Book Shelf: The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan Le

The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan Le

This story gripped me from the beginning! A futuristic tale of the destruction that occurs from ignoring climate issues for too long. I enjoyed getting to know the two strong female characters who are sisters, being a part of the love they share for one another. I certainly was not able to “figure it out” until reading it as it happened. I love these types of books, this one included! GREAT story!!

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

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Meet the Author: The Light in the Trees by Jeff Van Valer

Today we travel to Fishers, Indiana in the United States to chat with Jeff Van Valer about how neurology, the U.S. Postmaster, Bill Clinton, Raiders of the Lost Ark, marathons, a flooded kitchen, American Pie, shame, mountain biking, and Mars come together as part of Jeff’s current and younger life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Greetings. My name is Jeff Van Valer. I’m a novelist Camilla has so graciously allowed to participate in MeetingtheAuthors. I live in Fishers, Indiana, USA and work as a neurologist.

In which genre do you write?

Thriller, mainly. My fiction catalog (two books, but we have to start somewhere, right?) is made up of a duet of books, soon to be a trio. I want them to fit into the Psychological Thriller genre, because they attempt to fool–but never lie to–the reader.

My first is The Light in the Trees and is a coming-of-age story. Many automatically substitute Young-Adult genre for coming-of-age, but I don’t. The Light in the Trees isn’t a first-person-present-tense story told by a twelve-year-old. The story is of a middle-aged man’s, decades-old secret of escalating summer-camp mischief that turned deadly. He grew up quickly that summer. Hence the coming of age designation.

How many published books do you have?

Three. Two novels: The Light in the Trees and White Birch Graffiti.

One nonfiction book, The Devil’s Tricycle (it’s because, in my real job as a neurologist and sleep-medicine specialist, I’ve grown tired of talking to every migraine patient about the tricks our minds play on us–and our migraines–as we choose too much caffeine and can’t get enough sleep).

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

For anyone still reading, you’ll notice a connection between The Light in the Trees and my own summer-camp experience. In the ’80s, at what is now known as the Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan, I wrote a hell of a lot of letters and my cabinmates didn’t.

In high school, I put to paper–while in class, of course–a lot of dreams I’d had. In college, my dad asked me about an $11 check I’d written to the “U.S. Postmaster.” That’s when he realized I’d been buying $0.22 stamps, fifty at a time.

In graduate school, a physical chemistry test looming overhead, I bought a copy of John Grisham’s The Pelican Brief instead of studying and began more prolific, regular reading. Ideas for “big-boy” stories came after that.

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

Bill Clinton. When he was the governor of Arkansas and running for president. Sometime in spring, 1992, when I saw this young, charming guy playing saxophone on Arsenio Hall, I knew he was going to win the election.

At the time, I was in graduate school and no-longer able to return to my staff position at camp. While almost physically ill with sadness, I had Interlochen on the brain as I watched Mr. Clinton play his sax. Soon, I thought, “Even this electable feller must have a skeleton in the closet.” Turns out he had two. Their names were Jennifer Flowers and Paula Jones. When the media got a hold of them, there was no burying the stories.

But what if the candidate had but one such skeleton, and just eight other, 42-year-old men knew the candidate’s secret? If they all lived in different states, their only connection being that they’d been cabinmates at a Michigan camp thirty years before, could the campaign machine take care of it before it reached the media? That’s what became White Birch Graffiti. The Light in the Trees takes place one summer thirty years previously, when those boys were summer at camp.

What movie can you watch over and over without ever getting tired of?

This list is lengthy. Ready to fall asleep? Here we go… Nah. Let me just list the first two that pop into my head. These are tied for first among my all-time-favorite movies: Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Shawshank Redemption. But there are at least dozens of movies which, when I’m running channels on T.V., will cause me to drop everything and watch.

Can you play a musical instrument?

Drums.

What songs hit you with a wave of nostalgia every time you hear them?

“American Pie,” by Don McLean. I wasn’t anywhere close to being alive when that plane crashed in 1959, so this song hits me for another reason. It was playing one spring day between innings at a college baseball game when my instincts told me I was losing my first love to another guy.

What is your favorite time of day and why?

Morning. It’s quiet, and the coffee tastes good. I’m mentally sharp, and no one invades my zone of creativity.

Have you ever had any Do It Yourself disasters?

Oh, sure. I once replaced my garbage disposal. As the dishwasher ran that night, it flooded my kitchen.

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

The depths of my own shame.

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

My kids. When my first was born, I discovered how profoundly important I needed to be. For my second, same thing.

