skater dresses in the most wonderful and beautiful pastel colours.

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

I watched ‘Shazam’ because I think the last time I watched it was around New Year and that was so long ago now. It’s one of my favourites. I just love it so much and was having a day where I needed to smile! ?

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

I do, but in the sense that you have to create the reason, if that makes sense? Some people go through such incredible pain and hardships that I wouldn’t wish to simply dismiss that with an ‘It happened for a reason’. Sometimes life can be so cruel that you just don’t want to believe in any reason for why something so bad happened. But I believe that we can create the reason over time as a way of coming to terms with things and moving forward.

One of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through was my Grandad passing away. My sister and I were living in America at the time. We had been home for Christmas and had planned another visit home in the August. We were four days away from that return trip and our worlds crumbled. Unfortunately the way we found out wasn’t the best due to receiving messages of condolences from family who didn’t realize the time difference and we were in the middle of work. Our parents and little sister didn’t get the chance to prepare us and it was utterly shattering for everyone. Being on a plane flying home knowing that he wasn’t going to be there was one of the most painful experiences I’ve been through.

I have days now, nearly three years later, where I am mad, angry and just want to scream at how it all happened. He was my world and not getting to hug him one more time or say good bye still haunts me, but the only way I can think to get through it is believing that he was giving me a lesson in strength. One of my biggest fears while living in America was something happening to my family and me not being able to get to them. I have now faced one of my biggest fears in life and I am still here and still smiling.

Tell us about your most recent book.

My most recent book is ‘Wishes under a Starlit Sky’ and it’s about script writer Harper Hayes who, after finding out her husband is having an affair, sets about re-writing her own story. She takes a trip with her best friend Madi to see her parents in Colorado where she experiences lots of wonderful adventures and lessons in self-love.

It was wonderful to have you on MTA, Lucy! I love having dance parties for one! It’s my go to feel good time, and what I do when I can’t get out for a walk. I’m fascinated by your past as a professional wrestler. WOW! Wishing you all the best and continued success! – Camilla

Where we can find the books:

It’s available now on Amazon, WHSmiths, Kobo, Waterstones and HarperCollins too.

Connect with Lucy:

Twitter: @theblossomtwins
@LucyCKnott

Instagram: theblossomtwins
LucyCKnott

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Meet the Book Blogger: Maria and David Marvin of Scintilla

Welcome to this new series! We’re shaking things up at Meeting the Authors. Once or twice per month, MTA is turning the tables to feature Book Bloggers. A huge and hearty welcome to the third book blogger to take the Turning the Tables Plunge!

Today we travel to State College, Pennsylvania to chat with Maria and David Marvin of Scintilla about how merging libraries, children’s literature, being grandparents, Reader Road Trips, being a librocubicularist, Earl Grey tea, owls, chocolate, and dragons come together as part of the their past and current book life.

Tell us a bit about yourselves.

We are Maria and David Marvin, also known as Scintilla. Our blog, www.scintilla.info, was the brainchild of Maria, and she was kind enough to invite David to play along in her toy box.

We are wife and husband, parents, and grandparents. We met in 1985 and married in 1986. We don’t know what every couple does early in their marriage to connect their lives together, but we merged our libraries. In 1999, Maria completed her M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction, with her project being children’s literature. In 2003 we came with our three sons to State College, PA.

Our oldest son and his wife have three amazing children, two girls and a boy. Becoming grandparents has been an incredible joy. Of course, they are the most beautiful and brilliant children ever born!

Why did you choose to be a book blogger or how did you come to be a book blogger? How long have you been bookblogging?

We began Scintilla in April, 2018, so we are right at 2 years. Our children were getting older and leaving the house, and Maria felt it was important that we have a shared activity that was just ours, that did not involve the children. Since books were always important to us (one of our very first dates was to a used book store in Indianapolis), her idea was to start a book blog. Much more fun than therapy.

Are you accepting requests at the moment? How do you prefer to be contacted?

Although we are accepting requests, we should probably be a little more selective since we are scheduled almost into June at this point! But typically an email to one of the Scintilla addresses is the best way to approach us. Maria does most of our children’s books, so those requests should go to [email protected] Adult fiction and non-fiction requests can go to [email protected]

What information do you want to receive with the request?

A link to a secure account in the Caymans is always appreciated! 😉 Seriously, though, a little about the book, a little about the author, and maybe some books that might be similar in style and genre are helpful in making our decision. Also, if there are any specific deadlines or preferred dates for us to post. Again, we already have some reviews scheduled for June, so if you are in a hurry to get a review, we are not the right folks to approach!