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

“Subdivisions” by Rush. If you’re a Rush fan, you’ll understand. If you’re not, the mere mention of the band has probably just caused you to click past this interview.

Badly explain your hobby.

I sit on an uncomfortable wedge that tries to separate my pelvis. My feet move in unending circles, I gravitate toward dirt, rocks, stumps, and roots, trying to go fast, then wonder what a breaking bone sounds like.

List 3 interesting facts about yourself.

I’ve run two marathons.
When I was 29, I spent three hours riding my road bike and talking to the guy who inspired the movie, Breaking Away.
I’m 5’10” tall, and I have friends the same height. People call them tall and they call me short. Irritating.

What’s the clumsiest thing you’ve done?

This past summer, I screwed up a drop on my mountain bike and went over the bars.

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

Identify what makes you happy and go for it. There is no greater legacy to leave your kids.

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

No Time to Die, the latest James Bond installment. Because Daniel Craig is my favorite James Bond.

If Mars or another planet was livable, would you accept a one way ticket there?

Sometimes I would, but most of the time, I think I need to try my best with what’s here on Earth.

Do you believe things happen for a reason?

I don’t. “Fate is just the weight of circumstances.” (Rush lyric from “Roll the Bones.”) We respond to opportunities (if we recognize them) and build our futures on them. We’re not passively living a pre-written script.

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

Why are you so loyal to me? What can I do to be that loyal to you? How do you remain so 100% present?

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

A warm, sunny day in Bentonville, Arkansas. Wake up, coffee, pancakes-eggs-and-bacon breakfast, ride my mountain bike all day on any number and skill-level of trails, return for dinner and a beer, then roll gently around town in a cooling breeze, and head back to the Airbnb when I’m tired.

Sincere thanks to you for reading, and thanks, Camilla, for the opportunity.

It was great learning more about you, and having you on MTA, Jeff! Wishing you all the best and much success with your books! – Camilla

Where to find Jeff’s books:

amazon.com/author/jeffvanvaler

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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: Beloved by Toni Morrison

Beloved by Toni Morrison

I’m late to the game with reading this one. Yet, glad I did. Actually, in the beginning I found it difficult to continue reading, nearly setting the book aside, thinking it wasn’t right for me. I kept going though, and so happy I did. A beautiful, heartbreaking story with genuine characters, villains stirring the blood to boiling point, rounded with the solid love of a mother. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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

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Book Shelf: The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

I was completely engrossed in this vivid tale of an early 1600’s fishing village in Finnmark, Norway. The story is inspired by the real events of the Vardø storm and the 1621 witch trials. It is a powerful story of independent women, love, sorrow, and the fervor and frenzy that can arise surrounding Christianity.

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

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

Meet the Author: The Healer’s Betrayal by Helen Pryke

Today we travel to the north of Italy to chat with Helen Pryke about how a rescue cat, an early love of reading, a mum’s encouragement, private writing space, bad allergies, the flute, working in the garden, CS Lewis, and caves in Tuscany come together as part of Helen’s current and present life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hi, I’m Helen, and I’m a British author who’s been living in the north of Italy since 1990. I write historical fiction set in Italy, suspense set in the south of England, where I grew up, and I also write children’s books under the pen name Julia E. Clements. I live with my husband, two sons, and our gorgeous rescue cat, Pan.

How many published books do you have?

Quite a few! There are four books in my Healer saga (I’m currently writing the fifth). I’ve also published two suspense novels, a standalone women’s fiction, two short stories, and three children’s books. I’ve also published a few of my books in Italian. All this since 2016!

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

I’ve always loved reading, ever since I was little, and used to write stories inspired by the books I read. My first story was published in the school magazine when I was 10, I still have the cutting! My mum always encouraged me to write, and often said I’d be published one day. My only regret is that she didn’t live to see it, she died when I was 18 from breast cancer.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

For the first time ever, I have my own study to shut myself away in and write! Pan usually supervises, curled up on a stool next to me, and I love having that space to myself. I need total quiet for writing, which isn’t possible when everyone’s home!

What are you currently reading?

I get through books very quickly, which is lucky as I have hundreds on my Kindle! My current book is Shadow Pursuit, a thriller by Alistair Birch, but that will probably change tomorrow!

What is your favorite season and why?

Autumn, although this year it’s been unusually warm and we’ve been inundated with insects, especially stink bugs! I hate the summer, as it’s very hot and humid here in Italy, and I get bad allergies in spring, and I don’t like being too cold either. I’m British, so I’m never happy with the weather!

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

In my Healer series, every book I write gives me the idea for the next one! While writing The Healer’s Awakening, one of the characters mentions an ancestor who was tried as a witch. It only took a few words to spark the idea for The Healer’s Betrayal, which takes place in Tuscany in the 1600s and tells us the ancestor’s story. It ended up being the longest book I’ve written so far!

Can you play a musical instrument? 

I can play the flute, and used to play the violin when I was younger. I’d love to be able to play the piano, but never had the chance.

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

Reading, or working in the garden. After living in an apartment for 8 years, we’ve now moved to a detached house with a decent-sized garden, so there’s plenty of work to do!

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

I’d love to meet CS Lewis, so we could chat about the Narnia books. I loved reading them when I was little, I still have my battered copies, and I’d love to know more about his inspiration for them, how he dreamed up the characters, and all the different stories.

What is your favorite time of day and why?

Six o’clock in the morning! It’s my quiet time, to sit down with a cappuccino and some biscuits, and do some reading, while everyone else is sleeping.

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

The amazing people I’ve met, some of whom have become close friends. Both authors and readers can be so supportive and lovely, and they keep you going when things are difficult.

What’s the most exciting thing you’ve experienced to help create a scene?

After I wrote The Healer’s Secret, my husband, youngest son, and I spent 4 days in Tuscany where it’s set so that I could make everything more authentic. One of the scenes takes place in some caves, so we took a guided tour to experience it for ourselves. It was wonderful for adding authenticity – the moment when they turned the lights out and left us in total darkness was spooky! And I found some steps leading down to who knows where, which sparked my imagination and helped me create a particular moment in the story!

I’m currently working on book 5 in the Healer series, which doesn’t yet have a title. It follows on directly from book 4, and features Morgana’s daughter, Gemma. She has to leave Italy to escape the witch hunts, and ends up… well, you’ll have to wait and find out!

Tell us about your most recent book.

The Healer’s Betrayal is book 4 in my Healer series. Each book tells the story of one of the healers in the Innocenti family, and this one is about Morgana Innocenti. It’s set in the 1600s, a time of superstition, when people believed in witches and witchcraft, and women were persecuted and burned at the stake. It’s available to preorder from every online retailer, and will be published on the 2nd December. I do recommend reading the whole series, as every book is connected and little details pop up that you’ll recognise as the series progresses!

It was wonderful learning more about your books and writing’s life, Helen! I’ve added The Healer’s Secret to my reading list! Wishing you much success with all you do! – Camilla

The Healer’s Betrayal:

In an era of superstition and fear, it’s dangerous to be a woman—and even more so to be a healer . . .

Morgana Innocenti was born on the cusp of the 1600s, on the cursed ground inside the Grove. Deaf since the age of eight from a childhood illness, and able to see shadows where no shadow should be, she has learned to face any difficulty with strength and determination.

But a three-hundred-year-old vow of revenge, and a terrible secret revealed on her grandmother’s deathbed, throw Morgana’s life into turmoil, and nothing will ever be the same again. To protect her family’s name, she must marry a man she hardly knows, and trust that she has made the right choice.

While she settles into her new life, rumours arrive from England of witch hunters who leave a trail of death and devastation behind them as they cross the country. When her daughter is born with the mark of the devil, Morgana lives in constant fear that they will come to Italy.

She has no idea that she is about to suffer the ultimate betrayal. Before, she had to marry to save her family’s name. What will she sacrifice to save her daughter?

Connect with Helen:

https://www.amazon.com/Helen-Pryke/e/B01MXCQ92L/
https://www.facebook.com/helenprykeauthor/
https://twitter.com/helen_pryke
https://www.instagram.com/helenpryke/
http://www.facebook.com/groups/meettheauthorsgroup

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Meet the Author: The Fenian by Mike Kernan

Today we travel to the west coast of Scotland to chat with Mike Kernan about how being a journalist, listening, reading, early retirement, winters in Tenerife, being a sucker for a story, being a grandad, Back to the Future, fishing, heart surgery, and Friday the 13th come together as part of Mike’s current and past life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live with my wife Margaret in a small seaside town on the beautiful west coast of Scotland and think of myself as a grandad and writer – in that order. I was a journalist in newspapers and TV for more than 40 years, the last 20 as a national paper executive. I’ve been working on a couple of novels since taking early retirement four years ago but Covid focused my mind.