What types of book blog posts do you offer? Reviews, interviews, book spotlight, guest posts, etc.

We typically do reviews. Sometimes we will review a whole series by an author, sometimes we will spotlight some books that fit a theme (especially with children’s picture books), sometimes we have fun with it by putting a recipe or teatime beverage that would pair well with a book or an author. We have not yet featured any guest posts or interviews, but we are not opposed to doing that someday.

Something that we have a lot of fun doing are “Reader Road Trips.” Maria usually writes these. We have featured local indie bookstores, our trip to the National Book Festival in Washington, DC, and some smaller book festivals as well. These give us a chance to get out and share the book love with others in person, as well as share our experiences with others through our blog.

What is your preferred book format to read? If digital, what digital file do you prefer?

David is old school and prefers print. Maria is more digital. But neither of us is so picky as to reject a book based on the format. Typically we like the .mobi or .epub format, but we have a lot of different e-readers so we can adjust to the formats we are given.

Do you only participate in official blog tours or do you accept requests from authors? Do you accept requests from indie authors, or indie publishers? Would you like to share a few of your favorite blog tour operators?

Dave has done several blog tours with Anne Cater. She is wonderful! He has just signed up to do blog tours also with Emma Welton (damppebbles.com) and Rachel Gilbey (Rachel’s Random Resources) but those are coming up later this spring. We do accept requests from indie authors and indie publishers. We are not opposed in principle to reviewing self-published books, but it is unusual for us to accept those requests. It has happened, though.

What is your preferred genre? Do you read nonfiction, memoirs, or any style of poetry? What genres do you NOT read?

Maria enjoys reading a variety of books, but usually reviews children’s books and cozy mysteries. She will also do the occasional thriller, mystery, or fantasy, especially if a recipe or tea seems to fit well with it! Dave is very eclectic. Science fiction, fantasy, and mysteries/thrillers are his go-to genres, but he also reads non-fiction, poetry, literary fiction, and various others that catch his eye. Maria will confirm that Dave is not very good at romance…nor at reviewing that genre. And it is rare (though not unheard of) for us to do horror. We like sleeping at night.

Do you write a review if you did not like the book? Do you use a star rating system for reviews you write?

No, and no. Our goal is to encourage people to read by giving them good books to read. There are too many books to waste time reading and then writing about a book we don’t enjoy. We don’t use a star rating system. If we like it, we review it. If we don’t like it, we don’t review it. It’s very much a pass/fail type of system.

Once contacted, when can the author or blog tour operator expect to hear from you?

We try to respond promptly, within a day or two. Unfortunately that is not always the reality–Dave recently went through some old emails and discovered to his horror that some requests had been missed going back a few months. He did quickly get back to those authors with an apology. Like we said above, though, replying and accepting does not mean we will always get to the reading and reviewing quickly.

What is your favorite aspect of bookblogging?

The goal for us was to have a project that brought us closer together. Talking about books, going on our Reader Road Trips, planning future reviews, working together on a labor of love has strengthened us as a couple and been a lot of fun. The other terrific aspect has been making new bookish friends. Dave has made an author friend in NYC who Maria believes must actually be his long-lost brother. We have become part of the local writers’ group (shout out to the Nittany Valley Writers’ Network!) and have become good friends with some local authors through that group.

What is an interesting reading quirk you have?

Maria is a librocubicularist and whenever possible likes to read a book in one sitting even if it has a heavy page count (think, last 4 Harry Potter books — one of the many reasons picture books are a superior format).

Dave has been known to read a series out of sequence, but he hates doing it and complains vigorously when blog tours, time, availability, etc. require it.

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

Maria has been fond of owls since she saw Archimedes in Disney’s Sword in the Stone; so, long before they were pop culture trendy. She has owls on stationary, tote bags, pens, and mugs. However, her spirit animal would actually be a dragon, because … well, it’s a dragon. Dave loves cats, but Maria is deathly allergic to them, so they are his animal in spirit only.

What are you currently reading?

Dave is reading a couple of poetry books, American Sonnets for my Past and Future Assassins by Terrance Hayes and Tricks of Light by Thaddeus Rutkowski. Maria is devouring the latest Tom Clancy novel by Marc Cameron, Code of Honor. Actually, she devoured Pigeon Has to Go to School, by Mo Willems and did a re-read of Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg with the grandkids for the book’s 30th anniversary.

What do you do when not reading or writing book blog posts?

Maria is loving the whole grandma gig. She is “Mimi” to our three preschool grandchildren, and loves spending as much time with them as possible–as well as the adults they live with. In addition to playing Grandpa, Dave enjoys being a volunteer on-air host for WPSU radio and is editing his first novel.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through reading and book blogging?