Without wishing to be over-dramatic, I decided it was now or never as I have underlying health issues and wasn’t sure if I would survive the pandemic. Finishing a book became my lockdown project and I published my first novel, The Fenian, in August 2020. The book has today received its 100th five-star rating and I am now working on the sequel. I also released a non-fiction book on angling, Fishing In The Sun, in November 2020.

In which genre do you write?

What a great start – a question I can’t answer! I’ve been asked this a few times about The Fenian, my first and only published novel so far, and I’m afraid I can’t pin it down. It’s definitely a coming-of-age story and the easy way out would be to leave it at that. But it’s also a drama, a romance, probably a saga, definitely a comedy and a tragedy. Overall, it’s just loads of hopefully interesting and entertaining people stuff – the good, bad and crazy things folk do to each other. Can that be a new genre – people stuff?

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

Before the writing came the reading and before the reading came the listening. To borrow from the opening line of Goodfellas, as far back as I can remember I was always a sucker for stories. The earliest one I can remember was my grandfather telling me about catching an enormous pike in Ireland that trailed on the ground and tried to bite his face as he dragged it home. That, and tales like it, stuck in my head for, well, forever because I still recall it now.

I was able to read at four so my mum took me to the library and told me later it was as if I’d walked into my own Aladdin’s Cave. Apparently, I took home two books that morning and wanted to go back in the afternoon because I had finished them. The moment I knew I wanted to be a writer was when, aged seven, we were told to create a true story about our pets and my teacher read mine out to the class. It was a dizzying high which lasted until parents’ night when she discovered I’d made it up.

I’ve had book ideas in my head and in various drafts for decades but, cliched excuse, life and a busy career as a journalist kept getting in the way. I took early retirement four years ago and since then have been trying to make up for lost time.

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

I’m not sure how unusual it is, but I always start by writing the first chapter and the last chapter, then join the dots in a random way as the ideas flow. I need to know the root of the story and where it ends up so that I have compass points to guide me.

I wish I was more disciplined because this haphazard approach means that at some point, I have to shut myself away for a day (a few days more like) and make a giant chart of everything I’ve written and drag it kicking and screaming into some kind of order. I think my method – or lack of method – stems from a fear that if I don’t act on ideas for scenes or chapters immediately, I will lose the spark.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

This question saddens me because I haven’t been to my writing sweet spot for nearly two years and don’t know when I’ll make it back because of the curse of Covid. I like to escape the worst of the Scottish winter and flee to Tenerife, which has become like a second home. My wife Margaret and I have a routine of lazing on the hotel terrace after breakfast which, for me, translates into two hours of writing time. We go off and do the usual holiday stuff before returning to the hotel late afternoon. My wife reads and snoozes while I take the laptop and a glass of wine (OK, a bottle of wine) on to the balcony and either write or edit for another couple of hours in that brilliant Canarian light and warmth. We are tempted to return at New Year but we’re still wary about travelling due to other health issues.

What are you currently reading?

I have to admit to a bit of a nationalist streak when it comes to book choice. I’m always on the lookout for new novels by Scottish authors and this has dominated my reading in 2021. Highlights of the year have been Mayflies by Andrew O’Hagan, The Less Dead by Denise Mina and The Young Team by Graeme Armstrong. I’m coming towards the climax of 1979 by Val McDermid. Like many people, I’m sceptical about books set in my own field but the 1970s newspaper world of the novel gets high marks for authenticity. And to put it simply with a good Scottish word, that lassie knows how to write a good yarn.

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

The Fenian started life as a short story which I planned to enter into a competition. It was inspired by a real-life experience about a couple split up by religious divide who then come back into each other’s lives many years later. A writer who looked at it told me I needed to flesh out the supporting characters a little, so I started adding memories of people and incidents from my own youth. It occurred to me that these back stories were just as interesting as the central plot and I realised I had a bigger-scale work on my hands.

What movie can you watch over and over without ever getting tired of?

I’d love to get all intellectual here and cite a seminal black and white art movie made by a cult Peruvian director which uses washing dishes as a metaphor for life. But I have to admit it’s Back To The Future all the way for me. It’s not the best film ever made but it’s probably the most perfect in terms of story, performance and entertainment. It also means a lot personally because it was the first film I took my daughters, Lynn and Laura, to see in the cinema. I’ve probably read and watched more about the background to the film than is healthy and the three of us can still voice it all the way through. Definitely my specialist subject if I ever go on Mastermind.

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

Just when my wife and I had given up hope, my daughter Lynn finally got round to producing a grandson and he is now my No1 interest. I have pretty much stolen him and two-year-old Jimmy and I are now partners in crime. For the two days a week he stays with us, I’m off the grid – no writing, minimal social media, kids TV only and no checking headlines, which is tough on a news junkie. Other than that, I do a bit of fishing and write a column about it, as well as the odd university lecture though I’m trying to scale back on that.

What’s a great piece of advice you’ve received lately?

A fellow author told me that even if the ideas aren’t coming as much as you’d like, it’s important to always write something. The thinking is that you cannot change, edit, improve or polish a blank page. It is so simple but true and has been extremely useful to me.

Have you ever had any Do It Yourself disasters?

My only possible DIY disaster is that I’m forced to do any. I am completely useless around the house though my wife insists I’m that way on purpose. I’m really not. I have reached my sixties unable to put a screw in straight or wash windows without leaving them worse than when I started.

My argument is that people earn a living by doing these things and I would be stealing from them if I dedicated myself to learning their skills. Besides, I didn’t expect readers to write their own headlines when I worked in newspapers. (No, my wife doesn’t buy the argument either.)

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

I’m afraid to tempt fate by answering this question but OK, here goes. There is something magical that happens when I sit down to write – and I have heard other authors talk about this. I will have the seed of an idea for a scene or chapter and every single time, I worry it won’t go anywhere or that I don’t have enough material. Once I start, the ideas flow and it sometimes feels like it’s nothing to do with me – I’m just the conduit, which never ceases to surprise and amaze me.

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

The biggest single bonus to publishing The Fenian has been the response from readers. I acknowledge I am fortunate in that I don’t have to earn a living from writing so the only reason for doing it is to have my stories read. But I had no idea how rewarding it would be to receive messages from people who had done just that then taken the time to tell me how the book touched them and triggered memories. This is especially true when the messages are from people who grew up in the era and the place where the story is set.

As if that wasn’t enough, a number of old friends and schoolmates from the time have got back in touch after picking up the book. They remember many of the incidents and characters which inspired episodes in the story. Just last month I met up with three old friends, two of whom I’d had no contact with for nearly half a century.

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

By far the craziest and most life-changing moment came when I was awaiting surgery in 2015. My heart had packed in which was not surprising given my lifestyle of high-pressure job, lack of exercise, poor diet and heavy smoking. I was put on the waiting list for a triple heart bypass and had the worst conversation of my life when the cardiologist told me I probably wouldn’t make it to the first date I was given. She promised to push for an earlier op. A few days later, she told me that a superstitious patient had refused to have surgery on Friday the 13th and asked if I wanted the slot? Naturally I said yes and believe I was given a second chance which I have grabbed with both hands.

How do you prepare yourself to discuss your book?

I am not a natural when it comes to preparation. I didn’t get the results I should have at school because I never studied and instead relied on memory. It’s the same when I’m about to talk about my book. I think of it as being like my children – I know it intimately and should be able to answer any questions thrown at me. I’ve probably just jinxed myself and will forget a character’s name next time out.

What do you miss about being a kid?

Honestly? Without overthinking it, playing football in the street.

Share an interesting or funny story from your childhood.

When I was eight, we had a day off school – no idea why – and I was running home from the park at the top of our street when I was blocked by a crowd of people who were waving and cheering. I squeezed through, ducked under a rope and asked a woman standing in front of me for the right time. Someone grabbed me and took my name and address. That evening a reporter from a national newspaper came to our house and told my parents I’d walked up to the Queen, who was on a royal visit, and chatted to her. The story and my picture appeared on the front page next morning. I used an exaggerated version of this incident in The Fenian.

What are you currently working on?

I am three-quarters way through the sequel to The Fenian. It was written as a standalone and I wrapped up the lives of the characters in an epilogue which limited the possibility of a follow-up. I also have four completely separate novels on the go, ranging from final edit to partly plotted, so a sequel was definitely never on the agenda. However, the response from readers has taken me by surprise – as have the ongoing sales figures – so that made me wonder whether there might be another book there. I was concerned about trying to force it but once I gave it some thought, the ideas came pouring out. On one of my daily walks along the coast where I live, I came up with the beginning, the end and a rough outline. It is provisionally titled Stopping To Rain after a grammatical anomaly one of the main characters utters as a young child.

Tell us about your most recent book.

The Fenian tells of the crazy, funny, tragic and outrageous adventures of two lovestruck teenagers and their pals growing up in a Scottish new town in the 1970s. The couple are split up by a deathbed promise but unexpectedly come back into each other’s lives at the turn of the millennium. As they assess the effects of that promise, they face up to the biggest question of their lives: What if you got a second chance to put right your biggest regret?