Maria spent years reading academic journal articles, literary theory/criticism, and pretentious technical writing; now she’s totally ok reading things that are light, trendy, even cheesy, that she would have been embarrassed being caught reading 10 years ago. Beach read anyone? Pass the potato chips.

Also, spending 4 hours wrestling with the backend of WordPress is a legitimate thing that can greatly expand your adult vocabulary and use of metaphor.

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

Different levels of chocolate intensity (milk, semisweet, dark) can greatly enhance the reading experience when matched to the appropriate literary genre. However, certain genres (like spy thrillers and satire) will always be best suited to salty snacks. Likewise, a cup of tea (earl grey, hot) can keep one going during a long reading session.

What do you miss about being a kid?

Reading a classic for the first time and savoring the experience.

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

We went to see 1917 with Dave’s sister and her family when we went to visit them. Dave’s sister was dying of cancer, and she wanted to see that movie. That was the last time we got to see her.

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

Hello, I have this delightful chapter book, Yours Sincerely, Giraffe by Megumi Iwasa about a fellow giraffe who finds a pen pal in a penguin. Do you perhaps know any inquisitive little folks who would enjoy such a tale? Anyone who likes the adventures of Flat Stanley would surely appreciate such a story. You do know someone, that’s great, please pass the book along with my compliments. Thank you kindly, must really run now, no time for tea. Have a pleasant day.

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

Seriously, did you not see that chipmunk? Why are you resisting a trip to the groomers–do you like running into furniture? Decide if you’re going to tattle, I’m not going to share.

It was wonderful to have the two of you on MTA. I am so deeply sorry to hear about your sister, Dave. Sending much love and warm hugs as you work your way through losing her. I am inspired by how your book blog came to be and that it has been so meaningful to your relationship. Here’s wishing you all the best!! – Camilla

Website: www.scintilla.info

email: [email protected]

[email protected]

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Meet the Author: Nightmare Asylum and Other Deadly Delights by Sonia Kilvington

Today we travel to the Mediterranean island of Cyprus to chat with Sonia Kilvington about how becoming a journalist, teaching ESL, being accused of stealing, and The Invisible Man come together as part of Sonia’s past and present life.

In which genre do you write?

I write in many different genres as I like to challenge myself, and I don’t want my writing to be predictable. I began writing murder mysteries and have two books with a detective, who moved out to Cyprus at the same time as I did! Over the last couple of years, I have concentrated upon writing short stories, in noir, crime, psychological horror and a couple of ghost stories. To push my boundaries, I decided to write a science fiction story, and I came up with the idea of infusing human emotions into a ‘companion android’ who would not have the emotional intelligence to control or understand them. The story is called ‘Perfect Love,’ and it’s the best thing I ever have written. Its included in my short story collection; Nightmare Asylum & Other Deadly Delights.

Can you tell me something interesting about your career path – were you always a writer?

I became a journalist by accident after moving to Cyprus. I submitted a couple of poems and a short story to two local magazines, both of whom contacted me and asked me to write articles, features and do interviews for them. It wasn’t paid work, but there were some nice perks, and I learnt a lot about how to structure ‘real’ stories and features. I eventually moved on to write for a business magazine and a gorgeous Russian glossy based in Limassol, as a staff journalist. After the financial crash, all of the magazines closed and I worked freelance for quite a while, before finding a passion for teaching ESL to Chinese children online; which is a job that I am currently enjoying.

Has the Covid19 virus changed the way you work?

The children that I teach have been trapped inside their apartments for months. Most of them are tired and bored, and they complain about getting too much homework from their online schools. Sometimes they can be a little boisterous as they cannot run-around outside to burn off any excess energy. I have been teaching most of them for two years; bonds have been made, and I feel privileged to watch them grow up and be a small part of their lives. With the current situation, I try to be more patient and tolerant. I attempt to keep the lessons light and fun. The Chinese company that I work for has been very good to me. I enjoy working with people from other cultures, as there is always something new and different to learn. I think this keeps me sharp and more connected to the world, which, in turn, improves my writing.

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

When I was at university, I used to dream about being a writer and would write at home, not daring to show my work to anyone as I suspected I didn’t have much talent or many skills. One day in a literature class, we were asked to copy the style of a war poet, write a line and read it out loud. When my turn came to speak, the lecturer, whom I didn’t like at all, glared at me and said, “You stole that, I’m sure it’s from somewhere… but I can’t quite place it.” I was mortified to be accused of cheating until I realized – she can’t tell the difference, and she has studied this poet for years… It was a weird, light bulb moment, as a sneaky little voice whispered into my ear “what if you really can write?”