It was wonderful learning more about you and having you be a part of MTA, Mike. I’ve added The Fenian to my “to be read” list. Wishing you all the best and much success with future books. – Camilla

Where to find the book:

Available from Amazon on paperback, ebook and Kindle Unlimited, and as an audiobook from Audible.

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Meet the Author: A Quirk of Destiny by Catherine Greenall

Today we travel to the UK to chat with Catherine Greenall about how environmentalism, driving change, animal welfare, Hayley Mills, playing the guitar, The Beatles, going for walks, Alfred Hitchcock, being brave, and living on Mars come together as part of Catherine’s outlook on life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am based in the UK. I am an environmentalist and a vegan and I write to send a message about the harm humans do to our environment and animals.

In which genre do you write?

I write Post-Apocalyptic sci fi thrillers.

How many published books do you have?

Six. The trilogy, a vegan cookbook ‘Vegans Can’t Eat Anything!” and two short story collections.

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

I have always wanted to write and began this more seriously when I had more time after retiring. I was concerned about the issues that humans cause to the world around them. I wanted to drive change, however small.

What are you currently reading?

Pandemic by A.G Riddle which has a lot of resonance to my Quirk of Destiny trilogy

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

From my concerns about the environment, animal welfare and the damage we are doing to our health from GM and other toxic food.

What movie can you watch over and over without ever getting tired of?

I love Whistle Down The Wind starring Hayley Mills, which was filmed in the area where I was brought up and the children were about my age at the time when I first watched it. I love the innocence of the children and how they misinterpret adults’ actions. . Also, I must include A Hard Day’s Night starring The Beatles! A favourite band of mine.

Can you play a musical instrument? 

I can play guitar – and would play it even better if I practiced more!

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

I love walking in the countryside and by the sea, wildlife watching, reading, theatre and music.

What songs hit you with a wave of nostalgia every time you hear them?

Anything by The Beatles!

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

When I get feedback from readers that it has made them think about the world and the way they behave. That’s my job done!

What were your favourite Saturday night programmes when you were growing up?

Westerns! I loved Bonanza, The Big Valley, Tenderfoot. Later on I got into psychological horror like Hitchcock films.

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

Look, no-one cares about how you look or what you do or say! You should just be brave and true to yourself.

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

It would have to be environmentalist Jessie, who is partly based on myself. Because she campaigns for the truth about what governments are up to and to inform the people. She tries to do the right thing. It’s what I try to do every day.

If mars or another planet was livable, would you accept a one way ticket there? why or why not?

No. You expect the Martians to put up with a lot of pesky humans!

What are you currently working on?

I am writing a book about a ten-year old girl who has to save the world. It is called Lucy and the Angel and is aimed at children and teens and aims to raise awareness of environmental issues. Although I think a lot of them are pretty switched on anyway!

Tell us about your most recent book.

My most recent book is ‘Destiny of Light’ the final book in my Quirk of Destiny trilogy. The story reaches a shocking end as everything becomes clear.

It was great learning more about you, Catherine!  My son and I are vegan also, and I love how you’ve put your passion into writing. I live about 30 minutes from where Bonanza was filmed! All the best to you, Catherine! – Camilla

A Quirk of Destiny Book blurb:

The Best of the Year 2013. Best books, another definite must-read thriller. Michael Smith, Green (Living) Review

A global conspiracy to control the world by big corporations and evil government infiltrators masterly presented. You will love this conspiracy, presents enough of today’s food service doubts to keep you reading. I’m hooked, will certainly keep a close eye on “what if” this really was to happen, makes this book so much fun to read. Burntroot Broadcasting, Canada

What happens when too much power is held by too few people, where science is used against rather than for the good of mankind. A government scientist is puzzled by a number of incidents involving fellow scientists finds himself caught up in a deadly worldwide epidemic. Dark forces try to manipulate science to control the worlds’ population, as climate change will eventually make it impossible to feed everyone. An anti-GMO novel examines the impacts of new technology on the world with possible environmental and animal right consequences. My Green Directory

Corrupt systems. An evil plot. Can a scientist save humanity from certain death?

Calum still hasn’t recovered from his fiancé’s suicide. So, the principled government scientist throws himself into his work, despite his friends’ efforts to pair him off. When he raises concerns that food not adequately tested has already been approved, he is shocked at attempts to silence him.

As a deadly sickness sweeps the world, the natural leader feels responsible for keeping the survivors safe, especially attractive scientist Jessie. But he finds himself in mortal danger as he unearths a terrible conspiracy and mutants with paranormal powers attack survivors.