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

My husband says I am dogged; I don’t give up trying, because I find it difficult to let go of things even if they are not working. It’s a blessing and a curse.

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

Never lose your sense of fun, or give up on your dreams.

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

I watched the new version of ‘The Invisible Man’. It was 5 a.m., and I was wide awake, looking for something to do. I really enjoyed the old black and white version with the guy swathed in bandages, wearing dark glasses. It’s a great story, so I thought I’d watch the new movie starring Elizabeth Moss. I love her acting in the ‘Handmaid’s Tale,’ as her character June/Offred, uses cunning and ingenuity to survive. Miss Moss has a lovely face, but she is never ashamed of looking ugly or evil, and there is no thought, fear or idea that she seems afraid to communicate. She excels in playing characters which are simultaneously a victim and an aggressor, and I enjoy the dramatic tension this brings to her performances. It’s something I have tried to recreate in the characters in my own stories, especially ‘Women’s Work.’ Modern technology has moved on dramatically since the first movie came out, and this hi-tech version didn’t disappoint.

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

I wouldn’t want to be any of my characters in Nightmare Asylum, as they don’t have an easy time of it! Although, I’m part of those characters, as they all contain elements of me and my experience; but in disguise.

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

People always say the same thing about my writing – I would never have dreamt that you wrote that, as it’s so unlike you. In real life, I try to be a positive person and help others when I can. I don’t really know where the dark stories come from, but I have learnt that the nightmares must be a part of me. My story Nightmare Asylum is based on a reoccurring dream that I had in my twenties. I combined it with my belief in the paranormal, to make something I hope is quite frightening. It certainly frightened me…

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

I love to visit Polis in my home for the holidays. It’s a beautiful place and we have found a nice secluded hotel where they make their own jam and preserves. There is no entertainment so, it’s a quiet place to write, and if you do manage to be awake at 5 a.m., you can go to the beach and watch the baby turtles hatch and tear along the sand, throwing themselves recklessly, headlong into the tide. It’s a wonderful experience to watch.

Tell us about your most recent book.

My most recent book is an eclectic collection of short stories, ‘Nightmare Asylum & Other Deadly Delights.

It was wonderful to have you on MTA and to learn more about you and your writings. Wishing you all the best Sonia! – Camilla

Nightmare Asylum – Despised by day, tortured by night.

A midwifery student’s life disintegrates into a terrifying nightmare, after a disturbing encounter with the notorious child killer, Evelyn Green. Dark secrets from Lydia’s past unleash a truth that conjures her fears into unspeakable horror.

Other Deadly Delights – Tales from the psychotically unsound and deadly deluded.

A stalker turns serial killer; a cleaning lady is imprisoned in the basement, there’s a prophetic warning for a woman in peril, and an android with love addiction, plus many more… a deliciously dangerous collection of short stories, ranging from psychological horror to paranormal, sci-fi and noir.

Dare you enter the nightmare Asylum?

Where we can find it:

It’s available on Amazon in kindle and paperback versions, although I am still dreaming of an audiobook…

Amazon.co.uk https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nightmare-Asylum-other-Deadly-Delights-ebook/dp/B083R5YMX2/ref=sr_1_5?keywords=Nightmare+Asylum&qid=1578909796&s=books&sr=1-5

Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/Nightmare-Asylum-other-Deadly-Delights-ebook/dp/B083R5YMX2/ref=sr_1_5?keywords=nightmare+asylum&qid=1578910007&s=books&sr=1-5

More about Sonia:

Sonia Kilvington is a journalist and fiction writer from the beautiful Mediterranean island of Cyprus. She has published many articles, travel features, short stories and interviews in glossy magazines. She loves to write dark and disturbing short stories in genres such as noir, crime, ghost and Sci-fi. Her online writing credits include Out of the Gutter Online, Spelk fiction, Pulp Metal Magazine & Near to the Knuckle. Her new short story collection, Nightmare Asylum & Other Deadly Delights – published by Close To The Bone, is available on Amazon.

Connect with Sonia:

Website: https://soniakilvingtonwriter.com/

Amazon author page https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sonia-Kilvington/e/B005FDXFQS/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

FB writer’s page: https://www.facebook.com/soniafiction/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Soniacyprus (@Soniacyprus)

LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/sonia-kilvington-26b2b721/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/soniakilvington/?hl=en

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4898959.Sonia_Kilvington

Contact 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: The Space Between Time by Charlie Laidlaw

Today we travel to the east of Scotland, near Edinburgh, to chat with Charlie Laidlaw to discuss how the University of Edinburgh, Eddie Calvert, being a street actor, visiting 19 countries, becoming a journalist, having thick skin, Charles Dickens, and a swimming pool each play a role in Charlie’s past and current life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I was born in Paisley, central Scotland, which wasn’t my fault. That week, Eddie Calvert with Norrie Paramor and his Orchestra were Top of the Pops, with Oh, Mein Papa, as sung by a young German woman remembering her once-famous clown father. That gives a clue to my age, not my musical taste.

​I was brought up in the west of Scotland and graduated from the University of Edinburgh. I still have the scroll, but it’s in Latin, so it could say anything.

I then worked briefly as a street actor, baby photographer, puppeteer and restaurant dogsbody before becoming a journalist. I started in Glasgow and ended up in London, covering news, features and politics.

I then took a year to travel round the world, visiting 19 countries, after which, surprisingly, I was approached by a government agency to work in intelligence, which just shows how shoddy government recruitment was back then. However, it turned out to be very boring and I don’t like vodka martini.

​Craving excitement and adventure, I ended up as a PR consultant, which is the fate of all journalists who haven’t won a Pulitzer Prize, and I’ve still to listen to Oh, Mein Papa.

​I am married with two grown-up children and live in east of Scotland near Edinburgh. And that’s about it.

In which genre do you write?

Literary fiction.

How many published books do you have?

Three – The Things We Learn When We’re Dead, The Space Between Time and Love Potions and Other Calamities.

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

I’ve always been a writer, from primary school. I wrote my first “novel” in my early teens and, by the time I was 21, I had written three more. All were gibberish. But I then became a journalist and learned how to write lucidly. Writing is a trade, and you have to learn it…there are no short-cuts.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

My actual writing space looks exactly like a desk, with a computer on it, because that’s what it is. My ideal writing space would involve lots of sun and a swimming pool.

What are you currently reading?

The Strawberry Thief by Joanne Harris, the fourth in the Chocolat series. It’s a masterclass in descriptive writing, and told through multiple first-person narrators.

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

I don’t know! I find that odd ideas come to me, and the trick is to figure out why they came to me, and how can I use them. Inspiration only ever comes in small chunks…you have to take that first idea and then ask “what comes next” over and over, until you have a plot and story for a book.

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

Worrying about not writing or marketing my books. I do worry too much!

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

Writing is a deeply personal thing. It’s just you against a blank computer screen, and the blank screen often wins. But writing becomes very public when your book is published – and it can then be judged. The surprising thing I’ve learned is that I don’t much care if someone doesn’t like my book…I have a thick skin I didn’t know I had.

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

The final full stop. Writing a book is a lengthy marathon, and it’s always good to finish. In my case, I’m just finishing book four so will have that final full stop in the next few weeks…but then it’s back to editing, editing, editing!

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

I don’t keep a journal or diary. My life is not interesting enough to write it down. But I do always have a notebook with me, even in bed, so I can write down even the smallest of ideas. Every budding writer should do the same, because an idea forgotten is a great novel lost.

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

Being threatened by a man with a gun in Dubai, and being given an armed bodyguard by the Palestinian Liberation Organisation in Beirut (not the same person with a gun).

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

Why did you pee on the floor? Why did you pee against that chest of drawers? Why did you pee on that chair?

What are you currently working on?

A novel inspired by Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. My books are all, in their own way, about the choices we make and how that impacts on our future. A Christmas Carol sums that construct nicely.

Tell us about your most recent.

The Space Between Time follows Emma from childhood into adulthood. On the face of it, she appears to be the luckiest girl in the world. She’s the daughter of a beautiful and loving mother, and her father is one of the most famous film actors of his generation. She’s also the granddaughter of a rather eccentric and obscure Italian astrophysicist.

But her seemingly charmed life begins to unravel, and Emma experiences love and tragedy. Ultimately, she finds solace in her once-derided grandfather’s Theorem on the universe.

The Space Between Time is humorous and poignant and offers the metaphor that we are all connected, even to those we have loved and not quite lost.

It was great fun having you on MTA, Charlie. Thanks for adding some laughter to my day. I’m adding ‘The Space Between Time’ to my ‘to be read’ list. Sounds like a wonderful story! Wishing you all the best! – Camilla

My book can be found at:

All 3 books can be found at:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=the+things+we+learn+when+we%27re+dead&crid=31ZWYTBBAWLMH&sprefix=the+things+we+learn%2Caps%2C145&ref=nb_sb_ss_c_1_19

Connect with Charlie:

W: www.charlielaidlawauthor.com

T: @claidlawauthor

F: @charlielaidlawauthor

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