Can Calum save humanity from annihilation by an ancient evil force?

Based on real science, A Quirk of Destiny imagines our future if we continue headlong on the current path of toxic food and environmental destruction, combined with political and corporate corruption.

If you like zombie apocalypse, global conspiracy and intelligently written fiction then you’ll love Catherine Greenall’s shocking book.

Where to find the books:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B003WQCIE0
Connect with Catherine:

Social media links: https://linktr.ee/CatherineGreenall
Quirk of Destiny Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Catherine-Greenall-A-Quirk-of-Destiny-672514749502441/

Quirk of Destiny Trilogy Trailer:

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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: The Magic Carpet by Jessica Norrie

The Magic Carpet by Jessica Norrie

Heartwarming! Different cultures come together, friendships form, and the magic of childhood tales ….

I very much enjoyed getting to know the characters, following each of their journeys as current local and world wide events were introduced. Loved how the children brought together these different families, from different backgrounds and cultures. I didn’t want the story to end and hope that their friendships continued to grow!

To see the interview with Jessica Norrie, follow this link:

Meet the Author: The Magic Carpet by Jessica Norrie

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

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

Book Shelf: The Near Witch

The Near Witch by V.E. Schwab

Another by V.E. Schwab that I very much enjoyed. A small town, where kids begin to disappear with no trace and no clues, just after a mysterious stranger comes into town. A small town that is highly suspicious of strangers, with towns people who are desperate to find what is happening to their children at night. Lexi is carrying out her own investigation, getting to the heart of what is truly happening, while everyone else is determined to blame, apprehend and punish the stranger. Loved it!

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

Friday with Friends: Embracing Change – M.J. Mallon

Thank you for inviting me to your blog Meeting the Authors for a Friday with Friends chat Camilla, it is such a delight to be here again.

I have a new release, or should I say rerelease!

My debut novel has been re-released with Next Chapter Publishing, Bloodstone The Curse of Time #1. This YA Fantasy novel is primarily prose but each chapter starts with a short poem, so there are masses of poems!

Good grief, it has been an interesting and somewhat daunting experience relinquishing control of my book to someone else – especially as I’m republishing a version and if you are a control freak like I am… there are obstacles, difficulties and invaluable lessons to be learnt.

Metadata, title changes these all effect your novel and make the process much more complicated. But I am hoping that the initial niggles will be overcome and it will be worthwhile.

Change is challenging but sometimes you have to embrace change to move forward.

At least with the second novel in the Curse of Time series I won’t have this problem as Golden Healer will be all new, starting from scratch! Yeah. Good news I’ve just heard: Bloodstone is to be in the Ingram Catalogue with access to bookstores. And Next Chapter have also revamped their cover design process for these editions, with full sleeve covers that will look great on a shelf and attract the eye of potential customers.

I’m thrilled to announce I am also a contributing author in a new release coming out soon (Pandemic inspired,) with a winning poem contribution entitled Hope is and a short piece of writing about my thoughts about the pandemic. This is to be published by Chantelle Atkins, more about that soon…

With regard to Bloodstone, I have all sorts of plans, at the moment I am arranging an impromptu launch with the lovely author community.

I’ve managed to link the old reviews on Goodreads but sadly can’t do that with Amazon due to the title change and metadata issues which means I have lost over twenty precious reviews on Amazon on the original version! Ouch. All is not lost, some lovely friends are going to re-review.

So, if anyone can help, re- reviews and new reviews gratefully received for the new version!

Thank you, lovely peeps.

Blurb

Fifteen-year-old Amelina Scott lives in Cambridge with her dysfunctional family, a mysterious black cat, and an unusual girl who is imprisoned within the mirrors located in her house.

When an unexpected message arrives inviting her to visit the Crystal Cottage, she sets off on a forbidden path where she encounters Ryder: a charismatic, perplexing stranger.

With the help of a magical paint set and some crystal wizard stones, can Amelina discover the truth about her family?

A unique, imaginative mystery full of magic-wielding and dark elements, Bloodstone is a riveting adventure for anyone interested in fantasy, mythology or the world of the paranormal.

Next Chapter Publishing – YA fantasy The Curse of Time series:

Bloodstone – The Curse of Time Book 1
Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal
UK Book Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bloodstone-Curse-Time-Book-1-
ebook/dp/B097QZBKNY/
US Book Link: https://www.amazon.com/Bloodstone-M-J-Mallon-ebook/dp/B097QZBKNY/
Universal book Link: http://mybook.to/bstmm
And the 2nd in the series coming soon: Golden Healer – The Curse of Time Book 2

Excerpt – Bloodstone – (The Curse of Time Book 1)

Sometimes notes can jar,
Music’s unexpected tunes,
Blended harmonies,
Driving out the sadness vibes,
Sweet silent stringed perfection.

The next day, after my memorable visit to the Crystal Cottage, I felt supercharged, buzzing with energy, ready for my pre-arranged band session with my friends. The crystals had triggered my creative energies. Today, I had music on my mind. Things were looking up, and meeting Leanne had given me hope that life could only get better.

My mobile rang just before I had intended to set off. I couldn’t believe it, it was
Ryder. I hadn’t heard a word from him since our last meeting. He surprised and
perplexed me by asking if he could join our band session. How could he have known our practice was today? I hadn’t mentioned it to him, yet he seemed to know about it. I couldn’t stop debating how odd this revelation felt. In the end, I agreed he could join us.

The prospect of seeing Ryder again thrilled me. Nevertheless, I wondered if this was the best time to get together. I couldn’t wait to tell my friends about him, but I wasn’t too keen on him meeting them now. He’d somehow taken the choice right out of my hands.

My mind journeyed back to the day I’d first encountered him. Ryder had appeared down a pathway that my mum had warned me not to travel on. My first experience with him had been swift, and he had disappeared just as fast. Then, there was that weird experience with the portrait of my dad turning into the haunting image of Ryder. I sensed danger. There was something different about him compared to other boys, eerie almost, but I couldn’t decide whether to trust him or to stay away from him. The threat from those other boys and their intentions that day had vanished with his unexpected but welcome arrival, and yet my concerns suggested he’d been shadowing me, following
me for some reason.

To see MJ Mallon’s previous interview on MTA, go here:

Meet the Author: Mr. Sagittarius by M J Mallon

More about MJ Mallon:

My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheros!

M J Mallon was born in Lion city Singapore, a passionate Scorpio with the Chinese Zodiac sign of a lucky rabbit. She spent her early childhood in Hong Kong. During her teen years, she returned to her father’s childhood home, Edinburgh where she spent many happy years, entertained and enthralled by her parents’ vivid stories of living and working abroad. Perhaps it was during these formative years that her love of writing began inspired by their vivid storytelling. She counts herself lucky to have travelled to many far-flung destinations and this early wanderlust has fuelled her present desire to emigrate abroad. Until that wondrous moment, it’s rumoured that she lives in the UK, in the Venice of Cambridge with her six-foot hunk of a rock god husband. Her two enchanting daughters have flown the nest but often return with a cheery, heart-warming smile to greet her.

MJ’s writing credits also include a multi-genre approach: paranormal, best-selling horror, supernatural short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. he has worked with some amazing authors and bloggers compiling an anthology/compilation set during the early stages of COVID-19 entitled This Is Lockdown and later she wrote a spin off poetry collection, Lockdown Innit.

She’s been blogging for many moons at her blog home Kyrosmagica, (which means Crystal Magic,) where she celebrates the spiritual realm,her love of nature, crystals and all things magical, mystical, and mysterious.

MJ’s motto is…

To always do what you Love, stay true to your heart’s desires, and inspire others to do so too, even if it appears that the odds are stacked against you like black hearted shadows.

Her favourite genre to write is …

Fantasy/magical realism because life would be dull unless it is sprinkled with a liberal dash of extraordinarily imaginative magic!

Her eclectic blog shares her love of reading, reviewing books, writing, and photography: https://mjmallon.com/

Articles:
https://issuu.com/electricpress/docs/epnovember2020
https://lightboxoriginals.com/difficult-times/
https://lightboxoriginals.com/lollipop-leaves/
https://spillwords.com/the-magic-of-the-dragonfly/
https://sachablack.co.uk/2018/04/08/prologues/

Connect with MJ Mallon:

Authors Website: https://mjmallon.com
Authors Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L
Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon
#ABRSC – Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook :
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1829166787333493/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/m-j-mallon
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mjmallonauthor/
Spiritual Sisters: https://www.facebook.com/5SpiritualSisters

Kyrosmagica Publishing (MJ’s Imprint)

Pandemic Poetry: Lockdown Innit
https://mybook.to/Lockdowninnit

Poetry, Prose and Photography: Mr. Sagittarius
http://mybook.to/MrSagittarius

An anthology: This Is Lockdown
Kindle: mybook.to/Thisislockdown

Shorter version – Paperback: mybook.to/Thisislockdownpb

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